“When, Not If”

Credit card users still aren’t feeling safe. In a recent poll conducted by Maru/Matchbox, 41 percent of those asked said that, “it’s not a matter of ‘if’, but rather of ‘when’ they’ll be personally impacted by credit card fraud. Almost half (45 percent) reported they had experienced credit card fraud in the past.

If this isn’t causing concern in the industry, it should. As chip cards continue to roll out there’s plenty to think about.

At the top of the list:

Security

Some $30+ billion has been spent on the chip & signature conversion, with enhanced security and protection of customer information as one of the main rationales for the program. Somehow the message isn’t getting through.

As the payments landscape evolves, the product with the best rewards or the most cutting edge technology will only thrive and breakthrough the clutter if it effectively addresses and communicates commitment to security for in-store and online purchases alike.

Convenience

In the case of payments, every technology and every advance is competing against 50+ years of our collective experience of using credit cards and reaching for a wallet to make a purchase. The simple reason for slow mobile wallet adoption, based on feedback from US shoppers, is that the new way of paying is not easier than making the same purchase with credit or debit cards. With all of the marketing and advertising spend, the industry is struggling with fundamental communication pillars of convenience and functionality. Winning brands and concepts, and there are few, stand out based on their ability to promote convenience.

Rewards

If card users aren’t feeling safe, they aren’t feeling the love, either. A good rewards program is critical, but even the best ideas lose impact if the value proposition is too hard to explain. Consumers only have so much time they’re willing to commit to these decisions. Understandably, they prefer simplicity over the complex series of choices that plague many reward programs. Clarity, consistency and brevity distinguish successful brands and portfolios. Through simple and clear messaging, a product with a lower earn rate can still win against a richer value proposition.

Surprising to some, rewards (or lack thereof) are becoming important in adoption of mobile wallets, too. Consumers want to be rewarded for their loyalty and commitment to the new technology. The immediacy of the experience can provide a powerful connection, if properly leveraged.

With tens of billions already invested, the industry has a lot at stake in making these new initiatives work. Our research is clear – the challenge isn’t so much the medium (the technology), it’s the message. With every payment decision, there’s an individual who brings his or her unique history and experience to the process. It’s behavioral. It’s emotional. A research process that allows you to speak directly to this experience is critical to brand success.

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