Executive Interview

Brian P. Shanahan | The Evolution of the Payment Processing Industry

Brian P. Shanahan is Chairman @ CardConnect | Prussia, PA USA

Brian P. Shanahan has more than 20 years of experience in the payment processing industry. Prior to founding CardConnect, he worked with Retail Systems Consulting, Integrated Business Services, The Logix Companies and Transaction Solutions, developing and selling each company’s acquisition client portfolio.

Since 1991, Brian has been involved in debit and credit card processing, ATM placement and processing, ID Authentication services, Agent Bank programs and Gift Card programs where he developed relationships with key executives across the payment processing industry.

As Chairman of CardConnect, Brian provides vision and leadership to the Board regarding rapid growth opportunities, client portfolio development and key strategic partnership relationships with regional banks and other strategic supplier partners to CardConnect.

How has the payment processing industry changed over the last 20 years?

Brian P. Shanahan: The payment processing industry has changed very rapidly within the last 20 years.

Twenty years ago, when I was running my first company, credit card processing was still a new concept, and it was common that the merchant or business you were going after was not even accepting credit cards. This made it an easy sale, as you were providing a value add to the merchant (convenience of payment) just by providing them with a point-of-sale (POS) system or terminal.

Today, every merchant accepts credit cards, and the industry has become quite commoditized; 99% of the market you are going after is already accepting credit cards. To differentiate yourself, you must provide superior technology, security, and service. Anything less will make your company irrelevant in the industry.

How does providing payment processing to a large corporation differ from a small business?

Brian P. Shanahan: Payment processing is very different for large corporations vs. small businesses; the main difference is the type of payment technology utilized. For a small business, a standard POS system or credit card terminal will often suffice. If the merchant accepts payments over the phone or online, a virtual terminal may also be required.

For a large corporation, an integrated payment solution is often required. This means integrating credit card acceptance into the business management software or ERP on which the business runs. At CardConnect, we have out-of-box solutions developed for Oracle and SAP. This means that if a business is running on SAP, it can securely accept credit cards within its SAP system, and then once the transaction settles, it will automatically reconcile with the business’s accounting systems. This type of integrated solution is more complex and sophisticated, and typically takes longer to implement than POS systems or credit card terminals.

What are the most important traits for payment processing companies to have?

Brian P. Shanahan: A payment processor must be five things: transparent, educated, technologically innovative, creative and flexible. These traits should be part of every stage of the merchant relationship. Merchants should know exactly where their money is – from the moment a customer swipes a card to the point where it’s deposited into the business’s account, and every step in between.

One area where these traits are especially important is security. Every payment processing company should provide merchants with a payment gateway that encrypts customer card data, is compliant with PCI standards and ensures a breach never happens.

Lastly, payment processors should always be aggressively managing interchange rates for merchants, minimizing credit card fees and securing the lowest pricing possible.

CardConnect recently changed its name from Financial Transaction Services. Why the switch?

Brian P. Shanahan: We changed our name to CardConnect to better communicate our mission: to make payment processing as simple and easy as possible. ‘CardConnect’ better explains what we do. Along with the April 2, 2013 announcement of our new name, we also launched a new website and will soon launch a revamped Agent Center and Merchant Center for our sales team and merchant customers.

CardConnect Prussia, PA USA

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