Why hasn’t this been done before? Online Travel Agent Cleartrip has introduced a one click booking process called Expressway, which allows customers to store their credit, debit and payment card details in their Cleartrip account, thus doing away with the need of having to enter credit card details each time someone books a ticket. We’ve seen similar processes in place in case of international sites, and a one click process reduces the number of steps and the effort required to book a ticket, thereby increasing the conversion rate.

However, there still remains one key difference between the way international sites – for example Amazon and Godaddy – allow you to purchase with one-click, and what Indian sites like Cleartrip are forced to do: there’s a second layer of authentication that is mandated by law in India, which, online, is the Verified by Visa or Mastercard Secure layer, and on mobile is that horrifyingly-irritatingly-pointlessly-cumbersome one time password process.  It’s worth noting that Expressway is an opt-in feature, which means that the user can choose not to store his credit card details in his Cleartrip account. In a blog post, Cleartrip co-founder Hrush Bhatt pointed out that 77% of their flight bookings are by users who book for a single passenger.

Why Hasn’t This Been Done Before?

You tell us. We were under the impression that RBI guidelines do not allow businesses to store credit card details, but according to Bhatt, the guidelines just don’t allow sites to store the CVV number, which Cleartrip doesn’t. Cleartrip is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliant and uses 128 bit encryption for storage of this information. Note that some Indian sites which have (apparently) been hacked in the past have also cited PCI-DSS compliance, but stored their passwords in an unencrypted clear text format; perhaps it’s encryption which matters more.

Still, given that storage of credit card information means fewer hoops to jump through for a user, and hence higher conversion rates, we think that all sites should look to offer this speedier check-out option to customers – especially e-commerce stores looking to push impulse purchases. Many a slip…