The PYMNTS team caught up with experts in the payments field to ask them their views on industry trends, predictions for the future and what their ideal payments system looks like.
Here’s what Marc Freed-Finnegan, CEO of Index Inc., had to say.
PYMNTS: What were the biggest trends of 2015?
MF: I think what's interesting is that, historically, retailers have struggled a little bit and have had to balance between investing in growth initiatives and investing in infrastructure and security projects. You can't compromise on security, but it is a zero-sum resource game. Deploying something like EMV is mostly difficult because the in-store infrastructure is often so old. But I'd say in terms of focus for the year, payment security — point-to-point encryption, enabling EMV — has certainly been the major focus for probably everyone in the retail space.
PYMNTS: What’s next for payments in 2016?
MF: I think the devices being deployed today have the potential to be both more secure and to enhance the in-store customer experience. I think that some retailers choose to deploy them in a way that's not taking advantage of the full abilities. You can see pin pads in-store, and maybe the screen is not branded, not beautiful, not that engaging — but there are some retailers deploying these screens and really saying “Hey, this is going to be a multipurpose device.”
We’re going to see more and more pin pads in-store, and more and more retailers starting to think about it as an integrated device.
PYMNTS: What is the ideal payment system?
MF: In 1958, when Visa launched for the first time, it was around the same time that the interstate highway systems were first being funded in the U.S., so one of the key things they said to retailers was, “You’re no longer going to know everyone who comes in your store. So when someone walks in and you don't know them, you can use our network to check their credit.” Basically, to validate their identity — so when I think about what needs to happen next, the needs in-store go well beyond checking credit.
Retailers really want to and need to know and understand your identity as a customer to provide a great service and great experience. And really, the same network that might help you pay should be capable of making your experience better.