Visa and Qatar national Bank (QNB) are utilizing the FIFA World Cup as a proving ground. This gives several key payments technology services innovation opportunities. The three technologies tested include a digital prepaid card, biometric facial recognition and expansion of Visa’s Tap to Phone system. Tom Phillips highlights key details for NFCW:
“Football fans attending the FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be able to authenticate payments for purchases at three coffee outlets with their face, using biometric technology being piloted by Visa and Qatar National Bank. They can also apply for a digital prepaid card with animated card art that will be issued instantly to Visa cardholders.
Visa is piloting the two solutions as part of a wider rollout of payments technology at the international tournament that also includes enabling merchants and taxi drivers to accept contactless payments on a standard Android NFC smartphone with Visa’s Tap to Phone software point-of-sale solution.”
Each of these pilot programs brings to light necessary advances in payments. Mercator Advisory Group has identified these as critical to the development of the payments industry. Taking each development independently shows the short-term and long-term process for financial institutions and financial service companies working in tandem.
Digital Wallets: Travel and Events
The prepaid digital card option does not represent the newest technology. But it meets the needs of the growing segment of consumers who pay through digital wallets. And it also highlights the integration of short-term products such as prepaid cards utilized for travel. In the U.S., the average consumer who uses an open-loop digital prepaid card, spends more than $150 each per year, according to Mercator Advisory Group prepaid research. That is starting to approach the nearly $250 each that those using physical open-loop cards spent. The combination of digital and events like the World Cup indicates industry support aligning with my 2023 Outlook: Prepaid predictions. While travel will not return to pre-pandemic levels, it is starting to recover.
The other two innovations piloted during the World Cup tie together the need for legacy providers in financial services to extend their experience and history, especially in more challenging times that could limit entrepreneurial innovations. As my colleague Christopher Miller writes in his 2023 Outlook: Emerging Technologies, each element will be a key for 2023 growth. While areas like facial recognition are on the early side of emerging, as the World Cup trial indicates with the small roll-out at three locations, the technology is enabled, and working now its time for industry players to work through regulatory and privacy concerns to help shape consumer use. The further development of the Visa Tap-to-Phone program shows the reach established players can provide small businesses by enabling inexpensive emerging technologies to give businesses and consumers more efficient payment options while minimizing risk for all parties involved.
Overview by Jordan Hirschfield, Director of the Prepaid Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group.