Turning taxes into credits

How we reimagined Mint Payments for a more rewarding experience

Adam Jones

For most of Mint’s 13-year existence it’s been a white-label provider of payment tech to enterprise clients and financial institutions — to it’s credit, picking up a few pretty impressive awards and customers like MYOB and Bank of New Zealand along the way.

About two years ago though, things started to change. Mint struck a number of partnerships in Travel and Hospitality that saw it start to win customers directly, instead of through its traditional channels. It was clear Mint could compete on product, price and service as this channel has grown to ~80% of transaction value since that time, at about half a billion dollars per annum. While the results were solid, like most of the other players in the category, Mint searched hard for a point of difference other than commoditised triggers like fees, uptime and speed. The business was looking for meaningful differentiation that would set it apart from the market and provide a genuine value proposition for customers. This is where I enter the story…

I’d been introduced to the team at Mint through a mutual acquaintance whose creative and innovation practice, Modern Equivalent, was leading a CX research and strategy project to help Mint find its mojo. We hit it off immediately and I jumped on board as the company’s inaugural Chief Growth Officer, with the main near-term objective of designing and executing our Direct-to-Customer strategy.


Unpacking payments

My first order of business was to understand the different merchant segments and players in the category, and understand everyone’s positioning and edge. What soon became clear was that this category was lagging in the dark ages. With the exception of a couple of global players with products servicing micro merchants, there was little innovation around customer needs… and even less imagination. The banks and global payment processors didn’t even seem to have a clear value proposition apart from just being big, and the proverbial “new kid on the block” was a 15-year-old business peddling a brick-like terminal that couldn’t even support online payments.

Having spent most of my career in fast-moving retail, there was something very dim about the payments category that bothered me. It hadn’t progressed the way the SaaS sector had in understanding that selling to end-users is vastly different to selling to a procurer in an enterprise, and largely focussed on “feeds and speeds”. Or put more aptly, price and speed. There was alarmingly little consideration for user experience or meaningful value adds, but that wasn’t it.


As we reviewed the transcripts from the merchant interviews during the CX project, one word jumped out that described the raw truth of the relationship that’s developed between payment providers and merchants. .. “It feels like a tax on transactions”. There it was. A tax. Another merchant referred to payments as a “necessary evil”. “I just can’t see how I get value for the fees”… it went on.


A tax on hard work

Accepting card payments is a hygiene factor for any merchant with ~98% of transactions in Australia made on cards. It’s a necessity. A utility. And the industry had been contently siphoning off a couple of percent just for the pleasure of doing business.

It’s fair to say that now having deeper knowledge of the payments category, service providers incur charges on each transaction too, but these companies have taxed their way to unspeakable profits. This is a tax on sales, on merchants, on someone else’s hard work; and in most enlightened categories today, when a business charges a customer for service there’s an obligation — whether implicit or explicit — to actually add value through the interaction, rather than simply process it.


 “Rewarding Payments”

What emerged was an undeniable opportunity to design much harder around the customer experience, rather than the technology. And if we were to do this at Mint, we had to genuinely add value, rather than process it. We had to design a more rewarding experience for our customers right along the journey — from working with our sales teams and onboarding, to how they use our products, pricing, value added services, and customer support.

“Rewarding Payments”. It’s our new mission and we’re stacking our service with a different kind of value, so our customers feel rewarded through the experience. We want people to feel like they’re in credit, not like they’re being taxed.

This isn’t just a marketing overhaul, but an overhaul of the entire business. Over the coming months you can expect some other announcements from Mint that will hopefully shake the category out of its restful slumber, and make a permanent change to how merchants feel about the payment category.

Stay tuned for the ride!


Want to know more?

Check us out at mintpayments.com

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