Georgia Fintech Academy

Episode 30: Advancements in Merchant Onboarding Experience - Dave Pritchett, Senior Product Management, Partner Experience, FIS Global with Fang Zhou of Georgia Tech

December 03, 2020 Georgia Fintech Academy
Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 30: Advancements in Merchant Onboarding Experience - Dave Pritchett, Senior Product Management, Partner Experience, FIS Global with Fang Zhou of Georgia Tech
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Georgia Fintech Academy
Episode 30: Advancements in Merchant Onboarding Experience - Dave Pritchett, Senior Product Management, Partner Experience, FIS Global with Fang Zhou of Georgia Tech
Dec 03, 2020
Georgia Fintech Academy

Dave Pritchett leads critical product development efforts related to partner experience with merchant onboarding at FIS Global. Dave's deep experience in merchant acquiring allows him to share meaningful perspectives on merchant acquisition and revolutionary approaches to merchant onboarding. Fang Zhou of Georgia Tech joins the conversation as a student interested in Fintech.

Show Notes Transcript

Dave Pritchett leads critical product development efforts related to partner experience with merchant onboarding at FIS Global. Dave's deep experience in merchant acquiring allows him to share meaningful perspectives on merchant acquisition and revolutionary approaches to merchant onboarding. Fang Zhou of Georgia Tech joins the conversation as a student interested in Fintech.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. The Georgia Vintech Academy is a collaboration between Georgia's FinTech industry and the university system of Georgia. This talent development initiative addresses a massive demand for FinTech professionals and give learners the specialized education experiences needed to enter the,

Speaker 2:

This is Tommy Morrisville , executive director of the Georgia FinTech Academy. Welcome to episode 30 of the Georgia FinTech Academy podcast. Today we have Dave Pritchett of FIS global. He's a senior director in product management , um, and or I should say a supporting partner enablement experience. And we're a really great to have him hit her day along with Fang , uh, Chao who's from Georgia tech. Welcome to you books. Thank you. Happy to be here. Thank you, Mr. Marshall. Yeah . Yeah, we , um, I hope you both had a great , uh, Thanksgiving today's , uh, I should have mentioned in the, in the opening December the third of 2020, and , uh, as we always do, Dave, we'd love to hear in your, just if you could give us introduction, but you know, take some time and tell us about , uh, your career in , in FinTech and payments , uh, and help us understand what that journey has been like happy to do. So, so yeah, so Dave , Dave Pritchett , uh, I , uh, currently located in , uh, sunny and beautiful Durango, Colorado , um, that hotbed of FinTech, but , uh, I've , uh, I've been in, you know, out of school for close to 20 years. Uh , my, my career is , is really kind of started and taken jobs , uh, almost exactly 10 years ago. So I , I, I came out of college and I was focused , um , really inside the ERP implementation world. So I, I used to work with a software called PeopleSoft and , uh, I did ERP implementations for, for large enterprise companies like sprint and H and R block. Um, and ERP is enterprise resource planning. If I remember my acronym history. Got it. Well, soft was bought by Oracle. Yep . I don't know, 15 years ago maybe. Yeah , exactly. Yeah. And , uh , I primarily worked in the supply chain area, so we did things like , uh, we implemented, you know, purchasing systems for , uh, like I mentioned, I worked for sprint and H and R block , um, to implement, help them implement , uh, purchasing systems. But , um, about 10 years ago, I decided to , to pursue , uh , locally here in Durango, we had a , another firm that , uh, ultimately was bought by FIS global called mercury payment systems. And , um, we were one of the first companies that, that really targeted the integrated payments , uh, channel within, within payments. So it was one of the early days of really digitizing payments. Uh, and so I, I , I took a job with, with mercury back in 2011 and I've really been , uh , working in payments ever since. Um, so, so kind of my , my journey has been , uh, back in those days, mercury was looking to become a its own acquire. And so I was hired to help them , uh, become an acquire. Um, they were what was called an ISO, so an independent sales organization for another processor. And , uh, we, you know, we were looking to , um , become our own processor. And so I was tasked at that point in time to get involved in the settlement area of becoming our own processor. So how do we, how do we fund our merchants? How do we on a nightly basis, how do we withhold interchange? How do we build them out of all the stuff that happens on the backend of payments? So my job was, was to stand up or our own backend system. So anyway, flash fast-forward , um, I I've covered kind of within merchant acquiring my, my , uh, career has really spanned everything from , uh, what I do now, which is really the, on the front side. How do we acquire merchants? But I I've had experience all the way from how do we acquire merchants to , I was involved in our reporting , uh , product that , that our merchants would use in partners would use to, to reconcile the transactions. I obviously was involved in billing and settlement. I had the fun task of working in a residual system. So how do we pay our partners for sending us referrals? Um, so I've kind of covered , uh , the full basis of really the , the acquisition journey from when , uh , when a partner send us a lead to a merchant onboarding all the way through , uh, settlement , uh, billing, residuals reporting on the backend . Um , and , and so now actually , I , I feel like I've, in the last couple years, I've been focused on what we're going to talk about today, which is the merchant onboarding journey. And specifically in our world, we, we focus on , uh, we acquire merchants largely through partners. So these partners are banks, they're ISV ISOs. And so my job right now is to make sure that we've provided the best experience for these partners to , uh, to bring on their merchants. And then, and then for the merchants themselves, what's that world-class experience that I know we'll get into kind of the details, but what's the world-class experience for the merchants to , uh, to kind of onboard to get your payments set up in their coffee shop or their, their brush store or those types of things. Yeah, that's great. I'm looking forward . So , um, we'll get, let's go to thang for a minute and then let's come back and , uh, you know, maybe begin to unpack this , um, part of really important part of the payments value chain that involves merchant merchant, merchant, acquiring merchant onboarding , um, thing . Tell us about

Speaker 3:

Sure. Thank you, Mr. Marshall, my very noncom background and moved to Atlanta to start my PhD in history of technology at Georgia tech. And when I graduated with my PhD, I started at Georgia Gwinnett college, which was the newest four year school in the university system of Georgia. Um , and as Gwinnette County very close to where Metro Atlanta is, their population was growing. So I started in 2010 and as I began, I saw that Atlanta became the regional hub for the FinTech industry. Uh , so my personal interest in finance was driven by the fact that my department chair actually asked me to help in analyzing our department as business units, financial budget in making optimal financial allocations to our resources, so that I understood the importance of financial analysis. And I wanted to go back to Georgia tech to learn about finance. So when I started at Georgia tech in 2018, in the evening MBA program, I was exposed to FinTech by the finance club. And at that time, both some players, the , uh , Fiserv FIS global, we saw , uh , various other FinTech firms that had operations in Atlanta. And we saw that Atlanta was the major regional hub. So that really got me interested in trying to go into the FinTech industry, Georgia Tech's MBA program really does a great job of exposing students to the strengths in both finance and technology, to intersection between finance and technology and the Georgia FinTech Academy provided a wonderful opportunity for me to connect with Mr. Marshall and all of his experiences to hear about speakers and , um, with , uh, firms introducing their plan . So I'm obviously very interested in learning about the FinTech industry in general, and I would love to hear from Mr. Pritchett on, on his experiences on how students can best prepare for a career in the FinTech industry. Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Great. Thanks Fang . Yeah, there's no spins great to have you on the podcast. And we'd certainly enjoyed having you engaged with us at the FinTech Academy , um , this semester in our career fairs and events and, and other vehicles, and , uh, look forward to supporting you further on your career journey. Um, what Dave let's turn back to, to merchant onboarding , um, or just the merchant acquiring process. I think it , it would likely help our listeners if , uh , we could just start with the basics of like , when we say merchant acquiring, what do we need? What w what are we talking about there? It's a , it's a great question. I get asked that quite a bit. Dave, what, what the heck do you do at your job every day? So a very good question. So, so FIS global in particular, the business unit that I work in Worldpay , uh, we're a merchant acquire . And so what, you know, if you think about going to a coffee shop and running your credit card transaction in order for that merchant to take that credit card and for all the magic to happen in the background , uh, that that's really what merchant acquiring is about is how does that coffee shop or website or bookstore, whether it , whether it's a brick and mortar, whether it's an e-commerce site, how does that , uh, that merchant actually take payments? That's that's merchant acquiring. So, so really starting at the beginning of the process, I'm a coffee shop, and I need the ability to take a credit card payment, and I need, in order to do that, I need to , uh, sign up with an acquire such as FIS, a global Worldpay. And so the process typically , uh, in the U S primarily what we see is , uh, merchants come in through a partner. So a partner could be a bank, a partner oftentimes is a point of sale manufacturer. Uh, but , but a merchant can also find in acquire directly. We see this a lot more internationally where , uh, and we also seeing it in the U S with, with folks like square, that, that it ease C C to , uh , to take payments. You can buy a dongle in the store and get signed up instantly. Um, but I'm a merchant, I'm a coffee shop owner. And , uh , let's say I bought a point of sale. And that point of sale has got everything I need. It's got inventory, it's got scheduling, it's got ability to take payments, but I need to light up payments . So I typically, the way that one motion works is that point of sale provider or provide a referral to a FIS global FIS global sales rep will quote, contract underwrite and what we call board or onboard the account. So what does onboarding mean? It means , uh , really provisioning that merchant to take , uh, for authorizations to make sure that we're able to settle to the merchant. So at night, we are able to send payments to that merchant to pay them for their transactions, for us to build in at month end and for us to service the account. Um, so that's, you know, it kind of covers that spectrum, in some cases, we'll ship out equipment. So you're familiar with pin pads , um, and , uh, really the onboarding experience is kind of that soup to nuts. I want to take payments to , I run my first transaction and everything is, is working as designed,

Speaker 4:

Right? No, that's helpful. I know for me, as I've begun to understand merchant acquiring in my career, when I, when I first started to look at it, I was like, wait a minute. This is a lot more complicated than I thought at face value. I mean, I was just, you know, assuming incorrectly that almost like a cat, you know, you think of the basic cash transaction. Like I walk into the coffee shop, if I'm using us dollar cash, I just reach in my wallet. I pull out $3. I handed the merchant, they put it in their drawer. And then I just to just assume, okay, they're taking the us dollars and they're putting it in their bank account every night. And , um , and I was thinking, Oh, if I'm giving them a credit card or a debit card, it must not be that much more complicated than that. And the merchants got that money, you know, quickly to put in their bank account. And then as I began to understand, it was like, okay, that is not the case at all. Particularly when it's the , uh, the, the debit card, plastic instrument or the credit card, plastic instrument. Um, and then as things have gotten added from a mobile payment standpoint, Apple pay, et cetera , um, in FC , you know, all these different modalities , uh, there's that all the complexity there that has to be managed , um, and supported for the, the, the , the coffee shop owner, but then just this whole, how , uh, what you w you know, appropriately are referring to in a settlement, like, you know, what's that time that it takes from when I, as the consumer hand, the merchant, my credit card or debit card to when the merchant actually, you know, has money to, you know , do whatever, you know, invest that money or, you know, to run their business, et cetera. Um, and that, you know, it's really, yeah. I want you to talk more about just how there's all these critical parts of making that work , um, for the, for the merchant. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. You know, I love , I love having these kinds of conversations because my job every day is to make that process not so difficult.

Speaker 5:

So, so , so the customer ,

Speaker 2:

Yes . That it is very complex, but how do I, how do I, how do we, as FIS global make that process easier for the, our partners like banks to , to onboard accounts and merchants themselves, that they're busy running their job, they don't want to deal with all the complexity. So, so, you know, my, my product in particular is trying to remove friction out of that process. Um, but you know, some of the components I mentioned to get the partner to get the merchant set up running, the first things that has to do is they enter into a contract with an acquire and in each acquire like FIS global is sponsored by a bank again, getting into that complexity, but a merchant enters into a contract with us and our bank sponsor, so that they're ALA allowed to transact over the card networks. Um, in that contract, we, we negotiate pricing with, with the merchant. And so that alone could probably entertain its own podcast in terms of how , uh , acquires have, have done pricing in the past. Um, but what we're seeing is, you know, just like every industry that there's a lot of legacy pricing, but a lot of merchants are saying, Hey, I would be willing to pay a little bit more just for simplicity, you know? And so when, when you talk about the acquiring, there's the contract in the, in the pricing that kind of go hand in hand, how do we get the merchant to sign a contract in the past? That was , uh , absolutely paper. Well , what we're seeing, and obviously the big emphasis for , for my world is how do we digitize that? And so FIS global has been on the journey for roughly five years to kind of, to automate, digitize that paper process. And , uh, even, you know, a lot of my peers have kind of set that in motion. What we're doing now is now we're putting these tools out to our partners like banks, like ISVI to allow them to kind of put the merchant who the merchant doesn't want to bounce back and forth between they bought a point of sale, or they've been talking to a bank and, and, and now they , uh, now they have to traditionally had to talk to , uh , another acquirer to get signed up what we're seeing more and more as merchants just want one seamless experience. And they want everything all in one. And so that, that quote, that contract, what we're, we're empowering, these, these partners to do is to kind of roll that in with their point of sale motion or their banking. Um, so that it's really one motion, not a bunch of disparate. I gotta call this guy for my payments. I gotta call this guy for my inventory, those types of things. Um, once the contract is, is , uh , in place, a huge component of the onboarding process for an acquire is to make sure we do our underwriting and credit checks. And this is to ensure that we're not incurring fraud because the acquire is in the line of , um, of risk liability. We want to make sure from a , uh , FIS perspective that we're not incurring additional risk or that we , we have compliance. And we have, we have to make sure we know who the customer is. We have to make sure that we adhere to anti [inaudible] and anti money laundering rules. We have to do customer due diligence. And , and, and we do all this through calls out our systems, call out to third parties like guy act and , and various tools to tell us, is this guy a bad actor? Is he on, is he on a sanctions list? Is he on , uh , various , uh, black books, if you will , um, to make sure that, that this person is, is who they say they are. And then obviously we typically run a credit check that way, if the, if fraud happens or, or the , uh , customer goes underwater that we know, you know, we, we can, we have some line of , of defense, I guess, if you will.

Speaker 4:

I think , and I know fraud is management or fraud is critical in merchant acquiring. And it's helped me to think about and try to understand, like, what are those types of fraud and what do we mean? And I guess simply simply for me, it's the, okay, there's, there's a bad guy. And the bad guy is trying to convince , um, the merchant acquire. And I guess the merchant acquiring the bank, that they are legitimate, that the bad guy wants to look legitimate and then push through fake payment requests into the system that would get settled, that, so that , that the bad guy would be paid out real money for things , for, for goods and services that didn't really exist or services that didn't exist. And so they, if they could, if they could fake out the acquire in the bank, make these requests for , for payments, you know, for some period of time get real money and then shut down and move on. Is that, I mean, generally, is that kind of, am I thinking about it the right way? Um, I guess, is that, am I thinking about the right way? Yes or no. And then, you know, what are, like, how do you additionally dimension different types of fraud , um, that you're trying to stop , uh , like what are those types of bad guys? I mean, I get the , the, the , the kind of terrorist , and those were like, you know , Oh, FAQ list , uh , type actors. Um, but , um , just curious to hear more about that.

Speaker 2:

No, I , I think you nailed it and I'm certainly, you know, we, we have, as you describe , it is a huge component of , uh, of merchant onboarding and I'm a product guy who's, who's helping acquire, and we have a , a big group of systems and folks that are really those fraud experts. Um, but yeah, largely you're exactly right. So you have a bad actor that it is, you know, in the fraud, as, you know, as we know that it evolves. So , um, how the, how these guys are they're sophisticated, but that's generally the idea is that either they've set up a phony shop and then , uh, they, they run transactions that, that aren't real. And then they close shop and , and we've paid them out for stuff that never actually got sold, or something's maybe not as , uh, fraudulent could be, you know, the merchant, the merchant, we typically bill it month end . And so, you know, credit card bills, if you're doing a lot of volume, your, your fees to us don't get assessed to the end of the month. So, so we're floating quite a bit of what, what we call industry interchange. And so , um, because we'd net settle every night, our gross settle typically. So we're, we're not paying the merchants, not paying the fees till the end of the month. So 30 days of fees, you know, if that merchant closes shop disappears, you know, we're, we're out that money. So that that's obviously probably more common. Um, but certainly

Speaker 4:

That's a good point. I mean, just to stop you there for a second. So I think what I'm hearing you say is like, you're paying nightly the merchant, you're settling to the merchant dollars every night. So, you know, day one, day two, there's zero to four to five day, six day 77 , eight, you know , eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, up to 30. And then on 30 you're assessing whatever the , uh, the , the combined fees are. Uh, and so if I'm a bad guy, I could take that first 29 days of, of incoming funds and then your invoicing to the fees and I'd be, and then I just shut down and be like, sorry. Right. And then of course you're out or whatnot . You're not only out all that, you know, 29 days of funds that have been paid, but then you're also out the fee expense that you've incurred. So it's, you know, you get multiple bad actors like that, and you can immediately start to see, okay, this could be a big problem if not managed very aggressively. Exactly.

Speaker 2:

And, you know, and I think there's various levels of risk , uh , that we take, you know, not, you know, not every merchant that we're dealing with has the same level of risk. And, and there's different ways that we can still allow a merchant to process. And of those mechanisms is what they call daily discount, which is , uh, we , we can withdraw fees on a nightly basis. So we don't have that risk of a 30 day float walking out the door. And that, that would be one example of, Hey, we really do want this merchants business. Maybe they haven't been in , uh , in business very long. They don't have credit history. Let's take, you know, we'll start off , uh, let them process, but we'll withhold our fees on an annual basis and then evolve them over time. So , um, so yeah, on the fraud perspective, we are absolutely upfront looking at tons of things around credit history, but then even once the merchants processing, it kind of goes into a post boarding , uh, monitoring. So we'll, we'll look at all sorts of things about unusual activity. Uh, we'll periodically run rechecks on these merchants just to make sure , um, they're , they're still kosher on all the, on all the lists. So there's quite a bit emotions around just making sure that all this money we're floating on a daily basis is, is safe and secure in that said , um,

Speaker 4:

And I didn't want to get too far in the fraud, but I, but I wanted to touch on it a little bit because I'm, I'm just, I'm imagining that you're , there's so much, you gotta think of when you're trying to reduce that friction of onboarding that gets driven by the fact that you want to have as much as surety as possible that the merchant, your onboarding is legitimate. And so it's like, okay, how do you solve that? Rubik's cube of getting more data, getting more input, getting the right set of information to reduce your risk as much as possible before you onboard that's okay.

Speaker 2:

It's such an interesting conversation because my job, if I was to say I'm being judged, because I'm really focused on the experience. So the merchant and the partner a directly con conflicts with our risks . So for instance, as a merchant, if I could just sign one piece of paper, one place and not have to fill out forms upon forums , that would be the utopia super simple, but we have to balance it with, we've got to do all these checks. So within technology, we're , we're, there's really cool tools that we can really reduce the amount of questions we say, we ask to the merchant, but still validate things like who , who they say they are. Um, it's pretty enlightening. Some of the technology is available to understand even the location of where they're filling out the app versus , uh, where, where they say they're doing business. Um, so yeah, that that's , uh, I spend most of my days trying to figure out that fine balance of our application using for 150 questions. We want it to ask for five, right . Do that, and still secure our business.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. And at the, and you mentioned it earlier too, but I wanted to just emphasize it for a minute. Is that what I've come to understand is that the , the , the move from paper to digital in merchant acquiring is a relatively recent development. Uh, this is one area of our kind of payments, financial services landscape, I would say that's , um, been one of the later stages to kind of really begin to move aggressively towards digital transformation. I mean, I think for good reasons, I think for a lot of these kinds of risks related reasons, and there's been a long history of the merchant being kind of sold by an individual, like, you know, on the ground, walking into the merchant insulation relationship is built . Of course, if you're staring the person in the face, you , and you're handling things on a bit more of a manual process, you're you just kind of inherently, you know, them. And so you're using risk a bit, but there's of course so much business opportunity and , uh , in bringing things to greater digitization that , um, you know, I think been happening in the last, as you were mentioning kind of five years or so.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. A hundred percent live every day that that's, that couldn't be any, it's kind of been enforced by just the digital consumers. We're all consumers and call it the Amazon effect, the online, we just expect the checkout to be easy. We expect it to be digital and that that's permeating it even into a , you know, acquiring and it's, it honestly is just an expectation, I think these days , um, and, and where we're seeing it is, I think I mentioned earlier is not only is the variance expected to be digital, but more and more, what we're seeing is that the hand-offs that previously were permeated in this industry. I, I talked to , uh , the bank sends me over to, to FIS FIS calls me on the phone and , and signs a paper agreement that that's, that's changing. The customer wants to go walk into a bank, be done right then and there. And, and they have a relationship with the bank, or they have a relationship with the point of sale acquiring, acquiring should come with that. And so these digital tools, what we're doing a lot is we're putting those in the hands of the partners. And, you know, not only are we digitizing, but we're , we're taking out steps within the process , um, just the , the, the manual steps that we, we all just want to be in and out and , and talk to one person. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Is there a , is there a number one or two thing you hear frequently from your partner clients as like we, you know, can please , you know, really help us do this better help us do X better, Dave, help us do Y better. Uh, is there a kind of shortlist in your head that you're constantly trying to optimize?

Speaker 2:

I would say three things , uh , as a partner, they want to control the experience I was mentioning, and that even includes branding so that they typically, the merchant typically wants to interact with the bank or the ISV and the ISB doesn't want, they want to control the experience soup to nuts.

Speaker 4:

And just stop there just for one second. Sorry. And , and ISB is a very, very important actor in this space. And that may be an acronym that our listeners don't know about. Um, I think I can help me again if I've got it right. I think that ISV is independent, saw their vendor. Am I got that right, but like critical actor in this space in terms of , uh , offering a variety of different services to help support , uh, this merchant onboard merchant acquiring brand .

Speaker 2:

Yes. Yeah. I , in the card present brick and mortar world, I like to use the example. If you, if you've ever been into a coffee shop or a restaurant would then they swivel a tablet, an iPad round that that is an ISV, that's an ISV, that's built software, that's vertically oriented that says, I look at that and it's got, it's got my coffee shop menu aisle , and it's really built for an auto auto shop or a coffee shop or a book

Speaker 4:

The store. So we got the bank partner, the ISV partner, and then, sorry, I took you off track, but you were just going to say, you got three kind of key things coming up, big ones control .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Well control. Um, they want to close , uh, close rates are critical. So , uh, meaning that, you know, both parties FIS, as well as the , uh, ISP or bank doesn't get paid, unless that merchant actually says, yes, I'm going to go payments through you guys. And then the third one, probably the most important is , uh , speed to revenue. So that, that really plays to the digital. So in the paper process , uh, you know, it , it could take, I should just a recent example. We had a partner who consume our digital product that I work with. Uh, they typically to get all this process done in the past before they consumed our API APIs, took them literally 30 days from the point the merchant was interested to ready, you know , processing. They completed the process in an hour and 45 minutes. And we won the deal from another competitor because it was an hour and 45 minutes. And I haven't told them that we had a bug. It should have actually been more like five minutes or 20 minutes, but , uh, anyway, 30 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes, that is money in a partner's pocket. It's better experience for a merchant. And it's in an acquirer as pocket as well.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, no, that makes total sense to me. And that's really, that's really helpful. The other, I guess, dumb other, maybe dumb question for me , um, is that , uh, is it, I make an assumption and just tell me if I'm right. If I'm a small, medium sized business, I have one bank acquiring partner versus multiple partners. But if I go up to say the larger, like a big box retailer or a big grocery store chain, there's the likelihood I have multiple more partners, multiple perhaps multiple partners. It might do I think, am I thinking about that? Right. Um, yeah,

Speaker 2:

I think so. I , I would say your large call, a big box stores. Uh , none of , you know, for them, I I've seen some status , a big box store. If they're offline for a minute with payments, it is a staggering amount of money that they've lost. And so I think, and this is, you know, I think is maybe dangerous, but I, I know quite a few of these large enterprise merchants have kind of column backup switch when one goes down, they just, they can hot switch over to another acquire so that their customers, they don't lose revenue. Cause they, I mean, you can imagine the box store, the second, their , their , their , uh , credit cards started work. That's big impact, whereas a small and medium sized business. Yeah. Probably typically they may have bought that tablet point of sale and that tablet point of sale, generally, they've only contracted with one acquire. I mean, it's a lot of overhead. Um, but that said, sometimes I have seen where a, a small, medium sized business might have their e-commerce webs through, through one partner and one provider through, and they might have their physical point of sale through, through one acquire. I have seen some of that, but I obviously want that all all to come through us , um, in India. So

Speaker 4:

Yeah, no, that makes total sense to me . Um, I want to pivot to news in a minute, but before I do that , um, Dave, the talk , can you just talk a little bit about like the core digital tools that you spend a lot of time working on , um, in your ongoing effort to , to build further , um, or just satisfy your partner relationships in remarkable, like tell us about those digital tools .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I would start first and foremost with API. So , uh, we, we, we are putting forth our API APIs is , is it foundationally how, how we go to market? So, and by API APIs, I mean, we have, we're building onboarding API APIs to digitize that process, servicing APIs, reporting API APIs. Um, pretty much the quoting API is equipment, API APIs , all the things that are involved in the acquisition process, but, but also the support and in value added services,

Speaker 4:

Our application programming interfaces, yes. Those of you that don't know the tech lingo , um, which are, I think of API is like little bitty windows into really complex , uh, systematic processes.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. And, and the reason we start with API APIs , um, is one , uh , partner can consume those directly and in why it would consume those as a partner, I would be able to take my system, say a CRM system where I already have my banking customer in and I can consume an FIS API. And I, I don't have to re-key all that data. I can systematically system the system send that data between the parties. So imagine I'm a , I walk into a bank, I've already got a bank account. All the data that they need is the same data that, that FIS needs to underwrite the account. So simply consuming the API connects the two systems. Uh , but the reason we start with APIs is then we can build our, you user interface over the top of our own API APIs. Right. So , uh, really, I would say, you know, we start with an API first strategy and then, and then we're building our tooling over the top of those , uh, and, and the tooling , uh, I believe at least how we've done that is, is really specific. So we've built a tool to support the onboarding process. We built a tool to support the reporting process. We have another tool to, to support their servicing process. Uh, and then we kind of wrap those, you know, largely with a single sign on, or some sort of identity system so that you don't have to remember 20 different passwords.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. That's , uh , that's cool stuff. I get very excited about these , the possible , you know, that the maturation of API APIs , the, as that's been occurring over the last many years, and then just the possibilities that begins to open up , uh, from a business standpoint, from a relationship management standpoint, from a , um, all the business process enablement standpoint. And then just from a technological standpoint, it's just, it's really, I think a very exciting time , um, to be in the business

Speaker 2:

Of this whole payments area as this technology's becoming more mature and more accessible. Um, well, let's , uh , let's sort of turn to our news recap on the week. Um, why don't I bring you in here, tell us about like, what's a , what's a thin tech news story. That's caught your attention in the last, in the last week.

Speaker 3:

Sure. So Facebook's digital currency. Libra is preparing to launch as early as January of next year with the exact dates still to be determined on approval from the Swiss financial market supervisory authority. So while originally it's , um , is , uh , investigated as a synthetic coin backed by a basket of currencies, the Libra association will initially launch a single currency, backed one by one for a dollar. And I'd love to hear what , uh, Mr. Bridget's perspective on this , uh , Facebook's digital currency would be.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it feels like Facebook's , uh, yeah, the dominating is, you know , so Chris cryptocurrency has kind of been one of those things that , uh, has been, yeah, I know for the last gosh, probably four years, it always seems to come up in a call it our annual annual meetings and strategy discussions about, you know, how much are we going to play in that market are viable. The Facebook puts viability on, you know, it's interesting when you see these big guys , uh, get involved because you kind of keep waiting for this cryptocurrency to become more mainstream. And, and I really wonder if , uh, you know, Facebook getting involved there is if that adds viability. Dave has, have you found this starting to come up in any of your partner conversations? I don't mean the Facebook thing, but just the, you know, Hey Dave, how are you all, if I have customers that want to pay in Bitcoin or Ethereum, like, are you beginning to, do you have that as part of your offering, or are you thinking about adding that into your offering? Like it just, not that you have to answer that question specifically, but just like, is that topic starting to come up in these conversations with the banks, with the ISV ? What, what I've seen come up more as is , uh , uh, is requests around alternative payment methods. So I would lump this in there. Um, so that might include like the buy now pay later. I stuff that's of course, much more. I feels like it's much more , uh, uh, along further along in terms of adoption that the point of sale lover in the card present, I would say alternative payment methods led by , by your pay, you know , and pay or wallets from an onboarding perspective. We, you know, we are more and more supporting that. So the way acquiring works is in order for a merchant to accept these alternative payment methods , uh, even like cryptocurrency, they, we have to bore onboard them to accept that. So right now it's , it's pretty , uh , early days, but those, those other methods I'd say are more prominent. At least that MC

Speaker 4:

One of our , um, kind of FinTech companies that we're real proud of here in Atlanta is a company called BitPay, which was, it was the first FinTech to build a merchant acquiring capability for cryptocurrency. Um , they're now I think almost 10 years old and, and , you know, continue to grow and they're making headway and , um, you know, offering this service particularly to cricket currency to merchant, but I've , you know , constantly, I'm just interested have been interested to see how they grow and contain to them in their future. Might look like , um, what they've , how about you, any news that's caught your attention in terms of , um, the space over the last week ?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's, it's potentially a bit out of FinTech, but the Salesforce acquisition of Slack , uh, uh, you know, we, we, everyone, you know, in FinTech everywhere across the world's gone digital and , uh, you know, we, we use the teams interface , uh, here at FIS and have had a lot of success. So seeing Salesforce jump into this space kind of in a collaboration is pretty interesting, eh , whether or not they're trying to go toe to toe with Microsoft, I don't know what you guys think. Uh, um, but certainly from how we all do business, we've obviously digitized. We're trying to digitize onboarding, but we all got thrust into this remote work , uh, back in March and couldn't do it without these types of tools.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, absolutely. And then I think we'll see even down to the small, medium sized business, just further engagement with these collaboration platforms. And then, you know, I just can imagine that as more and more small businesses are engaging with these collaboration platforms, that's going to create kind of a new opportunities for you and what, and how you enable and speed up and further make , uh , the onboarding experience. Amazing. Right. Is it, how do you begin to incorporate these tools , uh, into supporting the merchant , uh , information request and , um, you know, at the whole application process and, you know, reporting every aspect of those . So you can begin to imagine how , um, you know, like even your , an API from you could be consumed in a Slack environment in some way, and, you know, I can

Speaker 2:

Giving me ideas. Yeah. I mean, you know, some of the things we've seen in onboarding, you know, yeah . I w I recently spent some time with my folks over Thanksgiving and we've gone from , uh , uh, everything's handshakes to phone calls, to human, to human, and all of us are trained to digitize this well, full digital, not talking to humans is not for everyone. And we've actually learned that, you know, we digitize the load way. Some people actually still want to talk and need, this is complicated. So there is a space for some involvement with a human. I wonder if, you know, as we evolve our onboarding experience from going from paper human-based to completely bought , right. There's a place here for a , kind of a SMI hybrid approach where you've got a human available via Slack or teams, and , uh , that can assist you kind of on demand.

Speaker 4:

That makes total sense to me, because I just can imagine that the merchant, this, you know, this isn't this whole payments area, isn't kind of typically what their business is about. So it's not what they know, and they need advice on what do I need to be thinking about? I don't , you know, I want to make sure I'm getting the best kind of deal for myself as a merchant, and I need a trusted someone, and, and that often involves a person. And then, but if you can offer those engagements in a digital format and build that intimacy with the merchant in a digital format, then you're just going to be the ongoing, the preferred provider of their payments capability.

Speaker 2:

Um , and we've got, and we've even got pro you know, potentially a sales Avenue as well, because it isn't payments can be a commodity, but there are a lot of value added services that can be combined with payments that potentially sometimes it is easier to sell as a human, like, I'll just say gift cards or data products, or , um , leasing or lending, all that stuff kind of goes hand in hand. So again , interesting. Yeah , that's really neat. Um,

Speaker 4:

The last point I knew is I would add , uh, that caught my eye was general motors , um, announcing that they are intending or have made an application for a bank charter , uh, as they want to, as some of you will remember wanting to get back into deposit, taking , uh, to support their audit finance business. Um, I remember in the financial crisis of 2008 , um, all the auto companies really got into a difficult situation and general motors , uh, had the general motors acceptance court GMAC , uh , which they were forced to shut down and exit , uh, as part of the , uh, the last financial crisis. And , um, that , uh, they had to spin off that business. It's now called ally financial , um, and its own growing independent, you know, very successful entity. So , um, it was , uh , I guess, interesting, exciting for me to see that general motors looking to get back into the, into the banking business. Well , um, I really enjoyed this conversation, Dave, thanks so much for being with us today. Thank you to FIS for, you know, you're a founding investor and the Georgia FinTech Academy, and we're very grateful for that. Um, and then Fang, it's been wonderful having you engaging with us today. Uh, so thanks to you both. And , uh, you're welcome back. Anytime

Speaker 1:

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