Payment Technology Blog

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

MWAA Annual Meeting

I spent the last couple days attending the MWAA (Midwest Acquirers Association) annual conference in Lombard, IL. As always, the show was very productive. There is always great educational opportunities and networking opportunities at these trade shows. I learned a lot, and made many new valuable connections.

One thing that was very apparent, the show was very "retail" oriented. Most of the discussions, panels, questions, etc revolved around serving the retail merchants of America. It's great that the retail segment is given a lot of attention, as they are deserving of it. They are a large segment, and they are and have always been a staple of the American economy.

However, a specific segment was sorely overlooked. The Internet segment. There were no sessions, panels, discussions, questions about Internet merchants at all. To me, that is mind boggling. Internet merchants are a major segment of U.S. commerce, and will continue to grow and grow quickly. Before long, every merchant will be online in one form or another.

Sure, there were a dozen gateway companies represented, and other software based vendors in the exhibit hall, but none of the show content was geared towards this segment. Why was this segment overlooked?

It's simple, the industry as a whole does not understand this segment. Retail is obvious - retailers all behave the same way. They either swipe credit cards through a terminal, or through a swipe reader attached to a point of sale system. The POS system may grow in scale or scope, but it's always the same. Reprogram a terminal or POS OR sell the merchant a new one, and you're good to go.

With Internet merchants, there is no cookie cutter format. Every Internet merchant has unique needs. Every Internet merchant will process in a different way, and respond to the results in a different way. For a traditional merchant account sales person, who used to sell terminals and is now faced with selling gateway accounts, it is a very complex process.

I belong to a discussion group for 4D, a database technology. I recently saw a post from a member of the group that was faced with integrating payment processing into their application. They selected a payment gateway to integrate, and went on to describe what a painful process the integration was. So painful, in fact, that they almost gave up. Through perseverance, they made it through, and it's been mostly smooth since then, but the initial integration was much more difficult than it should have been.

Even gateway companies, which grew out of a need for a "virtual terminal" don't understand what merchant facing developers need. The development community, who has ultimate influence on a merchants payment processing decisions, is largely neglected by the merchant account industry.

We are a unique merchant account provider. We do not have any "old school" merchant account sales people on staff. We come form the software development and consulting community. We look to form partners with developers in order to help them make the process easy, and provide the tool set they really need. We provide solutions.

Anyway, I can go on and on about this all day.

For more information on what we provide, visit the NELiX TransaX Developers Site.

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