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The gateway that opens new business for ISVs

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The gateway that opens new business for ISVs

Using an API-led integrated digital payments gateway brings new opportunities for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to capitalise on emerging business models and add value to existing clients, argues Patrick Bermingham, CEO of Adflex.

In today’s competitive commercial environment, innovation and disruptive ideas are changing the business model across many industries.

A subscription-based approach for purchasing goods and services is becoming prevalent in business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) markets.

Cloud-based platforms are transforming the way businesses and customers interact. But this doesn’t lessen the complexity when it comes to the payments ecosystem.

Trading practices and business models differ widely from sector to sector, each with their own charging structures to deal with. In B2B payments it can be a fragmented cycle.

This presents opportunities for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to capitalise on new business ideas in commerce but also to improve the business tools they create by incorporating integrated payments processing.

By partnering with an integrated payment gateway provider, ISVs enable their clients to expand payments processing into a seamless flow of activity to process, reconcile and record payments into an existing platform interface.

ISVs that offer payments gateways capable of offering maximum versatility can empower their clients to do business quickly and seamlessly with as wide a range of customers and partners as possible.

Today, there are many touch points in manufacturing, business processes and the supply chain where an ISV can introduce digital payment integration to create value-added efficiency and simplicity in purchasing and payment acceptance.

The right integrated payments solution leverages state-of-the-art APIs, making it a fast and simple way for ISVs to integrate digital payments capabilities into their core offering. Take the example of just-in-time manufacturing. Software running process control logic units, for instance in automotive, engineering or food processing, triggers alerts for procurement of goods or services needed for delivery to the production line. That same trigger could be enhanced to include an integrated payments gateway, enabling instant card payment to the supplier.

Alternatively, a manufacturer could use this payment alert to request bids and offers from a wider connected marketplace, helping to drive greater cost efficiency. The digital payment sequence would comprise elements that confirm the buyer has agreed to pay using a procurement card and issues an electronic invoice.

Specialist aspects of billing for goods and services in advance but which then require reconciliation to show accurate credit card records to avoid customer confusion is another problem overcome by seamless integration of payments processing, and importantly can prevent friction with customers.

And with the introduction this year of PSD2 open banking reform across Europe, there will be more change in B2B payments, with greater flexibility to set up bank-to-bank payments and take advantage of cheaper processing. ISVs can stay ahead of new developments in the payments ecosystem by working with a platform that has user-friendly APIs to connect into acquirers and payment service providers (PSPs).

But to maximise the potential from integrating payment gateways into their software solutions, ISVs need to address key challenges in satisfying security, compliance and convenience.

In selecting an integrated payments gateway to partner with, it is vital that this is fully accredited to Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards and offers point-to-point encryption to protect card and account holder data during the transaction. Features such as secure card tokenisation and embedded hosted services are equally important. All this eliminates friction for the ISV and its customers, removes the burden to provide PCI compliance and speeds up development time-to-completion.

An online payment gateway that delivers a better experience and simplifies integration will be driven by user-friendly APIs and developer tools. These ensure the freedom and flexibility to offer more agile solutions to satisfy omni-channel business transactions and payment methods – be it card, bank-to-bank, BACs or Direct Debit – all managed through a simple API.

More sophisticated gateways will incorporate value-added capabilities to benefit the ISV and enhance its relationship with customers. The option to brand the gateway provides a seamless payment interface, enabling the ISV’s client to present its own digital payment page and complete transactions from within its own environment. Stock control and management can be improved by allowing payment to be authorised when product supply is limited or out of stock, enabling call-off payment in stages and so removing the headache of fragmented order-to-delivery workflows.

Working with an integrated digital payments provider also opens up opportunities for an ISV to create an additional income stream. It is possible to agree revenue sharing arrangements which permit the ISV to receive commission on digital payments processed. Other APIs will enable a portal to view ongoing transactions and maintain oversight of revenue-generating activity. The same API can instead create a portal for the ISV’s customer to monitor transactions again helping to build a good user experience and seamlessly integrate with other applications in the client’s business management processes.

The future is one of ever more highly connected manufacturing, production and business workplaces where cloud-based services enable better management and financial control. As key players in this evolution, ISVs are ideally placed to take advantage of a perfect time for digital payments integration.

About the author

Patrick Bermingham is CEO at Adflex. He has over 20 years’ experience in the payments industry, overseeing the growth and development of Adflex as a premier B2B payments service provider. Prior to Adflex, Patrick was specialised in ERP system design and development primary targeting mail order and national distribution sectors.

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ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion

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ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion 1

(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp said on Wednesday it would sell its non-operating interest in its UK and North Sea exploration and production assets to private-equity fund HitecVision for more than $1 billion.

Exxon has been looking to sell its oil and gas assets since late 2019, seeking to free up cash to focus on a handful of mega-projects.

The deal includes ownership interests in 14 producing fields operated primarily by Shell as well as interests in the associated infrastructure. Exxon could also receive about $300 million in contingent payments based on a potential for increase in commodity prices.

Exxon’s share of production from these fields was about 38,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2019, the company said.

Exxon said it would retain its non-operated share in upstream assets in the southern part of the North Sea as well as its interest in the Shell Esso gas and liquids (SEGAL) infrastructure, which supplies ethane to the company’s Fife ethylene plant.

HitecVision, in partnership with Eni, had bought Exxon’s Norwegian North Sea assets for $4.5 billion in 2019.

Initially, Exxon hoped to raise more than $2 billion from the sale, which was planned for late 2019. In June 2020 sources told Reuters that the portfolio was more likely to fetch $1 to $1.5 billion given the oil price weakness last year.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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JPMorgan’s blockchain payments test is literally out of this world

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JPMorgan's blockchain payments test is literally out of this world 2

By Anna Irrera

LONDON (Reuters) – Stuck in space with bills to pay? Don’t worry, the satellites could take care of it.

JPMorgan Chase & Co has recently tested blockchain payments between satellites orbiting the earth, executives at the bank told Reuters, showing that digital devices could use the technology behind virtual currencies for transactions.

The so-called Internet of Things (IoT), where devices connect to one another, is most associated with consumer electronics, including smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, and banks want to be ready to process payments when these smart devices start doing transactions autonomously.Umar Farooq, the CEO of JPMorgan’s blockchain business Onyx, thought space was a cool place to try it out.

“The idea was to explore IoT payments in a fully decentralised way,” Farooq said. “Nowhere is more decentralised and detached from earth than space.”

“Secondly we are nerdy and it was a much more fun way to test IoT,” he said.

To run the space experiment, the bank’s blockchain team did not send its own satellites into space, but worked with Danish company GOMspace, which allows third parties to run software on its satellites.

Farooq said the satellite test showed blockchain networks could power transactions between every day objects.

The test also showed it could be possible to create a marketplace where satellites send each other data in exchange for payments, as more private companies launch their own devices into space, Tyrone Lobban, head of blockchain launch, at Onyx said.

Back on earth, examples of IoT payments that could become a reality sooner include a smart fridge ordering and paying for milk on an ecommerce site, or a self-driving car paying for gas Farooq said.

Blockchain, which first emerged as the software underpinning cryptocurrencies, is a shared digital ledger of transactions. Financial companies have invested millions of dollars to find uses for the technology hoping it can reduce costs and simplify more complex IT processes, such as securities settlement or international payments.

But so far, blockchain has yet to have widespread impact in financial services.

JPMorgan has been one of the most active banks in blockchain, announcing it had created its own distributed ledger called Quorum in 2016, which was sold to blockchain company Consensys last year. The bank also developed a digital coin called JPM Coin and in 2020 created Onyx.

Onyx has more than 100 employees and its blockchain applications are close to generating revenues for the bank, it said.

Among the division’s applications is Liink, a payments information network involving more than 400 banks, a project to replace paper checks and IoT experiments, Farooq said.

(Reporting by Anna Irrera. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose

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Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose 3

By Nanchanok Wongsamuth

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Garment workers in Thailand who were illegally underpaid while making products for major brands have received all the wages owed to them after theme park operator and film producer Universal Studios agreed to pay the outstanding amount.

Universal Studios, owned by media giant Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal, agreed to give $20,000 to a group of Myanmar workers on Wednesday – following three other global brands in making payments to settle the 3.5 million baht ($116,550) owed in unpaid wages.

“We take this matter very seriously and this is not in line with our core values,” a NBCUniversal spokeswoman said.

A Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation in September 2019 found dozens of migrants from Myanmar working at several factories in the western region of Mae Sot were paid less than the daily minimum wage of 310 Thai baht ($10.32).

A group of 26 workers at one of the factories raided in 2019 by officials sued the owner – Kanlayanee Ruengrit – in August last year for failing to pay the 3.5 million baht owed to them.

Interviews with workers by local and global rights groups found that her factory was making goods for several major brands from Universal Studios to Britain’s largest supermarket Tesco.

The workers later received a payment of about 2.88 million baht from Kanlayanee and three brands that said Kanlayanee’s factory had been subcontracted by their suppliers or partners without permission – Disney, Starbucks and Tesco.

The money from Universal Studios will be paid to MAP Foundation, which has supported the workers and been in discussion with the companies, and will distribute the funds directly to the workers.

“Since the former licensee has failed to respond to multiple requests to pay the affected Thai factory workers, we are making a goodwill donation to MAP Foundation … to distribute funds directly to the workers,” the NBCUniversal spokeswoman said.

Suchart Trakoonhutip, a coordinator at MAP Foundation, said the payment marked the first time that underpaid workers in Mae Sot had received the full amount owed to them in a wage dispute.

The Mae Sot case sets an example for other brands to follow in terms of taking responsibility, but workers should not have to rely on the goodwill of companies in order to receive money they have earned, said Ilona Kelly, a coordinator at pressure group Clean Clothes Campaign.

“The industry urgently needs binding agreements to hold brands to account, the lack of which has become even more notable during COVID-19 as millions of workers are now owed wages and severance pay,” she added.

“Without (government) legislation, the happy ending of the Kanlayanee story will continue to be as unobtainable as a fairytale ending for most workers.”

One of the Kanlayanee workers, who now works part-time on a farm, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that he plans to send the additional money to his sick father in Myanmar.

“I feel happy and proud that I will soon receive the full amount of money I am owed,” said the worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

($1 = 30.0300 baht)

(Reporting by Nanchanok Wongsamuth @nanchanokw; Editing by Michael Taylor. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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