Online Payments Seem Effortless. But Are They, Really?

Online checkout and deposit experiences nowadays are a breeze for consumers (at least they should be!). They find a product they need/want/love or enter an amount to deposit, and a few clicks later their payment is complete. Behind the scenes, however, online transactions are more than the sum of their parts and there’s an intricate technological journey happening between the time a consumer clicks ‘pay’ to receiving a confirmation prompt.

Nice and effortless, right? Well, kind of.

Just like it often happens in life, in payments, things that seem simple and effortless actually require much work and precision in the background. What many consumers don’t know is the challenges merchants face securing the right payment methods, gateways, PSPs and acquirers, and setting up the routing rules. 

For online businesses, the customer clicking “Buy Now” button isn’t the finale and instead represents the beginning of a series of orchestrated planned technological processes. These aim to: a) ensure smooth fund transfers without unwanted ‘declined’ notifications, b) display payment options tailored to the user’s location, and c) guarantee swift transactions that don’t leave customers waiting with loading or processing screens. Ultimately, this intricate series of events is designed to not only secure satisfied customers but also to boost the online business’ retention strategies through a positive checkout user experience.

Enter Payment Orchestration Platforms

Immediately after a consumer clicks on the checkout page, merchants begin the task of managing the transaction. This is where the Payment Orchestration Platform springs into action, consolidating all of the information gathered thus far, launching a branded payment details form, and presenting localized payment options depending on where the user is in the world. This includes:

  • Selecting PSPs: Given the plethora of Payment Service Providers (PSPs), the orchestration platform intelligently identifies the most optimized one for the specific transaction, choosing from a pool of hundreds of PSPs.
  • Geotargeted Localization: The platform ensures the transaction meets local preferences and rules, considering how payment preferences vary across regions. For instance, a shopper in Japan will see different payment options compared to one in Brazil.
  • Fraud and Risk Management: Sophisticated verification steps - sometimes even biometric methods - are taken to ensure the consumer’s details are legitimate and are then securely encrypted in a protected data vault. 
  • Decline Recovery: If a transaction fails, these platforms have the capability to reroute it (this is called cascading if you want to be specific), or suggest alternative payment solutions to users. 
  • Currency Conversion: For international shopping, dynamic currency conversion might be applied, showcasing options in familiar currencies. Orchestration Platforms provide this ability if a merchant’s gateway doesn’t include support for a specific currency. 

Once this sequence is finalized, the PSP then assumes the driver's seat and handles the money. For transactions that use debit or credit cards as payment methods, the payment is sent to the respective card network, such as Visa or Mastercard, which in turn contacts the issuing bank. After the bank authority conducts its verifications - like fund checks - it either greenlights or declines the transaction. This result then journeys back to the checkout experience. Similar processes unfold if users select alternative payment methods (APMs) like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Alipay, WeChatPay, and PayPal for example, or even other APMs such as cryptocurrencies or buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions. 

Strategic Insights through Payment Data

Beyond their primary function of facilitating optimized checkout experiences, Payment Orchestration Platforms serve as valuable analytic resources for merchants too. They provide comprehensive insights by tracking key metrics like transaction success rates, top payment methods chosen by their customers, and distinct regional purchasing behaviors. This data can be pivotal for online businesses; for example, identifying recurring transaction declines in a specific region that suggests a need for more localized payment options. These strategic insights give businesses a clear view of their current performance and out opportunities for further improvement. Combined together, these insights empower online businesses to make informed decisions, optimizing the payment experience for their users and, in turn, boosting the overall user experience. 

Key Takeaways

In essence, while online transactions appear simple and intuitive to the end-user, this article has shown this is deceiving, as beneath the surface lies a complex network of technology and well-thought-out strategies. Payment Orchestration Platforms like Praxis Tech play a crucial role in ensuring that each transaction runs smoothly and securely. For businesses and consumers alike, understanding the processing between the click to confirmation provides a greater appreciation for the ease of their digital interactions. As these processes continue to advance, so too will the platforms that support them, with a consistent mission to enhance the end-user experience while supporting the data-gathering ambitions of the merchants. Contact us to learn more about the Praxis Payment Orchestration Platform.