The new president of the Electronic Transactions Association does more than just talk about turning challenges into opportunities.

Eddie Myers, the Washington-based trade group’s new chief executive, is working to bring the acquiring industry’s new players into the association’s mainstream.

That way, the new executives can benefit from the experience of established leaders, says Myers, who also serves as president and chief operating officer of Payment Processing Inc., a Newark, Calif.-based ISO.

Meanwhile, the industry’s old hands can learn to prosper in the new era by cooperating with the forces for change, he contends.

Many of the newcomers he has in mind are pioneers of the mobile payments market. “It’s changing the way payments are considered,” Myers says of mobile applications.

Although the technical experts in mobile payments may have come up with breakthroughs that are transforming the business, they still may have gaps in their knowledge of payments, Myers says.

“It’s one thing to enable a payment, but it’s another to deal with charge-backs and disputes and the rules,” he maintains.

The association can help by teaching the new players about the marketplace, Myers says. “We need to do a very good job of creating an environment where they can come and understand the moving parts,” he notes.

Fledgling payments executives can learn about the industry by attending trade shows the association conducts each year, including the Annual Meeting & Expo and the Strategic Leadership Forum.

Those meetings also provide the industry’s established executives an opportunity to confer with the new players who are fostering change, says Myers.

“We brought together some real thought leaders,” he says of the most recent Strategic Leadership Forum, which included the association’s first conference devoted to mobile payments.

Some of the industry’s new entities are looking for help with distribution and support, and the established players can step into those roles if they make contact with the new executives, says Myers.

“We’ve got thousands of customer-service people around the country and the various processors and ISOs,” he notes. “How can that help support the evolution of payments?”

But bringing together the new experts and the old hands will not happen without some coordination, Myers says.

“We’re spending a lot of time at the [association] board level, trying to understand who some of these new players are and what’s important to them in their business models,” he notes. “The ETA needs to evolve its goals and programs in support of them.”

To that end the board itself is changing by bringing in members from specialties that might have seemed peripheral to payments a short time ago but now appear to hold great promise.

They include Chris Hylen, vice president and general manager of Intuit Payment Solutions, and Chuck Harris, president of NetSpend Corp.

Austin, Texas-based NetSpend operates in the prepaid card market, while Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit Payments is part of the company well-known for Quicken and TurboTax.

“We’re rapidly reaching out to this expanding distribution group and finding out what’s important to them,” says Myers.

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