As the technology behind how payments are conducted changes with the progression of time, so too does the nature of payments themselves.

Trends can quickly come and go as consumer tastes and best practices evolve. To stay ahead of the curve, retailers and payment providers should stay informed on the direction the industry may head in. Here are some things companies in the payments market should be aware of in 2018.

Greater customer agency in managing payment forms

"EMV tokenization is expected to become more universal."

In today's world of payments, consumers expect their checkout experiences to be as safe as they are seamless. They demand that all their devices and any forms of payment on them have air-tight security.

As a result, Mastercard announced a plan to release application programming interfaces for card issuers that allows users to view all their payment cards across their devices in a single place, according to Forbes.

"Today's consumers are smarter and have higher expectations than ever before," said Kiki Del Valle, senior vice-president of commerce for Mastercard, to Forbes. "We are providing the consumers with the tools they need in the Internet of Things era."

Allowing consumers to manage all their methods of payment can give them more power over their finances and opportunities to stop suspicious activity.

Data security boosts via tokenization

Mobile Payments Today reported that the numerous data breaches throughout 2017 led many in the industry to assume consumer data is generally not safe.

A solution could come via EMV payment tokenization. This security process, which adds a layer of anonymity to retail interactions and can restrict token usage to specific devices, transaction types or merchants, is widely used for purchases involving near field communication. The system can fight fraud by allowing threats to be isolated in real time based on where malicious activity occurs.

EMV tokenization is poised to become more universal because of its security benefits across merchants and card issuers. The systems managing its use will grow more complex and specialized token service providers will prove to be pivotal in simplifying the technique for retailers and consumers.

Rewards for purchases

A report from Accenture noted consumers received $15 billion worth of card payment rewards, like travel miles and cash back, in 2016. Card holders aim to receive even more perks in the future.

Accenture's research found that 48 percent of shoppers would switch their primary rewards card for another if given the opportunity to earn more rewards with each purchase. Another 67 percent said they wanted to redeem their rewards at the point of sale when swiping their cards.

Retailers can stay ahead of the curve in 2018 with effective, secure and up-to-date card processing infrastructures.

To learn more about implementing effective credit processing software, get in touch with 911 Software today.