Designing Successful Cross-Border Payment Programs

By David Wilford, WaveCrest General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer

 Electronic commerce has made our world closer than ever. Sites like Etsy allow us to buy products from artisans around the world, Elance provides access to freelance consultants from all corners of the earth, and the tools to track work product and provide payments across borders have become almost seamless.

This provides more consumer choice and business efficiencies, but there are real issues associated with doing business across borders in a compliant, affordable and efficient manner. This is particularly true when it comes to making payments to vendors, consultants, contractors and partners. The practical, cultural, and regulatory issues that businesses must navigate when making payments across borders are extensive, but the following three considerations top the list.

1. Regulations and compliance standards abound; and may be far more stringent in other countries

Regardless of what country a business calls home, paying suppliers, employees and others becomes more complex the instant that business begins to transact in other countries, and doing so requires careful legal analysis. For example, if an American company pays employees who are located in the European Union (EU), it must review and understand the regulatory directives for the EU, as implemented by each member state, as well as any additional, more protective regulatory requirements for that country. Businesses must recognize how these factors apply to citizens vs. residents and identify options for compliance, including possible partnerships, agent/distributor relationships, or obtaining their own licenses.

Any company doing business in and across EU countries must navigate at least two layers of regulatory control:

–    Regulations and requirements outlined by its own “home state” regulator; and

–    Three EU Directives in particular – both in concept and as interpreted and applied by each EU member state in which the company does business:

– Payment Services Directive (PSD): Provides the legal foundation for the creation of an EU-wide single market for payments. The PSD aims at establishing a modern and comprehensive set of rules applicable to all payment services in the EU.

– E-Money Directive (EMD) aims to enable new, innovative and secure electronic money services, provide market access to new companies, and foster real and effective competition between all market participants.

– Money Laundering Directive (MLD) aims to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and imposes, among other things, “know your customer,” transactional monitoring, and reporting obligations on providers.

Businesses must research each country and determine how it implements the Directives and any applicable state-specific regulations, which might include notification and registration requirements or even setting up a physical presence in that country.

In the case of an e-money license, businesses can “passport” that license from one European Economic Area (EEA) member state to all other member states (subject to certain country-specific requirements). Contrast this with the state-based money service business (MSB) license rules in the United States where no such regime exists.

Any multi-country payments program should be configured to account for different jurisdictions, properly apply Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering standards across the board. In addition, it should address cross-border issuing and “area of use” licenses as needed.

2. Tax and Accounting Considerations Can Make or Break Your Business Model

The manner in which payments products are named and structured may be significantly influenced by tax considerations. This may involve intercompany agreements between your company’s various global operating subsidiaries, as well as ensuring that the business or its payments partner has the proper issuer licenses in each country.

A full-service global payments provider can help businesses be aware of the potential issues and opportunities that can impact program compliance and profitability, so they can secure the proper third-party expertise on tax and accounting topics.

3. The Devil is in the Details: Practical and Cultural Considerations

Regulatory, legal and accounting considerations clearly make launching and managing international payment programs complex, but it’s often the day-to-day operational factors that make success elusive. One of the reasons that prepaid debit cards are so popular as an international form of payment is that they have become universally accepted and understood, market-by-market.

Cards can be customized by country, currency and by cardholder audience, helping businesses create a brand that resonates with customers, suppliers and employees in each market. This is no small task when people have minimal “real” face time. Organizations must find the right cultural and financial balance between the value of personal connections and hard costs, such as international travel. They must schedule and manage operations across dozens of time zones and customize their communication to resonate with various cultures and target audiences.

Electronic payments can help to bridge this gap by replacing archaic processes like manual transactions, paper check processing, and mail delays with timely, secure and seamless payments that build trust and improve operations. Businesses can transfer funds to cards around the world in one seamless process.

Market customization is perhaps one of biggest challenges for US companies entering the global market place. While a consistent regulatory and financial strategy might be effective across the EU for example, each individual country – and the customer segments within that country – must be managed individually. Each host country has its own priorities and manner of expressing national perspective, which, if not addressed, adds challenges in inter-country transactions.

Three Ways Fleets Can Be More Competitive in the New Era of Hired Drivers

By: Miles Paschini

The on-demand car industry is booming, with companies like Uber and Lyft competing with traditional cab, car service and limo companies – and each other – for passengers and even drivers. In a day and age where ordinary car owners can double as part-time drivers at night, and mobile apps are changing the way people get a ride, it has become increasingly important for fleet owners to find innovative ways to remain competitive. Here are three ways to remain relevant in this competitive market.

  1. Update payments processes to streamline internal operations: Many fleets have more than 100 cars, so it can be costly and inefficient for a company to pay drivers through manual paper processes. Updating to a corporate payments program with a prepaid card is a good alternative to paper checks, saving the company time and money. By paying drivers on a prepaid card, fleet owners can also save themselves the expense and hassle of fraud and theft that is associated with manual payments.
  2. Maintain and increase driver retention: Drivers are the lifeblood of the fleet business, and turnover is time consuming, costly, and just bad for business. There are many ways to improve driver satisfaction and retention, including:
    • Treat drivers as the valuable asset that they are. You know you can’t afford to lose drivers, but are you really making the most of what they have to offer? Drivers have their finger on the pulse of your market. They are, quite literally, closer to the customer than anyone else in your organization. Think of all of the things they see and hear in a given day. Think of the trends they see unfolding on the street before it starts to show up in your business results. What are you doing with all these valuable insights? Give your drivers the opportunity to provide regular feedback on what they see in the market, encourage them to suggest and road test new technologies, processes and solutions, and keep your fleet ahead of the competition.
    • Just as it’s important to receive quick payment turnaround from terminal companies, a better payments experience is essential for drivers. One of the most effective methods also saves the fleet owner time and money: stop paying drivers with paper checks or ACH deposits, both of which require more manual processes and expense than necessary. Instead, offer drivers a prepaid card that allows them to get paid instantly and gives them the ability to manage their account online or via mobile app. Drivers no longer have to pick up their check, deal with costly check-cashing services, or carry cash.
    • Include drivers in your customer service and operations strategies. If drivers have to jump through hoops to get things done, for themselves or for your customers, they are far less likely to deliver the excellent customer experience you count on. Remember that all operational and service changes, even if they are designed to be improvements, can impact drivers and ultimately your customers negatively. Communication and training programs are key to ensure that drivers can easily prepare for and manage changes as they occur. Ensuring a smooth transition reduces driver distractions, complaints and customer service issues.
  3. Integrate new and existing technology for customers: Customers are using technology to find and select a car service, drivers use smart phones to communicate with you and, well pretty much everyone else, and most fleet companies are already using digital terminals to manage some elements of the operation.

Snapchat Introduces New Player in P2P Payments: Snapcash

Snapchat, the photo-sharing app, has announced that it will be rolling out a peer-to-peer (P2P) payments feature called Snapcash that will allow users 18 years and older to enter their debit card information and later use it for transactions with Snapchat friends.

This is how it will work:

  1. A Snapchat user can type the message “$25 for dinner” to a friend of their choice.
  2. The app will recognize the dollar symbol and turn the yellow “send” button into a green Snapcash button.
  3. When the user presses the green button, the money will be directly transferred to the contact’s debit card and processed by Square Cash, the well-known mobile payments company, in one to two business days.

This newfound relationship between Snapchat and Square is proof that it is possible for any business or corporation to get into the P2P or even B2B payments industry.
In an industry so heavily regulated, to offer this kind of service Snapchat needed a regulated partner with robust and proven payment capabilities—in this case Square.

Though the messaging service continues to be one of the most-downloaded photo and video apps, we will be keeping an eye out to see if Snapchat begins to amp up its security now that it is stepping up to the plate with other more established P2P payments apps, like Venmo and PayPal.

Does your organization have a strong network of customers? Are you looking for ways to monetize that network with a payments program of your own? Learn more about how WaveCrest helps businesses make payments part of their service offering.

WaveCrest Team Continues to Grow with the Addition of New U.S. Sales Director

The WaveCrest team is growing! We are pleased to announce Christine “Chris” Rizzetto as WaveCrest’s new national sales director in the U.S., where she will lead sales efforts primarily for WaveCrest’s corporate payments solutions.

Chris is an industry expert with an impressive marketing and sales background and more than 15 years of experience in payments. She comes to WaveCrest most recently from PayQuicker and PreCash.

Welcome Chris to the team by stopping by the WaveCrest booth at Money20/20 (booth #1421) or by connecting with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisrizzetto

WaveCrest and GTECH Honored with the Emerging Payments Award for Electronic Lottery Payment Solution

FARNBOROUGH, England and FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 3, 2014WaveCrest Group Limited and GTECH Corporation won the Best Global Corporate/Government Prepaid Program award for their electronic lottery payment solution at the Emerging Payments Awards, which took place in London on October 23.

WaveCrest, a multi-currency digital payments platform that offers full-service, global solutions, collaborated with GTECH, a leading operator and provider of technology in the regulated worldwide gaming markets, to deliver this innovative solution to a number of GTECH’s lottery customers in the U.S.
“WaveCrest’s electronic lottery payment solution increases player loyalty, reduces costs and streamlines lottery transactions,” said Miles Paschini, WaveCrest group president. “We are pleased to accept this award and are proud to share this honor with our partners at GTECH.”
Jaymin Patel, GTECH Americas’ President and CEO, added, “For the first time in the history of the U.S. lottery industry, we are processing ‘cashless’ transactions at retail locations. In addition, the card helps establish a direct relationship between the lotteries and their players. This, combined with advances in the interactive channel, signal the start of a new era for our industry.”
WaveCrest is the program manager and non-financial Discover card issuer for the electronic lottery payment solution to GTECH. The program is recognized for its unique user experience and success with lottery retailers and lottery players. With the increasing success of this program in the U.S., WaveCrest is working closely with GTECH to expand to other lottery customers worldwide.
An extension of the Prepaid Awards, the Emerging Payments Awards has recognized top quality payment people and programs since 2006 in the UK, France, Canada, India and South Africa.

About WaveCrest
WaveCrest provides award-winning digital payment solutions to corporations and governments worldwide. Programs include business-to-business payouts, employee, student and taxpayer disbursements, mobile wallets, prepaid cards, lottery payments, pre-defined and custom offerings. WaveCrest Holdings Limited in Europe is a regulated e-money issuer and a principal member of MasterCard and Visa EU. WaveCrest Payment Services of the Americas, Inc. is a FinCEN-registered prepaid access provider, and an issuer of Discover Network prepaid cards. Visit us at www.WaveCrest.gi

About GTECH Corporation
GTECH S.p.A. is a leading commercial operator and provider of technology in the regulated worldwide gaming markets, delivering best-in-class products and services, with a commitment to the highest levels of integrity, responsibility, and shareholder value creation. The Company is listed on the FTSE MIB at the Italian Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “GTK” and is majority owned by De Agostini S.p.A. In 2013, GTECH had approximately €3.1 billion in revenues and 8,600 employees with operations in approximately 100 countries on six continents. For more information, please visit www.gtech.com

You can also read this article on http://www.cnbc.com/id/102144969

WaveCrest is participating in Money20/20 from 3-5 Nov 2014, at Aria, Las Vegas

Meet the WaveCrest team at Money20/20 from Nov 3-5, 2014 at Aria, Las Vegas.

Talk to us at Booth #1421 to know more about our turnkey and white-labeled prepaid card based payments solutions that have been successfully enabling clients across industries to grow their business and become market leaders. We have been providing innovative payment solutions to Corporates, Government and Tax authorities, Fleet and Transport companies, Student payouts, and Lottery and Gaming companies.

Follow us on Twitter: @wcpayments