The pressure to provide a secure digital commerce experience that's cross-border and cross-channel puts an onus on traditionally tech-averse merchant providers — and creates a market opportunity ACI has been preparing to crack for several years.

"You want to be able to, in a click, support merchants as they try to break into new markets," said Mike Braatz, chief product officer for ACI Worldwide, a Naples, Fla.-based electronic payments technology company.

ACI is working to bring 'plug-and-play' capabilities to enable merchants and their service providers to enter new channels and markets. It hopes a software-based delivery model can bring relief to an industry filled with independent sales organizations, payment service providers and merchant services vendors that are often challenged to quickly adapt to technology trends.

"If you are a merchant acquirer that wants to do e-commerce, you have to be able to support all payment types and needs that a merchant may come across as they go into new channels," Braatz said. "Especially if they want to go global."

ISOs and other merchant services companies have been relatively slow to embrace innovation such as mobile commerce, so ACI needs to base its pitch on ease of use and the international opportunity.

ACI's UP E-Commerce Payments product, which it unveiled earlier this month, attempts to give payment service and merchant service vendors such as ISOs a single sign on venue to access white label digital payment programs, compliance and security programs in different channels in  in different countries.

The move is part of a plan to enhance ACI's e-commerce heft that goes back several years. ACI's acquisition of Retail Decisions, or ReD, in 2014, provides technology to analyze e-commerce payment data such as transaction size and location to spot potential security vulnerabilities or fraudulent transactions. This helps UP E-Commerce Payments use analytics to power "accept" or "deny" tools for transactions with a particular focus on card not present payments, which are at risk due to the chip card migration.

ACI in 2015 acquired Pay.On to provide a software-as-a-service global e-commerce gateway. ACI has additionally added real time processing technology and open development tools over the past couple years.

These acquisitions have powered a global network that now includes 350 payment methods in 160 different countries, including plug-ins for shopping cart and online payment methods. ACI is adding about six new connections each month, Braatz said.

"You want to be able to include all local payment types that a consumer would expect on a payments site," Braatz said.

Qualified external technology providers can accelerate deployment and integrate the modules in the mobile or e-commerce site, said Brian Riley, principal executive advisor with CEB TowerGroup. "Even though plug-and-play modules are relatively simple to integrate, the experience of an expert can ensure the order-to-cash cycle is efficient and conducive to sales," Riley said.

Cross-border omnichannel payments are a substantial opportunity given changes in consumer behavior and the slow response to the trend by established payment companies and third party mobile wallets.

That has opened the door for alternative technology providers, such as Earthport and Ripple, and mobile API companies that serve small businesses, such as WePay and 2Checkout.  

"One of the challenges mainstream merchants face is the ability to integrate online acceptance into their site," Riley said, adding plug-and-play modules that work with APIs level the playing field for smaller merchants.

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