There are many challenges for digital currencies to gain acceptance, gaining user trust, overcoming the barriers to entry for the non-technical and so on, but there are also issues with creating an infrastructure that allows merchants to offer customer service options that match or exceed those offered by fiat currency payment systems. Coinbase, the digital currency exchange and bitcoin service provider, has recently announced a suite of features targeted at providing merchants who accept bitcoin payments with new tools that give them the options they need.
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As the cryptocurrency industry grows and broadens its user base, one of the challenges facing digital currency based businesses is ensuring that merchants are offered payment solutions that provide the same options as fiat currency systems. This is because some abilities are essential for merchants to operate today, both in terms of ease of reporting and especially in offering the kind of customer service facilities that consumers expect today.
Bitcoin service provider and digital currency exchange Coinbase has taken the lead on this and has recently announced a range of additions to their service specifically aimed at providing merchants the tools they need to make accepting bitcoin more attractive. While on the surface these new capabilities may seem simple in nature, they are actually incredibly important in making bitcoin an attractive currency for merchants to use, by making it much, much easier, and in some cases even possible for the first time, to do certain transaction activities that really do benefit merchants and customers, over and above those available with fiat currency payment systems.
The first addition is that of Partial Refunds, and is perhaps the most significant of the new options, and it gives the merchant the ability to refund a part of a larger transaction for the first time. For merchants, this means that they can provide a refund for one item in an order of multiple items, which can occur with stock issues, cancellations or issues on receipt, and adds truly necessary functionality for merchants. Until now, such a situation meant cancelling the entire order, refunding in full and asking the consumer to reorder again, inconvenient for everyone involved and a definite negative for bitcoin payments. Coinbase have remedied this in one go.
The other major introduction, and one merchants have been requesting vigorously, is a facility to deal with overpayments. Overpayment has been on ongoing issue, with incorrect values input or adding in erroneous service fees by accident, however the new feature automatically flags overpayments, while allowing the order to complete properly. The merchant is then able to refund the overpaid amount with no delay to the order itself.
This maturing of the payment system to provide the tools merchants need in today’s ecommerce environment is a welcome move and beneficial to the entire industry.