How to ensure a good payment experience through user notifications?

How to ensure a good payment experience through user notifications?

Today we want to shed light on one of the features of our Payments API, used by the world’s leading app stores like Google Play and digital media merchants like Spotify to provide carrier billing to their customers. Fortumo’s Messaging API will allow merchants to take full control over how, when and what kind of payment related notifications are sent to the users.

There are two reasons for why we have built such functionality. First, market regulations are changing and in a number of countries the merchant is not allowed access to the user’s phone number. This is done in order to protect the identity of users who make payments using carrier billing. Instead, merchants are provided with an encrypted identifier to match a payment with a user of their service. Second, we see that merchants often feel the need to customize the notifications management in order to better suit their service and monetization logic.

Our Messaging API will help resolve both challenges, especially in case of subscription services for which notifications need to be sent out on an ongoing basis. Now merchants can just tell Fortumo what they want to say to the user and we ask on their behalf from the carrier to deliver that message.

Merchants using a recurring business model know how to manage their customers and notifications sent to them best. But as the focus of carrier billing is on emerging markets for which expertise is often lacking, we want to point out important challenges merchants should keep in mind in terms of user notifications in these regions.

A majority of users in emerging markets have a prepaid SIM card and prefer a pay-as-you-go approach to service consumption. This means their payment capability is limited by their account balance and often that balance is relatively low. In India for example, the average prepaid SIM card holds about ₹50 ($0.7). It doesn’t mean users are not spending money (Indian gamers spend roughly the global average on games) but just that their spending behavior is different.

For merchants using recurring billing it means that for such markets it makes sense to notify the user before a charge is done. Making sure the user has sufficient balance on their SIM card increases the likelihood of a successful payment. For many people the billing attempt will otherwise fail and they will lose access to the service. Instead of having the charge done automatically, they will go and have to make another purchase manually, causing churn.

Besides accounting for regional peculiarities in user spending behavior, notifications should be customized for “forgetful” users as well. If a user has forgotten to keep enough money on their account in the past and their payment has failed, they are likely to forget it in the future as well. For such users, sending a friendly reminder helps keep churn numbers positive, regardless of whether they live in Brazil, Sweden or Indonesia.

Regardless of how much payment related notifications and how often you are sending out, we always would suggest to have them localized. Whether it’s a text message, e-mail or push notification, the content of this communication should be in the user’s native language. After all, a majority of the world does not speak English.

Are you a merchant using Fortumo’s Payments API and want to take advantage of our Messaging API to manage user notifications? Get in touch with your account manager!