Why Do Online Payments Fail?

Category: Growth Hacks


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 Get Increased Brand Loyalty Through M-commerce

Brand loyalty is vital for the long term survival of a business. The term refers to the tendency of customers to keep dealing with a particular business over others. Brand loyalty ensures a long lasting and trusting relationship between a business and its customers. This concept makes sure that by providing superior services and economical pricing, a business can keep its customers coming back.

With the rise in e-commerce, the rules of driving brand loyalty have changed a little. Businesses are now required to have specific strategy for fostering brand loyalty amongst its customers. The rules of the game have been modified further by the introduction of m-commerce or mobile commerce. As more and more people are now shopping on their phones, it has become necessary for businesses to adapt their customer centric policies to accommodate the requirements of m-commerce. Here are our top tips to help you achieve brand loyalty in the age of M-commerce.

Create your Brand: As intuitive as it sounds, this vital step towards achieving brand loyalty is generally forgotten by many businesses. Creating your brand image online requires concentrated efforts and comprehensive strategy. Whether you are using social media to promote your business or are going for paid advertisements, it is important that you offer a consistent message. Apart from the message, you may also create a unique brand identity by using the same color scheme, identical logos and consistent artwork. You should also properly analyse your products and services to identify your USP or Unique Selling Point. This USP will help you stand out in the crowd and create your own following.

Simplify: An important step towards achieving brand loyalty through the use of M-commerce is to simplify all your processes. The main reason behind this approach towards simplicity is that in the case of M-commerce, resources are at premium. The customer has extremely limited screen space on their phone. Further, despite vast improvements in technology, the internet and processing speed on a mobile phone are still slower as compared to mainframe computers. In order to ensure that the client is able to follow through all the requirements for making a successful purchase, it is imperative that various processes are kept as simple as possible. This will allow the customers to make faster purchases, adding to your bottom line.

Make an Offer: While the right type of messaging and efficient processes are big draws for clients, they also tend to respond well to financial incentives. In order to build brand loyalty, you may think about changing your pricing strategy and offer some discounts to your clients. The main purpose is to induce customers to make purchases repeatedly. To achieve this end, you may introduce loyalty points where the clients are able to use incentives to get discounts on their bills. Another strategy is to remarket, which is a tool aimed at customers who have not purchased anything recently. You can reach out to these customers with some offers, so that they are enticed back to your business.

Omnichannel Promotion: Once you have identified your USP, simplified your processes and started offering incentives, it is time to let people know about all your efforts. In order to succeed in the highly competitive world of M-commerce, it is important to take a comprehensive approach towards marketing and promoting your business. You should ensure that you are making optimal use of all the tools available to you. It pays in the long run when you take the time to align your email marketing with your social media promotions. This type of planning will ensure that you are able to provide a cohesive message which resonates with your USP. You can also start a blog to interact with your customer base. However, keep in mind that the quality of your content will determine your ultimate success.

Engage and Follow up: It is highly important that you maintain contact with your clients even after the transaction is over. After sales customer care is also necessary as it shows your commitment to quality. The key to keep people coming back to your business is to maintain a rapport with them even if they are not making any business transaction with you.

With these steps you can easily build brand loyalty in the age of M-commerce.


6 Tips to Improve Your Business’ Cash Flow

Effective management of cash flow is crucial for any business. While you may have good turnover and profit, but you may lack liquidity if you do not manage your cash flow in an efficient manner. Cash flow management essentially entails keeping proper record of money coming in and going out. The analysis of this record may let you see the gaps and fill them accordingly. Here are some tips which will let you manage your cash flow easily.

Develop a Plan and Forecast: planning and forecasting involves you looking at your finances and then draw inferences for your future. While the task may seem daunting at first but with the availability of a number of software for cash management, your task may be eased to a certain extent. You can choose to use simple spreadsheet or some sophisticated software specially designed for this purpose, the choice is yours. You will be required to record your opening cash and bank balance and all the inflows and outflows there from. When you start seeing a pattern, you will be able to forecast your future transactions. This exercise will allow you to plan your spending accordingly.

Speed up Your Inflows: businesses need to provide credit line to their customers, which may lead to delay in cash inflow. However, curtailing such terms and conditions may lead to loss of revenue as your customers may shift to another vendor with liberal credit terms. In such cases, it is essential that you reconcile your objectives of achieving higher revenue and improving cash inflow. You may offer incentives for faster payments. Such incentives may or may not be financial in nature. For example, top fast payers may receive advance information about new product arrival. You may also institute late payment fees to discourage lax customers.

Control your Outflows: managing cash inflows is one facet of cash management system. The other side is to manage your cash outflows. The best policy is to talk with your vendors and seek more relaxed terms. You may also use your impeccable payment history to make your case. If you are able to extract a few more days for payment from your vendors, then it may work wonders for your cash flows.  However, never try to take a shortcut or default on any of your payments as it may impair your relationship with your vendors on permanent basis.

Finance your Inventory: liquidity is related to cash which is often tied up in acquiring other assets such as inventory.  Take proper record of your inventory and analyze it. You may find that your funds are unnecessarily tied up in old inventory which is not moving. In such a case, you may want to liquidate the inventory and free up your cash. Further, if you have excess of any asset including tools and raw material then re-sell them to obtain cash. You may have to sell them at deep discount but some money is better than the money tied up.

Use Professional Services: for better management of your cash flow, you may want to engage the services of professionals. This is especially important if your business is growing at a fast pace and the requirement for liquidity is high. You may engage factors for the timely collection of your invoices. Factoring works by providing you cash on the basis of invoices generated by you. It can be excellent way of availing short term finance. You are also not required to take any drastic step with regard to the collection of bills. However, factors charge fee or commission, which may not be affordable to many businesses.

Take Advance Payments: you may introduce new terms to your sales whereby you require the deposit of payment before the delivery is undertaken. This arrangement is especially helpful if you are engaging in a large order. Taking advance will lower your risk of default and will also improve your liquidity. Such advance payment may also be used for funding the transaction so that you do not have to look for alternative financing arrangements.

Cash flow management does not have to be an odious task. With these pointers you may manage your cash flows in an easy manner.


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.