When’s the Right Time to Ask for Credit Card Information?

By: Kahuna | December 22, 2015 | Mobile Marketing
Credit Card mobile timing

Making a big request is something many of us agonize over. Whether you’re in sales and asking for a company to commit to a deal or you’re asking your long-time crush on a date, the fear that you’re asking too soon or in the wrong way is strong. Nobody likes to be rejected and you don’t want to scare your audience away in either scenario.

That’s why many companies agonize over how and when to ask for credit card information when onboarding users to their mobile app. Ask too soon, or in the wrong context and you’ll drive customers away. Ask too late and you cause friction in the buying process.

So when should you make the ask? There’s no perfect answer as contexts and relationships change from company to company, but here are a few key things to consider.

The Argument for Asking Upfront

While it may cause a small drop-off in users, there is support for asking for credit card information upfront. A study conducted by customer engagement platform Totango found that companies that require credit card info at the point of sign-up experience higher conversion rates from trial to purchase. Totango reports the rate is somewhere around 50%. This success presumably comes from overcoming the main friction point, putting in payment information, early in the process, making it frictionless for users to convert.

Mobile Credit Card Sign Up

This ask for credit card information upfront is something that brands/apps like NY-based Blade, currently the first digitally driven ​short distance aviation company, find useful given the nature of their business and unique consumer base. Blade asks for credit card information as part of the onboarding process, making an eventual purchase seamless later on. They also eliminate additional friction during the ask by including an option to use the phone’s camera to scan a user’s card, eliminating the need to manually input the information.

In addition to overcoming friction, asking for payment details upfront can be a great way to qualify app users and segment engaged users from passersby. If a user is willing to provide you with their credit card information, there is a better chance that they will stay engaged and ultimately end up making a purchase.

The Argument for Asking Later

While there is support for asking for credit card information as part of onboarding, for certain apps, making it the first thing you ask for is a good way to make a user anxious or worse, create distrust. The best companies make use of a psychological principle called the foot-in-the-door technique.

Foot-in-the-door technique involves getting a person to agree to a large request (providing their credit card information) by first having that person agree to a smaller one. This technique works because of a basic human behavior that social scientists call “successive approximations.” The more a person commits to small requests, the more that person feels obligated to go along with larger requests.

For some apps, this means making credit card information the last part of the onboarding process, asking for a user’s name and email etc. first.  Making each ask a separate part of the onboarding process builds more momentum for users and makes the foot-in-the-door technique more powerful.

Asking Mobile Credit Card Info

For other apps like JackThreads and Sprig, credit card information is not part of the onboarding process at all. Both apps allow users to explore at their own pace and only ask for credit card information at the point of purchase. Saving the ask for later opens up a whole new set of options for apps in terms of how and when they deliver that ask. While you can rely on users to input the information themselves, you can also use in-app messaging to help users along that process.

That’s where Kahuna can really help!

A-to-E Testing

Kahuna allows you to test up to 5 different methods of asking for credit card information at a time. Try asking in the middle of the onboarding process. Try asking at once a user adds an item to their cart. Try asking at checkout. Kahuna let’\s you send your in-app prompt based on any time or action your users take. Kahuna will analyze what’s working and automatically optimize for the message that is getting the best response.

Valuable Insight

Kahuna will also provide you with engagement and action data for each of your asks. You’ll know which method received the best response, but even more importantly, which message resulted in the most action, in this case, providing credit card information. This information will provide you with valuable insight exactly how and when your users are most responsive to providing their credit card information.

While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to asking for credit card information, considering the context and testing different approaches will help you build an engaged user base that will make purchases through your app over and over again.

Want to learn even more about how Kahuna can help you onboard your customers? Download our free e-book:

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