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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 09, 2023 • Issue 23:01:01

Advisory Board: The scope of payments 2023: Part 1

Brining in the new year with generosity, The Green Sheet Advisory Board shared insights on five sets of questions listed below. This issue contains a portion of their responses. Other members' perspectives will follow in our January 23, 2023 issue.

  1. Looking back on 2022, what developments at your company are you most pleased about? What actions brought them to fruition? What did you learn from them? Are you staying the course in 2023, going in a new direction or charting a course in between? Please explain.
  2. What emerging technology has caught your eye that holds great potential for the payments/fintech ecosystem? Why is that? Will it be a significant factor in the coming year or do you expect its full potential to be realized down the road?
  3. How well is the industry doing in terms of protecting data and stopping fraud? What can we do better in 2023?
  4. With the upheaval at Twitter being big news during the last quarter of 2022, we'd like to know what role social media plays at your company. What platforms do you and your colleagues find most effective and why? Are you launching any new social media initiatives in 2023?
  5. A decade ago, the CEO of a top acquirer predicted that transformation within the industry would bring about the demise of ISOs and MLSs sooner rather than later. Do you think this prediction will eventually become true or do you see a strong future for the feet on the street? Why or why not? What can agents do to help ensure their survival in the coming year and beyond?

Some experts spoke to all of the questions; others chose only those most relevant to their work. We appreciate all who participated and wish everyone reading this a prosperous new year.

Mark Dunn, Field Guide Enterprises

1. I work with many small to medium-size ISOs in a consulting role. I work with these businesses to overcome many of the same challenges in 2022 as in the past few years:

  • Price competition and attrition
  • Building their sales pipeline and building their salesforce and sales agent team
  • Organic growth vs. acquisition strategies
  • Accessing better solutions that make payments easier and frictionless both in setup and daily operations
  • Deciding whether to continue building, merge with another company or sell their portfolio

In the face of a looming recession in the first half of 2023, I see small to medium-sized ISOs under increasing pressure to change up their strategies and get help to address these challenges.

2. The only new approach that I have seen that truly improves the small to medium-sized ISOs situation with a revolutionary approach is by a company called Plink. (Full disclosure – I advise Plink on strategies.). Plink is different because:

  1. Plink is a fintech, but the company is run by experienced managers with a long history of working well with ISOs and agents.
  2. Plink effectively doubles the residual stream ISOs receive by adding a second residual stream from issuing banks.
  3. Plink has a payday for everyone: the merchant,  the ISO and its agents, the acquiring bank and the issuing bank and, of course, Plink. All parties win.
  4. Plink is actively seeking new partners in the ISO space and the early adopters will get the biggest returns.

3. Sorry, I don't think I have anything for this question.

4. I plan to more effectively be involved in social media in 2023.

5. I believe the way merchant owners buy services is a generational change. Younger owners buy differently, and they don't have much tolerance for anything other than immediate turn on of services with a seamless, frictionless operation. However, the fintechs that provide this type of service are overpriced and provide spotty, if not horrendous customer service.

ISOs will continue to have opportunities to sell merchants where these conditions persist. The issue for ISOs is that the cost of fielding a sales force is too high and salespeople today want an immediate payout—they don't see the benefit in building a long-term payout from a residual.

There are too many ISOs chasing too few really productive sales agents. Add to that the aging of the ISO and agent community, and you have a picture that is going to change. I see the change accelerating in 2023. It seems to me there are a lot of small to medium ISO portfolios and businesses that will go on the market in 2023 as owners who are ready to either retire or monetize the portfolio they have built.

Michael Isaacman, Shift4 Payments

1. We've accomplished a lot in 2022—including the launch of SkyTab POS, processing our first European transactions, expansion into a number of new verticals, and significant progress on many strategic initiatives that have positioned us well going into an uncertain economic environment. We plan to continue focusing our efforts on initiatives that move the needle for the company, including international expansion, new vertical growth and other strategic projects.

2. The next evolution of integrated payments is unified global commerce, connecting both card-present and card-not-present processing to deliver a truly omnichannel solution. It's our goal to provide a consistent payment experience no matter where or how you're paying around the world. There are a number of powerful technologies that work together to enable this type of seamless experience.

3. Overall, there has been a lot of progress made over the past few years as new technological solutions have been developed to protect data and stop fraud, but there is still room for the industry to improve as new threats arise. At Shift4, all of our transactions use PCI-validated P2PE, which offers robust security against data breaches. This is combined with our advanced tokenization technology and EMV to deliver layered security protection for our customers. We also now use AI-based fraud detection tools to proactively detect and protect against bad actors. 

4. Social media provides a powerful two-way communication tool for us to stay connected with our customers, partners and employees. We are active on all the major platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. We adjust our strategy for each platform based on the audience. For example, LinkedIn is particularly well suited for interacting with employees and partners, while the other platforms offer a great way to obtain real-time feedback from customers.

5. I think that there's pretty clear evidence of consolidation across the industry as the payments and POS industries have converged. That transformation has certainly impacted the ISO/MLS community, and the agents that will succeed in this new environment are those who embrace integrated payments and evolve into value-added resellers.

Allen Kopelman, Nationwide Payment Systems

1. We are pleased with our growth and direction in 2022 and are moving in the same direction this year. More companies will become payfacs or develop payfac-style boarding to create a better experience for merchants/business owners. There is plenty of room for agents/salespeople, but the number of people who want a self-service experience is increasing. Also, we will see more software companies partner with payment companies and fintech to have integrated payments.

2. There will be many new technologies in 2023 and alternative payment types that will emerge. Time will tell how well they will work: real-time payments, pay-by-bank and other new wallets. The lawsuits against Apple might change the apple wallet, and other wallets might soon be allowed on Apple phones.

3. Protecting data is a huge issue; phishing emails and texts seem to be the point of entry, and people need to be educated on how to spot scammers. Zelle has been on the hot seat with Congress and the CFPB ( Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Friendly fraud is on the rise in card-present and internet/ecommerce transactions, and it's time that card issuers sided with merchants more.

4. Every company/business needs a presence on social media, where people consume content, news, and information. Unless you have a HUGE budget, it is hard to advertise on search engines or social media sites. 

5. Agents are going to need to learn that they need to figure out how to move into new technologies and methods to sign up new clients. Software companies are partnering with companies for payments, and the number of businesses you can sign up with will reduce over time.

Will that be a problem in the near future or five to 10 years later? It's time to diversify your offerings and services that you offer. I wrote an article about who moved the residual cheese: www.greensheet.com/emagazine.php?article_id=7071.

Agents need to figure out how to market to multiple business types and work with companies who have integrated technology.

Steve Sotis. eProcessing Network

4. ePN's goal is, and always has been to provide the right marketing tools and sales content to resellers to help them educate their merchants on the payment solutions and services they offer.

Through our exclusive ePNReseller.com portal, resellers can access marketing materials and videos that they can customize and brand for use on the social media platforms that make sense for their business.

As resellers find success on certain platforms such as LinkedIn, the Meta Suite and YouTube, they can feel confident that ePN will provide the best tools to help them maximize ROI. end of article

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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

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