Payments

The Partnerize platform comprises an area for brands and partners to make and receive payments. This project addresses the problems that were arising for partners.

Problem

Payments allow partners to understand their earnings, raise queries with certain brands if payments are overdue, and set up withdrawal preferences to receive commission earned in a specified currency, time and account.

Partners were reporting missing commission, and were also unaware of any exchange rates and withdrawal charges. As we investigated, this was due to the lack of visibility partners have over how payments are processed on the brand side. This quickly became a problem for us as the middleman, not only because it gave the impression to partners that we were holding commission from them, but also because we had to find out the status of payments processing on the brand side, to then communicate this back to the partner.

The question is, what data do we have available to surface to partners to enable them to have greater visibility and ultimately improve their experience?

As Partnerize identified the potential this feature has in terms of business and client needs, it became the next priority on the product roadmap.

Responsibilities

I led the redesign, discovery and ideation, user research, interaction design and prototype.

Client-Facing Work

As the Design Lead on this project, I worked closely with Product Managers, Finance, Engineering, and the end-users, to deliver an experience that focuses on the needs of it's users as well as alleviating workload internally.

The main focus was to provide some level of visibility of the status of commission earned and make improvements to the withdrawal experience, so that partners aren't stung by withdrawal fees.

Although partners were able to withdraw funds available to them in different currencies and deposit in different bank accounts in the existing interface, the process to do so was unclear, and there was evidently a lack of information on the processing of payments and exchange rates/ fees involved - making it difficult for partners to manage their earnings and keep track of withdrawals.

Our goal is to provide an easy-to-use experience with as much useful information as possible, to reduce reliance on our finance and client service teams.

With the product team, I looked at the areas that fit within the scope of the project, this included;

  • Payment status — To provide visibility over commission owed using better terminology and clear layout
  • Self-bill (invoice) table — Redesigning and adding useful data to the table
  • Withdrawal — Streamlining the withdrawal process and highlighting fees
  • Payment methods — Adding/ removing bank accounts and PayPal
  • Payment settings — Redesigning and relocating payment settings
  • Transaction queries — Redesign the process of raising transaction queries
This catered to different use cases, for example, partners who would like greater visibility over the commission they have earned, partners who would like access to and make use of past and present self-bills/ invoices, and partners who would like to withdraw commission in different currencies, through different payment methods.

Research

As one of the most integral features of the platform, we had to investigate ways to improve, through user interviews and resolve issues that have been raised, with a complete redesign. Researching competitors and talking to five partners proved that we could make small adjustments to how the payments feature currently functions, providing a more desirable payments offering, which should also alleviate internal pressures.

Opportunities

Not only was this project important because it was one of the areas in which we were providing the most support, but it also provides value to partners when they can see the results of their marketing efforts with the commission they receive from various campaigns. We saw this as an opportunity to solve problems partners were running into by surfacing data we have available and providing a more user-friendly experience.

When payments are pending - a term used in the old interface - this means commission is owed to partners but needs to be approved, confirmed and paid before a partner receives payment. Advertisers are invoiced and they then pay Partnerize so that Partnerize can pay partners. However, the time taken for funds to reach the 'available to withdraw' status could vary vastly and should be communicated to partners.

I looked at ways in which we could give the user a clearer understanding of the status their earnings sit under by highlighting the totals within each status at the top of the page and breaking commission earned by brand, commission earned (in the currency tracked at the point of conversion), conversions and their current status. This allows partners to raise queries with brands directly if there is overdue payment.

Within the 'Available to withdraw', 'Approved but awaiting brand payment' and 'Tracked but not approved' totals at the top of the page, I added a brief description to provide insight into what each of these statuses mean to partners.

I also suggested adding auto-withdrawal, as this approach to withdrawals would allow partners to receive commission automatically when a threshold has been met or on a specific date of the month, once they have set this up.

Withdraw

I introduced auto-withdrawal in an attempt to improve the experience of withdrawing commission by allowing partners to set up preferred payment methods and settings to suit them, including currencies to track and convert into a supported currency, and preferred payment dates or thresholds to meet, so that payments are automatically sent, and this area would then be used to check payments are on track.

I used a tabbed view to split bank accounts from PayPal, making it simple for partners to manage, but also allowing additional payment methods to be introduced in the future.

PayPal payments are not as flexible in terms of tracking multiple currencies and making payments in a currency that differs from the currency tracked - there is also a 3% fee to use PayPal, which also needed to be highlighted in the redesign.

Outcome

This was an interesting project to work on as I gained greater insight into the payment processes for both sides of the platform and how they could be better aligned.

According to user feedback that has been collected so far, the update to payments has been well received. We have also noticed a drop in support tickets, an increase in linked bank accounts and automatic withdrawals, and have received comments around the improved perception of security.

We will continue to gather feedback from users and iterate on designs to continuously improve the user experience.


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