Alternate payment channels have gone viral. Today’s consumers enjoy more purchasing options than ever before. Types of businesses have diversified, and technology has spurred new payment methods, including mobile wallets, tokens, and payment enabled wearables.
Managing Diverse, Complex Payment Channels
Retailers - Increasingly complex, demanding alternate payment channels generate complicated transaction management environments. Consequently, retailers without appropriate multi-channel payment solutions can struggle for visibility across all the varied transactions paths. When retailers’ payment systems are sub optimal, they risk payment errors, delays, and other glitches that directly impact customer satisfaction. Unsatisfied customers may turn to the competition and drag down your business’s bottom line.
Payment Processors - Like retailers, payment processors must embrace and manage exploding new payment technologies. Optimal handling across evolving payment types and transaction paths means client satisfaction and retention. Successful payment processors adapt to new trends and technologies to deploy novel and improved services within existing ecosystems. That keeps them in front of the competition.
Types of Alternate Payment Channels
Worldwide, traditional paper-based, online, phone, and ACH/debit/credit card point of sale (POS) systems have had to make room for alternate payment channels. Their efficiency and allure for consumers, has brought about a number of growing solutions:
- Mobile apps with in app purchase
- Payments via text message
- Improved eBilling
- Self-service kiosks
- Innovations in POS terminals
- Evolving smart speaker payment opportunities
So, why are they gaining traction?
Both consumer demand and business needs have encouraged the development of diverse alternate payment channels.
Consumers love payment options because they provide:
- Shopping convenience. As technology improves the speed and agility of transactions, alternate payment channel options become more popular. Small purchases generally require no PIN or signature. Flexible technology solutions allow consumers to pay with any on-hand payment-enabled object, whether it be their phone, fitness tracker, smart watch, traditional debit/credit card, or FOB.
- Trustworthy service. Alternate payment methods provide multiple security options through encryption, transaction size, device type, and other factors. By offering consumers diverse channels, each can use the device that he or she trusts.
Businesses that effectively manage multiple payment channels provide consumers with the convenience they want. Their customers feel more willing to make purchases with payment options that they prefer and trust.
Businesses need to embrace alternate payment channels. For them, this means:
- Faster, more efficient transactions for reduced customer wait times.
- Greater customer payment choice to increase sales.
- Saving money through checkout efficiency, lower transaction costs and by freeing up employees for quality customer service.
By adopting diverse alternate payment channels, payment processors can increase efficiency, sales, savings, and safety for their clients.
Challenges for Alternate Payment Channels
While alternate payment channels offer convenience and choice, they come with their own challenges:
- Complex payment channel environments make hardware rollout logistics complicated. New NFC enabled terminals and security software upgrades mean additional implementation and management costs. Both staff and customers must adapt to changing hardware, screens, and functions.
- Customers may hesitate to use new technology when other businesses fail to follow trends. In the US, for example, contactless payment channels have been catching on slowly. To date, only about 20% of all in-store transactions use NFC-equipped cards. Customers may hesitate to use technology they have not seen elsewhere.
Diversification and the spread of the alternate payment channels trend will continue as businesses and customers create new demands and innovators create new solutions. New technological developments bring with them new opportunities for reimagining potential uses and usage situations. Expect manufacturers to embed NFC technology into every type of wearable or portable object that consumers bring into brick-and-mortar stores.
Visibility into Alternate Payment Channels
Retailers, and payment processors, all need an effective and efficient solution for payment channel management. The service should allow real-time visibility throughout the entire payments environment.
Tools that provide visibility across alternate payment channels, as well as in-depth analytic and troubleshooting capability, allow businesses to:
- Optimize payment environments pro-actively.
- Innovate solutions and fixes rapidly.
- Improve customer experience globally.
- Minimize risk seamlessly.
- Increase profits transparently.
With deep data visibility, real time tools like Prognosis for Payments can provide intelligent alerts to issues and rapid troubleshooting to identify and solve problems before they become client or customer issues. Deep visibility also enables detailed analytics to be performed on performance and transaction flows. With real time quality data and analytics to hand, business leaders can make insightful data-driven decisions and new technology updates without transitional issues that can shake customer faith and impact sales.