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Friday, May 15, 2020

Early reviews positive for TRANSACT Connect

Several weeks after the Electronic Transactions Association cancelled its 2020 annual TRANSACT conference and expo at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort and Convention Center, the payments association revealed that the show would indeed go on, albeit in an entirely virtual setting. In opening remarks, Jodie Kelley kicked off the week-long event by thanking attendees, exhibitors and sponsors for their support.

Kelley also thanked event organizers for their hard work in shifting the in-person event to an online venue in a short amount of time. She went on to say that TRANSACT Connect would be a richly layered virtual experience, accessible online and in a mobile app, with keynote presentations, panel discussions, networking opportunities and a virtual exhibit hall.

Derek Webster, founder and CEO at CardFlight, agreed ETA met its stated objectives by hosting a crisp, engaging show. "Organizing and participating in a virtual event was a new experience for all of us," he said. "As an ETA board member and event moderator, I was proud to see how successful the association was in transitioning to a virtual conference and look forward to future virtual events bringing our community together.

Virtual panels

Webster led a discussion with panelists from ISVPay, Clearent and Worldpay FIS who examined the shift from traditional terminals to smart terminals.

"We touched on what it will take to replace traditional terminals, best practices when switching to smart terminals, software as a service delivery models, and how COVID-19 has affected the migration to smart terminals, including the tenacity and resilience we've seen from small businesses throughout the country," Webster said. "We had great turnout, with 90 live attendees and an engaging online discussion."

While the session was originally intended to occur in a live venue in Las Vegas, COVID-19 changed those plans, Webster stated. He added that ETA's quick thinking, tireless efforts, and flexibility helped make the shift to online seamless.

Tomorrow's breaking news

As he reflected on COVID-19's impact on the payments ecosystem, Webster suggested the big story is the rapid acceleration of technologies that have been on the horizon, but now seem critical, due to the pandemic's effect on consumers and the economy.

"As states begin to reopen, consumers are maintaining many of these behaviors even as they return to shopping in physical locations," Webster said. "For example, during TRANSACT Connect we heard several references to the concept of 'clean payment acceptance' as a way to make transactions safer for all involved. To achieve this as businesses reopen, technologies that have been around for a while are rapidly becoming the norm, from contactless payment methods, to removing transactions' physical elements such as signatures, to avoiding cash completely."

Webster also observed that having a full suite of product offerings, which has been a consistent theme among service providers, can help merchants provide desired payment methods quickly to their customers. He noted that Sarah Adams, senior vice president, partner development, ISVPay, touched on this theme in their panel discussion.

"As Sarah Adams aptly stated in the panel I moderated, the 'three C's of COVID' are what merchants will demand next: cashless, contactless, and convenient," Webster said. "I agree with Sarah, and, naturally, see that all of those can be delivered best when merchants migrate from 'dumb' terminals to smart terminals." end of article

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