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The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 11, 2011 • Issue 11:04:01

Fifth Third seeks innovation through open platform

Fifth Third Processing Solutions LLC, the nation's fourth largest bankcard acquirer by volume, in conjunction with IP Commerce Inc., a cloud-computing payment platform developer, has launched e-Similate, an open payment platform and workflow engine to facilitate delivery of FTPS's payment solutions to the software development community.

As a leading acquirer, FTPS follows Chase Paymentech Solutions LLC in being among the first to introduce an open platform. "We think ours will be different in that we'll offer more functionality to developers," said Pat Moran, FTPS Senior Vice President, Product and Portfolio Management. "It's a key component of our innovation strategy to really open up our systems, and ultimately we think this is good for our merchant customers as well as our distribution partners."

With merchants migrating from basic terminals to software-based solutions, Moran believes that ease of integration will be a key driver in payment innovation. "Prior to the launch of our open APIs [application programming interfaces], when you connected to us as a developer, you usually had a complex integration that you had to go through, and you had to be able to code to an ISO standard stack or one of our proprietary message specifications," he noted.

According to Moran, the e-Similate platform will help simplify integration and Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance.

"We're delivering the capability for the software developers to integrate and partner with FTPS in a much more common software solution, XML or Web Services, different interaction methodologies that are very common in the market that are easy to code," he said, adding that it features ancillary payment services such as tokenization, fraud detection and transaction management.

Free to development community

An advantage to developers is that FTPS doesn't charge for the integration or services selected, which can include credit, debit, automated clearing house and fraud services, among others.

"Ultimately, we will bill the end merchant who would use the developer's software," Moran said. "So we make it very easy for the developer to work with us because there is no cost for them, and then we recoup the cost of the services through the price that gets charged to the end merchant."

Once a developer has set up a project in e-Similate, a customized integration recommendation is created, and an integration specialist is available to offer expert advice, customized sample code, engineering support, access to PCI resources and testing credentials with sandbox access. Its developer-centric resources include software development toolkits, application programming interfaces, sample applications and a developer sandbox.

FTPS is working with a variety of business partners to develop payment applications that integrate with e-Similate. "Some of them are already coding to our systems today," Moran said. "We want to serve more market segments, as well as offer deeper connections and a more comprehensive set of solutions to the partners beyond just core credit and debit processing."

Because of rapid advances in payment technologies, it is "very important from our ISO strategy to be able to bring these more nimble integration strategies to the market," Moran noted.

"We think our business partners, whether they're merchants or ISOs, or other third parties, will come up with the creative ideas, and this is just the tool to help them capitalize on it. We're going to add on a lot more services that we will allow the developers to access." end of article

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