We are in the era of life-changing innovative products that exist on ever growing technological advancements. And for the last decade or so, financial industry has been on a transformative journey that has changed and democratized the way everyone “banked”. Now, the next step is to change the way people “live”. And today, nearly half of the population lives in cities and this percentage will rise to three-quarter of the population by 2050. And the biggest component in life of a city resident is transportation. That’s why I am confident that the next big disruption of digital payment technologies will transform the way we pay for transportation both public and private.
Digitalization and contactless society is upon us. In a year or so, there will be a generation of young adults that do not remember the days where you had to buy a physical ticket. This creates both an opportunity and a necessity; the future generations expect to be able to pay whenever and wherever they are without friction, and will switch to a better provider if their demands are not met. On top of that 5G and IoT technologies are carving the way for neo cities that are fully connected. China has pioneered a lot of useful applications using these technologies, especially in transportation industry. Usage of facial recognition and 5G connectivity to pay subway fare in Shenzhen metro is a recent example of that. And of course, this kind of connectivity will require a great amount of infrastructural changes to our existing transportation structures. This creates an incredible opportunity for payment providers to be the key drivers of this new era.
This rapid change in mobility will create a link of transactions between the mobility providers (ex. Municipalities or independent institutions) and the users. And that network is where the financial players such as banks, fintechs or techfins will be able to position themselves within this new way of living and create the difference.
Operational burden of deploying and managing a frictionless and universal payment system is a complicated and demanding endeavor that requires certain expertise. While the technology for such systems are ready to be deployed within days or weeks, regulatory requirements that vary between countries, states or even in some cases cities demand certain work to be completed to comply. This need sets up a unique opportunity for financial intuitions.
This opportunity can open the way for one of the biggest disruptors in tech industry, Blockchain, to implement a unique application. Blockchain re-shaped the way we perceive money and allowed technology to reach people that banks were unable to reach. I believe the new mobility revolution will re-shape the way we commute in our life in a similar manner and moreover, a Blockchain based payment revolution can even further change our lives. Furthermore, Blockchain’s potential application for a borderless payment solution, promises to bring about a lot more opportunities for the future’s mobility. As I mentioned before, the new generations are expecting frictionless solutions, but they also demand less restrictive, and even borderless mobility options. And In my opinion, financial institutions which can form a harmonious consortium of a borderless Blockchain payment option for smart mobility will be the winners of our near future.