Smart Payments and Finance: Page 7 of 17

Offering one-stop city services. By modernizing IT infrastructure with e-government solutions, cities can transform service delivery in exciting ways. No longer do constituents have to work their way through a maze of city departments when they are trying to take care of city business. By securely integrating previously siloed information from multiple departments into a single system view, city staff and constituents alike can be more efficient. A couple wanting to get married, for instance, can log on and apply for a marriage license, reserve a city facility for their reception and pay required fees in a single transaction. With every interaction, they build an identity with the city which allows them to consume a wide range of services through a single, secure portal.

Providing financial peace of mind. Connected, mobile citizens will benefit from emerging digital form factors – digital wallets, for example – that provide a single interface for all of their payment mechanisms, loyalty programs, transportation tokens and more. Using technologies such as near-field communications (NFC), contactless wallets of the future will be the repositories for ID cards, social and health programs, transportation cards – enhancing livability by having everything at hand and recognized in a second.

Using consumer data to unearth trends. Once cities use data analytics to understand citizen behaviors and preferences, they can modify systems to better meet their needs. For instance, public transit operators can analyze payment data to adjust transportation capacity in real time. Or city public health officials might take a cue from disease detectives in British Columbia. They tracked and ended an outbreak of hepatitis A by analyzing food purchase histories on grocery store loyalty cards.


Nurturing a business-friendly environment. A smart city creates the best possible economic environment. One way is through the use of smart payment systems for city government. Another is by integrating a city’s own systems with payment networks to make it easier for consumers and local businesses to conduct commerce globally.

Attracting new businesses. Cities that offer a welcome climate for companies and highly skilled workers build wealth through the creation of jobs and tax income. Streamlining permitting and licensing processes, leaving out unnecessary steps and reducing paperwork are all ways cities can make it clear they are open for business.

Increasing the velocity of money. By enabling quick payroll and benefits disbursements through the types of e-government and smart payment solutions mentioned earlier, individuals get quick access to their money so they can spend it at city merchants. M-Pesa, a successful payment innovation in Kenya, has made it quick and easy for employers to pay workers through mobile remittances, even for people who do not have banking accounts.

Enhancing security and reducing fraud. The migration to smarter payment and financial systems is a tremendous protection for business, consumers and the city itself. With the right acceptance tools and payment instruments, merchants know if customers are trustworthy. And they can be paid quickly to reduce working capital requirements.

Creating a welcoming environment for visitors. Travelers have different needs than residents. Coming from afar, they need convenient and interoperable payment solutions. They also need helpful information in an unknown environment. To attract travelers and tourists, cities need citywide payment systems that can interoperate with those from other parts of the world. For instance, by using their mobile commerce wallets, visitors can be recognized as such, contacted in their native language, and provided with relevant information, since the system will know the hotel they are staying at, their plane departure times, etc. Integrating their hometown payment instrument into smart city systems enables them to navigate as seamlessly as if they were at home.

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