The Electronic Transactions Association's 2013 Annual Meeting & Expo held April 29 to May 2, 2013, in New Orleans was a dynamic showcase for payment startups, mobile innovators and major stakeholders, all vying for position in the next evolution of payments. More than 200 exhibitors and an estimated 3,000 attendees filled the 150,000 square-foot exhibit floor to network and participate in educational sessions throughout the four-day conference.
On Mon., April 29, ETA University offered training in electronic processing and operations, Level 4 Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance, and risk and fraud management. Tuesday opened with a golf tournament at the 18-hole English Turn golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, followed by sessions covering mobile payments innovation, Europay/MasterCard/Visa issues, PCI DSS compliance, investment opportunities, technology, sales channel development and marketing.
During the president's dinner, recipients of the 2013 ETA Star Awards were honored for significant contributions to the payments industry. Diane Offereins, Discover Financial Services Executive Vice President of Payment Services, received the ETA Distinguished Payments Professional award. Curt Hensley, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Impact Payments Recruiting, was named ETA Committee Volunteer of the Year. Deana Rich, founder and President of Deana Rich Consulting Inc., earned the ETA Member of the Year award.
Company and committee award winners included Discover, ETA Business Partner of the Year. Priority Payment Systems was named ETA ISO of the Year. The ETA Technology Innovation Award went to ShopKeep POS for its cloud-based tablet POS system. The Mobile Payments Committee launched by the ETA in August 2012, and now the largest committee with over 100 active members, received ETA's Committee of the Year award.
In collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ETA hosted four startup companies in the newly established Payments Next Zone. Exhibiting startups included ActPay Inc., Digital Wallet Plus Inc., Global Transaction Services Group Inc. and Trak. Keith White, President and CEO of Trak, accepted the $10,000 E-Pay Innovation Award for Trak's next-generation mobile payment platform designed to link Brazil's unbanked and underbanked consumers to Boleto Banc_rio, an alternative payment method widely used in Brazil.
Also new to the exhibit floor was the Mobile Pay Zone that showcased the mobile payment processing and security solutions of about a dozen companies.
Two keynote sessions highlighted Wednesday's main event. Michael Abbott, CEO of near field communication (NFC) -based mobile wallet venture Isis, addressed the mobile commerce revolution, postulating that one-to-one communication is not a technology problem, but a business systems problem that will require close collaboration between mobile operators, banks, merchants and consumers. According to Abbott, Isis is currently pilot testing its NFC mobile payment solution in 10,000 retail locations in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas.
In the second keynote, Don Kingsborough, Global Vice President/General Manager of Retail and Prepaid at PayPal Inc., elaborated on PayPal's readiness to forge alliances within the payments industry, noting recent partnerships with Discover and four major ISOs. He also said PayPal plans to launch a "blended" digital wallet / payment card product in June 2013.
Discover Chairman and CEO David Nelms then took the stage, stating that he believes credit cards will remain viable and that backward compatibility solutions will be necessary to facilitate the transition to mobile payments. He said for merchant acquirers, the transition will enable ecosystem expansion and incremental volume increases directly correlated to consumer satisfaction with advancing technologies.
Education sessions on Wednesday and Thursday offered insights into portfolio profitability, brand equity, aggregation, global expansion, recruitment, financing, payment startups, mobile payments, EMV migration, and NFC versus the cloud for customer engagement.
A government panel included representatives from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, " target="_blank">Federal Trade Commission and Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Jason Oxman, CEO of the ETA, moderated the panel discussion which focused primarily on consumer privacy issues and disclosure requirements surrounding emerging mobile payments models.
The ETA Discover Party at the Bourbon Vieux in the historic French Quarter was the perfect setting for New Orleans inspired food and beverages. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band performed Louis Armstrong classics and other local favorites as revelers tossed beaded necklaces from the second-story veranda to passersby. PCI compliance specialist CSR hosted an outdoor party featuring Taceaux Loceaux tacos and a performance by Grammy-nominated Andrew Thierry & Zydeco Magic. The next ETA Annual Meeting & Expo will be held in Las Vegas from April 8 to 10, 2014. For exhibitor information contact Todd Ogranovitch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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