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Merchants catching on to the demand of the invisible payment: Braintree

Braintree head of Asia Tyson Hackwood says merchants are looking at new ways to reduce the friction at the checkout as customers become increasingly more trusting of them.

The conversation around e-commerce payments today is less about fraud, and increasingly about how to simplify the point of transaction, according to Tyson Hackwood, Braintree head of Asia.

Hackwood said that since Braintree helped Uber to introduce its frictionless mobile checkout system, other merchant clients have been looking at ways to introduce an "invisible payment" option to their customers.

"Where we're moving to is a one-checkout system. Uber make payments invisible, and that's what we're seeing. Everyone now references 'we want what Uber has', and that is they just want payments to be invisible, because once I say, 'I'm a customer of a certain brand, or capability', I just want to hit buy and ship," he said.

Hackwood said that as a result, the invisible payment is changing the conversations merchants have with customers, where it's more engaging and trusting. He said this has been exemplified by the trend of tokenisation moving away from "remember my card details" to "remember my payment details".

"The mobile device is no longer about storing passwords; it's about becoming my funding source," he said.

When asked how customers have become so trusting of merchants, Hackwood said it's mainly because they believe their bank or card provider is likely to back up their story when fraud occurs, and so are less concerned when they hand their payment details over.

Hackwood reassured that while credit card fraud will always exist, it is dropping dramatically, even though reported numbers may appear to be higher. He said that's only because the number of people using credit cards has increased.

"Online will always have an element of fraud and/or risk. But everyone does. For example, a normal coffee shop, how much risk is there with floors that could be wet, with pressurised items, and so there's risk in no matter what business. It's just a matter of making sure you have partners that can try and limit and contain the risk, and have strong risk capabilities," he said.

He added that with fingerprinting now available on mobile devices, security has become even more enhanced.

Further to this, Hackwood attributed customers' growing comfort level of online transactions to PayPal, the owner of Braintree since 2013.

"PayPal was probably one of the first who asked for your credit or your bank account many years ago. They've helped breed a generation of people trusting to enter their card details in. People actually forget they basically were pioneers of commerce. They trained people to habitually use them as the payment platform," he said.

"As was eBay, which became the training environment for e-commerce in Australia, especially because there was no Amazon, and there was only really one big company that was the training ground, even for merchants to sell online. A lot of the big companies, whether it be the Catch of the Day, they all started using PayPal on eBay."

Hackwood highlighted that the rise of e-commerce has reinforced the need for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to rethink their strategy, because once an online presence is established, they are not longer competing with just next door, but everyone else, too.

"I'm excited about seeing traditional retailers, like butchers, who have had a hard time with larger providers taking a lot of their business, and they've had to refine and redesign what they do.

"Previously, people go to their local butchers because they like the relationship, now they can get their local butcher to supply them with the meat they need. Ship to home is becoming very prominent. This is why it's exciting you can also be hyper local, as well; it's not about going to the world, you can still make platforms that work well in a local environment," he said.

On the topic of bitcoin, a currency that Braintree has been accepting since last September in the US and the UK, Hackwood said the expansion of the function is to fit in with the needs of its customers. Further to that point, Hackwood said it's important for merchants to be accepting of multi-currency.

"It's very important for cross-border. If you're going to sell to a country from Australia, you need to price it at the currency of the country -- at a very minimum do US dollar. There are Australian companies that do only USD, because they've worked out its one price globally and it's fair for everyone.

"Or, if you're selling from Australia into China, which is a massive opportunity for the future ... do it in yuan, people would want to see the prices in their own currency."