Time to Leave your Wallet Home? Transcendence in Payment Systems!

Time to Leave your Wallet Home? Transcendence in Payment Systems!

Throw back to the 16th century, before paper money was invented, people had to use seashells or gold as a means of payment, as barter was proven inefficient and unrealistic in day-to-day transactions. Yet, every dog has its day- as the world economy grew and technological advancement gradually came in place, the era of paper money and coins set in, for its durability, divisibility, and flexibility in transactions. Nowadays, credit cards and other e-payment systems have become the mainstream, especially in developed countries. Would the transcendence of payment systems simply stop there? We bet it not.

Apple Pay was introduced in Hong Kong a little over 2 weeks ago. Yet it was made available in a lot of Western countries such as the UK and Canada for a while already. What exactly is Apple Pay, or any other mobile payment systems? In short, you pay with your phone. Your credit card details are stored in your phone that you can simply scan it on the machine upon payment. You no longer need to grab your credit card from your messy wallet while bearing the dirty looks of people standing behind you in the huge line. In London, in particular, you could even use your phone to pay for your tube fares, so that you wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of topping up your Oyster Card on a busy Monday morning. Another perk comparing to traditional payment systems is security. For instance, you would need your fingerprint in order to process the payment, while one can easily fake a signature on a credit card.

Fintech developers wouldn’t be satisfied with just a mobile payment system. Real-time payments are another highlight. Peer-to-peer transactions become very handy with real-time transactions. In the past, one would need to go to banks or money transferring agencies such as Western Union in order to transmit money abroad. Even though some banks started providing e-transfer services, they would need charge a high wiring fee. Traditionally, these organizations charge a higher rate in order to protect themselves against exchange rate fluctuations. Near real-time currency exchange services can reduce the risk faced by these agencies, thus lowering operating costs and even allowing customers to buy and sell simultaneously at a predetermined rate. In the context of retail banking, customers can expect a higher rate of payment processing, as real-time is known to be way more efficient than traditional batch production. Customers in the future can expect to conduct cash-less and card-less transactions thanks to real-time payment solutions. Notable examples around the world are the Zengin System in Japan and Paypal in the US.

What’s more? Voice control payment systems could probably become the norm in the future. With the development in computational linguistics and natural language processing techniques, we already experienced a lot of voice-control systems such as your personal Siri and many voice input tools in place of traditional keyboards. Biometric authentication is hoped to be gradually replacing our traditional concept of a “passcode”. SayPay Technologies in the US is one of the growing firms incorporating the idea of biometric authentication with payment systems, enabling customers to perform e-commerce activities and P2P transactions. Sooner or later when you dine out, maybe you can just leave your wallet home- just make sure you bring your voice!

Wilfred Yau is polyglot currently pursuing an Honours Degree at the University of Toronto. He received full scholarships from the University for his undergraduate studies, with a year abroad at University College London. He is doing a Double-Major in both Economics and Linguistics with a Minor in Statistical Science. He is a language enthusiast, with the hobby of picking up different local languages whilst travelling. His research interests for future studies lie in the fields of sociolinguistics and computational linguistics. He is interested in seeing how the development of Natural Language Processing is going to change the global economic and linguistic landscape.