How Digital Credentials Will Impact Retail in 2017

by Cody Winton on Jan 23, 2017 12:00:00 PM Retail

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Consumers have grown accustomed to using smartphones just about everywhere. Well, everywhere except at the checkout. Only 9 percent of consumers use a mobile payment at the point of sale when it’s available, according to a new study from marketing firm Placeable. And perhaps even more surprisingly, four out of 10 Americans have not made a single purchase using a mobile wallet.

From the absence of a consistent user experience, to capabilities that fall short of consumer expectations, numerous issues stand in the way of a top notch mobile shopping experience. But advancements in the mobile payments space, mainly the introduction of digital credentials, may soon change that. By enabling consumers to bring along digital versions of their ID, license, passport or health cards wherever they may go, digital credentials are helping both consumers and retailers overcome gaps in a seamless user experience.

In fact, this emerging technology promises to change the way today's shoppers and retailers, interact with one another – especially at point of sale. Here’s a look at how digital credentials will impact retail in the new year.

Bringing Consistency to Mobile UX

While tech giants such as Apple, Samsung and Android Pay – as well as a number of smaller competitors – have entered the mobile payments market, there isn’t a mobile wallet solution that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Without a clear cut industry leader, it’s difficult for consumers to envision what the ideal user experience should look like.

Competition in the market also brings plenty of inconsistency to user interfaces. From capabilities and design, to login and user integration, consumers aren’t quick to try mobile wallet solutions that differ from one another. Developers looking to boost adoption rates must focus on cultivating and maintaining a consistent user experience that awards consumers the convenience of using each mobile wallet the same way every time. That’s where digital credentials come in.

By making it easy for consumers to verify their identity at checkout, digital credentials introduce a measure of consistency and confidence to the mobile user experience that will help attract and retain consumers – allowing for a truly digital payments process.

Bridging the Mobile Wallet Gap

When it comes to the financial and banking industries, verifying our identity is crucial. Consumers need some form of ID to do just about anything, and specifically, for verifying their identity alongside their credit card. Unfortunately, mobile wallets such as Apple or Samsung Pay aren’t yet capable of speeding up transactions as consumers still need to carry a wallet or physical driver’s license to validate themselves at checkout. Digital credentials will soon change that.
Rather than digging through a purse or wallet, consumers can seamlessly switch between mobile wallets or banking apps, and their digital credential platform. Digital credentials easily compliment a consumer’s payment information by eliminating the need to carry a physical form of ID - and along with it, a significant and longstanding barrier to more widespread mobile wallet adoption and usage. Incorporating this element of identity management will make it easier than ever before for consumers to pull the trigger on purchases all though mobile.

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Increased Mobile Security

Security is one of the biggest concerns among mobile wallet users today – and for good reason. Mobile wallet apps often require consumers to upload a whole host of personal information, including credit card numbers, birthdays and addresses. Digital credential management apps will help ease such concerns about sharing this information and spur mobile wallet adoption in the process.
Unlike a physical wallet which can be easily lost or stolen, digital credential management apps are backed by mobile security technologies such as data encryption, cloud security and touch ID. These extra measures go a long way toward ensuring consumers’ identities are kept out of the wrong hands at all times.
For shoppers and retailers alike, the new year means new changes. From improving the consistency of the mobile user experience to bridging the mobile wallet gap and increasing mobile security, digital credentials promise to reshape retail in 2017.


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Cody Winton is CEO and Co-founder of Credntia, the world’s leading digital identity management platform. An entrepreneur, developer and a social leader in the identity management space, Cody leads the company’s business in personal identity management systems and its culture of empowering people to be who they are in the world. To learn more, visit

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The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.