Innovative mobile payment applications

Today, customers no longer want to make use of cards (called plastic) or store paper coupons that they remember to use in the box in stores. They require fast, convenient and efficient omnichannel retail options.

Shops and online stores are adapting to new means of payment, it is no longer necessary to carry bills or coins, or even cards. Simply have a “smartphone”. Traditional means of payment could become irrelevant in the short term, being replaced by mobile-based payment solutions.

There are many success stories that I can show you through this article, but the most relevant thing is that new consumer habits and payment methods are changing.

For example, the Danish cooperative COOP Danmark presents its store model without workers. The cooperative has been promoting new forms of payment for its associates in retail since 2016. The mobile application called Beep and Pay allows customers to scan items in their shopping cart and pay with the mobile linked to their virtual wallet. This application offers you bonus points for purchases which could be exchanged in real time for other products during the purchase. COOP Danmark already has stores in Norway and Sweden where cooperative members use it. The stores are controlled by surveillance cameras and there are only a few employees who resupply the products on the shelves. With this type of platform, companies reduce labor costs and can extend opening and closing times.

The trend is clearly defined in this regard; just as Amazon Go is doing in the US or Sainsbury’s in London. In the case of Amazon, it is encouraged to eliminate the cashiers in its first store in Seattle, USA. In this way, Amazon wants to offer customers a quick purchase option, selecting the product and paying automatically when leaving the establishment through sensors that recognize the mobile application. The store has many sensors and the video analysis makes the entire purchase process automatic, detecting at all times who enters or leaves the store, and who buys.

Another of the applications that in the world have been placed above all because of the number of users it has is Wechat which has been operating since 2011 in China where it has more than 900 million users who have an account. This application works as a social network and a Marketplace with a payment system in shops, between users and even has the possibility of obtaining loans of up to 200,000 yuan (CNY) that are approved in minutes. The application itself can request a taxi to pay the electricity, and all from the mobile. This application has an option called WeChat Pay from which payments can be made by opening a QR or bar code and a serial number that is displayed in the store and with a simple scan allows you to pay for the product. Through WeChat Pay you can already request medical appointments without leaving the mobile App.

There are other means of payment in the world such as Google Pay which has more than 24 million active users, and has a function similar to those discussed above as a digital payment method. The same happens with other mobile payment applications such as Bizum, Starbucks Money Pay and BitPay.

We must not ignore the regulation of FINTECH, a consequence of the digital transformation, which does not understand borders. But despite this, the United States, Europe and Mexico have established action plans to regulate it and in the case of Mexico it passed a comprehensive Financial Technology Law, known as the FINTECH Law that aims to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalization to advance financial inclusion.

In Costa Rica it is the same as in other countries in America, the regulatory context still requires a review and update that allows the promotion of the FINTECH industry without undermining technological innovation. A symptom of the persistence of this challenge is that almost 50% of FINTECH entrepreneurs in Costa Rica report that a regulation adapted to the business is needed. On the other hand, although banks begin to introduce technology and complement themselves with FINTECH solutions developed in the country, in most cases there is still skepticism and a perception of competition or competitors that violate market norms. Similarly, the country situation related to fiscal limitations and foreign exchange risk constitute another layer of complexity.

To conclude; Although the country has a very favorable situation in terms of availability of quality human capital, the country's limitations and the lack of public incentives for the development of the industry ends up discouraging entrepreneurs from seeking to scale their proposals in other countries with Better ecosystems