Many companies are trying to harness technology to modernize the U.S. payments system, but startups and incumbents alike forget about certain stakeholders in the industry's massive value chain.
Even as consumer behavior changes, companies developing payment technology must also encourage all other stakeholders to change their behavior as well, said Lauren Pollak, a member of AIG's leadership team in the science group.
Before taking the job at AIG, Pollak was the financial services practice lead at Jump Associates, an innovation and consulting firm based in New York City.
The companies behind digital wallets are on the wrong track if they're only thinking about competing with other payment companies, she said. Digital wallet providers must be mindful of other stakeholders.
"When it comes to merchants, lots of companies are combatting the nuts and bolts," Pollak said. "But the merchant problem is not 'how do we get consumers to checkout faster?' The biggest question is 'how do I compete against Amazon?"
Online and mobile purchasing is quickly overtaking in-store shopping.
"There's really an underlying change in consumer mindset that's happening," said Pollak. "While we understand behavior is changing, not many companies have taken seriously that the belief about money is changing."
And by the time the industry can gather quantitative data on how the perception of money and shopping is shifting, "that ship will have sailed," she said.
Apple Pay is probably the closest to integrating all the pieces needed to create a successful, disruptive payment system, said Pollak.
While many in the industry have complained about Apple Pay's lack of consumer and merchant incentives, such as a loyalty program, Pollak says Apple is on the right track by expanding the retail experience across channels.