Why Do Online Payments Fail?

Category: Growth


Why Do Online Payments Fail?

Making online payments is a complex process. Transactions can fail to materialize many times and there may be several reasons behind them. In order to fully understand the reason behind such failures, it is imperative to look at the various components of the payment processing chain. Any one glitch at any stage may cause the payment to collapse. Not only do these payment processes involve money but also highly sensitive data related to a business and its clients. This is why it is important that such instances of payment failure are dealt with properly and in a timely fashion.

Types of Payment Failures

Payment failures can be broadly divided into two categories. The two types of failures are a) where the amount is not charged and b) where the amount is charged. In the first instance there is less to worry since no money was transferred, but it is still important to look into the reasons behind such failure. In the second case, there is bigger cause for concern since the money has left the person’s bank account but cannot be traced further without deeper analysis. Whatever the case may be, you are advised to undertake proper investigation in either of the circumstances as the incident may reveal some other issues in the processes.

Reasons for Payment Failure

Following are some of the most common reasons which may lead to payment failure.

Connectivity: Since payment processing uses internet, any issue with the connectivity may cause the payment process to stop midway. Even if there is only fluctuation in the speed of the network, the payment may fail. In other cases, the user may have unwittingly closed the browser before the process was completed. The payment process will fail in all such scenarios.

Downtime: Online payment process entails several intermediaries such as payment gateways, banks and credit card firms among others. If any of these constituents are undergoing downtime, the payment may fail. In most of the cases, the companies announce their downtime ahead of time, so that their clients may schedule their payments accordingly. However, in other cases, such downtime may be unscheduled. It is also important to adhere to any applicable time constraints. For example, certain transactions may be undertaken only during scheduled hours. If you attempt a transaction outside such limit, your payment is bound to fail.

Security Issues: Financial intermediaries may refuse to process the payment if they are not convinced about the authenticity of the transactions. Such refusal causes the payment process to fail. The reason may be as simple as the bank not finding the transaction to be as per the customer’s usual spending pattern. This generally happens when there is a charge from a foreign country. The customer’s bank may flag the transaction if it detects any security threat. In other cases, the payment gateway may decline the payment if it is above the threshold set by the merchants.

Wrong or Missing Data: Online payments have very stringent requirements when it comes to authenticating the data. The transactions are bound to decline if there is even a slight mismatch between the data and your credentials. If the customer enters the wrong password or OTP, the banks may choose to decline the payment. In order to ensure the security of financial payments, the financial institutions may also impose time limits within which the transaction is must be completed. It is important to adhere to such directions. Even if the data is entered correctly but an element is missing, the payment transaction will be declined.

Other Reasons: Apart from these broad categories, there are several other reasons why a payment may fail. Sometimes, the reason may be as simple as there not being sufficient balance in the customer’s account. If the transaction they are undertaking is beyond the limit of their debit or credit card, then the payment will be declined. Another reason may be that their chosen payment method may not be on the list of approved methods.

Payment failures may adversely impact an online business in a significant manner. Apart from causing financial loss, it may also lead to loss of reputation and trust among your clients. In order to provide the best services to your customers, you should look into each and every incident of payment failure to find out the underlying reason.


How to Improve Customer Retention and What Are the Benefits

Customer retention is highly important for any business as relying solely on new clientele for growth may prove to be a myopic approach. There are several approaches which may be undertaken to ensure that the firm is able to generate repeat business from its set client base. The main benefit of customer retention is that it takes considerably lower expenditure to generate revenue from established customers than from new clients. Higher Revenue: when a business is able to retain its client, it helps in achieving higher revenue as well. As your clients already trust your business practices and products, you are not required to plan any expensive marketing plan. This feature ensures that your profit margin is more robust than ever. Here are some of the benefits of a loyal customer base.

  • Improved Business Image: apart from offering pecuniary benefits, customer retention also helps a firm in generating goodwill in the market. Having a loyal customer base gives a stamp of approval to your products and services. It sends a message to the market and to the prospective clients that your business is trustworthy.
  • Lower Marketing Costs: acquiring new clients is an expensive affair as you need to spend a lot of money on collecting data about them, designing appropriate policies and executing them. However, in the case of existing clients, these expenses are reduced considerably. Lower costs mean that you are either able to provide your goods and services at cheaper rate to your clients or able to add to your profit margin. Both the situations are conducive to solid business growth.
  • Data Collection: in today’s world, data is king as it is used for making analysis and creating policies. When a business has large customer base, they are able to generate big data sets which are required for proper analysis. It is also a lot easier and less expensive to collect data from existing clients than looking for new people for this purpose. In case of loyal customer base, the frequency of collecting data and analysis may also be kept lower, which further helps in rationalizing the associated costs.

Creating customer following need not be a daunting task. Here are some of the main ways you can ensure that your customers keep coming back for more.

  • Know Your Client Base: it is important that you understand the requirements and features of your clients. It will help you in customizing your offerings, motivating clients to keep coming back. Providing customized products to best meet your clients’ requirements is the key to build a loyal customer base.
  • Take Extra Care: for generating repeat business, it is imperative that you provide robust customer care. This step ensures that as and when there is any grievance, it is properly handled. The speedy resolution of the issues is also important as any delay may lead the customers to look for alternatives, eroding your client base.
  • Offer Incentives: it is always helpful to start loyalty program, where you offer incentives to your clients for making repeat purchases. Such incentives may be in the cash form or non-cash form. The monetary incentives may be introduced through discounts and cash backs while the main examples of non monetary incentives are freebies, early access to new products and free shipping among other features. However, it is ideal to offer a judicious mix of cash and non cash incentives to ensure that the requirements of your client base are adequately met.
  • Remain in Touch: it is important that you maintain constant touch with your clients, even when they are not making purchase. This is especially important in the areas where the demand is seasonal. During the lean season, you can remain acquainted with your clients by sending them newsletters about latest developments in your business. However, you should ensure that such communiqué is appropriately customized and is able to pique customers’ interest.

It needs to be noted that offering high quality goods and services is of paramount importance for creating a loyal customer base. However, you also need to undertake the above given strategies to ensure that you are able to generate repeat business from your clients.


What is the PCI Data Security Standard and why should I care?

PCI Data Security Standard or PCI DSS are the standards governing credit card industry. The task of administration of these standards is entrusted to the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The main aim of these standards is to create a safe environment for credit card transactions and minimize the risk of financial frauds. While credit card protection is vital for all the users, it is of utmost importance for online businesses. Compliance with PCI DSS can help you secure your business as well as your clients’ sensitive information.

What is PCI DSS?

PCI DSS are internationally applicable and are designed to maintain the integrity of customer data and merchant payment systems. The standard was originally proposed to encourage the credit card companies to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of the data. In order to be PCI DSS compliant, an organization is required to fulfill twelve core requirements which include the obligation to build and maintain a secure network, protect the data pertaining to the cardholders and implement robust access control measures. There are also different levels of compliance, which you may choose to best meet your resources and requirements. Even if you outsource your payment processes, you are still required to be PCI DSS compliant. Similarly, you are required to fulfill PCI DSS requirements even if you do not store credit card data.

How to Become PCI DSS Compliant?

There are several ways to fulfill 12 core requirements for becoming PCI DSS compliant. Some of the steps you can take to ensure that your business complies with the set regulations are given below:

  • Ensure the safe recording of financial information such as credit card numbers, expiry date and CVV. You can simply outsource your requirements to a payment gateway which will then be responsible for the proper upkeep of data.
  • Update software and How security programs on your machines so that the malicious codes may not be installed on them.
  • Educate your employees to take adequate measures to secure the data. All systems should be password protected and such passwords should be frequently changed. Further, the employees should also be directed to not share their passwords and other login details.

There are main four levels of compliance and these levels are defined on the basis of transaction volume. Level 4 is applicable to businesses processing less than 20,000 transactions annually, whereas Level 3 covers the organizations carrying out 20,000 to 1 million transactions annually. Level 2 is applicable where the volume of transactions is between 1 and 6 million in a year and the upper most level is Level 1, which needs to be complied with by the businesses processing over 6 million transactions.

The process to become PCI DSS compliant varies for different organizations, based on their policies and procedures. The standard is applicable to all the businesses which process, transmit or store card details. You can start the process by completing the self-assessment questionnaire and undergoing vulnerability scan with an approved scanning vendor.

Why PCI DSS Compliance is Important?

The main aim of PCI DSS is to make payments processes safe and secure. The standard provides guidelines about the prevention and detection of data loss and payment frauds. It also offers remedial steps to be undertaken in cases where breach has already occurred. The compliance with this standard is important to ensure that the risk of a financial breach is minimized.

An organization can also boost its image and reliability by complying with PCI DSS. In the absence of such compliance, it may lose out on traffic and revenue volume as its clients may choose not to deal with the firm, in order to protect their financial details. The compliance with PCI DSS helps in elevating the trust level, which ultimately leads to a stronger top line.

Apart from gaining clients’ trust, compliance with PCI DSS can ensure the longevity and survival of the business as well. Financial data breaches can have devastating consequences for a business. Such frauds may lead to financial and even criminal liabilities, severely hampering the operations of an organization. Therefore, it is important that the risk of such catastrophic events is curtailed by following PCI DSS norms.

Subscription Economy: Business Impact of Rapidly Changing Consumer Needs

Subscription Economy: Business Impact of Rapidly Changing Consumer Needs

Technology has changed the way businesses are conducted. This is primarily due to change in consumer needs and perceptions. Technology has brought newer avenues to the customers and has offered them more choices. One of the most disruptive innovations facilitated by technology is the proliferation of subscription economy. This mode has changed the way consumers pay for different products and services. It also means that the businesses are now able to better handle their cash inflows and improve their liquidity.

What is Subscription Economy

In simple words, it may be defined as the practice of businesses to offer subscription to their customers. This implies that instead of charging a lump sum amount to the customers, the goods or services are provided in lieu of periodic payments. Such periodic payments are called subscription and the model is known as subscription services model. Currently, many companies are moving away from traditional model towards subscription economy due to change in consumer taste and needs.

Under this business model, the consumer is willing to use the goods or services on periodical basis instead of making a one-time commitment. While the payments under this model are expected to be made regularly, the plans may be customized to best meet the individual requirements of the consumers. However, it should be noted that the model has proved to be so successful that it has not only been implemented in B2C segment, but also in B2B sector. It is likely that by 2023, 75 percent of the companies dealing in direct selling will adopt subscription model for their clients.

Subscription economy may have different meanings for different businesses as firms may choose to implement their own versions to suit their requirements and resources. The main types of subscription economy models are a) Pay as you Go, b) Curation model c) Replenishment model and d) Access model. Pay as your Go model is simple and hence highly popular. Under this model, the consumer is charged for periodic delivery of goods and services. Since it takes away the worry to remember the need to renew, the model is also known as convenience model.

Curation model is mainly used by the businesses which provide personalized goods or services instead of the mass ones. This model allows the consumers to discover new products by sampling them, instead of committing to them in the first go. Such subscription boxes are especially popular in food and beauty segment. Replenishment model, on the other hand, is more suitable for goods and services related to regular, day to day life. With such subscription model, the customer can automate the delivery of their consumables. Access based model offers need based access to goods and services on payment of periodical fee.

Impact on Business

Subscription economy has impacted the businesses in a prominent manner. Subscription model implies that businesses are now required to remain in constant touch with their clients since one time interaction is now converted into periodic interactions. The businesses are now required to be more savvy with their customers as every interaction with them forms the foundation for the next one. It is also more important now to keep the customers engaged and interested in your products as they may choose to switch their loyalty if there is any slack in the services. While this factor can keep the businesses on their toes, it also provides them the opportunity to innovate and grow.

With subscription model, the firms can make their cash flow more predictable, allowing them to better manage their liquidity and funds. The higher predictability of the cash inflows let the firms undertake better planning for their future endeavors. Subscription economy also helps the firms by reducing their customer acquisition costs. Further, the firms can also personalize or customize their marketing strategies to best suit their client base. The model is helpful for the clients as well since they are not forced to make lump sum payments.


Subscription model is here to stay and for the ultimate success of this model, it is important for businesses to have a robust and reliable payment processing system. Such system should be able to handle frequent payments in an efficient manner. With such payment systems, the firms can boost their sales and client base.