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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Tablets, smart phones or the cloud for mobile payments?


Industry Update

Global Payments, payments community respond to reported breach

Gift card providers pull out of N.J.

Trade Association News


Seven essential steps for creating a successful social media strategy

Marc Beauchamp
Performance Training Systems

Research Rundown

Mobile payment experts disagree on NFC dominance

Durbin's impact on major banks

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Demands of a standardized fee disclosure box

How consumer segmentation leads to success


Has payment fraud become SOP?

Patti Murphy
ProScribes Inc.

ISOs and MLSs: How banking changes will affect you

Brandes Elitch
CrossCheck Inc.


Street SmartsSM:
Lessons for a lifetime

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

Moving mobile payments to the next level

Nicholas Cucci
Network Merchants Inc.

In search of an ethical corporate culture

Dale S. Laszig
Castles Technology Co. Ltd.

The challenge of data breach reporting

Mark Brady

What matters most in a restaurant POS system?

Jerry Cibley
The POS Man

Company Profile

Chargeback Guardian Inc.

New Products

Mobile check deposit

Simply Deposit Mobile
RDM Corp.

Bundling mobile payments

All Inclusive Mobile Merchant (AIMM)
CardWare International, Resource Leasing Co.


Community and the payment pro


10 Years ago in
The Green Sheet


Resource Guide


A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 23, 2012  •  Issue 12:04:02

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Street SmartsSM

Lessons for a lifetime

By Jeff Fortney

The summer of 1964 became known as The Great Game of Tag in my neighborhood. It began right after school had ended. Several of us were already complaining there was nothing to do. Then one of us reached over to the guy next to him and yelled "Tag! You're it!" Thus, a summer-long game was born.

Initially, five of us were playing the game, but after several hours the whole neighborhood was involved. You see, my neighborhood had 12 kids ranging in age from seven to nine - of both genders and all shapes and sizes - within a three-block radius.

During that first day, some were called home by their mothers; others quit, declaring the game wasn't fair. It seems the same people were tagged repeatedly, mainly because they were slower. Others objected because they would tag someone and be re-tagged before they could get away. At that point, the game could have ended. Instead, someone yelled out, "New rule: no tag-backs." The game went on until dark.

The game continues

The next day, several of us talked about the fun we'd had and wanted to resume playing tag. However, one friend said, "I am the slowest, and I don't want to be it all the time." We decided he could create a rule to add to the no-tag-back rule. His rule identified a base where, if you were on it, you couldn't be tagged. And the game was on - for the entire summer.

As the game evolved, we would change some rules and add new ones. We formed teams and incorporated a bit of "capture the flag" into the game. Each winning team was then able to change or add a rule to the next game.

No matter what new rule was added, the basics remained the same, "Tag! You're it!" The rule changes didn't affect that, but they did impact how and whom you tagged. Yes, it could get confusing, and arguments would ensue when someone would violate a rule. Some would whine about any new rule, claiming it wasn't fair. They would threaten to quit, but few ever did. At times, people ignored the rules, and we didn't let them play the next time.

The lessons still apply

The summer came and went, school started, and some people moved away - including me. Our game was over, yet the memories remained. That summer taught me much about fairness and rules, although I didn't know it at the time.

These principles apply to everything in life, including payment processing. We primarily sell a service, and the rules of that service change. We deal with data that, if mismanaged, can result in significant loss to consumers. Our income is dependent upon others, namely merchants, following the rules and adapting to changes when they occur.

Change is part of payments

Our industry has experienced ongoing changes since its inception. Consider the following 20th century developments:

The 21st century also brought a slew of changes:

Adaptation can be positive

Not all of these changes have been negative. Indeed, one could argue that most changes created positive results when handled correctly. Yet these rule changes required us to adapt our business practices. I believe the five lessons learned from The Great Game of Tag answer the question, What do you do when they change the rules?

The value remains

Throughout the years, I've often thought about my friends from 1964. Even though I lost touch with them after I moved away, they each became a part of who I am today. I look back at The Great Game of Tag and remember that summer as a highlight of my childhood. We didn't see it then, but I bet we all learned something from the experience.

Jeff Fortney is Vice President, ISO Channel Management with Clearent LLC. He has more than 17 years' experience in the payments industry. Contact him at or 972-618-7340. To learn about how Clearent can help you grow faster and go further, visit

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

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