Back to the Basics:  Steps to Take to Improve Users’ Online Payment Experience

Pay Online

In today’s technology-driven business world, it can be easy to overlook some of the simplest methods of ensuring a superb customer experience while making a payment. And often, it’s actually some basic fundamentals that are the true cornerstones of an online payment process that is appreciated and eagerly employed by its users.

Navigating to the Correct Payments Page

It may sound too simplistic, but financial institutions should always make it obvious to customers where they need to go to make a payment and how they need to executive that payment. Users may find themselves needing to conduct a search on the website only to ultimately find numerous pages that aren’t relevant to their immediate payment needs. And why? Generally, if someone searches a website with the word “payments” they’re undoubtedly going to run into content that only complicates their experience.

By offering an obvious (and dedicated) page informing new and/or returning customers about their multiple payment options, the financial institution is often saving themselves from encountering unneeded support calls. Additionally, the way in which payment options are outlined, for example in a straightforward 1-2-3 steps process, can further reduce the chance for payment hiccups. That simple path toward payment and confirmation is, in the end, the most desired outcome for all – keeping customers happy while also keeping support costs down. Creating the proper navigation and step-taking process right the first time pays off more than most might notice.

Notifications, Especially Text Messaging

Users like to be notified about when a payment is due and hasn’t been received or processed yet. One of the more appreciated services involves getting approval to send text messages to customers and using it for helpful reminders – albeit only the reminders a customer has made clear they really want.

But beyond the mere existence of a text message service, the process a user takes to conduct that payment after they read the text needs to be fast and easy. Obviously, being informed that something is due and then having trouble paying it doesn’t bode well for either party. Cybersecurity, in particular phishing, is also a consideration and should be addressed in tandem with any new text messaging system. In fact, customers often perceive powerful security as a differentiator and illustration of a commitment to the customer, their data as well as their money.

Flexibility and Less Friction Via Cards, Digital Wallets

There is a hefty desire among the typical consumer to make most of their recurring payments with a card – a debit card, or card linked to their checking or savings account. It may be surprising to many just how often a financial institution doesn’t accept payments with a card – creating a lot more friction for users if that’s their typical preference. Just taking into account the need to input a routing number and then an account number (and often a confirmation of one or both of those numbers again), adds a lot of needed inputs – and chances for errors – compared to a card number and its associated data.

Additionally, people like to know that a transaction is instant. With a card, that’s quickly achievable and helps users know their current available balance, etc. With an account-based payment, one may not be sure precisely when that transaction will hit the account. That’s a common concern that can easily be avoided. Finally, digital wallet usage has definite perks, as mobile payments tend to have even less than usual friction when a digital wallet is used by the customer.

Obviously, technology is a gigantic enabler for the industry, but by prioritizing simple processes and options is an equally important force in optimizing the payments experience.

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