AI & Payments Are Intertwined Today and Become More Tightly Wrapped Over Time

by Tim Sloane 0

Machine Learning

While this article in App Developer Magazine offers a poor definition of AI, it does provide a constructive perspective regarding the many different ways machine learning has directly or indirectly changed how we shop and pay:

“These systems include, Machine Learning, such as Deep Learning and Predictive Analysis, Speech to Text, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Vision, Image Recognition, and Expert Systems, to name just a few of the leading technologies.

Advanced algorithms receive a host of data, from speech, text, images, and behavior, and make intelligent decisions based on previous interactions and behavioral patterns. Purchase predictions, suggested TV content, Alexa, biometric border exits and customer service chatbots all utilize some of the above technologies.

AI technologies, such as chatbots and text recognition systems are already enabling P2P money transfers and streamlined payments. The PayPal bot integrates with social apps such as Facebook Messenger and Slack to allow users to type a payment request within the app for transferring money between contacts. Similarly, companies are integrating payment bots within Messenger to streamline payments, such as Hipmunk, which enables customers to book and pay for a hotel directly from within the messenger app.

Amazon Go, the brick-and-mortar Amazon alternative, offers a checkout-free shopping experience, currently available to its employees only (beta trial). Shoppers log into the Amazon Go app upon entering the store. Store-implemented sensors and computer vision technologies calculate which products are in the customer’s shopping basket, and the customer’s Amazon account is automatically charged upon leaving the store. No need to stand in line, wait for each product to be scanned, or even swipe/tap a payment method.

The above examples of AI implementation in payments are just the tip of the iceberg, as AI has the potential to revolutionize the customer shopping experience and payment security.”

The article goes on to describe how machine learning tools will enable grab & go shopping and will also be used to reduce fraud and lower false positives – all of which most payment geeks are already familiar with. It then lists what’s coming next, all of which Mercator members have read about in January 2017 entitled Biometrics: A New Wrinkle Changes the Authentication Landscape” and “Bringing AI into the Enterprise: A Machine Learning Primer”:

“      • Artificial Intelligence will be increasingly integrated in all aspects of our lives, including in how we make purchases and execute payments.

  • Natural Language Processing will enable text-based in-app purchases even from inside brick-and-mortar shops, eliminating the need to order and stand in line to pay.

  • Authentication via image recognition and biometrics, combined with app-based cash ordering, will shave minutes off of ATM withdrawals, while decreasing ATM fraud.

  • Retailers and customers alike will benefit from Machine Learning-based fraud prevention systems which will achieve higher accuracies in fraud identification, lowering percentage of transactions transferred to manual authorization, as well as the number of falsely declined purchases.

  • As with Amazon Go, many of these technologies are currently being tested in limited trials, which means the future may be nearer than we could have ever imagined. ”


Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group

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