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Posted January 30, 2020 by FreedomPay

What Does the Future Hold for Self-Service Kiosks?

Kiosks can be used in more places and do much more than ever before – from fast food ordering in restaurants (e.g. McDonald’s) to integrated transport and entertainment ticketing.

Devices are now more robust and resilient and, as a result, are popping up in more locations. Kiosks are now being developed as hyper-efficient, with low energy requirements and instant sleep/wake up modes, some even offer solar-powered options that allow them to operate off-grid.

Kiosks come in all shapes and size too, with a whole raft of integrated features and functionality including touch screens, full-color displays, multimedia, voice activation and more. The one common capability they share, however, is that they can accept payment whether it be by card, contactless, and even by mobile.

Technology is reimagining unattended payments

Kiosks will have to work harder to deliver what modern retailers need (new revenue opportunity) and what consumers want (even more convenience). Luckily the technology needed to facilitate this is already here.

We now have internet-enabled kiosks, supported by managed platforms and run from integrated connected gateways, using cloud-based services. These are opening new opportunities and functionality for kiosks. Here’s a taster of what’s in store:

• Tokenization will play a star role

Kiosk owners need ways of letting customers feel in control of their experience but still being able to ‘connect’ with them. Increasingly, tokens will be used to customize the consumer’s journey and encourage uplift in sales by pushing real-time promotions and loyalty incentives.

• Kiosks will power cross-brand/location marketing

By using payment gateways to pick up tokens, retailers will be able to follow consumers outside their own channels and across multiple-brand journeys, creating ‘bundled’ experiences. For instance, a car park ticketing machine could alert nearby retailers and restaurants when a visitor arrives so that they can send an automated email, text or proximity alert for local offers and promotions to their mobile phone.

• Connected platforms will deliver hybrid virtual/physical services

Self-service installations will increasingly be used to straddle digital and physical worlds and provide hybrid services. Internet connectivity and touch screens allow users to browse inventory as well as order, pay, and redeem available rewards. Add-on devices and AI could be used to enhance the consumer’s experience, for instance, virtual mirrors for fashion and cosmetics.

• Smart kiosks will respond to real-time shopping patterns

Connected installations mean that data, software, and updates can be delivered to kiosks remotely, enabling retailers to be more in control and responsive to customer needs. With insights from kiosk-generated real-time reports, retailers can customize services remotely by switching functionality on and off and adding new features to reflect local trends, seasonal patterns, special events, etc.

• New self-serve ecosystems will embrace third party content and apps

There’s a real opportunity for kiosks to deliver multi-brand services making them important new revenue streams for their owners. Third-party content and advertising can already be enabled by platforms such as FreedomPay’s DecisionPoint Network (DPN). With new commerce platforms, providing separate environments for coding, testing and experimenting with external apps, we could soon see kiosks enriched with customer-facing services – e.g. concierge, curators, maps and travel guides.

Thanks to new platforms and technologies, it’s clear that kiosks now have the potential to become an integral part of the omnichannel sales experience and an important gateway to the new collaborative digital service ecosystem of the future.

 

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Posted January 24, 2020 by FreedomPay

Navigating the Payment Gateway Ecosystem

We live in an open world – open for choice, collaboration, and opportunity. Being open involves connecting and networking in new ways and in the context of the retail environment, that means building and growing new ecosystems.

While most are familiar with the ecosystems that already exist between retailers, acquirers, and banks, a new set of digital and cloud-based ecosystems continue to emerge that delivers a plethora of next-generation, value-added services straight to the point of sale (POS) or online checkout. At the heart of this is the commerce and payment gateways that act as central hubs, linking the various data flows and platforms within expanding retail ecosystems.

It’s time to rethink gateways.

The concept of the commerce gateway as a doorway to an exciting ‘plug and play’ service playground is still new to many retailers. To help them navigate their way through the complexity, we’ve put together a quick guide to help them understand the changing role of the payment gateway in facilitating these new ecosystems:

 

  • Expanding portfolio of APIs and Toolkits

Gateways now offer powerful APIs that allow merchants to connect with thousands of third party scripts and shopping carts while also aiding the development of new applications through toolkits and plug-ins, developer portals and sandpits. With these added APIs, retailers can create their own subscription services, on-demand marketplaces, or even crowdfunding platforms using a range of development languages, including Ruby, Python, PHP, and Java. Some gateways will also support hundreds of currencies and offer features such as mobile payments, subscription billing, and one-click checkout.

 

  • Fast to market plug-and-play marketplaces

Payment gateways are increasingly offering access to their own pre-built app marketplaces – packed with third party offerings that can be used to enrich retailers’ checkouts – from loyalty gamification and e-charity donations to bill splitting and currency conversion. These can dramatically reduce the time to market of launching new POS services, allowing merchants to browse, choose and deploy apps instantly, or remove them, as consumer and market needs dictate. In this way, they can try-out, evaluate and opt for the best service apps for their audiences without committing to long-term lock-in.

 

  • Secure access and sharing

Modern commerce platforms can separate out payment transactions from service platforms, to ensure that sensitive payment data is never compromised within the ecosystem. Equally important is their ability to deliver multiple user support and logins so that service teams and other business functions (including accounts and compliance) can access reports and specifically authorized features. It goes without saying that these also ensure a visible audit trail that links specific actions to authorized users. In addition, gateways can also provide custom security settings as well as anti-fraud capabilities to ensure that the transaction path is secure at all times, protecting against fines, fees, and chargebacks.

 

  • Tracking complex customer journeys

To aid targeting, personalization and more effective loyalty incentives, offers and promotions, it makes sense to be able to track customers and their journeys across retail ecosystems – between brands, channels, and locations. The gateway can aid this using tokenization, to ‘follow’ the customer through various journeys by allowing payment methods to be linked to transaction activity. Through data anonymization, information such as what, when, where, and how purchases and interactions were made can be shared across functions and brands within the ecosystem, without compromising sensitive cardholder or payment data.

 

  • Relationships must be reengineered, too

From Alibaba and Amazon, the development of the retail marketplace as an aggregated website is reshaping the global definition of the retailer and the sales ecosystem. Brands are now squeezing their way in between retailers and their customers, particularly in new e-marketplaces inclusive of review sites and comparison sites, payment providers, loyalty apps, returns companies, influencers, and social media.

 

Retailers can’t afford to wait for the customer to be ready to purchase their product, they need to get closer to them before they decide to buy. Owning or running a commerce gateway allows retailers to build their own ecosystems that put customers’ desires and needs first by enabling them to find new ways to interact (content marketing, geolocation and push services) and to personalize experiences.

Check out our blogs on DPN, tokenization and business intelligence for more ideas on how to fast-track to success!

 

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Posted January 22, 2020 by FreedomPay

Top 5 Challenges Facing Retail CTOs in 2020

Retailers are embracing a range of disruptive technologies that are set to fundamentally change the way they interact with and service their customers.

But what does this mean for the executives running the operations behind the scenes?  How are they coping with the pace of change and what are the challenges that will impact their IT strategies in the months ahead?

As we continue working closely with CTOs in leading retail and hospitality brands, we’ve put together some of the topline issues they’ll be wrestling with in 2020:

Legacy management and smashing silos

Mobile, cloud services, big data, analytics, and social media rank highest among the technologies that CTOs see as transforming retail from the way we know it. Yet for many, leveraging these trends is a tricky proposition. How best to maintain availability while adding functionality to existing legacy systems (which may already be creaking at the seams) impacts many of their waking decisions. (Read our Welcome to Hospitality 2020+ white paper here).

In 2020, they’ll continue to seek solutions that help them surround and expand their existing assets using Open APIs and toolkits to integrate wherever they can. They’ll also be looking to free up data flows, connecting business functions in order to break down data silos (e.g. CRM, ERP, Web analytics) and deliver a 360 view of the customer to decision-makers and planners.

Optimizing resources and changing cultures

In too many cases, retail and hospitality IT agendas are hampered by a lack of key resources and business alignment – skills, people, budget, infrastructure.

The focus is often on fueling functional cost savings rather than driving business growth and sourcing innovation. Retail CTOs will need to get out of the back office and lead the innovation agenda if they want to secure the resources they need the dynamic new world of retail.

CTOs must focus their teams on innovating and differentiating the customer experience. Cloud solutions and integrated com

merce platforms will be a major enabler of retail transformation, allowing CTOs to more effectively leverage commodity technology and processes while dedicating valuable internal resources to driving deeper business and customer engagement.

 

 

Building better customer UX (without blowing the budget)

As everyone involved in innovation knows, it’s often the invisible assets that are hardest to deliver. There’s now more pressure than ever on CTOs to enable marketing and acquisition teams to attract and engage consumers – either through faster, responsive and more personalized online interactions, or by helping to create more exciting and inspiring experiences in store at the point of sale (POS). CTOs are being positioned to deliver bigger, better, faster, cheaper platforms – and with less liability too.

Protecting data and reputation

Fraud is the challenge that never goes away. The more channels, payment types, and services a retailer offers, the harder CTOs must work to ensure that payment and data chains are locked down.  Retail Fraud is running at 30%, with merchants now paying $3 for every dollar lost. Faced with chargebacks, fines, and loss of reputation, the heat is on for CTOs to keep their business, management teams and customers better protected.

It’s not just about implementing more fraud prevention solutions, CTOs must select the right combination and layering of core, identity and fraud transaction solutions to defend against increasingly sophisticated threats. To ease the burden, ever more CTOs will choose to outsource risk, investing in payments as a service (SaaS) platforms to shift liability onto their provider and remove their own infrastructure from scope.

Dealing with compliance and ‘the domino effect’

Managing data comes with a minefield of rules including those that can be state-based (e.g. California’s AB375 consumer privacy act), international (e.g. GDPR data protection regulations), payment-related (e.g. PCI DSS), or for anti-fraud (PSD2’s Secure Customer Authentication (SCA). Additionally, these legislations don’t include POS certifications and card issuer mandates that are required to avoid fees and chargebacks.

So much regulatory change creates a domino effect that triggers time and effort –  keeping legacy systems and processes up to date, continuous auditing, reporting, and training – has become a major burden for tech-heavy retailers. Finding new ways to reduce risk and ease the burden, through cloud-outsourcing, payment gateways, encryption, and tokenization is becoming a strategic imperative for CTOs. Even the smallest businesses are now investing in security and compliance specialists to help support them.

Of course, these challenges are just the tip of the iceberg for retail CTOs.  According to Gartner, in 2019, retailers’ investment in technology is expected to grow 3.6%, hitting $203.6 billion over the course of the year. In 2020, much of the focus for CTOs will be in bedding in new assets and systems and ensuring they deliver a positive return on investment (which will mean even more scrutiny by their boards).

With as much change in front as behind them, there’s a long road ahead, but with the right technology and payments partners, they can spread the effort and lighten the load.

 

 

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Posted January 20, 2020 by FreedomPay

Top 5 Payment Security Trends in 2020

Fraud is on the rise. With deep pockets and creative minds, fraudsters and cybercriminals are becoming increasingly organized, sophisticated, and focused on the low hanging fruit that exists within the retail space.

The security playbook has widened, and now includes EMV, PCI DSS, and point-to-point encryption (P2PE), with new regulations such as PSD2’S SCA tightening up vulnerabilities. In addition, robust anti-fraud solutions are now part of most card acceptance POS and payment gateways.

As the data protection battle continues, there are some strong security patterns emerging:

• CNP payment fraud will continue to rise and fraudsters will get increasingly sophisticated

Squeezed out of the traditional payment chain, criminals are increasingly targeting remote Customer Not Present (CNP) transactions where shoppers’ data is especially vulnerable.
According to Juniper Research, online payment fraud will top $22 billion this year—and could reach $48 billion by 2023. Fraudulent attacks are becoming more sophisticated using tactics such as phishing, ID theft, pagejacking, wire scams, and merchant ID fraud. In 2020, watch out for ‘imposter bots’ that exploit the growth of AI-driven chatbots for online customer support to draw out payment details and other sensitive information from established retail websites.

• Tokenization will become more widespread as merchants seek to secure the payment chain while delivering more personalized and connected services (including IoT)

Tokenization replaces sensitive payment data with a randomly generated token that lets their transaction be tracked and their ‘footprint’ remembered making it ideal for CRM, loyalty and personalized promotions. The merchant does not touch, or store payment data and fraudsters can’t reverse the token to access account details. By 2020 it’s expected that there will be 20 billion IoT devices, a proportion of these will no doubt facilitate transactions too, creating a whole new window of opportunity for fraudsters. Tokens can be used across all channels and can even facilitate transactions between devices in IoT environments.

 

 

• New forms of authentication will emerge fueled by PSD2’s SCA requirement which comes into effect in 2019 (EU) and 2020 (UK)

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will soon become essential for retailers in order to ensure compliance with PSD2. Each transaction will require two different types of authentication taken from three criteria (something you own, something you know and something unique to you). With a physical card and a PIN, EMV already meets the criteria. However, for CNP and online transactions, it’s not so easy, with extra passwords and registrations increasing friction and possibly dropped sales at the checkout. To prevent this, merchants may turn to ‘customer-familiar’ smartphones and biometrics to ease the process. They will be supported by the likes of MasterCard, who are already championing biometric authentication.

• Anti-fraud solutions will deliver better security decisions with less friction for legitimate buyers

Advanced, risk-based decision-making for e-commerce will help to reduce CNP fraud using updated standards from EMV 3D-Secure. Examining 10 times more risk factors than before to help decide whether step-up authentication is required. In addition, companies that facilitate digital payments will likely layer 3D-Secure with other advanced analytics technologies like artificial intelligence, to help analyze for fraud. Across retail, self-learning neural models will be used to automatically spot patterns much more swiftly. They will also enable closer rules setting and customization – essential for peak periods such as Black Friday – to minimize false declines and reduce the incidence of chargebacks.

• Merchants will have to tighten up their processes – whether mandated or not

It’s not possible for technology alone to fully eliminate retail fraud, especially for online stores. Like all hi-tech environments, people, and processes are often the source of inadvertent breaches. Retailers will have to continually update network security systems including firewalls and antivirus software, train staff and maintain audits to keep their defences high and information safe. Expect to see more security specialists employed full-time, even within smaller merchant organizations.

• Security will become a core differentiator for selecting a payment service provider

Businesses will be more proactive in their cybersecurity strategies when it comes to protecting the consumer. As senior execs and boards are increasingly held accountable, security is moving beyond a simple compliance tick-box towards a real corporate imperative supported by organisational wide procedural frameworks. Reflecting on this, security will become a critical differentiator ahead of reliability and costs for merchants seeking payment partners and providers.

While there are a plethora of security add-ons and antifraud software available, merchants shouldn’t forget the basics. This includes maintaining awareness of the latest fraud regulation and ensuring systems (and those of providers) are verified and compliant with all the latest standards; specifying PCI point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization for all payment platforms.

With GDPR necessitating clear policies for storing and handling ‘all’ customer data and the reporting of data breaches, retailers must make sure the right processes and training are in place to support these too.

If in doubt, payment partners such as FreedomPay, are often first to spot new security trends and can provide practical support and guidance to help keep businesses and their customers safe.

 

 

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Posted January 15, 2020 by FreedomPay

Giving Gen Z and Millennials More at the Point of Sale

Consumers in the U.S are growing increasingly frustrated at the slow progress that has been made in addressing the acceleration of technology at the point of sale. Whether it be unclear or inconsistent messaging (e.g., contactless), disjointed back-end systems, rapidly evolving and expanding payment options, or a continued lack of properly implemented payment security solutions – consumers do not appreciate, and will not remain loyal to, ‘the friction.’  A void quickly being filled by the Amazon(s) of the world, who can provide a complete end-to-end ecosystem of capabilities with a frictionless consumer experience, this poses an existential commercial problem for other businesses.

No matter the size of merchant, the challenge to serve the tech savvy consumer is becoming increasing complex.  Demand for more innovative user experiences, seamlessly integrated back-end systems, and easier and faster ways to pay for goods and services is a daily challenge, continually increasing the level of system disparity and fragmentation.  This means that the biggest issue facing merchants is how they upgrade and sync complex legacy payment tech systems to stay relevant and ahead of the competition.  In other words, businesses must futureproof their payment technology to enable growth.

FreedomPay is leading the debate on this new world of data driven customer-centric commerce and for the hundreds of companies who work with us, it’s about overcoming the payment data and digital infrastructure challenges. Those who’ve tackled this successfully know they will deliver growth in 2020 and beyond.

That said, thousands of businesses still need help with their payment options, legacy technology and internal data. This new research uncovers and quantifies the significant impact technology is having at the point of sale both for the merchant and the customer and the disparate behaviors when buying goods and services.

Our research has found that security remains a key concern when considering new technology payments and methods. And yet, there is no doubt that the adoption of new technology, if implemented correctly, will reduce risk and compliance issues.

The use of contactless and mobile wallets in North America will accelerate. Just look at what’s happening in other parts of the world such as Europe and so, we believe the time is now right for change. Businesses will thrive when they focus on the customer and deliver a truly holistic approach to payments.

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