The new normal of eCommerce done during a pandemic has exposed some glaring frictions in the process of getting what we need when we want it.
Searching for items on smartphones and tablets? No problem.
Linking buyers and sellers across online platforms? Supply and demand get a bit balanced in the digital realm.
It’s when one gets to the heart of the transaction — the checkout process — that things could use a bit of smoothing out.
Buy buttons are fragmented and scattered across merchants. Guest checkouts mandate that consumers fill out page after page of personal information across dozens of data fields. Card-not-present (CNP) transactions are increasingly eyed by fraudsters.
To that end, Jess Turner, executive vice president of products and innovation for Mastercard, and Radha Suvarna, head of digital payments and lending for the Citi U.S. Consumer Bank, told Karen Webster that the two firms are working together to deliver a consistent and streamlined experience at checkout through Click to Pay.
Mastercard’s Click to Pay solution is built on EMV standards, and it launched in the U.S. late last year, making it easier to pay for online purchases without entering credit card information. Security is enhanced by inserting tokenization into the checkout experience.
As Turner told Webster, “Click to Pay had been essential even before COVID-19, but what COVID-19 has done is really highlighted a new need for safer and faster ways to pay digitally.”
Citi now becomes the first issuer in the U.S. to enable push provisioning to Click to Pay.
In terms of mechanics, the companies said this week, Citi cardholders can leverage Mastercard Token Connect to push their tokenized card details from the Citi Mobile App (across iOS and Android) to merchants, wallets and Click to Pay.
As an increasing number of consumers pivot to pay for goods and services online that may have once been the purview of brick-and-mortar commerce — and merchants have had to change their business models, too, to a digital-first mindset — there’s been friction in the process.
Friction, of course, leads to abandoned online shopping carts.
Tackling The Abandoned Shopping Cart Problem
Said Turner: Click to Pay “adds a level of calmness to the experience” that makes checkout easier regardless of where fulfillment happens.
In a way, then, Click to Pay can mirror the checkout processes seen at physical stores, where there might exist a point-of-sale (POS) device with a single way to pay.
Asked about the state of Click to Pay in terms of enrollment, Turner said that 10,000 merchants have thus far enabled Click to Pay on their online sites.
The merchant mix, she said, includes big box names — including the juggernauts of retail — and smaller merchants that may just be getting started with card-on-file transactions.
Citi’s Suvarna said the latest news about joint efforts with Click to Pay traces its roots back seven years ago, where “guest checkout has always been relevant from a strategy perspective.” And Turner added that the Click to Pay efforts come on the heels of other Citi/Mastercard announcements, such as Pay With Points (announced last year).
Said Turner: “You get to have a standardized experience, an easy way to enroll and our differentiated service.”
Suvarna told Webster that in terms of making cardholders aware of Click to Pay, as soon as customers log into the bank’s mobile app, they receive a prompt that notifies them that they can provision their card into the Click to Pay button.
"All of the relevant customer information is pre-populated,” he said, with details such as card numbers, address and phone numbers, email information and other data. Cardholders, he said, simply have to accept terms and conditions, or complete a two-factor authentication, and then no longer need to type in any other information.
On the merchant side of the equation, he said the bank’s “franchise newsletter” informs merchant clients of new digital features.
“Our plans over the next few weeks and months is to leverage all our digital channels for education about this new capability,” he said.
He noted that increased traction with Click to Pay depends in part on a “chicken and egg” scenario, where more issuers will come on board, which will spur more merchants to enroll, which in turn will excite more issuers over Click to Pay’s potential and get on board.
He said that from Citi’s own observations, the number of logins across its mobile apps have been up double-digit percentages year over year, and “chat as a channel” has surged triple-digit percentages amid the pandemic.
“Click to Pay addresses an increasing consumer need for simple, secure and consistent checkout experience,” he told Webster, “particularly on the guest checkout side.”