The world of payments was a different place on June 17, 2002. Twelve years ago, “twitter” was something birds and easily shocked older relative did; phones were racing to be smaller and thinner, not smarter and more versatile; and if one had wanted to purchase a Big Mac, they had better have had cash because McDonalds hadn’t started taking credit cards yet.
Such was the payments ecosystem when Steven Pellizzer first came on the scene 12 years ago. Pellizzer recently moved to WePay as the company’s new CFO—the next phase in a long career that has most recently included eWise and CyberSource, pre-Visa acquisition.
Pellizzer told Market Platform Dynamics’ CEO Karen Webster that long before being on the staff, he’d had a change to observe how WePay operates from a distance, as they were once a customer of CyberSource’s. From that distance it was clear to Pellizzer that he and CyberSource had a common interest—helping merchants move efficiently and effortlessly through the often complicated waters of payments.
“(Jump to 1:15) “The experience here as well as just the core values with in the company, there’s a real focus on the customer and doing what’s best for the customer”
WePay deals with a very specific subset of the ecosystem: namely managing security and risk issues on Crowdfunding and merchant sites. This is where Pellizer’s prior work is a key asset for the company, and he brings with him a diverse background in managing marketplace security and evaluating risk, particularly merchant risk.
Moreover, Pellizzer is an unofficial buy, highly valuable expert in the payments space itself, which, due to a very evolving nature, can be awfully difficult for merchants who only deal with it tangentially to navigate.
(Jump to 2:35) “Twelve years is a long time, and when I started out at Cybersource we were sort of the gateway players with ancillary services but our whole value propositions was around addressing the needs of merchants. And so over that 12 year period span, payments has gotten more and more complicated…”
To manage risk on Crowdfunding and marketplaces sites, which are the verticals WePay focuses on, requires both a love of the old and the new, according to Pellizzer. The old is just the most common best practice in any business—listen to your customer and try as hard as possible to sell them the services and tools they actually need. The “new” is the technology, namely the software platforms that are able to factor in ever more complicated data sets from increasingly specified targets. With data comes access to actionable information that marketplace participants need—but clear communication WePay can make sure it is giving customers the data they actually need.
(Jump to 3:36) “Whenever you deal with buyers and sellers on a marketplace, in order to be successful in payments, you really need to know who your buyers and sellers are. So we’ve built out a sophisticated risk tool that looks at 100 different characteristics of a transaction and its pulling data from all different sources including social media. With our new risk API it is pulling data right from the actual platform so it really creates this robust decision engine that produces information that is just for that vertical.”
As far as Pellizzer is concerned, its 12 years down in payments, with another 12 to go—as the ever changing and evolving ecosystem continues to present a challenge worth solving for him. While the customer service needs remain the same, new players and new technologies are always entering the space with the hope of bringing new value to the ecosystem.
To hear the whole PYMNTS interview with Pellizzer click here.
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