Don’t Let Bad Data Be the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing of Your Payment Solution


This article was originally published in Paymentsjournal.

In the competitive world of FinTech, data and APIs that sit behind your applications can have just as much, if not more, of an impact on a user’s experience than the overall look and feel of the site or app they’re visiting.

Not to discount a really good, intuitive user experience, but we often forget the mechanics behind the scenes that power the system. All that glitters is not gold.

For example, when sending and receiving payments, it’s critical that money is moved from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. If a user inputs bank details, initiates a payment, and receives a notification that the payment has failed due to inaccurate or insufficient data, they are unlikely to have confidence in the service. They will be very unlikely to ever return and will certainly not recommend the service to their peers.

By validating bank details at the point of onboarding, or by validating individual payments as they are made, you ensure that you are getting it right the first time and every time, fostering user trust. In fact, according to the 2018 Payments Industry Report, almost 50 percent are adopting technology to automate payments validation at the point of on-boarding, especially as cross-border commerce grows. This, combined with leveraging trusted data and APIs, can accomplish validations quickly and securely, positioning you for growth and optimizing operational efficiency.

The manual work required in cases where payments fail can create a negative user experience for internal and external users alike. Lacking access to accurate information causes delays, long hours spent researching publicly-available data and a frustrating situation for those tasked with repairs. Customers have told us that these issues generated high staff turnover, burnout and imposed severe limitations on their companies’ abilities to expand their global footprints.

Many early- and mid-stage tech companies rely on open source data from a variety of venues. There are a few major challenges to this approach:

  • Data from different sources lacks standardization. If you are attempting to assemble a database of global bank details, for example, you must first sort data elements into fields and attempt to homogenize the data, which is a daunting prospect.
  • This data is only as fresh as the frequency with which it is uploaded into your database, making maintenance difficult.
  • Perhaps most importantly, data is often unavailable for critical geographies, namely emerging markets. In Brazil, for example, you cannot rely upon a central bank to provide a file containing bank branch details for every bank in country. You end up with incomplete, static data, which will not position you well for expansion within your target markets.

By working with a trusted partner whose core competency is data, you can keep your teams focused on what they do best: providing innovative, value-added services to your customers. Third party providers that have access to comprehensive databases of global bank details, can also offer these services at a fraction of the cost of having your own teams collect, standardize, and maintain the same data.  The challenge of keeping a coherent database is massive – best practice dictates that you should not do it alone.

When the focus is on keeping your “flock” of customers happy, don’t let bad data take a bite out of your payments process…and bottom line.