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How payment companies can reassure a suspicious customer base

by Ana Lopez
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Zac Cohen is the COO at Trulioa leading global identity verification company.

Economic uncertainty, geopolitical turmoil and a rising tide of online fraud and identity theft have led to a suspicious global customer base. These days, people want the companies they interact with online take safety seriously. It is critical that payment companies recognize that shift in consumer confidence and provide the reassurance and security that consumers crave.

In my experience as chief operating officer at an identity verification company, I have seen firsthand the importance of building trust with customers and how this serves as a differentiator for businesses, particularly in competitive industries. Building trust starts with adapting quickly to changing customer expectations and showing them in every interaction that their online safety is a top priority.

Consumers value safety first.

The increase in online activity in recent years sparked a wave of cybercrime. The attacks are becoming more sophisticated, with adversaries using technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to expand their nets and attack more people.

A businessroundups.org Advisor survey found that as of 2020, four in 10 Americans “reported that someone attempted to open or successfully opened a bank account, credit card or loan in their name”. Of those whose identities were stolen, one in four had thousands of dollars stolen.

Independent research commissioned by my company in July and August 2022 entitled “Finding the payments sweet spot between security and speed” shows how people have responded to those experiences. Through online interviews, we learned from 5,004 consumers and 311 professionals who were responsible for their company’s budgets or influence their company’s identity verification and fraud prevention procedures. Our report found that 73% of consumers now value online safety more than they did three years ago, and 52% have less trust in online brands.

The challenge for payment companies is to restore trust. That starts with responding to the shift in how consumers perceive online safety. I find that the consumer focus on security has led many people to become much more accepting of the steps companies can and should take to keep them safe. Instead of viewing security requirements as a hassle or unnecessary, consumers now want to see proof that online brands are serious about their security. But they still expect speed and convenience.

This is a crucial balancing act.

Find the right balance in customer onboarding.

A divide has developed between payment companies in how they handle the contrasting pressures of security and convenience. My company’s research found that nearly 60% of payment service providers have implemented more identity verification steps during onboarding to mitigate security threats. However, 40% reported removing steps in their identity verification process “to simplify and speed up customer onboarding.”

There is a balance companies can strike when security measures meet customers’ security expectations while providing a smooth and fast experience.

The solution starts with recognizing that global markets are volatile. Consumer expectations are shifting. Fraud and identity theft threats are evolving, and regulations are changing with it. Embedding onboarding into rigid, inflexible processes puts payment companies at a direct disadvantage because they cannot quickly adapt to the changes around them, let alone broaden their global reach.

Dexterity allows for a quick turn. When stronger measures are needed to reassure consumers when they are active online, payment companies with a flexible approach can provide this quickly without sacrificing speed or convenience.

This is also essential for payment companies operating globally. Regulations in different jurisdictions are constantly changing, so be sure to adapt your approach as necessary and country by country. This is essential to stay compliant and competitive.

Certainly, compliance and security are crucial for payment companies and their customers. But there are other factors that play a role in building trust. Businesses must lead with empathy as a means of showing customers that their needs, concerns and values ​​are understood.

Transparency and consistency are two other important ways to build trust with customers. Prioritize transparency that puts customers in control of their experience, and be consistent with your security requirements so customers can expect the same experience in every interaction.

If you use an identity verification solution, make sure you are forthright and honest with customers during the identity verification process. This allows companies to position themselves as trusted partners. In addition to identity verification, payment companies need to provide security throughout the customer journey and let people know what those extra steps are and why they were put in place.

Our research found that many payment companies use fraud and risk solutions for “anomaly detection, activity authentication, high-level transaction monitoring, and continuous watchlist monitoring.” Every business needs different combinations of solutions that serve its use case and customers. But there should be one consistent goal for everyone: to deliver experiences that build customer trust.

Trust is created at the intersection of safety and consumer expectations. It’s the sweet spot where customers can put their guard down and payment companies can form long-term relationships that fuel their global growth.

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