Global acquiring is a hot topic in the payments industry, when it comes to electronic payments there are, truly, no borders. On 18th and 19th of September, we took part in the International Acquiring Forum, in London – a great opportunity to bring people together, at a senior level, to help understand the risks the challenges and the opportunities in the cross-border acquiring space. It has given us a great environment to connect with thought leaders in the industry and experts in the cross-border e-commerce.
Acquiring is an activity which has been, historically, in the back office of the financial services. As payments become a bigger business we see retailers interested in expanding their business internationally, global acquiring becomes more and more evident. As David Birch said “you have to sell acquiring not to the end customers but to the people who are building the apps and the rest of the infrastructure. That’s a different kind of competition in this space”.
The participants have discussed topics as different as the innovation in payments and its disruptors, the challenges of regulation in the new payment landscape for banks and for acquirers/ processors. Michael Burtscher, former VP Business Development for Payvision, sat on a discussion panel with Shane Fitzpatrick, President and MD of Chase Paymentech, and Tom Staudt, CEO of Global Collect where we discussed the main challenges and opportunities that our companies see in the market. He described the acquiring model of Payvision, highlighting the importance of cooperation and strong partnerships in the new cross-border e-commerce arena as all players should be able to leverage each other’s strengths in specific markets. After all, despite the quick development of global acquiring and cross-border e-commerce there are still many barriers in place ‘managed’ by regulators, card and alternative payment systems.
WorldPay and Discover gave detailed presentations on how to build a global acquiring brand, and China UnionPay and TSYS discussed the opportunities in China, the growth of mobile penetration in the Chinese payment market, from payments/ issuer perspective, but also from the retail acceptance perspective. MasterCard Worldwide talked about their work in growing the payments market in the Latin America and how to grow the market sustainably working collaboratively with existing local players while JCB International discussed the situation in Japan and the Asian emerging payments markets. Globally, we all look at the emerging markets, their growth and opportunities offered for doing profitable cross-border acquiring. It is down to us, acquirers and processors, to make it seemless, to manage all the complexities at a fair price, and to help minimize risk.
One panel of particular interest was that hosted by Neira Jones, on the new cyber security and risk management challenges facing the payment ecosystem, explaining why acquirers, payment providers, and retailers must look at risk very carefully. Richard Harris, CEO of Ensygnia, summarized the panel eloquently: “we should all try to adopt industry best practices in order to be ahead of legislation, as best practices drive legislation”.