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  • Writer's pictureJaime González Gasque

Voice Based Payments: The Future of Money

When you look around any major city or town in your country, you’re likely to see how often people communicate with their devices, many times using their voice. Voice technology is rapidly changing how we communicate with others through our devices. Rather than call and speak to a friend or family member, it’s far more likely to open a text, speak our thoughts into our cell phone, possibly check for misspellings, and click send.

This familiarity with voice technology has led us to be comfortable using voice options in many ways. From sending money to a person to ordering groceries through an app or interacting with our favorite store, voice is becoming the dominant method for using our devices.

And this market is projected to grow significantly through this decade. A Juniper report forecasts that voice commerce is expected to reach some $80 billion by 2023. And transactions by smart home devices are expected to hit $164 billion by 2025.

This anticipated growth of the voice payments market is being driven by hundreds of voice commerce solutions from payment service providers. This is in turn growing the market, and turning more customers on to voice payment solutions.

How do voice payments work?

The process of setting up a voice payment account is very similar to that of paying through any online wallet. In both cases, the customer must first link their credit/debit card or their bank account details to their devices. However, in a typical wallet scenario, the customer most likely has to open the app, manually type in the details of the amount and the receiver, and then press the ok button to facilitate the payment.

However, in the case of voice payments, the customer can simply prompt his device to make the payment with a voice command, and the following steps will proceed:

  1. Once the choice of payment app is opened, the end-user is greeted with a screen prompting a confirmation. The customers can authorize the payment by using a password or by a simple fingerprint scan, as he wishes.

  2. The receiver, on the other end, will be given a confirmation message via email, text, or in-app notification of the amount he or she received.

  3. The process works equally smoothly in reverse. Just prompt your device to ask for a money transfer from one of your peers and the user at the other end will be sent a message to confirm the same.

In addition to making payments, customers can also check their account balances and monitor their payment schedule.

Voice Payments: Use Cases

Some of the more interesting use cases of voice payments are happening in our transportation vehicles and ride-sharing world. Using Amazon Pay in combination with the Alexa mobile app, or an Alexa-enabled device in your car, like the Echo Auto, you can use voice commands and voice payments to fill up your car with gas at the pump. This Amazon and Alexa partnered service is currently available in 2022 at Exxon, Mobil, and Citgo gas stations. Unfortunately, paying via voice won’t give you any discounts on gas prices.

People also use voice payments for ride-sharing services. To ride-share using voice, enable your Uber Alexa Skill so it has access to your location. Once enabled, simply task Alexa with finding you a local Uber ride. Or you can request a premium car specifically like "Alexa, ask Uber to order an Uber Black."

Voice assistant owners can also make good use of their voice assistants for shopping needs. Reorders for consumables are especially easy to make for voice payments. Simply ask your voice assistant to reorder, for example, Black Rifle Coffee from an earlier order, and the voice assistant can make that happen.

Growth of Voice Payments

Voice-based payments are a natural outgrowth of the voice assistant revolution, led by Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and others. Recent industry figures from Voicebot Research show that there were some 45 million adults in 2021 who had used voice assistants to shop for products at least once. That’s a big jump from 2018, when similar research showed only 20.5 million U.S. adults had used voice to shop at least once for a product. It represents a 120% increase in the number of adults comfortable enough to buy products using voice on their devices.

With more people around the globe using their mobile devices for almost every transactional purpose, it’s important for retailers to create a next-level customer experience.

That’s happening with payments. Voice technology is altering how we buy things. With voice commerce and voice payments, customers on your brand’s online store can enable the voice payment system, and choose the option to pay using voice. When this option is already pre-selected, it makes transactions that much easier.

Voice payments are already turning the traditional customer experience on its head, People are ordering full meals using voice. They scan the menu, select the items, place the order with voice, and make payment in checkout for it all. It’s becoming more the norm, and this scenario looks to grow substantially in the coming years.

The rise in the popularity of voice payments is a tribute to the ‘24*7 connected’ lifestyle. In the modern world’s fast-paced environment, voice payments are offering consumers services that save their time and are easy to use. On the other hand, brands win because they get access to the personal data and behavior trends of their customers they did not have before.

This win-win situation has made many brands and financial institutions jump on the voice payment bandwagon. Mobile payment platforms such as Zelle, Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal have become mainstream among many people to send and receive money, pay bills and make financial transactions.

Traditional banks like Wells Fargo on the other hand, are adding conversational voice interfaces to their mobile banking apps to allow their customers access to all banking services.

Some of the most well know use-cases of voice payments include:

  • Peer-to-peer transfers through online wallets and platforms like Square Cash or PayPal

  • Ordering products from e-commerce sites or retailers and paying via voice-enabled credit card applications.

  • Using the ‘reorder’ feature to shop for order products that you buy regularly.

  • Perform a variety of financial transactions including paying off card debt and fund transfers.

With so many use cases there is no wonder that a variety of companies have initiated processes to empower their customers with voice-based payments. However, one question still haunts this modern technology – “If voice payments are so convenient, why haven’t they still become mainstream?”

by Blutag

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