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How the Skins for Payment Cards on Google Pay and Apple Pay can Help to Increase Customers’ Payments (Maksym Popov)

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Banking Industry: New Generation, New Requirements

Customer habits in the banking industry are changing, forcing financial institutions to transform their services and offer more tailored and customized experiences.  According to research by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company when it offers personalized experiences. In other words, personalization is no longer an option, it is a necessity to remain competitive in the market and to satisfy customers’ needs. One of the ways to make a difference and offer a personalized experience in the banking industry is to offer innovative digital card design. Digital skins are the designs of payment cards that people can see in their banking app or payment app (for example Google Pay or Apple Pay) on the smartphone. 

How the Idea of Customization of Digital Skins Appeared

The idea of the development of digital skins appeared in the minds of Privatbank senior managers Iegor Avetisov and Maria Gurina. They noticed that, from one side, the classic designs of the digital cards irritate many people (especially the young) and that people who use Google Pay and Apple Pay have practically stopped getting plastic out of their wallets. At this moment, there appeared the idea to give the clients the possibility to change the design of the digital cards. Thus, Privatbank became the first bank in the world to implement digital skins for digital banks. In this context, Iegor Avetisov stated “I am sure that when people feel an emotional connection with the app, they will use it more often”. 

Why is Customization of the Payment Card Design Important for Banks?

Customization of the digital skins of payment cards can bring the following benefits for the bank:

  • It provides the possibility to create a relevant and fun way to connect with the customers and to maintain a close relationship with them.

  • It is a powerful marketing tool that can help to demonstrate the uniqueness and originality of the brand.

  • It brings profits and improves mobile payment adoption. The experience of Ukrainian banks (Privatbank, A-Bank, and Monobank) demonstrated that after card customization, customers’ card payments increased by 18%.

  • It provides the opportunity to collaborate more with other brands. The designs of digital cards can be presented in different consumer segments, leading to higher relevancy, better loyalty, and wider engagement. 

  • It improves the purchase path for the client, increasing customer acquisition and transaction frequency.

  • It increases the users’ involvement in the product – they can not only customize the functionality but also change how the service looks, which sounds very appealing.

Why Customization of the Digital Skins is Important for Clients of the Banks?

Standard banking cards lack soul, they do not “speak” to customers and do not reflect their identity.  

Customization of digital cards allows solving these problems while also providing the following benefits:

  • It helps people to reflect own personalities. The skins of digital cards can also be changed depending on the mood of the person. It’s like putting on a new coat in March or changing the boring gray color of the walls in the living room. The custom digital card is saying something about its owner.

  • It is a sustainable and ecological payment method compared to plastic card payment.

  • It provides a comfortable and trendy purchase path.

  • It helps to manage and distinguish cards in smartphone (pay wallet) more conveniently. The average client usually has several cards (for online shopping, for daily purchases, etc.). Each card can have its own unique design, thus it is not confused with other cards.

  • It helps to bring a small positive difference to the life of the client. It brings the feeling of a small rearrangement. Changing the design of the digital card is like moving a plant or a chair to a new place in the room, which often brings a positive difference.  

The Available and Most Popular Designs

The design possibilities for digital cards are endless, allowing to satisfy the needs of any customer.   For example, Privatbank currently proposes to its customers the design categories with nature, art, abstraction, famous people, food, etc. According to the statistics, patriotic digital skins are currently the most popular ones. 

Abstract Designs of the Digital Cards at PrivatBank

Dog Designs of the Digital Cards at Privatbank 

Food Designs of the Digital Cards at Privatbank

Art Designs of Digital Cards at Privatbank 

Another useful and interesting design was the usage of the personal document as the skin of a digital card.  Such an approach was useful since it allowed the clients not to carry the documents but just to show them in digital form from the official payment app.

Documents on the design of digital cards 

Business Results of Ukrainian Banks that Implemented Digital Skins for Payment Cards

On the first day after launching, 50,000 customers of PrivatBank changed their digital card designs. With time, its popularity grew, and today,  more than 2 million clients are using this service. Besides, the bank received hundreds of positive feedback about this service. Such statistics show the relevance of the customization of digital cards design for the customers of the bank. In this context, the Marketing Director of Mastercard Natalia Baidala commented on the implementation of digital skins in the following way: “Simple, convenient, and secure payment by smartphone with one touch is like a payment art, and now we, together with partners from PrivatBank, have added color to this innovation. Choose a personal hero for your contactless payments and switch to a cashless lifestyle”. Besides, the analysis of the design choices of the customers allows to better understand the preferences of the customers and thus ensure better targeting for the future, providing more tailored products. 

Digital skins can show how the business reacts to the situation in the country, how it follows the trends as well as how it reacts to the events that are taking place in society.

For example, with the beginning of the war, a well-known Ukrainian neobank Monobank has installed the following design for its cards for Google Pay and Apple Pay, showing the support of Ukrainian society in the war against the Russian Federation.

Example of Digital Skin of Monobank 

Also, Privatbank has started a collaboration with DC Comics, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and many other reputable, world-known corporations. Thanks to such cooperation, the users of the payment cards can have Batman, X-Men, Joker, and a lot of other famous characters in their digital wallets. The service of digital skins is currently free for the users of the banks that have this service available, however many clients are ready to pay to have the desired image on the digital skin of their payment card.

Example of Digital Skin of Privatbank 

Example of Digital Skin of Privatank

The experience of the banks that implemented digital skins of the payment cards demonstrated that not only end customers but also businesses are interested in the implementation of digital skins. They can be effectively used for advertising purposes and bringing significant attention of the target audience.

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