The Future of Voice-Activated Payments

May 23, 2019


To improve the customer experience, companies have been leveraging technology to stimulate consumers’ senses through sound, light, and biometrics.

Digital voice assistants, like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant answer questions, play songs, and place orders but some believe they have much greater potential.

Juniper Research’s whitepaper, The Digital Assistants of Tomorrow, which was released in February, predicts that the installed base of voice-enabled digital solutions will reach nearly 8 billion by 2023.

As interactive voice solutions continue to evolve, they may make their way into the payments landscape. However, it may be a while before they get there.

Voice assistants make it easy to transact and pay bills, however, technology will need to move along with them, so they are viable in the payments industry. If people begin to shop more with voice assistants, payment service providers need to change the way they allow people to pay. Whatever changes occur must be seamless and simple.

Machine learning will need to be taught to handle much more sophisticated tasks. Asking Alexa to play your favorite song is much easier than asking it to pay a share of your rent.

Ease of Use and Security Will Be Determining Factors

Some in the payment sector see voice commerce adoption happening more at home than in stores, at least in the near future. The main hurdle in the retail space is the many authentication and security issues surrounding the technology.

Many believe that using voice as an authentication method is a bad idea because they are vulnerable to hackers. The best hackers can steal or manipulate a voice with little effort. For instance, voiceprint recognition and intelligent technology can detect sounds that humans can’t hear. Some in the security community worry that cyber attackers could use white noise to alter commands.

Improving the Journey from Screen to Voice

Developers and manufacturers also need to close the gaps between platforms to improve voice-to-screen transitions. For instance, voiceprints make sense when a person wants to make simply reorder an item. However, it does not perform very well when a consumer is trying to compare reviews or prices for items. Transitioning the customer journey from voice to screen-enabled devices makes sense when a consumer needs to make these judgments.

Manufacturers and developers also need to think about how a hand-off message is developed and how consumers will interact with them. In the future, consumers may communicate with voiceprints via voice, touch, text, or a combination. Therefore, it would make sense that multi-mode hand-off messages are created.

In Conclusion

With the technology evolving so rapidly, it’s too early to predict the future of voice-activated payments. What’s definite is that they have potential, especially as it relates to convenience and time saving.

Also, it’s clear that they could move the customer experience to another level, by pushing tasks that are not preferred or don’t have time to complete onto something else.
The challenge will be addressing consumers’ security and privacy concerns, ensuring voice-activated payments are easy, fast, and most importantly, safe.

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