Discover Finally Opens Up about Emerging Payments

Despite arguably being the hottest publicly-traded company in payments, Discover has been pretty close to the vest with how it's adapting to an industry that's being flooded with innovation. Now, SVP Beth Horowitz and Global Head of Emerging Payments Farhan Ahmad open up to MPD CEO Karen Webster about Discover’s approach to emerging payments.

In the interview, Horowitz explains how Discover benefits from partnerships from every side of its business — network, issuer, acquirer — to establish best practices in a changing industry environment, and to formulate reasoned solutions for major implementations like EMV. "We view the world not just through the lens of being a network," she says, but "around solving for the entire ecosystem."

Meanwhile, Ahmad unpacks how new technologies can reduce friction throughout the payments process — not just for consumers, but for all players along the payments line. "To take friction out of the ecosystem," he says, "we have to take friction out for each constituent."

Discover's Holistic Approach to Emerging Tech


Using Technology to Reduce Friction in Payments


Click here to access the audio transcript.

Watch Discover's Video: What's Emerging in the World of Payments?

Beth Horowitz 
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Merchant Relations, Discover Network

Beth R. Horowitz is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Merchant Relations for Discover Network, a business unit of Discover Financial Services. In this capacity, Ms. Horowitz is responsible for leading the client marketing organization, including brand integration, communication services, product management and global pricing, as well as overseeing the direct relationships Discover has with key merchants in the U.S. She also leads emerging product initiatives such as EMV, contactless, mobile and prepaid.

Ms. Horowitz joined Discover in 2006 as Vice President of Product Management where she served in a leadership role to drive prioritization for Discover Network functional capabilities and to seed emerging product innovation.

Prior to joining Discover in 2006, Ms. Horowitz was Senior Vice President, Advanced Payments Solutions for MasterCard International. In this role she was responsible for the Innovation and Planning group that managed product marketing, planning and R&D efforts, and led the company-wide innovation practice to drive new product development worldwide.

Before joining MasterCard in 1989, Beth held positions at Shearson Lehman Hutton, Development Dimensions International and Working Woman Magazine.

Beth earned her Master of Business Administration from Pace University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York. She is a member of the American Management Association,, and International Who’s Who and serves on the board of Lambs Farm, a non-profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities.

Farhan Ahmad 

Global Head, Emerging Payments, Discover Network

Farhan Ahmad is the Global Head of Emerging Payments for Discover Network, a business unit of Discover Financial Services. In this position, he oversees all facets of Discover Network’s prepaid business including product development, sales, marketing and relationship management. Mr. Ahmad is also responsible for developing and managing Discover Network’s strategy for emerging payments and initiatives, including contactless (RFID/NFC) payments and mobile payments and services.

In addition to managing prepaid and emerging payments, Mr. Ahmad also is responsible for growing the Network’s volume and profitability through business development, strategic partnerships, and by building and managing the Network’s intellectual property strategy.

Mr. Ahmad came to Discover from JPMorgan Chase where he successfully developed, launched and managed Chase HealthAdvance, a new business unit focused on the healthcare financing market. Also while at JPMorgan Chase, Mr. Ahmad held various roles overseeing product and growth strategy, sales strategy, and corporate Internet business initiatives.

Mr. Ahmad was also a founding member of Aceva Technologies, a private label credit company that offered real time credit and promotional financing products to online retailers. Mr. Ahmad has held positions at LifeMinders, First USA Bank and Information Resources Incorporated.

Mr. Ahmad holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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