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Inside WEX

Payment Technology Innovations and Trends from CES 2016

January 22, 2016

Now that the dust has settled from the annual International Consumer Electronics Show, it’s time to look back on some of the new innovations announced and what it means for consumers, businesses, and the world at large.

Although it could be said that Netflix stole the show with its expansion into nearly every country in the world, of the 20,000 new products presented at CES, many will have a profound impact on consumer payments, e-commerce, mobile payments, banking, and more.

Today, we would like to share some of the key takeaways from CES 2016, and the impact these technologies will have on the everyday lives of consumers.

A Move to Defragment, Enhance, and Improve Adoption of Mobile Payments

The major concern in mobile payments is the fragmentation that exists. Whether that’s by operating system (Apple Pay, Android Pay), merchant (Walmart Pay, CurrentC), financial institution, or device (Samsung Pay), not all cards work with all devices, and not all mobile payments platforms work at all merchants.

“There’s a lot of fragmentation, because each company believes they have to own it, but one unified system is really where the market is,” Eric Hsia, a venture adviser, said in November at CEA Innovate. “There has to be a discussion about what the economic splits are to make the experience seamless to the consumer.”

From here, the move is to educate consumers and bridge the generational gap. “People are really scared to have those payments transmitting over their phones because they don’t understand what’s going on behind the scenes,” Andrea Smith, a longtime technology journalist, said at CEA Innovate.

But amid the challenges comes the opportunities for customer loyalty programs, deals, and promotions that will push mobile payments from novel process to second nature for consumers.

Wearables Become Smaller, Smarter, More Payments Focused

From fitness to fashion, the wearables market is becoming less ‘wearable’ in a traditional sense, with sensors being embedded in clothing. One area of focus, according to Discovery, will be Near Field Communications (NFC) chips embedded in attire.

What’s more, Health-conscious consumers will soon be able to use their Atlas, Moov, and Omate wearable devices not just for counting steps, but also for making purchases, according to the Electronic Payments Association. MasterCard announced a partnership with Coin to bring payments to fitness trackers; fitness-tracking devices have enjoyed widespread adoption, and with the added payments incentive, look for even more consumers to jump on the trend.

Buy Groceries by Refrigerator

Before the Internet of Things/Smart Home idea became popular, a common understanding among consumers was “ordering groceries from the refrigerator.” Thanks to Samsung, this idea has become a reality. Announced at CES, the Family Hub Refrigerator will let users order groceries via an app on the refrigerator’s screen.

The service, soon to be rolled out in the New York area, allows users the ability to choose when they want their groceries delivered and see what’s in the refrigerator via smartphone app thanks to three cameras inside the refrigerator.

What’s more, the fridge will be able to send and receive messages, browse recipes, share calendars, display photos, link with Amazon Echo, play music, and much more. Tom’s Guide offers a hands-on video of the new fridge, as well as a complete write-up on the features.

Other Products and Announcements from CES

With over 20,000 new products announced at CES ranging from bizarre to much-needed, read more about other upcoming changes that consumers can expect in payment technology, ecommerce, and more:
• The Wocket Smart Wallet got an update, now with NFC and WiMag technology, according to NXT-ID, Inc.
• Chinese E-Commerce giant Alibaba announced that it will be hosting its own consumer electronics event, teaming up with German group Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFB) to organize the “Consumer Electronics China” trade show, which will run from April 20 to 22.
• Ledger Wallet showcases Bitcoin storage and access platform, but many Bitcoin startups did sit out of the 2016 event.
Digital Money Forum at CES highlighted some of the top trends in e-wallets, chip-embedded credit cards, digital currency systems, digital transaction services, biometric identification, E-commerce policy and legislation, and the current and future state of retail etc.
• Ecommerce and mobile payment platforms were on display at the first annual E-Commerce Marketplace.
uQontrol demonstrates the Qkey, a security-focused ecommerce device inserted into a computer’s USB port for an internet experience that provides multiple security layers and a private shopping browser.

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