Cellum Insights

Lighting the path for a better mobile payments customer journey

The week before last we wrote about the stunning crackdown on physical currency in India, and how this and similar moves by other governments would logically give a boost to mobile and digital payment systems of all kind. And it turns out we were more right than we expected, though not necessarily in a way we would have liked.

Following the Indian government’s withdrawal of larger-denomination rupee notes on November 8, many consumers rushed to use peer-to-peer payments systems for the first time, only to later discover that the money they were trying to send to friends or family members instead ended up recharging the recipient’s prepaid phone balances.

Many tech professionals will no doubt blame these users for being inept, or for not adequately paying attention to the directions given them when they first used the service. But this would be a mistake. Indeed, when it comes to onboarding users to payment systems, the customer should – to borrow a famous phrase from American marketing history – “always be right.” And this is especially the case with payments because, unlike with games or communication tools or most other types of tech, when a user has trouble with a payment system, by definition that means they are having a money problem.


Above all, firms in the space need to avoid the temptation of acting as if the customer journey ends when a user successfully signs up for their service and begins making transactions. In reality, that is when the fun really begins. (By “fun” we of course mean “work.”) One key to making this work successful is treating user experience (UX) in a unitary fashion, rather than putting onboarding in a separate marketing/sales “box.” Ideally, a product’s UX should pick up seamlessly where the sales process ends, with a customer journey that in a real way is single experience, with the sum of experience being a firm’s brand.

Either way, firms need to remember that, while thousands of consumers are successfully adopting mobile wallets and related services every day, these users’ new journey can always be made more easy and convenient. Especially if, as in India earlier this month, they are doing it in a hurry.

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