Trade-Show Trends: Financial Mobility Summit

Suppliers roll out comprehensive mobile programs, talk fraud

LAS VEGAS -- Retailers attending The Financial Mobility Summit on the viability and profitability of mobile payments encountered more than 60 exhibitors and a couple dozen panel sessions, providing tools to educate themselves about the products and services surrounding this emerging retail-payment solution.

It is a different payment landscape, one that embraces the concept of a smartphone or tablet replacing the point-of-sale (POS) device and of consumers using their phones to pay for cigarettes, gas and more.

At one session, four suppliers spoke of the different aspects of what they do. While their products or services differ, they all agreed that it was an area where retailers need to seriously consider and actively participate in sooner than later.

“Prepare for everything,” said Erik Vlugt, vice president of product marketing, VeriFone, San Jose, Calif., telling about 50 attendees that upgrading POS devices to accept new forms of payment was critical. VeriFone manufactures POS registers that can accept both plastic and mobile payments. “We may not know what forms of payment will actually take hold, but you need to buy hardware that you can upgrade or that can already support it,” he explained.

Another panel participant was Jumio, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company that offers payments and ID scanning and validation products for mobile and web transactions. In addition to mobile checkout, Jumio helps its clients meet a variety of “know your customer” requirements.

Some participating suppliers provide programs that accept payments via multiple paths. Oscar Munoz, executive vice president and senior vice president of international business development, CHARGE Anywhere, South Plainfield, N.J., explained during the panel that his company provides electronic payment solutions inclusive of taking payments through smartphones and tablets.

Loyalty is another key element of mobile payments, and panelist Scott Gamble of Alliance Data, Plano, Texas, explained that his company provides global loyalty services, providing rewards and other types of loyalty solutions to a variety of customers.

The panelists agreed that the evolution of mobile payments will require buy-in from merchants. “You need merchants to take the payments,” Munoz of CHARGE Anywhere said, noting how retailers in the coming years will “need the functionality” of accepting all types of payment—including mobile.

Also a key issue for retailers going forward will be fraud, said Jeff Tennenbaum, director of Auriemma Consulting Group, New York. Part of a recent gathering of 26 industry players from different payment areas, he said, “Fraud brings these companies together.”

While in the “ecosystem” of mobile payment fraud is not currently a major problem, panelists expect it will grow as the use of mobile payments increases. “The pace of innovation is outstripping [security] developments,” Tennenbaum said. “With retailers, often internal education is not keeping pace with marketing.”

Held in conjunction with the Prepaid Press Conference, the Financial Mobility Summit attracted approximately 400 attendees, with roughly 60 exhibitors on its trade-show floor. Held in the Planet Hollywood Hotel in Las Vegas, the three-day conference provided education sessions and networking gatherings for banks, acquirers, processors and retailers to educate themselves on prepaid and mobile payments.