Today’s most powerful technologies are those where the processes behind that innovation are hidden or invisible from users’ consciousness. When done right, this high-functioning tech is not only seamless but creates time for users that allows them to shift their focus elsewhere.
Enter the “invisible payment,” which is exactly what Fortis (recently rebranded from FortisPay) is trying to deliver to the business world by making transactions easier, faster and hopefully fading into the background.
“Our goal at Fortis is to make sure we can enable payments as seamlessly as possible,” Fortis Chief Technology Officer Kevin Shamoun said in an interview with PYMNTS. “We want to be invisible.”
Shamoun explained this doesn’t just mean making payments invisible to the end user or merchant, but also the software providers that integrate its solutions.
Doing so isn’t easy, especially today in an age where digital payments have accelerated tremendously due to the coronavirus pandemic. Companies now have a huge variety of payment options to choose from, and indeed they do need to adopt multiple options to satisfy the needs of the customers they serve.
One of the main challenges of accepting so many payment methods, if they’re going to be made invisible to end users, is to ensure all of those transactions will be secure and compliant.
“It can be a treacherous thing to deal with, especially for a lot of software partners out there that don’t have anybody on staff with the expertise and knowledge,” Shamoun said.
Education and Risk
So a big part of Fortis’ role is to educate its clients about the various payment methods available and how these can be implemented safely and securely.
“Coming out of COVID, you’re seeing a lot more card-not-present transactions. More online transactions, phone payments from Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.,” Shamoun pointed out. “We’re getting a lot of questions, like how do I enable acceptance for those types of technologies? What am I at risk for? Is there a liability? So what we like to do is to make sure that one, customers understand what the risks are and two, how to go about properly implementing the technologies.”
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Fortis aims to completely remove the burden of those security risks from its customers and place the responsibility onto its own shoulders instead.
“That’s what we recommend [to our customers],” Shamoun said. “I mean, they’re not payment experts, and a lot of times they’re not even security-focused or minded. If we can enable them to accept payments in the eCommerce world and shift the liability back to the card issuer in case of fraud, that’s a huge win in some verticals.”
Despite their lack of security expertise, Shamoun said there is sometimes hesitancy among customers to let Fortis carry the burden for them. He related the tale of how one software provider that was previously using its services, eventually left and decided it would go down its own path. He didn’t name the company, but very soon after leaving it suffered a major breach of its systems and quickly came running back.
“They came back around to us eventually and said, ‘all right, hey, we’ve kind of learned our lesson. We should have listened to you guys,'” he recalled. “At the end of the day, it’s about doing business from a partnership perspective. We try to educate and advocate for the software provider and make sure they can implement technologies.”
Tools for Software Providers
Fortis also ensures software developers have all the tools needed to implement payments properly within their products. The company’s platform is application programming interface (API)-first, Shamoun said, because that’s the easiest way to integrate and get business processing up and running quickly and seamlessly. Another key benefit of Fortis is that it enables software providers to access and get insights from their payment data.
“Data is gold, so access to that data in the payment ecosystem is important as well,” Shamoun said. “If they have very tight integration with their payment date, it only makes their systems stronger.
It all comes back to making transactions invisible, especially for those who’ll be making those payments.
“If you look at it from an end-to-end standpoint, the software provider has customers and it wants to accept payments from them,” Shamoun said. “So how do we get that merchant or business to sign up and get processing as seamlessly as possible? That’s what we’re striving for, and we deliver it today.”