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Is the Future of Payments Social?

Social payments

I was recently privileged to be given the opportunity to ask Denise Bahs, social media coach with Profitecture and payment specialist, a few questions about the role that social media is currently paying in the payments industry and what it’s role may be in the future.

1. American Express has recently added Twitter to its Amex Sync program. Amex Sync allows card holders to securely connect their cards to social networks to take advantage of special offers. How do you think the users of these social networks will respond? Do you think people are ready to trust the social networks enough to connect their credit cards to them?

I’ve used this service in order to “road test” it. It went smoothly; however, my peers (Gen X) are not likely to adopt this yet. Based on an informal poll I conducted of my “friends” they do not trust social networks with their banking information. Count me in on that boat. However, I think Gen Y and the Millennials will have no problem adopting it. They live in that space and will bank there too. As long as there is a value proposition, I think they will embrace it.

2. Do you see more merchants getting on board and trying to take advantage of the opportunities that a program like Amex Sync provides?

If merchants are smart they will figure out a way to entice consumers into paying with their phones (inside the social channels and out). Paying with a smartphone in concert with big data on shopping habits, purchasing time of day and show rooming…put it all together and you’ve got some powerful buying predictors.

3. How connected can the social media networks and payment industry become? Will we one day be shopping for new shoes on Facebook and sharing the entire experience with our followers?

I wrote a blog post about this. Facebook should be careful. When I can stand on the backs of my friends to get a good discount, they will begin to question how great of friends we are. I also question the following moral question that this implies: is my value as a human being only as large as my social network? Will I get a bigger discount if I have a bigger network? That’s ugly.

4. Do you feel that it’s important for every merchant to be active on social media in an attempt to connect with their customers?

Not every social channel is right for every merchant. They need to figure out where their customers are and be there.

5. Are the social networks a good tool for merchants to use to get to know their customers?

People who really “get” social media understand that in order to benefit from it, you have to listen. That is especially true for merchants. If all they are doing is broadcasting sales messages to their followers, they will find they don’t have many followers left. It’s about listening and engaging.

6. Lastly – Congratulations to you and your team over at VerifyValid for being a finalist in the Best Check Innovation Category from Pymnts.com. That must have been a very exciting time.

Thank you! Yes, it was very exciting and we are still reaping the rewards of trying to win! See my blog post, Innovation Project 2013, Reward not Award.

Denise Bahs, AAP is a social media coach with Profitecture, blogger, payments specialist and is particularly interested in the differences between the generations. What makes people tick and how has social media changed banking and payments? With nearly 20 years in the banking and payments/marketing industry, she is uniquely positioned where those two areas converge: social and banking. To read more, visit her blog at www.denisebahs.com/blog.

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