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Digital Payments: New Relations in Embedded Finance

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Mützel, S. (2023). Digital Payments: New Relations in Embedded Finance. Talk presented at MPIfG Lecture. Köln. 2023-05-25.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-5966-D
Sophie Mützel shows in her talk how the small act of paying digitally in physical stores shapes new and existing relations between consumers, retailers, financial and non-financial payment providers, marketing agencies, and app providers. For decades, retailers, marketing agencies, and payment providers have been trying to improve their only partial view of customers in physical stores. Mützel suggests that payment apps used at in-store checkouts are fast becoming central devices for gaining insights on offline consumer preferences and behavior similar to those available online. She argues that research on datafication processes must be expanded to focus on these new and changing relations: retailers, banks, payment providers, fintech companies, and payment app users form qualitatively and quantitatively new relations with one another, laying the groundwork for future data monetization and contributing to embedding finance in everyday life. To further zoom in on how such relations develop, Mützel introduces in her talk an analytic model of the process of “relationing,” which shows how data-generating relations and relation-generating data are formed when customers pay digitally in physical stores. Recombining insights from the sociology of valuations, digital data studies, and economic sociology, the talk contributes to analyses of how the digital economy works, with its business model of advertising, consumer loyalty, and user retention, and how this model is expanding into the in-store world.