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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Insiders' views on new developments, challenges, opportunities in payments

News

Industry Update

Google adds to wallet

Rethinking mobile security

Work ahead for NFC payments

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

'Cash reload' scams draw FTC's attention

Action-triggered incentives boost rewards

Views

The Sales Professional Bill of Rights: The new standard for compensation, benefits and support

Robert O. Carr
Heartland Payment Systems Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
MLSs forging right ahead in social media

Dale S. Laszig
Castles Technology Co. Ltd.

Online sales tax: Gain new income from the MFA

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Contactless payments: NFC and QR

Michael Gavin
Merchant Warehouse

Technology integration revolution at the POS

Rick Berry
ABC Mobile Pay

Company Profile

U.S. Merchant Systems LLC

New Products

Take your SMBs online

Instant eCommerce
ControlScan

Inspiration

Choose partners with care

Departments

Readers Speak

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

June 10, 2013  •  Issue 13:06:01

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Insiders' views on new developments, challenges, opportunities in payments

As payment professionals, we have all chosen to participate in a diverse and multifaceted industry. Each type of business - be it an ISO, equipment manufacturer, processor, cash advance provider, data security specialist or other kind of company in the payments value chain - contributes essential elements to the dynamic whole.

Members of The Green Sheet Advisory Board are industry leaders who have unique perspectives on the most compelling issues and challenges faced by their segments of the industry. With that in mind, we asked them to answer the following questions:

  1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?
  2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?
  3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?
  4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

Following are the replies we received as of press time for this issue. The first set of answers is from a group of executives at our industry's largest acquirer. Individual advisory board members' replies follow. Further responses will be published in a subsequent issue of The Green Sheet.


A team of executives at our industry's largest acquirer provided the answers that follow.

1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?

Electronic commerce and payment processing are First Data's primary areas of industry focus. As part of our commitment to helping merchants and financial institutions (FIs) get more value from every transaction, we develop innovative solutions to make payments simpler, faster, safer and more rewarding.

2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?

The most promising development is the ongoing, global shift among consumers to a universal commerce lifestyle supported by the ability to make payments anytime, anywhere, on any device.

As a universal commerce pioneer, First Data develops technologies that integrate payments and marketing-related functions, simplifying the ways merchants and FIs connect with consumers. Devices like smartphones and tablets are at the forefront, revolutionizing how consumers monitor finances, influence purchase decisions, streamline loyalty and promotions, and continue to redefine payments.

First Data is actively working with independent sales organizations, retailers and FIs to deliver solutions to help them support their customers' desire for a more integrated, personalized lifestyle. Universal commerce continues to address the factors that drive changing consumer purchasing and payment preferences, including immediacy, convenience and control.

3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?

As boundaries virtually disappear between mobile, web-based, social and brick-and-mortar commerce, consumers expect to seamlessly make purchases wherever, whenever and however they please. While this poses as a challenge for the payments industry, First Data strives to bring more technology to market that can make it easier for merchants to do business.

First Data acknowledges that mobile payments are the future and part of a wider mobile technology revolution that is transforming lifestyles and business practices. The rapid proliferation of technology, like location-based offers and smartphones, is changing the way consumers shop and engage with merchants.

Understanding that data security is paramount in today's changing e-commerce landscape, First Data is committed to creating solutions that continue to provide consumers and retailers with the most secure commerce experience possible.

4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

First Data can lead the way when it comes to offering the most innovative payment solutions and services that will shape the future of global commerce. Retailers and financial institutions that are ready and willing to adapt need the behind-the-scenes expertise and vast product portfolio that First Data provides to ensure convenient, secure and relevant commerce experiences.

As consumer purchasing and decision making continues to transform, First Data will power the universal commerce revolution with hardware, applications and infrastructure to deliver unique and differentiating solutions that help drive customer revenue and profitability.



1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?

We are a check guarantee/gift card/automated clearing house processing company that has created a service focused on retailers that are in need of consumer financing for those with less than perfect credit. Retailers include auto repair, veterinarians, dentists, cosmetic surgeons, funeral homes, etc.

2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?

The bad economy. Now more than ever consumers are in need of some type of alternative financing to help them with certain necessary products or services like auto repair, dental work, home repairs or the like. We can help consumers with less than perfect credit get access to funds for much needed goods and services that they otherwise would have to opt for unsavory alternatives, wait it out or forgo the sale altogether.

3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?

Retailers are watching consumers walk out their doors, never to return due to the fact that they cannot afford to pay for much needed products or services. We have created a tool to combat that with our Payday Express Plus consumer finance program.

4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

There is a void in the subprime lending arena. This program fills that void for merchants that have no other means to help their customers that do not have the wherewithal to pay for these necessary services or qualify for a standard loan. We have had great success with this product and foresee many merchants and consumers being helped across the country.



1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?

Executive recruiting and talent acquisition at all levels throughout the payments industry.

2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?

The return to growth from early 2010 through today has been impressive. Our industry is blessed to have rebounded much faster than other sectors of the economy. Every top payments company we know of is looking to hire people, and that is a welcome change for our company. Our value is maximized when there are a ton more jobs than people, and that's what we have right now in the payments industry.

3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?

Many sectors of the payments industry have grown faster than talented employees can be developed. That's a challenge for us as a recruiting organization, but also a key reason why we exist. We have to align ourselves with clients that are adept at landing the best talent when we present those people to them because the very best candidates have multiple options in terms of who they work for.

4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

We are much like other key players in the industry looking to expand internationally. It's always a challenge to learn the differences in ways of doing business and culture of each new country you serve.



1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?

Tranzlogic is a value-added reseller (VAR) providing third-party data, analytics, and marketing services to merchants through acquirers and ISOs/member service providers.

2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?

The most promising development is the early-stage awareness of the power of data (for the payments industry and merchants alike) and cloud-based computing.

3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?

The key challenges we have seen are continued awareness, understanding and adoption. Also, we understand that because we provide consumer data, there is the possibility of regulatory and/or legal issues surrounding personally identifiable information (PII).

We combat our challenge by being proponents of big data in general. We participate on boards and committees, we publish works, and we attend and exhibit at tradeshows. Our marketing and PR strategy is focused around leading the charge for education about big data in the payments industry.

In terms of the possible regulatory and legal issues, we keep up to date on all regulations and ensure that our technology continues to be secure. We hire the best attorneys on the subject and maintain conservative policies with respect to the rules and laws and maintain best practices, such as avoiding the use of PII.

4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

We are focused on providing service to small and medium-size businesses, and empowering them to evolve into smarter, more efficient owner/operators in the way that large corporations are. Because we saw a need for merchants to have more information about their customers, we knew that there was an opportunity to provide the technology to help them grow.



1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?

Our main focus is sales and second is service. It is hard enough to get a new customer, and you have to spend time on service to keep the customers you have on the books. One thing affecting that is the race to the bottom with companies still training people that they can save merchants 20 percent, etc. It would be one thing if the new reps knew what they were talking about and were trained properly. Today, to be successful you need to sell POS systems and other services to your clients to make your company stand out. If you sell on price, you will lose the customer on price.

2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?

A promising development is that we have been working on new products and services to sell merchants.

3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?

The main challenge is to keep the customers you have and try not to lose a lot of money due to margin compression.

4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

There are many opportunities in this business. It is changing all the time. You have to keep your eyes and ears open and look for products and services you can sell to your merchants to help them, so they will look to you as a resource and see you as a consultant.



1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?

We focus on nine different areas. Of the nine, we are heavily focused on restaurants, tobacco (retail, e-commerce) and medical (vets and dentists).

2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?

If I had to point to one thing, it was our decision to become heavily involved in marketing, deploying and servicing POS systems for the restaurant and retail sectors.

3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?

The only real challenge we have is the tobacco accounts and the federal and card brand requirements. It has become almost a full-time job, but the return is well worth it.

4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

For the first time in 15 years, I can honestly say that leading with credit cards is a mistake. There are so many other new and exciting products that, finally, you have something to talk about that the merchant really cares about and wants to utilize.



1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?

Consulting.

2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?

Fewer people approaching us thinking they can launch prepaid programs with the program manager/issuer/processor all taking a revenue share and promises of millions of cards being issued that you know is just built on dreams.

3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?

In many emerging markets the challenge is getting banks to understand the role of program managers and their boards willing to let them become bank identification number (BIN) sponsors. We are working to address this by working with processors and program managers to educate banks.

4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

Prepaid globally and especially in emerging markets is still growing incredibly fast, with new opportunities and solutions.



1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?

Exec-Links is an executive search firm that has exclusively targeted the payment processing industry since 1991.

2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?

An abundance of highly qualified industry professionals.

3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?

It's really not a huge issue - being able to communicate effectively with clients and candidates on a timely basis. This has been corrected by adding specialized talent to our firm and by occasionally utilizing competitively priced, offshore companies to assist with very specific recruiting needs.

4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

Mergers and acquisitions.



1. What segment of the industry is your company's focus?

By leveraging technology to speed up cash flow, defend against disputes, and monitor growth campaigns, we have found our services to be most attractive to restaurants and food service industries.

Ultimately, our value proposition extends to most all verticals and processing types. Our focus on strong customer support and our advanced technological foundation has allowed us to build a distinguished reputation among clients who need complex sales solutions.

2. What has been the most promising development in your sector in the past couple of years?

Next day funding is a fantastic development that has helped us truly improve the business process of clients who find faster liquidity to be important to their operations.

3. What are the key challenges your niche faces right now, and what steps are you taking to address them?

Federal regulation and the highly publicized legal pressures of the card brands have added fear and uncertainty among our client base. The only way to keep our brand in a positive light is to educate our prospects and clients as much as possible and keep our staff up to date and informed on current market conditions.

4. What areas of opportunity do you see?

Areas of opportunity include providing equal par quality and lower cost POS systems which are open-source based to be able to run on iPad and Android devices.

The Green Sheet wishes to thank all those who set aside time in their busy schedules to share their insights with our readers

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | USAePay | Super G Capital LLC | Humboldt Merchant Services | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems