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Service 360: How Payments Technologies Feature in the Sharing Economy

By Paul Marcantonio, Head of UK/Western Europe at ECOMMPAY

The little industrial revolution of the internet has changed the way the world works, and there’s almost no better example of this than the rise of the so-called sharing economy – not to mention the payments technologies that facilitate these new forms of transactions. The proliferation of an enormous ecosystem of app- and web-based platforms mean consumers are more and more renting each other’s cars, houses, possessions, and time, but the one thing that has remained the same is that they still need to pay for the things they drive, live in, use, and hire.

While well-designed payments technologies tailored to the sharing economy make up the most noticeable part of the payment experience for end-users, it’s the backup provided by human customer service teams that keep all those transactions between sellers and buyers running smoothly.

So what do we mean by the human touch? It means knowing where technology ends and people begin; which tasks on your platform are best handled by algorithms moving at the speed of light and which should be dealt with by experts and a critical eye. Innovative payment technology’s incredible – it’s what allows the sharing economy to exist in the first place, and can make the payment process silky-smooth for customers – but it can’t solve every problem just yet.

Payments technology solutions for the sharing economy

First among the problems technology can’t solve is…problems with technology. If you’re a participant in the sharing economy, you need a payments technology solution involving the human factor. That is, if you run into issues with your payment gateway, you need to be able to contact a human being to resolve anything from customer authentication errors to a font not displaying correctly. What’s more, that human being needs to be capable, professional, and familiar with the technology you’re using, not just reading a script off a pre-prepared sheet. In the sharing economy, where apps and websites provide platforms for ever-more sellers to reach ever-more buyers, the potential for hiccoughs to occur can be pretty high. A lot of payment solutions companies flaunt their tech, but being able to get in touch with an expert who knows the ins-and-outs of your particular use case is more important than ever. That’s why when you’re looking to either establish a platform or share on one, you want to make sure there’s a solid partnership in place that means you can pick up a phone, or send an email, and have a real life person guiding you and handling your issue as quickly as possible. Ensuring your customers enjoy a smooth payment experience necessitates a payments technology solution tailored for the sharing economy, which means being able to speak to an expert whenever you need to.

If you’re a participant in the sharing economy, you need a payments technology solution involving the human factor.

A second opinion on your payments technology

People aren’t just handy for when tech goes wrong, they’re vital to making sure it goes right. Every company operating an online storefront worries about security and the always present threat of fraudsters and malicious activity, but the rise of sharing platforms means there’s more potentially risky buyers and sellers to keep track of than there has been in the past. That’s one of those issues you want that speed-of-light tech to solve: combing through tens of thousands of users in milliseconds to check for ID fraud or scams on your platform. By pairing risk management tech with smart, manual monitoring, you can outwit malicious actors without the danger of false positives. Optimising your payments technology solution for the sharing economy means the possibility to have your security tech undergo human review. With some platforms facing truly enormous numbers of scams being run on their services, you’re going to need cutting edge tech and a brilliant team if you want to expand.

Paired with smart design, robust functionality, and innovative payments technology, a team of smart humans backing up your algorithms and AIs can be the difference between linear and exponential growth. We live in an age that’s obsessed with having the latest, greatest, biggest and brightest tech, and there’s a good reason for that, but by using payment solutions that keep a human hand on the tiller, you’ll be in a position to solve a lot of your problems before they ever crop up for your end users, and in a way that doesn’t risk hurting their experience and dampening their enthusiasm for your platform. Besides, robots don’t make for interesting conversation yet.


  • Editorial Director of the The Fintech Times

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