With any big idea, the challenge often comes when you have to turn it into reality. When we were developing AfterPay Fast Track, our new NFC-enabled instant payment system, we saw challenges that our clients were facing, and knew that we could do something about them.
As we had seen from the relatively slow adoption of NFC-based mobile payments, it is one thing to know you have a game-changer on your hands and another thing to convince everyone else. To do that, we had to overcome our potential clients’ biggest fear: technical failure. After all, at tourist attractions and entertainment venues downtime costs real money.
The only way to overcome those concerns was to prove that the system worked. We ran three pilot projects in Finland, which proved beyond a doubt that the concept was both attractive for customers and businesses, and rock solid. The first pilot, appropriately enough, was an indoor rock festival in Nosturi, followed by two beer festivals in Tampere and Helsinki.
As my colleague Jouko wrote about earlier, the last of these – the Great Beers – Small Breweries festival in Helsinki – was a resounding success with 22,000 visitors, 39 different vendors and zero technical hitches.
So far, so expected. But this is not just another system that lets people pay with an NFC-connected device. What really sets AfterPay Fast Track apart is the way it improves the entire customer experience, and helps you run your business better.
It makes your customers’ stay more convenient and enjoyable by giving them full control over their spending, before, during and after their visit. Regardless of whether they register online or on-site, check-in is quick and easy. They always have the choice of paying upfront by pre-authorising a fixed sum on their credit or debit card, or paying later. And they can access their accounts at all times using their smartphones or self-service terminals to get an overview of their purchases, set spending limits, and create sub-accounts for individual family members.
They don’t have to worry about checking out either, with the final amount charged after their visit. And the convenience continues even after they come home, when they can choose how and when they want to pay thanks to the flexibility of AfterPay.
AfterPay Fast Track doesn’t only make life easier for your customers, though. It makes life better for you and your business by providing you with real-time data and intelligence that can be used for a more efficient and effective use of staff and resources. Our bracelets, readers, tablets and equipment can be easily integrated into your existing point-of-sales system, payment terminals, and ticketing and booking systems, giving you better control of your operations and reducing administration. Removing the need for cash and cash-handling cuts costs considerably, with fewer payment terminals needed to process more transactions in less time.
You could see the story of AfterPay Fast Track as one of identifying our customers’ challenges, and solving them. I prefer to see it as taking a great idea, identifying customers’ opportunities, and turning it into a reality.
– Pekka Heiniö
Technical lead AfterPay Fast Track, Arvato Financial Solutions Finland