Payments Can Help Us Stay Better Connected


Talbott Roche, CEO of Blackhawk Network, explores how COVID-19 has inspired a strengthening of ties to community. She writes about it in "A Look Forward: What Executives Wish for America and the World in 2021."

Months of social distancing has led all of us—and the payments industry in particular—to find new ways to build connections. People are reaching out to those who need help, and digital and prepaid payments have been a key part of that. According to our research, 38% of those surveyed have used gift cards or eGifts for charitable giving since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Online shopping has exploded along with new digital payment methods like branded mobile apps and, of course, touchless payment options.

New entirely-digital payment solutions like eGifts or QR codes build even more links between consumers and brands. Buy-online-pick-up-in-store shopping, curbside orders and order-ahead experiences are all growing, and digital payments can help make those experiences smooth and rewarding. Our link to the digital world is increasingly our smartphone: mobile wallets will need to grow and fully support all forms of payments.

As our world has become more digital, the need for truly omnichannel shopping experiences has become clear. Shoppers deserve the same seamless shopping experience online, in apps, and in-stores. At the same time, retailers and the payments industry need to keep finding ways to make it easier for cash-preferring customers to digitize cash for online shopping.

This year we adapted to virtual meetings, webcam lunches and video calls to connect with friends, family and co-workers. Some of these changes will go back as the pandemic fades, but some are here to stay. The challenge for the payments industry going into 2021 and beyond is simple: use payments to forge better connections.

This is a summary of the article “Better Connected Through Reflection and Focus” posted by PYMNTS.com here: https://www.pymnts.com/news/payments-innovation/2021/blackhawk- better-connected-through-reflection-and-focus/

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