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Cryptocurrency is a trendy sector, considered by many to become the currency of the future. Its growth is boosted by the incessant and rapid emergence of new technologies and advanced securities. Alongside this digital currency, cryptocurrency wallets are also gaining popularity. This market is equally enjoying an extensive growth as multiple industries are starting to adopt them, as revealed in a recent study published by Garner Insights.


Data on cryptocurrency hardware wallet is not affected by computer viruses

Cryptocurrency hardware wallets are physical devices that are used to store public and/or private keys in a secure area inside the device. The information stored is equally protected from malware. Most hardware wallets have been designed to hold multiple cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple just to name a few. Cryptocurrency hardware wallets cannot be affected by computer viruses and all private keys are stored offline to ensure safety. Long-term storage is also possible in some wallets. In terms of connectivity, cryptocurrency hardware wallet is segmented primarily into USB only and other types. Some have integrated display while others do not.

Apart from storing the public and private keys, hardware wallets also allow users to monitor their balance, send money and carry out other operations. However, there is no real exchange of coins. Transactions are registered merely by a record on the blockchain: for instance, if someone is sending another person an amount of cryptocurrency, the private key of the receiver’s wallet should match the public address the currency is assigned to for him to be able to unlock the funds. The balance in his wallet will increase while that of the sender will decrease.  There are several types of wallets that provide different ways to store and access your digital currency. Wallets can be broken down into three distinct categories – software, hardware, and paper. A software wallet can be a desktop, mobile or online model.

Hardware wallets offer a high level of security

Cryptocurrency wallets are designed in various models: desktop, online, mobile, hardware, and paper. Hardware wallets differ from the software ones in the sense that the user’s private keys are stored on a hardware device such as a USB. Even if they are used to make online transactions, once disconnected, the data is stored offline to add a layer of security. Hardware wallets are generally compatible with several web interfaces and can hold multiple currencies depending on the user. To make a transaction, the latter simply has to plug his device to any internet-enabled computer or device. He must then enter a pin, send currency, and confirm the transaction.

Several competitors are entering the market

One of the most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallets is Ledger nano S. It has been designed to store private keys in a secure manner and transactions are conducted inside the device itself. Ledger Nano S supports Litecoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Ripple, Dash and many other altcoins. A number of competitors have, nonetheless, infiltrated the market such as Giza, Hyundai Pay, Hoofoo Inc, Wisekey, SPI Energy and others.

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From the very beginning of the first mobile payment, people were reluctant mainly because of security issues, comparing it to online purchases. The primary concern was online hacking since most users didn’t understand and were not convinced of the safety and security of paying through the internet.


Mobile payment is the combination of a social media app with a smartphone

Mobile payment is the perfect marriage between your smartphone and a social media app. It is the digital version of the traditional wallet, where transactions are done online via one’s phone. In fact, it is the future of all monetary transactions as it makes faster and more effective payment possible by a simple tap on your phone’s screen.

Why are people still questioning the effectiveness of mobile payment?

Since everything is done online, the concept of mobile payment can be hard to grasp for some people as the shift from the physical point of sale to digitization can seem a bit brutal. Most people seem more comfortable with PIN and card taps than mobile payment. The general feeling is that cash and card payments are safer as they have been around for ages. As of 2015, only 52 percent of North Americans knew about mobile payments and only 18 percent became regular users.

More and more people think mobile payments are riskier

Since 2016, the number of people believing in the rise of online data breach and fraud have increased from 23 to 40 percent in 2017. At least 60 percent of people believe that monetary mobile transactions are more vulnerable to online fraud and breaches. However, with the steady increase of mobile phone users around the world, mobile payment apps will keep on mushrooming, albeit with stronger security barriers.

What are these stronger security measures?

There ways to protect yourself from online theft or cybercriminals. For instance, improving your password strength could be one option available to all users. In fact, passwords are easily guessed by hackers as most users use a combination of their name and date of birth as passwords. Avoiding this simple mistake could be the first step towards better data protection. Some social payment apps have started using fingerprint and voice authentication and data encryption to make mobile payment safer and more secure.

What are some of the most obvious security concerns?

A big and obvious concern is what happens if your phone gets lost or is stolen? Experts are trying to reassure users of the greater safety of mobile payments compared to traditional cash and card payments. However, when big organizations like Home Depot and the Dairy Queen are victims of online breach or fraud, it raises eyebrows concerning these giants’ security barriers.

Mobile payment will take time to settle in the collective consciousness

Indeed, it will take more than a couple of security measures to reassure people of the safety of mobile payment. As for any other payment method, it takes time for users to truly grasp and understand the benefits of a novel tool

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The payments industry in Canada, encompassing a cross-section of options ranging from credit and debit cards to cheques and mobile wallets, is valued at about $16 billion a year, according to Payments Canada. The yearly cost of processing all those exchanges is itself between $3 billion and $6.5 billion. Mobile payment is seen as a fertile ground for investment, especially in an era where consumers are increasingly demanding secure, rapid and convenient modes of payments. Visa and PayPal have extended their digital and mobile payment collaboration to Canada.


It is not the first time that the two behemoths in the payment industry are collaborating; they have already proven their solid partnership in the U.S., Asia and Europe. In Canada, they are targeting around 6.5 million clients by offering them a wider array of options in how and where they pay. A report published by Statista also revealed that 48% of responding Canadians said they were very interested in mobile payment.

A partnership to offer a smooth payment experience to clients

The main goal of this partnership is to appeal to a maximum of clients by offering a seamless and smooth experience when they pay with their Visa card at locations that accept PayPal. This collaboration allows customers to add Visa cards to their PayPal wallets and to transfer funds from their PayPal account to eligible Visa debit cards in real time through the Visa Direct money transfer system. For Visa Canada, this partnership will allow them to propose more innovative products and improve payment experiences online, in-app and in-store for all joint customers.

Moreover, Visa and PayPal have planned to expand participation in the Visa Digital Enablement Program (VDEP). This token technology program, launched in 2015, takes the existing 16 digit number on credit or debit cards and replaces it with a digital token used in contactless payments. Through this program, Visa’s partners are given access to tokenization technology, which enables straightforward and secure payment on mobile phones or any connected device. PayPal’s participation in this program means that the use of PayPal will be expanded to those businesses that accept Visa in physical locations.

China’s Alipay is also investing in the Canadian market

China’s Alipay has not delayed in infiltrating the Canadian market, basing itself on the massive number of Chinese tourists visiting North America. In 2017, 682,000 Chinese tourists visited Canada, reflecting a growth of 12% compared to 2016.

Launched in Canada in 2017, Alipay Canada has around 5,000 active merchants in the country and about 600 million users in China. The mobile payment platform is seen as a boon for various businesses who can propose familiar and user-friendly mobile payment option to demanding Chinese tourists, students and other visitors; studies have demonstrated that the latter are keener to make purchases abroad through familiar mobile payment apps such as Alipay instead of having to pay in cash or in another currency.

Merchants can also offer coupons and deals through the platform. For instance, a user in China buying a flight to Canada can be notified of local deals upon landing and receive follow-up messaging after return. Alipay Canada sees this service as a payment-plus-marketing service rather than a simple payment option.

Businesses are forced to innovate to offer large payment options

Mobile-oriented payment options such as Google Pay, PayPal, Square, Stripe, and, potentially soon, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are proliferating in Canada. Businesses are, hence, systematically impacted by the payment options that they propose to consumers. Resource-strapped companies can find themselves trapped in a complicated web, having to decide which options to propose. While many merchants are already overwhelmed when it comes to dealing with existing payment methods, they are also not well-prepared to incorporate newer ones, especially emerging options that are not yet well-established.

At the same time, many of the payment options services are incessantly adding features, security updates and other changes, entailing additional headaches for business owners. However, the solutions are numerous as well. Experts recommend opting for an aggregator, that is, a centralized service that has the ability to vet and implement various payment methods on the behalf of a business. Some good examples are Shopify Inc. and Moneris. Shopify, for instance, can accommodate the large majority of the most popular mobile payment options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Alipay, Paysafe, Bambora and Giropay. Choosing an aggregator can allow businesses to continue focusing on sales rather than worrying about payment methods.

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A wide array of cards available to consumers today has increased competition on the market. To stand out from the crowd, various service providers have started to tempt consumers with multiple options such as rewards for using their cards. Every card has its own strengths and shortcomings, but the common feature is that they are all profitable to consumers.

Cashback is the most popular reward

A survey carried out by U.S. News shed light on the behavior and preference of card users who definitely have a penchant for cash back rewards. The next most appealing reward is the travel reward followed by no annual fee. Cashback is the most popular reward.

The survey equally revealed that most cardholders do not research rewards programs before signing up. They also do not compare their card to other reward cards on the market. At the same time, it was highlighted that most users do not maximize the value they can get from their card benefits despite earning some rewards. In this sense, they are likely to miss several opportunities. It was also shown that many users carry their monthly balance, thus bringing down their rewards level. Experts recommend that they start considering card rewards as an investment and become more conscious about the wide array of benefits available.

Consumers are cautious not to overspend

Despite the fact that the rewards for using credit cards are numerous, cardholders have demonstrated cautiousness in terms of overspending. Even if spending more means getting more rewards, they are careful not to spend more than previously, knowing that they will get rather nice kickbacks and perks all the same. Users are conscious on how to profit from their regular spending, especially if they do not carry a monthly balance on their card.

The best rewards credit cards trending in 2018

In their survey, U.S. News evaluated 444 rewards credit cards, comparing the strengths and shortcomings of each one. Despite the fact that there is no ideal card for everyone, the following cards topped the list based on data points and several criteria.

  • Chase Freedom: This card is best for general spending with cash back and bonus categories with no annual fee.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: It is the best option for travel and dining expenses with a large sign-up bonus.
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express: This card represents the best benefits in terms of loyalty airline spending and a sign-up bonus.
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best for business spending with a large sign-up bonus.
  • Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card: Best for loyalty hotel spending and large sign-up bonus.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express: Best for loyalty hotel spending and flexible reward options with a sign-up bonus.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for flat-rate cash back on all spending with no annual fee.
  • Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Best for cash back at U.S. grocery stores and U.S. gas stations.

 

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Paytm Canada, a payments and financial services company offering a mobile payment and commerce platform, has pioneered by introducing an innovative rewards platform in the country. Users can earn points and cash back through any method of payment when using the Paytm mobile bill pay app. This cost-free mobile account allows them to manage their bill payments at more than 5,000 billers conveniently through their smartphones and earn rewards and cashback offers the transactions. Operating since one year in Canada, the company considered it had to offer something big to distinguish itself from the numerous competitors in the country.


How the Paytm Canada rewards plan differs from other programs

Up to now, most Canadians have been paying their bills in one of the following three ways:

  • Receive a paper copy showing the amount they owe, write a cheque for the amount, put it in an envelope, and mail the payment back;
  • Receive a paper or digital copy showing the amount they owe, log in to their online account, and pay the bill; or
  • Have several different automatic withdrawal payments set up through their bank if their utility, insurance provider or municipal government allows it.

None of these payment options are ideal in terms of saving time, helping customers budget or giving them rewards simply for paying the bills that they need to pay anyway. Paytm Canada noted this lacking as a lever to demarcate itself by facilitating day-to-day financial transactions.

True, there are multiple mobile payment options in Canada but Paytm Canada has successfully tried to demarcate itself by proposing a very attractive “first of its kind” rewards program. This program is surprisingly extensive, allowing users to earn both points and cashback options irrespective of the payment method they are using. The platform has also been designed to facilitate mobile bill payment, connecting them to approximately 5,000 individual billers.

Offering a seamless user-friendly rewards platform

Customers can use their mobile devices in any of the 6,000 Canada Post locations to pay their bills without the least transaction fee. The Paytm mobile app rewards and cash back platform consists of an appealing array of rewards, as well as a consumer-friendly points formula without any kind of annual or transaction fees. To make it seamless and user-friendly, it has been designed in such a way that consumers can access it no matter how they pay their bills: they can pay through cash, debit card, bank account or credit card and benefit from the same rewards program and facilities.

Paytm offers several advantages over banks. Clients can view all of their bill, as well as past payments, on a single platform. Paytm Canada also offers an excellent merchant-funded reward system that allows users to benefit from a 5-15% discount when using gift cards on platforms such as Amazon.ca, Best Buy, or Tim Hortons just to name a few. Money can also be transferred without fees.

The CEO of Paytm Canada, Harinder Takhar, underlined that digital channels to access various financial services are increasingly appealing to consumers if the experience is superior to others. In this light, Paytm Canada is meticulously striving to improve and modernize the experience of managing day-to-day finances of Canadians. At the same time, much focus is being laid on building secure digital products and services aiming at promoting a rewarding experience.

Canadians are motivated by rewards and convenience for payment choices

Canadians are steadily moving away from cash payments, preferring more convenient payment methods. Payments Canada’s 2017 Methods and Trends Report underlines how credit cards have gained the upper hand and how mobile and online banking, as well as social media payments, are gaining traction.

The key denominators highlighted in the behavior patterns of consumers are convenience and rewards. If credit cards are seen as a friction-free mode of payment, especially when coupled with a lucrative rewards program, online and mobile banking are equally becoming trustworthy modes of payments, outrunning cash payments. Fresh partnerships in fintech are also paving the way for social media payments. 

The report provided crucial insights into the trends and demands in the payment sector. In 2016, more than 21.3 billion consumer and business payments were made, reflecting a value of over $9 trillion. As a result, even the least changes in customer behaviors matter and can trigger massive impacts. The insights, undeniably, are urging financial players and institutions to devise new ways and means to modernize the country’s payment architecture.

 

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Digital payment has been rapid to catch the quick-service restaurants (QSR) industry. After Subway launched touchscreen self-ordering kiosks, a mobile payment app, dedicated pickup areas for mobile orders, and digital menu boards last year, another QSR has not lagged behind in adopting digital strategies to stay ahead of the curve.


Subway self-service kiosks are an example to follow

Last year, Subway was forced to review its business model, adding new “electronic kiosks” to some of their outlets as part of their new movement dubbed “fresh forward.” More than just a mere renovation, Subway undertook a technology-powered food resolution.

Subway is one of the biggest fast-food chains worldwide, with over 24,000 retailing points scattered across the United States only. However, while the household name rules over an impressive market share, its business has not been spared from a drop of 1.7 % in sales in 2016. The said percentage would actually translate into a massive 200 million in dollars. This came in as a surprise for the company, as in the meantime, overall restaurant sales had increased by a whopping 4 %.

Making the most of digital order and payment

After a careful analysis of the situation, the Subway team realized that the loss they had experienced in 2016 might have been incurred by the lack of freshness of their aging business model. In fact, at that particular point, the Subway concept had not been revised in more than 3 years, leaving the consuming crowds exhausted of a formulaic dining experience. To remedy the situation, Subway has come up with a new concept dubbed “fresh forward.” The backbone of the project is a new kiosk system that eliminates queuing and optimizes customization by making the most of today’s technology.

Subway hired FRHC Design Worldwide to implement the kiosk-centric redesign of their retailing outlets. Robyn Novak, the Managing Director of FRHC Design Worldwide, stated that “the kiosks introduce another channel for tech-savvy guests to engage with the brand and needed to feel integrated into the customer journey.” “Fresh forward”, therefore, targets a new set of customers without alienating current Subway-goers, as it only comes in as an additional implementation, and not a replacement.

The Subway restaurants currently promoting the new “fresh forward” experience have been revamped to cater to a seamless customer experience. Space has been carefully surveyed to allow for a kiosk area, as well as dedicated pick-up and carry-out points, all laid in a way that is expected to lessen congestion. Additional facilities include a bot for Messenger orders, USB charging ports, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Visibility is a capital aspect of the new Subway redesign

The positioning of one of Subway’s “fresh forward” kiosks in a particular outlet will depend on several factors, however, the main one remains visibility. “The location of the kiosks is not only convenient but offers visibility to the ‘make-line,’ allowing guests to still feel immersed in the ‘Fresh Forward’ experience that Subway has elevated within the new design,” Novak said. “When it came to integrating the kiosks within the restaurant environment, the priority was to create a prominent view from not only the entry but clear visibility from the exterior as well.” In most outlets, the kiosks are up against a wall, but in some others, they can be found up against windows.

The planning of the different Subway restaurants’ interiors had to correspond to each outlet’s respective size and layout. An important feature of each store, however, was to make the kiosks separate from pickup areas to avoid congestion, irrespective of the space available.

Accessibility is a key point of “fresh forward”

Trevor Haynes, Subway’s Vice President, explained that their new concept was all about making healthy food more convenient and accessible than it has ever been before. Kiosks stack onto other options of ordering one’s meal efficiently, some of which would include ordering through messenger bots, through the Subway mobile app, or through the company’s website.

When it comes to paying for their meal at a kiosk, customers can recourse to either their credit cards, Android Pay, or Apple Pay. However, if they want to use cash, customers can still queue up in subways traditional “sandwich line.”

The kiosks help in making orders faster as they eliminate the process of queuing up. They also ensure accuracy, thanks to the minimization of human error enabled by cutting-edge technology. However, another of the features of kiosks is that they further the customization that Subway has been betting on since day one.

Offering customers a creative experience with self-order kiosks

“The self-order kiosks allow customers to be as creative as they want with their meal and experiment with the food and toppings, helping us to deliver a personalized, convenient and rewarding experience to our all guests,” Haynes said.

Subway hired Agilitee Solutions LLC, one of its long-time digital collaborators, to design and build the kiosks. Steve Street, Agility’s Founder and Lead Digital Partner, admitted that integrating kiosks into Subway’s ecosystem within a limited period of time was particularly challenging. The new implementation had to work seamlessly with the fast-food chain’s already existing product catalog, payment system, and POS system. However, the end result proved to be worthy of Subway’s expectations.

“The kiosk allows you not only to get your sandwich but also to ensure that those ingredients are available at that restaurant location,” Street said. “It also has to validate that the payment is valid and has to send the order down to that local restaurant.”

 “The kiosks will not be replacing employees,” Haynes said. “The sandwich line and the interaction with ‘Sandwich Artists’ – who are the ones to prepare the meals – will always be part of our model; however, the kiosks do create some efficiencies. Thanks to the latter, ‘Sandwich Artists’ are able to make meals faster, creating sandwiches that come in from the kiosks quickly while continuing to give customers who go through the line a great experience.”

Subway announced 12 “fresh forward” outlets back in July, however, the company has already implemented 29 such restaurants across the globe.

“We conducted research to determine how to best implement the Subway Fresh Forward design, and learned that not all locations should have kiosks for various reasons, like restaurant space and customer traffic,” Haynes said. “Other factors include sales performance and leases.”

Given that for an outlet, a “fresh forward” makeover implies an investment of at least $200,000 to $300,000, determining which restaurants would benefit from kiosks the most is of capital importance for the time being. However, this might only be the case because the project is still at its infancy stage. As they launch in full swing, “fresh forward” kiosks might become a Subway standard, eventually reaching the totality of the fast-food chain’s customers.

Battling with online delivery and payments

Taco Bell is has pulled ahead of Burger King as the fourth-largest quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand with new delivery options.  However, McDonald’s Corp. continues to maintain its position as the largest QSR, followed by Starbucks and Subway, according to Bloomberg. To stay in ahead of the curve, all are competing on the digital battleground. Here are the highlights of their respective strategies:

  • Enjoying domestic sales amounting to $37.5 billion, McDonald’s continues to expand its delivery efforts through the McDelivery on the Uber Eats app. It is available from over 2,000 restaurants around the country, with 1,000 new stores added last year. The chain has witnessed improved operating performance and delivery is forecasted to keep growing, especially boosted by young customers.
  • With its $18.4 billion in domestic sales, Starbucks is by far the most successful mobile payments platform in the United States. In 2017, mobile payment use represented 30 %of the brand’s total transactions. At the same time, the company invested thoroughly in its loyalty program which grew by 11% last year and reflecting 14.2 million active members. The chain is, hence, well-positioned to explore cashless stores across the U.S. A pilot project is currently running in Seattle. And by expanding capacity at peak, Starbucks has managed to offer Mobile Order and pay even to non-rewards customers.
  • Subway is another leader with its domestic sales reaching $10.8 billion. The chain understood that diners want mobile order-ahead on their devices, earn loyalty points and browse WiFi while eating in. The company was quick to react and part of their strategy was even to close hundreds of locations to promote new restaurant tech in its stores and its self-ordering kiosks amongst others. Customers can customize their sandwiches through their mobile app ahead of time on 26,000 out of the 27,000 stores. Subway plans to introduce 3 kiosks at every restaurant location. The company is also testing third-party delivery services on a small scale.
  • Taco Bell, on its side, is focusing on expanding its delivery reach and online ordering to drive up domestic sales that amounted to $9.8 billion.
  • Burger King has also adopted mobile payment to boost its sales. Even if it is currently a pilot project, the chain is planning to roll it on a broader scale.

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E-commerce is a booming sector in the retail industry. Representing an estimated value of $102.7 billion of sales in the United States (U.S.) in 2016, it is poised to keep its exponential growth in the years to come. To maximize benefits, large firms are continuously exploring innovative means, especially Artificial Intelligence (AI), to enhance competitiveness and boost customer loyalty.


The most popular AI apps used by large firms

As AI is steadily infiltrating the retail market, there are certain common apps that are being adopted by large firms in the industry such as Ebay and Amazon. The most popular AI applications are:

Chatbots/AI assistants

These apps have been designed to respond to customer inquiries, to voice commands for basic tasks and to provide product recommendations through interactions using natural language.

Smart logistics

Machine learning algorithms are being elaborated to use data to automate warehouse operations.

Recommendation engines

Recommendation engines are playing a key role in helping companies become more customer-oriented. These tools are facilitating their task in analyzing customer behavior on websites. At the same time, using algorithms to predict what products or services may appeal to customers and provide recommendations to the latter becomes a simple process.

How business leaders are using AI today

If there are some common patterns in AI apps being used by behemoths in e-commerce, the companies are, nevertheless, tailoring the apps for their respective businesses. Machine learning and recommendation engines are the two principal AI apps adopted by Amazon. Even if Alexa is a more visible app for the giant, machine learning is the company’s most lucrative tool. Machine learning is used to drive the algorithms that are at the center of Amazon’s marketing strategy, allowing the company to predict what products will most likely interest customers. Hence, based on customer searches, customized recommendations are released.

In similar efforts, Alibaba introduced Tmall Genie that has been designed to perform certain tasks such as controlling smart-home devices, checking the weather or a user’s daily schedule. Currently, it is only available in China and is programmed to receive commands in Mandarin language only.

Automation and robotics also play a decisive role in Amazon’s approach to warehouse operations.  These tools improve delivery efficiency and reduce shipping costs too. Beijing-based JD.com has equally been quick to use automation and robotics in warehouse logistics. The company witnessed a drastic improvement in the efficiency and speed of product sorting and delivery, thereby reducing costs and ultimately increasing revenue. 

Deep learning is viewed as a powerful tool in enhancing customer satisfaction and in subsequently driving sales. Amazon, for instance, has leveraged deep learning combined with computer vision and sensor technologies to know when products are being taken from the shelves or are being returned to the shelves. These products are kept track of in virtual carts and customers are charged via their Amazon accounts. In this manner, the traditional check-out system becomes void. The company is constantly improving the system to make it as flawless as possible, following various technical difficulties in tracking and processing large numbers of products and customers.

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“Payments Pulse: Small Business Edition”, a fresh survey undertaken by Leger Marketing and Payments Canada has revealed that small and medium enterprises in Canada are demanding more digital payment options. It has become imperative for these businesses to provide a wider array of point-of-sale options to their customers as well as for back-office payments to vendors and suppliers. At the same time, they equally acknowledge that digital options such as e-transfers, e-wallets, and digital currencies are a means to make payments in a safer and more secure manner.


The online survey was carried out between December 29, 2017, and January 10, 2018, and comprised of 303 Canadian small business owners of companies with less than 499 employees.

Small business owners are keener to move away from cash

The demand for payment innovations is on the rise, according to Gerry Gaetz, President, and CEO of Payments Canada. This growth is largely boosted by small business owners who are demanding fast, safe and convenient digital payment formats. These alternative methods are urging them to move away from cash and cheques in the sense that they are also able to maximize margins. “Many firms are particularly interested in new ways to make business-to-business payments where larger sums of money can be transferred quickly without hold times or high transaction costs,” stated Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, an advocacy group for 110,000 Canadian independent businesses.

Some of the key findings of the survey are as follows:
  • 81% of the participants surveyed are ready to implement new technologies into their operations
  • Startups and new businesses are expressing greater eagerness to do so, compared to those businesses in operation for 10 years or less.
  • 61% of the participants say they are willing to ditch cash if given other alternatives, while 67% are ready to move away from cheques under the same circumstances.
  • 54% of businesses surveyed state that they are losing too much time on payment processing activities
  • 87% of business owners consider that the payment industry should continue to evolve.
Fostering a data-rich payments environment

The Payments Canada’s Modernization program has been devised to introduce new systems, rules, and standards to foster not only a faster and safer environment but a more data-rich payment one. This program should primarily allow businesses to enhance real-time payment systems while allowing small businesses a wider plethora of payment choices. As part of this program, the ISO 200022 data standard will also be adopted in view of improving automation and efficiency and eliminating various hurdles in accounts. Innovative ways are also being explored to allow Canadian households and businesses pay for goods and services, and transfer funds in a convenient and safe manner.

Despite the fact that the Canadian payment system is reputed to be one of the most secure ones, the country recognizes the need to keep on evolving in the marketplace to boost economic competitiveness. Modernizing the payment system should make operations more efficient, allowing businesses to make massive savings on the $3 to $6.5 billion spent annually on payments. At the same time, such innovations should also lead to the emergence of new products and services, a boon for businesses in general.

Canada should prepare itself for the rise of social media payments

Another report published by Payments Canada- the Canadian Payment methods and Trends report- sheds light on the fact that online transactions and social media payments are poised to occupy a large part of the payments industry.

Online transactions grew by approximately 48%, reaching $177 million. Users demonstrated a higher level of confidence in online banking and online transfers soared to reach about 51% reflecting a value of $68 billion. Businesses are showing great willingness to adopt online transactions, carrying out 10% of the overall online transactions. In the past years, the percentage of online transactions carried out by businesses barely reached 5%. 

New partnerships in the fintech sector are also paving the way for a more consolidated form of social media payment. Various pilot projects are underway to offer new levels of convenience in banking and payments in general. At the same time, payment service providers from abroad have also started reaching out to Canadian users through online social networks such as WeChat Pay and Facebook payments. However, even if Chinese giants such as WeChat Pay and Alipay are planning to consolidate their position in North America, it is the use of the most popular services such as Facebook, Google, and Apple that hold the most promise for social media payments in Canada, as revealed in the “2017 Canadian Payment Methods and Trends”.

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It is a fact that technology has changed the ways of doing business. Thanks to technology, we may no longer need to carry cash in our pockets in the near future. Businesses in every country are gradually embracing online payment systems and Saudi Arabia is one of those countries. The Kingdom has established centralized systems of online payment that enable individuals and companies to send and receive money via electronic channels.


According to a press article, holders of Mada cards will be able to make online payments and purchases under the Saudi Payment Network as from April 2018. This is made possible by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).


The Mada Debit Card is the best choice

The Mada debit card system is one of the best digital payment strategies that allow users to make online payments safely and to reduce their cash transactions. The Mada debit card is the first vertical payment card in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is available in three types, such as Platinum, Gold, and Silver.

Mada is one of the fastest growing payment systems in the world. It connects all financial transactions from ATM machines and point-of-sale (POS) terminals to the companies’ banks. According to a study, there are currently 29 million Mada cards in circulation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, making Mada the most widely used payment system in the region. Mada cardholders are able to enjoy a wide range of services that ensure speed, convenience, and security when making purchases.

Mada Debit Card is safe and convenient

The Mada debit card system is committed to providing the best services to customers while ensuring their protection and safety. For this reason, the Mada debit card is embedded with a smart chip which allows clients to use the cards more securely. It is important to note that cards with Smart Chip technology are harder to copy since they are protected against counterfeiting. The chip enables the card to store and access data and applications safely. It also makes the cards ideal for handling sensitive data such as identity and personal health information. One of the amazing benefits of the Mada debit card is that users receive text messages when payments are completed or in process. They stay informed of their cash withdrawals and purchase transactions. Cardholders will also have the option to cancel transactions through electronic channels or at banks according to their convenience. Users can pay bills related to government services and other billers at ATMs, PoS terminals, online and in phone banking.

SAMA encourages development and progress of payment systems

The Director-General of Payments Systems Administration at SAMA, Ziyad Al-Yusuf argues that the main purpose behind the Mada National Payment System is to provide high quality advanced electronic payment services and to maintain the progress of their payment systems with the help of banks and partners. According to him, using MasterCard’s technology to facilitate online payments via the network will enable businesses to increase their e-commerce sales.

In a speech at the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference 2007, His Excellency Hamad Al-Sayari (Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency) stated that a well-developed and efficiently functioning system is an essential requirement for sustained economic growth.

Indeed, SAMA is working with banks to further develop and integrate new services and features such as the provision of pre-paid cards loaded with amounts as per the clients’ request. SAMA is also committed to creating a financial transfer system that aims to separate high-value transfers from lower value transfers for greater efficiency. It is not surprising when SAMA is known as the apex of Saudi financial system. It plays a crucial role in the consolidation and development of the Saudi economy.

What is the Mada Atheer?

SAMA also launched the Mada Atheer service after its successful trial in January 2016, allowing cardholders to make payments by waving the card in front of the PoS terminals. The service is mainly for low-value transactions and does not require a PIN. Cardholders may occasionally be asked to enter their PIN for added security. The Mada Atheer provides stores with marketing, competitive advantage by expanding payment options. This demonstrates Saudi Arabia’s strong commitment to providing the latest e-payment facilities. SAMA points out that the Mada Atheer service is optional and provided upon request without any additional fees incurred by the merchant or cardholder.

After the activation of the Mada debit card service, SAMA is encouraging shopping sites to offer the payment method in the next three months.

Article published in EMV and Smart Payment Cards :

 

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The post Saudi Arabia Introduces Online Payment Service appeared first on ACCEO Tender Retail Blog.

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Mobile payments are today imposing themselves in the era of the continuous digital transformation in retail and e-commerce. They are equally steadily moving away from physical bank cards, standing alone. Even if they embody an unrivaled level of convenience, users stay cautious, demanding a likewise level of security. To dispel these fears and add a strong layer of security, mobile payments are now being coupled with biometrics.


Biometrics represents a layer of security that cannot be copied

Biometrics is a unique way of binding a transaction to an individual. It can be either morphological or biological. The main types consist of fingerprints, hand shapes, finger shapes, vein patterns, the eye (iris and retina), and the shape of the face. DNA, blood, saliva or urine may be used by medical teams and police forensics for biological analyses. For instance, a new credit card can be obtained and can even be hacked if the security levels are low, but biometrics cannot be altered or copied. The voice, the face, the fingerprint and the palm of an individual are his unique features that a hacker cannot get hold of. Thus, when biometrics is combined with a transaction, the authenticity of the transaction itself is flawless.

The biometric landscape is evolving rapidly too. New algorithms and hardware are infiltrating the market rapidly. With such advances devices and systems are being revamped: for example, the whites of the eyes of a user might be compared to the way he or she executes keystrokes, or even combined with the way he or she walks. If some years ago people experienced a sense of fear regarding the use of their biometric data, the reality is that any enterprise wants exactly the opposite. It is, indeed, in their best interest to secure the biometric data of everyone concerned, from employees to consumers. The use of biometrics in the Internet of Things (IoT) is also taken seriously as no organization or company would want to have its consumer trust eroded at various levels as this can trigger a series of negative repercussions at business level.

Decentralized authentication is the solution to secure personal data

To avoid personal data being caught up in mass credentials breach, it is recommended to implement a decentralized authentication system. This means that personal credentials should not be stored on a server for them not to be vulnerable to breaches. A decentralized model is way more trustworthy and businesses are increasingly becoming more conscious about this, ready to make the shift.

In a decentralized model, user data is stored safely on devices and is never stored in a centralized database or transferred over the Internet. When a user’s biometric data is stored on his or her device, all that is transmitted over the Internet is done as a secure token. Pairing public-key cryptography and biometrics provides the highest level of security and usability. The transaction environment is, hence, a trustworthy one. The outcome is definitely a win-win situation for all parties implicated.

Article published in Mobile payment :

 

Image : Shutterstock

The post Mobile payment is being reshaped through decentralized biometric authentication appeared first on ACCEO Tender Retail Blog.

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