Total card payment volumes are expected to rise from 14.3 billion payments in 2018 to 21.9 billion in 2026, as customers increasingly swap cash for plastic money in the transactions that they make.1 This increase is in line with growing customer demands for a swift and frictionless shopping experience.
As society shifts towards a cashless system, it is crucial for bank executives to ensure easy customer on-boarding, seamless payment processing and effective customer complaint handling.
With the increase in consumer spending on cards, competitiveness amongst lenders who offer credit card services also goes up. Consumers have all of the media channels and comparison sites at their disposal to shop for the best deals and finalise transactions. For card issuers, this multichannel environment presents new opportunities for distribution innovation, but also potential threats in the form of emerging models. These models leverage alternative distribution networks to acquire customers and provide superior customer experience. For instance, American Express have released a new range of credit cards that customers can sign up for at their local supermarket, or via an in-app purchase when they sign up for challenger banks, such as simple.com.
Seamless payment processing
Based on the rapid increase in credit card usage, traditional players have to equip themselves with the right technology to ensure speedy payment processing. By automating certain aspects of the process, including customer checks and transaction verification, banks can free up staff members to take on more strategic roles within the bank, including providing a customised experience to customers.
A large part of payment processing includes monitoring suspicious activity. Contactless card fraud is now proving more problematic than cheque fraud, overtaking the latter in the first half of last year and hitting £5.6 million2. By making use of the wide variety of technology available, a scalable solution to transaction authentication can be created to detect fraudsters. Automated systems and Artificial Intelligence (AI) programmes can be used to scour previous transactions and customer spending behaviour to single out suspicious activity. To combat fraud, it is not only imperative that banks track customer transactions in order uncover any abnormal activity, but also to have the right resolution processes in place for customers reporting fraud.
Effective customer service
To stay competitive, financial services need to ensure a seamless customer experience across all channels. In the digital age, customers demand more self-service options, anytime, anywhere. Banks and financial institutions can attract and retain customers by providing a compelling omni-channel experience across a number of touch points.
Expanding the service offering to include self-service options, chat-bots and telephone banking will further improve customer satisfaction by ensuring that clients who struggle with technology will still be able to access banking services. The industry can tap into innovations that, for example, recognise different customers’ voices and keywords when they telephone a bank. This enables the bank to predict the purpose of their call and automatically forward them to the most relevant department, streamlining the customer experience and saves them time.
One large retail bank, realising that customers were acquired and served through streams of activity across channels, shifted from its classical “funnel” approach to acquisition to one focused on cross-channel “journeys” that follow customers across multiple interactions. Upon embarking on this change, the bank realised that inconsistencies across channels were making them a difficult institution to work with, as well as increasing operational cost and risk.
As a result, the bank created a cross-functional, front-line-led response to build a unified customer experience across channels, targeting the most common journeys taken by customers during the first 90 days of their banking relationship. The result was a 40 percent increase in products per new account and a 30 percent drop in time to open new accounts.3
If the increasing usage of credit cards is met with a robust response from service providers, the upward demand will gain fast momentum and benefit all. Using the right technology to provide a seamless customer experience, while gaining customer trust through an effective payment processing and fraud prevention system, will give financial services firms a competitive edge in the age of the customer.