Taking the Pain out of Payments

 In Customer Experience, Payments

Think about the best customer experiences you have ever had. Whether buying something, returning an item, dining out, or taking a flight—simplicity is key. We all want no hassles, friendly service, and easy transactions. Payments are no different. Unfortunately, they can come with a certain amount of pain. Finding relief may not be that far off.

Feel the pain
Airlines can be the worst at customer service, but when they get it right it makes a big difference. I had completely opposite experiences on two separate airlines following flight delays. On a Delta flight, they determined which passengers would miss their connections while the delayed flight was in the air. When the plane landed there was a table set up outside the gate with new boarding passes for everyone who needed to be rebooked. All you needed to do was pick them up and be on your way. If the new flight was not acceptable, there was a representative at the table to speak with immediately.

In contrast, on a delayed United flight once we landed there was a two-plus hour wait in the customer service line to discover that no flights were available to get passengers to their destination on the same day; some people discovered it would be several days before they could be rebooked. While standing in line numerous passengers were calling United directly or searching online for a speedier resolution. I even had my husband investigating at home to no avail. I ended up booking a flight on a different airline.

Which airline would I choose in the future? Clearly the one that provided a seamless experience especially after things had gone wrong. United lost a customer because they didn’t have a system that worked effectively to anticipate and decrease the pain in an already stressful situation.

Anticipation eases the pain
Payments face the same challenge as the airlines of providing a seamless experience. There are numerous pain points including; speed, cost, and fraud. Because payments are often slow to clear, it becomes a frustration when you need funds immediately to pay a bill or make a purchase. There can be fees that aren’t always visible, making them seem predatory. To effectively manage fraud, customers are at best subject to cumbersome authentication processes or at worst become victims of fraud if security measures are too lax.

Complaints to the CFPB also hint at pain. As of June 2015 the agency has handled more than 627,000 consumer complaints about financial products.

The task at hand for financial institutions is to identify their customer pain points—if not anticipate them—to provide simple, seamless, transparent payments. The payment ultimately isn’t what the consumer cares about; they care about completing a transaction without hassles.

Payments without pain
Companies like MasterCard and CBW Bank are making strides to change the inefficient processes of the payment system and give consumers and businesses (nearly) realtime payments.

To address the pain point of speed, MasterCard Send has introduced a safe, simple, and secure way to provide faster clearing of payments. Funds are typically available within seconds, rather than several days under the current ACH process. CBW Bank launched the OneCard MasterCard to give its customers immediate access to funds from a check, wire transfer, or other form of payment.

OneCard is highly transparent when it comes to fees. Sending money to another OneCard is free, but other options are available for a nominal fee allowing consumers to determine the transfer type that works best for them—and whether they want to pay for the convenience. For example, to send money to a debit card at another bank within a few minutes is $3.00. The simple fee table is clearly outlined on their website. MasterCard Send drives efficiency that provides businesses with cost savings by not relying solely on the use of cash and checks.

There are well established practices for managing fraud. Both companies leverage their existing platforms and networks to ensure security measures are firmly in place when implementing these new processes. MasterCard Send uses transaction limits and cross-border blocks to avert money laundering. OneCard provides zero liability protection if your card is lost or stolen.

Painless payments in practice
Here is a real world example of putting painless payments in practice. Imagine you have been in a fender bender and need your car fixed as quickly as possible. Your insurance company provides an estimate, swipes your debit card, and disburses the funds for the repair into your bank account for immediate payment. No waiting for a check to arrive in the mail, going to the bank to deposit it, and allowing time for the funds to clear. This technology is available today through OneCard’s relationships with insurance companies, making financial lives for consumers and businesses much easier.

As the world becomes more and more digitized, payments are going to need to keep pace. The companies and financial institutions that eliminate the friction of cumbersome payment processes will be the perfect remedy for easing consumers’ pain.

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