Consumers' payment confusion

Consumers' payment confusion

Whether it is online, offline or mobile, new payment systems such as tap-and-go are offering a fantastic and liberating user experience. However, the availability of more options also confuses both customers and merchants, who prefer simple and manageable solutions. Therefore, when designing new payment systems, remember they should enable relationships and transactions, and do more for customers and merchants throughout their lifecycle.

In recent years, alternative payment systems have grown exponentially. Chip-based technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC) enable tap-and-go transactions. Internet-based services look for ways to make our online lives even more convenient. Mobile apps transform our smartphones into wallets. However, the availability of more options are actually confusing customers more than ever.

From fantastic to damaging

In London, you can pay for the bus with a NFC payment card. Tap-and-go is a great user experience. However, issues emerge at the customer level: If a payment fails to go through, who is responsible – the bus company or the card company? Customers are irritated if they cannot make the journey because of these issues. Unless a wider, well-designed customer experience is in place, a fantastic user experience could suffer from damaging feedback.

Online, offline, mobile

Many new payment options are designed for a specific channel. A payment app, for instance, is designed to be used on mobile devices. However, consumers generally make payments through whatever channel that is convenient for them at that moment. They sometimes do it on PCs, sometimes on smartphones and sometimes offline. Unless these three modes of payments are well integrated, customers may not only see the value or even find it confusing to have multiple accounts and passwords. A ideal payment solution should enable customers to make payments in any channel they want.

Ease of checkout ranks #1 priority for online shoppers

Make it simple for merchants

Merchants do not prefer having too many payment methods. They want it simple and manageable. Therefore, new payment systems must be either high value-added or simple to use and manage.

The real value: enabling transactions

The value of a payment system is its ability to enable relationships, not to own the customers. New payment systems are often built on a desire for organisations to “own” more of their customers’ wallets, but it is not a good idea. As we see, the best payment technologies so far, such as cash and Visa, are neutral and pervasive. It is always important to focus on what the real value of any payment system is: enabling transactions.

Support the entire customer lifecycle

A fantastic payment system is usually liberating and valuable to customers. However, a great customer experience must extend beyond making payments, and support customers from set-up and using the service to responding to incidents. That is why not many payment systems survive; for the ones that do, they can do more for customers throughout their lifecycle.