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Mastercard Canada testing latest technology to simplify consumer purchases through Chatbot conversations

By Sonya Davidson

You may have heard about Mastercard's Identity Check payment system that is being used to prove consumer identity online beyond passwords and fingerprints. It uses smart devices and biometrics through facial recognition to enable payments in authenticating purchases. Recently at DX3 in Toronto, the company showed trade show attendees a hands-on look at the latest technology for retailers. We had a tour with Jason Davies, VP of Digital Payments at Mastercard, who walked us through the new technology in efforts to simplify and engage consumers. 

Along side seeing how Mastercard's Identity Check worked, we were also introduced to Chatbots experience that is now being tested with banks and retaiilers to help personalize customer service and purchases. The Artificial Intelligence bots will allow consumers to message, manage finances and make transactions through a messaging platform.

Consumers would initiate the conversation via chat type of method like Facebook Messenger. A simple "I'd like to go to Vancouver this weekend" triggers the bot to start searches or request further information from the user right without leaving the conversation. For example, a partner like JetBlue (used in the demonstration at DX3) would offer flight times, pricing and the ability to follow through and securely complete a purchase with the Masterpass global digital payment service eliminating the wait to open and connect to the JetBlue site or app.

Take it one step further, and the bot will also ask if you require hotel accommodations or suggest activities (shows, concerts etc) and continue to book if the user chooses but everything is done through messaging within the same conversation. 

"It walks you through the experience that's very personalized and feels very natural. This is a huge trend where everyone is looking for more personalization of service with a brand with more convenience. While people are looking for a more personalized experience, there are also times when people just want something that is highly algorhythmic and want an automated experience where they don't want to think. They just want things done efficiently." said Davies. 

Is it a millinnial mindset? Davies doesn't think it's just for a particular generation. "It's more about servicing a person. We're becoming more and more dynamic as consumers so it's becoming more important for a brand to be able to service in different ways. But the whole idea is to keep people within the experience and have the ease and security of using Masterpass seamlessly." said Davies. 

What about details like travelling and seat selections on flights that sometimes won't allow you to book until closer to flight dates? Davies tells us that for now, you would still need to follow through with details when the time comes but he sees this method of consumer interaction to be easier and this is much more like a natural conversation rather than a just a transaction. "We're really focused on exploring ways to bring more value not only to the purchase itself but pre-purchase and post-purchase."

Chatbots is currently in pilot testing. 

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