What can we expect from payments technology in the future? We spoke to Will Miao, Head of Online Payments at Paymark, to find out what megatrends are likely to influence our shopping behaviour in 2021 and beyond.

“The pandemic has been an accelerator, with more people shopping online and more businesses setting up ecommerce on their websites,” says Will. “The trends we saw before 2020 increased rapidly last year. We expect to the pandemic to continue driving these same trends into the future.


Trend #1: Payment feels like nothing.

Paying for purchases was once a serious friction point – but it’s becoming a blip on a shopper’s radar.

“Processing a payment is more streamlined than ever,” says Will. “We’ve gone from swipe-and-pin to tap-and-go. The next step is wearables, which will be followed by biometrics. Each step eliminates a little more friction.”


Trend #2: Payment can be everything.

Transactions might feel like nothing, but in the future we can expect payments to encompass everything you need to complete your purchase. In 2020, when you shopped for groceries online you’d need to enter your loyalty card number, prove you were old enough to buy that bottle of wine, and then pay for your items. That could soon all be taken care of in a single step.

“Payments are an information exchange and these are beginning to become a mechanism for carrying out other transactions,” says Will. “There’s going to be a lot more happening at once and the payment will no longer be an isolated step but a vehicle that enables the transfer of sorts of information at the same time.”


Trend #3: Payment will be everywhere.

There was once a time when you had to stop at an ATM to get cash out before you went to an outdoor event – because of course they couldn’t take EFTPOS or a credit card in the middle of a field or concert. These days, a ‘cash only’ sign is a rare site. You can now pay almost anywhere, using almost any device that’s online.

That trend will continue to accelerate, says Will: “Payments are expanding outside their traditional boundaries, especially with the growth of the internet of things. You will be able to order and pay for your milk via your smart fridge!”


Trend #4: The cost of payments will drop.

Expect the price of transactions to come down, says Will, for three reasons. The first is the reducing cost of digital transactions – as digital infrastructures improves, it’s cheaper than ever to pay, receive money, and run an online business.

That leads to the second reason: more competition. As more businesses enter the market, they come up with disruptive solutions which put pressure on the large multinational incumbents.

“Homegrown innovations lead to a more diverse ecosystem, with more ways to pay. More people can participate, merchants can choose between more providers, innovation and quality should go up and prices go down.”

Third, the Government is considering regulating merchant service fees. Whether these fees are regulated or not, the process should trigger positive change in the industry.

“Regulation is one way to keep prices down for merchants, although I think competition is more effective in the long run” says Will. “Increased choice in products and services should lower costs down prices naturally.”


Trend #5: Fraudsters will be more active.

Traditional ‘in person’ crime fell during the pandemic, as people stayed home and stayed apart from one another to avoid the virus. In contrast, cyber crime surged by an estimated 400%. Cyber crime seems likely to keep rising.

“Fraudsters will be more active and increasingly sophisticated,” says Will. “It’s important to ensure your online transactions are safe. We work hard to keep ahead of the fraudsters in order to provide safe and secure platforms to our customers.”

Overall, payments are becoming more accessible for consumers and more affordable for retailers – expect to see these trends gaining momentum during 2021.


If you’re looking for the right digital payments for your business, talk to the team at Paymark. Visit www.paymark.co.nz for more information.