First Data [NYSE:FDC]: Payments Simplified

Frank Bisignano, CEO, First DataFrank Bisignano, CEO A delbert Spaan, EVP, First American Bank was gathering customer data, when he came across something appalling. The bank was losing market share to its competitors due to its small portfolio of payment products. Spaan immediately began looking for an organization to forge a partnership that would help expand their payment offerings to local merchants. His search ended at First Data [NYSE:FDC]. With a dedicated team of marketing professionals, First Data offered the bank with merchant services, sales and marketing assistance, and introduced new payment solutions to their portfolio. Since the partnership, First American Bank witnessed a six-fold increase in the revenue.

By providing commerce-enabling and innovative payment technology and solutions, First Data makes POS technology fast and easy for their customers. They also provide analytical services based on the data that clients generate which helps them harness their business transaction data. “We are in the business of helping clients grow their businesses. We want to work with each of our clients to prepare for the next generation of payment technology,” says Frank Bisignano, CEO, First Data.

Unlike its competitors, First Data brings to the table a global payment network, STAR interbank, which offers PIN-secured debit acceptance at ATM and retail locations. The First Data branded STAR Network increases the number of places customers can use their cards—with more than 1.9 million ATM and retail locations throughout the U.S. Primarily, the firm has a four-fold offering—merchant acquiring, card issuing, debit network and processing services, and broad distribution network. Through the offerings, First Data allows business owners to grow faster, financial institutions to manage transactions more efficiently and governments to serve their constituents easily—modular enough to support any type of business.

Be it in store, online, or on the go shopping, First Data’s portfolio of business solutions—Clover Suite—delivers personalized services and business acumen that powers an organization’s success. Organizations can discover unique insights about their business with analytics, and put an entire back office on their front counter with the firm’s Clover Suite. From payroll and tax management, to competitive sales tracking and inventory management, the Clover Suite covers all aspects.

Clover has the right mix of POS hardware and software for your specific needs, and can handle the rigors of your business, and look good doing it

Additionally, Clover POS options accept swipe, EMV chip cards, and contactless payments including Apple Pay.

Further, the firm also assists federal, state, and local agencies to plan, procure, and manage IT projects that support healthcare, human services, tax, transportation, labor, education, criminal justice, and public safety. For example, with the assistance of First Data, government agencies are able to deliver the same high levels of services as private companies while ensuring security and controlling costs. Whether to make payment such as benefits and payroll or receiving payment for taxes, licenses and other government services, First Data handles all the payment processing needs with safe, secure, and reliable services such as electronic visit verification, remittance processing, and consulting services.

The Clover Suite

As a one stop shop for POS organizations, the Clover Suite is an intuitive, easy-to-use and software-equipped solution which includes Clover Station, Mini, Mobile, Gift Cards, Go, Insights, Online, Rewards, Check Acceptance, and Security. Further, First Data allows organizations to customize and build the Clover solution depending on their requirements. While the sleek design of Clover devices makes it easy for customers to pay, sign, and go, merchants can explore the apps market that assists them to run their businesses effortlessly.

With its cloud-based software, Clover Suite enables organizations to manage inventory, track revenue, and generate reports. Merchants can choose from apps that manage customers, inventory, analytics, employees, remote web-based management, and table management. “Clover lets you accept credit cards, EMV chip and contactless payments from customers, safely and securely. Clover has the right mix of POS hardware and software for your specific needs, and can handle the rigors of your business, and look good doing it,” adds Bisignano. Developers can also build their own custom apps off of Clover’s API.

On the hardware side of things, Clover Station includes a secure Android-based OS, QR and barcode scanner, Bluetooth, 802.11, Ethernet, and more. Organizations can accept payments with their Clover device, even without internet connection.

Clover’s setup takes just 15 minutes; and by leveraging the customer service and technical support that the firm provides, clients can initiate payments using the device with inventory already loaded and its merchant account ready to accept payments. Further, the Clover Suite is armed with security enhancements such as encrypted transactions, and data protection to countenance the pressing issue of cyber security. The information about a firm and its customers’ transactions are all kept safe with Clover’s built-in fraud protection.

"We are in the business of helping clients grow their businesses. We want to work with each of our clients to prepare for the next generation of payment technology"

Future-Ready Solutions

One of First Data’s major differentiators is the future-readiness of their solutions. And another step toward achieving this feat is the announcement of Clover Go, and Clover Mobile, the latest addition to the Clover family of business management solutions. While Clover Go enables business owners to toggle between different store locations and provide access to an unlimited number of employees, Clover Mobile is a tablet device that supports standard card swipes, chip-and-pin EMV cards, NFC (Google Wallet & Apple Pay), and barcode scans. It also includes a Bluetooth-connected mobile thermal printer that can be mounted on a belt for receipts.

From being a credit card-processing trailblazer to a technology-focused firm now, there have been plenty of facets and phases to First Data’s journey, and with offerings such as Clove Go and Clover Mobile, the firm is revolutionizing the payment and card technology landscape.

First Data has a global footprint of 6 million merchants, the largest in the payments industry. The company handles 45 percent of all U.S. credit and debit transactions, including handling prepaid gift card processing for many U.S. brands. So what’s next in store for the payment technology and solutions vendor? First Data is soon to establish a research and development center in Ireland that can house up to 300 highly skilled employees to centralize work on a number of the company’s leading technology platforms. “We have always enjoyed outstanding collaboration with authorities in Ireland to grow our business there and have benefitted from the country’s extraordinarily talented and diverse workforce,” says Tom Higgins, Chief Administrative Officer, First Data. Among the anticipated work at the new R&D center would be application/ software development, application analysis, business analysis, technical project management, systems consulting, and enterprise architecture. “First Data will house some of the most advanced research work in payments technology which will support our customers globally,” concludes Higgins.

- Shiv Shanker
    December 16, 2016