Discover goes live with Click to Pay, the card brands' universal buy button

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Discover launched its Click to Pay digital solution, joining earlier releases of the card networks’ universal buy button for e-commerce.

Click to Pay is based on EMVCo’s Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) industry standard, acting as a form of guest checkout which alleviates the need for cardholders to manually enter personal and account information to shop at unfamiliar merchants.

“Click to Pay addresses the consumer hesitancy over entering data into a merchant website they’ve never transacted with before," said Andrew Hopkins, senior vice president of global products at Discover. "It gives a sense of confidence to go ahead with the transaction as the network is there for them. Click to Pay also adds a level of convenience, such as shipping details that will be pushed to the merchant once the transaction goes through. That means there is less to enter on a merchant website.”

Initially Discover cardholders will need to register for Click to Pay before use, but the company noted that once Click to Pay becomes more popular with merchants and consumers it will most likely auto enroll its card holders into the program.

In October 2019, following months of preparation, American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa all announced the launch of an EMVCo SRC-based Click to Pay checkout process that would function in a similar method across all participating merchants. Consumers would enroll only once, anchoring their preferred payment credentials to an email address that would work across any merchant using the interoperable checkout service.

The move to create a single unified buy button for e-commerce follows years of failed individual attempts by the card networks. Mastercard launched Masterpass in 2013 and was followed by Visa’s Visa Checkout and Amex’s Express Checkout in 2015, but none of them reached broad adoption by either consumers or merchants.

In January, Visa announced that it would start retiring its Visa Checkout brand in favor of the card networks’ universal Click to Pay buy button. At the time of retirement, Visa Checkout was used by 350,000 merchants worldwide, indicating that this was a major move to support the single unified Click to Pay brand.

Despite the appeal of universal buy button and the support by some large merchants such as Netflix, not everyone is happy. The merchant group Secure Payments Partnership has expressed concern that the launch of SRC is a move to cut merchants out of the decision-making process and that it’s a potential power move by the card brands to exert control over how mobile payments operate in the future.

Hopkins said that Click to Pay will level the playing field for small and medium-sized merchants by giving them a common, familiar checkout experience that consumers will see at larger merchants.

“Now that there are more merchants selling in digital channels and consumers are shopping at more merchants for the first time, Click to Pay is a win-win for everyone,” said Hopkins. “Given recent events [COVID-19], it has accelerated the move to buying and selling online. Click to Pay cleans up the checkout by having fewer buttons and provides an option that will become familiar to consumers across merchants.”

Discover’s Click to Pay solution has been in pilot with some merchants for the last three to four months. Hopkins claims that Discover’s owning the end-to-end acquiring to issuing value chain has allowed it to create a better user experience.

While Hopkins recognized that not every merchant is an advocate, Discover is encouraged by recent merchant adoption trends.

Click to Pay is currently available on Discover’s U.S. credit cards. Discover is actively working to support debit as well as international markets in the future.

“Discover’s launch of Click to Pay supports our commitment to providing consumers and merchants payment choice at checkout,” Hopkins said.

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Digital payments Online payments Mobile payments Discover EMVCo Netflix Masterpass Visa Checkout Visa Mastercard E-Commerce