Preliminary Results From The 2018 MRC Global Payments Survey

Last month the Merchant Risk Council hosted MRC Vegas 2018, a conference exploring fraud prevention, payment processing, technology, cyber security and financial services for ecommerce professionals.

Amongst many insightful keynote speeches, panel discussions, round tables and breakout sessions was MRC’s presentation of their preliminary results from the 2018 MRC Global Payments Survey. Much anticipated by those attending the conference, and payments experts worldwide, the key findings were based around four areas of interest.

Here we share the most interesting statistics from this presentation:

1. Payments as a strategic move

The MRC survey wanted to understand how important payments are to merchants, and whether payments are viewed as a strategic function or purely operational. Asked to rate payment strategy, the results were:

  • Extremely important – 62%
  • Very important – 29%
  • Important – 8%
  • Not too important – 1%

These findings are born out by our own experience at Secure Trading where increasingly merchants are asking us for more strategic support. There is more awareness around the importance of having a clear payments strategy, especially when expanding into new markets such as Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

2. What hurdles merchants must overcome?

Not surprisingly the payment fraud was identified as a significant hurdle for merchants to overcome, along with high payment costs and increased complexity in the market. Regulations such as PSD2, new technologies, and new payment methods have all contributed to a more complex payment landscape; however these factors are also opportunities.

PSD2 includes Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), designed to prevent fraud and tighten up payment security. While two factor authentication adds another step to the payment process, there are ways to streamline authentication processes and prevent a detrimental impact on conversion rates. Payment service providers (PSP) are working hard with merchants to ensure that they are compliant with new regulations, while balancing conversion considerations and protecting their customers from fraud.

Alternative payment methods (APM) are booming! They are expected to comprise nearly 55% of global e-commerce payments by 2019. Merchants may find these new payment methods confusing but they can have a significant positive impact on conversion. Again, PSPs are best placed to help merchants navigate this new payment landscape and align APMs with their business and markets.

New technologies such as e-wallets are disrupting the payments industry, but also present opportunities for merchants. Understanding your customers, their preferred payment methods, buying behaviour, and the devices they use for online payments is crucial to maximise this opportunity.

3. ‘Best’ best practices

MRC also shared ‘best’ best practices highlighting examples of how merchants are using payments strategically to get ahead of the curve. MRC identified the following ‘best’ best practices:

  • Planning ahead – adopting APMs, ensuring customers can find their preferred payment methods, preparing for PSD2 and SCA
  • Payment security – MRC drew attention to 3D Secure, a fraud prevention tool that is already commonly used in the UK, although less well known in the US and other countries
  • Know your KPIs – understanding what KPIs to measure and then using this data to optimise the payment process

A key aspect of all these points is to partner with a payment service provider that is proactive in driving ‘best’ best practices for their customers. Factors like APMs can have a positive impact on other factors such as cost per transaction, so merchants should be asking their PSP for support in these areas.

4. Realised benefits of good payment infrastructure for merchants

Finally, MRC shared its survey results on the perception of payment infrastructure and management, and the benefits it delivers to the merchants surveyed. Findings included:

  • 77% of merchants say that ecommerce payment management is very efficient
  • 74% believe that it maximises profitability
  • 72% agree that it’s driven mainly by customer experience
  • 69% say streamlining payment management increases the efficiency of an organisation

Get in touch with our payments experts if you would like to discuss any of the topics highlighted above. Call 0333 240 6000 or contact us here.