Choosing the right e-commerce provider for APAC and beyond
These days, consumers have come to expect to be able to handle all their financial transactions digitally.
We all make card payments in stores, and many of us (perhaps the younger and more technically astute) are now making payments with NFC technologies such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, and Android Pay. Online and on mobile, there are even more ways to pay digitally.
But despite advancements in encryption technology and compliance requirements that are often imposed at a legislative level, fraud remains an issue, especially where a card, or the card holder, isn’t present.
In business transactions, of course, the card holder is rarely present – rather, transactions are made entirely digitally, and as such, are made on trust. There’s a degree of trust between parties that both sides will honor their agreements, but key for the enterprise is a degree of trust in the underlying technology that carries and actions the transaction.
As any cybersecurity expert will tell you, however, you’re only as good as your code. A quickly as the financial world moves to make transactions secure, hackers and malign forces move just as quickly to find loopholes.
Cryptocurrencies are a case in point: a currency and medium of exchange, thought to be utterly secure and anonymous, is now known to be compromise-able. And what seemed to be the great hope for many (including some countries and even companies) now seems as prone to compromise as old-fashioned cash at the pickpocket’s mercy.
When we visit an online payment solutions provider’s website, we are met with the right phrases and marketing spin: payments are secure, transactions safe and guaranteed and discretion is assured. However, it’s important to drill through the marketing hype to find out what the company is really offering, and how up-to-date its solutions really are.
Tip: Does your provider allow you access to tools that will help identify unusual or anomalous patterns of transactions? Most solutions providers offer this service, but the data may be closed to you, the client.
Additionally, as with all things in life, the devil is in the detail. Many business owners, for instance, don’t factor in the number of chargebacks to which they’ll be subject. If your chosen provider isn’t absolutely upfront about this, take this as a red flag.
One consideration for businesses operating in, or hoping to reach the pan-Asian region, is whether or not the local e-commerce and payment methods are accepted. Sometimes, global transaction media are required – household names such as American Express – but sometimes, if the concerns are local, a solutions provider may or may not allow payment using local players such as CIMB Clicks, available in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Additionally, if you’re working primarily in a particular locale (be that country, or continent) an e-commerce provider should possess the right localized knowledge. A US-based provider may have the most attractive marketing materials and a great PR machine, but that won’t cut the mustard for an enterprise wishing to service customers in disparate regions – Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam or Indonesia, for example.
Ideally, if an enterprise’s sights are set on a truly global offering, a solutions provider should be able to combine a high degree of local knowledge with a global reach. Failure to do so could result in payment delays, fees, lost transactions and processing issues which can have negative cash flow implications.
Tip: If your favored payment provider doesn’t offer the level of localization you require, make sure they offer a secure API for you to use to develop your own, if necessary.
Good payment solution providers will offer training and guidance on aspects of legislative requirements, compliance and local requirements. Companies and organizations may not have the time to do their own research into the financial complications involved in a new territory, so a good solution provider will be an end-to-end provider. (Or should that be an ends-of-the-earth provider?)
The Internet has a plethora of articles explaining the various reasons for e-commerce failures. But a survey-of-surveys listed reasons for shopping cart abandonment in e-commerce situations. Four out of the 10 reasons given involved payment issues that could have been avoided. If we scale this up from B2C concerns to B2B, we can see the scale of the impediments to smooth digital transactions!
Here are four payment systems suppliers we feel you should consider:
Red Dot Payment (RDP) is based in Singapore and offers specific local expertise for companies who wish to trade extensively in the Asia Pacific region. The range of payment methods they are happy to process is broad and includes several notably localized methods, specific to Indonesia and Singapore, as well as China- specific modes like WeChat Pay and Alipay.
RDP is able to offer bespoke integration and development services. The word bespoke is too often thrown about by service providers of all types, but in the e-commerce sense, it often means integrating existing systems with new ones, while allowing data and reporting to flow interchangeably and seamlessly. RDP takes up the challenge to provide custom solutions that ultimately not only enable online payment but also improve operational efficiency – services not typically available from other payment gateways. Of note is RDP’s custom work in the hospitality sector.
The company offers a range of integrated payment solutions for businesses of all sizes in the B2C space, but they specialize in offering the type of expertise that will appeal to organizations in the B2B arena.
Recurring payment options available are particularly impressive, so merchants operating on the basis of lease, hire or membership schemes can take up one or more of the options to manage all aspects of this potentially complex area. Software developers ready to go to market, take note!
The company’s solutions also enable transactions from within social media, email or even over the phone.
There are electronic invoice production and reconciliation solutions, so the total offering should cover every base for modern e-commerce to take place. Read their full profile…
Singapore-based 2C2P is a Southeast Asia provider that offers payment solutions via various channels, allowing clients to accept APAC-local (and international) payments from cards, banks (ATMs, iBanking and mBanking) and even cash settlements via physical counters.
2C2P’s “123 service” enables people to purchase online without using a credit or debit card. 123’s service network spans Southeast Asia via an API. And for those who still rely on traditional transactional methods (albeit in digital form), the company allows merchants and billers to issue and settle invoices digitally.
The company’s solutions are compatible with the increasingly widespread level of security offered by 3D Secure (ACS and MPI), so can handle Visa Verified By Visa, MasterCard SecureCode, American Express SafeKey, and JCB J-Secure transactions.
The company’s API is available in .NET & PHP versions, so is ready to accept integrations that are pre-existing or still at the coding phase. The company’s dedicated subdomain developer.2c2p.com provides a wealth of information.
Stripe sets its stall out as an API environment designed for developers, and therefore those looking for pre-built solutions may wish to look elsewhere.
However, if an organization possesses the necessary tech chops, the company’s offering is powerful and can be adapted to individual use constrained only by the developers using it.
Complete tokenization places a layer of security between the merchant and payee, and allows easy repeat payments, as references are only ever back to the token(s), rather than to the original payment details.
This leads the way to using Stripe to manage subscription-based payments, such as membership or licensing. This is achieved by subscribing a customer to a predefined plan in the Stripe API – repeat payments are then a matter of iteration through a standard presentation of identifying keys and transactional data.
The company also offers “Stripe Connect”, a full-stack solution for using Stripe’s capabilities on behalf of others. This includes collecting fees for providing such a service, managing all the different types of Stripe accounts and supporting different payout schedules and methods.
Security is paramount in the Stripe environment, with a machine-learning engine that carries out risk evaluations of all payments. There’s the standard blacklist of unwanted cards and emails, plus a constant review process examining unusual payments. Action on flags can be configured through a user dashboard, and automated.
Braintree was acquired by PayPal (an eBay company) in 2013 and has amongst its clients luminaries of the business world such as Uber, Airbnb, DropBox, Slack, and Pinterest. As you’d expect from such a behemoth, many methods of payment are accepted, including ApplePay, credit and debit cards, PayPal (of course), ACH and American Express Checkout, among others.
For swift development, Braintree has plug-in capabilities for IBM Sterling Commerce, OMS, Magento, Netsuite, Oracle (e business, atg et al), Salesforce, and SAP, to name a few, ensuring that Braintree can be deployed into existing solutions with a minimum of technical effort.
For merchants managing multiple e-commerce facilities for multiple clients, Braintree promotes its master “Vault” from which all included merchants may benefit, speeding up checkout and therefore boosting shopping cart conversion (slow carts lead to abandonment).
In Malaysia, costs are advertised as 3.40 percent + RM 2.00 per transaction, with an additional 1 percent fee applied to transactions presented outside of a “home” currency. A flat RM90 fee is applied for chargebacks.
PayPal transaction costs are widely advertised, and range from 3.4 percent to 1.9 percent + a small transaction charge (around RM2.00), varying with the total number of transactions.
Braintree is a Level 1 PCI DSS-compliant service provider and therefore doesn’t store raw magnetic stripe, card validation code, or PIN data. For clients wishing to migrate to Braintree, a porting service is available.
*Some of the companies featured in this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia