Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Enrollment - the kiss of death for a new payment method

Tonite I was reading about one of the newest alternative payment players, Moneta and as is my calling, I decided to check it out. I went to the site and although they only have a few merchants functioning, one being Delta Air, I went ahead and enrolled. It was easy enough, the website was well designed, etc. (Note to them - one lame thing is the password challenge questions - they ask you to identify your favorite ____________ which is a bad idea since people's favorites change all the time. Alas, this is a very common mistake.) However, it is not an instantaneous process. They are going to deposit a few small transactions in my checking account which will take 1-2 days and then I am going to have come back and go through a verification process. This is a sound, but not particulary convenient method, to verify that I actually own this checking account.

If I was not a payment geek, I doubt I would go through this effort to enroll, remember yet another username/password and then what is the likelyhood that I will remember to use this method at some point in the future. Delta Air already has my credit card on file and they actively promote their own co-branded American Express card. And, what about my miles/cash back, etc.? Consumers that are concerned about not building up add'l debt can simply use their Visa/MasterCard branded Debit card. And, unless Amazon embraces it (which is unlikely), they are toast.

The inertia any of these new payment methods have to overcome is huge and a multi-step/multi-day enrollment method is one of the many speed bumps. But, with BillmeLater getting acquired for almost $1B by eBay, there will be no shortage of folks trying. One of the beauties of BillMeLater was they figured out how to move the enrollment to the back end, after you already made your purchase. That was brilliant.

2 comments:

dsf said...

Steve, I agree with your comments. I guess the "favorite" advice comes from your passmark experience!

Dave Fortney

SKlebe said...

Dave, hi! Yes, we actively used Challenge Questions as part of the PassMark (known as SiteKey by BofA) paradigm and really sweated the details when it came to creating good ones. It, like everything else, in consumer orientated security is a balance between convenience and security. It continues to amaze me how many companies are choosing to use anything to do with favorites as part of this process.