How payments innovation actually hinders the customer experience
By Steve Gilde, director of global product marketing, Paragon Application Systems
Editor's note: This blog post originally appeared in Kiosk Marketplace, a Mobile Payments Today sister publication.
Convenience and speed have become consumers' universal baseline expectation for their payment experience, as they expect to be able to pay for just about anything, at any time or anywhere.
They can order ahead and pay at fine dining restaurants, request a ride home in a matter of minutes from a nearby Uber, or purchase a last minute gift from Amazon to arrive promptly on their doorstep that same day. And, in the not too distant future, these Amazon deliveries may perhaps even be completed by a drone.
Payment technology continues to rapidly evolve to meet these increasingly sophisticated and immediate consumer demands. New innovations like voice payments, contactless cards and wearables are intended to make electronic payments even easier and more frictionless. These alternative payments will continue to drive adoption among self-service and payment providers, disrupting the industry one transaction at a time and setting the stage for even further innovation.
However, for many payment processing organizations, the tools and methodologies required to effectively support the rapid evolution of today's payments landscape simply do not exist.
Many companies in the payments arena are still relying on legacy and outdated testing processes, which slows their ability to react to new opportunities, putting them at risk for system outages and failed transactions, and also leaving them susceptible to fintech disruptors determined to steal their high value consumers.
Consumers, especially millennials and Generation Z, are likely to share their frustrations or bad experiences on various social media channels, threatening the organization's reputations — one of their most valuable assets.
There are certain testing strategies that self-service organizations can deploy to help boost the digital experience for customers through an intelligent, secure and personal approach.
Focusing on efficiency
Just as self-service technology and devices must adapt to innovation, like the introduction of touchscreens or fingerprint ID, testing strategies also need to evolve. For many organizations, testing today is still reliant on legacy tools and manual processes that take too much time to process and do not provide enough management control, auditability or reliability.
Instead of continuing to rely on these dated methods, forward-thinking self-service organizations are embracing a next-generation strategy for payments testing. Leveraging automation and virtualization in testing reduces the time required on tedious, manual processes, allowing testers to run a wider variety of tests more quickly, boosting test coverage and accuracy. Taking testing to the cloud provides a way to reinvent testing to be more agile, efficient and collaborative.
Savvy testing providers are even starting to incorporate intelligence into their testing tools to make the process more reliable and efficient.
For instance, some modern testing solutions can be configured to interrogate an inbound request, identify where it originated and what test needs to be run, then actively run the test, respond appropriately, and log the results. Also importantly, this intelligent behavior can be automated and configured so that it is available 24x7x365 from anywhere on the planet.
While there is still a ways to go with AI and intelligence for testing, the capabilities available now are already helping organizations deliver faster, more accurate and more cost effective test results.
Combatting vulnerabilities and security threats
A lack of current testing tools and methodologies can also create system vulnerabilities and expose gaps that may allow criminals easier access into internal systems and sensitive consumer information.
The diversity and sophistication of new and alternative payment methods and options gives fraudsters additional opportunities to find and exploit these vulnerabilities. All payment processors should collaborate to ensure that they deploy and use updated and comprehensive testing strategies in order to protect against these attacks and safeguard consumers' data.
Prioritizing the customer experience to stay competitive
The payments ecosystem has grown far beyond banks or traditional processors to include retailers, "e-tailers," payment gateways and just about any organization that can facilitate payment for goods and services via their own app. Today's consumers expect any mobile, social or physical commerce experience to seamlessly integrate with their smartphone, at kiosks, ATMs or online. Constant introductions of new payment technologies require increased agility from all self-service providers who want to maintain a competitive advantage.
New technology and innovation is undeniably changing the way consumers want to pay, but the increasingly rapid pace of change also creates challenges and vulnerabilities. Self-service organizations and payment providers who fail to upgrade their payment testing tools and technologies risk losing the trust of their customers and therefore market share to more agile competitors and fintech disruptors.
With a solid strategy for testing and next generation solutions, kiosk and self-service providers can better meet the digital demands of today's consumers by delivering payment innovation with confidence, efficiency and security.