How many of us have personally struggled to figure out whether to swipe or insert our card at a POS terminal, or seen someone else having difficulties? Probably most of us.
As we prepare for faster and real-time payments solutions, financial services providers should be prepared to be a resource for consumers and the industry. Many of the lessons learned through EMV implementation can be applied here as well. As we experienced with EMV, the keys to success lie in listening, communication, and adaptability to changing consumer experience expectations.
What do these critical elements mean in the world of faster payments?
It is easy to get excited about growing transaction volume as new solutions are launched. But it is just as important to understand why transactions are not completing. Mobile, online banking, and now voice assistants should be monitored from an experience design perspective. This includes reviewing the time it takes a transaction to route the full cycle, where consumers spend more than average time, and when they exit in the design experience. This often means talking to and listening to feedback from actual users.
During the design process, preliminary designs should be shared with key stakeholders early on. There are a wide variety of turnkey ways to share designs and solicit feedback, including crowdsourced platforms, that can reduce revisions in the long term. Whether asking for comments on design or getting a better understanding of what design components are most sought after, input can provide value early on.
As new payments schemes are introduced, it is essential to communicate how they are different. It is highly unlikely most members will read through lengthy technical disclosures. What other ways can we help with consumer education, perhaps even through the experience itself? How can we proactively teach and inform rather than waiting for a problem to arise?
With the new rails being established for real-time payments, we have the opportunity to provide immediate confirmation that money is sent and received. We can create alerts to provide assurance and increase trust in transaction completion and finality. In the coming years, there will be more opportunities to confirm a bill payment has been received, providing additional peace of mind for last minute payments.
Messaging and communicating these benefits in the right way will influence adoption. In the industry, we say that payments on these new rails will be irrevocable — meaning they cannot be reversed as we see today with chargebacks. They are final. We will need to translate that shift to consumers.
Solutions and their design must be agile in order to allow for continued learning and enhancement. As adoption grows, solution design in particular must continue to be refined. The experience is ultimately what determines adoption, and there is often only one opportunity to get it right.
Many companies have a habit of releasing solutions into the market too quickly. While they may think they have thought through and tested the solution, the actual use case scenarios and continued feedback loop has not taken into account how the solution is likely to be used in the field.
Of the many products and solutions in the marketplace today, those that are most successful will be the ones that resonate from an experience perspective. It is not about a one-and-done creation and launch. True success comes from an investment in co-creating and ongoing learning.
Dr. Debbie Bartoo is Senior Innovation Strategist at PSCU. Dr. Bartoo focuses on creating innovative new service offerings in financial services. Her experience spans innovation, strategy and analytics in digital channels in the banking and payments industry. She has been involved in various industry initiatives, including the Federal Reserve Secure Payments Task Force, their Directory Working Group, and the U.S. Payments Forum Card-Not-Present Fraud Working Committee.