Digital Wallets Ready for Mixed Reality Payments

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History has a tendency to duplicate itself.

As an illustration, envision this: Bitcoin is trading above $50,000 and one of the world’s largest technology companies just unveiled a mixed reality headset.

However, it’s not 2021. It’s 2024, and bitcoin has surged from the ruins of a battered cryptocurrency industry, while the newly launched and trendy mixed reality headset is from Apple, not the platform previously known as Facebook.

While in 2021 the metaverse and its legless avatars received their fair share of eye-rolls, in 2024, mixed reality environments, which blend elements of both virtual reality and augmented reality, are being taken more seriously by both brands and consumers alike.

But one constant remains today as it did three years ago: The commerce playbook for mixed and virtual realities is still being formulated, and effectively executing it will necessitate new ways of thinking about payments and user experience.

Crucial to capitalizing on the emergent mixed reality opportunity, regardless of industry, is establishing a payments infrastructure for this new amalgamation of spatial computing, the connected digital landscape, and both headset and handheld device hardware that aims to become the next platform for human connectivity.

The solution to providing a seamless and secure payment experience within virtual environments may turn out to be one we already possess, and it is progressively being integrated across the mixed reality offerings saturating today’s marketplace: digital wallets.

See also: The Real-World Tech That Facilitates Payments in the Metaverse

Virtual Worlds, Real Money Movement

Digital wallets, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and others, are well-positioned to play a role in facilitating payments in mixed reality environments. These wallets can typically store various forms of value, including traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies and potentially unique virtual assets or tokens specific to the mixed reality platform.

Mixed reality applications and experiences often include virtual marketplaces where users can purchase digital goods, services or enhancements.

Highlighting this, the PYMNTS Intelligence study “How We Will Pay Report: How Connected Devices Enable Multitasking Among Digital-First Consumers” discovered that 31% of consumers want virtual reality to replicate brick-and-mortar shopping experiences.

Against this backdrop, digital wallets can offer an existing method to enable in-experience purchases, allowing users to buy items or unlock features without leaving the mixed reality environment.

Virtual worlds are relatively new, but that doesn’t mean that the payment risks and threats surrounding mixed reality-based transactions are entirely new and unfamiliar as well. Virtual world payments need to address many of the same challenges prevalent across transactions in real-world and other digital settings.

These challenges range from managing multicurrency payments efficiently, to ensuring universal know your customer and know your business compliance — and beyond.

Digital wallets have been working to address these friction points and risk vectors already in the real world by employing strong encryption and authentication measures to ensure secure payments. This is necessary in mixed reality environments where the lines between physical and virtual worlds blur, and users’ personal and financial information must be safeguarded.

Read also: What Businesses Need to Know to Generate Revenue in the Metaverse

Eliminating Friction From Virtual Payment Experiences

Similar to traditional eCommerce, one of the most significant advantages of digital wallets on mixed reality headsets is that they can support one-click payments, streamlining the checkout process. This is particularly crucial in mixed reality environments where convenience is essential to enhancing the user experience.

Already, Apple’s mixed reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro supports Apple Pay integration. Meta’s own headset, the Meta Quest, supports PayPal, gift cards, and credit cards. It also requires users to link payment options using a mobile device.

In addition, digital wallets can retain information about user preferences and purchase history, enabling personalized recommendations and loyalty programs within mixed reality environments. This can improve user engagement and incentivize repeat transactions, as well as facilitate transactions that bridge both realities, such as ordering physical products that will be delivered to the user’s real-world address.

Nevertheless, because mixed reality-driven commerce is still in its early stages, platforms and providers need to ensure their payments infrastructure can support multiple payments options and allow the integration of new methods as they emerge.

For more information on virtual world payment systems, the PYMNTS Intelligence report “Enter the Metaverse: The Next Frontier of Digital Commerce” demonstrates how innovators are utilizing payments to make the most of the mixed reality opportunity.

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