For the past two weeks, Visa’s pop-up Innovation Station in Washington, D.C. demonstrated the company’s upcoming technological improvements geared towards greater convenience and security. Most notably, Visa hopes to streamline transactions through the adoption of contact-less payment methods.
The pop-up exhibit functioned as a choreographed tour of a typical consumer’s day. Throughout the tour, attendees could see how consumers will be able to pre-order goods, manage their credit cards, more quickly and efficiently navigate public transportation and ensure more secure payment methods using Visa’s new technology. Although many of these innovations depend on contact-less technology, the company hopes the adoption process will take only three to five years.
London, Milan and Vancouver are leading the way in use of contact-less payment technology, particularly in their transit systems. But this trend has begun to make its way to the United States, with Portland and Chicago taking the first major steps towards implementing contact-less payment technology into the city’s public transportation network. Boston, New York and Miami have shown signs of following suit, Visa representatives told a tour attendee.
Visa believes digital payments are shaping the future of commerce. With this trend comes a greater need for innovation and security. The Innovation Station was an attempt to reflect Visa’s desire to provide maximum customer satisfaction in matters of security. A new app for smartphones and tablets offers various services that allow the individual to cancel, freeze, monitor or request another credit card in addition to receiving customized transaction alerts. An additional security measure involves Visa’s token service allowing customers to make electronic transactions via a token that does not contain credit card information.
The Innovation Station also showcased how biometrics could revolutionize payments. For example, a Visa customer could simply walk through a checkout gate that would automatically register purchased goods and their respective prices. In addition, the customer would only need to verify his or her identity through a biometric scan such as voice recognition or a palm scan. Visa hopes this technology will both streamline the checkout process and enhance personal information security, as biometrics are impossible to replicate. The Visa customer would only have to preregister at a participating store.
To Visa, it’s clear that cash is on its way out, and more and more people are opting to make payments digitally. Having identified this trend, the company intends to lead the way in digital innovation.
Eris Hirsch is an editorial intern at SmartBrief.