Artificial Intelligence & Payments:The Truth About it All


What is Artificial Intelligence?

Most articles, appearing at this time of the year, commence with, “What’s happening in 2017?” However, even at this early point–the payments year 2017 is already almost out-of-date!

In light of that statement, the reward for this anomaly goes to Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is the newest, “essential part of the technology industry–and a branch of computer science that is presently being used to create intelligent machines.”

AI became a reality, when deep learning (DL) (a process whereby computer capability enhances through layers and layers of information—requiring greater processing capacity) and graphic processing units (GPU) (individual processors for graphics in addition to the normal CPU(s)), merged.

The combined efforts of DL with GPUs (more than one, usually) produced an atmosphere where “software was able to write software and computers were able to learn from experience and data,” creating infinite (∞) possibilities in ∞ spheres. Learn more here…

Uniquely, the resulting greater data capabilities emerged into “intelligent machines, which have the ability to identify patterns in streams of inputs” further developing into super-human intelligence.

In addition, machine perception “deals with the capability to use sensory inputs to deduce different aspects of the world.” Learn more here…

In consequence, the imaginary ‘fast-track,’ on which we thought we were traveling into 2017, is already bagatelle—by comparison to where we are currently headed.

Back in the Day…

Back in the day, a man named, Joseph Schumpeter once said about the Industrial Revolution, “Vast possibilities are maturing into realities before our very eyes. Nevertheless, they see nothing but cramped economies, struggling with ever-decreasing success for their daily bread.”

The Industrial Revolution, of which Schumpeter was speaking, began around 1760 and ended in 1840—having transformed the planet. Hence, industry became the prevailing way of life, and after 80 years–there was no turning back.

Thinking about it now, regarding the current century, it is almost humorous to consider that from 1870 through 1914 there was a second Industrial Revolution a/k/a the “Technological Revolution,” which was punctuated by WW1.

Since then, we have traveled through the Atomic Age, the Jet Age, the Space Age, the Digital Revolution, and the Information Age—to where we are now: the Artificial Intelligence Revolution.

This technology has already begun to transform the planet–and like the Industrial Revolution forever changed the way of life for those living back in that day–our way of life is also dramatically altered, and there is no turning back for us either.

AI is opening up vast possibilities; and they are maturing into virtual realities (VR)– right before our very eyes!

Globally Speaking

The recent U.S. elections have clearly demonstrated that the old days of government taking forever to make decisions are almost over. Countries around the planet have also shown that they do not want to be stereotyped or managed by a global government.

We all want to keep our unique selves–our unique cultures–and still be able to do business with each other on a lightning-fast scale. Everyone wants to prosper–except for a few who may always remain a problem.

Moreover, all business engulfs payments in some form; it behooves us to be ahead of the game with regard to cutting-edge, ease of access, multifaceted services, ease of currency exchange, transparency and efficiency, enhanced service and delivery with tight security, regardless of where the purchase may originate.

“In 2020, near-field communications, or other contactless technologies, are projected to generate over 314 billion U.S. dollars in transaction value.”

Remarkably, “as of 2015, about 12.7 percent of smartphone users in the United States were actively using proximity mobile payment services. Industry experts project mobile proximity payments to be amongst the most successful future mobile payment methods.”

As you take a look at the chart below, you will see stats for mobile payments projected out for the next three years.

Statistic: Proximity mobile payment transaction value in the United States from 2015 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Mobile, remember, is only one segment of the payments industry.


Cashless Economies

Ultimately, the global goal is toward cashless economies. Countries may maintain their currency identities and values against the dollar, but cashless is coming fast upon us.

As a matter of fact, features an article lauding Microsoft’s new Huduma Card, “a prepaid card with chip and PIN technology that will connect all Kenyans to the formal financial sector by providing a secure, reliable, and flexible payment option.

Furthermore, “designed to deliver cashless efficiency to the economy of Kenya, this technology is aimed to produce a “whole new world of #pricelesssuprises!”

Microsoft is the local Kenyan government’s “technology partner of choice.” Microsoft has offered the nation a “secure payment solution” in support of the new, “Kenya’s Vision 2030,” which calls for reforms in public services to enhance accountability, transparency, and efficient service delivery–with a focus on developing a cashless economy.”

In answer to the questions that may be running through your mind right now–the Huduma Card is “currently being issued by Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), Equity Bank, and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), and there are no bank charges being allocated to citizens when registering for this smart card.”

Kenyan citizens, who are participating, will also be accepted for enrollment and use in an array of government services–such as health services and social security just to name a couple.

Back in the U.S., a recent statistic shows that 51% of all B2B payments still use checks; however, real time payments are working their way from B2C into B2B,  so this statistic could (and likely will) change almost overnight.

Finally, and significantly, we wanted to whet your appetite with info on Uber’s new app for payments called, FlexPay. Check it out—it is cashless too!


A chatbot is “an AI program that simulates interactive human conversation by using key pre-calculated user phrases and auditory signals. It is an artificial conversational entity (ACE), chat bot, chatbot, chat robot, talk bot, or chatterbox.

Chatbots are basic customer service and marketing systems that frequent social networking hubs and instant messaging (IM) clients, chatting about products or services, and uncovering confidential user information.”

Significantly, “knowledge engineering (KE), a core part of AI research, currently encompasses highly technical and specialized areas of computer programming in areas like knowledge, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, learning, ability to manipulate and move objects,” and so on…

As a result, these areas are developing into practical applications, which are becoming evident in myriads of ways–depending on the BI (business intelligence) derived from the particular data an organization collects.

Make no mistake; the payments industry is already adapting to machine learning (ML).

ML/AI takes place internally, constructing outcomes from available data—and enhancing natural language processing (NLP) from an AI algorithm layer. It is now possible to add a voice-enabled AI/ACE (independent platform continually learning) to anything.

PaymentsSource: published an article last week, dated February 3, 2017, by Daniel Wolfe,  highlighting six, current hands-free payments projects, in which the writer noted that payment capabilities are already becoming invisible to the end user, and are in use by companies like Uber.

Lydia: The French rival of PayPal, launched its Slack bot in April of 2016 and is boasting that it is the first to have a payment bot on the chat platform.

PayPal: has recently released its first chatbot, which runs on Slack, a chat platform used in offices. It focuses on P-to-P use cases in a business setting.

Kasisto: Zor Gorelov, CEO, and co-founder of chat tech developer, Kaisisto, has said that the company has piloted a system with RBC and Digi bank, a mobile-only bank launched in India by DBS Bank in Singapore, and they are using it. The system uses chatbot technology that provides a greater level of detail.

Personetics: has built a library of customer insights for its chatbots with the ability to help transition customers from free trials to paid services. They have been building data for five years. Their chatbot is near the same as an employee who understands banking and serving customers, keeping customers in touch with their spending habits as a service.

Gamified: North Side is a software company that specializes in giving its chatbot VerbalAccess, a precise understanding of language, whether spoken or typed, through natural language processing technology.

According to the latest market study released by Technavio, the global chatbot market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 37% during the forecast period of the report, which is from 2017-2021.

From Information Sharing to Crossing the Border 

MRC 2017: In March, eCommerce merchants are about to experience greater sharing of information and knowledge at their Merchant Risk Council (MRC) 2017 show where there are three main, featured industry topics: Regulations, Speed, and Seamless checkout processes.

EMV3D: The goal is (and truthfully, has always been—but is now possible) for payments to be imperceptibly smooth and easy through mobile smartphones and emerging EMV3D Secure 2.0 solutions, offering in-app and digital wallet payments.

SEPA: The European rollout of SEPA Instant Payments Scheme, slated to go live in November of this year, promises greater security around fraud and data theft; less convoluted payment transactions–with smooth, uninterrupted performance; and will streamline the overall complex payment process.

Bottomline Technologies is one of the selected, front-runner providers of SEPA     IPS and “will provide its banking clients with access to real-time credit transfer capabilities via its Universal Aggregator service, which supports multiple payment types for various payment service providers, including the Faster Payments Service.”

FirstData: has announced their new relationship with KeyBank, one of the leading financial services institutions in the U.S. as a challenge to inspire their clients– whether they are e-commerce, storefront retail, commercial, or any other service that requires state-of-the-art, payments solutions.

These two companies compliment each other’s goal through allowing KeyBank to offer FirstData’s entire portfolio of business tools.

KeyBank will have access to FirstData’s Clover® platform, which provides next-generation capabilities for business owners to accept payments, manage inventory, track sales, and access revenue-generating and rewards programs, and they will provide enhanced merchant services solutions to KeyBank’s commercial, business, and government clients, across the country.

Look for more of this type of relationship to develop this year.

X-Border Space: Cross-border partnerships and sharing of international data are already moving at a much more aligned pace due to the ability of merchants to understand and utilize such information as the following:

  • Language barriers,
  • Time zones,
  • Identifying active eCommerce customers,
  • Authentication of information, and
  • Fast-paced conversion between nations…

…to include other solutions derived from big data through AI that help improve the flow of trade. The growth of this area of payments is also sensitive to international, specific payment needs such as education and healthcare. is one company that has a head start in these segments. offers a monthly tracker for “evaluating x-border (or cross-border) payments along with a quarterly index from Q4 of 2016 tracking the journey of 192 merchants who are vying for their share of the global eCommerce windfall.” You can find them both here…

Mushrooming Opportunities

AI has already begun to centrifugalize life as we know it–personally and in business.

In the final analysis, much like Schumpeter’s view of the Industrial Revolution–where the masses were negative in their thinking—are the contemporary masses seeking only pleasure and conveniences from AI?

Think about this for a moment…our g-g-g-grandparents went from working at home to working in factories. We are moving from working in offices and factories—to working at home. Interesting!

Artificial Intelligence is very exciting; however, at the risk of seeing the glass half full, the truth is that many still see nothing but robots and games, smart consumer products, home conveniences and self-driving cars–machines beckoning to our every command–while we pay for our luxuries with the push of a button on our mobile devices.

Sadly, these people do not necessarily see the open-house invitation to get on board for a potential “could-be,” creative-ride in their own, unique fields or in a field in which they have always wanted to work.

Like revolutions of the past, the opportunities are everywhere. Using this time to create toward entrepreneurialism–to jump into FinTech if you will, to use AI technology to thwart fraud, to dive in and cleverly empower your own organization to drive change, and–is to develop more blooms, instead of just picking the flowers.  NOTE: Apple began in Steve Job’s garage… just saying!

As can readily be seen, this new revolution gives those of us in payments, whose customers deserve the best financial services possible, an excellent opportunity to help them make the leap from status-quo dependence to being excited about the constant stream of innovations in payments already flooding the market.

IRIS Customer Relations Management remains on the cutting-edge of all of this, with training in smarter and faster ways to improve your business and reduce your time in the field—we aim to give you the tools you need to succeed; thereby, giving you and your family the chance to enjoy this amazing time to be alive!

Feel free to Contact us—we are here to prove to you that you can do this: love your job, grow your business, and have more time to do the things you love.


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