It started off with a taxi ride to the airport in Omaha, the famed ‘Silicon Prairie’. My taxi was booked the old fashioned way via a dispatcher. The driver came 15 minutes late and I paid him with my credit card and got the faded paper receipt. The experience was decent and I didn’t have to pay with cash, but the moment became awkward was when I was prompted to give a tip. Now, I may have a reputation of being frugal, but I felt flabbergasted when seeing the proposed gratuities, which equated to 25%, 30%, and 35%.
I embarked on my journey to London with two cards, which were “EMV ready” in the US. One was a card with a chip and pin. The other was a card with a chip and signature. When I landed, I used my corporate card to test out this high-tech security (admittedly I had to get my PIN resent to me before I left). Their terminal was DCC (dynamic currency conversion) enabled, so instead of paying in GBP and finding the cost out later, I received the amount in USD. I typed in my PIN and waited for the authorization–in the end, the transaction took about 5 seconds longer than a regular mag stripe card.
My next stop was the Underground. Again, I used my chip and pin card. I got my ticket for the day and headed to my destination. Once I arrived, my good-for-nothing friends mocked me for buying a ticket and not a contactless Oyster card. So perhaps succumbing to peer pressure (or not), the next day I bought an Oyster card and loaded it up with enough money to last me a few days. This transaction is quick and very easy. You just hover the card over the gate entrance and it automatically opens.
Once the jet lag wore off, I noticed a lot of advertising for “contactless clash.” A colleague told me most of the UK banks have now issued contactless cards, particularly for London-based customers. The contactless cards can be used all over London, frequently for the Underground. This creates more convenience for the customer until you have more than one contactless card in your wallet. And unfortunately, a “clash” occurs. The terminal doesn’t know which card to charge or worse, it charges both, and reconciling it can be difficult. An educational process is being rolled out and the commuters I spoke to were happy to get some advice.
So heading back to the airport to get on my flight to LAX, I then tested out my chip and signature card. The cashier was confused when the transaction was just authorized without me putting in a PIN. He asked, “Why don’t you put in a PIN?” I told him it just needed a signature, then he said “So anybody could just steal your card and use it?” The cashier caught me off guard. I guess I never thought of that.
On my flight back to the States, I thought about how easy it would be for someone to pickpocket me and use the card. Ultimately, I believe we should have a chip and a PIN.
On landing, I pulled up my Uber app, the car came within 5 minutes, and there was no prompting about tipping. It was an easy back-end payment experience. The cost was also 25% less than the first taxi excluding the tips.
So what are the lessons learned?
- An easy transaction increases satisfaction and increases usage.
- A frictionless payment experience results in higher satisfaction and engagement.
- Providing value to the customer is essential for the uptake of mobile payments. A 25% savings is enough to direct me to a different payment method and frankly, a competitor.
- Customer education is key. What will we see when a complete roll out of EMV begins?