5 Ways to Improve Cross-border Payments and Meet the Growing Need for Immediate Results

Over the previous few years we have witnessed a significant push to digitalise and personalise customer engagements, spearheaded by some major brands across various industries, including hardware, Internet, social media, retail, mobility and banking. Companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have shaped our expectations as consumers, regardless of where and which companies we interact with.

How customer loyalty has changed over the years

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By Mariana Almeida Marques

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Customer loyalty is arguably one of the most determining factors of success for a company. However, whilst this loyalty could have been taken for granted in the past, it is now a priority for every business. In this article, we discuss how customer loyalty has changed over the last few years and how the banking and insurance industry can adapt.

Digitalisation and its challenges

Digitalisation is a buzzword that we hear about frequently. However, it is an unmissable driver of change in every industry that does need to be taken into account. It is no news that customers are becoming increasingly tech-savvy. Despite the slower adoption, even the older generations are starting to make more use of electronic devices for their everyday tasks. Everyone appreciates the convenience and ease to do or buy anything online through just a few clicks.

Because reaching customers online has been made easier, there are more companies investing on customer acquisition through digital channels. Whilst this is great for customers, as they get easier access to a wide range of options, the same can’t be said for businesses. Instead, there is now more competition than ever. On top of that, innovative start-ups are attracting customers with their hyper-personalised offers and customer-centred approach.

The market is oversaturated and companies from every industry are battling to get customers’ attention. This also means that your current customers are more likely to try other services, develop interest for other products and, if they find a better offer, change provider. Digitalisation in itself challenges customer loyalty and prompts businesses to come up with other strategies to keep their customers engaged.

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How Covid-19 impacted customer loyalty

The adoption of digital channels surged when the covid-19 pandemic hit. Customers used their electronic devices more, and they got used to the speed, ease and convenience that these devices offer. Tech-savvy customers are not only more difficult to impress, but more difficult to keep engaged. Customers are certainly demanding when it comes to technology, but their main expectation is simple: a seamless and user-friendly experience from the moment they research services to the moment they click the “pay” button. Everything matters, and companies can’t neglect even the smallest of details.

The pandemic also made customers realise just how many other brands are there in the market. The stockpiling craze that emptied endless rows of supermarket shelves, for instance, forced many customers to buy from brands that wouldn’t be their first option. As customers try out new products and services, they begin to compare factors such as pricing and quality, and start to revaluate their choices. In fact, a McKinsey report shows that 3 out of 4 customers have tried out new brands during the pandemic.

The importance of nurturing customer relationships

With more and more brands on the market and increasing competition, companies simply can’t afford not to invest in customer relationships. However, some industries find it more difficult to build relationships with customers and keep them engaged. Insurance, for instance, is seen as a mandatory and preventative purchase, and it isn’t a service that customers are naturally excited about. So how can insurers make sure that their customers are engaged and stay loyal to the company?

Loyalty programmes

Loyalty and reward programmes can apply to any industry and play a significant role in customer retention. According to a YouGov study, 73% of UK residents believe that loyalty programmes are a great way to keep customers engaged. Everybody likes to be rewarded, particularly long-term customers. By offering some kind of loyalty or reward scheme, insurers not only create a new way of engaging with customers and keep them satisfied, but are also more likely to recommended to customers’ friends and family. The goal is to make sure that customers are happy and engaged all the time- not just when they receive a claim reimbursement.

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Loyalty schemes may vary deeply depending on the type of policy. Insurers may wish to reward their customers for healthy behaviours, responsible driving or even merely for their loyalty to the company. These schemes are also a great way for insurers to gain valuable insights into customer behaviour and understand their customer preferences. With our MicroSavings solution, for instance, insurers can be a part of their customers’ savings journey and maintain regular contact with them.

Value-added services and hyper-personalisation

Another way to ensure customer satisfaction and retention is to offer value-added services on top of the regular policy. These can include risk management consulting, claims management support or, as we mentioned above, loyalty programmes. Value-added services or products help the insurer to establish a closer relationships with customers and make them feel more valued. On top of that, it generates more profit for the company. Overall, it is a win-win situation.

One major factor to keep in mind whenever building or developing new products is the demand for hyper-personalisation. Customers are not looking for cookie-cutter services. In order for them to feel valued and appreciated, they need services that are tailored to their particular needs, along with excellent customer support. In the end, the more useful interactions insurers can have with their customers, the more likely customers are to continue renewing their policies. It isn’t just a price matter anymore- it’s rather about really understanding the customer, realising what exactly they need and continuing to deliver an excellent all-around service from the moment a policy is signed, to the moment a claim is reimbursed.

[/et_pb_text]Value-added services contribute to higher customer loyalty.[et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.9.2″ text_font=”Lato||||||||” text_text_color=”#000000″ header_font=”Lato||||||||” header_text_color=”#000000″ header_font_size=”24px” header_2_font=”Lato||||||||” header_2_text_color=”#000000″ header_2_font_size=”24px” header_3_font=”Lato||||||||” header_3_text_color=”#000000″ header_3_font_size=”24px” custom_margin=”||||false|false” custom_margin_tablet=”” custom_margin_phone=”” custom_margin_last_edited=”on|desktop” custom_padding=”|0px||||” header_3_font_size_tablet=”22px” header_3_font_size_phone=”20px” header_3_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone”]

How Imburse can help

Imburse is a cloud-based middleware connecting large enterprises to the payments ecosystem, regardless of their existing IT infrastructure. Through a single connection to Imburse, enterprises can collect or pay out using a variety of payment technologies and providers around the globe.

In a world where consumers payment preferences and technologies are ever-evolving, Imburse works with insurers to future-proof their payment requirements. Regardless of the business area, market, or requirements, Imburse will connect you to your choice of technology and provider.

Reach out to our team below should you want to discuss how Imburse can help you. Our team is happy to show you what our platform can do for your business and offer you a free demo.

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What is unified transaction reporting?

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By Mariana Almeida Marques

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Any business that handles payments, especially those that handle large volumes of transactions, benefit from a unified transaction reporting tool. Unified reporting enables teams to automatically gather payment data into one platform to significantly ease internal operations and reduce costs amongst many other advantages. In this article, we discuss what is unified reporting and how your business can benefit from it.

 

What is unified reporting?

Automated and unified transaction reporting is the automatic compilation of all payment data. This includes all types of payments such as Direct Debits, bank transfers, card transactions and e-invoices. An automated reporting tool also tells you some key pieces of information such as the status of each transaction and the payee’s details, so that each transaction is easily traceable.

Any business that handles payments has a reporting system where they can keep track of all payment information. Automated reporting tools, as the name suggests, automatically gather all the payment information in real time. On top of that, companies can access a single reporting file (unified reporting), which enables them to access payment information from multiple providers through a single dashboard.

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Benefits of unified reporting

 

Increase visibility

Unified reporting offers a much clearer view of all payment transactions, making it easier to collect and analyse data. Having a single reporting file enables companies to easily view all the data in one dashboard and instantly draw insights from it. Payment data insights are great enablers of success, as they can be used to dive deep into customer behaviour. Knowing your customers’ habits and preferences makes it easier to make informed business decisions, such as the launch or development of new products.

 

Operational efficiency

Without a unified reporting tool, companies would have to manually gather all the data from different providers. This naturally requires a lot of human resources and time, adding extra pressure on finance teams. This is particularly relevant for large companies with large customer bases, that need to deal with a wide range of providers and receive a reporting file from each of them. With a unified reporting tool, teams can also quickly access the information they need, and focus their time on other relevant areas. Besides, data reporting leaves room for manual errors, so an automated and unified reporting tool can be used to ensure data accuracy.

 

Reduced costs

Extracting, analysing and delivering payment data not only puts a lot of pressure on finance teams, but also requires a lot of investment in new tools and integrations. This is even more difficult for companies that rely on antiquated IT infrastructure, incompatible to most new technologies. Automated reporting tools and, in particular, access to a single reporting file can contribute to faster and better business decisions, which will reduce costs in the long-run.

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Regulatory compliance

Compliance with regulations is a focal point for every company. The most efficient way to ensure regulatory compliance is to have quick access to all payment information, so that companies can easily check transactions, analyse customer behaviour and flag any patterns that may be indicative of fraud. Though there are many tools on the market for automated fraud checking, having full visibility over your transactions can really be beneficial to show compliance and to more easily solve any eventual fraudulent activity.

 

How Imburse can help

Imburse is a cloud-based payments middleware connecting large enterprises to the payments ecosystem, regardless of their existing IT infrastructure. Through a single connection to Imburse, enterprises can collect or pay out using a variety of payment technologies and providers around the globe.

In a world where consumers payment preferences and technologies are ever-evolving, Imburse works with insurers to future-proof their payment requirements. Regardless of the business area, market, or requirements, Imburse will connect you to your choice of technology and provider.

Reach out to our team below should you want to discuss how Imburse can help you. Our team is happy to show you what our platform can do for your business and offer you a free demo.

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How to avoid chargebacks

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By Mariana Almeida Marques

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The number of chargebacks has been decreasing in the last few years. However, in 2020, the chargeback-per-transaction ratio was still at 1.94%, which corresponded to a 3.81% revenue loss for businesses across the globe (Midigator report). Preventing chargebacks is an important mission for every business, and one that has been eased by technology and innovation. In this article, we will discuss all-things chargebacks and how your business can avoid them to maximise revenue.

 

What is a chargeback?

A chargeback happens when a customer disputes a transaction with their card issuer. Usually, chargebacks are requested after an unsuccessful request for refund. If a customer is unable to get a refund for the purchase they made, their next step would be to request a reversal of the transaction to their card issuer. Whilst refunds are dealt directly with the merchant, chargebacks are dealt with the credit card company.

Customers can initiate disputes for a variety of reasons, including fraudulent or unauthorised transactions, being charged for products that were faulty or never got delivered or the amount charged was incorrect. Chargebacks are often times a complex process that may involve a lot of back and forth between the merchant’s bank and Issuing bank.

[/et_pb_text]chargebacks are initiated by customers who request a transaction cancellation.[et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.9.2″ text_font=”Lato||||||||” text_text_color=”#000000″ header_font=”Lato||||||||” header_text_color=”#000000″ header_font_size=”24px” header_2_font=”Lato||||||||” header_2_text_color=”#000000″ header_2_font_size=”24px” header_3_font=”Lato||||||||” header_3_text_color=”#000000″ header_3_font_size=”18px” custom_margin=”||||false|false” custom_margin_tablet=”” custom_margin_phone=”” custom_margin_last_edited=”on|desktop” custom_padding=”|0px||||” header_3_font_size_tablet=”22px” header_3_font_size_phone=”20px” header_3_font_size_last_edited=”on|phone”]

 

How to prevent chargebacks

 

Return policies

A straightforward return policy can prevent customers from initiating chargebacks, so it is important to ensure that your return policy information is clear and easily accessible on your website. Not only will this prompt customers to go directly to you to deal with their purchase issue, in the event of a chargeback, a clear policy will also facilitate negotiations.

 

Customer service

Equally important- answer promptly to customers’ queries, particularly regarding requests for refunds. A late response (or no response at all) might be enough for them to decide to initiate a chargeback with their bank. Customer service can never be underestimated, especially when your customers are trusting you with their bank details and personal information.

 

Online safety

Invest in security tools for your website, and let your customers know that your website is safe and can be trusted. Having fraud-prevention tools installed in your website, or choosing PSPs that have strong security functionalities will limit your chances of getting chargebacks. This is because chargebacks are often times initiated due to a fraudulent transaction (for instance, if somebody stole your customers’ card details and made a purchase). If you can avoid fraudulent transactions on your website, you are also avoiding chargebacks. At minimum, you should use traditional verification tools such as AVS or 3DSecure for your website, and always ensure you comply with regulations.

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Contact details

Share your contact details with your customers, and make sure these are visible on your website. It is important to have your phone number and email address visible, because that is often the first means of communication customers will try out when requesting a refund, asking for more information or making a complaint. Make sure that your billing description states clearly the name of your company, so there isn’t any confusion related to who is charging your customer.

 

How Imburse can help

Imburse is a cloud-based middleware connecting large enterprises to the payments ecosystem, regardless of their existing IT infrastructure. Through a single connection to Imburse, enterprises can collect or pay out using a variety of payment technologies and providers around the globe.

In a world where consumers payment preferences and technologies are ever-evolving, Imburse works with insurers to future-proof their payment requirements. Regardless of the business area, market, or requirements, Imburse will connect you to your choice of technology and provider.

Reach out to our team below should you want to discuss how Imburse can help you. Our team is happy to show you what our platform can do for your business and offer you a free demo.

 

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Challenges of PSP integrations

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By Mariana Almeida Marques

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Payments is a crucial area for any company. Thankfully, there is a growing number of providers and technologies that cater for every need and every market. The challenge isn’t therefore the lack of providers, but the difficulties in integrating them into existing IT systems. Companies with traditional infrastructure struggle the most in integrating new technologies, which prevents them from offering customers the seamless payment experiences they expect. In this article, we dive deep into PSP integrations, the challenges behind multiple integrations to PSPs and how to overcome them.

 

What is a PSP integration?

PSP stands for Payment Service Provider, also called Payment Processor. Each PSP supports a range of payment methods and payment schemes, usually listed on their website. Every company need to partner with a PSP to make payments or take payments from their customers. However, whilst some smaller companies may be good enough with only one PSP integration, large enterprises require multiple PSPs. The need for multiple PSP integrations comes from having to support large customer bases in different parts of the world, each with different payment needs. For instance, businesses that operate mainly in America may need to support American Express and Discover, as those are two of the most popular payment methods in the US (Statista report).

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PSP integrations in insurance

Insurance is very much focused on collecting payments for premiums and paying out claims. Payments is a crucial business area to nail, because it is the most important interaction that insurers have with their customers. It is, essentially, the make-or-break moment that will prove the efficiency of their products or services. No matter how great a policy is, if the pay-out process is delayed, complex and cumbersome- this leaves a bad impression on customers and may even make them consider purchasing policies from another insurers.

Global insurers have customers all over the world, each with different necessities and in very disparate situations. In order to fulfil the needs of each one of their clients, insurers need multiple PSPs that support a vast array of payment methods. This is the best way for insurers to ensure that their customers are covered, and that all payment processes are as efficient as possible.

 

Challenges that insurers face with PSP integrations

Insurance is a traditional industry, with most global insurers being at least a few decades old. Whilst they have changed a lot over the years, they still have the same core IT systems to support all business areas. These IT systems are old and incompatible with the newest technologies. Integrating new technologies can be, therefore, a very cumbersome process that requires long interactions to different core systems, interfaces, customer frontend and back-office. This translates into the need for a lot of internal resources, financial investment, as well as a months-long wait for the integration to be finalised.

In spite of these cumbersome integrations, insurers are still very much reliant on payments. They need to pay their customers’ claims, but also brokers, vendors and suppliers. Moreover, they receive their payments for premiums on a flexible basis: either monthly, quarterly, semesterly or annually. This means that unsuccessful payments may have implications in the coverage of the policy or in the payment of brokers.

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The insurance sector is very intermediated, as well as heavily regulated. There are a lot of requirements to comply to, both internally and externally, and PSPs need to complement that. However, insurance isn’t a business with big transactional volumes, making it an unappealing deal for the most relevant payment providers. This is an additional factor in the business case that may not justify the integration. Taking into account all of these factors, is it no wonder that the insurance industry struggles to keep up with customers’ payment needs. However, adapting to digitalisation is crucial to move forward, keep customers happy and maintain a strong position in this highly competitive market.

 

How Imburse can help

Imburse is a cloud-based middleware connecting large enterprises to the payments ecosystem, regardless of their existing IT infrastructure. Through a single connection to Imburse, enterprises can collect or pay out using a variety of payment technologies and providers around the globe.

In a world where consumers payment preferences and technologies are ever-evolving, Imburse works with insurers to future-proof their payment requirements. Regardless of the business area, market, or requirements, Imburse will connect you to your choice of technology and provider.

Reach out to our team below should you want to discuss how Imburse can help you. Our team is happy to show you what our platform can do for your business and offer you a free demo.

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What is a payments middleware?

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By Mariana Almeida Marques

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In this midst of so many payment providers and technologies, the biggest challenge faced by enterprises is not the lack of choice, but the struggle to connect. Connecting to payment providers isn’t a clear and effortless process, but a payments middleware can make this process much less painful. In this article, we will explore the meaning of a payments middleware, its role in the payments landscape and the benefits of deploying a payments middleware solution like Imburse.

 

What is a middleware?

Generally, a middleware is a type of software that enables communication between two or more applications. Essentially, it is the “glue” that facilitates the connection of different software systems, applications, tools or databases. There are various types of middleware, including security authentication, database, transaction-processing monitors, web servers and integrations.

A payments middleware focus on connections within the payments industry. The payment industry is rich of providers and technologies, but companies, particularly more traditional ones, struggle to connect to them. A middleware enables companies to more easily deploy these new providers and technologies available in the market. 

 

How does a middleware work?

Serving as the connector between two applications, a middleware receives and passes information along from one application to the other, usually via APIs. All of this information is held in a database, the system that enables these interactions to happen.  Databases contain all the information requests and answers from the applications, but also allows for changes to be made and offers visibility to all the requests.

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A middleware also includes a portal, which is what companies see and the platform they can use to make requests. Companies won’t have direct access to the middleware’s database, so the portal is the only platform they will see. Using Imburse’s example- Imburse offers connectivity to the entire payments ecosystem. Once connected to us, insurers can use our portal to connect to any payment provider or technology in the world, and to customise their settings. Amongst other functionalities, they can connect to any of the PSPs available, make rules for transactions and determine which payment methods they would like to offer their customers.

 

Benefits of using a payments middleware

Middleware are particularly beneficial when there’s a need to connect a legacy IT infrastructure to a newer technology. Traditional infrastructure are incompatible with modern technologies, making these integrations a very long and arduous process. Middleware take the pain away from integrations by offering integration-free connectivity to these technologies.  

Imburse, as we mentioned, offers connectivity to any payment provider or method in any market. This is something that particularly large and traditional companies highly benefit from. With a payments middleware like Imburse, enterprises are able to deploy any technology they want to better serve their customers, and they are able to do so quickly and easily, with no additional resources. A middleware does all the heavy-lifting of integrating to providers for enterprises, so they don’t have to waste their own resources on it.

Alongside being able to easily connect to any PSP or technology, middleware like Imburse also offers a wide range of payment functionalities that can be deployed to optimise your payments system, automate processes and ease day-to-day operations. Amongst others, Imburse offers mandate management tools, smart routing and transaction analytics. On top of this, a middleware often serves a very specific purpose like payment integrations. This means that they are experts on that subject matter and have the necessary experience to help you on your concerns, queries and growth plans.

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Middleware are also oftentimes white-label solutions. They are used as a hidden translation layer and, whilst they play a hugely important role in connecting enterprises to all PSPs, their branding isn’t exposed publicly. This means that companies can use the middleware’s software and functionalities, but still put their own brand on it. Having your own brand in the services you provide to customers (even if they are provided by a third-party) has huge value in brand awareness and even credibility. A white-label solution is therefore highly advantageous for your business.

 

About Imburse

Imburse is a cloud-based middleware connecting large enterprises to the payments ecosystem, regardless of their existing IT infrastructure. Through a single connection to Imburse, enterprises can collect or pay out using a variety of payment technologies and providers around the globe.

In a world where consumers payment preferences and technologies are ever-evolving, Imburse works with insurers to future-proof their payment requirements. Regardless of the business area, market, or requirements, Imburse will connect you to your choice of technology and provider.

Reach out to our team below should you want to discuss how Imburse can help you. Our team is happy to show you what our platform can do for your business and offer you a free demo.

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