The role of acquirers has been vastly underestimated in the entire value chain of a card payment. Hardly ever acquirers receive the visibility they deserve when it comes down to improving the end-to-end quality of a transaction, to implementing change, or ensuring the success of innovation, or stopping the bleeding edge of technology.
At the Grand Hyatt Hotel Berlin, the European Card Acquiring Forum, for the first time, presented the winners of the „Guiding Hand Awards“.
Annich McIntosh, Managing Editor, Card World magazine, described the occasion, atmosphere and delight of the winners as follows (read the full article here)
And the winners in 2010 were:
• Data Security Award:
Went to the acquirer who has developed, implemented or invested in the most secure, most effective, or most innovative system, programme, or procedure to protect the payment system from being hacked, compromised, etc…
• International Award:
Went to the acquirer who did set-up the best offer, programme or system, to service international merchants.
Deutsche Card Services (Deutsche Bank)
Deutsche Card Services won this Award for its unique combination of cash management services and card acquiring services. The Jury looked in particular at the market reach, a truly international solution proven in multiple markets, evaluated innovation and differentiation, value add to the customer, the commercial viability, and the effective use of different channels. Combining all card acquiring channels and integrating those in a global cash management service, Deutsche Card Serivces is really offering a unique service to their merchants.
• Channel Award:
Went to the acquirer who was able to offer innovative or the most complete offering regarding card acceptance in different channels.
Barclaycard won this Award for its introduction of contactless payments to the UK Market. With over 6 million contactless cards already and 20,000 terminals accepting, a full guarantee against lost and stolen cards, and attractive benefits to merchants, the Barclays contactless cards paves the way for mobile payments.
• Processing Award:
Went to the processor who offered the most innovative services to acquirers (and therefore ultimately, to merchants).
OmniPay won this Award for its outsourced multi-currency, multi-country, multi-lingual acquiring processing and merchant management services. The Jury was looking for a proven record in successful execution, responsiveness to market dynamics, like meeting regulatory and legislative requirements in a timely manner, driving innovation and differentiation in processing, looking for operational efficiencies, and customer satisfaction. OmniPay is offering a multitude of services to international and local merchants, unique in Europe. In particular their balanced scorecard for continued improvement and their quick response to changing market needs, like PCI-DSS, makes OmniPay one of the most innovative processors in Europe.
• Information Award:
Went to the acquirer who has set-up the best, most comprehensive (segment penetration), or efficient information exchange systems with the issuing banks and cardholders, for instance – building e-invoicing solutions, corporate expense management, etc…
Garanti Payment Systems
Garanti Payment Systems won this Award for its Garanti E-Commerce Web Site. Garanti offered the first free education on eCommerce in Turkey, providing a complete set of information to local merchants. For the new entrepreneurs, one can easily find the steps in details to establish an e-commerce business and the key points required for sustainability afterwards.
• Performance Award:
Went to the acquirer who, by innovating in new systems, procedures or controls, realised a major reduction of chargebacks.
HSBC Merchant Services
HSBC Merchant Services won this Award for its Merchant Performance Measurement system. The Jury was looking at elements such as the pricing of a chargeback, the profiling of merchants, integrated and efficient processing of chargebacks. By processing up to 80% of the chargebacks in a straight through process, HSBC achieves high success rates in arbitration and compliance.
• Usage Award:
Went to the acquirer who launched the most original and best performing campaign to increase card usage at their merchants.
Atos Worldline won this Award for its Epargnez & Cueillez - programme („Save & Pick“- programme).This programme is very easy to implement by cardholders, representing just one click on an e-mail link. The success of the programme doubles the volume at the participating merchants, and year over year the programme is expanding into new merchants segment.
• Loyalty Award:
Went to the acquirer who has developed, implemented or made significant innovations in offering loyalty programmes to their merchants.
Garanti Payment Systems
Garanti Payment Systems won this Award for its Garanti Alisveris (Garanti Shopping) programme. Garanti Shopping Mall is a platform in which a merchant can create his e-shop in less than half an hour without requiring any technical knowledge, and start the sales after having a merchant account in Garanti bank. The purpose is to provide small merchants who do not have the technical capacity or financial resources to establish their own secure e-shops. This solution makes it easy to create product departments, easy to upload and update of products and prices, to make discounts on card, product promotions, and detailed sales and stock reporting. This makes this solution unique in the e-commerce space.
• Merchant Award:
Went to the acquirer who has the best performing system, as expressed by merchant satisfaction.
HSBC Merchant Services
HSBC Merchant Services won this Award for its Merchant Performance Measurement system. The HSBC Merchant Performance Measurement system is very much appreciated by merchants because it helps them to select those acceptance procedures aiming at providing them with the best interchange rates and reducing their chargebacks dramatically.
• Integrity Award:
Went to the acquirer who was best in communicating, dealing with and remedying a compromised operations.
Heartland Payment Systems
Heartland won this Award for the way it managed the processor breach in January 2009. Integrity breaches are here to stay, and the way organisations are able to deal with those will determine the future trust the general public has in the payment system. Heartland was attacked by malicious software, capturing information on possibly more than 250,000 customer businesses of Heartland. Despite severe actions undertaken by payment schemes, Heartland remained in control, and in co-operation with the U.S. Secret Service organised immediately corrective actions. Heartland remained open in communications towards cardholders, merchants, banks and payment schemes.
„In order to put their sector relevance into evidence, the European Card Acquiring Forum wanted to bring a tribute to those acquirers who were instrumental in pushing the card payment system beyond the next level and to those innovations which were relevant to the success of card payments today and in the near future.“
Leon Dhaene, Chairman of the Guiding Hand Awards
The international Jury consisted of following members :
1. Leon Dhaene, Chairman, n2euro (Belgium)
2. Roger Alexander, Chairman, Greenings International (U.K.)
3. Peter Jones, MD, PSE Consulting (U.K.)
4. Mike Hendry, Payment Systems Consultant (U.K.)
5. Adrian Hausser, MD, PayX (U.K.)
6. Nathalie Caye, Card & Payment Specialist, e-excellence (Canada)
7. Chris De Smet, MD, De Smet Consulting (Belgium)
8. Lars O. Wynia, MD, Wynia Consultancy (the Netherlands)
9. Peter Nitschke, MD, Cardpayment Consulting (Germany)
10. Catherine Gondelmann Bredin, Manager, Explain (France)
The organisers have opted to give the Award Winners a statuette, a small sculpture, of a young and promising artist, with budding international talent, the Belgian Mrs Sofie Muller.
Sofie Muller has been working as a professional artist for over 10 years now, and has collected several awards herself, last one being the prestigious price „A home for a sculpture“ by the Belgian Province of Eastern Flanders, as recent as January 2010. She exhibited in several European cities, China and in New York.
„For this first time, the Guiding Hand Awards were a stunning success, with a whole series of renowned banks and major processors as Winners, and already now these Awards are setting the standard !“ - concluded Leon Dhaene