Our team recently attended this year’s ETA TRANSACT show (April 17-19) in Las Vegas – billed as the world's largest gatherings of the payments technology industry. Every year, over 4,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors - from ISOs to VARs and ISVs, to large financial institutions, tech startups as well as entrepreneurs and industry influencers - gather at TRANSACT to network, see what’s new and trending in the industry, and sign deals to grow their business.
As far as trade shows go, this is the biggest event of the year for our ISO-focused team, and this year’s TRANSACT set the tone for our strengthened presence in North America following the acquisition last year of MCPS, Paysafe’s acquisition by CVC and Blackstone at the end of 2017, and just days after the announcement of our intent to acquire iPayment.
In the opening keynote presentation, Jason Oxman, Chief Executive Officer at the ETA, said that payments' current age of innovation is powered by ETA companies that are shaping how we interact with money. He also noted that the ETA had taken a fresh look at the conference with an eye on building its legacy of advancing payments technology, and that the ideas that will define the future of payments will take center stage. This certainly speaks true for us; below are some of the highlights we identified at this year’s show.
Products, solutions, and automobiles
TRANSACT was a chance for us to make a statement. With the only two-level booth on the show floor, it was the perfect place for us to show that we are at the forefront of payments innovation by displaying our current and upcoming products such as Paysafe Foundry, online Secured Checkout solutions, and Pay Later – In-store (to be launched in June), all while having a closed meeting room at our disposal for those important meetings we wanted to have on site. We even gave attendees a real-world payment experience when they were able to use our Paysafe products at our demo stations to order their coffee from our very own barista.
Not only did we have attention at our booth, but we were buzz of the show with our no. 19 Paysafe Indy car and driver, Zach Claman De Melo, on site for pictures. There was a constant flow of people wanting the chance to take a picture with Zach and the car!
The ETA’s CEO, Jason Oxman brought up a good point in his opening keynote speech on how the industry has moved from point of sale to points of interaction. Technology leaders of today are required to stay relevant in the digital age and use payment technology as a communication tool with their merchants and customers.
This highlights the importance of partnerships. With so many experts in the industry, partnerships are becoming the key to driving relevance and competitive advantage in the industry. At TRANSACT this year, we showcased our latest partnership with Verifone as the first adopter in the independent sales organization space to deploy Verifone Connect and Engage devises to its network of quick service restaurants and small and medium business across the United States. Verifone showcased its Carbon and Engage POS devices at our booth and we co-sponsored the opening cocktail event following the ribbon-cutting ceremony which I was honored to participate in.
The changing payments ecosystem
Perhaps the biggest trend this year was the discussion focused on the ever-evolving and complex payments ecosystem – how advances in point-of-sale technology continue to be influenced by innovations from consumer technology, changing behavior, and expectations; while compliance and security demands add additional layers of complexity.
In this ecosystem, acquirers, processors, ISOs and ISVs are now all competing to provide merchants of all sizes with smarter payment technology and solutions that are easy to install and support, EMV-certified and secure, while keeping up with the future of retail with POS innovations and the variety of payment technologies merchants require.
I had a chance to touch on this trend when I spoke on a panel discussion alongside O.B. Rawls IV, Chief Executive Officer and President at iPayment Inc., and Brian Mahony, Chief Strategy Officer at Elavon, Inc. The topic examined how traditional payment service providers are evolving their distribution models to meet business customers’ needs. We explored the way that traditional services providers are changing their distribution models to reach and engage business owners to a packed conference room.
ISO and ISV convergence
The panel discussion was a great venue for me to bring up the thought leadership behind our latest whitepaper on the ISO/ISV convergence trend. I explained the notion of the “blurring” of the lines that once sharply defined ISVs and ISOs, and how ISOs are becoming ISVs and ISVs are seeking out ISOs. That creation offers both collaboration and acquisition opportunities for ambitious ISOs, as well as challenges.
For ISOs, behaving like an ISV opens up a range of potential new revenue streams, by enabling them to work with new customers they would never have been able to support previously. Going down this route can also help ISOs support merchants in streamlining their supply chain and saving time and resources – something that we continuously support our ISO partners with as they evolve and adapt their services.
Ultimately, the value of shows like ETA TRANSACT will become clear in the form of benefit for consumers and merchants. Every year the ETA TRANSACT show highlights the best of the industry and provides an indication of things to come. From partnerships, to technological innovations, to industry consolidation – TRANSACT is the pulse of the market and sets the tone for the months and years to come. We’re delighted to help set the pace for the future of the evolving payments landscape and thank all those who stopped by at our booth during the show. I am excited to see where we will be in a year at TRANSACT in 2019. Until next year…