I’m often surprised by how many payment process failures there are. A few years ago, fair enough. But you would think that by now most companies who want to sell online would have got their payment process working pretty smoothly. But no. Yesterday I tried to buy a game online for my son and the web server simply locked up: I got an e-mail today telling me it was working again, but for a disappointed small boy (eg, me) 24 hours is a long time. And how about this?
When you’re trying to get back to a client in a hurry to confirm to them that you can do something they’ve asked you to do, this sort of thing is really annoying. When I called to complain, the merchant said it was the acquiring bank’s fault (and vice versa). There’s clearly an opportunity for disruptive innovation around the online payment process because we’re still trying to bend and squeeze payment cards into a space they were never designed for. I wonder if push e-billing might be the most likely possibility? You book with the airline, the airline sends you a bill, you tell your bank to pay the bill, the bank sends a receipt to the airline: the airline never has to deal with any payment instrument at all, it just wants the signed receipt, it doesn’t care how you paid.