On this episode of The DroidDevCast podcast, Esper Platform Evangelist Rin Oliver spoke with Conn Byrne, Senior Vice President of Sales, North America and Europe at Worldnet Payments. Throughout the conversation, they touched on WorldNet’s history in the payments industry, the evolution of contactless payment solutions, and what solutions businesses can put in place to ensure that their own kiosk and retail offerings are leveraging the full capabilities and security of contactless payment methods.
Defining Omnichannel Payment Solutions
Founded in 2007, WorldNet’s focus was initially that of the e-commerce and online payments space, particularly back-office tokenization, recurring payments, and digital transactions. With the evolution of debit card and credit card-based payments evolving from swiping to a chip-based system, WorldNet saw an opportunity to develop and certify contactless devices in the US market. This left WorldNet in, “A unique position,” Byrne explained, adding that, “We had the whole cardholder not present and customer experience and solution developed, and it meant we had this unique offering, what we call true omnichannel, where our clients and whether that’s an actual end-user or potentially a partner or, in this case, what we’re talking about, independent software vendors or ISVs. Those clients, by having one relationship with WorldNet, having one relationship with our gateway, they get access to all of our payment options, again, whether that’s card-present or cardholder not present.”
In today’s business world, having only a brick-and-mortar store won’t meet their sales goals. Many retailers are finding themselves moving to e-commerce if they haven’t already. Another industry that has seen rapid change in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and has had to make a rapid pivot from in-person gatherings to virtual offerings is the restaurant industry. “So, rather than having one provider for e-commerce and one provider for your curbside pickup, one provider for in-store, you work with somebody like a WorldNet, an omnichannel gateway, and we provide all of that to you in one source,” said Byrne.
Exploring Contactless Payment Options Worldwide
There are many ways that contactless payment processing as a whole has evolved over the past few years. Depending on one’s geographical location, they may have the ability to tap and pay for goods and services with their physical currency, while payment terminals in another country might not have this option. Others may allow users to pay for goods and services by scanning a QR code connected to a digital wallet. This is particularly abundant in China, where Alipay and WeChat are the go-to standard payment experiences in terms of QR-code-based, contactless payments for everything from utilities to groceries.
“QR codes is one where our CEO mentioned this during the week that, if somebody said to him, ‘We need to develop a QR code solution’ a year ago, you’d look at them and go, ‘Why? Who’s going to need QR code?’ You put a pandemic in, people are obviously wary about keeping their distance and limiting contact and everything like that and, all of a sudden, a QR code is now just this really vital piece of technology and business need when it comes to payments and so much other stuff so, yes, it’s a really interesting kind of flip,” said Byrne.
Building Contactless Payment Business Solutions
When starting the journey toward building out a contactless payment solution, Byrne notes that the key takeaway businesses should focus on is flexibility. Often, there is potential to fall into a trap of picking the first viable solution presented to them, rather than taking the time to properly evaluate if a solution is going to work well and scale long-term. “Maybe it’s a case that you pick a partner that actually allows you to consolidate instead of having, like I said earlier, five, six different solutions, you pull it all together, you get one streamlined service. It gives you your contactless, as well as the other omnichannel solutions I mentioned. With COVID, it’s really important to look at all of those human-to-human touchpoints that we’ve mentioned and see if there are clever ways that we can actually reduce those touchpoints or eliminate them and replace them with some kind of contactless solution instead.”
WorldNet stands out in particular for its focus on ensuring that independent software vendors (ISVs) are able to execute payment processes in a secure and certified manner. Byrne went on to explain that with payment hardware, getting terminals integrated to a retailer’s payment gateway and certified can be difficult. “It was not so much of an issue when people were just swiping to checkout but, once you bring Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) and contactless payments into it, that kind of takes it to a whole new level, so it’s much more complex certification and, some cases, it could take six months. In some cases, it could take nine months, so it’s time-consuming and not a very cost-effective process to do. So, what WorldNet did, again, if you go back to 2013, 2014 when we knew that this push to EMV was going to be coming into the U.S. market, we actually went ahead and we did a lot of new EMV contactless certifications at that point,” said Byrne.
Rather than only certifying terminals, mobile devices, or hardware itself, WorldNet bundled that software with its own SDK, creating a package-based offering for vendors. “What that means is, any software solution or software provider, if they want to upgrade and, obviously, we mentioned contactless, if they want to add contactless to their solution, all they need to do is just integrate our SDK and then they get to use our gateway and are covered by all of our certifications,” notes Byrne.
Esper and WorldNet have also recently partnered, presenting a unique offering to businesses seeking to implement Android based kiosks and payment solutions for ISVs. “We are seeing a huge push toward Android, particularly over the last maybe two or three years. So, if you look at our platform, obviously, I mentioned things like e-commerce, we can do all that, and that’s obviously not platform-specific, but when you move into our SDK and you look at unattended kiosk payments or if you look at a retail POS (point of sale), so many of those are now built on the Android platform, so Android obviously has huge benefits, a lot of different benefits, and people are really flocking to it. So, what we have seen in terms of the partnership between ourselves, there’s an overlap in terms of Esper provides all of the management and capacity for Android hardware or fleets in Android hardware. WorldNet provides the payment solutions that actually go onto those fleets of hardware to allow the merchants to accept payments,” said Byrne.
In this Episode of The DroidDevCast:
00:40 – About WorldNet and the idea of omnichannel payments
04:15 – How do contactless payments fit into the omnichannel experience?
08:20 – How has contactless payment changed since the beginning of 2020?
13:22 – What’s your advice to those solution builders who are thinking about contactless payment offerings?15:48 – Can you tell me a little bit more about the WorldNet certification process and any contactless payment solutions that you’ve certified?
18:35 – Discussing the partnership between WorldNet and Esper
20:17 – Why should someone choose to work with Esper and WorldNet? What are they getting when they do that?