How Artificial Intelligence is Shaping the Future of Online Payments

As the VP Product of SafeCharge, that’s been always committed to innovation and creativity, I have to constantly research and be acquainted with technology innovation and trends and assimilate them in our payment solutions. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are two of the main directions that technology is heading to. So, When Fintech Circle approached SafeCharge to write a chapter about the future influence of AI and MI on payment technology, in their new AI Book: The Artificial Intelligence Handbook for Investors, Entrepreneurs and FinTech Visionaries (available now in Amazon), I was happy to contribute my insights.

Artificial intelligence operates as part of your everyday life, whether you know it or not. Your internet searches, your mobile assistants and your shopping, all function at least in part based on the deep learning processes that make AI work. More and more, digital payments rely on these processes as well.

Every payment transaction in your business contains reach information about the payer. If a business uses a payment system with AI or ML technology, this data can be leveraged into income growth, fraud detection and an overall business streamlining and even more important – conversion optimisation.

When you understand the role AI plays now, it becomes clear that it will only play a larger part in payment processing in the future.

Fraud prevention
Today’s fraud detection software already employs artificial intelligence to detect and respond to payment patterns. It flags irregularities in the number of payments made, the source of the payments, and the timing of the transactions occurring. As more accurate data emerges for your business and your industry, the ability to detect these potential problems will only increase. And scoring each transaction with fraud probability

AI functions by applying data analytics to both individual patterns and broader market-based transactions. The technological potential has grown exponentially in recent years, and continued refinements will help make every transaction safer for the customer and the merchant alike.

Optimising Funnels and Conversions
A payments system with ML and AI technology can use smart routing system that intelligently calculates various parameters and routes transactions to specific acquirers to maximize approvals. The Smart routing and payment acceptance optimisation improve the payment processing time and the user-experience, and eventually encourage his loyalty to the business. Maximize approval rate, reduce cost, mange CHB fraud ratio is a smarter way – All embed in the routing optimization target function

A Better Understanding of Customers
This learning does not stop at fraud prevention and conversions. More websites than ever use chatbots and other AI applications to deliver a personalized, streamlined experience focused on individual users. ML can predict customers’ behaviour and convert this data to improve websites, adds, campaigns and even future trends. If it can do this much for brand new visitors to a website, consider just how much it can personalise customers’ financial experience with the data financial organizations collect.

As AI and ML understanding and deployment continue to surge, you do yourself a disservice by not investing in the technology and apply it to your business payment system. In the chapter Big Data, AI and Machine Learning: How to Unlock their Potential in the New Payment Environment, I wrote for The AI Book, I explain in details, how you can optimise your business payment system using AI and ML.

It’s time to plant the seeds. Fix your business plans on the future and start developing your capabilities now.

About the author:
Omri Dubovi, VP Product Management, SafeCharge, a Nuvei company
In his role of VP Product Management at SafeCharge, Omri is responsible for driving the company’s product strategy, enhancements and deliverables. Omri manages key projects and is in charge of delivering creative and innovative services and solutions to correspond to the growing needs of various business models as well as align with SafeCharge’s growth strategy in business and technology aspects. Prior to joining SafeCharge, Omri has served in the payments space for 7 years, starting as a BI analyst and developer then moving upward to product and managerial positions.

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Overcoming Today’s Travel Industry Challenges and Pondering Tomorrow’s New Normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly changed and dramatically altered the way much of the world operates. As nations, states, and cities issue varying levels of stay at home orders, the travel industry is one of the hardest hit. If you work in this industry, you face challenges that may seem bigger than any you have seen in your lifetime. Navigating this tricky time and preparing to operate in the new reality will require patience, planned urgency and ingenuity.

The Economics of Travel During the Pandemic

The challenge of this time comes from limitations of both business and personal travel. Many businesses have closed their offices or limited their travel in keeping with the stay at home orders being issued. Similarly, personal travel plans have been postponed or cancelled until those orders can be safely lifted. The sheer numbers are daunting. The World Economic Forum has stated that the travel industry could lose as many as +50 million jobs across the entire travel and tourism industry, and it may take as long as 10 months after the pandemic is under control for tourism to return to normal levels.

What Comes Next?

Shedding jobs at this level can feel like a death knell for an industry. Eventually, though, people will want to travel again. This will present two interesting challenges when the industry revives. One is that people’s expectations will be different. After a pandemic, your customers will worry about safety issues in ways they may have taken for granted before. This means you have to be ready with strategies for sanitary travel, and work with your partners to make sure they are prepared to protect their customers.

More business travellers are now completely digitalising from a working standpoint. People have quickly become accustomed to using Zoom and may continue in lieu of zooming thru the sky. Furthermore, the business travel policies will be revamped, meaning the business traveller will simply travel less because it’s more productive and cost effective.

Beyond this, the eventual return of tourist travel will likely come with a surge. The challenge of not having enough customers to stay afloat will be replaced with that of having too many to manage. A return to packed flight schedules and crowded destinations should figure into your future plans, and finding ways to accommodate the customers will be crucial.

Strategies to Employ Now

In the current lull, you should therefore look to plan for tomorrow. Part of this is learning and investment in technology. Virtual reality tours of popular destinations are available now, and should continue to emerge and become more sophisticated. Getting in front of these sorts of trends will not only give you ways to accommodate would-be travellers now, but also help people who come out of the pandemic uneasy about going back into the world.

In addition, streamlining your existing product and services offering and re-focusing on local and regional audiences first (not global), will help to conserve and direct your resources and properly prepare you and your team for a return to future growth – the new normal. This includes updating everything from your booking processes to your payment processing technology. Investing now can yield direct benefits in the short term and medium term, and set you up right for the long term.

Today’s business challenges are very real and very significant. There is no time or place for waiting, worrying and hoping – when you and your team can aggressively work hard ‘Today’ to take charge of your future ‘Tomorrow’. Your business’s future in the local, regional and global travel industry depends on it.

As a start, feel free to take a look at our modular ‘Solution Portfolio’ where you can easily search for your right payment solution to support your business ‘Today’ for ‘Tomorrow’.

About the author:
Jay Abbot, VP Travel, SafeCharge, a Nuvei company
I’m a New Zealand native and live in The Netherlands for close to 17 years now together with my better-half Aynur Abbott and our 10-year-old son Tané Abbott. I tend to be a bit of a serial reader (mostly non-fiction) and I enjoy writing, music, study, traveling, food, and hanging out in cafes drinking black coffee. Running has been a constant for me over the past 12 years, and I’ve recently included swimming and cycling into the mix. ‘Considering’ a half-triathlon later this year – no promises yet though… Work-wise I have experience in the fields of global travel and retail, marketing technology, payments and finance, and cyber security. My dream job as a kid; Rugby sports commentator (NZ’s All Blacks of course).  

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Welcome to our new series

Each episode will focus on a specific solution and provide tips and tools to assist you in optimising your business’s payment strategy. Our own payment experts share their knowledge and valuable insights empowering you to leverage your payments functions to drive results.

Episode One:
How dynamic currency conversion enhances your customers’ payment experience

Hosted by Omri Dubovi, VP Product Managment

Episode Two:
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Hosted by Adi Cahana, Product Managment

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SafeCharge Local: SafeCharge and Visa collaboration to offer new payment options for small businesses impacted by COVID-19

COVID-19 is unquestionably changing the existing business environment, and perhaps also the future of how we do business. Social distancing and lock downs globally have led to supply chain issues and many businesses at all points in the chain are vulnerable. Small brick-and-mortar businesses and sole traders are amongst the most at risk, particularly those without an online presence.


Visa recently surveyed UK consumers and small business owners to gain clear insight on the pandemic’s affect.

The majority of our clients are e-commerce merchants, such as online retail, games, and non-contact business models; they are best-placed to adapt and thrive as a result of the crisis. Nevertheless, we recognised the current economic landscape and felt morally obligated to help small, traditional business and service providers struggling to survive, particularly those who provide essentials to their communities, such as local manufacturers, farmers, suppliers, restaurants and wholesalers.

SafeCharge is in a perfect position to support these local suppliers and sole traders. In collaboration with Visa we are offering a new initiative: SafeCharge Local. Merchants without a website can now accept payments using SafeCharge Paylink, thus providing an alternative digital revenue stream to facilitate payments.

We now offer our Paylink technology for free to qualified merchants. It is device agnostic, PCI compliant, requires no integration and enables merchants to quickly trade safely and legally. We offer fast onboarding to qualified merchants so they can start accepting payments within days.

How does it work? Paylink offers small business owners two options to initiate payments directly from SafeCharge’s Control Panel.

1. QR or Payment Link Generator
The merchant generates a QR code with a unique link through SafeCharge’s Control Panel and shares it with their customer. The link redirects the customer to a secure payments page where they can immediately pay. A notification is sent to the merchant in real time about the customers payment completion.
2. Payment Page (Virtual POS/Terminal)
The merchant generates a secure payment page via SafeCharge’s Control Panel and completes the card details during a telephone call with the customer and places the order.

Furthermore, the merchant has real time access to all transaction information through our Control Panel.

We believe that what began as a short-term trend in response to a public health crisis will in fact continue long into the future as a result of consumers becoming used to the convenience of such innovative, contactless methods.

SafeCharge is proud to offer this practical yet innovative solution during a time of crisis and continues to support our merchants during the good times and bad.

For more information and to find out if you qualify for the SafeCharge Local initiative, simply complete the form below and we will be in touch within 24 hours.






By clicking "Send", you consent to the collection and use of your information for purposes related to your request. In particular, you authorise us to contact you at the email address and/or phone number provided to follow up on this request.
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About the author:
James Perrett, VP Retail, SafeCharge, a Nuvei company
James Perrett is an experienced finance executive with a proven track record developing and delivering on payment strategies for some of the world’s most recognisable retail brands.
Passionate about commerce, payments and customer experience, James heads up retail for SafeCharge, a Nuvei company, and a member of the IMRG Taskforce.

 

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The Impact of Trust on Consumer Purchasing Behaviour:
5 Tips for Earning It

For me, trust is the absolute cornerstone of any relationship, business or otherwise, and thus it’s not something that is easily earned. Given the fact that online merchants don’t have the opportunity to forge relationships in a face-to-face setting, it’s even more challenging to obtain the faith and loyalty of their customers.

That’s why it’s so critical to understand the most effective methods for building trust, particularly with regards to handling some of their most sensitive personal information, namely their payment details.

According to a study carried out by the Baymard Institute, almost a fifth of all abandoned checkouts are a result of customers not trusting a website with payment information.1 When you add that to the fact eight out of ten global customers are concerned about their online privacy, it becomes much easier to appreciate the challenges online merchants face when trying to earn the trust of their customers.2

With that in mind, here are my top five tips for gaining that hard-earned trust and increasing conversions.

1. Set Up the Ultimate Payment Page

Payment pages are as crucial as it gets. One wrong move with your set up and the trust won’t just be lost today; it’ll be gone forever. Therefore, you need to take steps to reassure the customer that the information they are about to enter to complete payment is secure. The first step of that process is localising your checkout to your customer’s geographical territory.

A customer is going to struggle to trust a company that’s unable to display prices in their local currency or display vital payment instructions in the local language. As an online retailer, you should use IP addresses to identify the geographical location of a user and present a payments page fit for the region in question.

Next, the payments page needs to ooze trust in the form of security indicators. Redirecting customers away from your website is one sure-fire way to reduce buyer trust and confidence. Therefore, I would suggest making use of various third-party providers (such as SafeCharge) that simultaneously descope PCI compliance requirements whilst maximising the UX of your website.

Speaking of PCI compliance, use logos and other security seals to confirm the trustworthiness of your site. Just under 80% of online shoppers say that a trust seal indicates that information is secure. Make sure to invest in an SSL certificate from a leading provider so that the green padlock in the browser gives the buyer another nudge in the right direction.

2. Create a Frictionless Environment

In almost goes without saying that you need to make the process payments as easy as possible. One of the best methods to increase conversions is to dynamically adapt the checkout process to reflect the preferences of the geographical market within which you’re selling.

For instance, in some currencies the currency symbol is on the right and in others it is on the left. Additionally, for some countries, the thousands separator is denoted by a comma and the decimal separator is a point, whereas in others it is exactly the opposite. This is precisely the kind of information you need to display dynamically to ensure high conversion rates and a “one-size-fits-all” approach simply won’t cut it.

How you display payment methods is significant too. If you sell products and services in Hungary, Romania, or Slovakia for example, the Cash on Delivery (COD) payment method accounts for 54%, 69%, and 72% of all online transactions in these countries respectively.3 If you fail to offer this payment method as the primary option in your payment method mix for customers based in these locations, then you’re likely to lose the sale.

Don’t let the stumbling block of expired cards get in the way of a purchase. Instead, integrate card updater software to keep payment information current and frictionless. Similarly, to ensure fast checkouts, offer payment options such as PayPal’s quick payment option or Apple Pay, which eliminates the need to leave your website to complete the transaction.

Lastly, take care of anti-fraud measures on the backend with Smart 3D solutions (such as SafeCharge’s REST API or Hosted Payments Page). These acquirer-agnostic products deliver artificially intelligent exemption management and direct payments through the correct 3D-Secure routing flows, rather than asking the customer to jump through several hoops to satisfy individual acquirer requirements.

3. Enable Transaction Completion Tools

As I mentioned, dynamic currency conversion builds trust with your customers by displaying the price in a currency; they immediately understand the value of. However, it serves another purpose, which is that of providing customers with transparency. Transparent companies have been proven to obtain higher consumer trust levels.4 Furthermore, by informing a customer of the exact balance to expect on their credit card bill, you lessen the risk of a chargeback.

Next, it’s wise to make use of a provider that utilises cascading routing, which is a process whereby smart payment engines use dynamic routing to present transaction to the correct acquiring partner, increasing your approval ratios and profits.

Another way to build trust is to have reliable protocols in place for when a transaction doesn’t go to plan. Instead of just returning an error message, you need to leave your customer in no doubt as to whether or not a purchase went through or not and provide a simple solution moving forward. It’s an excellent idea to install install decline recovery and partial approval tools to inform customers that a transaction has not been completed, and provide alternative options for completing their purchase (such as using another card).

For example, an online shopper may have a cart on your retail site with six items in it, but only enough funds on their payment card to purchase four of those items. With the aforementioned tools in place, the checkout page would allow the purchase to go through for the items covered by sufficient funds, before alerting the user that only part of the order has been successful. At which point, the user could then select another payment method to complete the whole purchase or discard the two remaining items from their basket. Without partial approval in place, it’s probable that the entire value of the sale would have been lost. Instead, you’ve gained the sales value of at least four of the items, if not all of them.

It’s also significant to note the impact of remaining on the payment page has on conversions. In a traditional decline scenario, website visitors are redirected to another page informing them of a decline and that they need to start the checkout process again. However, with advanced decline recovery protocols, users remain on the payments page with all of their information saved. At this point, they simply select a new payment method in what is a friction-free experience, keeping conversions high and abandoned carts low.

4. Implement Post-Transaction Tools

Buyer’s remorse is an ever-increasing phenomenon. According to research group OnePoll, the average American says they will start to experience second thoughts about buying items in their shopping cart after just 22 seconds.5 Bearing that startling information in mind, you need to provide a well-thought-out post-transaction strategy to avoid the fate of being hit with either a refund request or an unwelcome chargeback.

I would suggest making a start by simply providing a heart-warming thank you message upon the successful completion, reassuring your buyer that they’ve made the correct decision to buy from you. Next, set up an automated email response that confirms the order along with a receipt and invoice, to indicate you are a professional organisation worth trusting.

After the order has arrived, proceed to follow up with your customer by asking them about the buying experience. For example, do they have any suggestions for improvements? What may feel intuitive to you may not reflect your customers’ preferences. Without conducting in-house research, you’ll never uncover opportunities to improve and increase conversions.

Moreover, by following up with your customer, you demonstrate that you care about them. Your empathetic approach will help to win the trust of consumers, developing those who were previously unsure about your business into lifelong customers.

5. Conduct Analysis for Trust Weak Spots and Apply Findings 

Conducting follow-ups with your customers isn’t the only method you should be employing to get a handle on why some customers are failing to trust your website when it comes to online purchases. In this regard, extensive reporting and analytics tools are your friend in identifying customer trust weak spots.

For instance, by using these tools, you can uncover the proportion of sales that emanate from repeat customers, discover where transactions become stuck in your sales funnel, and evaluate the impact of your checkout design on conversions.

Also, utilise tools such as SafeCharge’s Theme Editor to A/B test your checkout page. Finding the right balance of trust indicators and frictionless payment could significantly increase the number of successful conversions.

Finally, make use of advanced online performance tracking through solutions such as SafeCharge’s Control Panel. Insightful reporting allows you to perform analytical deep dives on elements including risk factors (such as fraud) and financial data while uncovering opportunities to boost conversions.

All the tips I’ve mentioned above are important to apply into your online business in order to gain customer trust. If you need help in applying them or would like to learn more about building trust with your online customers, feel free to contact me to discuss your business options in private.

About the author:
Guy Douek, SVP Business Operations
Guy is responsible for the entire strategic direction as well as commercial and operational management of SafeCharge’s merchants, channels and partnership. Guy has over 10 years’ experience in diverse roles in the various payments functions across both the merchants side as well as a payment provider.
Guy joined SafeCharge from Gett (a global ride hailing company) where he was a Global Head of Payments. Previously he was Head of Risk (alternative payments) at Worldpay.

1 https://baymard.com/checkout-usability
https://www.cigionline.org/
3 https://ecommercenews.eu/online-payment-methods-europe/
4 https://uk.news.yahoo.com/abandon-online-shopping-carts-time-163000225.html

 

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Webinar: Foolproof strategies to boost conversions in the iGaming industry

The bottom line for iGaming operators is payment conversions. In this session, hosted by iGB and co-presented by Guy Douek, SVP Business Operations at SafeCharge, demonstrates proven strategies that boost conversions, improve approval rates and increase player loyalty.

Our session demonstrates how to:

  • Minimise checkout abandonment
  • Build player trust
  • Use the withdrawal flow to be an opportunity to increase revenue
  • Recover declined transactions through innovative functionalities
  • Increase approval ratio through transaction traffic management
  • Decrease fees through alternatives to card payments
  • Utilise tokenisation and billing updater
  • Save declined transactions through partial authorisation
  • Harness the opportunities of PSD2 to increase conversions

Our webinar ends with a Q&A; however, should you have additional questions you are welcome to complete the form below and myself or an iGaming colleague will be in touch shortly with a reply.



By clicking "Send", you consent to the collection and use of your information for purposes related to your request. In particular, you authorise us to contact you at the email address and/or phone number provided to follow up on this request.
For more information on how we manage personal information, please see our privacy policy.

 

About the author:
Imri Meir, VP Product Management
In his role of VP Product Management at SafeCharge, Imri is responsible for driving the company’s product strategy for the gaming vertical, based on merchant requirements and deep market research.
Imri manages key projects and is in charge of delivering innovative services and solutions to correspond to the growing needs of today’s gaming operators. Prior to joining SafeCharge, Imri has served at William Hill as Payments, Risk Management and Fraud Director.

 

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Payment Solutions for the Digital Goods Market

Whilst the Corona virus pandemic has pushed almost all sectors of the global economy into unprecedented decline, some sales of digital goods and services have never been higher, as consumers seek to fill their days with digital content and on-demand services.  Accordingly, the digital goods market is facing never-before-seen levels of demand which, whilst obviously a very positive development, is causing its own difficulties for digital sellers as they fight to win the new part of the digital sales pie from their competitors, and to reduce the ever increasing amount of digital sales fraud.

Understanding the specific pain-points that digital sellers face in this segment, is key to helping them drive revenue growth and new customer acquisition globally.  This short briefing outlines some of those pain-points and potential solutions to dealing with them.

Digital Goods’ Outsized Importance

When you expand your vision beyond the sale of physical goods, you can see a vast marketplace of sellers that need to be able to securely process online and mobile payments.  This category includes many different segments such as on-demand services like grocery delivery and ridesharing, as well as digital products like online video games and media subscriptions. Each segment presents a different challenge; however, there are similarities in the characteristics of digital shoppers who expect content to be delivered quickly and securely, with a frictionless buying experience in their native language, currency and preferred payment type.

Subscriptions and One-Offs

Each digital good or service sold provides revenue for the seller and for the payment processor. This is only part of the picture, though. Perhaps the larger opportunity in digital goods comes from subscription services.

The Fiserv survey found that approximately 47% of consumers worldwide have at least one video or music streaming subscription. For payment processors, this represents monthly transactions for every single purchase, for as long as the customer maintains the service.

Payment service providers play a key role in supporting sellers to maintain subscription payments by for example, ensuring that card details are kept up to date by implementing card updater (ABU/VAU) as well allowing customers to switch to alternative payment types.  By facilitating faster payments and providing localisation support and customer journey optimisation, the payment service provider can also improve conversion from non-paying to paid subscribers.

 Crossing Borders

Selling digital goods can help to overcome some of the geographical barriers that remain in place for physical goods. According to a Shopify study, e-commerce sales should exceed $4.2 trillion in 2020, with much of this coming from outside of the United States. These growth patterns benefit sellers of digital products. Sellers avoid many of the difficulties and costs of exporting products by providing digital products.

If they can develop an offering that overcomes linguistic and cultural barriers, the physical borders themselves provide fewer challenges for digital goods.

Security and Flexibility

Doing business all over the world creates both risk and opportunity. Sellers must develop more sophisticated fraud prevention and cybersecurity tools to accept a broader range of transactions and prevent security problems that naturally arise from a larger pool.  Sellers must also consider the additional risk when selling digital goods as fraud attacks tend to be more sophisticated and automated.

Sellers also need to consider implementing tools to convert currency via dynamic currency conversion (DCC) and take payments in a larger group of currencies and payment platforms. The processing barriers cannot take the place of physical barriers to seller success.  In a world where more people can purchase and receive digital products, your opportunity reaches as far as your preparedness and technology allow. The right partner for payment services can help sellers sell more digital goods and services, and boost revenue for themselves and their business partners. If you are selling digital goods and would like to improve your payment system capabilities and expand your local and global customer base, contact me today to discuss your options together and to find the ultimate solution for your business.

About the author:
Aaron Gale, VP Digital, SafeCharge, a Nuvei company
Aaron Gale is the VP Digital at SafeCharge, he is responsible for driving the company’s presence in Digital Goods and Services – a fast-growing sector of digital commerce. Aaron brings to the position a successful track record of achievements in the payments industry.
Prior to joining SafeCharge, Aaron held a senior payments position at CCP Games, a leading video games company known for the popular MMO game ‘EVE Online’. In addition, he held high-profile positions at American Express and PayPal. A New Zealand native, Aaron now resides in London and enjoys skiing, cycling, yoga and photography.

 

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April 21 Is International Creativity and Innovation Day

On April 21, the world celebrates Creativity and Innovation Day. This serves as not only a celebration of the ingenuity of people all around the globe but as a call to action as well. The world is getting smaller; people can connect through business and social networking channels to others anywhere. Today, more than ever, looking at the ways you do business and finding ways to improve can help you benefit your customers and your own bottom line.

Today’s Business Challenges

With today’s available technology, you have the ability to reach customers across the globe. This creates an undeniably exciting business environment if you know how to take advantage. This means learning how to overcome cultural and geographical differences among your customers and finding ways to speak to everyone you try to reach.

At the same time, your competitors have the same ability to connect. What was once the exclusive domain of large, international corporations has become a potential playground for businesses of all sizes. You need to not only extend your reach but find ways to connect in an increasingly crowded field. Doing business the way you and others have always done will not work.

Find Creative Ways to Boost Your Offerings

Creativity requires a focus on ideas. When you first start your business, this may seem obvious. Over time, though, it becomes easy to get stuck in a pattern of doing things the same way. This isn’t always bad; developing a standard approach can help you build efficiency. You can find value in learning not to reinvent the wheel.

At the same time, though, sometimes you do need to improve. Hire bright people and give them a chance to generate new ideas. Listen critically and take the opportunity to examine ways to address the limitations you have in place. You won’t implement every idea, but valuing creativity gives you a chance to thrive while the world continues to change.

Innovation to Keep Moving Forward

If creativity is the idea side of the equation, innovation delivers the means to implement your creative vision. Technology emerges almost every day to help you reach people, connect with those people, and do business across the world. Stay on top of new technological offerings.

If you have a new idea, work with your vendor partners to see whether current technology exists–or can be developed–to resolve it. Don’t take no as an answer before you consider not only whether what you need exists, but whether it is possible. True innovation comes from bridging those two concepts and turning possibilities into reality.

Creativity and innovation should drive your business from the beginning. International Creativity and Innovation Day will ideally serve not as a sea change, but as a reminder and gentle prodding to do the things you went into business to do. Keep fostering your ideas and ideals to help your business grow in the coming year.

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Why maintaining high payments uptime is now more important
than ever

Yesterday, like so many others across the globe at this particular moment in time, I was ordering some groceries online to remain compliant with self-isolating advice handed down by the government. I perused shopping items, added all of my selected items to my cart, and proceeded to the checkout. So far, so good.

However, when I tried to enter my information on the payment page, it suddenly became apparent that there was an outage, and I was unable to complete my purchase. The experience got me thinking. Since this was a peak time, how much was this downtime costing the retailer? My guess was at the very least several thousand, if not tens of thousands.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon issue. Just a few years ago, we undertook a study in partnership with Worldwide Business Research (WBR). Through our interviews with companies in the Retail, Travel, Digital and Gaming sectors, we discovered that a mid-sized retailer loses, on average, around 3,000 euros per minute when payment pages go down.

With 76% of respondents experiencing at least one complete outage in their payment services and around 88% of cases taking a few minutes to a few hours to solve, that’s some serious lost revenue. By those numbers, a downtime of half an hour could cost a mid-size retailer 90,000 euros in lost sales. Our research concurred, finding that the vast majority (72%) of interviewed enterprises admitted to financial losses ranging from 10,000 euros to around 100,000 euros at the hands of payments downtime. An unfortunate 11% lost up to a million euros, or in some cases, even more.

But the damage of payments downtime goes far beyond mere lost revenue. The number one concern of CFOs, VPs of Finance and Payment Controllers that we interviewed related to shaken consumer confidence. An inadequate payments experience can not only cost you revenue immediately; it can cost you millions in lost future sales from previously loyal customers.

Given the ongoing situation, and the fact that peak shopping hours are spreading across more extensive periods, maintaining payments uptime has never been more critical for enterprises. But what can merchants do specifically to maintain uptime during peak times? Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to minimise the risks.

Minimising Payments Downtime During the Coronavirus Pandemic

When assessing your payments partner, it’s essential to understand that 100% uptime is impossible. Bearing that in mind, you need to look at what you can do to keep those moments of downtime to an absolute minimum. The following parameters are what you should be looking to evaluate when it comes to payment service providers.

1. It’s all about the nines
While it’s impossible to achieve zero downtime, there are considerable differences in uptime numbers. Almost all reputable providers will provide at least 99% uptime, which may sound great on the surface; however, you should be striving for much better. As our table demonstrates, the difference of just a few decimal points can have a dramatic effect on the time spent without the ability to process payments. Thus, make sure you pay close attention to stated uptime percentages.

2. Let a provider’s track record speak for itself
It’s all very well for a payments company to advertise uptime percentages, but do they have a proven track record of delivering them? Delve a little deeper into a company’s capacity. Do they use two or more full capacity data centres, for example? The use of these centres along with machine learning technology helps to monitor uptime, keep systems continually updated, and predicts traffic volumes to avoid downtime during peak periods.

3. Never let maintenance be an excuse for downtime
In this day and age, there’s no excuse for downtime as a result of maintenance. Any trustworthy payment service provider should be able to maintain its infrastructure without requiring downtime. Backup servers and an “Always on” approach are critical requirements from your payments partner.

4. Insist on 24/7 support
System failures can occur at any time of the day or night, which means that support only available during office hours is useless to you as a merchant. You need an instant response whether you have an issue at 2 pm or 2 am. The best providers have around-the-clock support to ensure outages or reported problems are fixed within a mere matter of minutes, instead of hours.

Prevent Payments Overload and Avoid Downtime      

Peak business hours have been extended right across the day in the new “work at home” climate in which we now find ourselves. Therefore, it’s essential to re-examine your relationship with your payment service provider. You need to make sure they are delivering the high uptime you require during these weeks and months of unprecedented e-commerce sales volume. Just a few minutes of downtime at a crucial moment can cost you tens of thousands instantly, and hundreds of thousands in shaken consumer confidence thereafter.

The best way to achieve this is to work with a full stack payment partner. That way you aren’t trying to marry up disparate systems whilst simultaneously facing the downtime threat posed by each separate element of your payments infrastructure. You also need a payments service partner with a proven track record of delivering above 99.99% uptime (including periods of high demand), as any less than that could see you lose sales at a crucial moment. Finally, you need to have the availability of customer support at a moment’s notice, since swift corrective action protects sales and increases customer satisfaction.

Here at SafeCharge, we provide you with all-encompassing payments solutions you can rely upon. If you want to speak to us in more detail about how we manage to deliver best-in-class uptime, why not talk to a member of our team who’ll be more than happy to walk you through our payment solutions.

About the author:
Edi Kadashev, CIO, SafeCharge, a Nuvei company
In his role as CIO, Edi is responsible for providing strategic oversight of SafeCharge’s production and corporate aspects. He manages 7 teams including Corporate IT, Network, System Linux and Infra, Database, NOC and DevOps. Edi has been with SafeCharge since 2015. During his free time he enjoys keeping fit, watching football and reading. Prior to joining SafeCharge, Edi was the Infrastructure Manager at 888, a leading online gaming company.

 

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7 tips for retailers to survive the COVID-19 crisis

During these unprecedented times, retailers are going to need to become more innovative than ever. With shops forced to close, staffing levels reduced, and customer spend increasingly focused on essential items, how can retailers adapt to survive over the next few months? It’s undoubtedly going to require a little “out of the box” thinking, but it’s certainly not impossible.

Here are seven tips that may well help you to continue to keep the revenue coming in during this time of crisis:

1. Go Mobile
There are increasing restrictions on the use of cash given COVID-19’s ability to stay alive on surfaces of all types. Bearing that in mind, it makes sense to expand your accepted payment methods to include mobiles, including Apple and Google Pay.

2. Contactless Over Card 
Following a similar theme, just think about how many fingers touch the PIN pad of a card reader during a busy day at a physical store location? That’s why it makes sense to switch to contactless payments, minimising the risk of infection.

3. Move Online 
Take what parts of your retail business you can online. Setting up e-commerce functionality might not be as hard as you might have first thought. You can turn to companies such as SafeCharge to host and run your payment page for you, allowing you to remain PCI compliant.

4. Cater for So-Called “Silver Surfers”
Retailers that have neglected their online presence because they target retirees and pensioners should quickly follow suit. It’s a good idea to shift to delivering a more functional online experience to elderly individuals who are rapidly being trained by family members in the art of ordering online.

5. Look to New Markets Overseas
There are still parts of the world that remain mostly unaffected by the virus as of yet. Therefore, this is an excellent time to expand your reach by targeting new markets abroad — leverage technology to localise your solutions for methods, currencies and languages, to increase conversions.

6. Take Advantage of Increase in Digital Consumption
Demand is soaring for digital and self-service versions of physical products, particularly in the entertainment, education, and utilities sectors. Thus, see if you can strategise methods for turning any physical products you traditionally sell face-to-face into digital versions.

7. Utilise New Social Attitudes
The virus is bringing out the best of humanity, with videos showing acts of kindness regularly going viral on social media platforms every day. This increase in social consciousness presents an opportunity for retailers in the non-profit sector to increase donations and sales. It’s also a good idea for traditional retailers to move advertising budgets online, particularly toward social media, to increase brand awareness and sales.

According to IMRG’s latest blog many brick and mortar retailers are looking to pivot towards online operations to ensure their survival. Creating a strong online presence to shift their physical traffic to their website.

If you are an online merchant interested in more information about how SafeCharge can help with your online payments challenges during this turbulent time, please complete the short form on our contact page and one of our payments experts will be in touch swiftly.

About the author:
James Perrett, VP Retail, SafeCharge, a Nuvei company
James Perrett is an experienced finance executive with a proven track record developing and delivering on payment strategies for some of the world’s most recognisable retail brands.
Passionate about commerce, payments and customer experience, James heads up retail for SafeCharge, a Nuvei company, and a member of the IMRG Taskforce.

 

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SafeCharge Limited is an Electronic Money Institution authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Cyprus and is a principal member of Mastercard, Visa and Unionpay International (CUP). SafeCharge Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Payment Institution. Both SafeCharge companies are wholly owned by SafeCharge International Group Limited.