Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Small Backgrounder and a GreenSheet Subscription to boot...

Yesterday I featured Digital Transaction News as a prominent Payments Industry Trade Magazine, I again encourage you to subscribe if you haven't. Today, I'm featuring The Green Sheet...

The Green Sheet has covered Pay By Touch since it's inception (although not as closely as your's truly) and is one of the publications where PBT's Payments Solutions division advertises regularly. (see advertisement on the right)

A Backgrounder on Your's Truly

The Green Sheet also covered, way back in Oct of 2002, (god, I can't believe it's five years already), a product called P.A.I.D, which was an acronym I came up with which stood for: Payment Authorized Instantly Debited. It was the nation's first company to offer a real time check debit program, as our company was the first one allowed to sign on with SafeCheck, a division of SVPCo, which developed it. I simply re-branded it as P.A.I.D. in order to gain a competitive advantage over the slew of other processors/acquirers that would jump on board the SafeCheck bandwagon in the future. After all, first to market, may give you positioning, but branding is for cash cows...

P.A.I.D took a paper check and converted it into a one-time Debit Transaction via the ATM Debit networks. Thus, if someone wrote a check for $100 and the merchant used P.A.I.D. the funds were verified via the debit network, and immediately set aside. This was important because, without it, a consumer (assuming they had $150 in their checking account) could write a check for $100, then go next door and use their debit card, for a $52 purchase. Even though the debit card transaction took place after writing the check, the check would bounce if the merchant didn't have the Payment (Authorized and Instantly Debited).

On the other hand, using the same scenario, if the merchant accepted the check under the P.A.I.D system, when the consumer went next door and tried to use his debit card for the $52 purchase, it would have been declined on the basis of insufficient funds.

Thus, it was as simple a marketing platform as one could possibly imagine...if I remember correctly, the slogan I came up with was something along the line of: Get P.A.I.D.

If you're at all interested, you can take a look at the original P.A.I.D website via "The WayBack Machine" here. Yes, there is a wayback machine, and it's pretty cool. Once at the wayback machine PAIDcheck.com website, you will be able to check out all the links to find out more about both P.A.I.D. and...

CheckElect which were the first two products Solidus started out with before Indivos shareholders voted to merge with Solidus and focused all their attention on Pay By Touch (and rightfully so), I sometimes wish they would have stayed a little more focused on my check processing companies as BioPay did with their PayCheck Secure product. I handed them the foundation to develop it in house. Think of how much money PBT could have saved if they didn't have to essentially buy a biometric check processing company for $82 million. (because that's all BioPay was, albeit a good one) Instead, they could have developed their own in-house biometric check processing program with good starting points in P.A.I.D and CheckElect.

Eyes Wide Shut?

More importantly, they wouldn't have left the biometric check cashing niche wide open for BioPay to develop and gain a competitive marketing advantage on the check processing side, which is why they had to acquire them. I'll bet that Mr. Robinson is real busy these days enjoying his yacht...I wonder if he called that P.A.I.D? (very well)

Any who, I was told that the lack of interest in developing CheckElect or P.A.I.D was the doing's of one Craig Ramsey. But who knows? In fairness, P.A.I.D was based on SVPCo's SafeCheck program which was subsequently sold to Visa and became Visa POS Check, but nonetheless, Pay By Touch was and is well versed in ACH payments, and being a strategic partner with Discover, who owned the Pulse Network, they could certainly have reinvented P.A.I.D in house, using their expertise and connections.

Wow, is that the first thing I've ever said or posted that may be construed as criticism about Pay By Touch? It isn't, (criticism) but then again, it's not Monday morning quarterbacking either as I let them know way back then that check processing was a lucrative segment for payments and biometrics.

Oh...you can also browse through Solidus Networks old site and, in addition, read their Press Release on P.A.I.D here:

Editor's Note: That backgrounder is for the "more than a few" people who have e-mailed me and asked either who I am, or what's my background, what's with the cloak of anonymity or, and I'm quoting one here: "What's the impetus behind your being a Pay By Touch evangelist"? Wow...I've been called a lot of things in my day, but that was the first time I have ever been called evangelical. That one made me chuckle...anyway, continuing on...

The Green Sheet has an Advisory Board made up of some pretty heavy hitters in the payments industry including Russ Goebel, from Pay By Touch Payment Solutions:

Russ Goebel, Pay By Touch
Vice President of Sales

Website: www.paybytouch.com

Bio: Russ J. Goebel is Vice President of Sales for Pay By Touch Payment Solutions and has over 13 years of electronic payment processing experience. He has held senior level management positions with Retriever Payment Systems, Heartland Payment Systems and First Data Corp. Goebel was a founding Advisory Board member and has completed the NACHA Payment Institute for Professionals.

So, I highly recommend a subscription to this publication. To subscribe to the Green Sheet, either electronically, or the actual paper magazine at no cost to you, simply Click Here

Here is a list of stories run by The Green Sheet on Pay By Touch over the years and their links. Note, if you haven't yet visited the Oct 28th article, that it has Solidus Networks old address at Spear Tower as I was already planning on placing P.A.I.D as one of Solidus' first product offerings.