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Wednesday, May 01, 2019 — 13:33:57 (EDT)

ETA honors payments leaders with 2019 Star Awards

Las Vegas, May 1, 2019 -- The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) announced the winners of the 2019 Star Awards at the Visa President’s Dinner and Star Awards Gala at TRANSACT, the premier payments technology event. The Star Awards recognize individuals and companies that have made a significant difference in the payments industry through innovation, business practices, or contributions to the association.

“The ETA Star Awards are the payments technology industry’s top honor,” said Amy Zirkle, interim CEO of ETA. “The President’s Dinner and Star Awards Gala is an opportunity to celebrate those who help our industry grow. Congratulations to the winners who have dedicated themselves to the success of the industry.”

The ETA Awards and Recognition Committee, a panel of industry executives, narrowed down nominations to a group of finalists, ultimately voting on a winner in each category. Winners were named in the following categories at the Star Awards Gala: Distinguished Payments Professional, Business Partner of the Year, Committee Volunteer of the Year, ISO of the Year, FinTech Innovation in Payments, Pay it Forward, and Technology Innovation.

2019 ETA Star Award Winners
Distinguished Payments Professional, O.B. Rawls
O.B. Rawls has been an integral part of the payments landscape for over 30 years. Landmarks in his prestigious career include turning the acquiring division of Bank of America into a profitable business, developing pioneering joint ventures between First Data and Lloyds Bank, and expanding POS hardware company Hypercom in emerging markets as diverse as Brazil, Russia and east Asia. More recently, his leadership of iPayment led to the company’s strong growth and its acquisition by Paysafe, creating a top-5 non-bank acquirer in the US. Following the acquisition, he was appointed to his current role – Paysafe’s President of Payment Processing in North America.

ISO Organization of the Year, Payroc

Payroc has a leadership team with deep experience that has worked with and for an impressive list of industry titans and companies. The company has a full in-house support team of over 150 people that enables them to meet their customer’s needs. They provide top-notch and personable support to their clients. ETA’s Guidelines on Merchant and ISO Underwriting and Risk Monitoring are a key part of the training curriculum for new hires and 45 members of the sales team are ETA Certified Payments Professionals. Their values, along with hard-work, technology innovation, and determination have led to double digit growth.

FinTech Innovation in Payments, Square

The launch of Square drastically altered the payments landscape with a simple philosophy: allow anyone with a mobile device to accept credit card payments anywhere, anytime. Focusing on the “ease of acceptance” allowed this company to not only take share of small merchants from more traditional players, but more importantly, turn non-card-accepting merchants into card-acceptors.

Since their early days, this company has introduced many new features and products, which in turn supports the merchant’s ability to expand and grow. This includes multiple proprietary POS systems, merchant funding products, loyalty products, as well as software applications for merchants.

As they have subsequently moved upstream, this company and these products have now changed the way the payments landscape looks. Founded 10 years ago, this company has a market cap of $30 billion, and provides card acceptance to millions of merchants.

Pay It Forward, Pamela Joseph

Pamela Joseph exemplifies the spirit of this award. Pam helped found the Women Leaders in Action (WLA) to improve the lives of women in Africa through a focus on education.

Since 2012, WLA has impacted the lives of over 12,000 students through directly funding their school fees, uniforms and scholarships, as well as providing leadership training. The organization provided funding for the construction and furnishing of a pre-school, kindergarten and primary school at Project Canaan in Swaziland. Additionally, they furnished a dorm for 64 girls in a Masaai Village in the Rift Valley of Kenya. Their support also extends into improving the student’s learning environment by providing books, desks, solar lamps, mosquito nets and water filters.

Under Pam’s leadership, and using their own funds and time, the women that make up WLA have made 8 trips to the continent of Africa to visit the facilities and students benefiting from the funds.

Technology Innovation, PayVus ® by Aliaswire, Inc.

For ISO’s and Acquirers, interchange is a cost. However, for Issuers, interchange is a revenue source. This company has developed an innovative approach that enables ISO’s and Acquirers to tap into issuer interchange revenue. It uniquely combines merchant acquiring and credit card issuing. The card comes with a traditional revolving line of credit and is also funded by the merchant’s card processing receivables. This combination provides merchants with the credit they need for everyday business expenses. It also provides a significant revenue share to ISOs and Acquirers for all the spending activity. This new approach to merchant acquiring provides ISOs and Acquirers with the opportunity to yield significant revenue increases while delivering unmatched value and savings to merchants.

Business Partner of the Year, Worldpay
Worldpay has provided extraordinary service and support to ETA over the last year. Their partnership to identify and support new entrants through the startup zone is responsible for bringing some of the most exciting companies in payments tech to the show floor, and their contributions to thought leadership across multiple ETA committees makes the recipient and their employees an invaluable asset to ETA and the payments community.

Committee Volunteer of the Year, Jared Poulson, Payroc

This year’s recipient has served as the vice chair and chair of the Technology Committee. Jared Poulson has been a vital, hardworking member of the committee for many years. Under his leadership, the committee has flourished and become home for some of the most forward-thinking discussions in the payments industry. Additionally, the committee has created important resources for ETA members and the industry.

For media inquiries, contact Laura Hubbard at 202.677.7406 or

About ETA

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) is the global trade association representing more than 500 payments and technology companies. ETA members make commerce possible by processing more than $6 trillion in purchases in the U.S. and deploying payments innovation to merchants and consumers.