Posted September 29, 2022 by FreedomPay

FreedomPay & The Future of FinTech

Barry Stearn joined FreedomPay 3 years ago as Vice President of Partnerships (EMEA) and boasts 15 years of experience across various Payments companies, device manufacturers, and gateways. Barry shares his insights around FreedomPay, industry trends, and the future of the sector.

What sets FreedomPay apart from other FinTechs?
FreedomPay is a Technology company that does Payments. We lead with innovation. This differentiates us from other Payments companies within our space, which seem to drive with Payments and play catch up when it comes to innovation and Technology. Our approach is progressive and forward-thinking. We were first to market with PCI validation, the leading encryption for Payments in the US.

Barry Stearn, Vice President of Partnerships

Describe the Next Level Commerce™ platform.
FreedomPay’s data-driven, unified commerce platform authorizes and settles card transactions made online, card present, and from mobile assets. We’re an agnostic solution, so we’ll integrate with any banks, payment providers, and Points of Sale for ultimate merchant convenience. 

Our integrations with localized service providers such as Network International in the Middle East and Redsys in Spain enable us to replicate our solution globally. As a result, we’ve seen exponential growth in regions such as the UK and Ireland during the first three years of our European existence.

We partner with the best-in-class brands across all verticals, including hospitality, retail, F&B, lodging, stadiums, gaming, education, and healthcare. Some of our key partnerships include Marriott International, Inditex, Footlocker, Dine Brands, Sephora, and MGM Resorts International.

Could I benefit from working with FreedomPay as a partner or merchant customer?
Absolutely! It doesn’t matter which sector you’re in, or whether you’re an enterprise company, an SME, or a mid-corp. FreedomPay supports businesses like yours, optimizing commerce processes for companies of all sizes.

Customer satisfaction is one of our core values, and we’re proud to say that not one enterprise customer has left FreedomPay in a decade.

How can you help my business build customer loyalty?
Our Next Level Commerce™ platform provides merchants with comprehensive Business Insights around consumer purchase habits. These can be used to personalize loyalty incentives targeted at meeting individual customers’ wants and needs. This contributes to strong brand relationships and an increased likelihood of repeat purchases.

Which functionalities do you support?
We support additional functionalities such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and the innovative, alternative payment methods that direct customers demand. This ranges from touchless commerce checkout experiences and contactless payments to Direct Currency Conversion, or DCC (payment in your home currency while abroad).

What is the future of Payments?
As we see it, there are two key elements: touchless commerce and open banking.

Firstly, touchless commerce enables a consumer to register their custom through a business’ mobile app, entering a store or venue, and walk out with a basket of goods. They do not need to scan items, pay at checkout, or select an in-store payment option from their wallet or digital wallet. Going forward, Payments is focused on delivering innovation and a frictionless consumer experience.

Secondly, open banking is catalyzing the evolution of Payments architecture. Millions of customers across Europe and the US use open banking on a weekly basis to make account to account payments or to pay for goods and services. This is democratizing technology, but there is some way for open banking to go to become ubiquitous in Payments globally.

Thank you, Barry!

Check out our platformpartnerships, or hear more from Barry.

Posted September 28, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Jen Shoemaker

FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series seeks to inspire ambitious women globally to consider STEM careers and take on leadership responsibilities. FreedomPay is committed to boosting the proportion of women studying STEM subjects, currently representing 21% of Engineering majors and 19% of Computer science majors, by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories.

Jennifer (Jen) Shoemaker started at FreedomPay in 2019. The highly educated Platform Solutions Manager has 12 years of experience in Engineering and Software.

How did you get into STEM?
When I was a child, I loved numbers and excelled in Math. I went to college for Engineering as it combines Math and Science, which are two of my passions and were my strongest subjects at High School. I majored in Materials Engineering and began my career as a Materials Engineer for the Navy, working to control ship corrosion.

I moved on from the role as governmental red tape slowed processes down. I wanted to work with a product that would have a more immediate impact on the end user. I went to grad school and earned a Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering. Software Development interested me as it involves logic and many aspects of Systems Engineering.

What was your next step?
After graduating, I worked for Thomson Reuters on a product for banks to perform background checks and due diligence. The role combined up-front work and back-end configuration, from project management and requirements gathering, to supporting technical teams by implementing and prioritizing code. I was promoted to COB Platform Technical Manager, leading a team of Technology Consultants to develop and support complex, large scale global implementations of Client Onboarding (COB) software.

Three years ago, I joined FreedomPay. Our software is ubiquitous, and I was keen to understand the back-end technology!

Tell us about your role at FreedomPay.
I lead the Infrastructure Project Management team. I coordinate with teams across the company and supervise project managers and business analysts. I oversee projects related to infrastructure, including building hardware, servers, security, and even data centers.

FreedomPay is a very entrepreneurial company, so people are receptive to solving any needs you might identify and implementing a solution. Your contribution and its positive impact are recognized.

How would you describe the company culture at FreedomPay?
There is seamless collaboration and people are very happy to help one another, however they can. People appreciate and acknowledge a job well done.

Policies such as remote and hybrid working are helpful for employees with young families. It’s great to see people in person at the office but having the long-term flexibility to manage your own time is really valuable for a work-life balance. 

What is it like to be a woman in STEM?
People are often surprised to see a female Engineer, but I’ve found they show the same level respect for men and women in STEM. It’s most important to be confident in your capabilities. 

Do you consider any Women in STEM to be role models?
My biggest female role model was the Head of the Materials Engineering department at my college, who was also my Senior Design Advisor. She was intelligent, educated, well-respected, and self-assured, as well as fair and compassionate as a professor. Her strong soft skills complemented her technical understanding, and she motivated me to work hard to be like her.

Explaining technical concepts clearly to non-technical people and bridging the knowledge gap is a challenge in STEM. There are left-brained and right-brained people, but I particularly respect those who can balance analytical thought with communication and creativity.

Why should women in Tech consider FreedomPay when applying for roles?
The culture is very supportive and collaborative, for all genders. The company promotes men and women equally and takes an active approach to professional development.

Women at FreedomPay support each other and there’s a sense of camaraderie. We have a women’s channel on Teams, attend the annual Women’s PA Conference, and set up company-sponsored events for International Women’s Week. 

Thank you, Jen!

Are you interested in joining FreedomPay? We’re hiring. Visit our careers page today. FreedomPay is an equal opportunities employer, motivated to hire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM.

Posted September 19, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Laura Pride

By 2030, almost three million young women may be working in Technology. FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series aims to inspire ambitious girls and women to consider careers in STEM and motivate them to take on leadership responsibilities by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories. 

Laura Pride is Global Head of Marketing at data insight and technology-led Communications agency, Indicia Worldwide. We asked Laura to share her experience, advice, and inspiration as a successful woman leader in a male-dominated sector. 

Are you from a Tech background?
No. I studied Anthropology and French at University, followed by a vocational Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism. I started my career in Journalism, developing strong communication skills and strengthening my ability to read and actively listen to people from all walks of life.

Which transferrable skills did you develop?
I turned stories around for radio, TV, or online audiences within a day. I digested and reformulated complex topics for a range of audiences, from in-depth governmental reports to scientific data from the Environment Agency. How could I engage stakeholders and promote AI or Machine Learning if I didn’t understand what they were and what they meant to and for the target audience?

In Data and Tech, presentation is key to capturing the depth of expert knowledge and repackaging it to entertain and inform. When I moved into data-led Marketing and Communications, the key skill set I’d nurtured didn’t change. This eased my transition into the sector.

I’m also highly skilled behind the camera and in post-production. This was very unusual 10 to 15 years ago, particularly for a woman! My technical abilities in software editing and filming have enabled me to create quality content and campaigns while working both in Journalism and Marketing and Comms.

Why is Tech a good industry for women?
There’s constant movement and innovation, creating an abundance of opportunities. The prevalence of remote and hybrid roles levels the playing field for men and women.

How can we promote gender parity in STEM?
I’ve been involved in initiatives encouraging young girls and teenagers to study STEM subjects. Gender diversity in Tech is improving by championing women working in traditionally male-dominated environments. Visibility and access to education are key to motivating underrepresented groups to consider careers in STEM and sustain progress.

Advice for companies?
To recruit strong female candidates, hire and promote women senior leaders. If the pool of talent applying for a position isn’t diverse, ask yourself and your company why that may be and how you can attract a wider selection of applicants. Consider what could be putting candidates off from applying. Also, implement flexible policies which support and invest in working parents.

How can people be strong allies to women in Tech?
Give women a platform and speak up publicly to champion women. Promote and praise women for their successes. When senior leaders of companies do this, it cascades down through the company to promote a positive and inclusive environment.

Which women inspire you?
Liesl Smith, the current Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales Enablement at FreedomPay. I used to work with her. She’s knowledgeable, supportive, and forthright… she doesn’t compromise on quality and standards. It’s inspiring to see her upward career trajectory.

What would you look for in a mentee?
Someone willing to learn, who’s open to listening to advice and experience. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask for support, whether around developing a skill, managing relationships, or sourcing information about a new field or company. 

On the flip side, what qualities are important in a mentor?
Honesty, someone who will give their opinion and offer tangible advice with examples and solutions based on their knowledge, expertise, and even their contacts. Having a mentor who’s been through something similar is powerful. A mentor should be relatable and not too distanced from your circumstances, so someone much more senior than you may not be the right fit. 

What is your greatest career success?
When I found my career in News, Media, and TV incompatible with having a young family, I successfully used my transferrable skills to move to the corporate environment of Marketing and Comms. 

Do you have any advice for girls and women considering a career in STEM?
Firstly, know your worth and put yourself forward. Banish the impostor syndrome. Understanding the value of my skill set enabled me to find new opportunities in a different sector after going through a redundancy. It’s good to know where your areas to improve are, but don’t let them stop you going for opportunities. Equally, always prioritize your mental health and well-being by stepping away from toxic, unproductive, or unsupportive environments.

Secondly, keep learning. If you study something that you’re passionate about, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it. 

Thirdly, keep trying new things. You’ll develop transferrable skills and experience while you find the industry or sector you gel with, even if it’s not quite what you expected. 

Finally, find a manager, boss, or mentor who’s interested in you and your development and will champion you and your abilities. 

How can women network remotely?
Reach out to people on social media. Be bold. Comment on LinkedIn posts and start a dialogue or join industry groups. This will give you visibility and the opportunity to make connections and grow your network.

Thank you, Laura!

Are you interested in joining FreedomPay? We’re hiring. Visit our careers page today. FreedomPay is an equal opportunities employer, motivated to hire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM.

Posted September 13, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Irina Solovey

Women currently make up approximately 25% of people working in Tech in the US. FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series seeks to elevate gender parity by inspiring ambitious women globally to consider STEM careers and take on leadership responsibilities. Strong, successful, and passionate women share their stories.

Irina Solovey is a Software Technology Team Lead at FreedomPay. Born in Belarus, the mom-of two holds two degrees, speaks multiple languages, and joined the company in November 2018.

Tell us about your job .
I lead two teams of six and seven people. I oversee various projects, resolving complex technical difficulties and ensuring we meet all requirements. Alongside my role as Software Technology Team Lead, I act as a Scrum Master.

The fast-paced environment at FreedomPay works well for me. I enjoy the constant challenge and continuous learning. We have very complicated technical products, which suits me perfectly as I love solving puzzles and strategizing.

What is your background? Did you study Tech?
While I don’t have any formal education in Tech or programming languages, I did receive two degrees – one in Economics with Organizational Production, and the other in Marketing with Economics.

I had 10 years of experience as a Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer and QA Lead when I joined FreedomPay. I was based in Belarus, working mostly for outsourcing companies with web-based applications. 

How did you get into Technology?
I was encouraged to try out a temporary position in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by my dad, who was a Developer. I was later offered a role by another company in QA – I loved it!

Are there any women who inspired you to work in STEM?
My mom and grandma have been my biggest role models. They were both Heads of Department, working in Economics. 

I also admire the women I work with. I learn a lot from the amazing Project Managers and Product Owners at FreedomPay who lead successful teams and have vast technical knowledge. 

Any advice for girls and women that are hoping to succeed in STEM careers?
Be curious and proactive. Do your research and always do your homework. Figure out what you want and go for it.

Why should women consider joining FreedomPay? 
FreedomPay has vacancies to suit all different tastes and skill sets. We have openings in Management, Technical roles that deal with code, and lots of entry-level positions. As there is a shortage of skilled people with relevant knowledge in the labor market, we focus on training talent.

Also, FreedomPay’s remote work policy gives employees the flexibility to manage their work and home lives. 

How would you describe the culture at FreedomPay?
At FreedomPay, everyone is very supportive and eager to help out – all you need to do is ask. We’re all aligned on and committed to our mission, too. When we speak about our projects and the company, there’s a spark in our eyes. People truly enjoy their work.

We’re also very inclusive. There are a lot of women in my department. We’re looking for strong candidates from all genders, races, ages, religious backgrounds, and sexual orientations. 

Any final thoughts?
English isn’t my native language, so getting to where I am now has been a challenge. But I’m not unique in my journey. If I can do it, everyone can do it! I want to inspire women to figure out what they want and go for it.

Thank you, Irina!

Are you interested in joining FreedomPay? We’re hiring. Visit our careers page today. FreedomPay is an equal opportunities employer, motivated to hire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM.