The cashless movement.
It isn’t a question of if but when we can expect to have entirely cashless societies. Mobile payment technologies are quickly becoming intrinsic to the global economy. To forecast trends for the North American market, one only needs look to the Nordic countries at the forefront of the cash-free movement. These countries have focused on payment efficiency and consistently opt for convenient and cost-effective payment options. Mobile payment technologies remove the burden of carrying and withdrawing cash while building up loyalty rewards and points.
Swedish merchants and consumers already rely on innovative commerce platforms like iZettle, Klarna and SEQR. Swedish transit systems such as Skånetrafiken are completely reliant on mobile payment – no more fishing for change or losing transit tickets and passes. In Denmark, Danske Bank’s MobilePay is the standard mobile wallet. Auroracoin already has traction as Iceland’s cryptocurrency and is widely accepted – which makes sense since less than 1% of Icelandic transactions involve cash. Norway has Retail Payment (RP) and BankAxept, Outside of Scandinavia, other countries are following suit. China has Alipay, Germany has PAYBACK, Israel has Verifone Carbon. Mobile payments are making international transactions effortless – with old and new payment types being processed quickly through scalable payment networks. Many of these networks are adopting Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as the go-to payment method.
Cash to card to mobile.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is creating new opportunities for developers and merchants to offer contactless payment methods to customers. The aforementioned Nordic countries have upgrading existing payment terminals through small chips which enable BLE capabilities. These chips are called SIM/SAM cards. The BlueSIM card by Dualsim is a serious upgrade on existing Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and previous Bluetooth standards.
“As opposed to traditional Bluetooth technology, BLE uses significantly less power and, crucially, does not require setup and pairing. BlueSIM can be easily retrofitted into the existing infrastructure of Point of Sale terminals, at a fraction of the cost of replacing the terminal,” says inventor and CTO Steinar Brede.
Beginning with 60k units in Nordic countries, further roll-out is planned in Europe and Asia. Retail stores are keen on BLE adoption because of the multi-use cases afforded by BLE beacon infrastructure. The same beacon infrastructure can facilitate Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS), Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS), contextual marketing, automation systems and more.
“Retailers can add value with targeted marketing, for instance special offers based on previous preferences and shopping patterns,” says Rune Bjerke. “Loyalty and bonus programmes are easily integrated. Coupons can be used and receipts transferred directly to the customers’ mobile phones, and paired with the loyalty and reward program.”
How do BLE-facilitated payments work?
When a customer goes to a store, Bluetooth beacons transmit radio waves which interact with with Bluetooth-enabled smart devices. Virtual cards stored on the mobile device are detected by the beacons. When the customer goes to pay for an item, beacons recognize the BLE tech in their smart device and is able to process the transaction in less than 0.003 seconds. This outpaces Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which processes in 0.1 seconds. Another advantage over other proximity technologies is that BLE allows for one-to-many connections. This means that there is no more waiting in line while the customer ahead of you taps their phone against a terminal.
Benefits of BLE
- No added cost for consumers (most shoppers have mobile phones in hand when in-store)
- Existing payment terminals may be upgraded with BlueSIM for little overhead cost.
- Shopping experience is personalized through integrated marketing and advertising platforms.
- Companies receive anonymous consumer data.
- BLE is faster and more secure than NFC payments
The wave of payment revolutions is extending across the globe into North American, European and Asian markets. With its affordability, convenience, and security, BLE is the technology of choice for the future of a cash-free world.