Warning. Information about how long I have been in the payment space may be divulged.
I have been fortunate not only to be on multiple side of the payment space but to be part of the evolution of payments.
As a bank teller at a bank in the Caribbean my daily routine consisted of taking a customer’s handwritten withdrawal or deposit slip, their passbook (bet some of you don’t even know what that is) and consulting a ledger at the back of the tellers to find the account using the account number on the passbook. Once located, then made a handwritten entry on the ledger next to the account indicating the amount of the withdrawal/deposit. The next step was to manually update the passbook. After cash was given or received by the teller, customer then left the bank satisfied that their transaction had successfully taken place. This process repeated from customer to customer form 9 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon.
After being a teller for a few years I got my next big break. I was transferred to the bank’s computer center. My job now consisted of report distribution to the bank’s branches. That’s right. Now I was sending the ledger reports off to the branches rather than making entries into them.
After showing some promise, I was promoted to a mainframe computer operator at the bank’s 24/7 computer center. The night shift consisted of executing jobs that required loading and unloading of 20-pound disk packs into the disk drives. You guessed it. Now I was printing those ledger reports for someone else to distribute and yet another person to update when a payment transaction happened at the bank.
Opportunity knocked again. The bank was creating the first of its kind credit card center on the island and I was chosen to be the Manager’s Assistant Data Processing or MADP. Customers, now called cardholders, would be issued these plastic cards, branded with an international payment network, that could be used locally or internationally at ATM or Point of Sale terminals at merchants. The updates to cardholders Available-to-Buy would be immediate and the actual posting transaction would occur the next day via processing of a files from the international network. Everything was online but probably more importantly there was no paper ledger.
I continued in the card processing business for several years, learning the ins and out of card issuing and acquiring, network and merchant settlement and cardholder billing. Software updates and the testing of those updates from the payment application vendor became my reason d’etre. Once tested those updates became production and enabled exciting new functionality. To this day, I still remember how amazed I was when I monitored the first international transaction. The transaction from my card travelled from the USA to my island bank and was completed in seconds.
But wait there’s more.
I was then offered a job by one of the banks payments vendors to be their ‘credit card product manager.’ I would leave my Caribbean island and move to Little Rock Arkansas. A move that has been described as moving north for the winter.
My responsibility was now to chart the direction of Euronet’s credit card issuing and acquiring solutions with a pivotal role in the sales and implementation cycles of clients around the world.
In a career that spans 33 countries and as many or more years, I have worked with banks around the world to plan their installation projects, card products and develop functionality that sought to give those banks the edge amongst their competitors.
Product management at Euronet has allowed me to shepherd many projects that include but are not limited to:
- A credit card issuance and merchant management solution
- EMV and contactless issuing and acquiring support globally
- Prepaid card issuance including a multi-currency single card product
- Creation of a card inventory management system
- An automated merchant commission engine
- Immediate POS settlement to merchants account
- Money transfer engine with or without the Visa and Mastercard networks
- Mobile wallet interface using Visa and Mastercard’s token vaults
- Third party interfaces for collections, loyalty and fraud monitoring
The changes, innovation, demands of the payment space continues to be phenomenal and, in many instances, technology is outpacing business.
I can’t say that I miss updating, distributing or printing that paper ledger but it is my reminder of how far payments have come.