Creating a Better Digital Checkout Experience

Consumers are expected to purchase $2.65 trillion of physical goods on websites, mobile apps and other digital platforms globally in 2018, up from $2.24 trillion in 2017, according to Juniper Research. While digital commerce has become a preferred way to shop for many consumers, we continue to hear from consumers and merchants that the online checkout process remains cumbersome and, at times, confusing due to the myriad checkout solutions available.

That’s why American Express is working with other industry stakeholders to advance the EMV Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) Specification, which for the first time establishes a way for card payments to be made in a consistent way across websites, mobile apps and other digital platforms.

Much like in the physical retail environment where the process of paying by card is familiar to consumers across card brands regardless of the acceptance terminal a merchant is using, American Express believes a secure and consistent checkout experience in the digital world is needed to support the continued growth of ecommerce. With SRC, merchants will be able to offer a common checkout process on their websites in the form of a payment button that would deliver a familiar experience to the consumer and the merchant. The button would eliminate the need for consumers to repeatedly type in their card data and billing information when checking out on a website or mobile app, and unify the way card data is securely stored and handled.

While there are already payment buttons available for use today, each relies on different technical requirements and protocols, and involves vastly different steps that can lead to confusion for consumers and integration challenges for merchants. Many merchants have “button fatigue,” and want a single solution that enables consumers to breeze through a checkout page in a way that ensures their payment card number and other billing information is secure but doesn’t require extra steps that can slow down a transaction or lead to lost sales.

To enable such a consistent and user-friendly experience, EMVCo on Oct. 19 released a draft version of the technical specification that outlines how card payments can be processed and data exchanged in an SRC transaction. As a member of EMVCo, American Express is participating in the development of these specifications and plans to adopt them to ensure our card members, merchants and bank partners can benefit from SRC solutions that are expected to go live by mid-2019.

At that time, we expect American Express cards will be enabled for use in interoperable SRC checkout solutions to be offered by Visa and by Mastercard, which have announced plans to convert their existing checkout buttons to the EMV SRC specification in mid-2019. These SRC checkout solutions will support multiple card brands, including American Express. American Express is working to enable cards across the American Express Global Network, including proprietary cards issued directly by American Express and cards issued by our bank partners, in additional SRC solutions over time, ensuring our card members and merchants can take advantage of the enhanced checkout experience that we expect SRC will provide.

The Secure Remote Commerce initiative is another way we are backing our card members, merchants and bank partners by providing simple payment experiences. Recent research commissioned by American Express1 found that 85% of online shoppers reported that they have left items in their online shopping carts and abandoned a purchase upon reaching a merchant’s checkout page at least once in the past year. At the same time, nearly nine-in-ten merchants (89%) expressed interest in offering an integrated checkout solution that enables their customers to have their payment information automatically appear when they check out online. As merchants continue to invest in building out their digital shopping capabilities and consumers grow more comfortable using smartphones, tablets and other connected devices to make purchases, we think it’s the right time to collaborate with other industry stakeholders to make this a reality.


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