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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ETA's Transact 18: not the same-old, same-old

There was a new look and feel to the Electronic Transactions Association's signature conference, Transact 18, held April 17 to 19, 2018, at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort and Convention Center. The expo attracted card brands, merchant service providers and technology companies. "If you're here, you have a product, or you are the sales channel," said Jason Oxman, chief executive officer at the ETA. In the opening keynote presentation, Oxman said payments' current age of innovation is powered by ETA companies that are shaping how we interact with money.

"As our industry changes, so too must our industry's annual event, Transact," Oxman stated. "We've taken a fresh look at our conference, with an eye on building its legacy of advancing payments technology. Take a look around and see for yourself: coded into the DNA of Transact is a focus on maximizing your ROI as the industry moves forward. The ideas that will define the future of payments will take center stage this week."

New, interactive zones

The ETA also offered attendees and more than 200 exhibitors a mix of 10 venues and events created specifically to provide networking opportunities, many of which were centrally located in the exhibit hall, which had an open floor plan. These included the executive lounge, ETA membership lounge, ETA CPP & YPP networking luncheon, exhibit hall opening reception, Visa President's Dinner and Star Award gala, Young payments professionals reception, Transact first-time attendee/new member reception, payment facilitator reception, Wnet networking reception, and an all-attendee party.

In addition, designated interactive zones were devised to highlight emerging industry talent and technologies. Following are some examples:

  • Contactless Zone: Sponsored by FreedomPay, this area provided live demonstrations of contactless payments made by mobile phones and contactless cards across an array of venues, including pay-at-table solutions.

  • Biometrics and Identity Zone: Presented by the International Biometrics and Identity Association, this dedicated area highlighted biometric authentication methods designed to protect consumers and merchants from fraud. Examples included facial, iris and fingerprint solutions.

  • Next-Gen Park and Startup Zone: The ETA's Next-Gen Park featured 16 startups from five business accelerator and incubator programs and their newly developed solutions.

Keynotes, educational tracks

The show's future-forward theme was reflected in an eclectic mix of keynote presentations, break-out sessions and educational tracks, beginning with a keynote conversation between Poynt CEO Osama Bedier and talech CEO Irv Henderson, who have entered into a strategic partnership to embed talech software in Poynt devices. Additional leaders from Mastercard, Elavon, Verifone, First American Payments and Zelle shared perspectives on changing trends in acquiring, technology and peer-to-peer payments.

The ETA's inaugural Forty Under 40 program recognized a diversity of next-gen leaders found to be game changers at the intersection of payments and technology. Members were selected not only on their impact on the industry, but also on their professional character. "ETA's first Forty Under 40 class are growing the industry at an unprecedented pace," Oxman stated. "Each one possesses a unique skillset, allowing them to identify and shape key segments of the payments ecosystem. The caliber and impact of their work is exception, demonstrating their commitment to the industry."

Reflecting upon the Next-Gen Park and Startup Zone, Ryan Gilbert, founder, operator and investor at Propel Venture Partners, and member of the ETA Venture Capital Committee, said he invests in teams that are rethinking and rebuilding financial services. "Many are building on top of a solid infrastructure that the U.S. payments market is all about," he said. "They're going forward versus backward and tend to be more data-centric than old school."

Education, naturally, was a primary focus throughout the show. Six educational tracks provided in-depth analysis of digital wallets, integrated payments, government and regulatory landscapes, mobile and digital payment schemes, payment facilitators and risk, fraud and security technologies. "The payfac sessions were full and there is so much excitement and activity in this sector," said Caroline Hometh, Managing Director at RPY Innovations. "It's an entirely different world than it was two years ago."

2018 Star Award winners

Always highly anticipated, the ETA 2018 Star Awards winners were revealed during the annual President's Dinner. The program honors individuals and companies that have made a significant difference in the payments industry through innovation, business practices or contributions to the association: This year's winners were:

  • Distinguished Payments Professional: Henry Helgesson
  • Business Partner of the Year: Mastercard
  • Committee Volunteer of the Year: David Leppek
  • ISO/Merchant Sales Organization of the Year: iPayment Inc.
  • Pay It Forward: FIS
  • Technology Innovation: IRIS CRM

Coming soon

If you couldn't make it to this dynamic show, the Midwest Acquirers Association is ramping up for its 2018 conference. The annual event will take place July 25 and 28 at the Chicago Marriot Downtown Magnificent Mile. It will offer a rich mix of educational and networking opportunities. The keynote speaker will be former U.S. most-wanted cybercriminal Brett Johnson. Known by the alias Gollumfun and dubbed the Original Internet Godfather by the U.S. Secret Service, he was apprehended for cybercrime and laundering $4 million more than a decade ago, did time in prison and subsequently turned his life around. He now works with organizations to stop the spread of criminal activities in cyberspace. He will speak on cyber crime past and present. For details on MWAA 2018, visit, www.midwestacquirers.com .

The ETA also holds periodic payments technology and leadership events throughout the year. For details on those, visit www.electran.org . end of article

Editor's Note:

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