Exclusive Interview with Stephen Goodrich, CEO, NPCA

Q.1) what is the primary focus area of the company when it comes to NPCA designing/developing its solutions?

Delivering value is of course our primary focus. We're doing this by creating and delivering innovative commerce solutions that utilize amongst other things, the ACH, mobile devices and tokenized technology for security. In terms of vertical focus, it's been predominantly the C-store space until recently. Our traction and momentum there is beginning to open doors in other verticals like QSR and pharmacy.

Q.2) what are the major geographies/countries where NPCA has made its presence?

Because the ACH is a primary component of our platform, we currently function in the US only. However the features and functionality of our solutions have created conversations outside the U.S. as well.

Q.3) what is your perception regarding adoption of ACH platform globally (in general sense)?

We understand there are ACH type platforms outside the U.S such as PE-ACH or EACHA in Europe, so there may be future opportunity, but for the foreseeable future NPCA is focusing 110% of its attention on the US market where we think the opportunity is enormous

Q.4) what is your perception regarding adoption of EMV based payment cards globally?

My perception is I'm glad I'm no longer part of the major card brand acquiring world! I think in general terms the U.S. accounts for about a quarter of the world's credit card volume, but half of the world’s fraud. That's unacceptable. So EMV should begin to change that. However as long as payment credentials (encrypted or otherwise) are passed from cardholder to merchant to processor, there will be opportunities for breaches. We maintain extensive firewalls to protect our client's data on our servers, but because of our architecture, our account data has virtually no utility in the black market anyway.

Q.5) what are the techniques that NPCA is using in order to avoid payment data breaches?

Primarily PIN and tokenization. Merchant authorization requests contain no consumer account info, other than a number identifying the consumer which cannot be used for payments without a valid login and PIN, and then only at specific merchants. In the case of our MPay mobile architecture, a dynamic PIN is generated for each transaction that expires after a few minutes. A nearly impenetrable solution from a security standpoint.

Q.6) what are the current initiatives that NPCA is taking towards enabling mobile payments effectively? Any future plans making mobile payments more effective (upgrading your service offerings)?

There are several initiatives in mobile that we are excited about. One is the Web-enabled 'connected car'. Auto manufacturers are beginning to deliver automobiles with web connectivity, opening the door for a variety of services, including payments. We have been working closely with one such manufacturer and several merchant partners in developing a solution for what we hope to be a 2015 release. We believe our mobile integration partners, such as Cumberland Farms, have demonstrated demand for these types of solutions.

Another solution our engineers came up with is the mobile enabling, or 'ME' platform. It allows most any PIN debit merchant to transact mobile ACH at the point of sale with no new hardware (NFC, etc.) and only minor programming changes to the POS. This is very exciting for us, because infrastructure and POS modifications are an expensive obstacle to mobile payments for many retailers. The product has performed perfectly in numerous tests at several national retailers, and will be available to merchants very soon.

Q.7) what are your views regarding the current status of the decoupled debit card industry? what is your strategy moving forward as the new CEO of NPCA?

I feel the status of decoupled debit as a payment mechanism is elevating industry wide, particularly in light of card data breaches that are becoming almost commonplace. Interestingly, Target is one of the foremost leaders in the decoupled debit space, processing about 11% of their chain wide volume on RedCard, creating significant sales lift compared to other methods of payment. Decoupled debit amounts to a highly effective loyalty tool, and one that allows merchants to regain ownership of their customer relationships from banks and major card networks.

As for our strategy, we will continue to demonstrate to merchants that discount fees ordinarily paid to the major card brands and banks can be reallocated to consumer loyalty with very impressive results. Some of our merchants are processing a full one third of their payment volume on our platforms, with many in the 10-20% range as a method of payment. And we are the undisputed leader in mobile ACH.

Q.8) Is NPCA focused more towards developing customer centric solutions or merchant centric solutions?

This is another are where we are evolving and the business is becoming very interesting. For a long time we have been entirely merchant centric, but we are beginning to create services that augment payments and deliver value directly to the consumer members. This in turn creates even greater value to our merchant partners as it increases our appeal to consumers as a preferred method of payment. To that end, look for an announcement soon about our branding.