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Last update: September 2021


MPC 2021: ‘Payments After COVID: The Changing Payments Paradigm’

From August 17-19, OpenBack attended the online Mobile Payment Conference (MPC) 2021. MPC is a digital commerce event that gathers innovators in the industry of eCommerce, mobile payments, and fintech for a 3-day period of learning and networking. We had a fantastic time sitting in on different keynotes and other events. OpenBack CEO David Shackleton took part in a panel discussion titled “Payments After COVID: The Changing Payments Paradigm.”

In this discussion, 4 CEOs of different tech companies gave their thoughts on how the COVID pandemic has changed the mobile payments industry, and where they think this paradigm shift is going to lead.

Below are our highlights of the discussion, and a link to the YouTube video so you can watch for yourself.

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MPC 2021: Getting to Know the CEO/Founders on the Panel

The panel opened up with a basic icebreaker session, where the speakers were able to introduce themselves and their platforms. Each had a lot to say about the state of mobile payments and wallets in the post-COVID world, and each were involved in some very exciting changes in the industry.

Eric Allen is the CEO of LISNR, a product that uses ultrasound technologies to drive touchless commerce. Their software creates unique digital signals over audio to transmit data. Their primary focus is on authentification and verification, with data privacy a huge priority.

Chris Brenner is the Founder and CEO of AuthVia, a SaaS platform that takes inspiration from companies like Uber and GrubHub to improve the UX of B2C payment solutions.

Will Graylin is the Founder and CEO of OV Loop, a contactless wallet and end-to-end commerce platform.

OpenBack: Emulating Best-of-Class Apps

David Shackleton had a chance to talk about how OpenBack is enhancing push notification delivery using mobile edge computing. He pointed out how so many digital transactions take place on mobile devices, but in fact consumers are ultimately interacting with them on their lockscreens. OpenBack is attempting to build a better infrastructure to deliver better user experiences overall, whether it comes to eCommerce transactions or any other form of interaction between consumers and brands.

He envisions faster, real-time push notifications, as well as notifications users can interact with. For example, with a single click, they can approve a transaction, file a form, etc. In this, Shackleton hopes to take the performance of best-of-class apps and bring that to the mainstream. He states:

“By operating on-device and on the edge, instead of just sending out these messages from a cloud like you would an email, you get to control the experience more. You get to control the moment of delivery.”

The way to do this is to use contextual, device-side data signals to deliver relevant messages at the right time for the consumer. Ultimately, the mobile engagement industry needs to see massive acceleration before it can surpass the current notification opt-in rates of 10-12%.

Data Privacy and Open Networks

Data privacy was the word of the day, with many of the CEOs talking about privacy and security for consumers being a driving priority. In many cases, these innovators are achieving this through decentralized processes or networks, such as OpenBack’s use of edge computing and OV Loop’s use of blockchain.

Allen further spoke of the challenges of running a contactless payment solution while keeping users safe from data breaches. He observed that breaches tend to occur on the merchant’s side. So the challenge is to minimize points of friction to only what is necessary, and to streamline payment processes. Ultimately, his goal is to have a one-and-done authentication process through his solution, as the more times a user taps their card, validates their details, enters their password, etc., the more chances there are for a security breach.

Next-Gen Mobile Wallets Helping Bridge the Digital Divide

Graylin then spoke about how he hopes universal “super-wallets” and “super-messaging” will enrich UX in the post-COVID era. This is a still-new concept to the West, but in China they use WeChat Pay, which is a super-wallet and super-messenger that covers all users’ bases. In the US, wallets tend to be tied to a device platform, and can only be used for certain online shopping channels, but are not truly universal.

Graylin described our society as being on the verge of transitioning from the Attention Economy, where companies harvest our personal data and monetize it, to what he calls a “Relationship Economy”: where users can leverage our own data to serve ourselves. Our data privacy, security, and convenience are all tied together in this, and it’s with this in mind that OV Loop seeks to make a device/channel-agnostic super-wallet.

How Has COVID Changed the Way Tech Providers Act?

Shackleton pointed out that, with consumers more online than ever – and more savvy about what happens to their data – tech providers have had to up their game to keep thme satisfied. Most consumers understand that there’s a tradeoff when it comes to privacy versus convenience, and they’re willing to share their personal information to an extent in order to keep the services they’re accustomed to.

However, as the younger generation of users – many of whom don’t use email at all – grow up, they’re coming to expect more. And services that allow for breaches and abuse of their users’ data just aren’t going to cut it.

In these privacy-conscious times, when the majority of our lives takes place online, protecting consumers’ personal data should be every company’s top priority. To do this, data should processed on the device, and only collect data that’s necessary to deliver the service users expect. Apple have already cooked this into the iOS stack. And Shackleton foresees that a large part of future guidelines will be about protecting consumers’ data:

“Because it just makes sense: if you don’t collect the data that you don’t need, you’re not exposed should something go wrong, or should the law change or something nefarious happen.”

Ultimately, it’s a balancing act: tech providers need to find that happy medium, where they’re processing data in a way that’s compliant but also provides a great experience on the user’s side.

To see the full discussion, you can view the video embedded below:



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