How do the two parties to a payment transaction tell each other they are going to pay? Sometimes, this is done with a payment system brand (“Do you take Visa?”) and sometimes with a common term (“May I give you a check?”). In a country-wide digital financial system, should there be a common system brand or service mark? Note that this could be used in conjunction with a proprietary provider brand: “Your Super Wallet includes fastpay transfers.” In this example, “Super Wallet” is the provider’s commercial brand and “fastpay transfers” is the common brand or service mark.
Option “A”: There should be a common brand or service mark
A common brand would give the two end-users in a payment transaction (the payer and the payee) the same vocabulary to use in explaining how payments will be made. This would reduce consumer confusion, increase word-of-mouth communication and therefore increase the rate of adoption.
On the other side, a successful common brand could eclipse the proprietary brands of participants (e.g. be used by consumers rather than the proprietary brands), and because of this reduce their economic incentive to be a provider in the system.
Option “B”: There should not be a common brand or service mark
In this scenario participant proprietary brands would be marketed more heavily, with the potential for participants to grab more share but also bear more of the costs of consumer education.
Also on the negative side, consumer confusion (“you’re paying me how? My provider doesn’t use that service”) could slow adoption.
The Financial Inclusion Perspective: Option “A” is preferred
The Level One Project Guide advocates a central brand or service mark. This approach enables consumers to easily communicate with each other about the service, and would promote adoption and use through “word of mouth”, or viral, communication among populations just getting started with financial services. This approach would be particularly compelling if used in conjunction with government advertising or other education efforts.