Beyond card transactions
But going contactless is only the beginning, says Alan. “Buyer journeys can now also be triggered from a host of technologies, from QR codes, NFC tags, web addresses and even links sent via text, email or a social platform. These solutions not only cater to the new environment, but also enable better customer service by opening up options such as line-skipping, kerbside pick-up and direct delivery."
Nor are startups the only financial services firms offering digital services. Banks across the spectrum now have a wealth of options for taking payments. Business owners can opt to bypass merchant services entirely with pay by bank apps, for example. The Open Banking infrastructure allows customers to be redirected from the company’s checkout page to their own bank account provider, where they login as normal and make their payment.
The advantage, for both the seller and the buyer, is that the transaction is instantaneous. From the customer’s point of view, there’s no pending transaction that may trip them up before payday. And the company gets paid immediately, without waiting on the card transaction reconciliation.
This type of finer control over payments and cash flow is at the heart of many digital solutions. Virtual bank accounts, for example, are essentially sub-accounts of a business’ main current account. In the simplest terms, these allow the business to have additional virtual buckets for money without the complexity of reporting on and reconciling funds from a large number of physical accounts. This simplifies accounting and banking relationships, increases cost efficiencies and gives clear oversight of the company’s money for cash flow management.
Instantaneous banking means that domestic or cross-border payments can be made in real-time, so payments don’t need to be planned days in advance and businesses can hold on to their cash a bit longer, or defer decisions to the last minute.