Are Voice Payments the Future of Purchasing?

Jan 20, 2022

Payment technology is evolving rapidly. It seems like just yesterday when we stopped swiping credit cards and debit cards to incorporate tap and chip technology. And now, continued advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence have led to another new way to pay — by voice.

What Is a Voice Payment?

Voice payments use neural language processing technology to recognize speech patterns and sounds, attaching the sound of a person’s voice to their virtual wallet. The technology isn’t much different from tools that we’re already accustomed to using at home and in the workplace. The best example of this is voice assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Nest, which as of January 2020, were found in more than 87.7 million U.S. homes. As consumers become more comfortable with this technology, more are finding themselves interested in using it for a greater purpose—most notably, making purchases and completing financial transactions.

Using voice payments, consumers are able to use voice commands to authorize purchases, which are then directly deducted from a credit or debit card that’s attached to their virtual wallet.

Who’s Using Voice Payments

While it’s become common knowledge that Amazon’s Alexa speaker uses voice technology to offer shopping list and purchase management, it’s not the only business that’s adopted voice shopping as a purchase method for its customers. In fact, a variety of big names have chosen to offer voice shopping, proving that this new technology is more than just a trend.

That includes companies such as:

  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Walmart
  • Nike

Using voice technology, these businesses allow shoppers to use smart devices combined with an app to place orders, track order progress, and even initiate returns.

On top of that, banks and financial leaders including PayPal, Mastercard and the Royal Bank of Canada have recently started providing customers with voice technology options that allow them to pay bills, transfer funds and manage their accounts.

Can Voice Commerce Be Trusted?

In 2018, a study revealed that just 2% of Amazon Alexa users had used their devices to make a voice purchase; however, that number has increased dramatically in recent years and in fact, forecasts indicate that the voice commerce industry could be worth as much as $80 billion per year by 2023.

Do these statistics indicate an increase in consumer trust? Almost certainly.

Companies like Google, Microsoft and Ingenico Labs have been working to make voice payments more secure and thus far, their efforts have come with great success. Thanks to the advancements made by these companies and others, voice commerce has become a secure and safe way to pay.

What Should Merchants Consider About Voice Payments?

As more merchants begin offering voice payments, you might be considering this option for your own business. If that’s the case, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Content is crucial: Before you make the leap into voice commerce, optimizing your content for voice search is pivotal. Voice assistants will only read product descriptions that are short and organized, so make sure your descriptions are conversational and concise.
  • Optimize for Amazon AND Google: Amazon Alexa and Google Nest use different algorithms so it’s important to take time to understand how they each work before optimizing your content.

Incorporating the Tech

If you’re ready to get on board with voice payments, make sure you work with a reputable payment processing agent that can maintain a high level of security for your customers. Plus, by teaming up with a processor that specializes in high-risk payments, you’ll be able to better navigate the risks associated with voice payments while staying up to date with the latest in voice payment tech.

The Future of Purchasing

The payments industry has evolved dramatically in recent years and as we continue to see shifts in the way consumers shop, voice payments appear to be making big waves. It’s safe to say that voice commerce is here to stay.

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