NCR's president points to mobile payments opportunities with AI, iMessage
NCR, the company most known for making cash registers and automated teller machines, aims to be a leader in mobile payments, according to Forbes. Its earnings growth has helped to boost the stock by 36% in the past 12 months, compared with a 9.9% gain for the S&P 500 stock index.
Mark Benjamin, president and chief operating officer of NCR recently discussed recent developments in mobile payments with Forbes magazine, including that Apple’s plans to add person-to-person payments to iMessage, a feature announced at the iPhone maker’s developer conference in June, will spur mobile payment growth and that AI is a "huge area of opportunity."
Mobile technology will give consumers greater flexibility with grab-and-go shopping from retailers, in-aisle self scanning, self-checkout at clothing stores and pre-staged ATM transactions, among other developments, per Benjamin.
While U.S. consumers generally say they like the idea of being able to make secure payments in a store with a simple tap or swipe of a smartphone or other device, mobile payment adoption has stalled. Less than 5% of smartphone users say they actually make purchases on an app, according to a study PYMNTS, an online publication that covers payment technology.
In this light, Benjamin's interview with Forbes offers some interesting insight into some of the potential areas of growth for mobile payments. Putting P2P payments in iMessage could introduce more consumers to using their phone for payments, which Apple could then capitalize on by encouraging to users to trial Apple Pay. Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, is the incumbent leader in P2P payments and continues to grow the volume of transactions it processes.
The uses for AI outlined by Benjamin point to the technology's growing prevalence. NCR currently offers chatbots and Alexa apps. It is also building intelligent systems to transform data into insight. For example, an AI-dirven restaurant manager solution offers real-time performance metrics and alerts. Benjamin predicts such solutions will evolve across all industries.
NCR’s Benjamin also has compelling insights into the evolution of mobile payments, including that contactless payments are working well in Europe and Australia, while the U.S. has been slow to adopt mobile transactions. But U.S. financial regulators and government policymakers are pushing for quicker development of payment systems, he said. WeChat and Alipay in China are also much further ahead, per the exec. The New York Times confirmed his analysis of WeChat and Alipay with a report that says cash is rapidly becoming obsolete in urban areas of China.
Another PYMNTS study found that more than 80% of Americans have a strong interest in using connected devices to make purchases while still showing concern about data security. The newer findings demonstrate consumers still place a high value on trust and security when it comes to making mobile purchases. More than 75% of respondents cited “data privacy” as a top concern, while 69% cited “order verification and accuracy” as key issues. Respondents place a greater trust in banks and networks to enable payment through connected devices than they do individual retailers. More than 65% of people said they trust card issuers and bank card networks most to handle mobile payments, far ahead of retail channels, social networks and mobile device manufacturers.