Secure Card Processing

Black Friday, Cyber Monday; whichever day you have earmarked as the time to break the back of your Christmas Shopping the chances are that both shops and internet will be working to capacity. In fact, as a speech by the Managing Director of the Payment Systems Regulator, Hannah Nixon, revealed recently our love of automated transactions is growing apace. And the more we use our cards the more important it is for the payments industry to ensure that secure card processing happens as a matter of course.

According to Hannah Nixon, in the UK in 2014 some 40,000 transactions are made every minute on average. With early reports that spending on the two ‘major’ Christmas shopping days so far this year was well up on 2013 it is easy to believe that transaction volumes also were far higher than average.

One of the reasons for Hannah Nixon’s speech was to highlight the way in which the PSR is working to improve payment systems in order to provide new options for consumers and to make existing options better and easier to use. Much of what she said was more directly relevant to those who provide the systems rather than end users but if the PSR vision is realised then we will have “world class payment systems operating in the best interests of service users and the wider UK economy.”

Over the last few years we have already seen a huge development taking placed in the payment card sector. Contactless payments, online payments, swift transfers between accounts; all have improved payment options for businesses and consumers alike. We now expect to be able to use our cards as a prime payment method. And with that expectation comes the acknowledgement that ease of payment for consumers and swifter receipt of funds for retailers delivers a win-win result.

Take booking health appointments for example. By allying a secure card payment processing service to online booking, health practitioners can take a pre-authorised payment at the time of booking. Once the appointment has taken place, payment can be confirmed, helping to smooth out cashflow. Another advantage of secure card processing is that it tends to reduce the number of ‘no-shows’, particularly if clients know that they will be faced with an automatic cancellation fee if they fail to turn up for their appointment. Should clients decide to pay by an alternate means then the pre-authorisation can simply be cancelled.

Secure card processing is just one way in which the health practitioner can reduce administration time whilst at the same time helping to ensure that appointment slots are filled as much as practicable. SMS text reminders also help to reduce no-shows and can be pre-scheduled to be sent out at a set time before the appointment. Health practitioners may only account for a small proportion of the billions of transactions which already take place every year but if secure card processing can help to cut workflow and smooth cashflow then the more developments in card payment options which the PSR can encourage the better.