How One CEO Sees The Payments Evolution

First American Payment Systems CEO Neil Randel

In the last 10 to 20 years, technology has transformed the payments industry.

Consumers are no longer reaching for their physical wallets as the first form of payment. With the advancements made in the digital arena, there have been many new developments in how payments are made to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

As a direct result, we’ve seen not just retailers but businesses everywhere rethink the way payments are being processed. Whether it’s installing contactless payment point-of-sale systems, accepting online payments or thinking about expanding the use of bitcoin, the payments arena will probably never be the same, and it’s all thanks to the evolving world of technology and its capabilities.

To learn more about what’s currently happening in the payment technology industry, PYMNTS caught up with First American Payment Systems CEO Neil Randel.

Here is an excerpt from the conversation:

PYMNTS: How has technology evolved over the years in the payments industry?

NR: There is no question that technology has rapidly evolved over many years. We have come a long way since the days of the original payment terminals. The importance that technology plays in the industry is significant, and many companies today, ours included, spend a large amount of dollars and resources investing in new and innovative technology.

If you think about the world we live in today, where technology plays a major role in every consumer’s life, from their mobile phone to connected homes to digital assistants like the Amazon Echo, consumers expect payments to be as innovative and seamless as all of the technology they experience on a daily basis. New payment technology is allowing businesses and consumers to no longer see the payment process as a roadblock or a hassle, but as a way to enhance the customer experience and build repeat business.

PYMNTS: With the ever-expanding payment options now available, what role does payment security play in today’s marketplace?

NR: Payment security is incredibly important and is really the lens through which we are viewing payments today. With the rise of hackers and data breaches, it has forced the payments industry to continue to innovate and invest in new payment security solutions to protect merchants and their customers.

Security solutions and products are non-negotiable when it comes to deploying any kind of payment solution, whether it’s a terminal, a point-of-sale solution, integrated payments or any other payment product.

PYMNTS: What are the payment technology trends that you are seeing?

NR: We see a lot of businesses looking for integrated payments. They want to streamline their payment process within their business process. Therefore, we are seeing the rise of integrated payments continue to be popular. Customers and partners within a variety of verticals see payments as a way to enhance their business offering, differentiate themselves in the market and allow consumers to pay however they want to pay – whether it’s a mobile transaction, an NFC transaction, payment with a wearable device, online or in a recurring payment program.

PYMNTS: Given your focus on technology, tell us the latest in products and technology that are being delivered by First American?

NR: We have invested a significant amount of money in our 1stPay platform that allows our merchants and partners to be flexible in the offered payment solutions. Our technology allows new payment solutions to be deployed quickly and securely across business units and across multiple verticals, including retail, restaurant, software/ISVs, nonprofits, government, healthcare and banking.

What helps set our 1stPayPOS product apart from other tablet POS products is the ease of equipment set up, the support our customer service team gives to all new merchants in getting their equipment up and running and our ability to pre-load inventory and products on the device, saving the business owner precious time in getting the 1stPayPOS running. Our goal is to help minimize the amount of time needed to get new POS systems set up.

In the fall, we will be launching a wide variety of digital marketing and analytic modules that work on the 1stPayPOS device and provide a business owner multiple ways to manage and grow their business, all with a few clicks. Our goal is to give a business owner everything they need right at their fingertips.

PYMNTS: First American has long been successful in the merchant and ISO space. However, many people aren’t as familiar with your integrated payment solutions for ISVs. Tell us more about that part of the business.

NR: Much of our focus and investment has been on integrated payments and the solutions we can offer to partners. We have over 10 plus years of experience working with ISVs in various verticals, including government, nonprofit, healthcare, retail, eCommerce and more. Through acquisition and internal development, we have launched new technology that is specific to various industries, all built on our 1stPay platform. Our payment technology allows the ISVs to differentiate themselves in the marketplace through integrated payments, whether it’s in a point-of-sale system, an eCommerce product or some other delivery platform.

We often hear from our partners that our technology is some of the easiest in the industry to integrate into their software and that they appreciate the support and payment expertise we provide them. We have in place a comprehensive suite of offerings in our 1stPayBlaze product, such as our REST API, instant merchant onboarding, and an entire suite of integrated payment solutions aimed at creating differentiation for ISVs in the ever-changing payments landscape. And that’s something we will keep building on and dedicating resources too. As we speak, we are working on additional products and services to provide to the ISV market.