Getting a Gauge on Payment App Season
Dear Mark, this is a 100% true story (and a solid ‘Ranting’ to boot). As you know, I just returned from a lovely and relaxing vacation (or as our European colleagues call it, holiday). And as I got into my car this morning—for the first time in more than a week—I realized the gas tank was near-empty and that my low-tire indicator light was on… and I needed to get my daughter to camp en route to coming into the office.
You’d think this a minor inconvenience, right? Well…
I drove to my nearest and most favorite petrol station, where I utilize their app to save on gas!! And wouldn’t you know it, they were recovering from a power outage. So, onto the next closest and second-most favorite petrol station, which has the same fuel-saving app. Before I went to the pump, I had to fill up the tires. The tire thingy device only accepts quarters and credit cards. I had an Alexander Hamilton in my wallet and didn’t wanna use my credit card, on account of all of the scary skimming stories at gas stations that we’ve seen and/or read. I walked into the petrol convenience store, a lovely store, I might add, although the queue was 10 people deep and I lacked the luxury of time. I threw caution to the wind and paid for the air with my credit card.
Now before you go bananas about paying for air or commenting on skimming, I encountered further issues. There was a landscaping crew leaf blowing near the tire thingy device and the air compressor reader was partially blocked. I know I’m rambling a bit, but I needed my daughter to tell me when the air pressure was at the correct levels because the device sound/beep was overpowered by the leaf blower and because I couldn’t see the levels on the device. I was halfway through the first tire when a bee flew into the car, freaking out my daughter, who literally jumped out like she was being chased by a bear. Tire filling became futile. But I digress slightly, because it got me to thinking about apps (and not of the delicious ‘chicken finger’ variety, but rather of the ‘paying for chicken finger or air or anything else’ variety).
Dan Ring: So let’s talk about killer (or useful) apps for the fall/winter/2018 season.
Mark Ranta: Dan, not sure what or where your story was heading but there’s A LOT in there (also I am happy to hear you did not have any Petrol station sushi!) But apps, payments and the all-important Consumer Experience—how about we start there.
I find it interesting that you note the great gas app you have on your mobile, but what does it say about the brand in question that you can only use it at the pump?!? The designer of the app clearly isn’t thinking about your love of roadside tube steaks, or the aforementioned “peripheral” services like Air Supply (not the 80s band) or the vacuum stand with those tiny pine tree shaped air fresheners. The complete experience clearly wasn’t considered.
BUT the fact that you have a gas saving or rewards app shows me how far we have come in this discussion, and even more impressive is your new-found fear of random credit card swipes not asking for chip/PIN/signature/other. Bravo!
So onto the app discussion. The killer payment apps to keep your eyes on:
- My first choice is something of a cop out… actually, it’s a total cop out. But Starbucks still holds the top spot in my heart for payments and loyalty. I am personally a “Dunk’s” drinker and think they have done wonderful things in this space (and get you to the “free” quicker when all is said and done), but there is no comparing to the reach of the Starbucks app.
- For my second and third choices, I want to stay a bit more generic in description, because there are a lot of moving pieces and I honestly can’t say WHO the provider will be. But I can state the genres we are looking at;
- The first is the “merchant pay” app. I think there are some great examples already in the market, but for the most part, they have been in tinkering mode. They are testing in a relatively unannounced way, so they can figure out what works, what doesn’t, and how to integrate the full experience – spanning the in-store versus mComm discussion. For me, there is A LOT at play, especially given some of the aggressive growth from the eComm giant(s) out there.
- The second is the “bank pay” app. I think this will likely take off as the rollout and uptake of Zelle takes off… oddly enough you could use that animal comparison to say this is the herd of predators following the fast-moving animal leading the charge; as Zelle goes, so too will the bank pay app (in the US at least)!
- My fourth and final one is the “Hardware/Software Pay” apps. I have said this before and I will say it again, I am in the group of folks awed by how quickly mobile payments has taken off. We are sitting on the third anniversary of the Apple Pay launch and look at how widely it is used! Are we at total market penetration? Of course not, but it’s only been three years! How many years did it take for the Credit Card to get to the saturation we are seeing now in the mobile payments space? I am honestly asking… I have no idea what that penetration curve looked/looks like…!!
Now to the bigger question? How much weight did you gain on vacation?
DR: Let’s just say my favorite linen shorts are a little tighter… and it ain’t because they shrank in the wash!
Related Blog Posts
Payments in Gaming: The Female Gamer Powers-Up
The global games market is booming, with revenues set to reach USD $137.9 billion by 2021. But along with the growth, gaming is also transforming and diversifying; in genre, gaming devices, platforms, economics and demographics. Notably, female gamers are ‘powering up’ – representing 40% of paying gamers across all platforms – and there are implications for how gaming companies deliver their products and the role of payments in the overall customer experience.
Mid-Year Payments Reflections… And What 2018 Has Left Up Its Sleeve
It has been a while since I had a chance to my thoughts, nee, reflections. My all-time favorite movie reminds us all that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” And with this advice in mind, I want to share my thoughts on the ‘Big 3’ of 2018 so far… and prep us all on what to look for as the calendar churns through its last six pages.
Could Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Revolutionize Payments in the Gaming Sector? [Q&A]
ACI recently partnered with Nextpayway, a company offering a specialist payment solution for the gaming industry. The Israeli start-up is implementing ACI’s UP eCommerce Payments solution to deliver next-generation payments and fraud prevention. We spoke with Nextpayway’s CEO Angela Behar just after the GES World Gaming Summit in Barcelona.
Hat in Hand with 17 Heads: Payments Innovation and the Fraud Pitfalls to Avoid
Imagine that you live in a world that is revenue-agnostic, where payments revenue is so far decoupled from the payments channels that they ride on, and that startup culture and venture capital allow for the creation of all sorts of innovations that have some creative monetization that keep the train on the tracks. If you got halfway through that horrific sentence and realized we’ve been there for quite a while already, I’m impressed. It is essentially the cornerstone of banking, in many capacities.
Time is Money: A Millennial View of UK Faster Payments’ 10th Anniversary
As a millennial, I’ve often been the butt of jokes of those a little bit older than I am (whether colleagues or my own family). One of the clichés perpetuated is that we are constantly glued to our smartphones: In a way that’s correct, but misses an important point. As a young millennial professional, the most important thing to me is TIME. And that’s the reason my phone plays a crucial role in my life – much to the annoyance of my girlfriend and family. It means I can do things on the move, which in turn makes my life a whole lot easier.
Pints, Penalties and Payment Fraud: Welcome to the World Cup
You’d think that England already had the World Cup in the bag, based on the nationwide scenes of jubilation after the Three Lions’ penalty-takers had gone against the (painful) grain of football history, and emerged victorious at the end of a scrappy match against Colombia. However, those cries of “It’s Coming Home” from English football fans may just be a little premature, given that there are still three matches to play (and win) before the English can lay claim to being world champions for the first time in half a century.
Success Speaks: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Talks Meeting Member Demands in Healthcare
When looking for a payments success story in the world of healthcare, you’d be wise to turn your attention to the Great Lakes and the work done by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBS MI). In a recent webinar with AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) and ACI, Faran Farooqi, Strategic Capability Implementation and Operations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, shared his insights into how his organization addressed the challenges of today to deliver a great payments experience for their members.
Innovate and Integrate to Accumulate: Investing in Payments Systems to Drive Growth
Today’s merchants face numerous challenges, which boil down to one central issue: how to succeed in a constantly changing, complex market, while also investing for the future.
Merchants need to deliver on growing expectations around the customer experience in an increasingly competitive environment, while battling growing costs and squeezed margins. This pressure extends through the whole business for every merchant, in every sector, and it’s driving merchants to look into every corner of their operations for ways to cut costs and redirect resources.
Taking Payments and Fintech for Granted? (A Lyrical Edition)
Based on a very quick search of the Googles, there are 128,014 songs that contain the lyrics “take for granted”— from the likes of Mary J. Blige, Social Distortion, Madness and Frank Sinatra as well as countless other great (and not-so-great) crooners. And that would make for a sizable Spotify playlist… and I do love my Spotify playlists (I’ve been on a Wham! kick lately).
Instant + Open Payments = A Winning Combination
I recently joined a panel discussion at EBAday 2018, alongside representatives from across the payments ecosystem, and the clear consensus was that real-time payments will be the new normal. This was evidenced by some of the interactive polls carried out.