The Electronic Transactions Association's signature conference had a new look and feel this year. Held April 17 to 19, 2018, at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort and Convention Center, Transact 18 attracted card brands, merchant service providers and technology companies.
"If you're here, you have a product or you are the sales channel," said Jason Oxman, Chief Executive Officer at the ETA. In the opening keynote presentation, Oxman said payments' current age of innovation is powered by ETA companies that are shaping how we interact with money. "As our industry changes, so too must our industry's annual event, Transact," Oxman stated. "We've taken a fresh look at our conference, with an eye on building its legacy of advancing payments technology."
The ETA also offered attendees and more than 200 exhibitors a mix of 10 venues and events created specifically to provide networking opportunities, many of which were centrally located in the exhibit hall, which had an open floor plan. These included the executive lounge, ETA membership lounge, ETA CPP & YPP networking luncheon, exhibit hall opening reception, Visa President's Dinner and Star Awards gala, Young payments professionals reception, Transact first-time attendee/new member reception, payment facilitator reception, Wnet networking reception, and an all-attendee party.
In addition, designated interactive zones were devised to highlight emerging industry talent and technologies. These popular zones spotlighted contactless payment alternatives, biometrics and identity solutions, and innovations by startups from business accelerator and incubator programs.
The show's future-forward theme was reflected in an eclectic mix of keynote presentations, break-out sessions and educational tracks, beginning with a keynote conversation between Poynt CEO Osama Bedier and talech CEO Irv Henderson, who have entered into a strategic partnership to embed talech software in Poynt devices. Additional leaders from Mastercard, Elavon, Verifone, First American Payment Systems and Zelle shared perspectives on changing trends in acquiring, technology and peer-to-peer payments.
The ETA's inaugural Forty Under 40 program recognized a diversity of next-gen leaders found to be game changers at the intersection of payments and technology. Members were selected not only for their impact on the industry, but also on their professional character. "ETA's first Forty Under 40 class are growing the industry at an unprecedented pace," Oxman stated. "Each one possesses a unique skillset, allowing them to identify and shape key segments of the payments ecosystem. The caliber and impact of their work is exceptional, demonstrating their commitment to the industry."
Reflecting upon the Forty under 40 honorees, Ryan Gilbert, founder, operator and investor at Propel Venture Partners, and member of the ETA Venture Capital Committee, said he invests in teams that are rethinking and rebuilding financial services. "Many are building on top of a solid infrastructure that the U.S. payments market is all about," he said. "They're going forward versus backward and tend to be more data-centric than old school."
Education, naturally, was a primary focus throughout the show. Six educational tracks provided in-depth analysis of digital wallets, integrated payments, government and regulatory landscapes, mobile and digital payment schemes, payment facilitators and risk, fraud and security technologies. "The payfac sessions were full and there is so much excitement and activity in this sector," said Caroline Hometh, Managing Director at RPY Innovations. "It's an entirely different world than it was two years ago."
Always highly anticipated, the ETA 2018 Star Awards winners were revealed during the annual President's Dinner. The program honors individuals and companies that have made a significant difference in the payments industry through innovation, business practices or contributions to the association: This year's winners were:
If you couldn't make it to this dynamic show, the Midwest Acquirers Association is ramping up for its 2018 conference. The annual event will take place July 25 and 28 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile and will offer a rich mix of educational and networking opportunities. For details on MWAA 2018, visit, http://midwestacquirers.com.
The ETA also holds periodic payments technology and leadership events throughout the year. For specifics on those, visit http://electran.org.
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