What’s Next with Apriva: An interview with EVP Bill Clark

Founded in 1999, Apriva is the leading wireless solutions provider integrating the hardware, software and network infrastructure required to develop and deploy high-performance high-reliability solutions in the Point of Sale (POS) and Secure Mobile Messaging markets. Apriva offers end-to-end solutions for Point of Sale that make it easy and cost-effective to develop, deploy and maintain highly secure and reliable business critical mobile applications.

Apriva provides an end-to-end wireless solution that enables merchants to process financial transactions from any location using major credit card processors. The product, which is compatible with industry-standard point of sale equipment, is powered by Apriva’s Intelligent Gateway and delivers highly secure, efficient and reliable transaction processing. Apriva offers customers easy-to-use devices, industry standard payment processing functions, wireless wide area network access, web based reporting and centralized management tools

PYMNTS.com recently asked Apriva’s Executive Vice President Bill Clark to answer a few questions about how his company is driving innovation at the point-of-sale.

1) Describe your POS innovation and why it was so innovative when it was launched.

Apriva is the leading provider of wireless transaction solutions for service providers, including banks, merchant acquirers, credit card processors and independent sales organizations (ISOs.) Apriva’s new mobile device merchant solutions, AprivaPay and AprivaPay Professional, give merchants a comprehensive credit card transaction solution that is easy-to-use, fully secure, and can be readily accessed from their preferred devices. There’s no additional hardware or subscription required. It is a completely turnkey approach to transaction processing.

2) What was the motivation for your innovation? What problem are you solving for merchants and end users?

While many mobile merchants have an interest in leveraging mobile credit card processing, the vast majority have been put off by the costs and complexities associated with current offerings. Apriva’s philosophy in developing both AprivaPay and Apriva Pay Professional was to deliver a turnkey solution that any mobile merchant could use—through either a web browser or a full-featured downloadable application. As a result, we feel we’ve given merchants a completely reliable and secure tool that enables them to increase revenue, reduce operating costs, and improve customer service, while complying with all security and privacy mandates.

3) How did you go to get both sides of your platform on board, merchants and channel partners?

We appreciate that the success of our historic customers—financial services providers—directly correlates to the satisfaction of their customers—the merchants. By developing a low-cost solution that is completely reliable, flexible, secure and turnkey, we believe we have given our channel partners a compelling solution that will, in turn, satisfy the operational and regulatory challenges facing mobile merchants.

4) What about that process was more difficult than you imagined? Less difficult?

The breakneck pace of innovation in the mobility space is perhaps the biggest challenge we face. We’ve worked hard to get our solutions compliant with the major operating systems like Apple, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and now Android. We have every expectation that this frenetic pace will only intensify as businesses and consumers seek more and more applications through their mobile devices. It’s incumbent upon us—as well as all technology providers—to ensure that we can deliver our solutions in the manner our customers prefer.

5) What is the biggest threat to your innovation?

Perhaps the biggest threat is the lack of uniformity concerning security standards in the payment industry eco-system. As it stands today, a number of players, merchants, credit card processors, technology vendors, regulators, and consumers, have a stake in ensuring secure, reliable payments. But every group comes at these challenges from a different direction. Defining responsibilities, and ensuring that each party adheres to the appropriate security standard is critical to everyone’s success. If we can’t handle these fundamentals, our industry will never fulfill its potential.

6) Fast forward two years from now, select one of the following and tell us why. Your innovation will be (a) industry standard (b) well established niche play (c) too early to tell.

We believe that AprivaPay and AprivaPay Professional have the potential to become the standard for mobile payment technologies. By focusing on delivering accessible, reliable and secure solutions, we expect to transcend technology-centric solutions. Our approach allows the merchant to use whatever device or network their comfortable with—we’ll work within the parameters set up by our customers, not vice versa.

7) Complete this sentence … The next big innovation at the POS is

Virtual Point of Sale and we will see it gain momentum among smaller businesses sometime in 2010.

8) In general, what do you think is the next big thing in payments, i.e. what’s next?

Certainly, there is significant opportunity in wireless-based credit card payments in the vending space. We’re in the midst of speaking with many bottlers and vending machine operators who realize that wireless solutions are a viable means to increase revenue and reduce expenses. Wireless technology can process payments much faster than fixed-line systems. What’s more, wireless is more secure and reliable. And when you combine payments technology with telemetry solutions that allow bottlers to monitor and manage inventory and maintenance remotely, and reduce expensive truck rolls, you now have a solution that is very compelling. We’re anticipating that we’ll see tremendous growth in this market.


 

William Clark is General Manager for Apriva Point of Sale. Bill is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and execution of Apriva’s national marketing initiatives, sales teams, client services, and product. Bill has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, product development and management. Prior to joining Apriva, Bill worked at First Data Resources – card issuing and First Data Merchant Services – acquiring, where he pioneered the delivery and sales of emerging technologies ranging from internet banking to new merchant services such as on-line chargeback management, RFID and IP enabled terminal products, and the release of 3G wireless products. Bill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics and Management from Southern Illinois University and an MBA from University Nebraska Omaha.

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