I had a phone call this morning with ETA (Electronic Transaction Association) CEO Jason Oxman to get his response on my previous articles questioning the "dirtiness" of the processing industry. For those who don't know, the ETA is to the payments industry as the RSPA is to retail industry. So basically, I was talking to the right guy.
Unfortunately, Oxman's only been in his position since May (and he came from outside the payments industry), so he couldn't speak to anything he's heard or seen regarding unethical business practices or shady tactics. Much of what he shared with me has to do with the future of the payments industry.
For instance, he pointed out that last year the ETA launched its CPP (certified payments professional) certification program, which includes professional training and education. Since it's launch, Oxman says that hundreds of payments professionals (from agents to executives with processing companies) have completed the program. This is relevant because the program includes tracks on ethics. In fact, one of the stated objectives of the CPP program is to "Thwart inappropriate practices that may sully the reputation of the industry." Oxman explains that this is part of the work the ETA is doing to increase the level of professionalism in the payments industry. Cool. That definitely sounds like a step in the right direction.
Also, with the excitement and potential in mobile payments, Oxman says the ETA has added 50 new members this year. He adds that new payments companies are popping up constantly. His point in bringing this up is to share what I think is his best piece of advice: don't put up with a bad partner.
With so many processing companies in the business, there's absolutely no reason for a VAR to settle by working with a company that doesn't operate ethically. He believes that due to increased competition, we'll see processing companies step up their games or risk losing valuable partnerships with companies in the POS space.
I really hope that happens. But how long will it take and who will lead the charge? Whether it's the ETA or the RSPA (or a combination), someone needs to hold member companies accountable for their sins and make them feel the pain of loss sooner rather than later.