Motivated to stave off overseas competitors, such as Netflix, movie content provider Quickflix knew it needed to deliver videos to customers through multiple devices. But doing so would mean having to support payments on different platforms, which would have been a complicated process for Quickflix.
So the company decided to outsource it.
Earlier this year, it sought out the help of web-based payments service provider IP Payments to not only store Quickflix customer credit card details securely, but to also manage monetary transactions across different devices.
Having expanded into internet video streaming in recent years, Quickflix has struck up deals with consumer electronic vendors, such as Sony and Samsung, to stream movies directly through their online-enabled devices.
Quickflix currently supports video streaming through a range of devices, including the Sony PlayStation 3, the iPad, and soon on the Xbox 360, as well.
But the pressure of managing payments from over 100,000 customers was getting a bit much for Quickflix. Not only that, but to be able to support video streaming on multiple devices, it had to go through strenuous accreditation processes with different vendors.
Then the company had to push forward with plans to expand into New Zealand, which involved currency conversion and region detection headaches.
According to Quickflix CIO Tim Parsons, who was speaking at the Future of Payment conference in Sydney, the company was also spooked by the Sony PlayStation Network hacking incident last year, which exposed millions of customer credit card details.
"Sony is a brand that is pretty bulletproof, but if QuickFlix lost even two credit card details, we would probably be gone," he said.
In March, the company decided to move its customer payment functions over to IP Payments, and adopted the service provider's PCI compliant off-site credit card storage offering.
Quickflix moved all its customer credit card details, which were stored in its own database, off-site and over to IP Payments.
There were two big challenges for Quickflix when it came to outsourcing its payment systems. Firstly, it didn't want the changeover to cause any disruption to customers, and secondly, it wanted to ensure that the payment experience across all devices was consistent.
"You can't get to the page and be like 'Oh! This looks scary, and there are some people in suits lurking behind that page that are going to take my credit card details and run off with it'," Parsons said. "It had to look like our site and yet, from a technical standpoint, it had to be hosted on somebody else's infrastructure."
"We also had to do this project and not interrupt our customers — in fact, it had to be completely invisible."
After three months of team work, Quickflix and IP Payments were able to do just that. The new payment arrangement was implemented seamlessly, according to Parsons.
"We have been running 600,000 transactions since we turned it all on [in June]," he said. "We migrated 100,000 cards — at the end of the day, we have a situation where we have all our credit cards out of our infrastructure, out of our systems entirely, and all we have are tokens, which are not useful to anybody."
"We have a region detection system that tells us when a credit card is coming from outside Australia and New Zealand, so we can manage that."
Not even Quickflix's call centres have direct access to customer credit card details. Customers that want to give their credit card details over the phone are directed to the website for Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliancy reasons.
"What we thought was a 'sky is falling' situation, turned out to be an easy project," Parsons said.