Digital payments are now ubiquitous in daily life, usurping physical cash and cheques. They are making their way into countless aspects of business and consumer transactions, making payments simpler, quicker and more convenient.
There are countless ways in which digital payments are changing how people do things around the world. We’ve brought together some of the most unusual cases to show exactly what can be achieved.
Street hawker payments
As part of Singapore’s efforts to bring digital payments to parts of the economy where physical cash still dominates, a unified e-payment system for small food businesses has been developed for canteens, coffee shops and hawker centres (open-air complexes containing cooked-food stalls).
The system will be operated by payments services company NETS and will cover 12,000 individual stalls, eliminating the need for multiple terminals or QR codes for stall holders. By August 2019, customers will be able to use 20 different e-payment options, including NETS FlashPay, WeChat Pay, Singtel Dash and GrabPay.
NETS will also reconcile accounts and accommodate the entire range of payment schemes on its master network, addressing most of the obstacles cited by hawkers in switching to cashless payments.
An initiative to allow people who do not carry coins and change to give donations to homeless people via online payments is being trialled in Oxford as part of the Greater Change scheme backed by Oxford University.
Homeless people taking part in the scheme wear QR codes around their necks, which are linked to an online profile of the person it belongs to. These QR codes enable money to be transferred to the person by scanning the code with a phone and making a digital payment.
The initiative aims to support the poorest people by helping them off the street and into employment and accommodation with the money they individually raise.
Innovative retail services
Swedish payments startup Klarna has partnered with H&M to build an omnichannel payments service spanning the clothing retailer’s physical and online storefronts.
The deal covers ‘frictionless’ in-store, mobile and online payments across the company’s whole footprint, a better delivery and return process, and more flexible payment options, including ‘try before you buy’ pay later services, to be delivered through H&M’s app and its loyalty programme.
The service will be rolled out initially in H&M’s home market of Sweden before expanding into other markets.
A new cryptocurrency payment service called TTC Pay allows users to pay with cryptocurrency at both online and offline merchants.
The service is designed to provide a safe and simple payment experience similar to the likes of Paypal and Apple Pay. There is also a QR code payment option to expand usability to offline merchants.
TTC Pay has already secured more than 30 million users but any merchant can accept TTC as a payment option, simply by integrating the SDK into their website or mobile app.
Cards for the unbanked
Mastercard has partnered with Singapore-based ride-hailing company Grab to issue prepaid cards to consumers who may not qualify for traditional credit cards due to the fact that they don’t have a bank account.
The stored-value cards can be topped up using cash at any of the three million merchant outlets in Southeast Asia that accept Mastercard. The aim us to issue virtual and physical prepaid cards in the first half of 2019, starting in Singapore and the Philippines.
Business expenses for non-permanent staff
American Express Go is a new digital tool to help mid-sized and large companies efficiently handle business expenses for temporary workers, recruits and employees without corporate cards.
The system features a virtual card that can be used online or over the phone, and has the option for the virtual numbers to be printed on plastic cards for in-person payments.
American Express Go also offers a way for freelancers and project-based workers to make business purchases with company funds using a mobile device, removing the need to pay first and wait for reimbursement.