Q&A: Spire Payments
Kazem Aminaee, President and CEO of Spire Payments, talks to CARTES Daily News about challenges and opportunities – and about why the industry must embrace change
Q Can you give a brief outline of Spire’s current business priorities?
A To remain the fastest-growing European-based POS supplier and best alternative to traditional POS suppliers; to remain the leader in mobile POS; to remain the centre of excellence for T42xx and M43xx technology and to provide the best in kind call centre, logistics and repair services.
Q Are there any sectors that you are not yet in which are particularly appealing to you?
A Although a niche sector for the moment, the healthcare market is appealing. The largest markets are in France and Germany since most other countries are not using a mag stripe card or chip card on a national basis to manage health care transactions. But our focus is not as much on sectorial growth than it is on geographic expansion: our natural home base is Europe but we have grown to add another 20 countries in 2013 through direct and indirect investments and that list is going to grow much more in 2014.
Q What new developments in secure electronic payment solutions should we look out for in the next few years?
A The electronic payments industry is going through significant change as standards facilitate market entry, new players like PayPal, Google and Apple question traditional payment practices and new technology allows us to try to access heretofore untapped markets – namely the micro merchant. In addition, cloud-based technology is dropping the barrier to the development of creative payment applications. But these significant changes are to be expected given that for many years the complexity of the industry shielded it from change. In the end, there is room for everyone in the card payments industry because it is, after all, a $21.6 trillion industry. Over the next few years we will see more flavours of payment devices, more standards to level the playing field but especially, more creative applications intended to make the user payment experience interactive and rewarding.
Q Are you revealing any new products or services at CARTES this week?
A At CARTES 2013 we will be showcasing for the first time exclusively a ground-breaking product suite that spans the full range of POS devices from wireless and mobile, through fixed countertop to PIN pads for retail and other environments. Called the “SP” family of terminals they are designed from the ground up to be fully PCI PTS 3.x compliant, including the use of open standards and the adherence to SRED - these devices utilise a new and uncompromised common architecture rather than evolving from a pre-existing design. In September we also presented inSPire: it enables a rapid application development cycle and includes on-target debug which, allied with Spire’s unique automated test environment, automatic common format report and automatic documentation generation, allows full or partial regression testing of the Application Development Environment functions to ensure solution integrity at every stage in the application creation process. inSPire enables the rapid evolution and availability of new payment applications by facilitating the development process and saving partners time and money so that they can focus on creative and imaginative applications.
Q In your opinion, what are the two biggest challenges facing the secure connections industry today?
A The card payment industry is one of the pillars of international commerce, so innovation should not be at the expense of security - security must always be a first priority in the electronic payments industry and one of our challenges is to ensure that this remains a priority for the industry as a whole. A second and related challenge is the need for the industry to embrace change and innovation. Whereas change can bring risk, as pointed out earlier in terms of security, it is fundamental to the continued growth of the payment industry. The card payments industry needs to ensure the consumer payment experience is interactive, rewarding, quick, easy, friendly, painless! The overall consumer experience in the bricks and mortar context must improve if it is to compete favourably with e-commerce. This can be done through new and exciting devices, new and exciting payment applications, queue busting, the integration of the bricks and mortar shopping experience with social network activity and so on.
Q If you have the time, what CARTES events will you try to get to yourself?
A The SESAMES awards are always a good event for networking and also celebrating the success of the industry – we are also holding our own soiree in the Remy Martin lounge on our state of the art stand – this is “invitation-only” but promises to be an excellent event!