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The Retail Bank’s Guide to Payments Success

A recent report by Cornerstone Advisors, commissioned by Total Expert, seeks to clarify ways retail banks can improve outcomes for their payments offerings. Payments, after all, are the highest-frequency touchpoint banks have with their customers and so can create the strongest loyalty for primary banking relationships.

But the space is evolving fast. New technology has expanded the universe of what kinds of payments are possible (think: digital wallets, touchless payments, etc.), and the pandemic has increased consumer appetite for these non-traditional payments.

We’re sharing customers’ biggest pain points at each phase of the payments journey.

To read the full report on how retail banks can keep up with these changing customer expectations, download here.

Phase 1: Acquisition

Today, a customer’s first impression of a bank’s products is often online. According to the Payments Playbook, these online experiences often fall short.

Specifically, customers are frustrated by:

  • Insufficient product and service information
  • Lack of digital capabilities (including digital account opening, card controls, fraud tools, and spend insights)
  • Unclear value propositions (e.g., some banks’ websites still focus on checks)

To address these and create a strong first impression that supports payments customer acquisition, retail banks need to ensure that they have clear information online about their products and services, including value propositions for each product.

Phase 2: New Account Onboarding

Apple has, once again, forever changed customer expectations. In just three minutes, customers can go from downloading an app to having a usable Apple credit card. The takeaway for retail banks: the bar for payments onboarding has been set high.

This change in expectations is reflected by the customer pain points:

  • Too many steps to get a new product set up (digital and in person)
  • Insufficient onboarding
  • Lack of digital support (including integration to digital account information)

To address these pain points, retail banks must map their new account process to identify and eliminate gaps and friction points. Their goal should be to create a seamless process that requires little customer input and makes the product available to use immediately.

Phase 3: Digital Engagement

Just as retail banks’ websites may not clearly explain what payments products the bank offers, their customer communication may not clearly explain those products’ capabilities.

Indeed, the biggest pain points customers have around digital engagement include:

  • A lack of awareness about, and understanding of, a payment product’s digital capabilities.
  • The complexity of a bank’s digital enablement tools.

Ease of use is paramount. To improve the payments customer experience, banks should focus on activating digital capabilities during onboarding and educating customers on an ongoing basis about digital and recurring payment capabilities.

Phase 4: Ongoing Account Engagement

Nothing is quite as frustrating as having a digital transaction denied for a reason you don’t understand. Customer pain points around ongoing use of their payments products reflect that reality:

  • Blocked transactions
  • Card controls
  • No fraud alerts
  • Tradeoff between fraud prevention and customer experience

To address these, banks have to figure out how to ensure that their payments products can prevent fraud without impacting the user experience. Further, they have to make sure customers are aware of these benefits so they continue using that payment method.

To Succeed in Payments, Understand Customer Pain Points and Measure the Right KPIs

Understanding customer pain points is an important first step on the road to delivering payments that strengthen customer relationships with every transaction. To complete the journey, retail banks need to understand exactly how to address these friction points and measure to assess their progress.

For insight about concrete steps forward and which KPIs correspond to addressing the pain points above, download the full Payments Playbook.