X
Posted January 24, 2020 by FreedomPay

Navigating the Payment Gateway Ecosystem

We live in an open world – open for choice, collaboration, and opportunity. Being open involves connecting and networking in new ways and in the context of the retail environment, that means building and growing new ecosystems.

While most are familiar with the ecosystems that already exist between retailers, acquirers, and banks, a new set of digital and cloud-based ecosystems continue to emerge that delivers a plethora of next-generation, value-added services straight to the point of sale (POS) or online checkout. At the heart of this is the commerce and payment gateways that act as central hubs, linking the various data flows and platforms within expanding retail ecosystems.

It’s time to rethink gateways.

The concept of the commerce gateway as a doorway to an exciting ‘plug and play’ service playground is still new to many retailers. To help them navigate their way through the complexity, we’ve put together a quick guide to help them understand the changing role of the payment gateway in facilitating these new ecosystems:

 

  • Expanding portfolio of APIs and Toolkits

Gateways now offer powerful APIs that allow merchants to connect with thousands of third party scripts and shopping carts while also aiding the development of new applications through toolkits and plug-ins, developer portals and sandpits. With these added APIs, retailers can create their own subscription services, on-demand marketplaces, or even crowdfunding platforms using a range of development languages, including Ruby, Python, PHP, and Java. Some gateways will also support hundreds of currencies and offer features such as mobile payments, subscription billing, and one-click checkout.

 

  • Fast to market plug-and-play marketplaces

Payment gateways are increasingly offering access to their own pre-built app marketplaces – packed with third party offerings that can be used to enrich retailers’ checkouts – from loyalty gamification and e-charity donations to bill splitting and currency conversion. These can dramatically reduce the time to market of launching new POS services, allowing merchants to browse, choose and deploy apps instantly, or remove them, as consumer and market needs dictate. In this way, they can try-out, evaluate and opt for the best service apps for their audiences without committing to long-term lock-in.

 

  • Secure access and sharing

Modern commerce platforms can separate out payment transactions from service platforms, to ensure that sensitive payment data is never compromised within the ecosystem. Equally important is their ability to deliver multiple user support and logins so that service teams and other business functions (including accounts and compliance) can access reports and specifically authorized features. It goes without saying that these also ensure a visible audit trail that links specific actions to authorized users. In addition, gateways can also provide custom security settings as well as anti-fraud capabilities to ensure that the transaction path is secure at all times, protecting against fines, fees, and chargebacks.

 

  • Tracking complex customer journeys

To aid targeting, personalization and more effective loyalty incentives, offers and promotions, it makes sense to be able to track customers and their journeys across retail ecosystems – between brands, channels, and locations. The gateway can aid this using tokenization, to ‘follow’ the customer through various journeys by allowing payment methods to be linked to transaction activity. Through data anonymization, information such as what, when, where, and how purchases and interactions were made can be shared across functions and brands within the ecosystem, without compromising sensitive cardholder or payment data.

 

  • Relationships must be reengineered, too

From Alibaba and Amazon, the development of the retail marketplace as an aggregated website is reshaping the global definition of the retailer and the sales ecosystem. Brands are now squeezing their way in between retailers and their customers, particularly in new e-marketplaces inclusive of review sites and comparison sites, payment providers, loyalty apps, returns companies, influencers, and social media.

 

Retailers can’t afford to wait for the customer to be ready to purchase their product, they need to get closer to them before they decide to buy. Owning or running a commerce gateway allows retailers to build their own ecosystems that put customers’ desires and needs first by enabling them to find new ways to interact (content marketing, geolocation and push services) and to personalize experiences.

Check out our blogs on DPN, tokenization and business intelligence for more ideas on how to fast-track to success!

 

SHARE NOW
Posted September 02, 2019 by Bernard Clary

What Is A Payment Gateway (And Why Do I Need One)

Whether you’re accepting payments online, in-store, or both, all merchants need a payment gateway.  It’s a secure way for customers to enter their payment information, including credit and debit card details, on a website or at a point of sale (POS). 

What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a software program that sits between the merchant and customer, often supplied and hosted by a third-party provider. It offers a secure pathway that requests and manages payment in order to take money from the customer and pass it into the merchant’s bank account.  It’s often described as ‘an electronic cash register for the virtual world’.

What does it do?
It has three essential roles – encryption, authorization and settlement.  First, it encrypts payment data, so it can move safely between the seller and the buyer. It then sends payment requests to the payment processor for authorization via the credit card or financial institution allowing the website/POS to move to the next action in the sales journey (confirmation, receipt, etc)…  Finally, it assists in settling the payment, completing the transaction and allowing for the transfer of funds between the buyer and seller. Some payment gateways also provide dashboards, analysis and reports on transaction status and payment performance.

How does it help?
A well performing gateway is good for customers. It helps ensure a seamless customer experience by enabling secure acceptance to happen in a matter of seconds. It’s good for merchants too. The payment gateway ensures smooth and accurate authorization.  If the payment is valid, the value will be exchanged.  If not, payment will be declined, which helps merchants avoid unnecessary chargeback fees.

What about PCI compliance?
Using a third-party, PCI compliant, payment gateway means that merchants never have to deal with sensitive credit card data. The gateway provider assumes responsibility for data traveling through the payment chain, thereby relieving merchants of PCI obligations and transactional security risks. (Learn more about payment data security here)

What else does it do?
As well as facilitating e-payment acceptance, the payment gateway can perform many other important functions. For example, order screening and tax calculation. It can also be used for geolocation services, providing a pathway to manage location-specific actions. Some advanced gateways can facilitate more than payments and can be used to manage and deploy value-added services directly to the POS.  Enriching point of sale with extra capabilities such as personalized customer and loyalty services and alternative payment options.

Aren’t gateways the same as processors?
There are many similarities but also some important differences. The gateway represents a system, whereas the processor is a ‘step’ in the payment chain. Processors analyze and transmit transaction data to the relevant issuing parties, a gateway does this too, but it also assists in the settlement process to facilitate the transfer of funds between buyer and seller.

Payment gateways and online payments

In order to accept online payments, organizers need access to a payment gateway and to hold a merchant account (or aggregator). The payment gateway has to be compatible with the shopping cart and needs to be integrated with the merchant account. Sometimes this means it can only be set-up after these are in place. Aggregators often offer a gateway in tandem with their merchant account e.g. PayPal.  Sometimes the same payment gateway can be used for in-store POS as well as for online and mobile transactions.

A powerful commerce investment

Payment gateways can help merchants to streamline processes and transactions, connect multiple channels and capture more than just payment data. It can seamlessly enable many additional commerce capabilities and offer in-depth analysis and at-a-glance reporting via useful transaction dashboards. Experienced payment partners, like FreedomPay, can help you discover new ways that payment gateways can empower your sales operation.

SHARE NOW
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.

SHARE NOW
Posted April 17, 2019 by FreedomPay

The Advanced Payment Platform for the Entire Commerce System [Q&A]

The modern world of commerce places the consumer first. Today, there are unified commerce platforms that serve in all major sectors of the economy. A commerce platform is basically a single, centralized platform that offers customer engagement in real-time. We have with us FreedomPay- a leading global commerce platform serving leaders in retail, hospitality, gaming, education, healthcare, financial services, and the US government, serving over 20 federal agencies.
Let’s hear more about the success of FreedomPay from the founder and CEO, Tom Durovsik.

What motivated you to start FreedomPay?

In 1995, I was a very successful business executive driving global growth across consumer products and direct marketing. I was intrigued by the new medium “internet” and all forms of emerging technology. I felt a strong desire to get involved in technologies that had the potential to change the world. I founded my first internet startup in 1996 and since then have been involved in SaaS, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Security, Mobility and other technologies that are powering global business and commerce.
How do your products and services contribute to your company’s excellence?

FreedomPay is unmatched across the world as a Unified Commerce Platform providing payment, loyalty and security solutions that enable customers to have a “frictionless” experience. We built the FreedomPay Commerce Platform from the ground up to meet the demands of consumers and merchants on a global scale. The industry is struggling with how to merge legacy technologies that are not prepared to support global commerce- and new emerging Fintech services including technologies outside mainstream commerce. FreedomPay is the platform that unites a growing array of technologies across the world to deliver a single seamless experience.

Commerce is the lifeline for all of our customers. The ability to transact and fulfill the customers’ expectations is job #1. Our Platform must be bulletproof and requires we invest in the finest Software Development and Network Infrastructure assets to support rapidly growing business globally.

What distinguishes you from your competitors and how do you utilize this to your advantage?

Our technology stack is what separates FreedomPay. We employ a continual reinvestment strategy into technology and as a result, our solutions keep getting better. Our technology is disruptive to the status quo; what banks, processors and legacy point-of-sales providers can deliver is simply inadequate. Our global customers are using the FreedomPay Commerce Platform as a competitive advantage and we deliver our solution to companies like MGM Resorts International, Citibank, and HMS Host, who are leaders in commerce technology.

Tell us about your corporate culture. What role does it play in interactions with your clients?

Our team is not taught to “sell” but to “solve.” We bring solutions to our customers that will fuel their business, on a global scale. There is no other company in the world who can deliver on this promise. As a result, we become trusted partners with our customers and it’s ingrained in our corporate culture. Did I mention we have not had an Enterprise Customer leave our platform in over a decade? This is unheard of in the industry and something our entire team acknowledges with pride!

How do you bring in a strong workplace culture?

Every employee shares in the company’s success and profitability. Our culture values customers and winning! We invest in our team members with events, celebrations and a strong focus on community service. We empower team members to do their jobs. We hire people that bring knowledge, experience and who can drive innovation and continually add to our capabilities and subject matter expertise.

What are your goals for improving customer experience?

Continued innovation and reinvestment in emerging technologies. We see Mobility, Shared Networks and Platforms, Big Data and Identity as areas to focus in the future.

How do you motivate your employees to enhance productivity?

As a hyper-growth company growing +70% CAGR for the past 5 years, it is important to 1) hire the right people and be selective; 2) train the team and build skill sets essential for growing careers and customer successes; and 3) keep the workplace an exciting environment with constant innovation and technical prowess. We do not rest on our past successes.

What is your memorable moment in business career?

In the 1990’s I ran a global conglomerate with 5,000 employees across 70 countries. Thinking back, we did not have the benefit of the internet or mobile phones. Imagine the changes in productivity, efficiency and communication these technologies have brought! This was the pivot that’s most memorable in my business career and informs my view and vision of the FreedomPay Commerce Platform “to have a similar transformational effect on the future of commerce.”

What developments or changes do you see having the biggest impact on your business and industry over the coming year?

Stay tuned, we will be announcing developments later in 2019 that will change commerce as we know it today!

This article first appeared in CIO Bulletin.

Tom Durovsik, Founder & CEO
A marketing and new product development executive, Tom has held leadership positions with some of the world’s most recognized consumer brands, followed by a string of highly successful startups focused on emerging technologies including; Internet, SaaS, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Security and Mobility. Tom has built a strong reputation in the business community as a focused leader, a strong hands-on operator, new products visionary and a successful entrepreneur capable of scaling growth globally.
In 1995 Tom founded Intelihealth in partnership with US Healthcare and Johns Hopkins University becoming the first company to provide branded healthcare information to all forms of electronic media globally. Aetna, Inc. acquired Intelihealth in 1999. Tom and his wife are founding members of the Cancer Support Community, a global nonprofit that provides emotional support, education and hope to cancer patients and their families.
“FreedomPay is the engine inside the world’s expanding yet interconnected ecosystem of commerce.”
“We make payments smarter. And utopian commerce possible.”

SHARE NOW