Strong Authentication? Unanimous, But Many Say EU Proposed Rules Risk Sacrificing Innovation And Growth

As the European Union nears the creation of new rules on payments providers for consumer authentication, many question their utility.

The European Banking Authority's proposed rules say that service providers have to choose two of three verification methods: knowledge (such as a password), possession (a card, phone or wearable) and/or inherence (fingerprints, voice or iris scan, for example).

As the European Union nears the creation of new rules on payments providers for consumer authentication, many question their utility.

Tipalti Acts Like A PF In More Ways Than Taking Payments

Tipalti does a lot of things a PF does, except take credit card payments. The B2B accounts payable software service accepts six payment methods and does pre-payment checks against AML and OFAC lists and enables global payments, herding 26,000 payments rules and 120 currencies while streamlining supplier onboarding and providing everything but tax returns to its clients.

Tipalti just got $14 million in funding and chief marketing officer Rob Israch says accepting card payments is most likely in its future. It's another example of a perfect candidate to become a PF, but Israch says because it uses so many partners to do what it does, when it offers card payments to suppliers, freelancers, etc., the facilitation would most likely be outsourced. The company helps pay approximately 750,000 suppliers and remits $2 billion annually.

Tipalti does a lot of things a PF does, except take credit card payments.
The B2B accounts payable software service accepts six payment methods and does pre-payment checks against AML and OFAC lists and enables global payments, herding 26,000 payments rules and 120 currencies while streamlining supplier onboarding and providing everything but tax returns to its clients.

Podcast: MAC Regional Meeting Brings Together Hundreds Of Years Of Experience

In Dallas Sep. 27 the Merchant Acquirers Committee (MAC) hosts its Midwestern Regional Training meeting, one of its three regional gatherings packed with presentations and networking. Non MAC members are welcome to the all-day event that features seven sessions on topics presented by company executives from Visa, Mastercard, Rich Consulting, Mitigator, Kount, and Aperia.

Jim Bibles, vice president and chief compliance officer at Aperia and a MAC director, said in this week's paymentfacilitator.com podcast that the day is capped by a roundtable moderated by himself and Rich Consulting president Deana Rich. They enable the audience to ask questions that most times are answered by someone in the room, either a moderator or audience member.

In Dallas Sep. 27 the Merchant Acquirers Committee (MAC) hosts its Midwestern Regional Training meeting, one of its three regional gatherings packed with presentations and networking. Non MAC members are welcome to the all-day event that features seven sessions on topics presented by company executives from Visa, Mastercard, Rich Consulting, Mitigator, Kount, and Aperia.

Exploding Internet Access Plus Ubiquitous Smartphone Use Equals Digital Payments Boom

All the digital payments innovation will pay off in some crazy numbers soon, says a report from non-profit think tank The Demand Institute, which is run by Nielsen and The Conference Board.

That strengthens the future of PFs worldwide, as cashless payments could result in over $10 trillion in additional consumer spending over the next 10 years, the report says. That figure is hand in hand with the report's assertion that by 2020, the Internet will be available to over 1.2 billion more people than use it today. Much of that access will be through smartphones.

All the digital payments innovation will pay off in some crazy numbers soon, says a report from non-profit think tank The Demand Institute, which is run by Nielsen and The Conference Board.

Podcast: M&A Expert Says PFs Have ‘Upside Potential’

Preston Todd Advisors is an advisory firm for companies who want to merge, acquire or sell, specifically in the payments sector. Adam T. Hark is a managing director and principal of the Boston-based company, and has much to say about the payment facilitator niche in this week's edition of the paymentfacilitator.com podcast.

Hark says he thinks the traditional acquirer/ISO model is dead, and in its stead will be a model using new technologies enabling business management solutions and schemes. He says payment facilitation is not a 'segment killer,' replacing integrated POS or the traditional acquiring model.

Preston Todd Advisors is an advisory firm for companies who want to merge, acquire or sell, specifically in the payments sector. Adam T. Hark is a managing director and principal of the Boston-based company, and has much to say about the payment facilitator niche in this week's edition of the paymentfacilitator.com podcast.

Call Center Fraud Potential Keeping Consumers From Paying By Phone

Over half percent of UK consumers, 69 percent of U.S. consumers, and 60 percent of Australian consumers say they are becoming hesitant to make payments by phone.

A consumer survey by Syntec, one of the UK’s leading call center systems specialists, reveals that consumers in the U.S.and Australia agree with UK consumers: to decrease fraud, call centers should use the latest technology to hide payment card data from call center agents and call recordings.

Over half percent of UK consumers, 69 percent of U.S. consumers, and 60 percent of Australian consumers say they are becoming hesitant to make payments by phone.

Banks’ Consumer Misdeeds May Spell Concern For Small Merchants

Google "Wells Fargo scandal" and you get a choice of three: 2016, 2015, 2013, all of which may effect how SMBs view banks.

The public didn’t hold banks in high esteem to say the least after the high risk mortgage crisis of 2008 led to government bailouts, but the blatant practice and prolific number of fake accounts created between 2011 and 2015 shocked even the most jaded and cynical observers. Coincidentally, or not, Wells Fargo's stock doubled in the same time period. Wells Fargo of course is just the latest big bank to run afoul of regulators; HSBC drew charges of foreign exchange trade violations a week before the Wells Fargo scandal broke.

Google "Wells Fargo scandal" and you get a choice of three: 2016, 2015, 2013, all of which may effect how SMBs view banks.

Innovation In ID Technology Speeds KYC In India

Indian payment facilitator Paytm will be onboarding customers for its payments bank with eKYC enabled by India's voluntary national identification program, Aadhaar.

As of Sep. 5, 2016, 87 percent of India's 1.2 billion people had registered for the unique 12-digit number. To register, residents have to bring three forms of identification (proof of identity, proof of address, proof of birthdate) to an enrollment center, where their fingerprints and irises will be scanned.

Indian payment facilitator Paytm will be onboarding customers for its payments bank with eKYC enabled by India's voluntary national identification program, Aadhaar.

Facebook Dives Deeper Into Payments Under David Marcus, Competing As A PF, Again

The only thing separating Facebook from being a true payment facilitator is it registering as one. The social media giant today announced users of its Messenger app can now send payments from within the app to make purchases from sites who interface with the app using bots.

Facebook is working with Stripe, Braintree and PayPal, but also appears to be directly enabling acceptance of Visa, Mastercard, and American Express to make this happen, and Messenger users can store their card info in Messenger for use at checkout. This can be combined with the ability of brands being able to buy ads that take clickers into Messenger where their card info is saved. David Marcus, Facebook's vice president of messaging and a former payments executive, has raised the Messenger user base from 700 million monthly active users to 1 billion in a year.

The only thing separating Facebook from being a true payment facilitator is it registering as one. The social media giant today announced users of its Messenger app can now send payments from within the app to make purchases from sites who interface with the app using bots.

Mastercard And Visa Gain Strength, But Did PayPal?

The deal between Mastercard and PayPal announced Sep. 6 was different for a day than the Visa-PayPal partnership announced in July. Mastercard spokesperson Robyn Cottelli says being a payment choice in PayPal's checkout is crucial, but not the only draw.

"Our thoughtful approach to the partnership with PayPal was not just focused on prominence as a payment option, but going beyond what we’ve seen Visa announce to drive further value for Mastercard and our partners," Cotelli tells paymentfacilitator.com.

The deal between Mastercard and PayPal announced Sep. 6 was different for a day than the Visa-PayPal partnership announced in July. Mastercard spokesperson Robyn Cottelli says being a payment choice in PayPal's checkout is crucial, but not the only draw.

Southeast Asian Roundup Includes Big Names: Google, Alibaba, Jack Ma, Mastercard and Visa

The Asia Pacific region continued this past week to provide evidence of its explosive potential for payments, as Mastercard reshuffled management for the area and a country asked the founder of a global powerhouse payments company to advise it on ecommerce.

Indonesia would like Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma to help it grow an ecommerce market that is attracting global attention from investors. The multi-island nation has the fourth highest population in the world and the fifth-largest internet using population (over 100 million), and has recently committed to a multi-million-dollar project enhancing internet speeds throughout the country by 2019.

The Asia Pacific region continued this past week to provide evidence of its explosive potential for payments, as Mastercard reshuffled management for the area and a country asked the founder of a global powerhouse payments company to advise it on ecommerce.

Podcast: Cozy A Great Example Of A Could-Be PF

Cozy, a platform to streamline interactions between property managers and renters, just secured what it hopes is its last round of funding, an $8.5 million Series B led by American Family Ventures. The four-year-old company strives to make the renting process between independent landlords and renters simple, secure and intuitive.

In three years Cozy has worked with three payment processors –BancBox, Balanced Payments, and currently Stripe--and vice president of engineering Rob Galanakis shared on this week's paymentfacilitator.com podcast the company's trials and tribulations with the churn and the decision whether to become a payment facilitator.

Cozy, a platform to streamline interactions between property managers and renters, just secured what it hopes is its last round of funding, an $8.5 million Series B led by American Family Ventures. The four-year-old company strives to make the renting process between independent landlords and renters simple, secure and intuitive.

Could the Horrendous Consumer Experience With Chip Cards Boost Mobile Payments in U.S.?

Payments experts have predicted that the U.S. could head to mobile payments much faster than other developed regions have, bypassing the use of contactless cards that the U.K., Canada and Australia have embraced. While mobile usage remains outside the mainstream for now, forces at work in the current environment could help push consumers in that direction.

We surmised a couple weeks ago that while the U.S. use of chip cards has gotten off to a slow start due to retailer infrastructure, slow certification, and consumer behavior, it could be a strong market for the use of phones in contactless in-person transactions.

Payments experts have predicted that the U.S. could head to mobile payments much faster than other developed regions have, bypassing the use of contactless cards that the U.K., Canada and Australia have embraced. While mobile usage remains outside the mainstream for now, forces at work in the current environment could help push consumers in that direction.

When Treasury Speaks, PFs Should Listen

The U.S. Treasury clarified its anti money laundering regulations regarding foreign correspondent banks Aug. 30 and the attention it got was a reminder how weighty the Treasury's words are to those in the payments world. Any time the Treasury speaks about AML PFs should listen, says Deana Rich, president of Rich Consulting.

Rich, a compliance expert, says KYC and AML and transaction monitoring are all practices that the technology companies who become payment facilitators are not used to overseeing, so attention to detail is highly recommended.

The U.S. Treasury clarified its anti money laundering regulations regarding foreign correspondent banks Aug. 30 and the attention it got was a reminder how weighty the Treasury's words are to those in the payments world. Any time the Treasury speaks about AML PFs should listen, says Deana Rich, president of Rich Consulting.

Podcast: iClassPro Shares PF Lessons Learned

Chris McNabb didn’t set out to run an online registration tool for children's activity centers, he just wanted a better way to register kids for classes at his gymnastics facility. A techie but not a developer, he shopped his cloud-based solution at tradeshows around the turn of the century and in 2008 founded iClassPro.

Then, he used third party payment gateways but the hassles of the multiple gateways and extra friction "was weighing us down," he says. Three years ago iClassPro became a payment facilitator and McNabb gained peace of mind and business growth. In this week's edition of the paymentfacilitator.com podcast, McNabb explains the switch: what it solves, what the change entailed, how it has helped, and what the future holds.

Chris McNabb didn’t set out to run an online registration tool for children's activity centers, he just wanted a better way to register kids for classes at his gymnastics facility. A techie but not a developer, he shopped his cloud-based solution at tradeshows around the turn of the century and in 2008 founded iClassPro.

Banks Are Investing In Potential PayPals

If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em, or maybe incubate 'em.

This is corporate banking's attitude toward the fintech that is competing with them, making traditional banking and its customers things of the past. Slower to innovate, bound by regulations and size, banks are increasingly investing money and time in fintech startups to benefit from the agility and creativity of outsiders who have grown up digital.

If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em, or maybe incubate 'em.

Is Google Trying To Steal Venmo Users Or Score New Customers for Android Pay?

Google Wallet has Venmo (and Square Cash and maybe Facebook and Snapchat) in its crosshairs with its latest app update, the ability to have person to person transfers go directly to a user's bank account. But is the competition for share or for users who don't yet have a P2P app? One analyst says attracting new customers for Android Phones and Android Pay is the goal.

The P2P game is played best with less friction and more speed and Google wants more people to play it with Wallet, then try transacting with Android Pay, says Gil Luria, head of technology research at Wedbush Securities.

Google Wallet has Venmo (and Square Cash and maybe Facebook and Snapchat) in its crosshairs with its latest app update, the ability to have person to person transfers go directly to a user's bank account. But is the competition for share or for users who don't yet have a P2P app? One analyst says attracting new customers for Android Phones and Android Pay is the goal.

Visa, Mastercard Expectations High But Maybe Not High Enough

Clearly, Visa is a believer that grass doesn't grow on a rolling stone. It's harder to stay at the top than it is to get there.

A recent article lauded Visa but wondered if it wasn't being overvalued. We report but don't comment here on the stock market or individual stock performance but we are a big fan of the card brands and would like to compile the reasons Visa has a bright future.

Clearly, Visa is a believer that grass doesn't grow on a rolling stone. It's harder to stay at the top than it is to get there.

Podcast: Beneficial Ownership Defined And Analyzed

As Rich Consulting president Deana Rich explains in this week's paymentfacilitator.com podcast, the Treasury’s beneficial ownership rule announced in May will require banks to perform KYC on all owners with more than 25 percent ownership as well as the person that manages or runs the business, and banks will likely turn that extra work over to ISOs or PFs underwriting merchants or submerchants.

There are different impacts to banks and their PF partners based on the size and ownership/operation structure of the merchant. The largest category of submerchants are sole proprietors or owned by one person, who also runs the business. All PFs are performing KYC on these owners and therefore there is no change to this category.

As Rich Consulting president Deana Rich explains in this week's paymentfacilitator.com podcast, the Treasury’s beneficial ownership rule announced in May will require banks to perform KYC on all owners with more than 25 percent ownership as well as the person that manages or runs the business, and banks will likely turn that extra work over to ISOs or PFs underwriting merchants or submerchants.

Millennials, Seeking Uniqueness, Flock To Klarna To Pay Their Way

Millenials' decreasing use of credit cards and increasing use of debit opens doors for companies like Swedish company Klarna, a payment facilitator that offers mobile and online buyers the choice of traditional payments – charge now—or within 14 days or in installments.

Klarna works seamlessly at checkout, says Klarna North America CEO Brian Billingsley—an email address and zip code is all a shopper needs if not paying immediately. Once that info is inputted it doesn’t need to be entered again at Klarna merchant partners. Billingsley says Klarna gives millennials a little of what they're looking for when shopping, control and uniqueness.

Millenials' decreasing use of credit cards and increasing use of debit opens doors for companies like Swedish company Klarna, a payment facilitator that offers mobile and online buyers the choice of traditional payments – charge now—or within 14 days or in installments.

Tech Mobile Contactless Marketing Could Turn The U.S. EMV Frown Upside Down

More than a decade after the U.S. payments community tried and failed to make contactless payments work, EMV resentment and a well-funded mobile payment app movement may make U.S. contactless payments not merely viable, but vibrant—perhaps as soon as late 2018.

One result could be that the U.S. adopts mobile contactless payments before and in higher numbers than chip cards as tech giants like Apple and Samsung and Google blitz consumers with mobile payment app marketing that was not a factor when the country tried contactless a decade ago.

More than a decade after the U.S. payments community tried and failed to make contactless payments work, EMV resentment and a well-funded mobile payment app movement may make U.S. contactless payments not merely viable, but vibrant—perhaps as soon as late 2018.

Meet The New RBI Boss; Same As The Old Boss?

The change in governors of the Reserve Bank of India is no small news, as India is well known for its governmental help with the furtherance of technology in general and fintech in particular.

Under the outgoing governor, Raghuram Rajan, RBI decided to give 11 companies licenses to set up payment banks for the underserved population of the country and this is expected to give rise to an increase in the use of digital banks and wallets. RBI also recently put together a working group of RBI, banking and payments executives to study regulatory issues related to digital banking and fintech.

The change in governors of the Reserve Bank of India is no small news, as India is well known for its governmental help with the furtherance of technology in general and fintech in particular.

If Chargebacks And False Declines Are The Problem, PFs Are A Solution

Chargebacks and false declines present many problems to merchants and issuers alike but where there's complications, there's payment facilitator opportunity, says one risk management expert.

"Whereas merchants may not be familiar with all aspects of payment processing and risk management controls, payment facilitators provide affordable accessibility to systems, knowledge and focused expertise that may otherwise be unattainable," says Marcus Smith, the senior vice president of risk management for processor iPayment Inc. "Due to scale and buying power, payment facilitators can also allow merchants to benefit from their data acquisition, proprietary and third party technology and other value added service that meet the needs of their aggregate clientele. Ultimately, payment facilitators can eliminate various administrative costs and distractions allowing merchants to place their money, time and attention on managing and growing their business."

Chargebacks and false declines present many problems to merchants and issuers alike but where there's complications, there's payment facilitator opportunity, says one risk management expert.

Podcast: A PF Platform Is Born

The payment facilitator model is exploding because of the vast number of small to medium sized merchants who like their lives uncluttered by multiple partners trying to help them run their business, including those that enable them to accept electronic payments. They want the simplicity of valuable services as well as payment ability, and not from two vendors.

But becoming a payment facilitator is no picnic; who's there to help potential payment facilitators who are hesitant to take on the maze of underwriting, compliance, fraud risk, and monitoring despite the growing evidence that market share and revenue can be gained?

The payment facilitator model is exploding because of the vast number of small to medium sized merchants who like their lives uncluttered by multiple partners trying to help them run their business, including those that enable them to accept electronic payments. They want the simplicity of valuable services as well as payment ability, and not from two vendors.

Is $75 Billion In 2016 Mobile In-Store Payments Realistic?

At least one research firm thinks in-store mobile payments, mobile wallets usage, is set to explode in the U.S., despite accounts of slow uptake by consumers and crawling installation of NFC terminals by retailers.

The Business Insider Intelligence's 2016 Mobile Payments Report predicts volume of in-store mobile payments will hit $75 billion this year and $503 billion by 2020. The authors say despite the hurdles of consumer habit and spotty availability, wallets' benefits to both retailers and shoppers, such as security, speedier checkout process and app integration will boost usage quickly and heavily.

At least one research firm thinks in-store mobile payments, mobile wallets usage, is set to explode in the U.S., despite accounts of slow uptake by consumers and crawling installation of NFC terminals by retailers.

EMV Roundup: Security Flaw? Mobile Device Approval And Requirements Update

There was a host of stories last week on the occasion of the 10-month anniversary of the Oct. 15, 2015 EMV migration date. While there have been extensions to the date of transfer of liability from issuers to non-EMV enabled merchants, apparently the story writers couldn’t wait for the more traditional annual lookback. Major data thus far: the U.S. is the only region in the world where chip card usage is lower than chip card deployment and adoption, and is last by far of the globe's six regions in both deployment and use.

Some real developments around EMV took place this past week though, as the pursuit of a more robust infrastructure and consumer acceptance continues:

There was a host of stories last week on the occasion of the 10-month anniversary of the Oct. 15, 2015 EMV migration date. While there have been extensions to the date of transfer of liability from issuers to non-EMV enabled merchants, apparently the story writers couldn’t wait for the more traditional annual lookback. Major data thus far: the U.S. is the only region in the world where chip card usage is lower than chip card deployment and adoption, and is last by far of the globe's six regions in both deployment and use.

Millenials Will Charge Back Into Charging

Recent attention has been paid to lower use of credit card by millennials but the snapshot is worse than the movie, says one analyst.

A survey commissioned by Bankrate and compiled by Princeton Survey Research Associates International shows that more than 60 percent of millennials do not own a credit card. Conversely, 70 percent of people over 30 years old do have at least one credit card. Are card brands panicking, or are their recent moves toward ACH (PayPal/Visa, Mastercard/VocaLink, clearXchange and both brands) a response by diversifying?

Recent attention has been paid to lower use of credit card by millennials but the snapshot is worse than the movie, says one analyst.

India Is Digital Payments Dynamite

India is set to explode in digital payments based on several key metrics: population, number of mobile phone users, Internet users, and smartphone users.

The Boston Consulting Group and Google recently collaborated on a study named Digital Payments 2020: The Making of A $500 Billion Ecosystem In India, painting a bright future in digital payments for several reasons: technology; 10-fold growth in merchant acceptance; rise of data-driven consumer benefits; consolidation leading to simplification; a unified payments interface (UPI) stokes widespread adoption of digital payments; national ID system eases KYC; and non-cash transaction volume will continue to accelerate, surpassing cash transactions by 2023.

India is set to explode in digital payments based on several key metrics: population, number of mobile phone users, Internet users, and smartphone users.

Allpago Grows Using Location Location Location

allpago, one of Latin America's leading payment facilitators, is using a real estate golden rule to achieve stunning growth, mirroring PF growth in the region. Enabling companies globally to do business and accept payments across Latin America, allpago uses locally-preferred credit cards and alternative payment methods via location-based checkout, and recently achieved 150 percent annual growth in transaction volume.

Double Diamond Group president Todd Ablowitz says allpago's dominance is further proof of the power of payment facilitators.

allpago, one of Latin America's leading payment facilitators, is using a real estate golden rule to achieve stunning growth, mirroring PF growth in the region. Enabling companies globally to do business and accept payments across Latin America, allpago uses locally-preferred credit cards and alternative payment methods via location-based checkout, and recently achieved 150 percent annual growth in transaction volume.

Consumers And Card Brands Moving At The Speed Of Money, So Merchants Will Follow

First, Visa and PayPal scratched each other's backs, and industry observers expect it won’t be long until Mastercard and maybe American Express align similarly with PayPal. Then Mastercard announced the purchase of most of U.K. ACH king VocaLink. August 2, Early Warning Services announced that both Visa and MasterCard joined its clearXchange peer-to-peer network.

What will happen next in the maneuvering of card brands gaining major footholds in the world of banking, peer-to-peer payments and ACH?

First, Visa and PayPal scratched each other's backs, and industry observers expect it won’t be long until Mastercard and maybe American Express align similarly with PayPal. Then Mastercard announced the purchase of most of U.K. ACH king VocaLink. August 2, Early Warning Services announced that both Visa and MasterCard joined its clearXchange peer-to-peer network.

PIN Is Not A Win. Merchants Don’t Get That

Don't pin your hopes on PIN. That's the advice of a report from the Aite Group, which claims that the cost of having to implement PIN for all card transactions, especially for merchants who don’t already have PIN pads, may just not be worth the expense considering the limited impact on fraud and merchant liability.

The report "Chip Cards in the United States: The PIN, PINless, Debit, Credit Conundrum" says because merchants misunderstand fraud and their own liability risks, a large majority (65 percent of those surveyed) are in favor of implementing chip and PIN in EMV card transactions. None of the issuers surveyed were in favor of it.

Don't pin your hopes on PIN. That's the advice of a report from the Aite Group, which claims that the cost of having to implement PIN for all card transactions, especially for merchants who don’t already have PIN pads, may just not be worth the expense considering the limited impact on fraud and merchant liability.

Appealing To Lots Of Merchants Can Be An Awful Strategy

It can't be said enough: If you want to be special, specialize.

The way to success in payment facilitation is not to appeal to as many merchants as possible, it's to appeal to as many of a certain kind of merchants as possible. There are exceptions like bill.com, which targets any business that pays employees, but even then it specializes in one part of what merchants need: to streamline accounts payable and receivable.

It can't be said enough: If you want to be special, specialize.

Slower Payments Force SMBs To Reluctantly Eat Interchange Costs. Result: PFs Become Saviors

With the average Paydex Index score dropping fast, SMBs are biting the interchange bullet and encouraging payment cards—all to accelerate payments. In step payment facilitators, who know a few things about fast payments and reducing interchange.

Paydex, a Dun & Bradstreet credit rating for businesses, fell 3 percent during the first half of this year from the last six months of 2015, and that followed a 1 percent increase at the end of last year when compared with the first half of 2015. The decline means companies are taking longer to pay their B2B bills, and to compensate, the waiting businesses ask their customers to use credit cards for payments either in full or as deposit so faster consumer payment fills the void left by slower partner payments.

With the average Paydex Index score dropping fast, SMBs are biting the interchange bullet and encouraging payment cards—all to accelerate payments. In step payment facilitators, who know a few things about fast payments and reducing interchange.

PFs See Market Validation In Square’s Soaring Revenue

When Square’s stock price soared from $10.44 during trading Aug. 3 to $11.51 in after-hours trading, it was a powerful harbinger for the PF community. Square has been aggressive, but what the nation’s largest PF has done is a prototype for others to follow. Square can be seen as the standard bearer for all PFs; their success can be a sign of success for PFs worldwide.

"(The stock price) changed because Square reported earnings that proved their strategy and tactics, which were frowned on by Wall Street, actually worked in the quarter," says Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group. "Square is doing exactly what we expected. Their massive investment in sales is paying off. I fail to see any segment of their business disappointing."

When Square’s stock price soared from $10.44 during trading Aug. 3 to $11.51 in after-hours trading, it was a powerful harbinger for the PF community. Square has been aggressive, but what the nation’s largest PF has done is a prototype for others to follow. Square can be seen as the standard bearer for all PFs; their success can be a sign of success for PFs worldwide.

India’s Razorpay Onboards A Month Faster Than Rivals

Onboarding merchants in less than a week, nearly a month quicker than what the CEO says is the industry standard, Indian payment facilitator Razorpay has used that impressive stat to sign up more than 8,000 Indian merchants, including mom-and-pops and global chains such as Papa John’s. Not bad for a company that wasn’t even a Mastercard payment facilitator until last year.

A member of Mastercard's Start Path program since 2015, Razorpay is precisely how the card brand envisions signing 40 million merchants by 2020. The challenges are as plentiful as the opportunities.

Onboarding merchants in less than a week, nearly a month quicker than what the CEO says is the industry standard, Indian payment facilitator Razorpay has used that impressive stat to sign up more than 8,000 Indian merchants, including mom-and-pops and global chains such as Papa John’s. Not bad for a company that wasn’t even a Mastercard payment facilitator until last year.
Mastercard has aggressive goals-and has failed to show how they will meet them. That's one of several reasons for the card brand's reliance-nay, dependence-on payment facilitators. PFs are not helpful to MC's strategy: They are the only thing that gives it a chance to work.

Payment facilitators are absolutely crucial to Mastercard's stated goal of adding 40 million micro and small merchants to its base in five years. Banks can't provide the tech necessary to onboard so large a number, says Double Diamond Group president Todd Ablowitz in this week's podcast, and onboarding—speedy onboarding—is a specialty of payment facilitators.

Mastercard has aggressive goals-and has failed to show how they will meet them. That's one of several reasons for the card brand's reliance-nay, dependence-on payment facilitators. PFs are not helpful to MC's strategy: They are the only thing that gives it a chance to work.

Microsoft And An Australian Mum; The Next PFs?

Small business is booming; sometimes it needs a payment facilitator and sometimes it becomes one. Sometimes huge business takes the plunge too.

Microsoft this past week introduced a Microsoft Office Service named Microsoft Bookings, designed to ease scheduling of appointments for business owners between themselves, employees and customers. It's a short leap to see that businesses could ask customers making appointments to pay first or lock in a date with a deposit. MindBody comes to mind, with its focus on wellness businesses and appointment bookings and payment enabling.

Small business is booming; sometimes it needs a payment facilitator and sometimes it becomes one. Sometimes huge business takes the plunge too.

#Brentrance: Mastercard Buys VocaLink, Now Rules Britannia ACH

MasterCard thinks the U.K. is a jolly good place to do business. With its $920 million purchase of processor VocaLink, the card brand gets a firm owned by 13 U.K. banks that did 11 billion transactions in 2015, but that gaudy number might be the milk and sugar in the cup of tea that is a platform it coveted.

The same day Visa made an ACH-related move by partnering with PayPal so the two mega brands putting their money in bank accounts is no coincidence. ACH represents 50 percent of total electronic payment flows across the world's 50 largest countries.

Mastercard thinks the U.K. is a jolly good place to do business. With its $920 million purchase of processor VocaLink, the card brand gets a firm owned by 13 U.K. banks that did 11 billion transactions in 2015, but that gaudy number might be the milk and sugar in the cup of tea that is a platform it coveted.

PF Podcast: PayPal-Visa Deal Is A Win-Win For Fintech

PFs, make sure your PayPal and Visa relationships are strong. PF giant PayPal and card brand titan Visa each struck digital gold from a partnership announced last week: PayPal can be used with contactless payments because it gets access to Visa's tokenization feature, while Visa gets access to PayPal's 188 million users and can sell issuers on a differentiator the other brands don’t have.

Rick Oglesby, principal of AZ Payments Group and a partner of Double Diamond Group, says on this week's paymentfacilitator.com podcast that frictionless speedy payment processes drives the deal on both ends. PayPal has the signups to cut down a step at checkout while Visa has the rails to decrease the time it takes for PayPal to get paid by banks.

PFs, make sure your PayPal and Visa relationships are strong. PF giant PayPal and card brand titan Visa each struck digital gold from a partnership announced last week: PayPal can be used with contactless payments because it gets access to Visa's tokenization feature, while Visa gets access to PayPal's 188 million users and can sell issuers on a differentiator the other brands don’t have.

Non-Profit PFs Won’t Like This – Facebook, The Latest PF, Is Going To Take Your Share

Facebook is charging back into the payments space but this time charging hard -- taking 5% on every donation it processes through its recently launched non-profit features, announced to page administrators Tuesday. Facebook introduced a Donate button for 19 select non-profits in 2013, but didn't charge a fee, instead sending 100 percent of donations to the charity. The social media giant says of each donation made through Donate buttons that keep donors on a non-profit's page:

"We’re committed to building products that make it as easy and safe as possible for people to contribute to the causes they care about. To make this possible, starting in August, 2% of contributions will be used to cover a portion of the costs of nonprofit vetting, security, and fraud protection, operational costs and payment support and 3% of contributions will go to payment processing. The remaining 95% will go straight to the nonprofit. Facebook's goal is to create a platform for good that’s sustainable over the long-term, and not to make a profit from these charitable giving tools.”

Facebook is charging back into the payments space but this time charging hard -- taking 5% on every donation it processes through its recently launched non-profit features, announced to page administrators Tuesday. Facebook introduced a Donate button for 19 select non-profits in 2013, but didn't charge a fee, instead sending 100 percent of donations to the charity. The social media giant says of each donation made through Donate buttons that keep donors on a non-profit's page:

On China’s Payments SuperHighway, Regulators Stomp The Brakes And AsiaPay Hits The Gas

When you drive on rough roads you don't have to slow down, but you do steer more carefully, guiding your car to smoother surfaces. Chinese payment facilitator AsiaPay is welcoming China's recent regulation tightening as a move to help clean up the country's payments industry's fraud-infested reputation. AsiaPay is reading the new road sign as it zooms by, according to our interview with its CEO Joseph Chan, a key player in the massive payments market that is China.

How massive? In their 2015 report on global payments, Capgemini and the Royal Bank of Scotland said China's non-cash transaction volume growth in 2013 led the world's countries at 37 percent, with the region they call Emerging Asia (India, China, Hong Kong and other Asian countries) leading global regions with more than 21 percent growth. Alipay and WeChat are the dominant third party service providers in the online and mobile payments. ApplePay and SamsungPay have entered the market as well, though they use NFC rather than the QR code conduit favored by Alipay and WeChat.

When you drive on rough roads you don't have to slow down, but you do steer more carefully, guiding your car to smoother surfaces. Chinese payment facilitator AsiaPay is welcoming China's recent regulation tightening as a move to help clean up the country's payments industry's fraud-infested reputation. AsiaPay is reading the new road sign as it zooms by, according to our interview with its CEO Joseph Chan, a key player in the massive payments market that is China.

Hug a Payment Facilitator, Save A Tree

Payment facilitators are helping to save the planet. By enabling electronic and mobile payments for all sorts of markets – like lunch money and rent and race registrations-- that used checks and cash before, less paper is being used, and less paper needed means more trees left standing to produce more oxygen. That's not a stretch at all.

One such example of a new marketplace is Bill.com, which allows small- and medium-sized companies to electronify the entire accounts payable and accounts receivable process, chopping waiting times for both parties using it. And while Bill.com facilitates payments, it is not a payment facilitator, also not a stretch.

Payment facilitators are helping to save the planet.
By enabling electronic and mobile payments for all sorts of markets – like lunch money and rent and race registrations-- that used checks and cash before, less paper is being used, and less paper needed means more trees left standing to produce more oxygen. That's not a stretch at all.

Global Mobile Brew Is Strong

Turkish coffee is almost as strong as Turkish use of mobile devices for banking and shopping and payments, but not as strong as the payments industry action in Europe. The Turks led a group of 15 countries in most of the categories of questions asked about mobile device usage for a recently released report on mobile banking, mobile shopping and mobile payments conducted for ING International by Ipsos.

The report is titled ING International Survey Mobile Banking 2016 but as ING economist Ian Bright explains, one thing has led to another, as it usually does in fintech, and banking only scratches the surface now, four years after its first mobile banking report.

Turkish coffee is almost as strong as Turkish use of mobile devices for banking and shopping and payments, but not as strong as the payments industry action in Europe. The Turks led a group of 15 countries in most of the categories of questions asked about mobile device usage for a recently released report on mobile banking, mobile shopping and mobile payments conducted for ING International by Ipsos.

Podcast: MAC Wants YOU To Learn Payment Facilitator Mastery

If you want to hang out at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, exchanging payment facilitator information and battle scars, you only need to join the Merchant Acquirers Committee (MAC). New and veteran payment facilitators can climb their steep learning curve with help from the members of the MAC; experienced peers, vendors, lawyers, government representatives and card brands exchange information and lessons learned to advance the cause of the payments industry.

"Membership in MAC is a huge opportunity because you can apply your questions to a wealth of knowledge from years and years of experience," said Dione Hodges, MAC's senior director of risk management. "From a payment facilitator standpoint, what you've found challenging today someone has already experienced previously."

If you want to hang out at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, exchanging payment facilitator information and battle scars, you only need to join the Merchant Acquirers Committee (MAC). New and veteran payment facilitators can climb their steep learning curve with help from the members of the MAC; experienced peers, vendors, lawyers, government representatives and card brands exchange information and lessons learned to advance the cause of the payments industry.

Podcast: The Forming Of A PF Platform

The payment facilitator model is exploding because of the vast number of small to medium sized merchants who like their lives uncluttered by multiple partners trying to help them run their business, including those that enable them to accept electronic payments. They want the simplicity of valuable services as well as payment ability, and not from two vendors.

But becoming a payment facilitator is no picnic; who's there to help potential payment facilitators who are hesitant to take on the maze of underwriting, compliance, fraud risk, and monitoring despite the growing evidence that market share and revenue can be gained?

The payment facilitator model is exploding because of the vast number of small to medium sized merchants who like their lives uncluttered by multiple partners trying to help them run their business, including those that enable them to accept electronic payments. They want the simplicity of valuable services as well as payment ability, and not from two vendors.

Chargeback Mitigation Date Is Nigh For Visa While MasterCard Says It Has Already Begun

July 22 is TVIF --Thank Visa It's Friday – for non-EMV compliant merchants, especially small merchants and the payment facilitators who target them. That day Visa will ease the burden on merchants not yet compliant with EMV hardware and/or certification of that hardware by blocking all U.S. counterfeit fraud chargebacks under $25 until April 2018.

It's a big deal that the giant brand is paying attention to the little guys, who not only win financially but also save time and headaches involved with chargebacks.

July 22 is TVIF --Thank Visa It's Friday – for non-EMV compliant merchants, especially small merchants and the payment facilitators who target them. That day Visa will ease the burden on merchants not yet compliant with EMV hardware and/or certification of that hardware by blocking all U.S. counterfeit fraud chargebacks under $25 until April 2018.

Alipay To Begin Conquest Of Munich And Beyond

In two weeks, Chinese tourists landing at Munich Airport will be able to use coupons sent to them through their mobile devices by retailers in the terminals. They will get a notification, directions to the retailer with the coupon, then once they bring the item to the POS, have a bar code scanned without worrying over currency conversion.

Alipay, a mobile payment app run by Alibaba partner Ant Financial, will be accepted in all POS terminals run by German processor Wirecard, which struck a deal with the company that operates 69 shops inside the airport. Markus Eichinger, head of mobile services at Wirecard, which is acting as both acquiring bank and processor for Alipay, gave an interview to paymentfacilitator.com just after coming from the partnership's final testing session.

In two weeks, Chinese tourists landing at Munich Airport will be able to use coupons sent to them through their mobile devices by retailers in the terminals. They will get a notification, directions to the retailer with the coupon, then once they bring the item to the POS, have a bar code scanned without worrying over currency conversion.

It Was Hip To Be Square In Portland

Not only can small merchants ride the coming wave of mobile payments, they can make more in tips. That was part of the fun learned from a two-month Square promotion in Portland, Ore., that ended last week. The drive highlighted the company's NFC/chip readers in a marketing siege of a city chosen for the tactic because of its high implementation of the new Square hardware and its commerce counterculture.

Apple got in on the techfest because its wallet Apple Pay is the other side of the two-way connection Square needs to boost not only wallet use but comfort with wallet use. Apple hosted a merchant tutorial on Apple Pay in one of its stores one day during the Square campaign.

Not only can small merchants ride the coming wave of mobile payments, they can make more in tips. That was part of the fun learned from a two-month Square promotion in Portland, Ore., that ended last week. The drive highlighted the company's NFC/chip readers in a marketing siege of a city chosen for the tactic because of its high implementation of the new Square hardware and its commerce counterculture.

Podcast: Vantiv’s Danner Calls Payfacs ‘Epitome of Tech Companies’

Chuck Danner, GM of Payfacs for processor Vantiv, admires not only the software expertise of payfacs but also their creative nature in finding new verticals to help with their value-adds and efficiencies. "We're reliant on these companies for new ideas," Danner said in this week's edition of the PaymentFacilitator.com podcast.

Danner said payfacs are ideal for emerging markets that were either less complicated, non-existent or not tech-enabled, such as healthcare, ride-sharing, crowd funding and vending machines. Because the payfac model is so young, the need and opportunities for payfacs are outpacing the supply. "Growth is phenomenal," Danner said, but closing that gap will take "maturity and time."

Chuck Danner, GM of Payfacs for processor Vantiv, admires not only the software expertise of payfacs but also their creative nature in finding new verticals to help with their value-adds and efficiencies. "We're reliant on these companies for new ideas," Danner said in this week's edition of the PaymentFacilitator.com podcast.

Visa Puts Signature On Skirmish With Retailers

Visa filed a suit against Walmart June 30, the latest volley in a legal shootout with large retailers over EMV, chip-and-PIN and signature policies. "To me, it’s a clear escalation in the battle, said Rick Oglesby, president of AZ Payments Group and a partner at Double Diamond Group. "It’s never a good thing to be wrapped up in a public dispute with one of your largest and most influential customers, and the networks versus Walmart has been ongoing for many years."

The suit claims Walmart surreptitiously tested a process in which shoppers were not given the choice to verify their Visa debit card purchases with a signature. It's the most recent salvo in a battle among Visa and large retailers over the use of either signatures or PINs to verify transactions.

Visa filed a suit against Walmart June 30, the latest volley in a legal shootout with large retailers over EMV, chip-and-PIN and signature policies. "To me, it’s a clear escalation in the battle, said Rick Oglesby, president of AZ Payments Group and a partner at Double Diamond Group. "It’s never a good thing to be wrapped up in a public dispute with one of your largest and most influential customers, and the networks versus Walmart has been ongoing for many years."

Master Caveats In UK MasterCard Mega Payout Story

Here's a few examples of sensational headlines from July 6: "MasterCard faces £19bn claim over excessive fees; UK card users could claim hundreds in compensation"; "MasterCard facing £19bn rip-off payout: Millions could each get £450 back following case over charges imposed for processing payments"; "MasterCard could be forced to pay back £450 each to millions of customers - are you one of them?"

Here's one example of sober reckoning from a UK payments consultant: "It is a little early for consumers to be spending their £400 ‘windfalls’ just yet," said Tim Buckingham, a lawyer and director of Payment Services Consulting Ltd., a company providing risk and legal advice to the payments community. "This is certainly not the obvious ‘win’ that is being portrayed in the British press who have, in recent years, found it increasingly easy to attack the UK’s beleaguered banking system."

Here's a few examples of sensational headlines from July 6: "MasterCard faces £19bn claim over excessive fees; UK card users could claim hundreds in compensation"; "MasterCard facing £19bn rip-off payout: Millions could each get £450 back following case over charges imposed for processing payments"; "MasterCard could be forced to pay back £450 each to millions of customers - are you one of them?"

J.P. Morgan To Incubate FinTech Talent

Private fintech companies attracted almost $6 billion in funding in the first quarter of 2016, according to a CB Insights report. Nearly half of that global number was from three deals, but it's clear there's investment to be had with the right idea, software, gadget or app. J.P. Morgan is investing too, this week (June 30) announcing In-Residence, a program to help fintech startups develop their work using J.P. Morgan's resources.

Each residency is for six months, with a rolling application process, according to Brian Marchiony, managing director of communications for J.P. Morgan. Applicants can expect a decision in six weeks or less, according to the In Residence website.

Private fintech companies attracted almost $6 billion in funding in the first quarter of 2016, according to a CB Insights report. Nearly half of that global number was from three deals, but it's clear there's investment to be had with the right idea, software, gadget or app. J.P. Morgan is investing too, this week (June 30) announcing In-Residence, a program to help fintech startups develop their work using J.P. Morgan's resources.

Podcast: Brexit Effect and Kroger-Visa Battle

Payfacs can benefit from any complications caused by the Brexit referendum result because more confusion and regulatory conundrums will drive merchants to find a third party to navigate the maze, says Evan Schuman, editor in chief of PaymentFacilitator.com in this week's podcast. Schuman detailed the fallout from the Brexit vote that's throwing the Old World into a tizzy.

Payfacs can benefit from any complications caused by the Brexit referendum result because more confusion and regulatory conundrums will drive merchants to find a third party to navigate the maze, says Evan Schuman, editor in chief of PaymentFacilitator.com in this week's podcast. Schuman detailed the fallout from the Brexit vote that's throwing the Old World into a tizzy.

Schuman also authored a look into the recent Kroger lawsuit involving Visa over an EMV kerfuffle. Schuman says it's another example of a major retailer putting up its fists over rules and policies.

Payfacs can benefit from any complications caused by the Brexit referendum result because more confusion and regulatory conundrums will drive merchants to find a third party to navigate the maze, says Evan Schuman, editor in chief of PaymentFacilitator.com in this week's podcast. Schuman detailed the fallout from the Brexit vote that's throwing the Old World into a tizzy.

MasterCard Small Merchant Expansion Commitment Should Shake Up PF Game

Payment facilitators and payment facilitators to be: on your marks, get set…Go!

MasterCard on Monday (June 27) announced a plan to add 40 million micro and small merchants to its base in five years. Double Diamond Group president Todd Ablowitz said that spells huge opportunity for both existing payment facilitators and near-term startups. "This is staggeringly important," Ablowitz said.

Payment facilitators and payment facilitators to be: on your marks, get set…Go!

MasterCard on Monday (June 27) announced a plan to add 40 million micro and small merchants to its base in five years. Double Diamond Group president Todd Ablowitz said that spells huge opportunity for both existing payment facilitators and near-term startups.

"This is staggeringly important," Ablowitz said.

How To Get Cracking On Your PayFac-ing

There are at least two great reasons to jump into the payment facilitator game-- increased revenues and market share—and many many tools to help. One of those tools is advice from the hard-won success achieved by those who have made the leap.

In a session on the ins and outs of starting a payfac at the second annual Payment Facilitator Day at Transact16 in April, Kevin Harris of RunSignUp said training people was more of a challenge than software concerns, and David Weiss of Yapstone shared the difficulties of international expansion. Nick Starai of gateway tech company NMI told the audience to concentrate on the business they know best rather than focus on technological bells and whistles. The highlights of the discussion fill this week's paymentfacilitator.com podcast, the next best thing to having been there.

There are at least two great reasons to jump into the payment facilitator game-- increased revenues and market share—and many many tools to help. One of those tools is advice from the hard-won success achieved by those who have made the leap.

Fraud And Compliance And Rules, Oh My!

The pain of keeping all the rules and regulations straight for a payment facilitator is only exceeded by the pain of not keeping them straight. A PF has to protect itself from merchant problems with underwriting and monitoring, while adhering to the mandates from card brands and acquirers. It's a lot now, but as everyone knows, there's more coming.

As heard in this week's edition of the PaymentFacilitator.com podcast, the best PFs can do to mitigate excessive regulation from without is to do more within, said Rich Consulting president Deana Rich, moderator of the session Emerging Threats Cage Match: Compliance v. Fraud at the second annual Payment Facilitator Day at Transact 16 in April.

The pain of keeping all the rules and regulations straight for a payment facilitator is only exceeded by the pain of not keeping them straight.

A PF has to protect itself from merchant problems with underwriting and monitoring, while adhering to the mandates from card brands and acquirers. It's a lot now, but as everyone knows, there's more coming.

Apple Pay Announcement Looks Like A Zero But Could Be A Hero

As exciting as Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference can be, the news from Monday’s keynote seemed on its face sort of ho-hum for payment facilitators. The new abilities within the upcoming release of the iOS 10 mobile and macOS desktop software updates are for now merely more options that PFs have to consider along with their merchant clients. The long term view of these Apple payment moves is scintillating however, given the higher incomes of iOS and MacOS users and the huge gap between what they spend on apps compared to Android users.

The features will allow merchants to add Apple Pay to their Safari browser shopping portal’s payment suite, and for merchants to develop apps for iMessage users to use for P2P transactions. In the short term, there are challenges. Shoppers with desktops must have not only a Mac, for communicating with the iPhone or Apple Watch that authenticates the payment, but the Safari browser that Apple owns.

As exciting as Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference can be, the news from Monday’s keynote seemed on its face sort of ho-hum for payment facilitators. The new abilities within the upcoming release of the iOS 10 mobile and macOS desktop software updates are for now merely more options that PFs have to consider along with their merchant clients. The long term view of these Apple payment moves is scintillating however, given the higher incomes of iOS and MacOS users and the huge gap between what they spend on apps compared to Android users.

PF Day 16: Value Adds And New Verticals Are The Tickets To Vast Opportunities

One of the six sessions at last month’s 2nd Annual Payment Facilitator Day at the ETA TRANSACT 2016 in Las Vegas was titled “New Verticals in Payments: Why The PF Model Makes It Happen,” and featured Double Diamond Group president Todd Ablowitz and executives who have successfully added payment facilitating to their toolboxes.

As heard on this week’s PaymentFacilitator.com podcast, Ablowitz provided eye-popping growth numbers and made it clear just how many software as a service vendors could benefit from becoming a payment facilitator: nearly 13,000 that could add not only value to merchants but boost their margins.

One of the six sessions at last month’s 2nd Annual Payment Facilitator Day at the ETA TRANSACT 2016 in Las Vegas was titled “New Verticals in Payments: Why The PF Model Makes It Happen,” and featured Double Diamond Group president Todd Ablowitz and executives who have successfully added payment facilitating to their toolboxes.

PFs Are No Longer Flying Under The Radar

One of the six sessions at last month’s 2nd Annual Payment Facilitator Day at the ETA TRANSACT 2016 in Las Vegas was titled “What You Should Ask Your Payments Attorney: Yes, You Need an Attorney for This Stuff,” and featured Heather Mark, Director of Compliance for ProPay; Holli Targan, partner, at the law firm Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss; and Marc Liner, senior vice president and associate general counsel for Bank of America Merchant Services.

The panel cautioned payment facilitators and prospective payment facilitators that regulators are slowly and steadily noticing the payment facilitator model. It is a must to be aware of the rules now, and how they change as the model grows, as you’ll hear from this week’s PaymentFacilitator.com podcast. “We are no longer flying under the radar,” said Targan.

One of the six sessions at last month’s 2nd Annual Payment Facilitator Day at the ETA TRANSACT 2016 in Las Vegas was titled “What You Should Ask Your Payments Attorney: Yes, You Need an Attorney for This Stuff,” and featured Heather Mark, Director of Compliance for ProPay; Holli Targan, partner, at the law firm Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss; and Marc Liner, senior vice president and associate general counsel for Bank of America Merchant Services.