The Green Sheet Online Edition
August 08, 2011 • Issue 11:08:01
Putting social into mobile payments
Having won the Electronic Transaction Association's 2010 ISO of the Year award and ETA's Technology Showcase Challenge in 2011, ProPay Inc. is clearly onto something. The latest development from this company is ProPay Link, a mobile payment technology that allows smart phones to be used as both payment devices and social tools. Initially coined Zumogo, the final product will be released as ProPay Link sometime this fall.
"We should be in the market nationwide by the end of the quarter," said Heather Mark, Senior Vice President of Market Strategy for ProPay. "We're doing another pilot with some of our larger clients, and so far we've been getting very positive feedback on that."
ProPay has boarded over 1.5 million merchants to date, and expects to have a couple hundred thousand merchants enabled with the new technology within a couple of months, Mark said.
"Some of the mobile payment applications that are out there are not keeping the merchant experience in mind," she noted. "We're really creating the value-add for the merchant and offering them new channels of communication, new marketing channels. That added ability to talk in real time with their customers, I think, is somewhat unique."
Secure command center
Core to the system, ProPay Link's Merchant Console allows merchants to connect with customers via mobile chats for a personalized shopping experience. It enables merchants to make special offers, execute payment requests and complete credit, debit or automated clearing house transactions. The console monitors pending and completed transactions, which can be sorted by register, store or individual server, the company noted.
According to Mark, one of ProPay's top priorities was maintaining security in a mobile environment. "When we began building ProPay Link, we used ProtectPay as the foundation of that product," she said. "There is no data stored on the phone whatsoever. The merchant has no data in their environment either - they use the tokens."
ProtectPay is the company's Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliant end-to-end encryption and tokenization solution; ProPay has been validated as a compliant Level 1 service provider.
Mark said ProPay Link customers need not worry about anyone gaining access to credit card information should a phone be misplaced. "When they use the app, they have to authenticate the application using a PIN, and then anytime that there is a payment request that they are going to approve, they have to authenticate again," Mark said.
Mobile without limits
"Mobile technology is great, but with most mobile technology there are limitations," said Scott Nelson, ProPay Vice President of Marketing. "Either proximity is a limitation because you have to be next to a kiosk, or you're in a situation where a card has to be present for you to be able to accept payments.
"With ProPay Link those just aren't issues at all. Whether you're two blocks away or 2,000 miles away, you can conduct commerce, and the payment data never resides on the system of either the merchant or the consumer."
At press time, ProPay was in the process of developing pricing models for partners. "We are looking at sort of a departure from our normal partner strategy, so we're looking at all types of partners," Mark said. "Certainly ISOs are among those that we're speaking with." The ProPay Link app is free to customers; merchants pay a monthly fee for the service.
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