Posted January 08, 2019 by FreedomPay

How FreedomPay is Enhancing Customer Experience with Integrated Payment Solutions

Keeping pace with the vagaries of complex payment environments is not an easy task. So, what can companies do to stay relevant in the face of an ever-expanding yet interconnected ecosystem of commerce?

Pennsylvania-based FreedomPay has come up with an effective solution to this. “In the realm of ecommerce, there is a unique and pressing need for platforms that are consumer-centric. As such, from the FreedomPay perspective, we begin with the consumer, taking into account the challenges that they face in adopting technology when it comes to the broad genre of payments and cards ecosystem,” begins Chris Kronenthal, President and CTO of FreedomPay.

Placing the consumer at the core of the experience

This is the very ethos that underpins and drives the company’s product development, allowing it to introduce a multitude of unique solutions that place the consumer at the core while ensuring that they can seamlessly adopt the ever-evolving payment technology. Further, to keep up with the trend of globalization that is rapidly taking over the payments landscape, FreedomPay offers a significant opportunity to leverage its platform globally, providing coverage not just for card-not present payments but a fully card-present/card-not-present alternative payment solution that is completely integrated and globally accessible. Kronenthal continues, “One of the things that we remain highly committed to is the concept of fully integrated payments, and that’s a driving principle behind all of our products and solutions.”

To this end, considering the different touchpoints—web, mobile, kiosk, ecommerce, card present—FreedomPay provides a toolkit to integrators to bolt on to its platform in as little as two weeks. “Our solution assists clients in multiple industries, including hospitality, gaming, retail and education, with everything around offers, loyalty, discounting while allowing them to track customer identity, profiling, and customer behavior,” he adds. Besides, the platform seamlessly integrates for EMV—both online and offline PIN and is PCI-, GDPR-, and EMV-compliant, taking the merchant out of scope. With the various integration touchpoints bolted to the FreedomPay platform, covering payments, identity, and a multitude of the compliance requirements that sit on enterprise data warehouse infrastructure, merchants can track their customer identity across any of those touchpoints. “We equip clients with a clean set of data to start diving into for segmentation, marketing, and retargeting for increasing their success ratio for the customer,” mentions Kronenthal.

Seamlessly integrating a single platform to create an exceptional payment experience

As a platform provider, FreedomPay acts as the glue that federates disparate solutions—stand beside devices, semi-integrated appliances, or host payment pages—on a single platform such that they seamlessly integrate to provide exceptional customer experience. In an instance, MGM—one of the world’s leading hospitality and gaming companies—was struggling to provide a unified, integrated experience to its customers, in the wake of an array of point of sales solutions, check-in kiosks, an ecommerce site, a mobile application, along with the gaming operation. FreedomPay stepped in and mitigated the challenge at hand by tying all of MGM’s different point of sales, be it card-present, card-not-present, retail, lodging, food service along with ecommerce onto a single platform. Further, MGM implemented FreedomPay’s PCI-validated point-to-point encryption (P2PE) solution to govern their overall PCI compliance while receiving the best interchange and Bank of America services portfolio. “The company currently also has one of the highest dynamic currency conversion adoption rates, and our unique integrated plug-and- play solution was deployed around different properties within five weeks,” underscores Kronenthal.

One of the prominent, distinct capabilities of FreedomPay lies in driving the same level of integration capabilities similar to those of emerging fintech players while also serving as a pureplay technology company that doesn’t necessitate merchants to disrupt their existing technological footprint. “We act as the bridge that links the entire existing infrastructure, enabling clients to innovate and accelerate product adoption. This gives us a tremendous competitive advantage in the US and the emerging markets of Europe and APAC where we are currently expanding,” concludes Kronenthal.

This article first appeared in Banking CIO Outlook.

Posted January 07, 2019 by FreedomPay

What Shoppers Want From Airport Retail

The way shoppers interact within the confines of an airport have shifted significantly over the years. At one time airports were limited to souvenir shops and convenience stores, but the renewed focus on airport retail and varied concessions means there are more options for people to spend their time and money while they wait for their flights.

The holiday season undoubtedly means an increase in air travel. To gain a better understanding of airport spending habits during the holidays, FreedomPay commissioned a survey of 2,500 air travelers in the UK.

The survey uncovered a variety of airport shopping trends during the busy travel season:

Travelers spend one-third of their total airport time on shopping:

On average, survey respondents claim to spend 98 minutes at the airport before boarding their flight, with 29 of those minutes dedicated to duty free and/or retail shopping. Those who live in Scotland and London tend to spend the least amount of time at the airport prior to their flights, at 85 and 90 minutes respectively. Interestingly, travelers aged 18 to 34 years old spend the least amount of the time at the airport and the most amount of time in duty free shops, while travelers over 55 years old spend the most amount of time at the airport prior to their flight and the least amount of time in duty free shops.

The average spend at airports is around £60 ($76)

It’s not surprising that travelers aged 18-34 who spend the most amount of time in duty free shops are accountable for the highest spending levels, around £94 ($120). Regionally, people who live in Scotland tend to spend most at airports than any other region, around £82 ($104). Though men and women spend in different areas, men on average spend 20 percent more than women.
Food and beverage top airport sales overall, but young people spend more on retail goods While at the airport, visitors tend to spend the most on restaurants and beverages, followed by books and magazines, beauty and fragrance, and confectionary. Spend on gifts, luxury items, fashion and accessories spikes among those under 34 years old. In general, men are more likely to spend on alcohol, while women are more likely to prioritize confectionary.

Multiple ways to pay makes spending easier for travelers

The top methods of payments by travelers are debit cards at 87 percent, cash at 84 percent and credit cards at 60 percent. It was uncovered that airport customers find discounts and ease of payment most important in their shopping experience, followed by cash. It is important to note that one in four travelers under the age of 24 years old list e-payments in their top three forms of payment.

Airport restaurants and retailers that make it easy for customers to pay quickly and easily with multiple payment options will clearly fare better than those who don’t. The FreedomPay Commerce Platform ensures payments are processed faster, simpler and safer, ensuring travelers spend more shopping and less time waiting in line. Merchants using FreedomPay’s PCI validated, Point to Point Encryption (P2PE) Commerce Platform have a better understanding of travelers shopping habits and preferences, and as a result, can provide loyalty promotions and rewards targeted to their customer’s preferences.

About Us
FreedomPay operates in more than 100 airports in North America including all major hubs such as JFK, Houston and Philadelphia. If you are interested in learning more about FreedomPay’s capabilities, contact our team at sales@freedompay.com.

Posted October 18, 2018 by FreedomPay

How Kiosks are Taking Over the Food Service Industry

“Would you like fries with that?” might be a phrase of the past with many quick serve restaurants switching to new self-service ordering kiosks. But it’s not stopping technology from asking the question. With millennials becoming a major faction of the workplace, the ideals of speed, accuracy and personalization are taking precedent in deciding where to get lunch. People want food in a quick and easy way, as well as being able to get exactly what they want. As a result, many restaurants are making the switch to cashless kiosk systems at check-out, putting the customer first.

Shorter lunch breaks and longer work days require innovation in food service speed, and the addition of kiosks will decrease wait time, while cycling more customers through the ordering process. Online food ordering and delivery platforms such as Uber Eats and Caviar are ruling restaurant take out because of convenience and speed, but kiosks can help bring the focus back to sit-down, brick and mortar restaurants, and corporate cafes, keeping speed and efficiency as main ideals. In addition, a McDonald’s case study found kiosks reduce service times in fast food restaurants by nearly seven seconds, resulting in the potential market share increase of one to three percent.[i]

Customers are prioritizing getting exactly what they want, so restaurants and food service providers are following suit. Ordering on a kiosk gives the customer the power to clearly select everything in their order, from extra pickles to no onions. This also improves accuracy, as a customer can clearly input what they want, instead of relaying complicated and specific changes to a cashier.

Incorporating kiosks into our lives does not mean restaurants or cafes will lose their human touch, as many restaurants are turning their cashiers into “ambassadors,” who, instead of placing the order for the customer, will assist them in making their selection. The ambassadors facilitate easy ordering, and help the customer find exactly what they are looking for with speed and efficiency. Minimum wage hikes and labor shortages are also pushing companies to alternatives of traditional ordering structures with more of a focus on self-service systems. These systems can bring in more profit per customer, who are more likely to select an add-on via kiosk.

In an Appetize case study measuring sales at self-service kiosks against manned cashier terminals, not only did the kiosks result in more traffic, the data showed a 21 percent increase in average order size with 1.4 times more items in their cart at checkout. This all resulted in an increase of at least $5 per transaction.

Of course, one of the reasons kiosks are so attractive is that we are well into a world where cashless technology is often used for a wide range of purchases. This increases convenience, but it also increases the risk for potential credit card information theft. In this new era, it is vital security is as important as speed and convenience. Kiosks are created to be intuitive and provide the customer with a seamless dining journey. FreedomPay partners with Point of Sale (POS) vendors to make the entire experience smooth – from beginning to end, with their PCI validated, point to point encryption solution.

Expect to see continued growth with the future of kiosks. In the next five years customers can expect to see digital strategies, such as loyalty programs and surveys, within the kiosk to drive engagement. So next time you see a robot taking lunch orders, try it out, you can probably still get fries with that.[iii]

If you are interested in learning more about the FreedomPay technologies helping to speed up your transactions in a secure way and value added services, contact our team at sales team here.

[i] https://hbr.org/2015/03/how-self-service-kiosks-are-changing-customer-behavior

[iii] https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/how-self-ordering-kiosks-are-revolutionizing-restaurant-industry

Posted September 26, 2018 by FreedomPay

New UK Mandates Accelerate Growth of Contactless

As the leader in contactless payments, the UK has embraced the technology for over a decade. In the last few years, the UK has experienced a rapid uptake of contactless solutions, with digital transactions tripling over the past two years while cash payments dropped by 15 percent over the last year. This is thanks in part to the emergence of ApplePay, GooglePay and SamsungPay.

While conventional cards have contactless payment limits – currently £30 – wearables such as payment enabled smartphones and smartwatches do not and can be used to perform contactless transactions of any value.  Consumers in the UK have become accustomed to the ease and speed that contactless payment brings, happily adopting a wide variety of innovative payment wearables such as watches, bracelets and rings as well as portable instruments such as key fobs and labels. These instruments typically allow the consumer to skip the step of entering a PIN. The consumer expectation is that ePayment is a fast and convenient process – even more so than the hard cash it replaces!

As contactless payments in the UK continues to grow, several mandates on the horizon look set to accelerate adoption even further.

New Mandates for the UK

Now that the May 25th, 2018 deadline for GDPR compliance has passed, merchants in the UK are beginning to make preparations to align with other card brand and PCI mandates: by August 2019 all legacy terminals that are not contactless-enabled must be made ready or replaced and by April 30th 2020, any legacy payment terminal that is not compliant with the PCI security standard for PIN transaction PTS 3.0 devices can no longer be deployed unless purchased by that date.

In addition, card companies have already begun enforcing the Zero Floor Limit mandate, requiring all contactless transactions be authorized (VISA put this mandate into effect in October of 2017). The purpose of these mandates is to mitigate fraud given the growing number of payment instruments and cards that do not generally require any cardholder authentication when used.

Another likely result of these mandates is that contactless payments will continue to rise, as more consumers have the opportunity to tap to pay at even more points of service.

Meeting Mandates While Keeping Consumers Happy

Keeping compliant with new mandates and putting the consumer experience first is possible. The team at FreedomPay works with merchants to enable contactless on all terminals with the added security of PCI point-to-point encryption (PCI P2PE), in as little as three to four weeks. Our unified global platform allows for data protection and consumer privacy to be centrally managed, whether a consumer lives in the UK or elsewhere in the world. With recent accreditations from Elavon Europe, we can bring next generation ePayment, card present and eCommerce services to over 30 countries – offering one gateway to all pan European and Transatlantic payments.

FreedomPay ensures that merchants remain compliant and customers remain satisfied with fast and secure payments. Contact us today to learn more.

Posted August 13, 2018 by FreedomPay

Can Biometrics Become Mainstream?

A few years ago, making payments with a retinal scan seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie. Today, biometrics is the new buzzword in the security and payments processing industries.  However, getting biometric technology to comply with the realities of payments processing and the strict regulations protecting private data might be a bit more complicated than conventional payment options.

Biometrics uses unique physical characteristics—a fingerprint, the iris of your eye, or your face—to authenticate identity. At a retail level, when that biometric feature is matched to a credit card account, the purchaser is verified, and the purchase is approved.

The science of biometrics interconnects perfectly with the concept of contactless payment, yet there are clear barriers to entry for this new technology. One barrier may be that consumers aren’t eager or willing to have their eyes or fingers scanned and stored for later payment authentication uses. Behind the scenes, such a process would also require a third party to secure the consumer’s biometric data and then encrypt it when a merchant requests it for authentication.  Another barrier is the merchant community who would most likely be required to purchase costly new hardware. Even today there is resistance to EMV, the industry standard since 2015.

Visa is attempting to overcome these barriers with a pilot program for a new hybrid card, where the user’s fingerprint is securely stored in the card. When used, the user places his or her finger on the card’s sensor and the sensor-scanned print is compared to the stored print. A match or non-match is indicated by a green or red light, and the transaction is approved or declined. Best of all for merchants, the card is compatible with existing terminals that accept chip-based or contactless payments.

In general, American consumers seem to be late-adopters when it comes to payment technology. For example, according to PYMTs, Americans’ usage of contactless payment such as the Apple Pay mobile wallet or a tap-and-pay card is low compared to consumers in the UK and Australia.  When used, contactless payment seems to be more popular when paying for low cost items such as coffee or groceries.

There’s no disputing the speed or convenience of contactless payment at the POS. As cell phone users upgrade to newer devices that offer fingerprint versus password-based verification, acceptance of the biometrics concept within the payments universe may increase. In fact, 86 percent of surveyed participants by VISA said they would prefer biometrics to verify their identification versus an easily forgotten password. As with most things on the payment processing side of transactions, guaranteeing security of the data will be key.

As a company, FreedomPay closely follows payment trends and is on the leading edge of secure payment solutions. Driven by innovation, we’re excited to explore the possibilities of new technologies, such as biometric solutions.  If you’re interested in learning more about biometric solution contract our sales team here.

Posted July 24, 2018 by FreedomPay

Mobile Payments Unriddled

To be the global intersection of Fintech industry experts and analysts – where connections are built to bring clarity to the world of mobile technology and payments

The Pays

Apple Pay. Google Pay.  Alipay. Wait, how do I pay?

With 48 million people over the age of 14 using mobile apps last year, mobile payments have brought much-needed innovation to a legacy payments industry traditionally controlled by uninspiring bank technology. The emergence of the “Pays” has forced merchants to take a deeper look into their payments strategy, often unearthing a larger need for an overhaul of both the online and in-store checkout experience.

EMV to Mobile

With the industry migration from magnetic stripe to EMV (e.g., chip cards) acceptance, merchants were required to purchase new payment hardware to avoid fees associated with the EMV liability shift.  Fortunately, but unbeknownst to many, that same payment hardware has enabled mobile NFC payments for hundreds of thousands of merchants across the United States. So, if acceptance at the point-of-sale isn’t the issue, then what is?

The Winners and Losers

Although the popular mobile payments providers like Apple Pay and Google Pay utilize NFC communication, many of the more popular mobile apps, such as the Starbucks app, use QR code based payments.  NFC, which is a standard payment type with upgraded hardware, is much easier to implement than QR code based payment methods. Where NFC will work “out of the box” in most instances, QR code payments generally require more costly integration work with the point-of-sale system and the backend provider.  If QR code acceptance presents a larger barrier to entry for mainstream adoption, then why are QR code based mobile payment option, such as the Starbucks app, Alipay and WeChat Pay, seeing significantly more success than the NFC based mobile payment options, like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay?

Beyond Payment

Although year-over-year growth in mobile adoption is promising, non-affiliated mobile payments (e.g., Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.) still only account for less than 1% of all merchant transactions in the U.S.  Compare those numbers to China, where more than 90% of all transactions made by users in more than 10 different provincial regions were conducted through mobile devices. The delta? Value added services. Mobile apps like Alipay, WeChat Pay, and even successful merchant apps like Starbucks, have had a hyper-focus on providing value added services through their apps instead of focusing solely on conducting a payment.  Whether it’s the ability to earn redeemable points, order ahead, or pay your utility bills through a single app, successful mobile players have created an experience that gives power back to the consumer. The lagging mobile players in the U.S. need to focus on more than just payments processing. Ensuring a seamless consumer experience that emphasizes value added services works to ingrain mobile usage into a consumer’s everyday habits, creating a cultural shift towards mobile that is much larger than simply asking the question, “how do I pay?”

Make sure to sign up for MPC 2018 to hear more from Matt Donnelly! Like this blog? Also check out Starbucks Continue In Store Success Over ApplePay and Why China Leads The World In Mobile Payments.

Posted July 10, 2018 by FreedomPay

Staying One Step Ahead Of GDPR

If your company operates in the European Union, you’re aware that General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in effect; May 25, 2018 was the deadline to have compliance procedures in place. But for companies doing business only with US merchants and consumers, GDPR does not apply. For now.

GDPR focuses on controllers of data (merchants) and processors of data (payment processing firms like FreedomPay). Among other things, GDPR insists that both groups provide greater transparency and give consumers greater control over their data. It’s an initiative driven by high-profile data breaches like Equifax, Target, and other retail and service providers. But GDPR isn’t as much about security as it is about privacy. At its core, GDPR enables EU consumers to contact a company they’ve interacted with, ask what data has been collected on them, and make requests on rectifying, updating or deleting that data.

Unlike PCI, a global initiative with strict and specific rules for payment data compliance, GDPR is a legislative regulation with broader directives around all Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Processors such as FreedomPay work on behalf of the controllers to process PII, and merchants should understand their responsibilities as Controllers to properly handle sensitive consumer data.  While FreedomPay does not directly interact with the consumer, we are responsible for working with our clients to comply with consumer requests around data modification and deletion.

The whole issue of data collection, including who collects it, what they collect, how it is collected, how it is stored, and how it is used, is a major area of interest for merchants and consumers across the globe. But just as merchants crave more data, there’s a gap as to how it is handled. Organizing data so it’s relevant and useable is the end goal. Being able to efficiently retrieve requested data and delete it is the next logical step and will likely become a more common request from consumers.

The EU has drawn a line in the sand with GDPR. The United States has regulations on privacy as well. But in the United States, the laws are focused more on privacy and notification if a breach occurs. Further, the laws are not on the federal level; each state has its own regulations, and enforcement is generally lax.  FreedomPay’s consolidated global platform allows for data protection and consumer privacy to be centrally managed, regardless of where a consumer resides.  That, and providing the consumer with a seamless, secure transaction experience, will leave us and our merchants well-positioned should Congress choose to implement a sweeping law like GDPR.

Posted May 24, 2018 by FreedomPay

FreedomPay + Microsoft Dynamics: Personalized, Seamless and Secure

For global retailers selling across multiple channels, creating a secure, seamless and personalized payment experience has been a challenge. FreedomPay’s recent collaboration and integration with Microsoft Dynamics is offering merchants a new and improved option: a secure transaction environment taking merchants completely out of PCI scope and delivering a unified purchasing experience that is personalized, seamless and secure.

Imagine you’re a visitor to the United States making a purchase at a store running the Dynamics POS and the cashier asks you if you’d like to pay in dollars—or in the currency of your home country. Paying with your home currency can happen securely with FreedomPay’s new integration within Dynamics.  In addition to in store experiences made easier, online purchasing with Dynamics is made simple and secure via FreedomPay tokenization that encrypts and stores customers’ information and gets them through checkout quickly and safely.

The FreedomPay Commerce Platform allows for significant benefits to merchants as well. It seamlessly bridges the gap across in-store, web and mobile purchases by providing a true omni-channel shopping solution that takes your entire network out of PCI scope. Using this connection, merchants can enhance the customer relationship by pushing a special offer to their mobile device, and track that customer’s journey across your multiple channels, building their profile and learning from their buying habits. Want to step away from the register? This works with the system as well by integrating FreedomPay security protocols into your sales associates’ mobile tablets. It all happens seamlessly and securely via the Azure Cloud.

FreedomPay plus Microsoft Dynamics has resulted in the first Azure-hosted commerce platform, seamlessly connecting online, mobile and in-store POS networks with a PCI-validated gateway that provides point-to-point encryption with EMV and tokenization support. We think that’s a match made in heaven—or at least in the Azure Cloud.

To learn more, click here.

Posted February 01, 2018 by FreedomPay

Moving Forward and Giving Back: FreedomPay Serves Philadelphia 

Moving Forward and Giving Back: FreedomPay Serves Philadelphia

Food isn’t scarce in our country—in fact, we have an abundant supply. But 1 in 7 Americans will still face hunger this year. However, Philabundance, a nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia, is trying to change those statistics. Last year, the company and its affiliates distributed 24 million pounds of food to hungry families in their community. With donations from various food drives, area retailers, and cash contributions used to purchase bulk foods at wholesale prices, this organization is making a huge impact in Philadelphia. That’s why FreedomPay is excited to have participated with them in a food drive during the 2017 holidays, donating 693 pounds of food to feed 693 hungry individuals.

Few things are as rewarding as reaching out to those in need and having a direct impact on their lives, and the partnership with Philabundance is just one example of how FreedomPay is making positive contributions to the City of Brotherly Love. After a recent relocation from the suburbs back to the city, the FreedomPay team has been re-energized with a much larger purpose than ever before: serving those who are less fortunate.

Aimed at connecting to communities, FreedomPay has partnered with other charitable organizations as well. For example, we teamed up with the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House in August 2017. This revered organization serves families of critically ill children, providing services such as housing near the hospitals where their children are being treated. To raise funds for this vital project, FreedomPay participated in the Philalympics, a fun-filled day of corporate challenges, that included wacky and entertaining events like adult tricycling and slingshot competitions. FreedomPay had an incredible experience shirking a day of adulthood for a great cause!

At FreedomPay’s new headquarters, boasting nearly 25,000 square feet of space in the FMC Tower of downtown Philadelphia, we capture data and turn it into business intelligence that can drive sales and productivity for your company. As the first company in the USA to be PCI certified in P2PE encryption, we have the competitive advantage in ensuring data security, an advantage that may be missing in our adult tricycling abilities, though!

A company that cares about communities, and a company whose cutting-edge technology helps make a difference for the vendors we partner with, FreedomPay’s presence in Philadelphia is a benefit for the city at large. To learn more about FreedomPay, visit our website today!