Meet Angela Brown, President and CEO of Moneris Solutions Corporation, Canada’s largest processor and acquirer of debit and credit cards. With over 25 years in the payments industry, Brown is responsible for both building Moneris’ leadership position in the Canadian payments marketplace and strengthening its position in the US marketplace, as well as expanding its strategic and customer partnerships.
In the latest installation of PYMNTS’ CEO Series, Brown offers an inside look at how Moneris approaches innovation, who it turns to for ideas to improve its products, and why understanding what innovators most often underestimate in payments can change the game up for any payments solution provider.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR COMPANY’S APPROACH TO INNOVATION?
Innovation is about listening and observing so you understand what’s happening in market, where the market is going and being where the trend is headed. That said, the challenge is being innovative while leading the market vs. being innovative and having a vision that is too far ahead of the market.
Understanding evolving trends and needs in the payments market is an important piece to shaping our strategy behind innovation. The market is ever changing and we’re focused on driving innovation that helps our customers with:
- End-to-end service and the security to store data in the safest possible way
- Providing expertise and flexibility in designing and implementing industry-specific standalone and integrated solutions for debit and credit transactions
- Delivering the best solutions for their market. This means partnering with the best technology, telecom, hosting and software companies in market, enabling us to provide a full range of hardware, software systems and exceptional service to our merchants of all sizes
One of our key goals in the coming year is to invest in our research and development – more than we ever have historically. This means driving more innovation in market.
WHAT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE THING THAT YOU HAVE INTRODUCED INTO THE MARKET – AND WHAT VALUE DID IT DELIVER TO THE STAKEHOLDER GROUP THAT WAS ITS TARGET?
Three great examples of innovation at Moneris include: POSPAD, PAYD PRO and our Retail Management Solution.
POSPAD is a technology we developed many years ago that provides end-to-end encryption. This is the most innovative thing we have introduced related to enhanced security. It is a behind the scenes application that manages the payment process and ensures end-to-end encryption of all cardholder data whether it’s a credit or debit card using a magnetic strip, chip or pin during a transaction. With POSPAD technology, all data remains secure and limits the possibility of something like the Target data breach from ever occurring.
PAYD PRO is Canada’s first smartphone-based mobile payment solution to accept Interac Debit and credit cards. This product allows businesses on the go to accept payments anywhere. We identified a need for Interac Debit to be accepted in the mobile payment space and have fulfilled this for our merchants and their customers with PAYD PRO.
Another product is our Retail Management Solution, which combines a cloud-based point-of-sale system with integrated payment processing.
WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR INNOVATIVE IDEAS AND WHY?
Innovation is about trying to improve processes and the way people do things and interact with our technology. We talk to our customers, analyze market trends and apply methodologies and research to areas where we believe we can make a significant difference in the way payment processes happen. A lot of introspection is involved in innovation, which means never being satisfied with how we do things and constantly looking to improve.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT MOST PEOPLE UNDERESTIMATE ABOUT INNOVATING IN PAYMENTS?
Focusing on the basics including scalability, ease-of-use and security can be underestimated in payments innovation.
It’s easy to make a secure product that cannot scale, or an easy to use product that is unsecure. It’s getting the balance right that is key. This is what people underestimate.
Taking scalability into account when promoting large scale adoption of an integrated solution into existing product offerings is essential for service functionality on all merchant platforms –regardless of business size. There is the potential for a product platform’s scale to be underestimated, and it therefore doesn’t operate with optimum functionality.
WHAT PERSON OR COMPANY DO YOU THINK “GETS” INNOVATION AND WHY—AND CONVERSELY, WHO OR WHAT HAS MISSED IT AND WHY?
Apple gets innovation as do many Silicon Valley companies. However, Apple has been unique in achieving both innovative solutions and scale whereas many start-ups remain interested in developing niche solutions to very specialized problems.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNG INNOVATOR IN THIS SPACE AND WHY WOULD YOU TELL HIM OR HER TO HEED IT?
In payments, it is important to understand your target customer extremely well. Don’t pursue something that you think is ‘cool’ just for the sake of having something ‘cool.’ Strive to produce innovative solutions to suit customer needs to ensure you achieve adoption and scale.
President & Chief Executive Officer, Moneris Solutions Corporation
Angela Brown is President and Chief Executive Officer of Moneris Solutions. She is responsible for continuing to build Moneris’ leadership position in the Canadian payments marketplace, strengthen its position in the U.S., and expand its strategic and customer partnerships.
Ms. Brown is an experienced executive with more than 25 years in the payments industry, including merchant acquiring, consumer and commercial payment products, payment processing and merchant acceptance.
Prior to joining Moneris, Ms. Brown was Group Executive, Enterprise Development, Merchants & Acceptance, for MasterCard Worldwide. She was responsible for cultivating MasterCard’s relationship with merchants, creating new merchant value propositions and expanding the reach of MasterCard’s network.
Previously, Ms. Brown spent 13 years at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) within the ATM and Cards divisions, attaining the role of Senior Vice President of Payment Products.
In addition, Ms. Brown sat on the Board of Vital Processing Solutions, which provided merchant acquiring processing services to U.S. financial institutions (and is now wholly-owned by TSYS). She also served as a Board Director on the Transition Board of Acxsys Corporation, guiding Interac debit network strategies in Canada from 2008 to 2010.