As countries grapple with COVID-19, online payments are becoming the norm. The enforcement of social distancing protocols has forced businesses to rely heavily on technology to facilitate transactions.
Will it keep businesses running until a vaccine is successfully developed? It most likely will, and China’s example offers some insights into successfully building online payment infrastructures.
Investing in internet infrastructure before the SARS outbreak
A decade before the outbreak of SARS in 2003, China already started building the foundations of a robust digital payment system.
Through its Golden Bridge Project, the Chinese government developed critical internet networks throughout the country. These crucial building blocks would necessitate a unified payment card system that would encourage cashless transactions.
By the time SARS hit, this internet infrastructure was already in full swing, with about 500 million payment cards in circulation. Years after SARS was no longer a threat, online payments and e-commerce experienced tremendous growth.
Fast forward to 2020, smartphones and other mobile devices have replaced the physical payment card. Through quick response (QR) codes and near-field communications (NFC), digital payments have kept many Chinese businesses afloat amid COVID-19.
Given the growing importance of online payments, companies would do well to start integrating digital technology into their business models.
But what are some things to consider when choosing a digital or online payment platform?
Similar to onboarding platforms with automated processes, online payment platforms should be convenient for customers. Transactions must be processed efficiently without any connection issues. Confirmation receipts should be sent out promptly.
Additionally, there should be a sufficient number of payment options available to customers. Whether it’s through bank integrations or credit card enrollment, a payment platform should present customers with a variety of channels to reduce the hassle of payment.
Security and confidentiality
Online platforms require the input of personal information such as name, address, and mobile phone number. This data is essential in verifying the identity of a customer. However, a payment platform that does not have robust security features is at risk of data breaches.
Cybercriminals are always looking for vulnerabilities in any system — especially those that process financial information and facilitate commercial transactions. Before choosing a particular platform, a business owner should ask about fraud and online theft prevention measures.
Businesses will eventually encounter some technical issues when integrating a payment platform. Thus, the technology provider must offer practical troubleshooting support. The latter will be crucial in helping the business owner get up to speed with the platform’s capabilities.
A good provider will go beyond just answering questions and will treat the engagement as a partnership — rather than just a regular B2B transaction.
Last but certainly not least, a payment platform will have an ideal pricing plan for the business, whether it’s a flat fee across the board or on a per-transaction basis.
If costs are relatively high, businesses could charge a small convenience fee to customers. However, at a particular transaction volume, some companies may not need to pass on the burden to paying customers.
Cost considerations will largely depend on the nature of the business, the relevant industry, and the number of customers.
With these ideas in mind, you can prepare and plan your choices of online payments. These will aid your customers in finalizing their purchases and making the experience better.