Commercial payments technology provider AOC Solutions has enhanced its EnCompass offering to allow access to commercial payment processes from any mobile device, a move that's designed to accommodate the growing "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend.
The mobile upgrade—which will cover corporate payment services such as fleet, purchasing cards and travel and entertainment—is being helped by underlying technology that allows EnCompass to recognize the type of computing device that's accessing the service and tailor the user experience accordingly—a necessity given the wide range of tablets and mobile phones being used by corporate employees.
"We optimize the content for the mobile device that the person is using," says Todd King, chief product officer for AOC.
AOC worked with development partners at Usablenet to allow AOC to determine content based on a specific mobile phone, tablet or laptop.
"We generate a host of business rules that transforms the UI [user interface]," King says. "Some code is not supported by certain mobile devices or the code may slow down a mobile page."
The technology is delivered by corporate card issuers that offer it to business clients on a white-label basis. AOC's client roster includes Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group and Kansas City, MO—based Commerce Bancshares. Neither bank made an executive available by deadline.
PNC's corporate payment product is called ActivePay, which combines real-time authorization for card purchases consistent with a corporate client's purchase order authorization and approval processes. Commerce's Control Pay uses a single Web-based application works with a company's existing account systems to manage commercial card and automated accounts payable systems.
The mobile enhancements will be bundled as part of the flagship EnCompass. "In most cases our clients have deployed the product or are just underway," King says.
Other companies, such as Banno, also use technology called "responsive design" to tailor Web content in near real-time based on the end user's device—which can allow a card issuer or payment company to use a single website rather than create different versions for PCs and mobile application.
Banno's version of responsive design leverages HTML4 CSS Media Queries. CSS, or "cascading style sheets," define how sections of code and text will be displayed visually on a screen. The media queries check for the conditions, or the screen parameters and capabilities of the device that has been used to access the website.
"Responsive design can remove features and areas that would be a distraction on smaller screens. You may not need a sidebar feature with the smaller screen," says Wade Arnold, Banno's founder and chief executive officer.
The pressure is on payment providers to tailor the user experience based on their device, for both consumer payments and transactions executed by corporate staff as part of travel or procurement.
"Optimizing the UI for mobile payments is key to the experience…having to pinch, widen and resize a screen just adds to overall frustration and takes away the convenience that mobile is designed to bring," says Mary Monahan, research a director at Javelin Strategy & Research.
Going further, saving payment and shipping information will be even more important for mobile payments than it is online, Monahan says. "While typing in information online is merely cumbersome, in a mobile environment, it becomes a true impediment to a sales conversion."