The Electronic Transactions Association is bolstering its relationships with the nations four regional acquirer associations and with W.net, the organization that supports women in payments.
Historically, the ETA and the regionals have not worked together, said Jason Oxman, the ETAs chief executive officer. That was a mistake.
Cooperation among the organizations could help small ISOs and agents take a more active role in payments, said Oxman.
Those smaller ISOs and agents often balk at the cost of attending both a regional annual conference and the national associations annual conference, called Transact 15 next year.
To help ease that financial burden, the ETA is discounting the $650 admission price for its conference by $200 for anyone who has attended a regional conference and is attending the national conference for the first time.
The $200 discount amounts to more than the admission price of any of the four regional conferences held by the Northeast Acquirers Association, the Southeast Acquirers Association, the Midwest Acquirers Association or the Western States Acquirers Association, Oxman noted.
The ETA is also offering the $200 discount to members of W.net, or Women Networking in Electronic Transactions, who are attending the ETAs annual conference for the first time.
We want to engage small ISOs and agents, and this is our attempt to make it more affordable during a time of unprecedented change in our industry, Oxman said.
Many of the 3,000 regional-conference attendees could benefit from the discount, he noted.
Meanwhile, closer relationships among the trade groups are also taking the form of integrated programing at the annual conferences.
In one example, Oxman made presentations at this years Southeast, Midwest and Western States conferences. He plans to complete the circuit of speeches with a talk next month at the Northeast conference in Boston.
In those talks he outlined the Washington-based ETAs lobbying efforts on behalf of the payments industry. He also described the trade groups recently formed political action committee, which was organized to contribute financially to the campaigns of politicians who support legislation favorable to the payments industry.
He also pitched the associations Certified Payments Professional credential, which creates professional standards for the acquiring business and enforces them through testing and continuing education.
In another example of how cooperation is taking shape, the ETA is incorporating the W.net annual meeting into the ETA annual conference and donating meeting space to the womens organization.
Until now, the two events have shared venues, but the groups are now viewing the programing as more closely integrated, Oxman said. He called the new relationship co-branding of conference presentations.
Linking all of the organizations seems like a natural fit, he said, noting that the leadership of the ETA, the regionals and W.net overlaps to a great degree.
As an example, he cited some of the organizers of W.net, including Kim Fitzsimmons, Joan Herbig, Holly Targan and Chris Lee, who have also helped lead the ETA.
Although Oxman views the organizations as interrelated, he noted that the ETA has not always taken that position.
Just seven or eight years ago, the ETA staged events to compete directly with the regional conferences, he said.
The Northeast group predates the national organization. The NEAA came into being in 1985, partly as a result of the work of General Credit Forms. The other regionals spun off from the NEAA.
The national organization began in 1990 as the Bankcard Services Association. The name was changed to the Electronic Transactions Association in 1996 to reflect its broadening membership.
W.net was formed in 2005 to provide networking opportunities and mentors.