By Alexander Pestana, Head of Business Development ECOMMPAY APAC & Gate2Asia Expert

Industry View from

Choosing a payments provider is an art, not a science

Let’s mix art, and payments apps, with an unlikely but enlightening story. The Affordable Art Fair operates in nine countries. Galleries, dealers, artists and buyers worldwide attend: Art Basel for less than high net worth art lovers, for example, or HNW for buyers hunting for the next big artist.


At the 2015 AAF in New York, the Fair newsletter announced that Leonardo DiCaprio had bought a painting. But from a dealer based where? And how did he pay? Imagine how a Japanese, British or German exhibitor might risk losing the sale by having to walk with DiCaprio to the exhibition office’s ATM to withdraw cash, or deposit and cash a check there. This poses the question: how can your payment service provider follow your business going global? 


E-commerce companies can penetrate new markets globally. Skype and Bolt from Estonia have shown how a big global business can come out of a tiny country, and how an originally tiny company can scale globally. But no e-commerce business can scale globally without getting payments right in each market it enters. And where’s the biggest market of all? Asia-Pacific, with 4.5 billion consumers. But, unlike Europe and the UK, Asia is a highly fragmented market. Each country requires a customised approach, using local payment methods to access the local population, which requires integrating each into the e-commerce merchant’s storefront or app.


Each market you sell into presents its own unique field of landmines waiting to blow up your compliance, fraud prevention, privacy and consumer behavior and trust. But to globalise, localise. And to localise, customise.  Payment methods are as varied as languages, alphabets and cultures. Here you’ll learn how to choose a payment service provider so your business becomes local on a global scale, with the payment process smooth for you and your customers. Your chosen provider’s indispensable features will be:


Credibility and track record

The payment service provider maintain a transparent history and credible track record with similar clients operating in multiple markets. Be a fully certified Visa and Mastercard principal member, with experience in your industry. Don’t gamble on an upstart who isn’t fully certified by the FCA. This will allow your provider to process payments across Europe and in Commonwealth countries. The licence gives the right to receive payments from countries beyond the European Union and to issue payouts to non-European countries.


Payment process and localisation

A process that is localised for the consumer, but uniform for the merchant, is important. In-app UI and UX must be identical when a merchant’s customer travels around the world. As an example, the percentage of consumers using cards to pay for Yandex’s taxi rides in Eastern Europe varies from 11 per cent in Moldova to 70 per cent in Estonia. But the customer UX is identical no matter what the non-cash payment method, compliance regulations or currency. Your provider must be a legal GPS, since any organisation collecting or storing cardholder data is contractually obligated to be compliant with the global Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Localisation and integration issues are inextricably linked. Your payments provider must integrate local payment methods. Without them no online business can be definitively local in its target markets. Every e-commerce business needs its payment service provider to offer a selection of the most well-known and widely used global and regional payment methods so your business can enter new markets, accept online payments and issue timely payouts in local currencies.


Payments integration customised by business needs and capacity

Your payments provider should advise you on the best way to integrate a payment gateway according to your business’s profile, such as API, iFrame or Lightbox. A simple payment link is not a redirect, but a standalone payment method that requires no integration. There are two main integration methods: payment page integration and via API. 


Payment page integration: transactions are processed via a payment page opened on the e-commerce business’s side, but hosted on at the payments provider’s side. All the end-user’s data is therefore fully collected and processed on the payments provider’s end. The benefits of this integration method are that it is easier than API integration, has many payment page customisation options, and no PCI DSS licence is required. But the e-commerce merchant will still need at least one developer. The payment page can be integrated with the redirect method in which your customers are redirected from your website to the payments provider’s secure payment page, hosted on provider’s server, a Lightbox, or iFrame, which is especially suitable for in-game payments. 


Integration via API: a payment gateway API integrates with your existing digital processes to connect your company’s checkout system to a payments acquisitions network. API integration is an alternative to hosted checkout pages traditionally used by e-commerce businesses. The pros are that it allows for more versatile customisation, but it requires the e-commerce merchant to have PCI DSS certification.   


Fraud prevention

A minimum of a 97 per cent fraud detection rate is an indicator of a good antifraud system. Tech support should automatically monitor transactions in real time combined with the manual monitoring of flagged transactions by trained risk analysts, who understand your business’s and industry’s specifics. You should be free to customise fraud prevention settings based on your business and industry and mix of customer types and locations. Your provider should give you 3-D Secure liability protection with no drop-off in customer convenience or conversion.  Your payments provider should create an individual anti-fraud strategy for your e-commerce business to account for geographic location of operations, transaction history, existing precedents of fraud management, and user account restrictions. They should offer merchants the opportunity to assign various levels of protection to specific customer groups, for example that for new customers compared with loyal recurring ones, without fraud prevention becoming the enemy of…


Conversion: the right integration and tech can raise conversion ratios

There is a direct correlation between an introduction of conversion-oriented products and the level of electronic fraud in a merchant experience. Technologies designed to attract consumers with simplicity and ease-of-use are incredibly susceptible to fraud. Your payments provider’s job is to break this correlation and be a strategic partner who knows how to increase conversion with a small or no increase in risk through regular updates, upgrades, and plug-ins to improve UX. It’s essential to deploy strategies to keep the customer on the payment page in case of declined transactions and to understand payment routing, UX, fraud prevention and compliance as a conversion builder. 


A common example is the selective use of 3-D Secure authentication, mandatory in many cases to limit an e-commerce business’s liability. A common example of selective 3-D use is one-click payments for repeat customers or for recurring payments set up by new or repeat customers. There is no single payments solution that fits all scenarios. 


The payment/checkout process must be uniform for the consumer to maintain brand identity. Your customers demand an omnichannel experience, allowing them to move between devices without losing data that forces them to repeat the same inputs. This is how payments become a strategic asset, not an annoying overhead and tech headache to solve. Here’s the empirical proof from PYMNTS: “Expanding processing relationships is at the centre of most digital platforms’ growth strategies. According to PYMNTS research, 60.8 per cent plan to do so, and to a greater degree than adding team members (40.8 per cent) or boosting vendor relationships (25.6 per cent).” 


An example of strategic payments partnering is Firebird Tours, a reseller of Russian rail tickets on multiple platforms, and Yandex.Taxi partnered with ECOMMPAY, which launched in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Yandex has entered 14 new markets with this partnership, while Firebird had a 35 per cent increase in successful payments. Apparently small increases in conversion percentages – of 1 to 2 per cent – can produce stunning increases in revenue. 


Getting payments right should not be a burdensome overhead, but a strategic imperative. Ultimately, the point is to turn your payments provider into an invisible conversion driver so you can grow your e-commerce business globally.

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