As much as they are accepted online, credit cards were not originally devised to work on the internet, security being its main weakness.
Also, not all markets have the privilege of easily obtaining such payment methods. Alternative payment methods have grown in popularity and offer secure payment abilities. With so many options geared towards certain industries and markets, knowing how to accept them is a key element for a successful online store.
CardinalCommerce is an industry leader in authenticated payments and alternative payment methods, for both online and mobile applications. We were fortunate enough to have a chance to interview CardinalCommerce’s CEO Mike Keresman, to discuss alternative payment methods and his thoughts on the industry, among other things.
Payment Magnates: Can you tell us about CardinalCommerce, its history and position in the marketplace?
Mike Keresman: In the late nineties, commercialization was really starting to happen on the internet. We started Cardinal on good looks, charm, and a checkbook. We made a bet on authentication. In fact, many people laughed at us. We were invited to the very first meeting from Visa on Verified by Visa. We thought this would work with our idea of a centralized architecture.
In all seriousness, CardinalCommerce is the pioneer and global leader for digital commerce normalizing payments with one connection since 1999. We were the first. Through one connection to our proprietary cloud based payment platform, CardinalCommerce enables global capability in consumer authentication, alternative payment services including digital wallets and mobile commerce services. This SafeCloud™ allows a client to FutureProof their payment ecosystem. We continue to innovate.
In the US, we are the market leader in Consumer Authentication. We are the pioneers and innovators. We have protected over 1 billion transactions.
PM: CardinalCommerce supports a wide range of payment methods and solutions. How does the support work on a merchant level? Does the merchant have to open an account with the desired methods and you integrate it into their CardinalCommerce account or do you provide end-to-end support for the merchants on all the available payment methods?
MK: With one connection, Cardinal enables multiple payment brands. With the Cardinal SafeCloud, the payment brands are always up-to-date. Merchants create their own account with each payment brand for settlement. We believe that merchants should allow their customers to pay the way they want.
PM: What are the merchant types CardinalCommerce supports?
MK: Cardinal supports all merchants from small to Enterprise. Our ambition is to help our merchants increase sales. We do this by getting more orders to process. We work with all categories of merchants from omni-channel retailers to the travel industry.
Cardinal has connections with many players in the payments ecosystem as well. There are connections to payment processors and gateways.
PM: What is CardinalCommerce’s fee structure?
MK: Cardinal delivers solutions based on transaction volume. All of our clients get a return on their investment with interchange savings and liability shift. As an example, a large global airline has saved over $200 million in interchange fees and liability shift.
PM: With all the available payment methods you offer in order to accept payments worldwide, what advice would you give merchants looking into entering new markets?
MK: It is important to understand the market and know which payment options would enhance a universal wallet solution. Cardinal delivers an increase in sales for the merchant by recommending a holistic payment solution. For example, it might be important if the target market serves the under-banked community, that greendot is offered.
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PM: Cardinal Max is your mobile payment solution. Could you please expand on what Cardinal Max offers, and what are your thoughts on the future of mobile payments?
MK: Cardinal provides a number of solutions in the mobile payment space. vGift allows the ability for merchants to provide mobile/digital gifting solutions. uwAPI provides a single API to enable digital wallets as a form of payment (e.g. V.me, MasterPass, PayPal, Affirm, Payfone 1TC, Amazon, etc). CustomerConnect provides a simple interface to manage mobile opt-in and targeted mobile marketing through SMS and native apps, while our MobileSiteBuilder allows merchants to create dynamic mobile optimized product pages which could deliver targeted offers and is fully integrated with our payments capabilities to increase conversion and streamline checkout.
Mobile payments is a rapidly evolving and confusing opportunity for merchants and our goal is to normalize all these mobile payment experiences and possibilities to our platform so that a merchant integrated to Cardinal can enable the right solution for their customers without the challenge of technology, integration and resources.
PM: With all the payments methods you support, do you see CardinalCommerce supporting digital currencies in the future, such as Bitcoin?
MK: Bitcoin is a hot topic. At this point our merchants and customers are not asking for Bitcoin acceptance. If and when it becomes a “Bit” more mainstream or a need for our customers, it would be a natural step for us to support Bitcoin as an alternative payment method in our platform. I do believe cyber currencies have a future due to the potential security, ease of use and low transaction costs and thus will be supported by Cardinal soon. It is still under review from regulatory entities and there are concerns about control points and use in illegal activities thus keeping it as a novelty today.
PM: What are your thoughts on digital currencies, like Bitcoin, and where do you see their position in the future?
MK: Again, due to the potential security, ease of use, and low transaction costs there is a definite future for digital currencies. The uncertainty of these digital currencies furthers the Cardinal value proposition as our customers don’t want to make bets on which digital currencies (or other alternative payment methods) will work, but do want to support them at the time when they can help their business expand. With one connection, Cardinal can help eliminate technology and resource limitations of our customers and enable different payment solutions as they become important to their business.
PM: What advice would you give a new merchant looking for a payment solution?
MK: There are several things a merchant should consider when investigating a payment solution. It is extremely important to assess your needs and find a provider who meets the current and future needs of your organization. Some qualities one should consider would be experience, scale, speed and support. With regards to experience, it will be important to consider the depth of experience in transaction volume as well as experience working with multiple payment brands and across multiple players in the ecosystem working with disparate systems. For example, does the provider have experience with your shopping cart, payment gateway, or payment processor? When thinking about scale, think about device compatibility. Latency monitoring and multiple data centers would be good items to look at relative to speed. It is important to move with the speed of the customer so as not to cause abandoned orders. Of course, a system is only good when it is working. Support becomes crucial to solve any problems.
PM: With all the additions of virtual currencies and alternative payment methods, where do you see the future of online payments heading?
MK: This is a question that no one knows the answer to, other than it is changing rapidly. It is gravitating towards the mobile experience, and merchant and their customers need clear value to adopt such payments. Some clear needs are controlling fraud/enhanced security, simplify the consumer payment experience, lower acceptance costs for merchants, drive more sales through conversion, global expansion, and more intimate customer engagement – loyalty. Again, the beauty of the Cardinal model is that we don’t need to necessarily know who or which payment method will win, but rather keep on top of the payment evolution and ensure our customers have a solution that can support these with minimal effort from the merchant to achieve all the benefits listed above.