Achieve the perfect balance in online payment processes

Brought to you by our friends at Osborne Clarke

As online commerce grows, so does the need for payment technology and process to keep pace with both supplier and consumer demands.

Increasing the efficiency of the end-to-end sales process is crucial and there are a number of areas for development. First, the payment reference and other information are likely to become more accurate and integrated into the whole process. Alongside that you have e-invoicing which facilitates in particular straight-through processing (STP). Both of these areas will require common standards and approaches and facilitation. The other area of development in relation to the sales process is for real-time transaction information being available from the suppliers.

Reduced risk
The foundation of e-commerce is security and trust and there are ongoing developments in this area in respect of authorisation and authentification. On example is MasterCard’s recent announcement regarding implementation of enhanced compliance requirements on its members, merchants and service providers with respect to its Site Data Protection Program (SDP Program). This is designed to identify vulnerabilities in security and safe storage of account data in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Be aware that even the smallest merchants could be caught by significant security assessment requirements in the event of hack-or-attack.

Increased revenue
Increased revenue can come from ensuring that all likely means of payment are accepted such as (in the UK) Faster Payments and (for euro denominated transactions) the SEPA Credit Transfer and Direct Debit Schemes.

Greater convenience
The recent explosion in e-payment sites, such as e-Bay’s PayPal, Amazon’s Amazon Payments, and Google’s Google Checkout reflects the fact that they can add both convenience and trust to the transaction and increase the likelihood of repeat transactions.

The perfect balance
Best of all would be to combine all of these elements with: an internet bill; an e-mandate; and payment under either the SEPA Credit Transfer or Direct Debit Scheme. What a perfect balance it would be. No paper. End-to-end efficiency/integration. Quicker payment cycles. Certainty of timing and funds. Parties retain control. End of.

Osborne Clarke solicitors are leading specialists in payment law.

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