Should payments businesses become consumer brands?

Koen Vanpraet, CEO of Intrapay, asks if it is time for payment companies to cultivate brand awareness and trust among consumers, rather than businesses

By koen vanpraet | 17 August 2018

A recent Intrapay study into consumers’ ecommerce experiences revealed the key conundrum facing payment processors; the challenge of providing simpler payments while offering optimum security.

Some 90% of the 650 respondents to the study reported that security is the most important aspect of their online payment experience.

Yet four in ten respondents said they wanted more convenience, with an equal number highlighting speed as a key requirement. Half of consumers questioned said they have dropped a purchase because the checkout process was too complex or it required them to enter too many details to verify the transaction.

With this in mind, it is clear that consumers want a payment experience that combines optimum security with usability and convenience. If they don’t feel they will get this when making a purchase, consumers will abandon the transaction, resulting in lost sales for merchants.

Companies have a key role to play in addressing this problem and it’s not simply a case of creating great products, but by creating trust in the payment process.

Brands matter

Regardless of the product or service they represent, brands matter. A brand tells a consumer how trustworthy or reliable a product is. This is no longer true only for food, drinks and retail, it is fast becoming the case for payments as well. Consumer confidence in the payments brand itself, as well as in the individual merchant, is becoming increasingly important.

After a spate of recent payment data breaches, including one at Delta Airlines at the end of 2017, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the potential dangers when making purchases both in-store and online. As a result, consumers want to be assured that the system they are using to pay for things online is secure. With this in mind, seeing a payment system with a brand that is well known and has demonstrated its reliability can really help to make them feel confident that their data will be secure when making their purchase. This peace of mind will help to reduce the likelihood of cart abandonment due to security concerns.

The growing profile of payment brands

There are more payment options available than ever before, allowing consumers to pay online with their credit and debit cards, or with a disparate array of alternative payments. PSPs offering these new options to merchants have a responsibility to emerge as brands in their own right, with values that resonate with both the businesses they are supporting and the customers that use their services to make purchases.

A number of payments brands already have a rising profile among consumers – think Paypal and Klarna for example. Such companies – and new ones entering the market – are working to build their brands in the eyes of consumers, aiming to establish their names as services that can be trusted as secure and convenient. In doing so, they are supporting merchants in building their own reputations as reliable businesses that meet customer demands.

More than just marketing

It will take more than simple marketing to build these brand profiles though. Payments brands need to prove their mettle to consumers through processes that boost security and convenience for users. At the same time, they need to demonstrate to their merchants their payment processes will actually minimise cart abandonment and maximise sales.

Innovation in the payment interface, then, is key. We need to peel a lot of layers away and make the whole interface simple, secure and friendly, avoiding 16-digit number input, passwords and other painful experiences.

Biometrics and other new verification innovations allow instant and secure, payments. Innovations in data security, meanwhile, can allow payment details to be stored safely in wallets, browsers or other media, supporting single-click payments that further speed up the payment process.

Simple developments like these can go a long way towards improving the consumer experience when making purchases, and, in doing so, building a strong brand for the payment company too. Underpinning everything is trust in the payment process, which is why we’re committed to open communication with both merchants and consumers to understand their needs. These relationships are essential to creating innovative new solutions that genuinely transform the payment process for the better.

Gaining consumer trust

Payments are more than just an invisible service, they are a vital part of the consumer experience online. Merchants need to work with the payment brands that have the most secure, most convenient processes, to ensure they continue to thrive in a competitive landscape. 

A payment system with a strong brand in the eyes of retailers and consumers is ideal to meeting this goal, as it can help demonstrate to all users that they care about their experience.

A good payment brand isn’t built overnight though. To cultivate a strong image it will take time, innovation and real in-depth understanding of both retailers and consumers’ needs. This effort will be worth it, laying the foundations for a better ecommerce future for everyone.

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