Verifone Goes Outside The Box With Mobile Commerce

MPD CEO Karen Webster gets the inside scoop from June Felix, President of Verifone Europe, on the company going “outside the box” — meaning the terminals — as it moves forward on its new partnership with Barclays to facilitate mobile commerce in the U.K. and beyond.

Hot on the heels of Verifone’s announcement that it is partnering with Barclays on a new mobile commerce solution that will integrate the British banking company’s Pingit as a payment method for retailers that use Verifone’s mobile commerce gateway — linking the latter’s 20,000 clients with the former’s 70,000 businesses in the region — MPD CEO Karen Webster spoke with June Felix, President of Verifone Europe, to get the details of that arrangement, as well as insight into Verifone’s plans for mobile and connected commerce throughout Europe.

“What prompted the partnership,” Felix tells Webster, “was a focus on Verifone’s part to help our retailer clients to enable commerce through every channel possible, whether it’s mobile, terminal or Web.”

She describes Barclays — given its position within the U.K., one of the largest markets in Europe — as “a very innovative and very well-established player in terms of consumer payment,” with Pingit offering a “unique value proposition.”

The Barclays partnership, Webster observes, marks a seemingly different experience than what Verifone is commonly associated with: physical terminals on countertops. Felix points out, however, that Verifone already enables things “outside of the box” (i.e., the terminal) — it’s just that a lot of people don’t know it.

The company already enables eCommerce capability, payment pages and pay-by-app, as well as the ability to pay by phone. Felix notes, for example, that Verifone was “very involved” with bringing Apple Pay technology to the U.K.

“The partnership with Pingit is really very consistent with that,” she continues.

Through the new arrangement, Verifone now makes it easy for its eCommerce consumers to shop with the company’s existing retail clients. Once a consumer adds the Pay by Pingit button to his or her phone, it eliminates the need to enter credit card details moving forward.

“The shopping experience becomes very simple,” Felix explains. “They just hit the Pay by Pingit button; all the shipping details are there; there’s no need to re-enter card numbers. We, in turn, are able to push that signal to the Pingit app and also make sure that the payment is made.”

What Webster finds interesting is the potential opportunity to enable this kind of payment checkout experience in a physical store environment — and Felix agrees.

She explains the company’s vision for Pingit as being similar to Apple Pay, with the existence of the application on a consumer’s phone facilitating checkout through the terminal at a physical store. There is also the potential for a Pingit button on retailers’ terminals in the future.

“There are many, many different use cases that we’re working through with Barclays as we speak,” Felix remarks.

Taking a longer view at the environment for payments innovation in Europe, Felix tells Webster that Verifone has observed mobile payment usage being adopted “very quickly” across the continent.

In the Scandinavian countries where the company has a presence, 80 percent of all in-store purchases are preceded by the consumer first looking at the item (or items) online with their devices.

Felix notes that in the U.K., the company is not only seeing mass adoption of mobile but also “a lot of frustration.” Fifty-five percent of the time, U.K. smartphone owners abandon the purchase on the mobile device due to issues with slow loading times and a payment process that is difficult to navigate.

“That shows there’s a lot of pent-up demand,” she says.

Taking the friction out of payments and the shopping experience, Felix observes, “is good for everyone.” Doing so will help the consumer have “not only a seamless experience but a delightful one,” and it will make the merchants happier by earning them return customers.

“It becomes a virtuous circle,” in that sense.

With the holiday season fast approaching, Webster wonders if Felix can share any developments that Verifone has in the works. Felix tells her that, in fact, the company has “a lot of announcements” upcoming over the next few months.

“One of the most exciting things we’ll be doing,” shares Felix, “is launching some new architectures, both in terms of our current terminal estate and also expanding the partnerships that we have to enable more types of value-added services — through the online experience, the mobile experience and the terminals.”

What Verifone is focused on, offers Felix, is “building on the idea of a connected commerce experience for our clients and our consumers.”