Posted January 15, 2020 by FreedomPay

Giving Gen Z and Millennials More at the Point of Sale

Consumers in the U.S are growing increasingly frustrated at the slow progress that has been made in addressing the acceleration of technology at the point of sale. Whether it be unclear or inconsistent messaging (e.g., contactless), disjointed back-end systems, rapidly evolving and expanding payment options, or a continued lack of properly implemented payment security solutions – consumers do not appreciate, and will not remain loyal to, ‘the friction.’  A void quickly being filled by the Amazon(s) of the world, who can provide a complete end-to-end ecosystem of capabilities with a frictionless consumer experience, this poses an existential commercial problem for other businesses.

No matter the size of merchant, the challenge to serve the tech savvy consumer is becoming increasing complex.  Demand for more innovative user experiences, seamlessly integrated back-end systems, and easier and faster ways to pay for goods and services is a daily challenge, continually increasing the level of system disparity and fragmentation.  This means that the biggest issue facing merchants is how they upgrade and sync complex legacy payment tech systems to stay relevant and ahead of the competition.  In other words, businesses must futureproof their payment technology to enable growth.

FreedomPay is leading the debate on this new world of data driven customer-centric commerce and for the hundreds of companies who work with us, it’s about overcoming the payment data and digital infrastructure challenges. Those who’ve tackled this successfully know they will deliver growth in 2020 and beyond.

That said, thousands of businesses still need help with their payment options, legacy technology and internal data. This new research uncovers and quantifies the significant impact technology is having at the point of sale both for the merchant and the customer and the disparate behaviors when buying goods and services.

Our research has found that security remains a key concern when considering new technology payments and methods. And yet, there is no doubt that the adoption of new technology, if implemented correctly, will reduce risk and compliance issues.

The use of contactless and mobile wallets in North America will accelerate. Just look at what’s happening in other parts of the world such as Europe and so, we believe the time is now right for change. Businesses will thrive when they focus on the customer and deliver a truly holistic approach to payments.

Posted November 20, 2019 by FreedomPay

The Rapid & Changing World of Commerce Platforms as a Service

The world of commerce platforms now expands beyond transactional payments—information is king! Host Tyler Kern and Barry Stearn, director of partner success for Europe’s division of FreedomPay, discussed emerging payment trends, and how this fast-evolving landscape is becoming more complex.

“Payments has become really an information business,” said Stearn. “Yes, there is a transactional exchange, there is a packet of data that passes from the merchant through to the processor for authorization…but built in that consumer journey, look at all the elements that exist around that process.”

Stearn went on to explain how the back end-data engine can help businesses, e.g. the service industry, capitalize on the many customer interactions at those establishments.

“At Freedom Pay, we have the ability not only to capture information at the point of sale around what that loyal customer is buying, we can also build out an analytical token of said consumer profile,” Stearn said.

This securely stored environment allows the client to better understand who their loyal customer is, and to properly market offers and promotions that make sense.

Posted October 31, 2019 by FreedomPay

Turn Your POS Into A Revenue Boosting Content Platform

More than two decades ago, Microsoft’s Bill Gates declared of the internet “content is king”. That statement still resonates today, even more so, with the prevalence of smart devices, social media and ‘anywhere’ connectivity.

For those who own, or can provide access to, a consumer-facing ‘content channel’, there’s now a massive opportunity to generate revenue from organizations looking to push content that persuades consumers to buy.

Whether you operate a retail outlet, stadium, hotel, theme park or even a university campus, chances are you already have a physical POS estate, with terminals that are packed with sales processing power, full color displays and even multi-media capability. You may not realize it but these integrated online and mobile checkouts, represent a rich new channel of opportunity and revenue.

Having spent your hard-earned profit building a great customer UX at the sales point, it makes sense to try to generate as much return on your investment as you can. That means finding new ways to drive extra revenue and, with FreedomPay’s DecisionPoint Network™ (DPN), it may be easier than you think.

Get your POS working harder

DPN lets you reimagine the role of the POS. Thinking beyond simple acceptance and transforming checkout as an end to end marketing platform. One that can enhance the customer experience with targeted advertising and special event notifications. DPN enables the POS to deliver persuasive branding and advertising in real-time at the exact moment customers are ready to buy.

With little effort, you can turn your sales point into a highly targeted digital advertising channel that generates revenue for you and your partners. It won’t impact your compliance or security as DPN is offered as a component of FreedomPay’s fully PCI Validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) solution, which facilitates secure and fast onsite payments.

You can leverage DPN to improve your own experience – with sample ad messaging, to launch emerging technology-accepted methods of payment, new products/merchandise offerings, live discounts/offers, and redeem reward points at payment check out. DPN also allows third-party advertisers to purchase space on your POS too.

Real-time ads and content at the POS

The POS provides a dedicated content network that spans many retailers, reaching hundreds of millions of consumers every day. Not when they are watching TV, browsing the internet or on the street (when they are distracted, and their concentration is low) but when they are 100% focused and in buying mode, right at the decision point.

Unlike other digital channels, advertising on the POS gives brands 100% share of voice and 100% viewability with ad-exposure times of 10-15 seconds, all in a brand safe environment with no risk of ad fraud and ad blocking.

DPN makes it easy for advertisers to target ads, exploiting your POS estate to effectively influence conversion/upsell opportunity. At the same time, it enhances your customer experience and provides you with a lucrative revenue stream. What’s not to love?

By delivering content at the checkout, it’s clear that you can deepen your customer relationships, drive loyalty and increase average order value (AOV) by communicating targeted discounts, and offers in real-time. It really is true, content is king, and thanks to DPN you can now use it to reap royal rewards!

Cedric Lourie, Director of Digital Development for FreedomPay, follows how digital media continues to develop creative methods of advertising and unpacks what is worrying marketers in today’s content-driven climate in this podcast.

Posted October 10, 2019 by FreedomPay

It’s Time To Tap Into EMV’s Benefits

As a consumer, it’s still surprising to go into a store, and be asked to ‘swipe’ rather than ‘dip or tap’. While in Europe EMV has been the norm for almost a decade, here in the US the reality is there is still a long way to go, even though the market has been transitioning from traditional mag-stripe cards to EMV since 2015.

Today, more than half of credit and debit cards worldwide are now EMV and nearly two-thirds of all card-present transactions involve EMV. Despite this, many mom-and-pop stores and home-grown retailers have yet to make the switch.

It appears that, even as adoption rates increase, there’s still resistance from some merchants to enable EMV acceptance. In many cases, they’re simply reluctant to replace their outdated mag-stripe infrastructure with point of sale devices that can read chip card data.

So why should retailers switch to EMV? 

While there are many reasons, the most obvious is because it is much more secure than traditional mag-stripe cards which have several vulnerabilities – cards can be stolen before they are signed, signatures can be erased and forged, and magnetic stripes can be cloned without the owners knowledge.

On the other hand, with its integrated chip (IC), EMV is very hard to copy or counterfeit.  EMV cards offer two types of authorization – signature or PIN containing up to six digits. When the card is PIN enabled, it’s even more secure and if the card is stolen, the thief needs the PIN to use it. In markets where EMV is established, payment card fraud rates have fallen significantly, by up to 76% according to Visa.

But if you are still unconvinced, there are other reasons, beyond security, why EMV is a great investment:

  • Reduced liability and fewer chargebacks
    EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the major card issuers who developed it to solve their collective card security issues. In many countries, including here in the US, these card issuers and their processors are now implementing liability shifts for non-EMV transactions – transferring the onus from the issuer to the merchant if a fraudulent transaction takes place. This means that if you don’t support EMV you are more likely than your EMV-accepting competitor to see your hard-earned profit get eaten up by fines, fees and chargebacks.
  • Convenient for consumers and staff.
    EMV offers faster, more convenient payments, including enabling contactless ‘tap and go’ payments. If you can accept contactless, you can transact faster than with cash, meaning shorter lines, less hassle than reconciling/banking dollars and less temptation of theft at the point of sale too.
  • EMV paves the way for e-loyalty and more
    Its ‘smart chip’ can hold more than payment data, creating opportunity for added value services and features such as supporting complex loyalty schemes. It can also be used to implement everything from mobile wallet applications to charity donations. Increasingly, EMV is also being used to support transportation, ticketing and secure site access.
  • Use EMV POS devices for more than cards
    With contactless enabled EMV readers, retailers can also accept NFC and mobile payments. With more people carrying smartphones than cash or cards – especially millennials and Gen Z – it means you’re much less likely to miss a sale, and more likely to see AOV increase.


Combined with smart acceptance devices, commerce-enriched payment gateways and POS service apps, there’s no question that EMV gives sales businesses lots to get excited about.


High value retailers more susceptible to fraud can minimize their risk, while low value, high volume outlets can speed throughput and convenience, and those where service drives repeat business can deliver a raft of new customer-facing loyalty services connected to the consumers EMV card.


So, if you are looking to gain greater security, reduce lines, and drive revenue, why wait?


Learn more about EMV benefits here.


Posted October 03, 2019 by FreedomPay

How A Seamless Customer Payment Experience Is The Key To Sales Success

Customers are becoming more demanding, and the retailers who keep up with the latest payments solutions, payments platform and point of sale (POS) systems will be the ones who are the most successful.

Think back just 10 years and no-one was using a smartphone to pay for goods and services. There were no wearable devices like Apple watches or mobile wallets that you could use for payment processing, and when you went to a concert or a coffee shop, you could not order and pay for refreshments in advance and avoid the crowds.

Jump forward a decade, and this is now the norm. Consumer-centric payment technology has advanced to a point where you can even use your face to authorize a payment. As technology continues to progress, the number of ways people want to pay increases, and retailers must keep up to compete.

Seamless customer payment experiences are the key

The importance of a seamless customer payment experience cannot be underestimated, and enticing your existing customers back is the key to sales success and customer retention. Assessing data which helps you understand customer behaviour can be strenuous but there are systems which allow you to undertake a deep, granular analysis of the way different customers interact with retailers; what they buy, how often and, importantly, how they pay for their purchases.

Using this data, you can create a unique loyalty offering, giving your best customers access to discounts, or exclusive events that will give them a great customer experience. Loyalty schemes come in all shapes and sizes, and using the latest technology provides not just a safe, secure and simple payment environment, but one that makes the customer/retailer interaction as beneficial as possible for both parties.

Future payment services could become even more integrated with the advent of open banking across Europe. The possibilities going forward could include the complete removal of transaction fees, direct settlement and even low-cost credit for customers at the checkout.

As a retailer, you want a system that is future-proof, so choose a payment provider that applies new technology to meet the latest data protection regulations, payment systems and the widest possible range of loyalty options.

Posted October 03, 2019 by FreedomPay

Don’t Take Risks! 5 Steps to Understanding PCI Compliance

No matter how big or small your organization, whether you sell products or services or both, if you process, store or transmit credit card or payment data then it’s important to be PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant. If you don’t your business could be at risk from fraud, fines, and a wrecked reputation.

  • Risk from fraud
    Retail Fraud surged 30% last year with merchants now paying nearly $3 for every dollar lost. As more retailers invest in anti-fraud solutions, criminals are targeting retailers with vulnerabilities they can exploit with minimal effort. If you’re not PCI compliant you become easy pickings for them.
  • Risk from fines
    PCI compliance is not legally mandated, so there’s no criminal charges if you aren’t compliant. However, if you suffer a data breach while not in full compliance, you could be liable to a steep fine from the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), and possibly GDPR (in Europe), which holds you accountable for how you safeguard your customers’ data.
  • Risk from lost reputation
    While your business may find it easy to bounce back financially from any criminal losses or fines, the same is not true for your reputation. Once word gets out that your systems aren’t secure, it can impact even the most loyal customers.

PCI safeguards the payment chain

Being PCI compliant means that your business is either meeting the standards and best practices as outlined within PCI DSS or outsourcing to others who are. In particular, the PCI DSS is designed to protect your key transaction systems and processes including:

  • Card readers and point of sale (POS) systems (hardware and software)
  • Store-based networks and wireless access routers
  • Payment card data storage and transmission (e.g. payment gateways)
  • Payment card data stored in paper-based records
  • Online payment applications and shopping carts

The Standard specifies 12 requirements, which are organized into six control objectives relating to the storage, transmission and processing of cardholder data.

In effect this means that merchants are responsible for compliance wherever they come into contact with customers’ ‘sensitive’ data.  That means keeping well documented records and ensuring staff are trained and systems and processes are maintained to PCI standards.

Five Steps to PCI Compliance

No surprise that many sales organizations, already struggling to get to grips with data security, are   failing to meet their initial PCI compliance assessments.

So, what’s the best way to make PCI compliance plain sailing? Here are five key steps you can take to keep you on track:

  1. Understand your scope and PCI requirements
    Before you start, it’s important to establish where you currently stand in terms of the PCI criteria. The applicable requirements are different for different businesses (currently 9 categories). These are determined by transaction pathway and exposure to cardholder data. Identifying all the system and components that are located within, or connected to, your cardholder data environment, will give you a good indication of your ‘scope’.
  2. Consider how to aid compliance and reduce scope
    Payment strategy and solutions can have a huge impact on your PCI scope. For example, many online merchants outsource all their data to third-party service providers. As they never touch or view customer credit cards or raw payment data, their scope is significantly reduced, leaving minimal criteria for them to follow. The risk is carried by their partner, who will be responsible for all applicable PCI requirements. Where you are responsible for customer payment data in card present scenarios, you can minimize scope using PCI point to point encryption (P2PE) in conjunction with tokenization to reduce handling of sensitive data.
  3. Follow the PCI assessment process and use the guides to stay on track
    Completing a PCI self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) will help you assess your current compliance level. There are different versions of this depending on your type of business (see point 1). The relevant guidebook will take you through the process of identifying your current practice and what you have to do to bring your payment security into line with PCI. There are lots of merchant resources to help on the PCI Security Standards Council website.
  4. Ensure your systems make the grade – and change them if they don’t
    Any gaps flagged in step 3 should be rectified. Fixes may be easy (e.g. tweaking an audit process) or more complex (e.g. changing outdated devices, non-compliant payment platforms and even your payment service provider). You can use the SAQ to re-assess your improvements and make sure you’re ready to procced to the next stage.
  5. Complete your AOC and inform relevant parties
    Once you’re happy with your SAQ, you can complete a formal attestation of compliance (AOC). This claims your business is fully compliant with all relevant PCI standards (according to your business category). If required, now is the time to have a QSA (qualified security assessor) audit and report on your compliance to validate your own findings. Once approved, you must notify relevant credit card companies and/or banks who may request an additional external vulnerability scan to finalize the process.

The key message is “Don’t leave PCI to chance”.  If you’re not certain, it makes sense to get help finding out rather than ignoring the issues and letting your security lag.  Most solution providers will be happy to talk through any sticking points. Or you can contact the PCI SSC for a list of approved experts to guide you along the way.

And remember, the PCI DSS is not a tick in the box standard. It is an on-going process and checks need to be carried out regularly, which may include an annual audit, to ensure you remain compliant and your customers protected.

Posted September 20, 2019 by FreedomPay

What Are Platforms – And Where Are They Leading?

There’s lots of hype around platforms these days. It used to mean a technical base – like a computer and operating system from which to run software and processes or develop other technologies.

Today, it means much more than that. Fueled by cloud computing, the internet, and algorithms, modern platforms can push out real-time, on demand services, support digital frameworks, and empower new ecosystems and economies.

Flexible foundations
Platforms are structures that allow multiple products to be built within the same technical framework. Companies invest in platforms in the hope that future products can be developed faster and cheaper, than if they built them stand-alone.

Platforms can:

  • support other platforms e.g. Apple iOS, Google Android,
  • provide digital tools for the creation of market places. e.g. Shopify and Magento
  • facilitate their own retail markets e.g. Amazon and eBay
  • deliver services e.g. Uber and Airbnb

Integral to payments

If you want to enable transactions, either from a physical location or a webstore, then you’ll need a payment platform.  This provides the core systems and technology that allow you to accept a sale. It can be contained in a POS, a mobile app or an ecommerce system.

Depending on your business, it can be simple (based on standard processes and templates) or complex with high degrees of customization including hardware and software integrations to enhance the customer-facing UX or to streamline back office processes.

If a platform is “open”, it will work with apps from third-parties and may support their development through Open APIs and software toolkits. Online payment platforms normally incorporate a processing gateway and some form of security software or process (e.g. point to point encryption and tokenization).

So, what are the benefits?
Apart from empowering organizations to do specific jobs, modern platforms using open-source software, cloud storage and computing provide the scale required to cut cost.

They grant immediate access to vast computing resources, and information and communication technology tools, lowering barriers to usage and opening opportunities to do much more with less resource and effort.  

For example, in the past five years or so, we have seen the rise of ‘payment as a service’ platforms where merchants can outsource or rent commerce capability rather than having to own or build entire computing systems. This makes payments an operational rather than a capital expense and reduces the burden of compliance (e.g. minimizing PCI DSS scope).

Creating new ecosystems
As businesses shift from traditional to digital models, services are becoming faster, cheaper and more accessible through apps and over the cloud. For example, video rentals have been replaced by the likes of Netflix, vacation rental and taxi businesses have been superseded by Airbnb, Uber and Lyft.

Increasingly, platforms are becoming economic tools with software layers added to facilitate apps that exploit data over the internet, creating new extended ecosystems. It’s likely we will see the emergence of more digital marketplaces as synergistic businesses collaborate and connect using central platforms to support new gamechangers such as IoT, blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

The result will be an explosion of service choice for users and many new revenue generating opportunities for merchants. Welcome to the platform economy!

Posted May 08, 2019 by FreedomPay

RetailEXPO19 With Barry Stearn

Barry Stearn, Director, Brand Partnership Success, talks to our Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications, Liesl Smith, at RetailEXPO19 in London. They talk about the current payments landscape and pain point for services in the retail industry.

How important is it for FreedomPay to be here [at RetailEXPO] today?

It’s crucial that FreedomPay have a presence here today for RetailEXPO. Our whole organization is built around delivering success and revenues through our partner channel, and that obviously spans our product set of eCommerce, card present, moto and mobile as well. So, for us to be here in our own right and supporting our partners such as Oracle, Agilysys, Omnico in their journey and joining us on our journey across different territories such as Europe, it’s absolutely crucial.

Have you had good feedback already at the show?

Absolutely! It’s been quite a whirlwind of engagement so far, our building blocks are leveraging our relationships in our US organizations and our established integrations and taking advantage of them across different territories as well, so it’s been a very collaborative and an exciting journey so far and I’m sure over the course of the two days it’s going to get even more in depth and intense.

And when working with these partners, what are you seeing as the pain points for merchants today?

Again, you could verticalize that question and you could look at supportive different functionality across different verticals. Again, as we’re speaking at a retail event that’s not to say that FreedomPay aren’t very successful in other verticals such as hospitality, F&B and lodging. If we bring it back down to the retail point of view it’s about a general acceptance, and ubiquitous of integrations, so being able to accept card payments across a full omnichannel experience and ensuring that you support all local card brands in different territories.  Also, the standard processes of reliability, speed of transaction and obviously compliance and security are very relevant today.

Posted May 08, 2019 by FreedomPay

RetailEXPO19 With Chris Kronenthal

Chris Kronenthal, President and CTO, talks to our Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications, Liesl Smith, at RetailEXPO19 in London. They talk about the advancements in payment infrastructure and the main recurring themes of the event.

So this is your first time to RetailEXPO in London, it’s exciting for the company – give me an idea of why FreedomPay, why now? Why are we coming to Europe?

I think we see a pretty substantial change in the eco system here, where originally maybe five years ago, perhaps even up until three years ago, a lot of the focus was on satisfying four chip and pin requirements, merchants were starting to become more educated about how security works in a PCI validated point-to-point encrypted state and now that that’s been embraced by the merchant demographic, they’re wanting the next stage of evolution here. They’re wanting to understand okay I have the payment infrastructure and we understand now the concepts of contactless, of PCI validated security; how do we take that the next step further and integrate that fully into our systems. How do we drive solutions around identity? How do we drive solutions around loyalty? And I think we see a tremendous opportunity to bring a payments platform to market that solves a lot of those merchants needs in a very standardised fashion.

So you talk about integration – how easy it for a merchant to make that change?

That’s really one of FreedomPay’s very strong offerings in the market – the strength of our integration libraries. When we engage an enterprise merchant or a large-scale ISV partner, we have both the methodology and the toolkits to make that integration very quickly. For example, if you’re an enterprise point of sale, even operating in industries as complex as lodging, we can get you up on our platform and utilising a large percentage of our capabilities in as little as four to six weeks.

At RetailEXPO, what are you seeing as the main themes? Are you seeing that FreedomPay is actually offering something unique to the marketplace?

I think a lot of the merchants here are still trying to understand how to implement things like omnichannel concepts, where from a North American market perspective most of our solutions have been fully integrated and essentially omnichannel capable for the past decade. The new addition to the North American market was layering in chip and pin and contactless solutions into those already fully integrated offerings. So, when you apply that to the European market, we find a lot of the merchants here are really looking for that Next Level of platform approach and how they can fully integrate their business to seamlessly tie together identity, loyalty, payments and really use that to drive business intelligence and get to that holy grail proposition a lot of merchants are looking for.