Last week TSG attended ETA’s Strategic Leadership Forum at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL which was host to more than 400 top payments and technology executives. Following the show, TSG Associates compiled the following commentary.

Apple Pay was a topic in some way throughout the event with varying opinions on the exact effect it will prove to have on the Payments industry and the ecosystem

Nearly all agreed that it will certainly have a major impact to the industry – the question is how much and when
Great differences of opinion on when mobile payments will reach critical mass – the consensus is that it could take three years or more
Some feel that Apple Pay is “not ubiquitous” and that others in mobile will be successful as well
Positive opinions on Apple’s ability to create partnerships with card brands, issuers, merchants, and processors
Issues to overcome include the relatively small number of consumers with Apple 6 phones and successful widespread merchant deployment

Differentiation was a key word as Acquirers seek to evolve their growth strategies

We heard acquirers discussing their unique sales channel strategies, product evolvement, and industry vertical specialization efforts
There is confidence that there is a tremendous opportunity in payments
A focus on specific merchant opportunities with a unique strategy is the evolving direction by many sophisticated acquirers

There was a lot of discussion on Big Data from a couple of different perspectives

ISOs providing their merchant clients with additional value added services that utilize Big Data.  For example, partnering with a data provider to provide merchants sales data versus similar merchants in the same area code, as well as dashboard to manage multiple social media platforms
ISOs having success using benchmarking metrics for pricing, retention, and sales strategies.  The data has provided ISOs the ability to take a “rifle approach” to portfolio management and has paid dividends.

Frank Bisignano, CEO of First Data, during his keynote presentation:

He has experience in making disparate systems platforms transparent to the various users, and plans to make the many payment processing platforms that FDC has also transparent. Bisignano assures that users will no longer have to be concerned about where a merchant or ISO partner is boarded and supported on.
Bisignano also acknowledged that FDC has historically not always been easy to work with when it comes to integrators and developers support, indicating that improving relationships is one of his top five strategic initiatives.

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