Vol 4. Issue 3 | 2018
Your gateway to the world of payments
Atlanta Special: The Atlanta Fintech Ecosystem
CONTENTS 02 Winners of the FinTech Innovation Award 03 The Bite of Breaches and the Overconfidence Trap 06 Transaction Alley Driving Push Payments Innovation 08 Accounting and Audit for Crypto-Assets 10 Growth is where the trust is 12 Funding innovation in atlanta 14 Powering the Connected Mainframe 18 Revolutionizing the way you can give 20 ENTERING THE US MARKET 22 The Atlanta Fintech Ecosystem & How It Has Powered Business Growt
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24 The Power of Purchase Intelligence 26 Prepaid Innovation: A Cornerstone of Atlanta’s Fintech Industry 28 What can we tell you about your customers – and your business – that you don’t know? 30 Innovating IoT Payments in Georgia 32 Demystifying Machine Learning Technology 34 TSYS, Georgia and the rise of the state’s payments industry 37 Embrace Cross-Border E-Commerce and Meet Potential Customers Where They Are 40 Atlanta’s hot payments fintech scene 42 How Merchants can Survive the Transforming Retail Landscape 44 Georgia: A Global Hub for Fintech 46 P20: Uniting the World of Payments 48 Embracing the New Payments Normal: Instant, Intelligent and Secure 50 Taking Fintech Careers to the Stratosphere
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WINNERS OF THE FINTECH INNOVATION AWARD By Christian Zimmerman, Co-Founder & CEO of Qoins
oday, the Fintech ecosystem is rapidly changing. A huge highlight in the driving force for innovation and removing some barriers to entry is the Alice Corp v. CLS Bank Int. case. This removed the protection for many patents within the space and the created more difficulty in defining what is not an abstract idea. This has allowed for many similar products to begin encroaching on the market and adding new value props for consumers and businesses. With regards to Atlanta.... given that over 70% of all transactions flow through the heart of the city, Atlanta has focused on bringing more resources and opportunity to the city itself for financial technology. With so many different verticals within fintech such as, payments, ecommerce, crypto, lending, and consumer finance/banking, Atlanta has shown a great deal of market control within the payments and lending space. For our product Qoins, we are heavily focused on consumer finance. Being around veteran companies like Kabbage and Greenlight, we are now able to not only get the expertise but also the underlying support from the ecosystem. As I mentioned before, with so many companies and startups starting to pop up, it is very difficult to stand out. And not only stand out but also maintain a sense of security for the business as well. I believe Atlanta has helped our business begin on the right path and maintain a strong sense of urgency and commitment. Atlanta is still a growing ecosystem with regards to consumer facing products. But with all the resources Atlanta has to offer, we are seeing for ourselves the strength and commitment the city has to supporting and growing striving businesses. At FinTech South
CHRISTIAN ZIMMERMAN Co-Founder & CEO of Qoins Christian is the Co-Founder & CEO of Qoins, an automated micro-payment solution that uses spare change to quickly pay off credit card and student loan debt. Having worked at other early-stage startups such as Hirewire and Shiftgig, Christian grew a passion for solving real-world problems. He is a graduate of Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business.
Qoins took home the largest equity-free cash prize for startups in the country as the winner at the FinTech South Conference
QOINS Qoins is an automated debt repayment solution that uses the spare change from everyday purchases and automatically applies it towards the debt you are trying to pay down, as an additional payment, on a monthly basis.
THE BITE OF BREACHES AND THE OVERCONFIDENCE TRAP Community Banks and Credit Unions By Sean Feeney, Chief Executive Officer, DefenseStorm
stronaut Neil Armstrong knew a thing or two about managing risk. In speeches he gave after retiring, he frequently cautioned against overconfidence. He said of his career at NASA and of his journey to becoming the first man to walk on the moon, “We tried very hard not to be overconfident, because when you get overconfident, that’s when something snaps up and bites you.”
whopping 71 percent reported at least one breach “over the past few years.” Cybersecurity has been cited as a top focus for federal bank regulators, and experts project a global shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals by 2019. In fact, 70% of cybersecurity professionals in 2017 reported their organizations have a cybersecurity skills shortage. In the face of such “pay attention” data, it’s a wonder this level of overconfidence exists.
When it comes to cyber threats, community banks and credit unions would be well served to heed Armstrong’s advice. Despite hard facts to the contrary, too often community financial institutions reason that they are “fine” and don’t need more than a minimal investment in cybersecurity or cybercompliance. While rationales vary, overconfidence is typically at the root.
However, progressive community financial institutions are paying attention and are realizing that when it comes cybersecurity, like many things in life, the best time to deal with a disaster is before it happens.
Some believe they aren’t large enough to be a target for bad actors, or that they are protected because they haven’t yet experienced a breach (at least one of which they are aware – research firm Gartner has noted generous time lags between when a breech occurs and when its impact is detected). Bank CEOs and Boards of Directors are held accountable for cybersecurity and cybercompliance practices, yet still might deny funding requests despite alarming data. Cyber breaches (not simply attacks) were up nearly 50 percent in 2017, and the number of U.S. enterprises reporting in 2018 at least one breach “in the past year” nearly doubled to 46 percent, while a
One such forward-thinking community bank leader is Ron Quinn, president and CEO of Peach State Bank in Gainesville, Georgia. Information shared at an FDIC-sponsored cybersecurity conference inspired Quinn to launch an initiative to optimize the bank’s cybersecurity and cybercompliance capabilities.
Quinn tasked Charles W. Blair, the bank’s CFO, with spearheading the effort. Peach State Bank ultimately decided to partner with DefenseStorm, a banking-focused cybersecurity and cybercompliance company, for the technology, policy and people
support the bank identified as important to achieving its objectives. Blair commented, “(Our decision) was a direct reaction to hearing from the regulators about what they were going to be requiring banks to do,” Blair says. While Peach State already had firewall and server traffic monitoring in place, the bank lacked an all-encompassing view of its network. They also lacked enough in-house cybersecurity experts to sort through, prioritize and act on the volumes of information the monitoring company was sending them with little or no explanation, leaving the IT staff overwhelmed and in a quandary as to what actions to take. Often, that meant calling to place a support ticket with the monitoring firm, hoping somebody would call back quickly. Finding the Right Fit Steven Pettit, an assistant vice president with day-to-day responsibility for Peach State’s cybersecurity program, appreciated Quinn’s commitment to strengthening the bank’s capabilities using resources tailored to banking needs. “Our previous provider couldn’t separate routine, run-of-the-mill information from critical threat detection,” Pettit noted. “We couldn’t limit alerts we received to only those we cared about. I don’t really care about seeing alerts on port scans, unless someone is actually able to penetrate the firewall,” he explained. Upon deploying the DefenseStorm GRID for cybersecurity and cybercompliance, Peach State Bank was able to expand coverage beyond its servers and firewalls to its entire network, plus take advantage of the additional resource power provided by DefenseStorm’s TRAC (Threat Ready Active Compliance) Team of cyber professionals. Now Pettit’s team works in tandem with TRAC, seeing the same intuitive command center screens tailored to Peach State Bank’s needs. DefenseStorm’s TRAC Team also delivers actionable recommendations and insights to help prioritize alert handling. Pettit’s team also can configure alerts based on factors they care most about. One example is alerting the team when calls are forwarded, a proactive measure to prevent cybercriminals from hijacking the bank’s telephone system in order to redirect customer calls and steal information obtained during them. Other advantages came from additional vulnerability testing and having a third-party view of the bank’s environment.
“DefenseStorm did vulnerability testing to become familiar with our environment and to get an initial assessment of any holes,” Pettit said. Immediately upon going live, the DefenseStorm TRAC Team noticed several of the bank’s devices were communicating with what appeared to be a rogue router in Texas. After the device was flagged as unapproved, the bank realized it had inadvertently omitted the asset from its list of approved devices, when in fact it was part of the bank’s infrastructure. “Having an extended team working with us to make sure everything is in order from both a cybersecurity and cybercompliance standpoint is a tremendous benefit,” Pettit said. Defenses to Consider Staying one step ahead of “bad actors” can seem daunting to community financial institutions, given the increasing complexity and frequency of attacks and the meaningful shortfall in cybersecurity professionals. When considering options, the following recommendations can help shape the right course of action. 1. Beware the Overconfidence Trap. It can be tempting to believe your institution isn’t at risk. However, all data suggests that you are, and that the risk is escalating. Rather than hoping for the best, cyber aware leaders take note of John Chambers’ observation when he was CEO of Cisco: “There are only two types of organizations: Those that have been hacked and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked.” 2. Make your C-level executives aware of risks and regulations. Information shared at an FDIC conference inspired Ron Quinn and Charles Blair of Peach State Bank to re-examine and refine the bank’s cybersecurity strategy. That same data can help you secure funding for better initiatives at your bank or credit union. Financial institution executives and Boards of Directors are coming under increasing pressure to be more meaningfully engaged in, and accountable for, cybersecurity and cybercompliance effectiveness, regardless of an institution’s size. 3. Find a way to link cybersecurity and cybercompliance. With cybersecurity named a top priority for regulators, proving your financial institution is compliant with bank and credit union cybersecurity regulations and guidelines is paramount. Many tools are built for cross-industry cybersecurity, but don’t map your cybersecurity activities directly with regulatory elements outlined in the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council’s
Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (the FFIEC-CAT) nor the National Credit Union Association’s Automated Cybersecurity Examination Tool (the NCUA ACET). A solution built specifically for banking does that mapping for you, so you can easily prove complaince with what regulators recommend. 4. Cover everything. Some solutions are based on systems covered, data volume ingested, or both. Institutions might try to save on costs by leaving some systems uncovered, which invites vulnerabilities, or by limiting data history, which can make investigating incidents more difficult. Providers that have a predictable and affordable cost model for covering everything can be an advantage. Cloud-based solutions generally offer more capacity and flexibility than on-premise tools at a better price, especially when the cost of in-house resources to configure and manage the tool are factored into the investment. 5. Understand you need more than a tool. Analyst firm Gartner has noted that “Securing information has become less about having firewalls and policies, and more about complex interactions among people, machines and processes.” Achieving cyber Safety & Soundness requires technology, but also people, processes, policy and, if possible, a community of peers to offer insights. Many institutions mistakenly believe investing in a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tool is sufficient, only to find their teams drowning in an onslaught of alerts that go uninvestigated because of resource constraints. Or, they might choose to outsource everything to a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP), only to find, as Peach State Bank did, that they lose visibility and control over their security posture. Choosing a comanaged model, which has your team and a supplemental team of outside resources using the same system together to analyze, prioritize and investigate issues, gives you added bandwidth and expertise without sacrificing visibility and control. It also enables you to set the ground rules and priorities based on your institution’s needs and goals. Community financial institutions are just as vulnerable as large money centers are to cyber attacks, and increased regulatory pressure applies to all. Avoiding an overconfident “we’re fine” viewpoint and examining best-in-class options for achieving cyber Safety & Soundness is advisable for all bank and credit union executives, as well as Boards of Directors and IT oversight committees. Many options are available to make modern protection, as well as improved compliance, available to even the smallest institutions.
SEAN FEENEY Chief Executive Officer at DefenseStorm Sean Feeney is DefenseStorm’s CEO and a 30-year technology leadership veteran who has shaped strategic direction and high-growth performance for a variety of technology companies. In previous CEO roles he executed successful exit transactions for cloud-based supply chain management provider GT Nexus (acquired by Infor) and for business-to-business e-commerce pioneer Inovis (acquired by GXS, now OpenText), together valued at more than $1 billion.
DEFENSESTORM DefenseStorm is the only company that combines and automates in real time cybersecurity and cybercompliance built for banking, so financial institutions can achieve Cyber Safety & Soundness according to regulations and their own policies. The DefenseStorm GRID™ is the only co-managed, cloud-based and compliance-automated solution of its kind, operating as a technology system and as a service supported by experts in financial institution security and compliance.
TRANSACTION ALLEY DRIVING PUSH PAYMENTS INNOVATION By Drew Edwards, CEO of Ingo Money
tlanta is considered an epicenter of fintechs, even earning the nickname Transaction Alley for the number of paymentsrelated companies based here and the fact that 70 percent of all payment transactions are handled in Atlanta. Transaction Alley is now giving rise to another fintech innovation with the growth and embrace of push payments technology. Push payments are instant, safe-to-spend funds delivered directly into a consumer’s account using existing payment rails. They function just like a “spend” transaction, only in reverse. This means a push payment uses the same cards and accounts that people already know and trust, making it easy and familiar for both the sender and recipient of a payment. Our company issued the first push payment in the United States in 2013 in partnership with Visa and has since added 24 additional network like connections to create the best possible user experience. Since that time, the industry has seen a steady drive to adopt this instant money capability by players across a wide range of verticals. This demand is rooted in a consumer desire for real time payments.
At the same time, the delay and risk of paper checks or ACH can inhibit small businesses. Speed and agility is their competitive advantage, and even a one day delay in acquiring inventory or initiating a marketing push could mean the difference between staying open or closing their doors. This demand has led to a number of faster payment initiatives over the years. But none of them have proven to be instant. Even Same-Day ACH requires a wait, and is only handled by batch payment on business days. By contrast, push payments happen on-demand at the push of a button 24/7 – even weekends and holidays. This is imperative to achieving a true Instant Money Economy. The Push Experience Companies of all types are turning to push payments for corporate disbursements normally handled by paper check or ACH. For the recipient, this turns what was previously an analog experience into a digital one with the added benefits of choice and control as part of this thoroughly modern update.
#KillTheCheck A generation raised on life at smartphone speed does not have the patience for the 3-5 day settlement requirements of traditional ACH or paper check distributions. This desire becomes a need for the 78% of Americans that are estimated to live paycheck to paycheck. They often cannot wait for even same day settlement. Perhaps that’s why a recent PYMNTS.com survey found that consumers rated paper checks 4.4 out of a 100 – dead last – in a ranking of payment preferences. Yet there are still 22 billion checks in the U.S sent to consumers from companies and government sources. Bringing to question why there has been years of innovation surrounding digitising how customers spend money, yet there has been almost no innovation around how customers get paid.
Consider an insurer using push payments technology to pay claims to policyholders. A car owner is involved in a non-injury accident and needs to get their car repaired over the long holiday weekend to be ready for the work commute on Monday. The vehicle is being towed to a trusted mechanic who’s agreed to complete the work on time if they’re paid half upfront. The car owner completes the claims paperwork through their insurers app while riding in the tow truck to the auto repair shop. She hits send and five minutes later receives a text notification that payment is ready. Clicking through to a link, she accepts payment and directs it to the debit card brand she knows her mechanic prefers. Seconds later, just as she pulls into the repair shop, the entire claims payout shows up as fully guaranteed funds in her account, ready to pay the mechanic. Even one year earlier, this experience would have been remarkably different.
While the owner could have filed a claim instantly, she would have to wait for a check to be run after the holiday weekend, for it to arrive by mail, then a trip to the bank to deposit and wait for it to clear. Business Benefits Beyond this positive increase in customer satisfaction, businesses are deploying push payments solutions because theyâ€™ve realized the enormous cost benefits and efficiencies that digital disbursements provide. Any organization that pays a customer, employee or contractor with a paper check or ACH can use push payments to improve the speed and experience while saving money. On-demand applications include instant loans, insurance payments, travel reimbursements, bonus payments, and more.
DREW EDWARDS Founder & CEO of Ingo Money Drew Edwards is the founder and CEO of Ingo Money. A serial entrepreneur and veteran financial executive, Drew founded and served as CEO for Towne Services, Inc., held leadership positions with both Federal Reserve Bank and The Bankers Bank in Atlanta, and served on the Board of Directors of Skylight Financial.
At a time when studies estimate that paper checks can cost up to $10 per issued check, push payments cost a mere fraction of that.Â They also cut the time and effort associated with collecting bank routing and customer account information then testing account access for ACH deposits. Push payments also provide convenience and tracking throughout the transaction that can bring clarity to the entire process. Saving even a few dollars per check, while reducing back office administrative costs and burdens, all while delighting customers, adds up to a win-win. On top of the benefits, push payments are easy to deploy. In our case, Ingo Money delivers everything a company needs to complete a push payment - reach to 4.5 billion different consumer accounts (cards, wallets, etc.), bank sponsorship, compliance checks, authentication tools, communications, etc. - available through a simple API integration or SaaS platform. The Road Ahead
INGO MONEY Ingo Money is the Instant Money company. Founded with a mission to digitize paper checks, its push payments technology enables disbursement of instant, safe-to-spend funds to over 4.5 billion consumer card, mobile wallet and other accounts. This digital transformation helps businesses save time and money while modernizing the consumer experience.
Throughout 2018, we expect that push payments will continue to become a standard payment offering across industries. Early deployments in the airline, insurance, lending and payroll industries will become the norm, and usher in the dawn of the Instant Money Economy. No more sharing sensitive bank data with payors, visiting an ATM to make a deposit, or waiting by the mailbox for funds. 2018 is the year that money joins the modern era, and Atlanta will continue to be at the forefront.
ACCOUNTING AND AUDIT FOR CRYPTO-ASSETS By Kell Canty, Co-Founder of Verady
erady uniquely sits in the cryptocurrency space by providing accounting and audit technology for blockchain-based assets. We are primarily focused on helping bridge cryptoassets with the traditional finance landscape using technology and products which are solutions for real-world business challenges. There is a gap in the market for businesses who operate with or have exposure to crypto-assets - our Ledgible suite of products fills that gap. We use VeraNet as the network that powers Ledgible Accounting and Ledgible Audit. VeraNet is a distributed technology that enables transparent multi-blockchain access. It creates an ecosystem whereby nodes, or computers, within the network, have access to the historical and current data across blockchains in a standardized manner. When audit and accounting functionality is requested through a Ledgible product, any of the participating nodes can perform the work, and return the result to the user. Ultimately, the user gets independently verified data on a particular set of crypto-assets. While there currently aren’t clear guidelines about how to treat or classify cryptocurrency in the United States, it is forthcoming and Verady is participating in the conversation. We’ve seen activity from governing bodies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission(CFTC), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), US House and Senate subcommittees, and others. Regulation will eventually catch up with the adoption of cryptocurrency. For businesses, there is a real need and requirements to keep your crypto-assets in order. Our Ledgible suite of products makes that possible. Our impact Pioneering Crypto Audit The Verady team completed one of the world’s first crypto-audit five years ago. That’s quite an accomplishment given that there weren’t, and still aren’t, generally accepted standards for how to treat, classify, or account for cryptocurrency. We are working on an audit of the world’s largest cryptocurrency payment provider now for the fifth consecutive year.
Blockchain Investment Bo Shen, notable blockchain pioneer, and founder of Fenbushi Capital and Blockasset Fund, made a strategic investment in the company late in 2017. Kell Canty, Co-founder and CEO sums it up, saying, “Having Bo Shen join Verady’s board brings his incredible experience, talent, and depth of relationships to bear on our future growth and direction.” Investment Verady recently received investment from TTV Capital, an Atlanta-based venture fund focused exclusively on fintech companies, as well as Engage Venture Fund, whose partners include Fortune 500 companies - Invesco, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) owner of the New York Stock Exchange, Goldman Sachs, and others. Top 50 Innovative Accounting firm, Aprio, our partner for the first crypto-audit also made an investment in the company. Blockchain in Atlanta Atlanta is the global fintech capital where more than 70% of the world’s financial transactions pass. Atlanta has one of the largest concentrations of Fortune 500 companies including First Data, NCR, UPS, and more. Also key pioneers in Blockchain such as BitPay and STORJ are based in Atlanta. The partners that power finance and blockchain are right in our backyard. Moreover, we are located in Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), one of the nation’s most recognized technology incubators. Being at ATDC means we have access to all of Georgia Tech’s (ranked 8th globally in engineering) resources, seasoned entrepreneurs, and corporate partners and investors including those at Engage Ventures, a fund of Fortune 500s. Therefore Verady couldn’t be in a better geographic location to partner with world-class businesses. What’s next
Ledgible Pilot Program We have 20 clients in Ledgible Pilot tracking nine figures worth of cryptoassets. Real-world users are logging into Ledgible Accounting to account for and report on their crypto-assets.
We have immediate plans to expand our development team and accelerate development of the Ledgible products. We are aiming to be the first and best to market with a suite of products that offer business clients a solution to a real problem: accounting and audit for crypto-assets.
KELL CANTY Co-Founder of Verady Kell is Co-founder of Verady, a blockchain asset accounting and audit technology company, and leads its product direction and business development efforts. Prior to Verady, Kell started Coinpliance in 2013 as one of the first ventures to advance regulatory innovation in Bitcoin particularly in the areas of KYC and AML. Prior to Coinpliance, he co-founded multiple Fintech startups including a market leading real-time identity, credit, and risk assessment company that was acquired by HNC Software Inc. which then merged into Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO).
VERADY Verady is building cryptocurrency accounting and audit technology through VeraNet and the Ledgible suite of products, where financial institutions, corporations, and individuals can audit, account, and report on blockchain assets. Verady believes traditional accounting systems, firms, and standards are currently lacking functionality around cryptocurrencies. VeraNet is the bridge between cryptocurrencies and traditional financial accounting which is needed to further their acceptance and growth.
GROWTH IS WHERE THE TRUST IS Sherif Samy, SVP North America
SHERIF SAMY SVP North America Sherif Samy is the Senior Vice President, North America for Entersekt, an innovative pioneer in mobile security, transaction authentication and commerce enablement. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, his experience in establishing brand presence and building key partnerships strategically positions the company for continued growth within North America.
ENTERSEKT Entersekt challenges the widely-held assumption that security and convenient access stand in opposition to each other. As a category leader, we serve financial institutions and other service providers with the kind of strong user authentication and app security that analyst firms like Gartner predict will dominate the market by the end of the decade.
The battle for the customer Identity has become a hot commodity, and the battle for the customer, and their data, is on. Tech giants like GAFAM are entering the payments space and threatening to disintermediate banks. Fintech disruptors and challenger banks are stealing market share from those who fail to innovate. In this landscape, one can’t help but wonder whether there is still room for traditional financial institutions. At Entersekt, we believe that the answer is yes – more than ever. By leveraging trust, which is at the heart of the relationship that they have with their customers, banks are in a prime position to act as an identity federator: a single, secure authentication point for all digital services. But keeping this trust relationship intact in an era where cybercrime and identity theft has become a fact of life is no mean feat. Synthetic identity fraud has become a real issue – over two billion consumer data points were out in the dark web in 2016 alone. Banks need a way to know who they’re communicating with – and their customers need the same. They also need to innovate, offer digital services to customers, and not get disintermediated. At the same, customers are demanding convenience and frictionless digital experiences while expecting that their data will be safe. A simple and secure solution How can banks step up to the plate and stay relevant by offering their customers everything they want, while keeping a watchful eye on fraud, regulations, and innovations from competitors and newcomers? The answer may lie in the palm of the consumer’s hand. Using the mobile device as a possession factor, coupled with a strong identity scheme is an acknowledged way of ensuring trusted communication. But what if banks could offer much more than just security? What if each customer’s mobile phone could be turned into a convenient, trusted multifactor authenticator they can use both for in-mobile and off-mobile interactions? This is what we at Entersekt call converged authentication: the mobile phone becomes a single point of identity verification and transaction authorization for all the channels and experiences a bank wants to offer its customers. Converged authentication saves the customer time and hassle, while also inspiring confidence in the bank, since its brand is now present in each
of their digital interactions. The ultimate convenience meets the strongest security – in the palm of the customer’s hand. Opening up to competition The North American authentication market is one with immense potential, where convenience is not a nice-to-have but a dealbreaker. Consumers in the US and Canada demand rich services, offered to them at the tips of their fingers in an easy-to-use, secure and accessible manner. Financial and other institutions are seeking innovative, user-friendly methods of authenticating sensitive accounts. Calling the present a “crucial turning point in the authentication landscape”, IBM Security’s Future of Identity Study found that respondents valued security ahead of convenience, especially when accessing financial accounts. What is more, the emergence of open banking is putting even greater emphasis on security across the globe. Having taken effect in January, the European Union’s revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is fostering competition in the financial services space by requiring banks to open their APIs to third-party providers. Similarly, in the US, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has given its endorsement of open banking by outlining principles for “consumer-authorized financial data sharing and aggregation.” Open banking means more choices for consumers, but the increase in the flow of customer data as third-party providers access customer accounts also means more liability for banks. This makes security through customer verification and consent all the more critical. Authentication as an opportunity No matter their location, any bank taking a complacent attitude to open banking is at risk of becoming irrelevant. In a world in which banks’ direct competitors are encouraged to capitalize on the same consumer data that has traditionally been banks’ prized possession, forward thinking institutions will build customercentric experiences that empower users to interact from anywhere, anytime, strengthening their trust with their customers with each interaction. The bank will need to be more than just another service provider; it needs to become the trusted keeper of its customers’ digital assets. A consumer who feels secure will transact more frequently, be more loyal and be willing to try new services. Authentication processes in this day and age must be designed not only to avoid fraud, but also to instill trust and give consumers more control. Instead of being forced to deal with declined legitimate transactions after the fact, customers should be given the opportunity to authenticate and authorize transactions as they happen. And it is these new services that will boost banks’ bottom line. Pay attention on what matters most: your customers Entersekt’s expanding presence in the North American region means that we are better able to assist financial institutions here. We can help secure their digital channels so they can stop devoting time and resources to security, and instead get on with designing and building the innovative digital experiences that will ensure their relevance for decades to come.
Atlanta, one of the largest fintech hubs in the US, is a perfect fit for Entersekt’s North American headquarters. The city is a bustling center for payments, technology and cybersecurity firms, while also housing several prominent financial services companies. In addition, Atlanta has been drawing in innovators from around the world, creating a large talent pool for the ever-evolving fintech industry. Entersekt’s operations expansion into North America is a reflection of our growth and commitment to providing the highest level of digital security while enabling digital innovation around the world. We are excited to be established here, where we can acquire top talent and build relationships with key players in the industry. We have gained a firm foothold in the market, with key deployments of our technology live at financial institutions, regional banks, and healthcare providers. Big-three credit bureau Equifax has licensed our Transakt product to serve as an additional layer of security for its online and mobile services. Strategic partnerships with organizations such as FIS and RorgeRock also serve to expand our global presence and to add value to the solutions we offer clients. As we engage with the North American market, we are constantly confronted with the dilemma of security versus convenience. We strongly believe that they can, and must, go hand in hand. All of our research and development is based on this premise. We focus on securing the communication between the end user’s mobile device and the client’s backend system. This builds trust between the two parties, allowing our clients to offer innovative and secure services to their end users. The future of banking relies on trust Financial institutions that can simplify their user experience and win over the millennial market segment are seeing increased customer acquisition, resulting in top- and bottomline growth. Amid fierce competition from payment cards, digital-only disruptor banks, and Internet giants, traditional banks that fail to innovate will be left behind. Once a bank has its customers’ trust, there is no limit to the new digital services it can offer. Innovation will not only retain existing customers, but also attract new ones. As the banking landscape continues to be disrupted, both by new digital-only banks and by nonbank service providers, this will be more important than ever. Building their application on the right digital security platform enables a bank to innovate faster, which, in turn, results in a competitive edge in the market. When security is assured, financial institutions can focus their time on developing more features to enhance the customer experience. With the right level of user-friendly security in place, banks can expand their digital service offering into payments, ecommerce, exchange trading, and even insurance management – the potential is unlimited. The more digital services a bank offers, the more customer touchpoints it gains, and the more front-of-mind the bank is to the customer, the stronger the bond of trust between them becomes. Growth is where the trust is – and Entersekt helps organizations build that trust.
FUNDING INNOVATION IN ATLANTA By Sean Banks, Partner at TTV Capital
Investing in the Financial Services
TV Capital’s exclusive investment focus is in early stage fintech companies. The financial services market is the largest in the world. While it has been a heavy adopter of technology for decades, it is in the midst of a technical revolution. Innovators are creating new companies that modernize the products, delivery of and efficiency of the industry. However, unlike other industries whereby incumbents are often rendered obsolete, in financial services, incumbents remain critical to the value proposition of the innovators. TTV Capital purchase equity positions for typically $1 – 5 million in privately held companies. We have a seat on the board of directors. Often the entrepreneurs are drawn to us because we have a trusted network to help us not only analyze potential investments but can serve as distribution channels for the companies, and in some cases, later buy the companies. The Epicentre of Fintech The number of major industry incumbents located in Atlanta means innovators are drawn to the broad access to millions of consumers and businesses. This is what makes Atlanta the epicenter of fintech. Challenges in the Market This is an industry that is heavily regulated, and anticipating potential shifts in government policy can pose challenges. Another challenge we faced was during the financial crisis and it related to risks around business models. Some of the key components of a company’s product evaporated as incumbents entrenched to weather macroeconomic uncertainty. By maintaining close relationships with multiple incumbent providers of various services necessary to deliver the company’s product to market, we feel better prepared to handle cyclical changes in the financial markets.
SEAN BANKS Partner at TTV Sean Banks is a Partner at TTV, Chairman of TAG’s FinTech society, on TAG’s Board of Directors and Leadership Council, and a founding member of the Fintech Atlanta Task Force. He earned his MBA from Emory University, his J.D. at the University of San Diego, and is a graduate of the Naval Academy.
The Power of Atlanta The Atlanta ecosystem is supportive of its long-term viability and acts as an advocacy center to help shape policy. TTV Capital have long-standing and trusted relationships with the incumbents and some of the regulatory bodies that we can reach out to when necessary. Further, the concentration of incumbents allows us to maintain close relationships to source critical functions for the startups from multiple sources. The Road Ahead Atlanta, and Georgia more broadly, will continue to lead in fintech both on the incumbency side as well as the innovation side because of our unified vision for the success of our ecosystem. The ecosystem also has tremendous depth in its skilled workforce, full of seasoned and successful executives and technical talent.
TTV CAPITAL TTV invests in fintech businesses that serve the financial services sector and the consumers of financial products. Our team of professionals has more than 100 years of venture capital and relevant industry operating expertise, creating value for entrepreneurs by using our knowledge, experience, and relationships to help businesses be successful.
POWERING THE CONNECTED MAINFRAME How GT Software is Modernizing Fintech Mainframes By Subodh Singh, VP, Marketing and Business Development
hen you look at the Atlanta marketplace, you can understand why there is no other place where GT Software would want to be. Found within Atlanta’s sprawling metropolis are numerous enterprises relying on mainframe technology to drive their innovation in the age of digital transformation. However, in a market where the common business approach is to abandon the mainframe and look for innovation in the cloud, GT Software brings peace of mind to IT audiences in the FinTech industry (among others) by showing them why the mainframe remains the backbone of the largest financial institutions. There is a common misconception that digital transformation means ridding yourself of everything and starting fresh. However, before users abandon their infrastructure in order to guide their enterprises into the technological future, GT Software provides another option: the connected mainframe. By focusing on harvesting the power of the connected mainframe, GT Software continues to prove to many of today’s Fortune 500 companies that they don’t have to overhaul their legacy infrastructure to keep up with today’s leading-edge customer demands – including mobility, self-service and omnichannel experiences. Instead, they help these companies to extend the life of these mainframes, allowing them to easily
create modern applications at a fraction of the time and cost of a full system overhaul. Research by leading analyst firm IDC shows that adopters of a connected mainframe strategy can achieve more than 300% return on investment (ROI) over five years in their quest for digital transformation. The firm found that those following a connected mainframe strategy are earning on average almost $200 million in additional revenue per year while improving business and IT staff productivity and cutting operational costs. They would also see a 47% reduction in operating cost over five years than if they had migrated off the mainframe to a distributed infrastructure. “With the right tools, the mainframe can produce applications to power mobility, modern web-based processes and more,” states Neal Ganem, President and CEO of GT Software. “It allows for faster time to value due to the use of already-adopted technologies and for innovative app development and mobile interactions for today’s demanding customers.” As a strategic IT solutions provider, GT Software has built a credible name in extending the functionalities of the technology infrastructure that has powered many large enterprises through the tech boom of the 90s, the growth of client/server computing and even the developmental stages of the digital economy.
“Empowering your technology infrastructure to meet current and future demands is a necessity, not a nice-to-have,” says Ganem. “That’s why we provide a mainframe integration solution, Ivory, that allows established enterprises to efficiently usher in the digital age. With Ivory, IT teams can easily integrate existing mainframe apps to web services, mobile platforms, packaged applications – creating the connected mainframe.” Bringing the Power of the Connected Mainframe to the FinTech Market Looking at the FinTech market, many of our leading banks and financial institutions share the same frustrations the industry faces from a global perspective. With rising cybersecurity and data privacy concerns, the need to more quickly, and securely, access customers data and even customers’ demands to implement mobile and self-service capabilities creates more questions than answers for many of today’s FinTech IT professionals. Adding in the concerns of an aging workforce and a new generation of coders that are unfamiliar with mainframe COBOL-based coding processes, one can quickly see why many leading FinTech organizations are considering a transition to cloud-based solutions. These concerns are the open doors where GT Software continues to shine by showing banks and financial institutions how the connected mainframe can propel them forward by building modern applications on top of their highly secure and reliable mainframes.
SUBODH SINGH VP, Marketing and Business Development Subodh leads the GT Software Marketing and Business Development team, responsible for driving all marketing activities from strategy to execution, including operations, corporate communications, field marketing, branding and demand generation. He has significant B2B marketing experience working for both small and large enterprises.
The results continue to resonate among GT Software’s FinTech clients, including not only those in Atlanta, but also to those across the globe. Improvements include the consolidation of data sources into single screens, where some customers have previously had upwards of 20; significant call center reductions due to customer self-service; and even the ability to reuse existing functionalities for other services, leading to significant reductions in maintenance costs. For GT Software, Atlanta has and always will be home While global in reach, GT Software has remained true to their Georgia roots during their 35-year existence, recognizing the importance of Atlanta as a technology hub and, just as important, a hotbed of tech talent. The result is a dedicated, Sandy Springsbased team that continues to grow thanks to the abundance of talented, forward thinking professionals in the area. Atlanta has helped them deliver on their value statement of helping companies digitally transform without abandoning their legacy investments, and they help them by innovating and serving the multitude of companies the city has recruited and supported.
GT SOFTWARE Empowering your technology infrastructure to meet current and future demands is a necessity, not a nice-to-have. GT Software delivers future-proof solutions that turn yesterday’s legacy systems into tomorrow’s leading-edge applications– in a fraction of the time and cost that system modernization usually requires.
“After being here for 35 years, we are evangelists not just for our business, but for the city that has made our success and growth possible, states Ganem. “Without this mutually beneficial relationship, we and many other thriving companies in the South’s tech sector would not have enjoyed the success we have.” It’s safe to say that GT Software is proud to be part of the Atlanta’s tech landscape.
REVOLUTIONIZING THE WAY YOU CAN GIVE Interview with Matt Pfaltzgraf, Founder & CEO of Softgiving Inc.
PCM: How did the idea of Softgiving come to be? Matt: Growing up in Iowa, I was raised by a single mother who supported my brother and I, while working as a fulltime Administrative Assistant and going to school at a local community college. This meant that child support payments were inconsistent, making funds tight. We heavily relied on nonprofit services everyday of my childhood. Nonprofit organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA ensured my brother and I had an affordable and safe place to go before and after school. We received used bikes, furniture and clothes (including the tie I wore to my first job interview) from nonprofits like Goodwill Industries and The Salvation Army. These nonprofits allowed us to have a normal childhood despite the challenges we faced. As a recipient of nonprofit services, I wanted to give back to these organizations. After volunteering for several years I was asked to serve on the board for a couple of organizations that had a big impact on my life. It became clear almost immediately that the duties of a nonprofit board member were to raise more and more money. Despite being sympathetic to the causes, most of my peers did not have the disposable income necessary to make a substantial donation. During this time, I was serving as Director of the Regional Payment Association for the SHAZAM Network, in Des Moines, and was part of several national committees that oversaw the rules, regulations, and technology for ACH. This role served as my first exposure to the Atlanta FinTech landscape, as many of the payments professionals I worked with were based in Atlanta. At the time I left SHAZAM, everyone I knew in the industry was focused on faster payments. Conversely, I began to wonder if the existing payment rails could be retooled to streamline charitable contributions. It was out of this notion that Softgiving™ was born.
PCM: How has Softgiving revolutionized the way people can give? Matt: After experiencing first hand the ineffectiveness of the ‘hard ask’ in fundraising, I sought to create a more passive means of giving. I consulted with payments and nonprofit experts and came to the idea of allowing a donor to link their debit or credit card to a nonprofit’s site and donate rounded up change from their everyday transactions. It was a simple concept that could help nonprofits raise funds from those who might not be able to write a big check, but could give a little bit every time they made a purchase. PCM: Why did you decide to move to Atlanta? Matt: After coming up with the idea for a product, I got started on building a company. Des Moines has been dubbed ‘Silicon Prairie’ by the local business community, but after six months of trying to engage partners and raise funds, I was no closer to getting the company started. Yet from my time in the payments space, I knew Atlanta was a growing FinTech hub and I had a potential investor in Georgia whom I wanted to show my commitment. In 2016, I decided after 25 years in Iowa, to take a leap of faith and try to make it happen in Atlanta. I packed up my car with a few baskets of clothes, drove 15 hours straight to Atlanta, and rented a room from a stranger on the outskirts of the city. After a few months, my funds were getting low, but I was able to secure my first seed money from a Georgia investor, who had built and sold many successful payment companies, including Goldleaf Technologies. Over the next year, there were a lot of ups and downs as I faced setbacks in building the technology and needed to raise more
“After experiencing first hand the ineffectiveness of the ‘hard ask’ in fundraising, I sought to create a more passive means of giving.” MATT PFALTZGRAF Founder & CEO of Softgiving Inc.
funds to continue operations. While trying to raise funds and build the software, I would save money on office space by working out of coffee shops and hammocks around the city. I was fortunate enough to take advantage of special tax incentives, like the Angel Investor Tax Credit. As of today, nearly all of the investors are from Georgia and most have benefitted from this incentive. Once funds were secured, I began building our team. Our team now consists entirely of Georgia residents, nearly all of whom come from Georgia based payments firms.
Matt Pfaltzgraf is the Founder and CEO of Softgiving, Inc., which builds innovative fundraising solutions for nonprofits. Prior to Softgiving, Matt served as the Director of SHAZAM’s Regional Payment Association and in senior roles for many local and statewide donor dependent organizations.
PCM: How has the payments landscape in Atlanta benefitted Softgiving? Matt: As we grow, we expect our relationships with the FinTech community, including ATDC, TAG, and ATV, to continue to play a critical role in our success. It is not lost on us that Atlanta is home to some of the largest nonprofits in the world. Operation HOPE, a leading global provider of financial dignity education and economic empowerment programs, also recently relocated to Atlanta due to its thriving business community. As a direct result of groups like TAG, we were introduced to Operation HOPE and found immediate parallels between our respective missions. We are excited to engage in a partnership with Operation HOPE to provide alternative fundraising solutions to their committed donor and volunteer base. “Our partnership with Softgiving enables us to team up with another Atlanta based organization using financial services for the greater good. With Softgiving, we’ll be able to offer innovative fundraising solutions to our donor base so that we can diversify our fundraising revenues and better execute on our mission” - Anita Ward, President, Operation HOPE
SOFTGIVING INC. Softgiving exists to enhance the relationship between nonprofits and their donors by revolutionizing the way people can give. After working with a number of nonprofits, Softgiving saw a lack of options and high transaction fees which detracted from their cause. Therefore, Softgiving was built to make giving a regular part of everyday life.
I arrived from Iowa with nothing more than an idea and a dream and in less than 18 months I have secured funding from Georgia based investors, built out a team of professionals with in domain knowledge based solely here in Georgia, and am now pleased to call national organizations based in Georgia a partner. We are just getting started at Softgiving, and we look forward to continuing to play an active role in Georgia’s FinTech community in the future.
ENTERING THE US MARKET Alan Outlaw, President of North America at TruRating
ou can do so much from afar these days, but there’s nothing quite like being close to the action. For us at TruRating, a technology company specializing in customer experience and analytics, coming to Atlanta was about going to where that action is, and it’s proven to be crucial for our company’s growth and success. By 2016, our founder and CEO, Georgina Nelson, had already secured offices in London, Sydney and Toronto and was looking at San Francisco, New York, Atlanta and Boston as TruRating was looking to enter the US market. Being that our business closely relies on partnerships with the world’s largest payment companies—whether it’s those who make payment terminals, or the processors on the back end—Atlanta’s “Transaction Alley” proved to be the most attractive location for us. Our founder, a former consumer rights lawyer in the UK, started TruRating when she began noticing just how influential online review sites were becoming, despite their numerous flaws. She was concerned that the general public’s opinion wasn’t being represented, and these sites were failing to paint an accurate picture of a typical customer experience. Taking this into account, she set out to produce a ratings system built around the point of purchase that would be representative, quick, and capable of delivering real insight for any kind of business. And so, TruRating was born—a flexible multi-channel solution for businesses to engage with customers. TruRating’s power lies in the simplicity of asking one question at checkout, allowing merchants to hear from the majority of
their customers. In stores, shoppers can rate directly from the payment device by answering one question using the keypad. Online, they rate with one click on the confirmation screen. The goal is to connect with the 99% of customers who never leave reviews, expanding the pool of feedback dramatically. Because of the inherent simplicity in the process, an average of 88% of customers are happy to rate in-store and 59% online, giving merchants the confidence to make data-based decisions about their business. Since responses are collected at checkout, TruRating is the only feedback solution that can show businesses the relationship between a customer’s satisfaction and how much they spend, delivering insightful consumer data with financial links. Our questions revolve around 5 verticalspecific core metrics (e.g. service, product, experience, value and recommendability) and additionally, merchants can ask custom questions, enabling them to test marketing initiatives, new product ranges and much more. This data is presented in real-time via our dashboard or app, giving merchants of any kind an unprecedented level of understanding of the customer experience and their own performance. We work with a wide range of customers, from large retailers to local restaurants and bookshops. To date, we have collected nearly 30 million ratings, and have established partnerships with some of the biggest payment providers in the market. Since taking residency within the Atlanta Fintech network, we have been working closely with
mainstays like Elavon, First Data, Verifone and Ingenico, and we have seen organic growth as more and more merchants look to invest in customer experience to stay ahead. We also recently put our online feedback solution in reach to thousands of e-commerce sites with TruRating’s extension for the Magento platform. As our company’s developing from a startup to an established name, Atlanta’s one-of-a-kind ecosystem has not only made it possible for us to work alongside global leaders in our industry, but it has also fostered a supportive environment, one that champions growth and innovation. Last year, we were honored to be included as one of seven companies in the “Backed by ATL” program, a Metro Atlanta Chamber project launched with the aim to connect advanced startups to C-suite decision-makers, investors and potential customers. Besides providing us with a huge vote of confidence, this kind of support has made us feel welcomed into Atlanta’s business community and has produced beneficial results. Atlanta has not only offered TruRating a favorable place to do business—it’s also inspired us to give back. Charity has always played a big part in our business model as we make a donation with every rating collected, so in the last year, we partnered with Atlanta-area organizations like Families First and Wilderness Works to contribute to the great work they do for the community. And as we grow as a company, we look forward to expanding our outreach with good causes in the region.
ALAN OUTLAW President of North America at TruRating Alan Outlaw is President of North America at TruRating. Alan has worked with Retailers and Hospitality providers over the past 25 years helping them with their store operations and technology decisions. He is now excited to bring the truth back to ratings with the team at TruRating.
Of course, since we’re a global company, it’s worth mentioning that having access to Atlanta’s HartsfieldJackson International Airport has been extremely convenient for us to get to all the places we need to be. The advantage of jumping on direct flights to pretty much anywhere can’t be discounted when you have to travel as much as our salespeople. Overall, for TruRating, coming to Atlanta was an immensely positive decision, and being integrated into the FinTech ecosystem here has helped our initial success in the market, and will undeniably prove vital as we move forward.
TRURATING TruRating is a technology company specializing in customer experience and analytics. Its innovative feedback solution at the point of payment enables businesses to easily track how customers feel against how much they spend, thereby understanding the consumer experience at an unprecedented level. Working with the biggest payment companies in the world, TruRating has collected millions of ratings for its customers, which range from the largest global retailers to local restaurants and bookshops. TruRating has offices in Atlanta, London, Sydney and Toronto.
THE ATLANTA FINTECH ECOSYSTEM & HOW IT HAS POWERED BUSINESS GROWTH By TM Praveen
TM PRAVEEN Chief Sales Officer, Opus Consulting Solutions Based out of Atlanta, Praveen runs the business development at Opus Consulting and has extensive experience in IT services in the payments domain, strategy, global markets, account management, partners/channels, and executive client relationship development roles in North America.
tlanta is holding its own as a thriving fintech ecosystem and top tech talent market. Access to incubators, top talent, and well-established fintech and Fortune 500 companies make this city one to keep an eye on. Georgia represents a significant nucleus for Fintech development, which has had a positive impact on both the state’s economy as well as financial operations that extend beyond state lines. The Atlanta fintech ecosystem, in particular, has become a bustling epicenter of innovation and trend-setting in the fintech space. According to the 2016 TAG FinTech Ecosystem Report, done inpartnership with Georgia Tech, almost two-thirds of payment card transactions touch one of the global networks of a Georgia fintech organization. Georgia—and the Atlanta fintech ecosystem, specifically—is setting the stage for innovations across the country and driving the transformation of financial technology that will have ripple effects globally. Atlanta’s “Transaction Alley”: A Thriving Transaction Processing Capital
OPUS Opus are a leading technology organization that builds solutions for marquee names in the payments industry, many of which are among the Fortune 500 companies for the last 20 years.
Georgia is home to roughly 100 fintech providers, offering services and solutions to financial institutions across the globe. A large portion of this activity originates from what is termed Atlanta’s “Transaction Alley”, a hub of card processing firms like FirstData, Global Payments, and TSYS. More than half of the $5.3 trillion in U.S. annual payment card transactions is processed through Georgiabased companies, several of which are headquartered in Atlanta. This volume is staggering, with the Atlanta payment processing hub serving as the rails for trillions of electronic transactions globally. Georgia’s Fintech Ecosystem - By the Numbers •
As a state, Georgia reports some impressive numbers that highlight it’s leadership as a booming fintech ecosystem:
Georgia is home to more than 90 fintech companies
An estimated 118 billion worldwide payment transactions pass through Georgia fintech companies
Georgia fintech companies service roughly 36 billion merchants
An estimated 30,000+ Georgia-based employees work in fintech
Atlanta as a Hotbed for Fintech Startups Atlanta is well-positioned to help fintech startups grow. Its reputation as a flourishing tech hub paired with its diverse profile of major operators in fintech make it primed for rocket growth. Some of the key factors that will contribute to this growth include accelerator programs, the level of tech talent attracted to the metro area, and the ability for collaboration and partnerships. Wealth of Incubators & Accelerators: The Atlanta fintech ecosystem has well-supported incubators and accelerators that can catapult startups to the next level. Atlanta has been instrumental in decreasing the number of tech startups that fail with the help of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech University, one of the longest-standing startup incubators nationally. It boasts a 90% success rate for graduates after 5 years. This success streak was further boosted by a $1 million donation from Worldpay made to the center to support a fintech accelerator program. Atlanta is also home to multiple large co-working spaces that act as startup incubators. The fourth-largest tech-hub in the U.S., Atlanta Tech Village, is home to several startups and also hosts Finnovation, a fintech incubator program. Switchyards in another incubator that includes more than 300 startups. Each of these incubators looks to help educate entrepreneurs and provide support in building a viable, scalable, revenue-generating business. Several of the startups in these programs have received tens of millions in early-stage funding. Tech Talent Abounds in Atlanta: Another promising factor in the Atlanta fintech ecosystem is the talent pool, further feeding the startup scene. Surrounded by leading engineering and tech universities, the area is a magnet for STEM graduates. It’s the perfect recipe for a roaring startup scene as Atlanta is also the fifth-best city for tech jobs, thanks to inexpensive office space and reasonable cost of living. The region also boasts solid job growth and median salary. Atlanta was also named one of America’s ‘Tech 25’of the nation’s top 25 cities in tech last year by global real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. Ranking #17, it has seen a tech labor growth rate of 47.6 percent and a 30 percent boost in tech degrees over the past 7 years. Access to Partners & Clients: Georgia is home to a diverse business base, making it the perfect petri dish for startups to develop revenue-
driving client partnerships. Atlanta is often considered the crossroads of financial services, real estate, and financial technology, though it is not dominated by one specific industry as many other regions are. This makes it ripe for cross-pollination and collaboration by startups and partners that may have similar goals but have gaps to fill in terms of solving specific use cases. Opus Calls Atlanta’s Hub of Innovation Home Opus Consulting Solutions has spent the last 20 years building solid relationships with some of the biggest names in payments. Our domain expertise paired with our passion to go the extra mile in client experience is what sets us apart from competitors in the space. We chose our headquarters in Atlanta for all of the reasons listed above. As a bleeding-edge payments company, having access to the top tech talent is paramount. We offer top tier experiences to our clients, all because of the deep knowledge and passion of our team members. Access to strong partnerships and proximity to this growing fintech epicenter have made it a vital part of who we are as a company. We believe that innovation is a team effort, and we relish the opportunity to work with other leading companies and thought leaders in the space. Finally, the pure volume of transactions that touch Atlanta through processors and other payments solution providers make it a clear choice as a place to call home. Our mission is remain at the forefront of payments technology and innovation, and staying close to the heartbeat of America’s transaction center is important. Conclusion Atlanta looks to have all the necessary building blocks of a burgeoning fintech ecosystem. Between its reasonably priced business environment, ability to attract top tech talent, existing environment of established fintech leaders, and growing base of startups, Atlanta stands to hold its ground as one of the country’s leading fintech cities. The benefits of the Atlanta fintech ecosystem are undeniable. As high-paying fintech jobs continue to increase, and as startups grow into scalable fintech giants, the region will continue to be positioned as a center of innovation and tech leadership.
THE POWER OF PURCHASE INTELLIGENCE By Scott Grimes, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of Cardlytics
What is Purchase Intelligence™ ? Scott: Cardlytics is a Purchase Intelligence platform that makes marketing more relevant and measurable. It works with more than 2,000 banks, including large banks and small processors, for their cash-back rewards loyalty programs. Through that, we have a secure view into where and when consumers are spending their money – both online and in-store. In fact, we see $1.5T in spend across credit, debit, ACH, and bill pay purchases. We apply advanced analytics to this massive aggregation of data to create actionable Purchase Intelligence™ for banks, marketers, and consumers.
Additionally, by partnering with Cardlytics, banks can increase engagement and card spend and decrease attrition among their customers. On average, our bank partners see 17% lower monthly attrition and a 9% increase in monthly card spend. Finally, consumers earn cash back on everyday purchases. The consumers in our network have earned $232M+ in cash back incentives since our inception. Our value prop is truly a win, win, win. How is Purchase Intelligence™ different from other data out there for marketers?
Why does Purchase Intelligence™ matter? Scott: Purchase Intelligence™ is a game changer that benefits three audiences: banks, marketers, and consumers. Through our platform: Marketers can identify likely buyers at scale based on actual purchase history, target them with relevant ads directly through online banking channels, and close the loop between digital marketing and in-store sales. The in-store measurement is important, as 92% of sales still occur at a physical location. Our marketing partners view our Purchase Intelligence™ platform as mission critical to their strategy. Not only can marketers learn more about where their customers are spending across other brands and categories, they can then reach them efficiently. Customers are nine times more likely to engage with our clients’ campaigns vs. other digital marketing, and for every $1 marketers spend in Cardlytics Direct they get an average of $30 back ($30:1 ROAS)
Scott: Marketers increasingly have access to data on the purchase behavior of the customers in their stores and on their websites. However, they lack insight into their customers’ purchase behavior outside of their brand, as well as the purchase behavior of individuals who are not yet customers. The reality is, no matter how robust their customer data, marketers only see a small portion of their customers’ overall spend—both within and across categories. As a result, it is very difficult for businesses to focus their marketing investments on the most valuable customers. Marketers are also challenged to measure the performance of their marketing. This issue is particularly acute concerning measuring the impact of marketing on in-store sales, where approximately 92% of consumer purchases occur. Purchase Intelligence™ comprehensively addresses these challenges by enabling marketers to remove the blind spot so that they can execute effective marketing based on the “full-wallet view.” We work with some of the biggest brands across a variety
of industries, including 20 of the top 25 U.S. restaurant chains, 23 of the top 50 U.S. retailers, three of the five largest U.S. cable and satellite television providers, and three of the four largest U.S. wireless carriers. What challenges do you face in the industry? Scott: Marketers today are bombarded with a variety of opportunities, many of which have historically used leading indicators such as impressions, clicks, or even location to measure the impact of their media. With our view into actual purchase data, we’re able to switch the conversation to help brands more accurately identify, reach, and measure the true business outcomes that result from marketing with us. We are also a unique channel and the only ones providing this service for banks and marketers. While the implementation time with new bank partners can be long, it’s important for us to establish our relationships with our banks in a privacy-safe way. How have you overcome these challenges? Scott: We are in a great position to overcome these challenges. Our Purchase Intelligence™ platform delivers real value for our partners. When deciding where to spend their marketing budget, our partners choose us because of our proven ability to help them better understand their businesses and move the needle on actual sales.
SCOTT GRIMES Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder Scott is the Chief Executive Officer and cofounder of Cardlytics. Before co-founding Cardlytics, Scott was Senior Vice President and General Manager, Payments at Capital One Financial Corporation. Earlier, Scott was a Senior Vice President at FreeMarkets Inc., and a Principal at McKinsey & Company. He began his career at Schlumberger Limited as an electrical engineer. Scott holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Union College and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
For our banks, our best-in-class privacy and rigorous regulations make us a trusted partner for financial institutions. We’ve never unilaterally lost a bank partner and we understand what banks need to succeed, including a vigilant eye toward consumer privacy. Cardlytics was the first tech IPO of 2018! Why did Cardlytics decide to go public now? Scott: A combination of things made this the right time for Cardlytics to go public. We’ve experienced continual momentum since our inception and were at an inflection point in our business as we continue to add scale by growing our existing bank partnerships and on-boarding new bank partners. And, our proprietary technology and strong relationships with banks create a significant barrier to entry. What’s next for Cardlytics? Scott: Becoming a public company was a very exciting time for us, and an important milestone for us as a business. However, the mission we’ve had since inception has not changed. We have and will continue to stay focused on helping our partners use Purchase Intelligence™ to solve real business challenges. It’s the foundation of our success.
CARDLYTICS Cardlytics (NASDAQ: CDLX) uses purchase intelligence to make marketing more relevant and measurable. We partner with more than 2,000 financial institutions to run their banking rewards programs that promote customer loyalty and deepen banking relationships. In turn, we have a secure view into where and when consumers are spending their money. We use these insights to help marketers identify, reach and influence likely buyers at scale, as well as measure the true sales impact of marketing campaigns.
PREPAID INNOVATION: A CORNERSTONE OF ATLANTA’S FINTECH INDUSTRY By Phil Graves, President of InComm
eorgia is a pillar of the global payments ecosystem, as evidenced by the fact that 70 percent of all financial transactions occurring in the United States are processed by companies located in the state. The prepaid industry has been a major contributor to this success for more than 25 years thanks to the continuing technology innovations driven by Atlanta-based companies such as InComm. As one of the world’s leading prepaid product and payments technology companies, InComm partners with more than 1,000 of the most popular and recognizable brands across the globe and manages over $40 billion in annual transactions. Founded by Brooks Smith in 1992, InComm began with the launch of point-of-sale activation technology that transformed the role of prepaid products in global commerce. This innovation made it possible for retailers to display inactive gift cards on store shelves, increasing their visibility and allowing customers to freely browse and select which cards to purchase at their leisure. The gift cards could only be activated once they were scanned and purchased at the register, so retailers no longer had to keep active gift cards locked behind the register until the moment of purchase. This point-of-sale technology turned gift cards into a viable product around which brands and retailers could build profitable programs, and InComm used the success of that innovation to develop a number of prepaid products and payments technology offerings that are now staples of both the brick-and-mortar and online commerce experiences. A Quarter Century of Payments Innovation In addition to driving the growth of the gift card market, InComm has developed a number of different products that have expanded the scope and capabilities of the prepaid industry. A cornerstone of these offerings is the Vanilla® suite of prepaid products and services, which was launched in 2005. The suite includes singleload and reloadable prepaid cards along with an innovative bill pay and account reload solution called VanillaDirectTM. For example, the VanillaDirect Pay platform enables consumers to download a barcode from a biller, such as a utility services provider, and bring that barcode to a participating retailer. The cashier at the store scans the barcode and collects the customer’s payment, which is then processed to his or her account. This bill payment technology is opening new opportunities for billers to provide more flexible and versatile payment options to their customers. In addition, retailers that accept bill payments through the platform are creating more incentive for cash-preferred consumers to visit their stores. Alongside these core products, InComm has developed a number of technology offerings to support business growth across a variety
of channels, including retail, healthcare insurance, tolling and transit, and more. As an example, the InComm Digital Solutions business unit provides an end-to-end solution for delivery and management of prepaid products, which has helped organizations launch loyalty and rewards programs for employee engagement, consumer incentives and more. In the healthcare space, the InComm Healthcare & Affinity (IHA) business unit helps health plans and affinity groups attract, engage and retain members with incentive programs built around directedspend prepaid cards. Most recently, IHA launched the First Years Wellness Card, a program that allows health plans to provide new parents with restricted-spend prepaid cards and special discounts to purchase everyday items they need to keep their babies healthy and happy. In the tolling and transit industry, InComm supports prepaid tolling solutions that give drivers a convenient way to manage their commuting budgets by attaching a transponder to their vehicle’s windshield. The transponder is tied to a prepaid card onto which drivers can easily load funds both online and in store. The tolling and transit program most recently expanded to support the RiverLink system, which serves commuters crossing the Ohio River over bridges connecting Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana. InComm also invests significantly in technology that facilitates fraud prevention, including a patented prepaid card design that prevents package tampering before purchase. The InComm Product Control business unit also provides manufacturers and retailers with a comprehensive shared database that tracks a unique identifier for individual products from the moment they roll off the assembly line to the point of sale. With a more accurate understanding of a product’s point in its lifecycle, retailers can more confidently and efficiently process product return requests from their customers. Atlanta’s Role in Spurring Payments Industry Success Atlanta has been and continues to be a major contributor to the success of InComm and the payments industry as a whole in the region. One of the main factors behind the city’s businessfriendly environment is a talented workforce. There are a number of outstanding colleges and universities throughout the state that feed the technology industry with great talent, and local companies have made Atlanta a desirable place to stay and work after graduation. InComm does its part to support a strong local workforce by partnering with Georgia-based schools to operate an extensive internship program, which employs a group of more than 50 students over a two-year period. InComm exposes these students to a number of different projects and departments as well as
connects them with the greater Atlanta business community, empowering them with real-world experience that entices them to stay local after graduation. These local opportunities, combined with a lower cost of living in comparison to other technology hubs, has helped tremendously with talent retention in metro Atlanta. The entrepreneurial spirit of Georgia has also created a collaborative environment where organizations and individuals are working together to create a more robust payments industry. This has led to the establishment of coalitions such as P20, a partnership between Fintech and payments businesses in Georgia and the United Kingdom. As technology becomes more interconnected globally, Atlanta is leading the way in helping to drive more collaborative relationships between payments industry businesses and retailers around the world. A Promising Future
PHIL GRAVES President of InComm
For 25 years, the prepaid industry has continued to innovate from within the heart of Atlanta’s technology landscape. Today, InComm reaches more than 500,000 points of retail distribution across more than 30 countries with over 2,500 employees globally committed to building value in every transaction. The next 25 years and beyond look to be even more promising as both private and public sectors partner together to promote continued growth, making payments technology more innovative and accessible for businesses and consumers across the world.
Phil Graves has helped guide the development of new business opportunities for InComm since joining the company in 1997. With a focus on leading the company’s business portfolio, Graves plays a critical role in building and maintaining relationships with InComm’s key customers and partners.
INCOMM Leveraging deep integrations into retailers’ point-of-sale systems, InComm provides connectivity to a variety of service providers that allow consumers to conduct everyday business at more than 500,000 points of retail distribution. With 206 global patents, InComm is headquartered in Atlanta with a presence in more than 30 countries. Learn more at www.incomm.com
WHAT CAN WE TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS – AND YOUR BUSINESS – THAT YOU DON’T KNOW? By Susan Perlmutter, Chief Revenue Office of REPAY
usiness intelligence (BI) seems to be the hottest new buzzword in town and can be found across a multitude of industries and platforms. For those who don’t understand it, or perhaps for those who haven’t had the chance to fully realize its purpose and impacts, it can be vague and often intimidating. Upon hearing the term, you may imagine a robot spitting out data or an unending sequence of unreadable formula tables and statistical jargon. These preconceived notions may not be entirely misplaced, but the true beauty of BI lies in the analytical simplicity of its end results. BI refers to the technologies, tools, infrastructures, and applications that are used to collect, store and analyze complex data sets to support better, more informed decision making. The ultimate outcome of BI is to package the data into easily understandable results to provide insight into business best practices and trends. But how does one start using BI to take advantage of all it can offer? The capabilities of BI are endless and can often be overwhelming with no clear start or finish line; in fact, the entire course can seem hazy and insurmountable at times. That’s why Susan Perlmutter, Chief Revenue Officer of REPAY, recommends business leaders partner with a trusted vendor who is already collecting important data points about their businesses and customers during normal, day-to-day operations. “It’s best to find a partner who can not only collect the data on your behalf, but who can also analyze and package that data into digestible, easy to understand pieces of information that can translate into best practices, trends, and action items for your business,” says Perlmutter. She is surely no stranger to the advantages of BI as REPAY continues to build robust business intelligence services for its clients.
REPAY, an Atlanta-based payment technology company that offers omnichannel payment services wrapped up in the most secure and advanced technology on the market, is already using BI to identify both micro- and macro-level trends. The company primarily serves clients in the consumer finance, auto finance, and collections industries where most payments are made on a recurring basis to repay some form of debt. “By using BI in conjunction with payment data, we can tell you an awful lot about your business and your customers that you probably don’t know,” explains Perlmutter. “Payment data can provide insight into consumer preferences and behaviors and can measure ROI on technology and personnel resources, which in turn can help businesses make more sound decisions regarding marketing efforts, staffing levels, and future investments.” By analyzing a merchant’s payments, REPAY can identify consumer payment preferences, including how, when and through which channel a specific type of consumer prefers to pay. REPAY can also detect potential usability issues within payment channels. For example, if consumers initiate payments on one channel, but complete those payments on another, it may suggest that there is an obstacle impeding the payment process. BI can provide cost analysis, another important aspect for merchants who accept electronic payments. REPAY’s BI platform can analyze the cost of payments through each channel, comparing the cost of agent-assisted payments to the cost of fully automated, unassisted payments. This valuable insight can measure ROI and suggest where additional investments should be made.
SUSAN PERLMUTTER Chief Revenue Officer of REPAY Susan Perlmutter serves as Chief Revenue Officer for REPAY where she oversees the overall sales and marketing strategy of the company. Susan’s role includes forging integrative partnerships with providers of loan management and dealer management systems and other enterprise technologies. Additionally, she architects and implements new payment solutions, such as IVR systems and pay-by-text.
According to Perlmutter, “the opportunities of business intelligence as it relates to payments are infinite. We can successfully predict when businesses will receive the most payments and when payments will most likely be approved, and based on that data, we can offer action plans for effective account management, communication strategies and marketing tactics.” She’s most excited about turning that data around to reward consumers. REPAY can evaluate payment data to build a reward-based system unique to each merchant to reward consumers who practice ideal payment behaviors, such as paying on time for six consecutive months. The future of BI is promising and powerful, and it is thriving in our own backyard. Just as Atlanta has become the hub for payments, it soon will be known as the epicenter for business intelligence. Millions of transactions run through Atlanta every day and the number of data points associated with those transactions are astonishing. As a society, we are on the verge of unlocking invaluable information that can not only predict individual business operations but could potentially predict much larger shifts in the economy, such as periods of GDP growth or recession. It is not too premature to think that Atlanta could be the leader in those national and global conversations. REPAY aims to harness the power of business intelligence to help its merchants grow and prosper. REPAY’s BI platform provides its merchants with both an overarching 30,000-foot view of economic and market trends and a granular analysis of their immediate ecosystems comprised of individual consumers and payments.
REPAY REPAY– Realtime Electronic Payments was established in 2006 and is the premier fullservice payment technology and processing provider for the consumer finance, auto, and receivables management industries. The REPAY payment platform provides direct integration to merchants’ core systems and access to a suite of payment technology products that includes credit/debit card processing, ACH processing, IVR/phone pay, text pay, in-store kiosks, electronic bill payment systems, and whitelabeled consumer facing payment portals, including a mobile app. REPAY provides realtime, innovative payment solutions, compliance education, and expertise through exceptional product and service experiences that deliver enhanced value to all stakeholders. 29
INNOVATING IOT PAYMENTS IN GEORGIA By Deva Annamalai, Director, Innovation and Insights, Digital Banking, Fiserv
nnovation is ripe in the Peach State. Fiserv, a provider of financial services technology, has had a presence in Georgia for more than two decades, and the state has become a key technology center for our company. Our office in Alpharetta reflects the Fiserv focus on innovation and delivering intelligent financial experiences in step with the way people live and work today. Every day, millions of consumers, thousands of financial institutions and hundreds of organizations rely on Fiserv to move and manage money and information on their behalf. From backoffice banking operations to mobile banking and payments, Fiserv is transforming financial services by leveraging our deep industry expertise and unique ability to serve as a connection point between financial institutions, businesses and consumers. Because we work with so many financial institutions and our services are used by so many people, we recognize our central role in driving innovation in financial services. This requires tailoring capabilities to new technologies to ensure a positive and secure user experience. A good example is enabling payments through the Internet of Things (IoT), a topic I will be discussing as part of a panel at Fintech South in Atlanta. Comprised of physical devices that can collect and exchange data, the IoT includes everything from connected cars to smart appliances, and the number of these devices is growing
exponentially. With the number of connected devices expected to outnumber humans on the planet by four to one by 2025, interacting with the IoT will become part of our daily lives. And, as more payments and other financial activities inevitably take place via the IoT, financial service providers are being called upon to balance usability and security. Enabling people to handle their banking and payment activity via the devices they already use daily will be essential in meeting consumer demand and demonstrating a companyâ€™s ability to deliver valuable, timely insight and assistance to a broad spectrum of customers. The IoT offers an opportunity for financial institutions and other businesses to build deeper connections, serve their customers in new ways and deliver seamless 24/7 experiences. Providing the right customer experience As with any new service offering, it is crucial to understand what capabilities are practical and how they can be delivered most effectively. As new connected devices emerge, financial organizations need to evaluate how customers interact with them, and if they are suitable for conducting financial tasks. For example, when driving in their connected cars, customers may want to check their balances and initiate bill payments. At home, they may want Amazon Alexa to help them stay within a budget or track savings toward a major purchase.
For financial institutions and other businesses looking to add value by extending existing capabilities to various devices in the IoT, the approach is the same as when evaluating which functionality to offer on a smartphone or a desktop. Start with these questions: What types of capabilities are practical for this device, and how will consumers want to access services from it? The end-user must be at the heart of any new service experience developed for IoT. With today’s information overload, irrelevant information will at best be ignored and at worst annoy customers and prompt them to look elsewhere for services more in tune with their lifestyles. Securing every financial interaction In addition to the customer experience, security is an-ever present consideration for interactions via the IoT. Money is a very personal and emotional topic, and when it comes to moving and managing money people value security. The balancing act between customer convenience and security will continue to shift as consumers demand new ways to interact with their money. However, a multi-layered approach to security will continue to be vital. Nowhere is this more crucial than in payments. For example, if a customer wants to check his bank balance and pay a bill from his connected car, he could do so by accessing his online banking account, which already has multiple layers of security in place, via the car.
DEVA ANNAMALAI Director, Innovations and Insights Deva Annamalai is a technologist with experience in industries including banking, finance, mortgage, healthcare, B2B marketplaces, and logistics. As Senior Director of Innovation and Solution Strategy within the Billing and Payments Group at Fiserv he is responsible for payments strategy and solution consulting. Deva is also a principal advisor for the INV Fintech startup accelerator connecting financial institutions and fintech startups.
But what about payments that are initiated from a connected device outside of an existing payment application such as online banking? If your refrigerator recognizes that you are out of milk and automatically orders more, that payment also must be secured. In cases such as these, the security of the payment cannot reside exclusively with the device itself – there must be additional security layers residing elsewhere, such as in the cloud. Open banking initiatives and the proliferation of application programming interfaces (APIs) will likely accelerate financial institutions’ ability to deliver services via the IoT. That, plus the projected explosion of connected devices, should propel players across the IoT ecosystem to come together to create robust security standards. A multi-channel, multi-device approach and thinking in terms of layered security are important considerations for financial services in this new world. Integrating financial services into everyday lives with IoT Using the data collected from connected devices will also help financial services providers to understand customer needs. Understanding how customers want to interact with their finances and enabling those interactions securely and in a way that is tailored to the device will enable the best possible experience and one that fits seamlessly into people’s everyday lives. Financial institutions and businesses that deliver intelligent experiences that are secure, contextual and relevant to users will succeed in enabling financial services via the IoT.
FISERV Fiserv drives innovation in Payments, Processing Services, Risk & Compliance, Customer & Channel Management and Insights & Optimization. Our solutions deliver intelligent experiences in banking, payments, engagement and security to help clients provide financial services at the speed of life. Visit fiserv.com to learn more.
DEMYSTIFYING MACHINE LEARNING TECHNOLOGY Dave Excell, CTO and co-founder, Featurespace
Co-Founder & CTO of Featurespace
achine learning and artificial intelligence are two of the buzziest terms in banking -- from recent national headlines and to FinTech industry events. Machine learning has even made its way into general consumer conversation – self driving cars and mobile phone user authentication have made it almost common place.
Dave is Co-Founder and CTO of Featurespace. He studied with Professor Bill Fitzgerald (Featurespace Co-Founder) at the University of Cambridge, where he developed the ARIC platform. Under Dave’s leadership, Featurespace has grown from a concept to a commercial success with many bluechip customers. Dave has been awarded 11 prizes and scholarships for his academic and commercial achievements, including the 2011 ITC Enterprise Award for Young Entrepreneur.
It should come as no surprise, then, that behavioral profiling has become prevalent in defining our shopping patterns, preferred products, and even how we order goods and services online. Machine learning is actually making our shopping environment more secure by knowing each consumer personally and individually. Understanding how we purchase can also help banks and FIs identify when you have strayed outside your norm, recognizing when you’re buying a surprise gift, or alternatively when a fraudster has stolen your card details. This prevents an embarrassing checkout experience for the consumer, as well as the hassle of reporting fraudulent transactions and registering a reissued card. For the FI, it also eliminates the hours of a case manager’s time needed to flag and resolve issues.
It’s clear that teaching machines to think, learn and make decisions on repetitive tasks enables the workload of human operators to be cut in half. However, it’s important to ensure the machine is learning to optimize appropriately and given relevant data. Man and Woman vs. Machine Learning
FEATURESPACE Featurespace was created by a Cambridge University Professor and his PhD student, Dave Excell, at the forefront and confluence of two academic fields: Data Science and Computer Science. Professor Bill Fitzgerald was an extraordinary inventor who, in his role as Head of Applied Statistics and Signal Processing, contributed towards understanding the extraction of the ‘signal’ (or meaning) from the ‘noise’ in data. Dave Excell adapted and commercialized this technology into Featurespace’s award-winning ARIC platform.
In the FinTech arena, machine learning is considered a force for good. It is an area of rapid growth, investment and exploration the possibilities should outweigh the fear. In financial services particularly, machine learning contributes toward stopping fraud attempts, as well as decreasing false positives. False positives occur when a genuine transaction is mistaken for fraud, and the transaction is blocked. Anyone who has ever been at the point of checkout and seen a ‘transaction denied’ message is likely to be hesitant to use that card again. Machine learning can reduce this bad experience in ways that traditional methodology can’t. Machines also work more efficiently than humans and they remove human biases and fatigue. Does this mean that they will ultimately take our jobs? Not necessarily. Instead of taking over human roles, machines can be used to complement these jobs. By adopting machine learning, businesses don’t lose employees, they gain time and can redirect their focus to other elements of their role. Machine Learning in Payments A recent survey conducted by Juniper Research predicted the overall value of online fraudulent transactions will reach $25.6
billion by 2020. Of that activity, ecommerce fraud will account for 65 percent of the fraud value, while banking fraud will represent 27 percent. This significant jump (up from $10.7 billion in 2015) points to the increased sophistication of fraudsters, who are actively seeking loopholes in the system and exploiting these entry points. Machine learning technology does not have to wait for an attack to occur. It can actually identify fraud attacks as they emerge, shutting them down before significant losses occur. Concerns of legitimate transactions being blocked are reduced, and employees can focus on providing an improved customer experience. From a merchant perspective, machine learning can also help you understand your consumers. By knowing your customers individually, you can improve their shopping experience, resulting in increased loyalty. With the convenience of online commerce, traditional brick and mortar stores need to ensure that when their customers switch to their online channel, the experience is positive.
machine learning can dramatically improve customer experience and reduce operational costs. How do businesses start to embrace machines? To embrace the power you can harness from machine learning technology, you must first know what problem you are trying to solve. 1. Know your numbers Are you seeing fraud patterns developing with more frequency than in years past? Are your customers complaining about blocked transactions when trying to check out? You must understand the efficiencies you could recognize by redirecting some of your manual work. These statistics can help you maintain perspective on the importance of such an addition to your business.
Why is Adoption Taking So Long? With so many advantages to this sophisticated technology, why haven’t all banks migrated to a machine learning platform? In short, complacency. Financial institutions have traditionally been slow to adopt new technology. They tend to retain legacy platforms that are tried and tested. However, as fraudsters become smarter, FIs are starting to recognize the value of a layered fraud approach. Banks realize machine learning systems can not only prevent potential fraud attacks against their customers, but also create a friction-free environment for their customers. They want to ensure their credit card is not losing its premium place in the wallet because of an embarrassing blocked transaction and increased cost at the call center.
2. Know your priorities. Everyone measures success differently. Focus on your KPIs and balance these against your time and monetary investment. 3. Find the right partner. Once you have established your goals and developed your score card, you are ready to actively seek a partner. The machine learning industry is a noisy one, so take your time and do your due diligence. Every company has something different and unique to offer. Your partner should understand and align with your goals. Conclusion
Adoption has also been slow because of perceived expense and time to train the models. Now, FI’s are realizing that models can teach themselves based on experience and data, with very little need for manual intervention. Time and monetary investments have reduced significantly and will pay dividends in consumer protection and experience. Another concern: financial institutions once had the luxury of time to stop a fraudulent transaction in an ACH settlement -- but this is no longer the case. The speed of ecommerce demands payments that can keep up. Same day ACH transaction processing has become a banking standard, leaving less time to detect and reconcile fraudulent payments.
Machine learning is not as complex or scary as it seems and has been around much longer than people realize. While we continue to find new and exciting ways to leverage the technology, it is probably already a part of your daily life. New innovations often lead to fear and uncertainty, but realistically, humans aren’t going to be replaced with machines. The innovation race is never going to end, so it is important to embrace and understand technology. Learn to work with it and make it work for you.
With all the potential machine learning has to offer, it is really only as good as the data housed and the data scientists mining the resources. The notion of ‘rubbish in rubbish out’ is truly a mantra in the machine learning world. This environment is ripe with possibility but the higher quantity and quality of data that businesses have, the better the improvement in machine learning algorithms and model accuracy. In the past, these environments have performed well in laboratory testing but were not equipped to handle the complexities that come with real-time enterprise use cases. However, when done well,
TSYS, GEORGIA AND THE RISE OF THE STATE’S PAYMENTS INDUSTRY By Gaylon Jowers Jr.
GAYLON JOWERS, JR. Senior executive, vice president and president of Issuer Solutions at TSYS Gaylon Jowers, Jr. is senior executive vice president and president of Issuer Solutions at TSYS. He also serves on the board of directors for China UnionPay Data Services, Ltd. (CUP Data), TSYS’s joint venture with China UnionPay (CUP) in China.
eorgia’s position as the business and innovation heart of the payments industry ranks among the state’s best kept secrets. Payment processors employ about 40,000 people in Georgia, according to the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC). Seventy percent of U.S. annual payments are processed by Georgia companies, and 60 percent of U.S. payments companies are headquartered in the state. No wonder Atlanta is known within the industry as “transaction alley.” This hard-earned moniker did not happen by accident. A confluence of factors provided the right environment for the payment processing industry to take root in Georgia, and business leaders leveraged these strong fundamentals to build a complex infrastructure that supports the industry’s continued success. The story of how the payments industry emerged in Georgia -and why it flourishes today -- can help guide Georgia’s business and elected leaders as they work to ensure the state remains the most attractive place for companies doing business in this highly competitive and rapidly innovating sector of the economy.
TSYS® TSYS® (NYSE: TSS) is a leading global payments provider, offering seamless, secure and innovative solutions across the payments spectrum — from issuer processing and merchant acquiring to prepaid program management. We succeed because we put people, and their needs, at the heart of every decision. It’s an approach we call ‘PeopleCentered Payments®’.
Friendly regulatory environment helps nascent payments industry In many respects, the story of Georgia’s success cultivating the payments industry is also TSYS’s story. Columbus Bank and Trust, which would later become Synovus, was one of the first issuers of credit cards in the U.S. To do this efficiently, the bank’s visionary leadership team set out to create its own credit card program. As more banks began offering credit cards, Columbus Bank and Trust’s processing platform became a crucial service that other banks needed but didn’t have the resources to create themselves. TSYS was born. Today, TSYS is a leading global payments provider, offering solutions across the payments spectrum — from issuer processing and merchant acquiring to prepaid program management. But the success of TSYS wasn’t inevitable. The rapid growth of Columbus Bank and Trust’s processing platform — and ultimately its success — may not have happened without statelevel regulations in the 1980’s that provided financial services firms with flexibility around credit card interest rates and annual fees. As a result, Georgia became a proving ground for the payments industry, and TSYS thrived.
Since its inception, the payments industry has maintained a positive working relationship with elected leaders in Georgia. Prudent policymakers have maintained a regulatory environment that has balanced the needs of consumers and the businesses that serve them with the goal of promoting job growth and a positive economic environment. These regulatory conditions were important catalysts for innovation and growth. Thanks to these and other factors, Georgia remains an attractive place to do business.
of customers. This pressure to innovate is coming from many different directions including other payment processors, financial technology startups and changing client demands, to name a few.
Public/private partnerships are an ongoing source of strength
For TSYS, engaging with private equity firms is one of the most effective ways that the company is able to access fintech advancements before they make it to market. TSYS makes investments in, and partners with, early-stage companies developing technologies that can potentially help its clients.
Forward-looking business leaders and reasonable regulations may have given rise to TSYS thirty-five years ago, but building the infrastructure that keeps Georgia at the forefront of the payments industry is a never-ending effort. Talent acquisition is a concern for every large company, but it’s especially crucial for the financial technology industry. As TSYS’s head count grew in its early days, workforce sustainability was a major concern. Could Georgia provide the talent that the company needed to keep its competitive edge? TSYS’s proactive answer to that question is an example of how fintech companies in Georgia have cultivated an ecosystem that is optimized to support the payments industry. Georgia’s Quick Start job training program was one of the ways that TSYS worked to address the talent issue in the early 1990’s. Quick Start was historically used to train workers for blue collar jobs, but TSYS helped convert it into a program that trained Georgians for skilled jobs – such as computer programmer roles at TSYS. More than 1,200 people applied for the TSYS Quick Start program when it first launched. There were 90 job openings. This initiative eventually morphed into a partnership between TSYS, Columbus College (now Columbus State University) and IBM to prepare Georgians for high-tech jobs. TSYS developed the curriculum, Columbus College faculty taught the classes, and IBM helped provide a computer lab. The resulting Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP) became a national model for how businesses and educational institutions could work together. That spirit of collaboration continues today across the payments industry in Georgia. Recently, for example, TSYS contributed $2.5 million toward the establishment of the TSYS Cybersecurity Center for Financial Services, which will be housed at the TSYS School of Computer Science at Columbus State University. The program will prepare students for cybersecurity careers in Georgia and nationally. Long-term investments like these have made it possible for payments companies in Georgia to develop highly skilled, local talent. Private equity firms play matchmaker for fintech startups Next to talent, innovation is one of the greatest challenges for companies in the payments space. Every company has an aggressive innovation strategy that is focused on developing new products and services to meet the fast-evolving needs
To be successful, innovation strategies must be broader than an in-house effort. That is why it’s important to have a mechanism for introducing startups to established companies. In Georgia, private equity firms are adept at playing this role.
TSYS’s work with Featurespace, a behavioral analytics technology firm, is an example of how the company is leveraging its private equity connections in Georgia to invest in the cutting edge of payments innovation. TSYS and Featurespace recently announced TSYS Foresight ScoreSM, a fraud and risk management tool that incorporates machine-learning capabilities to help issuers fight transactional fraud. TSYS Foresight ScoreSM combines machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict fraudulent transactions. The technology gets more accurate as it observes more transactions and customer patterns. Georgia’s technology incubators – especially those around Tech Square in Midtown Atlanta – also play an important role in cultivating small startups and ensuring that those with breakthrough ideas are connected with the resources they need to succeed. The importance of telling the payments story Georgia has the right mix of factors to retain its position as the payments capital of the world, but it must work proactively to do this. Atlanta and Georgia have real competitors. In Texas, Austin and Dallas are both strong technology hubs that compete with Georgia for payments industry companies and talent. New York is also a natural rival because of the concentration of banks and financial services firms. Other states, like Arizona, also want a piece of the action. Finding new ways to stay relevant is necessary to compete. Creating places that attract high-caliber, diverse talent is the single most important thing that Georgia can do, at this point, to maximize its existing position. Enhanced transportation options, walkable neighborhoods, a vibrant arts and cultural scene, and investments in primary and secondary education are all smart ways to create quality lifestyle opportunities and continue building on the state’s past success. Maintaining a positive and supportive regulatory environment is also necessary. Finally, to continue promoting this industry, Georgians themselves need a greater appreciation for its importance to the state’s economy. Telling Georgia’s payments story to local and national audiences will help to ensure that this industry gets the recognition it deserves as a major driver of economic growth and innovation -- from Columbus to Atlanta and beyond. Georgians can be proud of this massive industry that drives growth, intellectual capital and jobs.
EMBRACE CROSS-BORDER E-COMMERCE AND MEET POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS WHERE THEY ARE By Steve Villegas, Vice President of Partner Management
merican e-commerce merchants are beginning to recognize the need to compete globally, just as consumers are increasingly shopping cross-border. But are the e-commerce companies ready for it? And, are their payment service providers? While the U.S. is home to highly successful local merchants and marketplaces, there is a growing hunger coming from outside the States among young and increasingly affluent populations for global consumer brands. The APAC and LATAM regions continue to experience e-commerce growth rates double that of North America. Indonesia and Mexico alone experienced 78 and 59 percent e-commerce growth in 2017 respectively, and the number of fast-growing markets increases every day. This means there’s no time to waste; now is the time for merchants and their payment service providers or acquirers to establish a global foothold and work to build consumer trust and recognition, because shopping habits and consumer loyalties are constantly changing and evolving. U.S. merchants, payment service providers and acquirers need to get ahead of the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets or risk losing out on future growth. The question is “how?”. Support localization Most European and Asian e-commerce sites offer a localized customer experience in each market, down to preferred language and payment methods. Many U.S. stores, on the other hand, simply roll out their domestic shop unchanged to
non-U.S. customers. Furthermore, U.S. merchants have yet to adapt to the reality that the credit cards they’re familiar with in their own markets often do not have a large market share in other countries. To stay relevant, U.S. merchants need to accept that one size does not fit all in global e-commerce and adapting to local market preferences is one of the key success factors in online business. Even PPRO Group, which historically has supported its partners from anchors in Europe, realized the needs of U.S.-based partners were best served at a closer range. Instead of expecting their partners to come to them, they recognized the value in adapting their practices to local preferences. That’s also precisely why PPRO Group chose Atlanta for their U.S. headquarters—to be able to work in close proximity to many of their most valuable partners in the city. It’s a model that everyone in the global ecommerce market needs to recognize; adapt to the customer, not the other way around. Be open to the unfamiliar For example, in many countries, local payment methods — including online banking payments, cash-based e-payments, e-wallets, direct debit, and invoice payment solutions — are an important and growing segment of the payment market representing nearly 50 percent of global e-commerce revenue. Any e-commerce site that only supports card payments is effectively turning away many, and in some global markets most, of its potential customers. And, according to PPRO Group’s data, almost 50 percent of customers have already abandoned a sale because
STEVE VILLEGAS Vice President of Partner Management their preferred payment option was not available. If U.S. e-merchants ignore that fact, they will continue to lose market relevance globally. Lead the way toward change
Steve leads the new US operations as VP Partner Management at PPRO. His responsibilities include establishing and growing the new PPRO location, supporting existing partners and building partnerships with new prospects.
If U.S. merchants are to succeed on the global market, they will need trusted payment service providers and acquirers who can support their worldwide ambitions. These providers should be able to offer not just the best possible selection of APMs, but also the knowledge and expertise required to implement those methods in the way best suited to each market. This is a challenge the large U.S. payment providers will have to face quickly. If not, there are new competitors who will rapidly gain market share at their expense. There are also international players — many of them with roots in Europe, where APMs are often the norm and not the alternative — that are already targeting U.S. merchants with an offer that includes a comprehensive selection of local payment options. The threat to U.S. payment providers and acquirers goes beyond the APM-market. Once a merchant has decided to partner with a new payment provider in order to gain access to APMs, then it makes perfect sense to reduce complexity by consolidating card payments with that provider, too. It is understandably difficult for many large U.S.-based payment service providers and acquirers to add the hundreds of available payment methods across the world. This requires an extensive amount of work both building and maintaining the connections, not to mention the legal and reporting aspects. But, there are already some payment companies that have recognized the need to adapt to these new challenges and have begun to invest in a cross-border payments offering beyond just cards. Others will need to follow quickly in order not to risk losing their market power.
PPRO At PPRO we help people pay and get paid. Everywhere, any time with every payment method. We have been e-payment specialists for over eleven years now and we are one of the fastest growing fintech businesses in Europe.
American business is no stranger to overcoming challenges, so it’s safe to assume that U.S. online merchants and their current local payment partners will rise to the occasion. One thing’s for certain: the payments and e-commerce games are changing. Years from now, who will be key players, and who will be left on the sidelines?
ATLANTA’S HOT PAYMENTS FINTECH SCENE By Tommy Marshall, Accenture’s Fintech Lead for North America
ayments & Cards Magazine recently had an opportunity to connect with Tommy Marshall, Fintech Lead for Accenture’s North America business, regarding Atlanta’s burgeoning payments fintech scene. In this Q&A, we discuss a range of topics from what makes Atlanta a great incubator for payments fintechs to recent investments into Atlanta payments fintechs. What makes Atlanta such a great place to launch a payments fintech? The depth of experience within the payments space is certainly one of the top factors that makes metro-Atlanta a unique community for launching a payments-related fintech. There is a legacy of payments power-houses, such as CheckFree, First Data, TSYS, Elavon, Global Payments, FISERV, and FIS, that actively support the growth of the Atlanta fintech community. Specifically, these payment powerhouses have fostered payments fintechs by contributing funding to innovation centers and hubs, sending employees to local accelerators, investing in startups, and partnering with startups. Organizations such as the Technology Association of Georgia, Atlanta Technology Development Center, Atlanta Technology Village, Atlanta Bridge Community, and TechSquare Labs have
helped disseminate the knowledge and experience of these large corporate payments providers to local fintechs. Moreover, Atlanta’s global reputation as a “Transaction Alley” for payments processing attracts private equity and venture capital funds from around the world. What are a couple of examples of Atlanta payments fintechs that are working on exciting solutions? Greenlight Financial is an interesting new fintech based in the Atlanta Technology Development Center that is focused on satisfying consumers’ increasing demand for more control over their credit and debit cards. The Greenlight mobile app and its corresponding debit card offer parents a means to provide their children with a more secure payment method that also promotes financial literacy. Parents can create controls that limit spending to specific merchants or merchant categories. Child users also have the ability to access a version of the Greenlight Financial mobile app which allows them to check balances and permissions before making a purchase. Greenlight has already attracted the attention of some notable players, including TTV Capital, New Enterprise Associates, SunTrust Bank, and Amazon. Amazon’s investment in Greenlight is particularly interesting given the Wall Street Journal’s recent report that Amazon is working on a “checking-account-
like-product” for its customers. Moreover, late last year Amazon introduced a new way for teenagers to use their parents’ accounts to shop on Amazon while allowing parents to set controls on their spending. Midtown Atlanta-based Gro Solutions is also generating a lot of buzz, particularly amongst banks and other payments providers. Gro provides solutions to help banks and credit unions increase completion rates for debit and credit applications. For example, Gro offers integrated ID scanning capabilities that enable banks to prepopulate certain account application fields. Another Gro solution allows users to start a banking product application in one digital channel and complete it in another digital channel. What are some of the more interesting partnerships that have formed between Atlanta payments fintechs and financial services incumbents over the last few years?
TOMMY MARSHALL Accenture’s Fintech Lead for North America
One of the more fascinating partnerships that formed recently is Cardlytics’ partnership with SunTrust Bank to launch SunTrust Deals, a personalized opt-in program that offers cash back on transactions made with selected merchants using a SunTrust debit or credit card (similar to American Express’ card-linked offers platform). The cash back that cardholders earn through SunTrust Deals is in addition to any other rewards already earned with SunTrust credit or debit cards. TSYS has also been a great supporter of payments fintechs, including Featurespace, which focuses on fraud. Last year, TSYS and Featurespace introduced TSYS Foresight Score with Featurespace, a fraud prevention product that uses machine learning to strengthen an issuer’s ability to reduce transactional fraud. This collaboration influenced Featurespace’s decision to choose Atlanta as its North American headquarters.
Tommy Marshall is Accenture’s Fintech Lead for North America. Tommy has spent his 20+ year management consulting career focused on digital financial services and fintech. He is responsible for bringing together Accenture’s depth in payments, banking, capital markets, insurance, finance and regulation with its fintech accelerators, Liquid Studios, and Innovation Labs to craft meaningful capabilities for financial services institutions. Tommy is a graduate of Davidson College and holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University. He has called Atlanta home for the past nine years.
What recent investments and acquisitions have caught your eye? We have seen a number of exciting investments into Atlanta payments fintechs over the last year and a half. In early 2017, Synchrony Financial made a strategic investment into First Performance Global, which enables issuers and processors to reduce fraud and offer customers card controls, alerts, and messaging. Later that year, Vantiv acquired Paymetric which provides software to automate B2B payments workflows. More recently, TTV Capital invested in Verady which provides auditing and accounting solutions for cryptocurrencies. Verady’s technology may help alleviate some regulatory concerns over consumer misuse of cryptocurrencies.
ACCENTURE PAYMENTS Accenture Payments helps banks, payments providers and other players transform their payments systems and operations to grow and win in the digital economy. Our more than 4,300 payments advisors and payments systems integration specialists bring together strategy, business function consulting, digital technology and delivery execution know-how to help keep our clients on the leading edge of payments. To learn more, visit www.accenture.com/ payments. 39
HOW MERCHANTS CAN SURVIVE THE TRANSFORMING RETAIL LANDSCAPE By Joe Mach, President, Verifone North America
he 21 st century retail environment is a jungle and just when merchants think they’ve hacked their way through it, it gets more complicated. With regulatory advancements, technological growth, and generational forces constantly changing the landscape, it is important for merchants to turn these challenges into opportunities and cater to the evolving needs of the connected consumer.
simplicity, and security of the online experience – they want the same features in-store.
Surviving the retail jungle is all about engaging consumers in new ways. The traditional retail landscape has changed partly due to the global eCommerce industry, which is expected to increase to $4.058 trillion in 2020, making up 14.6% of total retail spending that year. To accommodate consumers’ changing preferences, here are seven ways merchants can stay relevant, succeed, and compete:
Mind the Millennial and Create “Instagrammable” Experiences
Know Thy Customer
For younger generations, the purchasing experience tends to supersede the purchase itself. Enabling merchants to create an in-store experience to write home about (or post on social media, rather) is an excellent way to help them stay relevant while attracting and retaining more customers.
Forty one percent of consumers expect offers that are personalized and relevant when they walk into a store. Consumers have grown accustomed to the convenience,
With nearly 90 percent of retail sales are generated in store, it’s clear that the reign of the physical retail environment is far from over – it’s just a matter of making the experience in-store similar to the one online.
Per a report by the Seurat Group, more and more millennials are entering the workforce every year, and by 2020, they’ll represent more than 40 percent of consumers in the U.S. Thus, their buying power is increasing.
For example, merchants can engage consumers with fun and interesting digital ads (“pop-ups”) throughout the store right at the point-of-sale (POS), at the table, or on a customer’s mobile device, using beacon technology. Unify the Brand More than 70 percent of consumers browse online before making in-store purchases, and two-thirds will check prices on their phones. Twenty two percent of consumers spend more at the stores if digital channels are involved in the process. Forty two percent of consumers say the ability to order online would make them choose one restaurant over another. While visiting stores and restaurants, consumers increasingly have their smartphones at the ready to aid their purchasing decisions--whether to compare menu items, or to find deals and locate products as they walk the aisles. Their chief complaint is when in-store inventory isn’t consistent with the information provided by the merchant online. It is important for merchants to tear down the silos between their online and physical storefronts. Connecting both channels can provide them with access to the advanced consumer data and analytics needed for better targeting, consumer insights and personalization across all customer touchpoints. However, integrating online and physical storefronts in a way that is consistent and seamless from the consumer’s point-ofview is easier said than done, considering the complexity and ever-changing nature of technology, apps and regulation— not to mention the limited bandwidth of IT resources.
their guests’ experience. Servers are able to close the bill transaction right at the table so guests experience secure, efficient payment and convenient service. Other great examples of effort we see among merchants include: •
One high-end specialty beauty retailer is thriving and redefining the future of retail. Their business has grown 6% in the last 12 months with no slowing in sight. They are at the forefront of innovation by rolling out numerous concept stores, driving in-store traffic via social and really embracing technology. They have done an incredible job creating a unique and personalized experience for the consumer once on-site which in turn builds brand loyalty (and it’s really paying off).
Leading national grocery and pharmacy chains have begun to offer click-and-collect to their customers. Shoppers order online and have it filled by store associates in pickup locations. When shoppers arrive at their designated times, the store staff accepts payment (along with their loyalty card) using a mobile pay device (that’s integrated with the instore point-of-sale), and the customer collects their order.
Spread Out Investments Three billion loyalty cards will operate as mobile-only or be integrated into mobile apps by 2020 (up from 1.4 billion in 2015). The introduction of new consumer-facing technology is constant, and with each new app and digital payment method, consumers expect to use them in the physical store.
Fortunately, payment technology offers a solution for merchants to overcome these obstacles. Recent innovations in this space have catapulted POS technology far beyond merely “payment acceptance.” For example, one of the country’s top 10 quick-service and fast-casual restaurants, wanted to further expedite the ordering process for customers. They have successfully implemented a system that integrates online and instore experiences by implementing an easy and convenient way for their customers to order online and pick up at the store. With the capability to engage with consumers through kiosks, mobile, and web, they were able to surpass 1 billion transactions at the end of 2017. Think Outside the Checkout According to a report by IHL Group, retailers that have embraced mobile technology are experiencing significantly higher growth in sales. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), 3G/4G and Wi-Fi connectivity combined with mobile or portable POS devices allow merchants to extend the POS beyond the counter and throughout the store. These technologies help reduce the time customers spend in checkout lines while creating a more oneon-one, transformed shopping experience. At restaurants, this technology also enables secure pay-at-the-table solutions. The Keg Steakhouse + Bar is an example of a full-service restaurant chain offering pay-at-the-table service to enhance
Cloud-based, integrated POS systems can expedite the merchant’s ability to access popular business and consumer apps. By leveraging app marketplaces and developer toolkits, proprietary and third-party apps can be developed, tested and supported on their devices. Valued added solutions can improve customer loyalty via points programs, geo-targeted offers inside the store, and tailored incentives based on online purchases at the POS. For example, Atlanta-based TruRating is a ratings app that initiates real-time response at the POS, making it easy for every consumer to have a say, and for businesses to benefit from mass, validated feedback that can help them make key business decisions, and improve their overall consumer value proposition.
President of Verifone North America
Nineteen percent of consumers said they would stop shopping at a retailer that had been a victim of a cybersecurity hack, even if the company took the necessary steps to remediate the issue. All merchants – regardless of size – are vulnerable to payment system attacks, and customers are concerned about the security of their information when making a payment.
A 25-year veteran of the retail and technology industries, Joe Mach joined Verifone in 2000 and currently serves as President of North America. Joe is responsible for overseeing operations for our North America region, including financial, mobility, retail, transit, retail banking, hospitality, security, health care and government business units. Additionally, he is responsible for overseeing Verifone’s Global Petroleum Systems, which includes Petro Media Sales.
While change continues to stimulate the retail environment, we cannot deny that integrating the online and physical shopping experience in a way that is consistent and seamless for the consumer, presents challenges.. Fortunately, payment technology and services offer many solutions for merchants to be nimble and creative. Payment solutions today can offer powerful engagement and interactive tools that enable merchants to accept all forms of payment and deliver innovative and futureready shopping experiences for today’s connected consumer.
VERIFONE Verifone is one of the world’s largest POS terminal vendors and a leading provider of payment and commerce solutions. We operate in more than 150 countries and employ nearly 6,000 people globally. Our steady growth has come organically, through a dedication to innovation and strategic partnerships, as well as from savvy acquisitions.
Merchants want to know that their devices and systems are as future-proof as possible. Multi-layered security helps protect sensitive information as it travels through the payment ecosystem and PCI DSS compliance ensures that merchants keep up with ever-changing industry standards. Verifone recently announced that it has co-designed AES DUKPT, a new security key management standard that was approved as an American National Standard in October 2017 by the Accredited Standards Committee X9 (ASC X9). The main advantage of this standard is that it provides the best security cryptography has to offer by supporting up to 256-bit keys, which are immune to all known methods of attack—even quantum computing attacks.
GEORGIA: A GLOBAL HUB FOR FINTECH
he world of payments transactions is transforming the technology industry as FinTech (financial technology) continues to dominate the fast-paced, fast-growth tech sector.
Standing at the crossroads of innovation, and sheer volume of FinTech activity, is Georgia’s FinTech ecosystem – a blossoming behemoth with deep roots and a bright future. Georgia has evolved to become the epicenter of the financial services industry, with the cosmopolitan power house of Atlanta as its FinTech flagship. The top 20 Georgia FinTech companies generate annual revenue of more than $72 billion, placing the state third in the nation, behind only New York and California in this wildly growing sector. Together, the banking, insurance, and capital markets consistently spend more on technology than any other industry grouping, making FinTech the sector where investors are placing their hottest bets.
If you aren’t familiar with the power and might of Georgia’s FinTech ecosystem, consider that more than 70% of all credit card swipes, debit card payments, and gift card purchases go through Georgiabased companies, earning the region the nickname of Transaction Alley. The industry is so important to the region that the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC), American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC), and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) were commissioned to launch a FinTech Task Force to not only support the existing ecosystem, but also to attract and grow new jobs and investment, ensure a skilled workforce is ready for decades to come, and promote continued innovation that will help shape the future of the industry. “The FinTech ecosystem here in Georgia, coupled with the amount of sector growth we have experienced, puts us in a leading role to continue to shape the future of FinTech right here in Atlanta and right here across Georgia,” said Larry Williams, President & CEO of TAG. “We have all of the key components and companies,
along with a community that embraces and fosters innovation and disruption. We have that critical mass and it’s why you are going to continue to see this ecosystem lead the growth and conversation around where FinTech is going next.”
The new Georgia FinTech Ecosystem Report also will be released, shedding new light onto the specific strengths of Georgia’s FinTech sector. Georgia’s Ecosystem
FinTech South In response to the tremendous growth of the FinTech sector in Georgia, TAG has launched Atlanta’s full-scale, global FinTech event – FinTech South – which is slated to attract more than 1,000 sector leaders, companies and innovators May 7-8 at the city’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Georgia FinTech companies and community partners came together to create FinTech South 2018 as a global exchange of insights, innovations and trends fueling tomorrow’s financial tech industry. Attracting international companies and speakers, FinTech South is an opportunity to engage with 400 FinTech companies employing more than 130,000 employees globally and processing more than 128 billion transactions in the U.S. annually. FinTech South centers around the theme of “Disrupting and Delivering a Better Customer Experience” by focusing on what’s happening next in FinTech to accelerate and improve customer experience. As an international hub for FinTech, Fortune 500 companies, cyber security, health IT, digital entertainment, talent and startups, Georgia’s FinTech ecosystem provides the idea location to showcase how companies and other industries are partnering with FinTech to deliver better customer experience. The landmark event will feature 1,000-plus attendees from 6 countries, 200 C-level executives, 400 companies from multiple industries, 100 speakers, 4 keynote speakers, and 24 breakout sessions, plus more than 60 exhibitors and startups in the FinTech South Innovation Alley. The event also includes three major awards components – a Lifetime Achievement Award, the FinTech Innovation Award Challenge with a $50K award to the winner, and the ADVANCE awards – all of which honor the best and brightest in the industry.
Georgia’s FinTech ecosystem boasts a number of unparalleled traits, including International access from the world’s most traveled airport – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; global representation with 81 consular & trade offices and 34 bi-national chambers of commerce; being ranked the #3 city with the most FORTUNE 500 Headquarters and a reputation as a technology powerhouse with approximately 14,000 technology establishments employing nearly 189,000 workers. Georgia is also an entrepreneurial hub for more than 1,000 tech startups. Georgia’s FinTech ecosystem also provides a secure and robust home for top FinTech companies.
“When handling with billions of transactions across global markets, the payments and transaction processing systems must be sophisticated,” said Guido Sacchi, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Global Payments. “Our systems must be highly available, reliable, secure, and perform consistently at millisecond speeds to meet the demands of merchants and consumers. Reliability and trust are two of the most important things we provide for our customers.” “System security is at the top of every FinTech organization’s priority list,” said Sacchi. “Security must be synonymous with quality. Security is not just a system add-on; it has to be engineered into every touch point in the system. The FinTech industry is making great strides with the help of specialized network and data security organizations, many of whom are headquartered in Georgia.” Georgia has been a payments and banking hub for decades, and the state is home to some of largest financial technology firms in the world, including: Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Ingenico, Sage Software, LexisNexis, Cardlytics, First Data, Global Payments, Fiserv, NCR , TSYS, FIS, Worldpay US, InComm, Equifax , Elavon , Paymetric, SunGard. Many of these companies have experienced significant growth in the last several years, expanding operations and adding thousands of jobs. Deep Roots to New Shoots Many Georgia FinTech companies are making a significant, global mark in the industry. Georgia Tech’s ATDC FinTech Accelerator program works with early stage FinTech companies to help them with connections to coaching, capital, customers, and campus resources and talent. The Georgia Department of Economic Development also has a Center of Innovation for Information Technology and is a key resource for helping Georgia’s information technology companies grow and compete globally. The center provides business & technology development assistance and access to top-notch research at Georgia colleges and universities Meanwhile, incubators across Atlanta and the state have adopted FinTech as a focus, just as economic development leaders continue to focus on building the workforce that will help FinTech companies thrive well into the next decade. Did you know… •
Roughly 120 FinTech companies are headquartered or have significant presence in Georgia?
Six of the ten largest US payment processing firms are Georgia-based.
Georgia FinTech organizations employ more than 37,000 professionals in the state and over 130,000 globally.
Georgia FinTech companies in the U.S. process over 128 billion transactions per year representing over $5.14 trillion of purchase volume each year.
TAG It’s a new world for tech, and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) has emerged as a world-class membership organization and an engine for economic development for the state of Georgia. TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, influence and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances Georgia’s tech-based economy.
P20: UNITING THE WORLD OF PAYMENTS By H. West Richards
H. WEST RICHARDS Founder of Payments20 H. West Richards is the founder of Payments20 (P20). He also serves as executive director of the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC).
he world of payments is a rapidly changing, ever expansive industry with seemingly unlimited capabilities. Generating trillions of dollars in revenue over multiple platforms – ranging from mobile wallets to digitally assisted purchases made through voice-activated speakers – the payments industry will continue to grow as we expand technologically. According to a 2017 World Payments Report by Capgemini and BNP Paribas, more than 570 billion cashless transactions are expected to occur in 2018, with that number projected to break 725 billion by 2020. This raises a pressing issue that lies within the payments industry; a lack of universal rules and regulations. In fact, more than 30 different key regulatory and industry initiatives have been enacted within the last two years worldwide. This cluster of interweaving rules and requirements has slowed innovation and hindered the ability for the world of payments to grow.
P20 Payments20 (P20) is an international financial technology initiative combining fintech expertise with government relations. P20 connects two financial powerhouses—the U.S. and U.K. With global fintech leaders and regulators working together, P20 is dedicated to changing the transactions-processing landscape — making payments accessible, affordable and secure for all.
Issues such as these prompted the creation and rise of Payments20 (P20). Designed to be the “Davos of Payments,” P20 is an organization working year-round to support development of global payments by advancing the industry through four guiding pillars: cybersecurity, regulation, innovation and financial inclusion. P20 is a direct response to the ever-increasing need for greater regulatory clarity, consumer security and collaborative innovation. The organization unites Atlanta, known as “Transaction Alley” and London, the global financial sWervices powerhouse, with the goal of making payments accessible, affordable and secure for all. What is P20? The organization was born in London at a meeting between the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC), which represents the interests of more than 100 fintech and payments industry businesses in Atlanta and representatives from the U.K. payments industry, government and regulators. Serving as a forum for both thought leadership and action, P20 includes regulators each step of the way to bolster the payments industry toward unprecedented growth. To highlight the continued involvement of both countries, the P20 annual conference held each fall rotates between host cities Atlanta and London. The Four Pillars P20 champions the interests of the payments industry with a focus on U.S. and U.K. cooperation in industry, government and
regulatory spheres. The two countries are natural partners to provide international leadership in shaping business and innovation-friendly regulatory infrastructure for the future. As discussed, P20 embraces four pillars: cybersecurity, regulation, innovation and financial inclusion.
creating a baseline for standards and enhancing measures that improve efficiency. Additionally, the organization strives to incorporate and nurture new ideas with existing solutions in an effort to bring products to the market faster. Financial Inclusion
Cybersecurity The need for an enhanced focus on cybersecurity is becoming increasingly apparent. With numerous threats, it is imperative companies protect customers’ information. P20 leads the way with collaborative best practices and innovative defense recommendations, keeping intact the public’s trust in the payments industry. The organization has assembled core members of a cybersecurity working group to produce research and recommendations regarding the mitigation of cyber risk. In addition to engaging the industry, the organization has ongoing dialogue with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice to keep them abreast of the working group’s progress. The cybersecurity group works diligently to compare U.S. and U.K. payments industry and government cyber protocols, standards and threat assessments. The group’s goal is to produce a payments industry specific recommendation for transatlantic collaboration to improve cyber resiliency and create a platform for cyber cooperation. Regulation In the U.S., 19 different agencies regulate the payments industry, creating a complicated supervisory environment. By including international regulators and government representatives in every discussion, P20 is working to streamline the regulatory process, which in turn will pave the way for smoother payments industry growth now and in the future. The goal of this working group is to evaluate the current state of U.S. and U.K. regulatory frameworks, especially its impact on the payments industry, and make recommendations for coordinated improvement. Innovation To remain competitive, promote cybersecurity and sustain growth, the payments industry needs the brightest innovators and nextlevel product development ideas. P20 supports innovation to power payment processors into the future by improving product,
Currently, there are 4 billion unbanked or underbanked individuals across the globe, representing huge potential growth for both the global economy and the payments industry. By expanding financial inclusion to these populations, P20 is directly supporting and fostering development, which is a vital step to lift many places in the world out of poverty Why Atlanta? According to the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), Atlanta fintech companies process more than 118 billion transactions per year, which represents over $2 trillion of purchase volume among nearly 4 million merchants. These 300-plus Atlanta-based fintech companies generate annual revenue of more than $72 billion. Additionally, fintech organizations employ more than 40,000 professionals in Georgia and over 105,000 globally on the payroll of Georgia companies. Georgia is also a hotbed for innovation in the payments industry. TSYS, a global payments provider headquartered in Georgia, is evidence of that notion. The company was recently voted as one of TAG’s top ten most innovative companies, which is in part due to their latest collaboration with Featurespace, a U.K.-based world leader in adaptive behavioral analytics for fraud. The two companies came together to develop Foresight Score, a cybersecurity product that simultaneously helps prevent fraud while reducing false-positives and improving customer experience; all with the aid of machine learning. This is just one example of the boundless innovation taking place in Atlanta. P20 Atlanta The inaugural P20 conference at Lancaster House in London in 2017 was attended by over a hundred senior payments executives, fintech innovators, government agencies and academia worldwide. This year, industry leaders will join together at the Atlanta History Center, October 9-10. As more than 200 payments industry, governmental and regulatory leaders convene; Atlanta will be on the payment world stage as never before, leading the way to fintech’s future.
EMBRACING THE NEW PAYMENTS NORMAL: INSTANT, INTELLIGENT AND SECURE by Ernie Buday, Vice President Product Strategy, FIS
he way people make payments is changing faster than any other area of financial services, impacted by changes in digital technology, competitive forces and growing customer demands. Whether it’s that last Uber or Lyft ride or first trip to the Amazon Go store, your customers’ experiences in industries outside financial services are driving new expectations when it comes to making payments. Embracing the new payments normal of Instant, Intelligent and Secure will require many financial services providers to drive a wholesale transformation in their payments strategy and customer experience. Following are four strategic imperatives when doing so. 1. Instant, Intelligent and Secure Payments are Data-Driven Data drives the experiences you aspire to. It impacts everything from acquiring profitable accounts and driving active use to growing and sustaining portfolio revenue. By drawing on the
vast data stores you and partners like FIS have, you can educate your customers on how they spend, when they should save or how to adjust their financial plan when their life changes – such as marriage, birth of a child, or retirement. More than 50% of consumers recently surveyed by a leading consulting firm said they would share personal information to receive personalized offers. 2. Communications are Connected, across Channels and Devices Customers are growing comfortable enabling tokenized payments with AI-powered connected devices, including bots and wearables. FIS is looking at ways to allow your customers to connect to and analyze their data in real-time. Whether this be through online channels, an existing or new mobile app, or integration into the various BOTs such as Alexa, Google Home, Siri, etc., we are working on a range of potential use cases for using BOTs to enhance the consumer experience. And banking executives are on board, with nearly 80% recently surveyed saying AI will “revolutionize” customer engagement…citing better data insight, improved productivity, and higher cost savings.
ERNIE BUDAY Product Strategy Vice President for FIS
3. It’s Essential to Cultivate Loyalty at Every Touchpoint Technology is fueling creative ways to deliver rewards to redeem in real-time where cardholders pay and extending their purchasing power with rewards as currency. The importance of rewards as a competitive differentiator has never been greater. Consumers not only want simplicity in earning rewards, they want simple ways to redeem these rewards. Nearly 70% of consumers want to redeem rewards as they swipe at the POS terminal. This perspective led us to create Premium Payback, which delivers a surprise and delight experience at checkout and why Loyalty is at the center of our enterprise data strategy, where we’re leveraging AI and machine learning to elevate Loyalty even further…from relevance to realtime, right-for-me recommendations. 4. Plan…and Execute…Digital First Omni-channel capability is still important to reduce friction in the way cardholders use your products and services, but investing in comprehensive digital capabilities is fundamental. Consider the segment of today’s teens and young adults who follow the Millennial generation, who are projected to make up as much as 40% of US consumers by the year 2020, according to Accenture. This generation demands immediacy, and highly personalized experiences. Almost 70% use mobile banking apps daily, with 68% wanting instant P2P payments. And many are projecting that one in every two dollars spent on eCommerce will come from mobile devices in 2020. As a presenter at Money 20/20 put it, we’re in a rapid transition from a payments industry built on cards and terminals to one that is dominated by phones and fobs.
As Product Strategy Vice President for FIS, Ernie Buday drives growth initiatives that accelerate adoption and revenue for the company’s Enterprise Data, Loyalty and Prepaid solutions. With over 20 years of financial technology experience, Ernie joins FIS from Worldpay in Atlanta where he led brand and product marketing for their US business. Focused on optimizing their digital strategy, he launched the company’s new omni-channel payments product and new merchant onboarding experience.
FIS FIS™ is the world’s largest global provider dedicated to financial technology solutions. FIS empowers the financial world with software, services, consulting and outsourcing solutions focused on retail and institutional banking, payments, asset and wealth management, risk and compliance, trade enablement, transaction processing and record-keeping. FIS’ more than 53,000 worldwide employees are passionate about moving our clients’ business forward.
Are you ready?
TAKING FINTECH CAREERS TO THE STRATOSPHERE Lewis Michael Howard and Jayme Danielson
ayments & Cards Network began in 2006 when payments, e-commerce and FinTech were being revolutionized; we hit the ground running by fostering great relationships with some of the now-leaders in the space. Over the past 12 years, we’ve expanded our footprint to reach 5 continents.
SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT ATLANTA
Payments & Cards Network’s span of candidates stretches to almost every country making us the largest FinTech specialized recruiting firm on the planet. We have offices in Amsterdam, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, and, since 2017 Atlanta, Georgia. Payments & Cards Network hit the market in Transaction Alley in early 2017 and chose the Atlanta to be our US headquarters focusing on Fin Tech, Cyber, Reg Tech & Data. Our team likes to do things a bit differently, we take a consultative approach vs transactional which means we believe in understanding your business and partnering up for the long term, we are not interested in quick wins. Urgency, quality, and transparency are at the heart of our values and we don’t stop working until your project is complete. We live & breathe Payments & Fin Tech all day, everyday; many of our consultants have come directly out of processors, financial institutions & FinTech start ups which means when you work with us, you work with an agency that get’s you, understands the industry and speaks your language.
The Varsity is the world’s largest drive-in restaurant?
There are 55 roads with “Peachtree” in the name in Atlanta?
Our vision of growth encompasses with most essential markets in the fin tech space and we see huge expansion both for us and our clients in Cyber, Risk & Fraud, Data Science and Payments. Partnering with industry events such as the MRC & the P20 as well as the Metro Atlanta Chamber gives us unique insights and perspectives into the ecosystem and enables us to advise our clients & candidates well beyond the recruitment sphere. Payments & Cards Network works with the best companies in the industry, all over the world, and we’ve helped them to avoid many of the common, but complicated, recruiting challenges, reducing churn, retaining talent and saving vast sums of money by placing the right people at the right time in the right place.
Margaret Mitchell wrote “Gone with the Wind” because she was bored from an ankle injury?
There is a war on talent at the moment to complete missions and objectives. We’ve helped companies fill positions in just 9 business days, from interview to signing - Payments & Cards Network is an extension of your brand and has a proven track record of delivery with industry leading retention rates.
While none of these have anything to do with recruiting or FinTech, we’re suckers for a homegrown success story and let’s be honest, the Peachtrees just confuse everyone. Payments & Cards Network is devoted to serving the FinTech community by leading the efforts in bringing (and keeping) top talent to Georgia!
Reach out today to anyone of our offices and see the difference for yourself.
LEWIS MICHAEL HOWARD Managing Director USA
JAYME DANIELSON Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships
Here at Payments & Cards Network, we like to do things differently. As the leading supplier of executive recruitment services to the Fin-Tech/ Payments industry, we aspire to connect great people to equally great companies. If youâ€™re a candidate, our multicultural and experienced consultants are dedicated to helping you find the perfect opportunity. On the other hand, if youâ€™re a client then we strive to provide you with the right person for the job. All you need to know is that our team of consultants are experts in all things recruitment and retention.
TAKE YOUR FINTECH CAREER TO THE STRATOSPHERE