Highlights from ETA’s podcast interview with O.B. Rawls

Recorded at TRANSACT, Paysafe’s President of Payment Processing for North America spoke on the payments trends that have shaped the industry for the past 30 years.

In the countdown to its annual TRANSACT conference in Las Vegas, the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) announced that O.B. Rawls, Paysafe’s President of Payment Processing for North America, was this year’s recipient of the ‘Distinguished Payments Professional’ Star Award. The day before this career-defining award was presented, ETA Interim CEO Amy Zirkle interviewed the payments icon for Transaction Trends.

Sitting across from Zirkle in the Magellan Boardroom of Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Convention Center, O.B. reflected on a payments career that has already spanned more than 30 years. He revisited some of the major peaks of his journey in payments, including his work for the acquiring division at Bank of America, developing pioneering joint ventures at First Data, and successfully growing iPayment until its acquisition by Paysafe just last June.

During the discussion, O.B. highlighted several key trends that have shaped and transformed the payments space over the past 30 years, and he spoke about where he feels the industry is heading.

The industry’s past: Looking back on major payments trends

1. Fraud tools – From paper-based systems, whereby card numbers were literally written out by hand, to the sophistication of current anti-fraud provisions.

2. The electronification of the Point of Sale – Moving from paper processing and cash deposits to electronic processing and POS terminals.

3. Trust & verification – Over the last 10 years, the payments space has evolved from an industry based on trust to one defined by trust and verification.

The industry’s future: Current & upcoming payments trends

1. Shift from price to value – Payment processing is no longer just about price. The focus today is much more on offering merchants true value. This means supporting SMBs with payment acceptance and value-added solutions that help them build, manage and grow their businesses, beyond just the traditional merchant account.

2. How merchants are acquired Digital continues to grow, but there’s an ongoing up-tick in seamless, self-service solutions that allow merchants to complete the entire purchasing process online quickly and easily.

3. Change in ISO & agents sales process – A shift is occurring from quick, price-focused sales to a far more consultative approach. ISOs and agents are becoming listeners – hearing and understanding merchants’ needs and business problems, then helping them overcome their challenges and unpacking opportunities through a variety of new technologies and payment-based product offerings.  

4. Consolidation & M&A – Big processing mergers will continue to occur. This, combined with the major card brands becoming more active, is going to lead to positive change for the broader industry over the next few years.

The podcast is also available on ETA’s Transaction Trends, which features an array of podcast interviews with other payments professionals as well as op-eds and news analysis pieces.