Betting on simplicity over razzle-dazzle digital-wallet features, Buck Inc. is making headway with a mobile e-commerce payment technology it claims goes a long way toward accomplishing what many mobile wallets aim to do.
Touting what it says is the fastest available mobile online-checkout service, Seattle-based Buck, formerly called Billing Revolution, enables consumers to make credit and debit card purchases with a single click, skipping the hassle of entering a user name or password.
That gives it an advantage over the card-not-present checkout processes of PayPal Inc. and Amazon.com, which in most cases require consumers making mobile purchases to enter a user name or password, Andy Kleitsch, the firm’s CEO, contends.
“Most of the time, consumers paying with PayPal or Amazon have to fill out quite a few fields in order to make a payment on an e-commerce site, and that is frustrating for people using mobile devices who want things to happen very fast,” Kleitsch tells PaymentsSource.
The payments industry seems obsessed with digital wallets offering sophisticated Near Field Communication technology and other capabilities, but “we are already offering a very simple and secure type of digital wallet for mobile devices,” he says.
Adaptable for any type of online merchant, Buck’s online checkout process requires consumers to enter their credit or debit card number, expiration date and phone number just once.
Buck instantly registers consumers’ payment card details and up to 30 attributes of their mobile phone, including its operating system and Internet protocol address. In doing so, the next time they want to make a purchase on any merchant’s website equipped with Buck’s payment technology, Buck recognizes their device and automatically supplies the payment card details. Some 1,000 merchants have adopted Buck since the firm launched in 2008.
When consumers subsequently opt to pay with that device, Buck asks them whether they want to pay with the card previously used, denoted by the last four digits of the card number. Buck completes the payment when the consumer clicks “yes” or opts to enter details of another payment card.
Merchants using Buck’s technology as their primary payment card checkout channel say it dramatically increases their number of completed transactions because of how few hoops users must jump through to complete a payment, Kleitsch claims. Buck’s proprietary studies show that merchants saw a 35% improvement in completed transactions after adding Buck, he says.
Merchants adopting Buck’s card-payment technology tout it to consumers on their checkout page as “powered by Buck.” Merchants may adapt Buck as an instant payment option through any online channel, including within text messages, on Facebook or with QR codes, Kleitsch explains.
Buck also provides additional layers of security for card-not-present transactions by encrypting card data, which are not stored in mobile devices, he says.
Merchants retain their existing card-processing systems and pay Buck 15 cents per transaction. Costs can go as low as 8 cents per transaction with higher volume, Kleitsch says.
A broad array of payment industry players and card networks are developing digital wallets that offer robust features across different types of online channels, but in the meantime Buck is on track to grab a significant share of online transactions, Kleitsch says.
“There is a lot of talk about what NFC and other types of digital wallets may be able to do years from now, but with our technology merchants can provide a lot of the speed, simplicity and security digital wallets promise,” Kleitsch says.
And this week marks a milestone for the company, as Glamour magazine features its payment technology in a special online shopping section within its March issue as part of a series of events surrounding New York’s Fashion Week (see story).
Citigroup Inc. is a major investor in the privately held firm (see story).
Buck joins a plethora of payment technologies designed to enhance mobile e-commerce and faces steep competition to win over merchants and consumers, some analysts suggest.
The simplicity of Buck’s checkout process and the fact that it leverages consumers’ existing card accounts is a plus, Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group, LLC, tells PaymentsSource, while disclosing he is on the firm’s board of directors.
“The key to all of these schemes is getting users, and that is what Buck must do now in order to persuade more merchants to adopt it,” Ablowitz says.
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