By John Badovinac, Sr. Manager Acquirer Relations, Discover Financial Services
At Discover, we are proud to have recently been named ‘Business Partner of the Year’ at the 2013 ETA Annual Meeting and Expo because this recognition demonstrates that we listen to our partners. We think listening is critical in order to develop market insights from our partners that lead to relevant solutions that will be valued by the channel and by the merchants and cardholders that we serve. There’s never been a better time to engage with Discover and develop meaningful solutions so that you can compete and win new customers in this rapidly changing market. Right now we are working with a number of leading partners to develop relevant solutions to respond to market demands — and we’d like you to join our discussion.
Develop Resources To Lead Change.
ISVs and VARs face a demanding environment full of change and uncertainty. Recent headlines highlight the need for increased security at the point of sale, looming EMV compliance deadlines, and an increased demand from customers to deliver more value and customer loyalty at the point of sale. Many smaller ISVs may struggle with meeting these increased demands. This is exactly where a strong partnership can make a huge difference. At Discover, we are committed to enabling new, secure solutions at the point of sale that drive increased customer engagement. We have the resources to help ISVs and VARs prepare for and profit from these challenges. By engaging with us early, you can provide the insight we need to jointly develop appropriate resources that will help you compete and win new customers.
EMV compliance is a perfect partnership opportunity. While EMV cards and transactions are far more secure for payments providers and cardholders, the implementation requirements and costs are reason for concern for many partners in the channel. Many of these concerns can be lessened by combining resources through successful partnerships. For example, Discover offers qualifying partners financial incentives to assist with establishing Discover acceptance and awareness among previously non-accepting merchants. These incentives can be used to help to partially offset the costs of new hardware required to enable EMV transactions. In addition, Discover is currently working with terminal providers to explore options to accelerate and streamline EMV compliance. Many of these options will include incentives for including brand acceptance messaging which can also lessen the financial impact of EMV hardware costs.
Channel providers should take advantage of the industry resources available to become more familiar with EMV compliance requirements and timelines. Some of these resources include EMVco.com, the Smart Card Alliance (smartcardalliance.org), and the Merchant Advisory Group (merchantadvisorygroup.org). There are also regularly scheduled EMV webinars that make it easier for channel providers to become more informed. Once familiar with the requirements, ISVs and VARs will be better prepared to explore meaningful partnerships that will help them develop implementation options that best fit their needs and the needs of their merchants.
Win New Customers.
ISVs and VARs can also leverage the expertise and custom EMV solutions they develop with their partners to take advantage of EMV hardware upgrades and enable new customer experiences and loyalty options at the point of sale. Merchants are increasingly looking to their solutions providers to help them realize additional value beyond payments alone. Many have experimented with a variety of gift card programs and are now looking for a more integrated user experience that can engage new customers and drive them into their locations. Some of the most creative loyalty options require POS development. A smart channel partner will realize that there may never be a better opportunity than right now to embed a new loyalty option within their EMV implementation plan. The expertise that you will develop in supporting existing customers’ transitions will also better equip you to meet the needs of new customers.
We are excited to partner with the channel to develop new and relevant resources to help you succeed in driving change and winning new customers. Please contact us via email at VARconnection@Discover.com.
Discover Financial Services
2500 Lake Cook Rd., Riverwoods, IL 60015