Payments giant PayPal is stepping up efforts to help Hong Kong’s small-and medium enterprises (SMEs) conduct online transactions with greater confidence and better risk management.
In a study “Beyond Networking: Social Commerce as a Driver of Digital Payments”, commissioned by PayPal and conducted by Singapore-based independent research agency Blackbox Research, 75 percent of the merchants surveyed said they were selling on social media.
The study, which comprised respondents from China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, was undertaken between March and April last year.
Ivan Liang, PayPal’s director of Middle Market, Small Business and Channel Partnerships for Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan, spoke to EJ Insight recently to explain how his firm’s digital payment service is striving to help local merchants.
Extension of protection policy to cover digital goods sales
To support the merchants to protect their data, the PayPal system has a robust flow control risk management, which allows the merchants to screen their transactions “real-time”, Liang said. The system offers a real-time response to particular transactions, and gives strong control to merchants so that they can identify the transactions.
Another way to help merchants protect their data is PayPal’s Seller Protection policy, which protects merchants against transactions that may go wrong owing to unauthorized transactions or scenarios where items are not received.
The policy initially covered physical goods and intangible services, before being extended in January this year to cover eligible transactions for digital goods. Hong Kong is one of the first markets where PayPal has launched this extension of the protection policy.
When asked about its positioning of mobile payment business in Hong Kong’s SME segment, Liang first emphasizes protection in relation to risk management for small business owners, citing PayPal research that suggests that 75 percent of the merchants sell through social media.
Cross-border transactions are something where a seller and a buyer cannot see each other, Liang noted. A buyer may doubt whether he or she can trust a seller in being able to ship his or her order timely and correctly. PayPal has a trusted platform, offering protection to the merchants. With such protection, PayPal would be able to build trust for both buyers and sellers, Liang added.
Another element Liang highlights is product innovation. An example he used to illustrate his point is one of PayPal’s product feature called One Touch, which enables users to complete purchases faster and easier with the same level of security.
Furthermore, PayPal continues to drive product innovation through different partnerships with digital payment service operators including Octopus, Visa and Mastercard, as well as “checkout” partners, which offer a website-building solution to merchants, Liang noted.
Consistent and responsive platform
When asked the strengths of its mobile payment tool, Liang identified consistency across different devices during users’ check-out experiences. “People don’t like the payment page to be redirected when [making] purchases,” he noted. “Many would like to check out their bill without leaving the page.”
The second merit regarding PayPal system is, Liang mentioned, is a responsive platform, meaning that the checkout page across devices of different screen sizes and operating systems “has the same look and feel”.
This is crucial to consumers as they would have “a huge level of confidence” when checking out at the same website, he said.
“We are able to optimize the payment page, [helping] the merchants to provide the same experience, regardless of the devices the consumers are using,” said Liang.
Driving in the same direction
When asked about major players in the mobile payments space, Liang said PayPal sees itself as their partner.
“We are part of them. We are part of the game,” he stressed. “Within the community, everyone is driving towards the same direction. We want to digitalize the way the consumers pay,” he said.
Individual operators may carry their unique values, so does PayPal, Liang says. PayPal will continue to innovate its product and service offerings, helping both consumers and merchants in the shopping experience, the executive added.
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