Exploring the future of payments

Brought to you through our partnership with Stripe

[Author] Eileen O’Mara, head of EMEA revenue and growth, Stripe

As companies around the world do more and more business online, payments are becoming a critical factor in their success. The smoother the payment process, the better the customer experience, and the farther and faster the business can expand. On the other hand, friction at the point of payment can have the opposite effect. Potential issues include customer frustration and incomplete or inaccurate transactions, as well as wasted time—20% of businesses spend more than 10 hours a week chasing down payments. 

To learn more about what companies need in order to grow and compete in this environment, consider these four questions. 

What’s driving change in the European payments arena?

When Stripe commissioned Forrester Research to conduct a survey of European retailers recently, more than half of them—57 percent—named expanding their geographical reach as a top priority. It’s fair to say that this applies to many businesses outside the retail industry as well. 

But, almost an equal number of survey respondents also reported that they were finding it difficult to expand into new markets. They said that country-specific policy and regulatory issues around payments were hard to understand, and that accepting local payments—something Stripe knows is important to the customer experience—was a challenge. In fact, only 8 percent of respondents had been able to implement local payment methods for most of the countries they operate in. 

Because of this, businesses aren’t always able to offer the level of convenience and flexibility they need to attract new customers. And even if they get past the initial hurdles, they may still miss out on opportunities and revenue through abandoned transactions. 

What can businesses do to overcome these challenges? 

To operate successfully across borders, businesses need the ability to both localise and streamline their payments. When local payment options that customers know and trust are integrated into the process, it reduces friction and makes them more likely to complete transactions. 

That said, it’s also important to make sure that those payments won’t be declined, which is a common issue with cross-border credit card payments. This is where additional payment methods like SEPA Direct Debit come into play. 

SEPA, which stands for Single Euro Payments Area, is a system created by the EU and administered by the European Payments Council to harmonise cashless transactions across borders. With SEPA Direct Debit, the payer’s bank communicates directly with the payee’s bank, so there’s no need to use a credit card. For ongoing services, the service provider only needs to secure permission once, and then recurring payments can be debited from the account according to an agreed-upon schedule. Plus, businesses anywhere in the world can collect SEPA Direct Debit payments, even if they don’t have a local entity or bank account. 

How can a business get set up to accept SEPA payments?

Not all payment platforms support SEPA Direct Debit, but Stripe does. And, because Stripe is integrated with Docusign Payments, it’s easy for Docusign users to add payments to their Docusign eSignature service and accept SEPA Direct Debit at the point of signing, in addition to other options including credit, debit, ACH, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. 

The process is simple: First you create a Docusign envelope with the documents to be signed, and then you add a payment tag for the recipient with SEPA selected as the payment method. When the recipient signs, they’ll be prompted to pay, and the transaction will be complete. Watch how it works for Tally Commerce, a European-based merchant company. 

For Tally, as well as for Docusign customers like Steve Gilman, co-founder and COO of Blockparty, the convenience of such an all-in-one solution is an irresistible benefit. 

“I was looking for a system where we could customise contracts, have it brandable, have the template ready to go, and then also be able to take payments as soon as the consumer was ready to transact with us,” Gilman says. “And we found that.” 

What benefits can businesses expect to realise? 

Earlier we talked about the drive towards geographic expansion, and this solution ties directly back to that goal. By offering SEPA payments as an option, businesses can not only reach customers in more countries without worrying about local regulations or policies, they can get paid faster and more reliably, with less risk. At the same time, they can give their current and potential customers what they want: convenience, familiar payment methods, and a streamlined, one-and-done experience that will leave them with a positive impression of the company. Ultimately, it’s a win for both parties. 

Stop wasting time and start enabling more business growth by collecting signatures and payments in one step. Learn about Docusign Payments and Stripe, or how to add payments to your existing Docusign account.  

Eileen O’Mara is Stripe’s GTM Lead for EMEA. Eileen has worked in a variety of international roles, supporting companies to transform their business through technology. Her experience spans revenue leadership, marketing, and business consultancy roles at senior levels in the technology sector. Eileen joined Stripe from Salesforce; in her last role she was the International CMO and the Executive Sponsor of the Women in Salesforce Network. She’s an active community member and passionate about STEM and empowering girls to pursue their dreams through education.

Eileen O'Mara, Head of EMEA Revenue & Growth at Stripe
Eileen O'Mara
Head of EMEA Revenue & Growth at Stripe