Wright Express: Payments Industry Is More Than Just Payments
When you think of Wright Express, odds are the fleet payments industry is among the first subjects that come to mind.
That’s all well and good, but the Portland, ME based company says its payments platforms can help out a wide variety of other industries as well.
PYMNTS.com spoke with Melissa Smith, President of the Americas, and Jim Pratt, Vice President of Corporate Payment Systems at Wright Express, to learn about their company’s role in the virtual accounts, the importance of data in today’s market and more.
“It’s not just about payment, it’s about data. And it’s the ability to link the two together, and to be very customer and market specific,” Pratt said. “So, for example, the data that’s important in the travel industry, very different than the data that’s important in the healthcare, and different again from the data that’s important in the insurance industry.”
Both Pratt and Smith emphasized that the key to solving complex payments issues in any industry is to be able to harness the data surrounding that payment itself. By using such data, Wright Express is able to continuously adapt to new payments industries, and to respond to the feedback of their clients.
“Part of what’s really important in understanding what our customer’s needs are, are understanding what data sets are important to solve the kinds of problems that they’re trying to solve,” Pratt said.
Asked if she could point to any trends driving the commercial payments – with specific regard to the travel industry – Smith rattled off some impressive figures with regards to growth: especially for Wright Express’ clients.
“What we find is in the positive digital payment trend, generally speaking, e-commerce continues to grow. Market data points to compound growth rates of 19%. That’s actually a similar trend that we’re seeing in online travel agencies, so a very high growth part of the business,” Smith said.
“What we’ve been able to do is design products that have shown, really, an ability to help them grow, and as a result, we’ve seen over 41% growth in the compounded annual growth rate in our base customer business over the last ten years.”
To hear more of Smith and Pratt on the virtual account industry, cross border payments and more, listen to the full podcast below.
Melissa D. Smith
President, The Americas, Wright Express
Melissa D. Smith has served as our President, The Americas since January 2012. Before that, she served as President, North America from April 2011 until December 2011. Prior to that, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Finance and Operations since November 2007. From September 2001 until November 2007, she was our Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer and from April 1999 to August 2001, she served as our Vice President and Controller. From May 1997 to August 2001, Ms. Smith served us in various financial positions. From August 1991 to April 1997, Ms. Smith held various positions as a senior auditor and manager in the Portland, Maine office of Ernst & Young LLP, which was acquired by Baker, Newman & Noyes LLC, a Portland accounting firm. Ms. Smith has over fifteen years of experience in finance, auditing and accounting positions. Ms. Smith is also the chairperson of the Board of Directors of Wright Express Financial Services Corporation.
Vice President, Corporate Payment Systems, Wright Express
Jim Pratt has worked for Wright Express since 1998 and has been Vice President, Corporate Payment Systems since 2007. In this capacity he is responsible for identifying new opportunities and working to build market share for the Wright Express Universal Card and MasterCard areas, in which he has a highly successful track record.
From 2006 to 2007 Jim was Vice President, General Manager of MasterCard business for Wright Express and from 2000 to 2005 he was Director of the company’s MasterCard Line of Business. From 1998 to 2000 he sold CoBrand fleet programs for Wright Express as Director of Relationship Management.
Prior to joining Wright Express Jim spent 10 years With Digital Equipment Corporation in various sales and management positions. From 1996 to 1998 he worked as a consultant for 3Com. His got his career start selling radio and television advertising.
Jim grew up on Long Island, New York. He has a BA degree from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and has completed graduate courses at the University of Southern Maine.
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