Cameras, Wipes and Swipes Replace Cash


What will payments look like in 2022 and beyond? In “The Way Payments Are Now Done,” Stephen Ritter, chief technology officer of Mitek Systems, joins 32 other payment executives to discuss what payments’ “new normal” looks like. Below, Ritter shares how the abrupt move to online commerce has impacted all generations.

In the last two years, companies and consumers alike have been forced to prioritize health and physical safety above all else. Around the globe, we moved into our homes and outside of our comfort zones. As many of our transactions moved online, we had to figure out how to strike a balance between convenience and security. Before the pandemic, we built trust by looking a vendor, teller or customer in the eye. We relied not on evidence, but on our instincts and experience with someone in person to judge their trustworthiness. Today, we use a combination of data, documents, biometrics and behavior to gain the confidence we need to trust digital interactions. This abrupt move to online commerce affects all generations.

Baby Boomers

Consider my own parents, members of the Baby Boomer generation, who were late adopters of technology, apps and smartphones. Yet because their health was most at risk, they adopted mobile banking virtually overnight. They gave up getting to see their favorite banker in person and were no longer comfortable touching germ-laden ATMs. Many of their generation who originally weren’t sure they even trusted debit cards went straight to making mobile deposits on their phones. Consumer use of mobile deposit that would have taken 10 years in normal times only took 10 months to achieve during the pandemic.

Generation X

When it comes to Gen X, I’ll pick on myself for a moment. You’d think a CTO of a technology company would already be using only technology for payments, but not in my case. I liked supporting my local businesses, and that often meant paying in cash. Now, I often use a delivery service to support that business, and I regularly use a combination of Zelle, PayPal and Venmo for peer-to-peer payments. I also now use Apple Pay because while I don’t always carry my wallet, but I do always carry my phone. Recently, I had my phone screen fixed and it broke the Face ID function. I’ve lived without Face ID for three weeks, a massive inconvenience after getting used to transparent and passive security. Even though I’m a technologist steeped in AI, security and biometrics, I didn’t realize how integral Face ID had become until it was gone.


In the past, I would have sent my soon-to-be-teenage daughters to the store with cash or, even scarier, my credit card. Instead, they now both have their own debit cards with GoHenry. Using modern-day technology, I can manage how much money they spend, and they are learning financial hygiene.

Looking to Find Trust in the Digital World

So, what do we all have in common? We all learn by doing. Now that most of us have, in our own ways, come to count on the speed and convenience of online commerce, we aren’t going back.

Rightfully, this widespread adoption of these kinds of digital finance technology is shining a bigger spotlight on the safety of online transactions. People want to know if their online transactions are safe. The good news is that they are, for the most part, safer – especially for banking, where far fewer people “touch” your money.

Now, it’s also true that processing more transactions online opens new doors for fraudsters to enter. Security, fraud and crime are still big concerns in new ways, and that’s why fraud prevention is key. It’s our job to be 10 steps ahead of the fraudsters, identifying their patterns and mitigating risk. People are right to be concerned and to ask questions. And ultimately, tech companies own the responsibility to protect people’s money, data and identities online.

That’s why I am proud that my company and many others exist to ensure that the way we do business online is safe and secure.