Elavon Opens 'The Grove'— a Lab to Build Tech for Merchants

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U.S. Bancorp's global payment subsidiary Elavon is opening a mobile innovation center at its Atlanta headquarters to build technology for merchants.  

Called "The Grove," the center will develop new mobile payments and expand other Elavon   products, such as the company's VirtualMerchant Mobile in the U.S. and MobileMerchant in Europe.

The Grove will also work with third parties, similar to Elavon's processing and sales relationship with NCR. The center will hire at least 50 people over the next 12 to 18 months, and an additional center is planned for Europe.

"Our focus will be on new technologies that enable merchants to accept payments via mobile devices while also ensuring the ease of use and safety of the transaction from the customer's perspective," said Marianne Johnson, executive vice president of global product and innovation for Elavon, in a press release. "Payments are moving closer to the concept of the mobile wallet housed on a smart phone or other device."

Elavon provides card processing, electronic gift cards, currency conversion, cross-border acquiring, and other payment processing technology to more than one million merchants.

The Grove hopes to tap into a growing local tech economy. The Technology Association of Georgia says Atlanta is home to more than 70 companies focused on the payments industry (First Data, TSYS and Global Payments all have a substantial presence in the area), generating annual revenue of more than $20 billion.

U.S. Bancorp is following a long tradition of bank issuers opening innovation centers to build new technology for payments and other financial services. Capital One and Deutsche Bank have both opened labs over the past few years.  

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