Top CEO’s at the Transact 14 trade show, including those from Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Vantiv, see bright skies ahead for ISO agents. The introduction and use of cloud computing, smartphones, and electronic tablets creates opportunities for independent acquirers absent in previous years.
Integration of Mobile Services and the Payment Industry
Executives highlighted the integration of services through mobile devices and apps. Apps that can hail taxis, direct you to nearby gas stations, and offer you rewards while doing so are revolutionizing the industry for ISO agents. So many different services, payment methods, and marketing opportunities that can be processes through one device the customer almost always carries around in their pockets is producing fertile ground for growth in the payments industry. The payment industry is no longer simply a transaction—it’s now far more versatile.
Security through Cooperation
Of course, the dark clouds looming in the payments industry is still security in the wake of the security breaches at major retailers such as Target Co. and Michael’s. Yet, those ominous clouds have a silver lining according to the executives at Transact 14: payments security has been brought into the public eye. Merchants and customers alike are aware of the major problems and concerns with electronic transactions.
The solution according to the industry giants is cooperation. Now more than before small independent sales organizations need to commit to reducing risk by following ETA guidelines. In following the example set by Visa and MasterCard for increasing security through cooperation, ISO agents can shoulder some of the risk management to protect not just customers, but the industry at large. ISO agents should not be offended by banks taking a hard line of questioning about risk management as the industry’s mutual interest in security will be through cooperating to reduce risk management.
Perhaps the best opportunity coming for ISO agents is to help major retailers transition during the switch to EMV-based credit card technology. Major retailers may struggle to transition all their equipment and systems before consumers begin receiving the new credit cards. Independent sales organizations and agents could be pivotal in the years to come as the payments industry undergoes shifts in structure, technology, and strategy.