Posted August 16, 2022 by FreedomPay

Women in Technology: Courtney Kelly Peters

In the US, women account for only a quarter (25%) of workers employed in Technology. FreedomPay’s Women in Technology series aims to inspire ambitious women globally to consider careers in Tech and motivate them to take on leadership responsibilities by giving strong, successful, and passionate women a platform to share their stories.

Courtney Kelly Peters is Vice President of Partnerships at FreedomPay, specifically focused on North America. Courtney has been named as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Pennsylvania for 2022 by Women We Admire, and as one of the Top 25 Women Leaders in Financial Technology in 2020 by The Financial Technology Report.

Courtney joined FreedomPay in April 2017, paving an unusual path to Tech Exec, from studying Human Nutrition and working in Hospitality to Sales and Partnerships. The mom-to-be shares her insights and inspiration.

What does your role involve?
I lead the Partnerships team to fulfill our company’s business development objectives around monetizing and optimizing relationships with potential and existing acquiring and integration partners. This involves setting partners up as referral resources, evaluating their businesses, and growing our partnerships. I also oversee our reseller channel, from business development and sales training to operational duties such as ordering hardware and setting up accounts.  I also do some direct enterprise sales that I’d been working for some time or have an interesting tech approach. I started in sales at FreedomPay around 5 years ago and like to hold on to a couple of direct deals myself.

Tell us about your unconventional path into Tech

I took an untraditional route. I studied human nutrition at undergrad and grad school, then moved to New York City and alternated between bartending and travelling the world for seven years. The interpersonal exchanges I had throughout those experiences hugely influenced how I socially interact with people and problem solve which ultimately impacted my ability to effectively transition into a Sales role. Then, I was hired by a leader in the Payments space to sell the same Point of Sale systems that I’d used as a bartender. Soon after, FreedomPay reached out to me on LinkedIn and the rest is history.

What do you like about working at FreedomPay?

I like being challenged. I’ve always been very competitive, so the challenge of trying to close a deal or learn something new motivates me. Being surrounded by so many intelligent peers with different ideas to share makes FreedomPay highly collaborative, motivating and engaging. This helps to strengthen the skills that can transform our employees into strong leaders and better allies.

I also love the people that work here – I’ve made some great lifelong friends and had great mentors along the way. Nate Ware has been instrumental in my personal career growth, but I also see how he elevates others on his team to be the best versions of themselves. It is a leadership quality that I strive to emulate.

How does FreedomPay encourage collaboration?

In my role, there is consistent overlap with client-facing and internal teams within FreedomPay. We all collaborate to create a fantastic customer and partner experience with our innovative technology and commitment to customer success.

At FreedomPay, all employees receive additional compensation through a pooled commission plan, which helps to drive collaboration even further. This unique program incentivizes project engagement and team pride in our achievements.  

All of this and more guide our strategic, cross-functional engagements, help set clear objectives and identify targets or areas for improvement. This helps move the needle faster.

What is it like as a woman in Tech?

I am glad to see the women becoming more interested and entering into these exciting and challenging tech careers. It is inspiring to see how the number of women in leadership positions in the sector and at FreedomPay specifically are growing through internal promotions and external hiring. We’re seeing an increase in women interested in moving into this space. We also have many allies, who empower our next generation of women leaders.

How can people be good allies to women in STEM careers?

Recognizing and elevating women with leadership and growth potential is changing the game. Women leaders are valuable, tending to lead with empathy and supporting their team members to elevate them and ensure everyone feels comfortable. If we continue to build these individuals into strong leaders, there is no stopping the inevitable transformation of the workforce.

Do you have any role models?

I’m going to become a first-time mother within the next month. I have recently found myself looking to women that have children and balance their families with their careers as role models

My own mother’s work ethic and dedication to our family have always inspired me.  As a working mom, she organically grew her career while raising three little ones with my father. She set the bar high for what it means to work hard for what you want while creating a wonderful life.

The women I find most inspiring and influential have the qualities that I try to portray myself with as a leader: confidence fueled by increased knowledge of technology and self-awareness.

I really admire some of the women at FreedomPay who work on the technical side. I’m in awe of Sam Wildonger. She’s around my age and her career progression in Technology has been inspiring. Watching her become a mother twice since she’s been at FreedomPay gives me hope because I was concerned about how being pregnant would impact my career. I worked hard to advance within FreedomPay and have different teams view me as a leader. I really didn’t want that to change. I spoke to Sam and that conversation shifted my attitude about moving into this next chapter of my life. She was quickly elevated to a new position just two months after she came back from maternity leave, and her success motivates me to be just like her.

Do you have any advice for girls and women that want to work in Tech?

Find your niche, what you’re great at. You don’t have to be an engineer, a coder, or work on the QA team to be a part of the experience that technology brings. There’s tech all around us, whether that’s our phones, laptops, or other devices.

You can get into Account Management or Project Management, or work with Implementations and Client Success. You can be the face of the business or sit further in the background and strategize. Those are all vital roles in Tech.

If you’re interested, always reach out and ask questions. That can sometimes be hard for women. It’s not easy to speak up when you don’t know something or missed the explanation but just ask. A lot of people are excited, happy, and interested in helping younger people, and women specifically, to grow their careers.

Why should women candidates choose FreedomPay?
There are a lot of internal allies at FreedomPay that are interested in helping women to be successful. Our collaborative culture values creative approaches to problem solving. We’re a very inclusive community where everyone’s thoughts and ideas are truly appreciated beyond just what their pronouns and beliefs are. It crosses cultures and religions. We get to know people on a personal level and it creates a strong bond in and out of the office. You’ll have a fantastic support system and an intelligent team.

Thank you, Courtney!

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 November 17, 2020 by FreedomPay

Ensuring Confidence and Growth in the Future of Payments

Seemingly overnight, the landscape of commerce, hospitality and retail changed in 2020. According to a study conducted by FreedomPay, U.S. eCommerce has seen “10 years of growth in just three months.” The simple art of the transaction became an enormous struggle for people and businesses all over the world. 

As a result, touchless technology and other digital solutions rose to the occasion to step in and solve the global economy’s most pressing problem – continuing transactions in a healthy way. Though this new tech helped save industries and businesses worldwide, it also presented new problems and pain points for customers as consumers struggled to intuitively pivot to a new form of payment. Additionally, customer trust in the process wavers with new digital tech, and brands have struggled to retain their loyal customer base amid doubt and fear.

Restoring Confidence in Payment Solutions and Exciting Innovations

With the central issue of restoring confidence in consumers at the core of developing new tech, touchless payments and eCommerce transactions continue to develop in real time. As we look forward to a future economy more deeply embedded in eCommerce, payment security is the prevailing character in America’s payment revolution.

Whether shopping at a restaurant, airport or online, technology should enhance hospitality, not replace it. Though digital solutions make transactions easier, they lack the human element and experience that shoppers so enjoy. In the age of COVID-19, online shopping and in-store pick-up has been one solution that delivers a seamless user experience.

Still, this method of commerce presents room for fraud. As a solution, merchants have banded together to share customer data in efforts to identify unusual shopper behavior and tamp down fraudulent transactions. The result? Customers who shop confidently and feel safe.

Lasting Changes in the Wake of COVID-19 and the Payment Revolution

Digital technologies are, without a doubt, becoming commonplace. Any possibility of a reversion back to old shopper behavior seems to disappear on the horizon more and more each day. But every customer is different, and each will adapt to new technologies in their own time.

For this reason, it is important to meet customers where they are at. The guest experience should be seamless for everyone, no matter how fluent they are in digital tech. Touchless technology, for example, is brand new to many shoppers, and adapting quickly to this change presents frustrations. As a solution, retailers should provide the customer with choice, and not force the transaction down a single path.

Though touchscreen transactions faltered for a short time amid fears of shared surfaces, many customers are finding familiarity, comfort and confidence with touchscreens and continue to embrace it as their primary method of purchase.

Mobile apps and QR codes have also erupted onto the eCommerce space as a novel solution to touchless transactions. They let people shop in a way they are used to while changing just one element of the purchase process. As a result, mobile apps are reshaping the user experience, intersecting technology and eCommerce in a way that adds value to the user. 

Looking Ahead at the Future of Payments and Trust

With touchless payments becoming more and more commonplace, it’s clear that digital-first technologies are the future of retail, hospitality and commerce. At the heart of the development is the issue of trust. As these technologies evolve, brands should maintain a laser focus on being transparent with customers and using data to provide rich value back to the consumer.

FreedomPay published a White Paper The American Payment Revolution: Next Level Commerce  which is designed to help merchants of all sizes understand the need for technological advancement at the point of sale and why businesses should respond to the catalyst of change caused by COVID-19 to enable America’s economic recovery. Click here to download the report.

Posted August 23, 2019 by Bernard Clary

Stop Hackers Finding Gold in Your Data: A Quick Guide to P2PE

With so many touchpoints in the customer sales journey, it’s getting harder to lock-down retail payment chains against fraudsters (losses on UK-issued cards totalled £671.4 million in 2018). For many physical retailers, PCI compliance alone is no longer enough to ensure data security, protect customers and safeguard their business and reputation. That’s where point-to-point encryption (P2PE) comes in.

Why is P2PE important?

P2PE provides merchants with one of the most significant ways to minimize the risk of criminals stealing their cardholders’ data during in-store, face-to-face, card-present transactions.

What does it do?

P2PE protects credit card data from the point of sale (POS) as it travels through a merchant’s local network and across the internet before it reaches the payment processing system at the acquirer’s end.

How does it work?

It does this by encrypting data immediately upon entry from a payment terminal connected to the POS device to the third party secure environment where it is decrypted before authorization – from the starting point to the end point – hence its name. This encryption method utilizes complex encryption keys controlled by a P2PE solution provider, ensuring the merchant, or any third party, has no means of accessing the data traversing the network.

Why does this help?

Encrypting card data in this manner, means that even if a fraudster manages to capture it, they are unable to access the user’s ID or card data, without the relevant encryption/decryption keys. So, sensitive payment data can be safely sent through the entire payment chain without risk of compromise.

What about PCI Compliance?

P2PE is like a booster for PCI DSS – it goes further, is more exacting and safer than PCI DSS alone. And it makes achieving PCI compliance much simpler and less expensive too! That’s because it effectively takes the POS system and payment platform out of PCI scope, reducing time, effort and cost of compliance (but only if you use a PCI approved P2PE solution and provider, and follow the correct operational procedures).

Will it stop retail fraud?

No, it doesn’t prevent fraud using lost or stolen cards, but it does prevent criminals from accessing card data at the point of sale or while the cardholder data is in-transmission from the POS device to the payment processor.

Does it stop merchants using transaction data?

Not if you use it in tandem with a tokenization solution such as FreedomPay CardStorTM . This replaces the cardholder’s primary account number (PAN) with a ‘token’. Retailers can use tokens to identify the customer – for loyalty programs or automated form filling – and to supply transaction-based information to CRM systems and for business intelligence.

Is it hard or expensive to implement?

It can normally be integrated easily as part of your payment solution or platform using a PCI P2PE toolkit to provide the relevant encryption keys/pathways. If in doubt speak to your authorized payment provider. Any additional costs can often be quickly offset against time, effort and cost savings from PCI scope and audit reduction.

Still need to be convinced?

Here’s a quick summary of the benefits:

1. Simplifies PCI DSS compliance, reduces scope and cost
2. Extra data security without compromising customer experience
3. Minimizes risk of fraud, data breaches and subsequent fines, loss of custom and reputation
4. Data protection that keeps payment services simple
5. Used with tokenization, won’t affect loyalty programs or other commerce platforms
6. Software-based, easy to integrate – especially with FreedomPay.

Read more about payment security here.

Posted April 17, 2019 by FreedomPay

Where Has it Gone Wrong for the Brick and Mortar Retailers?

It is always sad to see an iconic British high street name like Debenhams fall by the wayside as several have done in the last few years. While there could still be hope for Debenhams, the latest in this sorry roll call, with a number of players vying to take control and turn it around, it has sent yet another warning message to other high street stores hoping to ride out brick and mortar’s decline.

It is abundantly clear that the brick and mortar model has been struggling for a number of years. Shrewd merchants have been adapting their strategy to compete with e-commerce and align with the ever-changing retail landscape, and those who haven’t adapted fast enough have felt the hit.
The convenience and speed at which online purchases can be made have been key factors in the migration of large chunks of market share from high street to online. Enormous overheads from rising rents (£4.3bn in operating lease commitments in Debenhams’ case) and the need for high numbers of staff, equates to high (and rising) costs with decreasing sales – a formula that even the best chief executives might struggle to work with.

While it would be foolish to say that all brick and mortar businesses are doomed, it is imperative for decision makers to review their strategy even if, so far, it has been working for the last 50 years; consumer needs and wants are rapidly evolving and loyalty programs need to keep pace with their expectations.
FreedomPay believes that connected commerce and customer centricity are the pillars of retail and loyalty programs today and tomorrow.

The importance of personalization and digital data

In order to entice the customer, one has to understand the identity of each person. For example, a vegan may not buy into 50% off sausage rolls. This can be done by analyzing the spending habits on an individual basis, for example, using your systems data to identify who your top-spending customers are and rewarding them. Not only that but by crunching the data to see what they buy from you and when, you can reward them in a way that they will actually value highly, perhaps by offering discounts on the products they buy most often and not the ones they aren’t buying, i.e. the sausage rolls.

The megalithic online retailers understand the mantra and place the customer at the centre of their business operations. For brick and mortars, the ‘shopping experience’ is an asset they will always have to trump online retailers and should be utilized to assert an advantage. Aesthetically pleasing interiors and helpful employees are simple but effective examples. The experience is complemented by the ability to earn discounts, free samples, exclusive treatment and VIP access to entertainment. A loyalty card can drive repeat purchases and incentivize shoppers to come to stores and the website alike. Loyalty programs have proven to be a powerful experience for customers but it should be evolving to better please customers and retailers need to invest in modern data architecture that helps build a new personalized, customer centric loyalty model.

Find out more about customer centric models, by downloading the whitepaper: Personalization and Digital Identity: The Keys To Unlock Loyalty.

Posted January 01, 1970 by FreedomPay

Tokenization and data – the value in unlocking loyalty at the Point of Sale

Merchants are no stranger to the transformational power of point of sale (POS) data. They already use it to link demand with inventory, create customer profiles for marketing and to spot buying trends in individual and across multiple locations.

However, the true commercial value of sales data lies in being able to drill down to individual customer’s buying behaviors – what they’re buying, where and when, and how they paid for it while staying data compliant.

Revenue hungry brands are eager to tap into this rich vein of data to re-energize their loyalty programs with seamless access to personalized content and tailored rewards. But, without the technology to link it securely to a specific customer, and across business functions, the prospect of meaningfully monetizing is lost.

Smart and safe: Harnessing data and tokenization

So how to unlock it? For omni-channel brands focused on driving stickier relationships, the easiest way to harness data and ID is using tokenization. This works by generating a customer identifier code or ‘token’ which is linked to the payment mechanism. Data from an individual’s sales journey can then be tracked invisibly, with no friction, and without compromising sensitive cardholder details.

Used in tandem with a connected commerce platform, tokens can be shared across business functions breaking down operational silos and connecting sales, CRM, social and marketing activities.

Near-money loyalty: Expanding tokenization

Not only that but tokenized points are 100% transferable and tradeable so they become a near-money currency across brands and outlets. This lends itself seamlessly for loyalty programs. Loyalty suddenly becomes more versatile, usable and attractive for customers – and a potential source of revenue for the merchant.

Using customer data in this way allows brands to execute loyalty as part of their business operations – as a platform not as a ‘point’ solution.

By doing so they can make the shift to truly seamless customer centric loyalty programs, delivering highly targeted and fluid rewards that flow smoothly between multiple vendors. Creating more value-rich experiences, boosting uplift and connecting with customers for longer.

All of this and more is just sitting on the POS waiting to be freed.