Over the past few years, the payments industry has changed. Businesses have made substantial changes to meet customer demands, such as serving customers where they are, whether online or in-store. They must also refine their digital experiences and offerings to exceed consumer expectations while must stay on top of payment industry trends such as buy now, pay later, and more. These are six payment processing trends you should be following:

1. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Tops the Payment Processing Trends

Today’s e-commerce shoppers have grown even more accustomed to buying what they want and when they want it. Also, for large-ticket items like furniture and electronics, consumers are looking for more — online searches for BNPL have grown over 1000 percent in the past five years.

Payment processing trends in e-commerce like BNPL aren’t expected to slow down. BNPL is expected to grow as much as 15 times its current popularity over the next three years. In the United States, this payment processing trend has room to catch up with other countries. Sweden launched BNPL payment methods in 2016 and currently has the largest market share, at 23 percent. Because BNPL typically has no fees or accruing interest, it’s an attractive payment method.

2. Frictionless Payments

Frictionless — even the name of this payment processing trend is intriguing. The pandemic created a unique opportunity to make the shopping experience even less cumbersome, eliminating specific touchpoints within the payment experience. Although it began as a way for shoppers to pay for items without physical contact, this is one of the payment processing trends that isn’t going away. In 2020, frictionless or contactless payments worth nearly $4 trillion were processed, and analysts expect that figure will double by 2024. Google Pay, Apple Pay, and other contactless payment methods are used in-store and online, saving customers time and making purchases more manageable.

3. Social Media Sales

One omnichannel strategy that’s exploded in recent years is social media selling. Offering a product on a social media site allows businesses to capture a sale while the consumers’ purchase intent is still at its peak. Statista found that nearly 30 percent of users on social media discover a product for the first time via a social media ad. Other social channels like Instagram have added the ability to check out from the app without going off-platform. As more social channels add this capability, social selling will continue growing.

Many brands miss the mark when it comes to convenient, tailored experiences. Selling through social channels adds a layer to customer experiences and increases engagement and conversions. Potential customers could be in any of the stages of the buying journey, so it makes sense to meet these potential customers right where they are. One of the many ways you can engage consumers and current customers is through social media. Run a survey — find out visitors’ favorite topics and subjects — and gear your ads toward those topics. For instance, BNPL payment options are most popular with younger generations. With National Merchants Association as your partner, you have a reliable payment processor to help facilitate payments.

To reel in visitors at the ready-to-make-a-purchase stage, consider ads highlighting your products that sell most often and offer the most value. You already know your current customers love these products, making it much easier to convince would-be customers already on a particular social channel.

4. Payments in Real Time

Many people are on tight budgets. They might have enough cash to make a purchase, but it’s stressful waiting for bank transfers to process. Real-time payments are gaining traction; instant processing facilitates money transfers, streamlines checkout, and protects all parties. Employers can pay employees in real-time, doing away from waiting for checks.

5. Voice-Activated Payments

It’s never been easier for customers to shop at their favorite brands. Mobile wallets and digital payments mean purchases are just a click away. But payments are meeting a whole new world of convenience through voice activation.

With tech like Google Nest or Amazon Alexa, listening to music or searching the web became as easy as speaking a request. Now that technology includes shopping. Owners of smart speaker devices say they use the device daily to look up product reviews (28.2 percent), make a shopping list (30.3 percent), or look up new products and services (44.4 percent).

According to Juniper Research, the number of active smart home devices, including smart speakers, will exceed 13 billion by 2025, making voice-activated shopping and payments an exciting space for e-commerce stores. You can use voice activation to offer answers about pricing and features, in addition to sales, and offer a 100 percent seamless, tailored, and friction-free experience.

6. Enhanced Fraud-Fighting Technology

E-commerce continues growing in popularity, along with it the sophistication of fraudulent activities. For example, according to Sift, fraudulent payment attempts increase by nearly 70 percent yearly, making it vital for brands to find ways to boost security measures and maintain trust by fighting fraud. One of the most beneficial technologies in this respect is biometrics. Biometrics systems use fingerprints, facial scans, and other biometric data for consumer identity verification.

Using biometrics offers your customers streamlined shopping experiences while increasing your conversions and reducing cart abandonment. In addition, biometrics means less interruption, secure checkouts, and less time for second-guessing purchases.

E-commerce is everchanging in complexity. The potential is exciting. Sure, payment processing trends will come and go, but one thing remains the same: brands that know, serve, and put their customers first are bound for success.

About National Merchants Association

National Merchants Association is a merchant advocacy group dedicated to reducing the unnecessary fees associated with accepting credit card payments. Since 2004, they have delivered tailored payment processing solutions and best-in-class merchant service and support for all levels of risk. Whether it’s high-risk or low-risk, brick-and-mortar or e-commerce, National Merchants Association will create the best processing experience for your business. For more information, visit legacy.nationalmerchants.com or call (866) 509-7199.