At Infosys Cards and Payments, we help our clients harness the power of technology-led innovation across the entire payments ecosystem encompassing payment networks, merchant services, stored value, FI payment services, and payment aggregators. Our thought leadership and a design thinking approach helps us co-create solutions with our clients to address their business problems.

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April 20, 2015

Payments Analytics-holy-grail of Payments Business

 

Payments being the heart of commerce, Payments Analytics is considered the holy-grail of Payments Business. When you know who paid how much to whom for what and when - you have a goldmine of insights for improving your business. With the advent of mobile commerce consumers are getting less and less loyal and they are expecting more and more value from the service providers. At the same time Technology is improving to help support the need for crunching huge source of versatile data faster and cheaper and thus improve the sales conversion rate.

When designing a Payments Analytics initiative it is important to plan holistically and consider all the constraints within which the business operates to optimize the return. We should consider the market regulations around privacy and ensure we are compliant. As a best practice we should provide customer very granular level of privacy choice options - e.g. 'I want my Payments data to be shared within bank for Travel related offers' etc.

Garbage-In means Garbage-Out - before we apply any sophisticated algorithm it is absolutely necessary to ensure the data is clean as much as possible. Next we should plan what we want to do with the data and how to execute the plan. What should be our choice of algorithms, should it be build in-house or we should follow a 'buy and build' strategy. To really help senior management take effective decisions the data needs right level of summarization and visualization. Hence data visualization strategy is as important as data analytics strategy.  

 Payments Analytics.png

Let's now analyze various utilities we can gain from Payments Analytics:

Real time Risk/Fraud/Security:

With the advent of Faster Payments and smarter fraudsters it is extremely important to recognize a fraud/security breach incident real-time and take appropriate action. We need strong algorithms and continuously fine-tune them to keep the algorithms relevant (machine-learning etc.). We want to minimize false-positives and negatives for these alerts and balance security risk with ease of use.

 

Real time monitoring of Operations and Infrastructure:

Real-time Business Activity Monitoring can be a great investment to ensure your Payments Operation and Infrastructure is working at optimum capacity. These systems can identify shocks (e.g. Very high Server utilization, huge number of payments messages flowing to Repair Queue etc.) and help management mitigate the risks proactively.

Single View of customer, Relationship-based pricing and personalization:

Payments Analytics helps to gain single view of customer who is having multi product, multi-channel relationship with various business units. This ensures you can predict her needs much before she actually asks for it. In future with the advent of Internet of Things technologies we will see systems recognizing low stock in refrigerator automatically ordering & paying for groceries after finding the best deal for the client. We have just started the journey!

April 17, 2015

Time for a better credit card statement

 

Credit Card Statements are difficult to understand, even for pros. Let's face it - who is this guy Confused.Inc who charged me $31.75; why I got only 2000 cashback this month - I thought it was 5% cashback month; when will I get the 10% extra bonus points they advertised - there are so much confusion! All these confusion leads to huge amount of time spent on false chargebacks, customer care calls and ultimately bad customer experience.

 

I feel there is a strong business case for improving the clarity of Credit Card billing and statementing - it should be as much user-friendly and self-explanatory as possible. Here is my wishlist -

 

1.    In charge line items mention all possible names/details of the merchant. Example - 'Confused.Inc'(Business name) is also knows as 'Happy Consulting Services' which sells 'consulting services for confused executives'. So if I can see the name which I know or the service they sell- I will never call customer support or initiate a false chargeback request. We should also mention the location and billing contact details of the merchant.

2.    Provide the Transaction Date (when the charge was authorized) and Posting Date. Sometimes charges are seen in statements a day or so after the actual transaction date which creates confusion.

3.    I want to see how my cashback and reward points were calculated. Not Just for this $100 you got 2 points we should mention the rate of reward calculation, if bonus rewards special rate applied for special category of spent (like Travel & Restaurants 5%), if the bonus rewards will be credited later by what date this will happen etc. More the explanation, less the chance for follow-up customer calls.

4.    Explain any Finance Charges in full detail - how the over limit fee was calculated, how the interest was calculated etc.

5.    If the card has Supp/Add-on cards provide separate sections for each of those cards so it is much clear who spent what.

6.    If there is any offer - specifically mention all the conditions to get the offer - it is much better than *conditions apply.

7.    Provide a summary of my card benefits (or at least provide the link) - mention special offers linked to my card.

 

I can go on and on - but this is a good start. When implementing the changes we need to consider the designing of the statement in an effective way so that it does not become overwhelming (one idea can be interactive statement with hyperlinks or for physical statements newspaper style design where summary takes the front page and the details are mentioned in subsequent pages). These changes need coordinated effort from all stakeholders of the Payments value-chain and I am hopeful the industry will appreciate the business case of this improvement one day.

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