Future of Payments in the Virtual and Augmented WorldCigniti Technologies
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Virtual Reality (VR) immerses you in an artificial environment, effectively substituting your natural surroundings with a virtual world. By utilizing a VR headset or a smart device, you can explore various physical stores and browse their entire range of products, all from the comfort of your home.
Augmented Reality (AR) stands apart from Virtual Reality in terms of its functionality. AR involves overlaying digital images in the real-world environment. It can be accomplished using a simple smartphone, tablet, or AR glasses, which project images onto the surroundings captured by the device’s camera. Unlike Virtual Reality, AR does not require a headset. With AR, you can visualize how a Swiss watch would appear on your wrist or how a curtain would enhance the decor of your room.
These technologies have played a significant role during the pandemic when individuals were confined to their homes. They provided a means for people to experience the outside world from the comfort of their own homes. Now, envision the integration of these technologies with payment systems. It would enable you to make purchases within the virtual or augmented world without the need to go anywhere physically. This indicates that payments can be accepted conveniently anytime and anywhere, offering flexibility to consumers.
These technologies have significantly enhanced the e-commerce and shopping experience for customers. They can now discover the best stores, access product information, and make instant purchases.
Within virtual gaming, users can acquire virtual goods or virtual coins while fully immersed in the game.
These technologies will prove immensely beneficial for individuals who are elderly or have limited mobility. They can virtually visit stores to order food and daily necessities without leaving their homes. Even when people are unwell and unable to purchase medicines physically, they can conveniently place orders without the hassle of visiting the store, checking availability, or collecting the items.
Furthermore, purchasing real estate and land can be made possible without physically visiting the actual site. For instance, if someone wishes to buy a piece of land on the moon, they can explore and make the purchase in a virtual setting.
When buying a car, individuals can visit a virtual showroom, take a virtual test drive, and then arrange for the vehicle to be delivered to their doorstep by contacting the showroom.
Advertisers can leverage these technologies to create interactive advertisements that showcase their products and enable customers to make purchases directly within the ad, using an augmented reality (AR)-enabled payment system.
In addition to the fundamental components of payment processing, such as payment gateways and payment processors, the following aspects are crucial within the context of virtual and augmented worlds:
- The user interface for these payments will be facilitated through smartphones, smart glasses, or tablets, which will incorporate a virtual wallet or payment portal to initiate payments. The user interface can also integrate Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology to emulate a smart card and facilitate contactless payment transactions.
- Consumers can make payments using virtual currency stored within a virtual wallet or a virtual account associated with the user’s virtual identity.
- Location-based services can enable payments based on the user’s location. For example, consumers can use a QR code at a specific location to make payments within the augmented world.
- All payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, wallets, UPI, net banking, and virtual coins, will be made available within the virtual and augmented worlds, allowing customers to choose their preferred means of payment.
- Data protection and security are of utmost importance in payment processing. In the augmented and virtual worlds, intelligent device headsets enable the security and authentication of payments through biometrics. Two-factor authentication can also be considered since smartphones are used for payments. Secure communication protocols, including encryption and tokenization, should be employed to ensure the safe transmission of payment data.
- Similar to other payment systems, the payment module embedded in the virtual and augmented worlds should incorporate features such as dispute handling, tokenization, secure data storage, compliance with regulatory guidelines, loyalty programs, and risk and fraud scoring mechanisms.
Let’s take a look at the companies that have already implemented VR and AR payments:
- Visa has introduced an augmented reality payment app that utilizes VR technology. With this app, users can access a 3D map to select a specific outlet, choose items from that outlet, and make payments within the VR world. Visa’s VisaReady program enables developers to implement VR and AR solutions.
- Mastercard partnered with Swarovski to create a virtual store where customers can purchase virtual jewelry using Masterpass, Mastercard’s digital wallet. Mastercard’s Priceless platform provides a payment experience as customers explore virtual stores and restaurants to make purchases.
- Mastercard also collaborated with Wearability, a virtual reality company specializing in lightweight headsets. Together, they aim to provide customers with a virtual buying experience.
- Ikea offers its AR mobile app, allowing customers to place furniture within their homes and make instant purchases virtually.
- Alibaba utilizes AR technology to enable users to scan QR codes and view products in 3D before purchasing them through its mobile payment platform, Alipay. A similar feature is on Tencent’s mobile payment platform, WeChat Pay.
As digital payments continue to expand, payment application providers focus on enhancing customer convenience. Consequently, there is also an anticipated rise in VR and AR payments. The future growth of these payment methods within VR and AR applications will rely on delivering a seamless, secure, and cohesive payment experience.
If you want to incorporate payment functionalities within your application, we encourage you to contact us. Cigniti, with its extensive expertise in payment domain knowledge and testing, can provide consultation and assistance in embedding or integrating payments seamlessly into your application.