Money 20/20

SHAZAM, Inc. On Changing The Payment Experience

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 Dan Kramer, Senior Vice President of SHAZAM, Inc., had to say.

PYMNTS: What were the biggest challenges of 2015?

DK: Some of the challenges have been purely the disruption in the market. There’s a significant amount of capital investment being placed into this industry, or what I call the Kessler effect of payments.

Kessler was a scientist with NASA in the early 1970s, and he was doing some research on basically the amount of junk that’s out in space, and what he discovered was that when these satellites collide into each other, they create fragments. And as those fragments hit each other, they collide again.

Payments is really similar right now — there’s a lot of fragmentation.

The reasons it’s important is because it’s expensive to get into this business, and unless you’ve got a big rocket, you better be good at what you do.

PYMNTS: What are your predictions for the industry in 2016?

DK: I think for 2016, it is imperative that the financial institutions continue to develop fast technologies that are easy to use and secondary to what the consumer experience is.

At the end of the day, it’s about building a customer experience and anybody who can capture and make that easier, faster and better for the consumer will be successful.

PYMNTS: In a perfect world, what does payments look like?

DK: In a perfect world, it’s about making it a secondary, not a primary, experience: too often what we see is that people want to make their experience the primary experience. … Fundamentally it’s going back to simply being able to pull a wallet out, swipe your card, put it back in your wallet, and put it back in your pocket or purse. It’s easy.

At the end of the day, payments have to be easy and they have to be, in some ways, forgotten, similar to the things that we have everyday in our lives — the capability to have a cup of coffee in the morning. It’s that experience that needs to be the payments experience, that sense of comfort that comes with those things that we take for granted.

It’s like air — it’s there when you need it, but you don’t want to necessarily notice when it’s not.

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