With the rise of mobile and online shopping, the transaction industry is among the most exciting fields today. We sat down with Tony Catalfano, WorldPay, Inc.’s North American CEO, to get the lowdown on advancements thus far and for insight about what consumers and merchants can expect moving forward.

Mediaplaent: What are some of the latest advancements you’ve seen in the transaction industry?

Tony Catalfano: Advancements include more mobile transactions, as loyalty and payment options bundled into one, particularly apps like the Starbucks wallet and Uber. Point of sale is also changing. More companies are using tablets and mobile devices to conduct sales rather than the traditional cash register.

MP: What advancements are specific to plastic cards and how can these technologies help businesses grow? 

TC: Shifting the point of sale from traditional registers to the use of smartphones and tablets can help small businesses. For example, vendors in flea markets who typically wouldn’t be able to afford a payment terminal can use these technologies to process plastic transactions. Larger businesses are using line busting. Say you’re at a department store and the line is long. Cashiers can come beyond the line and process transactions using mobile devices and tablets to expedite the payment process.

"Losing customers because you don’t accept certain payments is senseless. Payments are complicated, therefore, a payments processor with strong customer support is critical."

There’s also a convergence between brick and mortar, and mobile and Internet based sales. Today larger merchants can combine the experience. They can allow customers to order online and pick up in their retail store, or have users select products in a different size or style online with shipping directly to the home. More and more merchants are enabling customers to shop where, how and when they want to shop.

MP: What other advancements would you like to see in the transaction industry? 

TC: Industry leaders are looking to see how plastic cards will evolve as smartphones, tablets and computers start to become electronic wallets enabling purchases at the point of sale for merchants. There’s talk of a shift to a “mobile wallet” and phasing out credit cards, but some people are skeptical about consumer adoptions and any perceived concerns over security.  I expect we will see consumers continuing to use plastic as these new forms of payment take hold. 

MP: How can business owners pick the best transaction options for their company?

TC: Merchants need to understand that the easier they make transactions for their consumers, the more business they’ll get. Merchants also need to ensure they’re bringing in broad solutions that are compatible with different payment types, as each card has different rules and variable charges for use. Merchants need partners to help them navigate these rules — and someone who can keep up with their ever-changing nature. 

Losing customers because you don’t accept certain payments is senseless. Payments are complicated, therefore, a payments processor with strong customer support is critical because they help you with consumer refunds, charge backs and answer questions regarding the complexities of interchange. At an extremely rapid pace, payments processing is ever-evolving and undergoing a great deal of industry innovation.  When selecting a partner, remember payment innovations and protecting your customers from any potential security threat should be of utmost concern.  

MP: What’s the biggest challenge that the transaction industry is facing today? 

TC: One of the biggest challenges is the lack of standards industry wide and many competing point–of-sale solutions There are multiple ways mobile devices communicate with point of sale systems and new products are launched every day. For merchants, this can be costly. As you can imagine, merchants can be reluctant to invest when there is no single leader or payments standard.

MP: At the simplest level, how can having a variety of payment options help businesses grow? 

TC: The bottom line is merchants need to be able to accept the payment types that their customers want to use. The industry needs to provide a convenient way for customers to pay no matter where they are located the globally.