I am a merchant level salesperson for a small ISO, as well as a loyal Green Sheet reader. During the day I prospect for merchants. But in my spare time, I take night courses at the local JC about how to write code. What I want to do is take my knowledge of payments and develop a mobile payments app that I can license out to other ISOs. What resources are out there that can help me in development of my app and get feedback when the time is right?
Thank you for your question. As your email suggests, you realize the intersection of mobile technology and payments is the new frontier. The industry is waking up to this fact. Our very own trade group, the Electronic Transactions Association, is intent on attracting more tech people into the fold. In fact, the ETA's annual tradeshow is expected to touch down in San Francisco in a couple of years to draw high-tech professionals to financial services. So if your app is sufficiently developed by that time, the ETA would be a perfect venue for you to establish contacts, even partnerships, with ISOs and others.
The ETA and the regional tradeshows also hold tech challenges that are gaining in popularity. The challenges are lively events where tech innovators display their latest wares, with pretty substantial cash prizes up for grabs. So when your app is ready, why not enter it into one of these challenges? It would be a great way for you to get valuable feedback from the judges, and the rowdy audience of payment pros.
Also, investigate app developer challenges. The Center for Financial Services Innovation holds one that is very popular. It's called the Financial Capability Development Competition (FinCapDev for short). The focus of the competition is on the development of mobile payment apps that can help the financially underserved (also called the unbanked or underbanked) better manage their finances. If your app takes on this type of flavor, give this contest a whirl.
Another such competition is put on by PayPal Inc. It's called the PayPal X Developer Challenge. Of course, this contest is open only to developers who write apps that integrate PayPal's engine into the app's payment mechanics.
But these opportunities only scratch the surface. By the time you develop your app to perfection, whether it be six months or a year, the resources at your disposal will only be greater.
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