Q&A with Joe Daly, Paysafe
Joe Daly, COO payments processing North America, Paysafe, talks to us about all things paytech.
How have digital transactions and the on-demand economy changed customers’ expectations of the path to purchase?
The rise of digital payment alternatives and the on-demand economy have changed the way consumers make transactions, as they now expect to complete purchases quickly and conveniently, with as little effort and thought on their end as possible. The plethora of increasingly frictionless digital payment options available is why more than half (54%) of consumers expect to abandon using cash by 2020.
This includes merchants accepting a range of payment methods to fit customer preference, and payments processing in timely manner. In 2017, the notion of completing a transaction over “three to five business days” is dead, especially when it comes to peer-to-peer mobile payments for consumers, and for merchants with high-volume, fast moving business models, like Amazon.
Companies that want to succeed in this environment need to invest in technology and services that support omnichannel experiences. It’s all about building a seamless experience across different channels. More and more consumers start their transactions on one channel such as their smartphone and then typically finish through another channel, like a local store. The omnichannel experience is growing importance to the merchants as customers want to view their activities across all channels and have access to a unified account and order history.
Consumers typically think of shopping as one single experience, even when transactions involve different channels or a cross-border dimension. And they always expect payment to be easy and safe, whatever the time, date, location, type of product and availability. So, offering a seamless payment experience across channels and borders can help customers feel more connected to a brand. In turn, this builds trust and boosts loyalty, which enhances customer retention.
How can payments become almost invisible when there are more and more ways to pay? Can a merchant have too many payment options?
Invisibility is apparent when the mechanics of the payments fade into the background. New business models such as Amazon Go have made it so that there is no longer the need to queue, reducing drop out and increasing margins. It is about streamlining the checkout process and enabling customers to easily pay with a combination of credit cards, points and coupons at the touch of a button. Invisible payments are essentially driving a frictionless and interactive shopping experience for customers and merchants must take this into mind.
As payments continue to evolve, savvy merchants will evolve alongside. The key will be at ensuring that the suite of payment methods offered can be implemented and integrated properly, and that consumers have a clear understanding of how to tap into the method that fits their preference.
How can merchants facilitate a frictionless payments experience for their customers?
For retail, the payment method must be determined. You simply put your card in, enter your pin and pay. Merchants can also facilitate a frictionless payments experience by creating a social community. When someone owes you 10 dollars for lunch they don’t have to go through the trouble of asking for the money, they can simply message you through Venmo.
What are some examples of services that have achieved a frictionless customer experience and what can others learn from them?
Venmo and Uber have been able to create frictionless payments, by taking the awkwardness and confrontation out of demanding a payment. With Venmo, there is no face-to-face contact with the person. If someone owes you money you simply request it via message on Venmo. It takes the awkwardness out of it. Uber has also done a similar thing. There is no awkwardness. It takes the stress of the thought process out of the equation. When taking a cab, you’re wondering are they taking a longer route to get more money, how much should I tip, how do I use this POS machine, do I get a receipt? There is none of that with Uber. It’s simple and seamless, no extra thought needed.
What are the challenges for payments processors that come along with creating a streamlined customer experience?
One of the biggest challenges for payments processors is balancing the streamlined customer experience with consumers’ concerns about fraud and security, especially when it comes to emerging technologies.
Payments processors and merchants both have a responsibility to put security measures in place for consumers and educate them about these protections. The challenge comes in striking a balance between security provisions and frictionless payments experience.
Payments technology companies almost always were built through acquisitions, so you might have a lot of integration of separate platforms to make up the larger organization and to serve customers globally. How has Paysafe handled that integration to ensure that the client and their customer experience is seamless even though the technology may be different?
The first thing to do when considering a pairing is to understand who your organizations are and what you want them to be. Then, pair your organizations in a manner that makes both short and long term sense, whether it’s because of gains through access to technology, complimentary market share or more market ‘muscle’.
Most importantly, compatibility with platforms, systems and products as a tactical consideration is important to ensure seamless experience for our customers, partners and merchants. Once the company is acquired, there is an integration plan put in place to ensure all is expedited in a timely fashion.
There’s a lot of buzz around machine learning and artificial intelligence right now, as well as biometrics and blockchain. What are the trends that are most important to you in business?
As the payments landscape is rapidly evolving, new developing technologies and options will continue to emerge. Artificial intelligence, biometrics, and blockchain are all important to keep an eye on for business.
While there may be a lot of buzz around these emerging technologies, it’s important to pay attention to consumer attitudes toward and actual adoption of these new alternative payment options. For example, 55% of consumers may be aware of biometrics, but they have not used them, and only 15% of consumers say they believe biometrics to be the future of payments. There continues to be a steep learning curve for consumer adoption of some of these technologies, though that will lessen as awareness increases.
As Paysafe evolves and grows, blockchain will inevitably be a part of it; but only in the right place, at the right time. I believe that it will allow us to innovate in ways that we have barely begun to consider yet. Blockchain is a powerful force for change in an industry which still has some problems to solve.