Building Transparency: The Technology Fueling Ethoca Consumer Clarity
by Rahul Deshpande, Chief Technology Officer, Ethoca
The pace of change in the world has accelerated in surprising ways, and likewise, today’s consumers and businesses expect faster experiences than ever before.
When we developed Ethoca Consumer ClarityTM—which shares purchase details like digital receipts and clear merchant names and logos with consumers through their digital banking channels—we knew speed, security and ease were critical factors to its success. After all, merchants around the globe use Consumer Clarity to give their customers rich transaction details that not only enhance the customer experience but also greatly reduce the odds of transaction confusion that can lead to costly disputes and chargebacks. The digital economy is borderless, which meant Consumer Clarity had to be able to retrieve information from almost anywhere in the world and display it on the other side of the globe—within seconds.
To put this in perspective, we needed a system that could search and organize more than 14 terabytes of data (that’s 14,000 gigabytes!) in milliseconds and would comply with data infrastructure laws around the world. It also needed the capacity to support even more transaction and data types in the future.
Innovation has been, and continues to be, the key to Ethoca’s success. Since we’re helping to drive the payments ecosystem forward, we needed a platform that we could continue to build on and evolve. Needless to say, this was no small feat.
Building a lightning-fast, open tool
We focused on using advanced cloud computing to build this worldwide data network and created a versionless API that gives banks the flexibility and ease of using Consumer Clarity without having to change their backend technology as new features become available. Our engineers spent months working on it, and today it can easily scale to process 100,000 transactions per second and beyond.
Today’s consumer expects to have information at their fingertips within seconds in the channels they know and trust, so we focused on delivering speed and responsiveness within digital bank channels. Not only does this help issuers offer their customers a next-generation banking experience, it also provides merchants and other fintech companies with a unique opportunity to reach their customers where they are—online. In fact, a 2022 survey by the Ipsos-Forbes Consumer Confidence Tracker found that 78% of people in the U.S. prefer to bank digitally, using either a mobile banking app or their bank’s website. And the total experience that a bank offers its customers digitally—including the capability to do more within their digital channels—only makes those channels and banking relationships more valuable to the customers.
Another important consideration to Ethoca is the increasingly global nature of commerce, so we needed to build a data network that could quickly access information across the world while complying with data localization laws. Consider that a U.S. consumer in the state of Texas can buy something online from a merchant in Australia, and a detailed record of that transaction can be generated within milliseconds. That’s an awesome amount of dispersed data that needs to come together instantaneously.
Looking to the future
Today’s Consumer Clarity—which can deliver detailed digital receipts, merchant information and even carbon footprint data—is just the start. In the future, Consumer Clarity will deliver even more services that further enrich the customer experience using the same versionless API.
Once the connections are made between merchants, issuers, and even fintech partners, the engagement options within digital banking are almost endless. This could enable consumers to do everything from managing their subscriptions to checking and redeeming loyalty rewards, or even getting personalized offers and purchase recommendations. In fact, a study by Ethoca and the Aite Group found that 66% of merchants think digital receipts could be a good channel for providing offers, while 60% see them as a valuable potential channel for loyalty program registration.
The upside to all this? Giving consumers more insight and direct control over their purchases can help reduce unnecessary disputes and chargebacks—especially ones that are the result of first-party fraud. For issuers, merchants and other fintechs, this level of detail can help build better relationships and improve brand reputation, while also reducing costly disputes and chargebacks.
Collaboration has always been at the heart of Ethoca, and making the right connections between payment stakeholders is core to how we build cutting-edge solutions. Ethoca’s innovative, fast and secure data network enables us to continually develop new capabilities that benefit both people and businesses around the world.