I'm trying to find the best way to handle offline payments (e.g. internet bank transfer) into a site which offers services like courses.

At present there is a course registration form, when successfully completed the user receives a confirmation screen and email which states that payment is required, confirms the amount and bank account details.

I'm concerned that when a user completes this process it may feel as though they have achieved a booking or reservation, regardless of the information that follows.

For management a difficulty is that once the checkout is completed it takes a minimum of 24-48 hours before the payment can be confirmed. Also, the user may choose to not pay immediately (or at all). During this time the list contains unpaid booking requests, and it's proving hard to manage the attendee list and be sure of who is coming.

I'm wondering if anyone has encountered this problem before and if there is a better way to handle the checkout process.

More information:

The UX objective is to have an easy to use system for a user to create a course booking, where if they choose to pay 'offline' it is clearly understood that there is no reservation of a place until the payment has been made.

It could simply be that a standard process like the current one is fine, we just need to work the copy so that it communicates this well.

Another possibility I've considered is a system where 'offline' payments are completed before the booking form is completed, identified using a unique code sent via email. This might better reflect reality but it would also be pretty unusual and could put people off.

  • "the best way" is relative to some UX goal or goals. What are you trying to achieve here? What you describe seems to work fine functionally... What's the problem you're actually trying to solve?
    – tohster
    Apr 7, 2015 at 2:54
  • thanks, the edits are really helpful. will need to think about it for a bit but this is an interesting online-offline flow.
    – tohster
    Apr 7, 2015 at 6:45
  • I think the key here is to be clear in your messages and emails that they are payment required messages. In big bold letters INFORMATION ABOUT HOW YOU CAN PAY and perhaps even a smattering of disclaimers that "Your order is NOT yet complete" Think it might depend on where you're operating though. In Japan paying online is rare. Most online shopping is done by getting an email and taking it to a shop to pay in person. In the western countries I've lived in I've never seen such a system used and it probably would confuse people used to a few clicks to order something. Apr 7, 2015 at 10:14
  • Thanks for your comment, and that's interesting information about Japan, things are quite different. I agree that those sort of messages and disclaimers are important using the normal process, but don't you think it's interesting that they are so necessary? That is perhaps the kernel of the issue.
    – nzt
    Apr 7, 2015 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


As the checkout is the most important action, I assume it should be accompanied by the confirmation email with the the next steps, e.g. go to bank and pay this bill by the date otherwise the place at the course will not be guaranteed. Paying extra attention to the copy won't harm as well. But still the online payment with the immediate confirmation will solve this problem.

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