User Experience: a necessity in payments

To many of you, the terms “payments” and “user experience” may seem woefully mismatched.  The payments market, for a variety of reasons, is plagued with a one-size-fits-all mentality.  And, even when this mold is broken, the outcome isn’t always ideal.

Take for example, a recent blog written by David Pogue entitled More on Back Seat Taxi Software.  This is a follow-up to a previous rant about poor software design.  In sum, he comments on the seeming poor design of requiring a person paying via credit card in a taxi to tip in either a percentage of total ticket amount or a fixed dollar amount.  It is worth reading the entirety of the article, and the response from Allan Fromberg on David’s blog.

However, it wasn’t the fixed vs. percentage vs. specified amount that I found most intriguing.  (In fact, I take advantage of the specified amount.  Even though I’m paying with a credit card it makes expense reporting a bit easier at the end of the trip.)  Rather, the concept of user experience as applied to payment acceptance is intriguing.  For that matter, the same holds true for payment initiation.

Payments are a commodity.  When I first began saying that 3 years ago, it was met with some measure of disbelief.  But now, the increasing competition based solely on price is clear.  It no longer seems to be a point of argument.

So how does a software company, or a payment service provider compete in a commodity market?

It is simple really.

User Experience.

Provide your customer base with acceptance or initiation facilities in the applications that they the fashion that they a way that complements their business…and in a way that protects their customers data (security is key and, at present, a differentiator). 

Perhaps what I’m trying to say is that the concept of payments as a service, rather than the sole product is the way to capture the “long tail” of the market.

What’s your perspective? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Critiques?
The comment form is below. . .

August 5, 2008

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