Wednesday, May 20, 2015

News from APEX Europe: GPS Appoints Former Head of Issuing at Optimal Payments PLC

London - May 18th, 2015 - Leading global payments processor Global Processing Services (GPS) today announced that Suresh Vaghjiani will be joining their Senior Management team as Executive Vice President of Card Services. Suresh commented, "We have all witnessed the growth of GPS globally in recent years and it is certainly exciting to be part of the team tasked with continuing the expansion of our global footprint".

In his former role as Director of Issuing at Optimal Payments PLC, Suresh successfully established the Issuing and newly formed Card Services division. Previously, as a founding member of Kalixa Payments Group, in his role as Head of Kalixa Pay, Suresh launched the award winning Kalixa prepaid card across international markets. Suresh has a substantial understanding of electronic money, throughout its complete value chain from Issuing to Acquiring, with strategic knowledge on what works and does not work in various international markets.

As a member of the UK Contactless Advisory Committee, Suresh worked with TFL to pilot some of the first contactless prepaid products used on the London transport network. In 2011, Suresh launched the first ever contactless wristwatch in the UK. This is in addition to being responsible for launching the first App controlled NFC solution for i-phone in Europe. Suresh is an elected Advisory Board member for the Emerging Payments Association.

GPS was founded in 2007 by the owners of Flex-e-vouchers (FEV). FEV was one of the pioneers of prepaid Programme Management in Europe and continues to operate successfully today. FEV's founders identified weaknesses in prepaid processor capability and decided to launch a second business (GPS) that would provide the flexibility needed to service prepaid Programme Managers worldwide. GPS is a MasterCard, Visa Inc. and Visa Europe accredited processor. The platform was built in-house from the ground up and is tailored to prepaid card functionality, utilising the multi-year experience gained from operating one of the largest programme management companies in Europe.

Neil Weeks, Chief Commercial Officer at GPS commented, "Suresh is a well-known and respected industry expert. We are delighted to announce his appointment to our senior management team".

Tony Kerr, Chief Executive Officer at GPS added, "Suresh has a depth of product and industry knowledge that is amongst the finest in our sector. We believe that Suresh will strengthen our executive team, further underpinning our global rollout strategy".

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Will security hamper the future of payment technology?

Innovators in the payments world are seeking to decrease dependency on cash payments by increasing development in the payment technology world. However recent studies have shown that general acceptance of new payment technology has its drawbacks as security has been found to be an issue for potential customers who are starting to use new payment systems.

A new study carried out by the Ponemon Institute has found that consumer demands, that have put pressure on the development of payment systems, has caused anxiety about security. However it is due to this demand from the customers who could have their security compromised, that has prompted this rush to develop new technology. Out of the 748 security, I.T., risk management, product development and other payment based professionals who are all based in the U.S., almost 70% thought this pressure to adopt new convenient systems could threaten the security of customers.

A quite worrying 53% of those surveyed stated that they’d rather better customer convenience than security. This in my opinion is made worse by the fact that 47% of respondents stated their organisations ability to deal with any potential risks were ‘not effective’ or ‘somewhat effective’. In terms of where the risks are mostly likely to be there was quite a clear split – 34% responding that they believed online purchases were the greatest risk, 25% arguing point-of-sale devices and 24% suggesting mobile payments were the biggest risk.

The survey also delved into who the respondents thought are responsible for payment security and the results were slightly limited. From those who took the survey, 45% believed banking institutions were responsible, credit card companies were chosen by 40% and 33% argued that the regulators should be held responsible. In comparison with the results for who should be responsible for protecting customer data following a breach, 75% believed the company who lost it should be held accountable and 69% for the bank who issued the cards affected.

Despite these apparent risks, money is still flowing into payment technology, though with caution. Almost 56% of payments players said that they predict their investments will increase over the next 18-24 months; only 12% expected a decrease.

In terms of development for the payment technology industry as a whole, there is a general consensus that greater collaboration is needed across the board. There are too many who could miss out due to each individual payments technology player concentrating on their own niche product within the industry. Moving forward there is a call for a decrease in middle men within the field to simplify the chain of global payments. Along with this, greater collaboration between companies is needed in order to iron out important issues such as security that could be a huge problem for future users.

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Key Insights from APEX 2015 Now Available in Executive Summary

More than 800 professionals with a stake in the payments ecosystem converged on Las Vegas, NV this year for APEX 2015—the All Payments Expo—to  network and get up to speed on the latest in payments innovation and developments in prepaid, alternative financial services, retail and technology. 

We on the APEX team are now pleased to present the official 2015 executive summary, an exclusive report featuring key insights and analysis from APEX, along with detailed coverage of specific presentations and panels from the conference.


› The future of payments will be device, platform and location-agnostic. Retailers are scrambling to wrap their brains around the options, but the nature of POS transactions will most definitely change dramatically in just the next couple of years as mobile technologies bundle POS, marketing, shopping, customer engagement and data collection seamlessly.

› Cryptocurrencies may reach an adoption tipping point sooner than expected and with a profound impact on multiple financial service categories and industries, most notably by driving a low-to-no-cost peer-to-peer payments revolution.

› Competition to capture the patronage of the massive un- and under-banked populations of the world (including those in wealthy First World markets) will occupy the attention of established players and start-ups alike as technology knocks down barriers to access.

The saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Luckily that does not hold true for APEX 2015! Download the executive summary now to learn more and see what the buzz was about. 

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Coinzone Announces Bitcoin Wallet

Bitcoins have often been in the news for a number of reasons and many times in a negative light. Bitcoins were strongly related to the website Silk Road which was an online ‘deep web’ black market space that sold illegal drugs, firearms, assassinations and more.

However bitcoins have the potential to be a useful form of currency as we move into an age where many are predicting the decline in need for physical cash payments and a move toward contactless payment technology. Bitcoins are not tied to countries or regulations and are useful for international payments. They are easily transferable and can be kept anonymous which is why there has been doubts due to usage in illegal activity.

Coinzone, a Europe-based payment solution provider have recently announced that they will launch a new bitcoin wallet that will support currencies across Europe. The announcement signals the move toward embracing bitcoins as a more mainstream form of currency. Coinzone’s new wallet has been developed in order to address legal and privacy frameworks in operation across Europe.

Manuel Heilmann, who is the CEO and co-founder, told CNN “The Coinzone Wallet will be unique for a number of reasons, both at launch and also looking ahead to the future,”. The new wallet will be available for users wherever they have a web browser. This means that iOS and Android users will be able to manage and authorise bitcoin transactions whilst on the move. Heilmann goes on to say “For launch, our goal is to make it very easy to spend bitcoin. It’s a simple yet very crucial feature that is either missing or not easy to use in other wallets.”.

According to Heilmann the top five most active countries on the Coinzone platform are Germany, France,Spain, Romania and Italy. The initiative has also been launched now in the U.K. and the Czech Republic where growth is increasing. The wallet is available to very diverse range of countries with customer service initially aiming to support English 24/7, German, French, Spanish and Romanian and aim to respond around the clock. When it comes to bitcoins, customers cannot afford to wait until the next day when purchasing or selling.

Coinzone has a broad and comprehensive understanding of the European regulatory landscape. Users of the wallet will be under European privacy laws that means data is securely hosted in European data center locations. Heilmann believes the wallet will give users a hassle free experience that allows them to “transact with confidence” and to utilise “the local language, currency and payment instruments that are relevant to where they live.”.

This announcement signals the constant development in the payments world that seeks to create easier payment transactions for businesses and consumers alike. Creating secure and dependable systems for bitcoins can take the stigma away from the negative connotations that arose from Silk Road.

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Apple Pay announces partnership with Best Buy

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on Monday the 27th of April that Best Buy will begin accepting Apple Pay in its iOS app. The announcement also revealed that Apple Pay support will soon after be in Best Buy stores later this year. This means that Best Buy is now the first big-name U.S. retailer that has gone against the trend of retailers who are members of the MCX program.

Barry Blackburn /
The MCX program is a group of retailers and food chains that are currently in the process of constructing a payment app named CurrentC that is seen to be a likely rival to Apple Pay. CurrentC, which is expected to be launched later in 2015 will use barcodes rather than NFC for payments and is currently still in the testing phase. MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson has insisted that there are no fines or payments for leaving the program. However due to exclusivity agreements signed by Best Buy, they will not be able to be able to utilise Apple Pay until the agreement has run its course as MCX members cannot use CurrentC and Apple Pay simultaneously.

Despite this recent news, Scott Rankin, the MCX COO, has insisted that Best Buy are still “a strong MCX partner and supporter of the CurrentC initiative.”. He goes onto state that “we are of the firm belief that there need to be at least two to three major players within the mobile payments ecosystem for it to succeed. We remain steadfast and passionate about CurrentC, as well as completely focused on delivering the best mobile commerce solution for our merchant partners and consumers.”A Best Buy spokeswoman however stated that “We remain invested in MCX” but would not commit to accepting CurrentC when it launches to the public.

Denys Prykhodov /
The MCX consortium has the goal of creating a mobile wallet that includes payments methods that are less expensive for merchants to process than more traditional big-name credit cards. Apple Pay on the other hand is more favourable toward traditional debit and credit accounts. The system does not support cheaper store-branded cards and bank account hook ups. The system allows people with the newer models of the iPhone to make purchases in stores by placing their Apple Watch or phone near the checkout terminal. This eliminates the need for cash or cards and also is useful for online purchases. It will mean there is no need for the hassle of typing in credit card and shipping info for each online purchase. The phone or watch’s fingerprint identification technology aids in securing the transaction.

This partnership is a big one for Apple as MCX gained support from CVS and Rite Aid when they turned off Apple Pay in their stores. It’s not currently clear whether other MCX members may follow the lead of Best Buy and move to Apple Pay and thus not placing their trust in the CurrentC initiative. The test is whether customers embrace the Apple Pay system and can be convinced that paying with a phone or Apple Watch is easier and more convenient than cash and cards.

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at

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Friday, May 1, 2015

See Latest APEX Europe Attendee List

In just a few short weeks, 200+ payments and retail executives are heading to Marbella for All Payments Expo Europe. This is Europe's only devoted retail & payments business development meeting, where the prepaid and retail value chain host meetings, create new partnerships and explore synergies.

With delegates coming from 25+ countries, you'll be able to hear insights from an international group of merchants, programme managers, issuers, MNOs, networks and processors. You'll sharpen your strategies with expert insights on:

  • Latest data on prepaid's growth and market size
  • New opportunities created by HCE technology
  • New sales channels for gift cards
  • White space for prepaid partnerships in mobile money, education and B2B
  • Consumer demands in contactless
  • Contextual commerce's impact on conversion and more!
Join an international community and get face time with the peers and partners you need. Register today to secure your spot - PLUS save €100 when you use the code XU2940BLOG.

Here are some of the companies you'll meet:
3V Transaction Services • Accent Intermedia • ACI Worldwide • Airplus International SRL • Al Fardan Exchange • ArbitorSports • Auctionata • Bankable • C24 Payments Contact Center LLC • CardOneBanking • Cardwise • Centigo AB • Contact Payment System • Coop Danmark • Dansk Supermarked A/S • Di Pocket • Edgar Dunn & Company • Emerging Payments Association • eNett International • ePayService • Epipoli SpA • EuroCommerce • First Data • FlexCard • Flex-e-Vouchers • Gap Inc • Gemalto SA • Genesys • GKFX • Global Prepaid Exchange • Globoforce • Gruppo Poste Italiane • Hobbs Limited • Home Retail Group plc • Hotel Voucher Shop • IKEA MOS • IMA • IQ Card • John Lewis Partnership • Leroy Merlin • Italia srl • Load & Go • Localz • Locke Lord • Lycamobile UK Ltd • Marks & Spencer • MBXP ApS • Mercator Advisory Group • MintCombine • MTACC Inc • MySafePay • Nordic Choice • Optimal Payments • Orwell • P&MM Ltd • Payment Card Solutions • Payoneer EU Limited • PerfectCard Ltd • PMA Media Group • Polymath Consulting • PPRO • Prego Prepaid Solutions • Prepaird International Forum • PSI-Pay Ltd • Raphaels Bank • Rapid Financial Solutions • Reward Technology • Rideau Recognition Solutions • Riverbridge Partners LLC • SafeCharge Card Services • Sears Holding Company • Signet • Simple Card • Skrill Ltd • Smart Concepts BV • Swift Prepaid Solutions Inc • TESCO Bank • Thames Card Technology LTD • The Billing Project LLC • Ticket Surf • TJX Europe • Trancash Italia • Travel Payments Amadeus IT Group • TrustEu Affairs • TrustPay • Tuxedo • WEX • Wickes Building Supplies Limited • XXImo BV • Yandex Money • Zalando SE

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