When Casablanca, Morocco-based Hightech Payment Systems (HPS Worldwide) launched in 1995, few companies outside the United States were developing electronic payment solutions that would enable financial institutions, card processors, merchant acquirers and ISOs, to national and regional switches to take charge of their own systems.
Founded by four French-educated software engineers, HPS now boasts a multinational team of over 400 payments experts and engineers serving clients in 90 countries. In March 2018, HPS opened an office in New York to expand its PowerCARD base in the U.S. market. The company noted PowerCARD's fully integrated issuing, acquiring, switching and chargeback dispute platform allows licensing organizations to control payment processing in-house.
Another differentiator is HPS' groundbreaking experience. "A lot of our first customers back in the '90s and the early 2000s were in Africa, where the payment landscape is very different," said Martin Evans, Commercial Director at HPS. "There are no credit bureaus, for example, and a lot of people don't have access to banking at all. The payments industry has had to really evolve quite dramatically there in order to meet needs."
Lessons learned in Africa have since been applied to client entry into markets elsewhere. Michael "Mike" Dooley, U.S. Sales and Marketing Director for HPS, added, "We offer multicurrency, multilanguage, which I think gives us an advantage, because if an ISO is really trying to follow their customers into other markets, we're probably already there."
The PowerCARD platform contains 13 solutions which are natively interfaced, but can be deployed independently, as each solution is divided into a subset of modules and interfaces. Additionally, HPS offers a bundled Retailer Open Payment Platform, the Nexo ready omnichannel solution. Its PowerCARD Connect-Open API open banking platform allows fintechs to build payment apps on financial institutions' existing systems, HPS stated.
Navigation within the platform is intuitive. "If you're looking at the acquirer screen and you're an agent in a call center, you will be able to see the transactions that the merchant or customer is talking about," Evans said. "But if you want to initiate a chargeback, you literally just click one button and it initiatives the chargeback."
Of the solutions offered, ISOs and most acquirers integrate PowerCARD-Acquirer for merchant management and PowerCARD-Switch for taking control of transaction processing and routing. Other popular solutions include PowerCARD-xPOS for managing POS systems, the PowerCARD-WebPublisher web portal, PowerCARD-ATM, PowerCARD-Tokenization and PowerCARD-Fraud. The platform also supports payfac processing environments, HPS noted.
Because of the time and financial commitment involved in implementation, HPS works directly with clients. "We don't do sales partner programs," said Evans. "We sell directly to the end user. We'll help the user install the software, and then we'll provide either remote support or local support once the user has gone into production. The model that we have is really around self sufficiency and autonomy."
To date, HPS has facilitated hundreds of migrations from legacy systems. Timing varies from a few weeks for smaller implementations to months or years for more complex technology shifts/upgrades. According to Evans, organizations often choose this route to better compete, since PowerCARD offers tremendous agility, and many realize staff reduction and annualized cost savings connected with IT infrastructure requirements.
Evans pointed out that one financial institution client that made the switch to the licensed PowerCARD platform is now able to roll out new products within 30 days rather than months. Part of the reason is that PowerCARD operates on parameters, which shortens the time to write software code, Evans added.
For ISOs and acquirers considering making the switch to PowerCARD, beyond gaining control of technical modifications to meet specific needs, they can overcome escalating transaction charges as they ramp up their businesses. Clients are also able to easily add new features, functions, capabilities and compliance mandates, HPS noted.
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