According to British Retail Consortium, over half of all purchases in Britain are made by using credit cards. The recent announcement of PSI-Pay and its affiliate, Kerv Wearables, could mean that cashless payments will increasingly dominate the market. The two companies, championing cashless payments, have combined their efforts to release the first contactless payment ring to the international market.
Say goodbye to digging in your wallet for spare cash or punching in a PIN number. With a growing number of stores in the UK and worldwide, contactless payments are the fastest way to check out with a device that’s already on your hand.
In the UK, coins and notes have been overtaken over by cards for the first time in history. Now, Kerv’s contactless payment ring, the first of its kind, is poised to threaten traditional transactions. Contactless payments, commonly known as the “wave and pay” revolution, have been on the market for over 10 years and now account for a third of all payments made in the UK as of 2015.
Even the Church of England is jumping on the trend, piloting electronic collection terminals in forty churches to collect donations. Could this be the beginning of the end of cash entirely? PSI-Pay says this revolution of easy-to-use payments will eventually surpass cash use.
What is Contactless Payment?
Contactless payment uses credit, debit or smartcards as a form of payment for goods and services. PSI-Pay is a company that offers this system. Kerv, an affiliate of PSI-Pay, does it with its proprietary ring. Designed for both comfort and durability, Kerv rings come in twelve different sizes, fashioned for both genders, and are made to withstand water damage and scratches.
The two companies have now combined their forces to launch this ring into the global market. Contactless payments are made secure by the use of NFC- near-field communication- or RFID technology. In order to make a contactless payment, a consumer only needs to tap his card or ring to a point-of-sale terminal.
However, transactions that contactless technology can process are limited to protect consumers from unauthorized payments; the process does not require a PIN or a signature. The maximum amount of one transaction varies from bank to bank and differs by county. In the UK a ring’s payment capacity is capped at thirty pounds. In the case of Kerv’s product, each ring account is linked to a card for larger purchases and for phone or online expenditures.
Aside from PSI-Pay, Kerv and EcoPayz, the market encompasses Google Wallet, Android Pay and Apple Pay as other options contactless payments. The UK Cards Association reported last year that over 108 million contactless cards have been issued in the UK and nearly half a million bank-owned terminals available for these cardholders to make transactions. The average transaction made with these burgeoning technologies was around £9.40- most popularly used at but not limited to coffee shops, sandwich chains and public transport for consumers on the go.
When it comes to contactless payment, PSI-Pay is leading the way. The contactless payment service provider, PSI-Pay, is one of the Fintech companies, regulated by the British government’s Financial Conduct Authority. The firm provides payment card conveniences and digital accounts to consumers both in the UK and around the world. PSI-Pay has recently partnered with Kerv, another leading innovator in the industry of alternative payments. Kerv’s most popular product is its contactless payment ring.
Staffed by professionals with extensive experience in alternative banking, PSI-Pay has been providing its services to local and international businesses since 2007. The company operates on its policy of clarity, efficiency and transparency. The FCA licensed this PSI Pay Ltd. in 2011, under European Union money regulations, to be able to supply electronic money. The company is now able to provide electronic money all over the European Union and comprehensively PSI-Pay provides prepaid accounts usable in over 170 nations worldwide.
Since 2009, PSI-Pay is enrolled as a Principle Member of MasterCard, allowing PSI-Pay to issue contactless PayPass programs, virtual cards, and debit and prepaid cards to organizations and individuals globally. In addition to contactless programs, PSI-Pay has been able to offer MasterCard services directly throughout the European Union for the last ten years.
Since 2014, we have been able to offer MasterCard services directly throughout the EU.The company is seeking to empower its partners to do the best in the ever-growing field of alternative banking. This means regulating the activities of corporate partners: associated payment card programs, distribution, marketing and sales, protecting the quality associated with the PSI- Pay name.
Kerv- a PSI-Pay affiliate- is known for the proprietary contactless payment ring it launched in partnership with PSI-Pay. The first of its kind, the ring with transactional powers is a great alternative to carrying cash or even credit cards for payment of goods and services. EcoPayz is a secure online payment service that allows its users to receive, spend or send money internationally.
Why Will Consumers Use Contactless Payments?
Without a doubt, there are numerous benefits when it comes to using contactless payments. It’s objectively fast and easy-to-use; this form of payment is designed to make payments easier for all consumers in most retail settings. There is no need for credit card checking, no need to count cash, no more waiting for the card to be validated.
The user needs to just touch his contactless card or ring against the reader and the payment will be completed in seconds. The PSI-Pay- Kerv product is efficient for payments and also capable of data sharing, according to Phil Campbell, Kerv founder.
Consumers worried about the security of these technologies should know that PSI-Pay and Kerv have taken the appropriate steps to secure transactions. “Ecurity” measures have already been deployed to counter any irregularities that may result in illegal use. One measure insures zero liability on the card holder in the case that their card is used by an unauthorized person. Cards can only be used within an approved short range- a preventative measure against the threat of illegitimate copies of cards.
Contactless payment has the same security protection such as PIN and chips with multiple layers of security protections embedded on them. Kerv rings can be turned on and off and for each transaction Kerv insures background risk assessments and balance notifications. Beyond the company’s protection against unauthorized copies and false transactions, a user can easily track his transactions on his smartphone by using a banking app.
Contactless Payment is the Wave of the Future
PSI-Pay believes that contactless payment is the wave of the future. Even charitable organizations, traditionally cash-based transactions, have evolved to accept contactless payments. With the use of contactless payment rings and cards, giving cash to charities will be easier because donors no longer have to carry cash to donate their money. Carrying cash is no longer convenient.
Most big retailers offer payment terminals complimentary to Kerv’s ring and other forms of contactless payments. Sainsbury’s was one of few retailers that had not instated contactless systems in stores in 2016. Social media users did not keep silent on the issue, tweeting at the company, “Seriously 2sainsbury, it’s 2016, When are you getting contactless payments?”, “Hey @sainsburys can you stop mucking around with the 3 meal deal and get contactless in please.” Consumers rejoiced when Sainsbury’s finally hopped on the trend accepting contactless payments at the beginning of 2017.
My local Sainsbury’s has finally become contactless 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
— Sam (@samjevansstuff) February 11, 2017
UK supermarket chain @sainsburys has been slow to launch #payments #innovation (#contactless, #mobile) but its recent pilot of an #app based self-service checkout for selected items, is to be extended into a full #AmazonGo style ‘shop & go’ experience. https://t.co/kHX8hpKX0p pic.twitter.com/s7cxPsxgma
— Rob Fernandes (@rob2775) April 6, 2018
According to Barlaycard’s reporting, it’s not just millennial consumers who are attracted to contactless. Consumers over-sixty are flocking contactless technology, now outnumbering 18 to 25-year-olds. With the growing popularity of contactless, the UK Cards Association is now working with public transportation operators to develop systems for making the technology even more compatible for Tube rides, trains, and buses.
Not only is this technology growing in popularity among consumer, this budding industry is proving profitable for companies adapting to this trend. In 2015, PSI-Pay saw a 29% increase in business volume with an impressive 45% increased revenue.
These technologies can offer a more streamlined process for public transportation, reducing the size of lines to by paper tickets and other antiquated forms of paying for the London Underground. Contactless payments will also reduce wait times at coffee shops and various retail venues that suffer from massive crowds in the country’s capital.
With Sweden on track to becoming the world’s first cashless society, the UK is making significant moves in the same direction. Even still, the movement isn’t expected to completely overturn cash quite yet. In reality cash is still very much part of the global economy as the Director of Notes at the Bank of England, Victoria Cleland, reminds the public that, “Cash is very much alive and kicking,” citing more than seventy billion pound notes in circulation. With consumer pressure and business participation, the UK will have to continue to evolve towards more convenient and flexible technologies like Kerv and PSI-Pay’s wearable payment ring.
ecoPayz and Western Union
Another example of a traditional financial institution signing on to contactless options is Western Union. In 2015, the global payment provider began offering Apple Pay, allowing their consumers to make money transfers and payments from their phones. Last month, Western Union announced details of an integration with the ecoPayz platform. This partnership allows ecoAccount holders to send Western Union money transfers both domestically and internationally. Although this does not sound much different from the original services provided by Western Union, it does mean an expansion of boundaries that were once implicated by all fintech providers. ecoPayz-offered through PSI-Pay- expands the ability for moneylenders to send and receive money anywhere and regardless of currency preference.
For instance, imagine a traveler from England whose wallet was stolen somewhere abroad. This traveler might not have ready access to his bank, and even if he has phone access the chance that he will be able to receive a new bank card in a foreign country might be slim. However, if he has an ecoPayz account, he can have someone in England (or anywhere else in the UK) send him needed money to get home. He can access that cash from any PSI-Pay location or can opt to receive a prepaid card. In this case, you can see how having an EcoPayz account would be beneficial to having another fintech account.
Johnathan Amrani, the operations director at PSI-Pay, was excited about the merger. Of the merger, he had to say, “By accessing Western Union’s network, customers have access to hundreds of thousands of locations around the world, and this provides us with an excellent platform to grow and reach new customers.”
Western Union and the Digital Future
Western Union inspires images of the old west, of the nation being built, and of people being connected in revolutionary ways. This is because Western Union was directly responsible for building the country up in times of turmoil. The impetus behind the original telegraph system was a quicker way to send messages relating to the state of the Civil War. Prior to the telegraph, the Pony Express was used to deliver important messages across the country. Even with this swift band of horses, it still took 10 days to get a message from St. Louis, Missouri to Sacramento, California. The revolution that created the telegram after the failures of the Pony Express is exactly what inspires the people at Western Union to continue making changes to their services.
Two New York Businessmen, Samuel L. Selden and Hiram Sibley took it upon themselves to make up for the failures of past communication. As anyone knows, ten days is enough time to completely change the course of history, and their drive to make it easier for a tumultuous and relatively-new nation was incessant. What started out as the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraphy Company eventually became the Western Union Telegram company. The name was based on the founding principal and the way that their idea worked – through the combination of telegraph wires along the east coast and the telegraph wires that spanned the Rockies, a union was formed that would change the world forever.
The money transfer as we know it today was first introduced in 1871, and after that new accomplishments were made every few years. Fewer than 100 years later, the company replaced their telegraph poles with a microwave radio beam system – technology that was unheard of at the time. During the space race, they were the first to put a domestic telecommunications satellite into orbit. By the time the 1990’s came, it seemed as though there was nothing that Western Union couldn’t accomplish if their team put effort into it.
A Changing Competition Meant a Changing Technical Ecosystem
But when the 2000’s came, so did an ultimate upheaval in the way that typical tasks were run. Western Union had expanded to 161 countries worldwide as of 1998, and by 2001 their money transfer service had exceeded 100,000 agent locations. But at this time, more and more households were gaining access to the world wide web, and that meant that their companies were upping their strategies to incorporate digital solutions. For a while, it seemed like Western Union was falling behind to their competition. Multiple big name fintech companies were released that allowed the average person to send money to someone else regardless of where they were in the world.
These companies did provide something that was revolutionary. For years, travelers and average people would sometimes find themselves in a position where they needed money. With traditional Western Union wire transfer services, this would sometimes take over a week. So, when fintech offered a solution to this seeming problem, many people saw a hinge in the way that Western Union wire transfer services operated. In response to this, Western Union not only stepped up their service regarding the amount of time that it would take to transfer money from one person to another, but it also took care of another issue – worldwide banking.
With big fintech companies, like Venmo and PayPal, the funds that one person transfers to another person go from one account to another. Ultimately, that money ends up in a bank account. If you’re in another country, this could leave you open to having your card frozen with potentially no way to fix it, or it could leave you with no way to access the money. Western Union saw its partnership with banks worldwide and its ability to step up its technological competition and partnered with ecoPayz to make it happen.
How Cross-Border Payments Work in eCommerce
Of course, there are a few technicalities that ecoPayz users need to understand prior to setting up an ecoPayz account, and most of these technicalities revolve around cross-border payments. For starters, the reason that this works so well is that cross-border money routing usually requires having a big, well-known entity to complete this. This is because the bank or financial institution accepting the money request (or the payout) looks for numerous acquiring banks prior to approving the payment. For Western Union, whose name has been long-established, there are hardly any kinks when it comes to the approval process, whereas someone with a money order from a smaller bank might run into issues.
This merger makes business easier for eCommerce, as well. eCommerce is kept afloat by international purchases, and the process of cross-border payments for these purchases can be tricky. A good eCommerce store allows customers to see the price of the item in their local currency, which allows them to get a better idea of the price. Once they purchase this, their request is either approved or denied and being matched to locally-approved financial institutions like ecoPayz means that they are more likely to be approved. Therefore, allowing this union between ecoPayz and Western Union not only makes obtaining money internationally smoother, but it also makes purchasing items worldwide that much less involved.
No one can predict the future, and it can be equally said that no one will be able to predict whether this merger with Western Union will catch on quite like it was hoped that it would. For now, however, it looks as though Western Union has not only solved the problem of sending and receiving money worldwide but also has solved some of the issues of eCommerce as well.
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