Banks and processors often avoid small direct response businesses out of risk concerns, though the category fits right into EVO Payments International's multi-media sweet spot.
To provide direct response merchants in the U.S. and Europe an opportunity to accept card and mobile payments, EVO Payments is making its EVO Snap global payment processing service available through Lime Light CRM merchant services.
Since direct response merchants use television, social media and the Internet to engage consumers, they fit EVO Payment's goal of building an omni-channel profile, said Peter Osberg, senior vice president of EVO Snap, the payments innovation arm of the company.
And new mandates from Visa and MasterCard have helped weed out the riskier merchants, addressing the traditional concerns about the direct response market, Osberg said. "We fully expect that Lime Light will continue to bring in merchants that are compliant and looking to take advantage of this effective marketing vehicle to get these products sold directly and at the place of retail," Osberg added.
Long Island, N.Y.-based EVO Payments chose the name EVO Snap in late 2013 for its software license, saying the name was a way for developers to realize it was a "snap" to integrate and work with EVO.
The role of Lime Light is key, since a payments system provider is not able to constantly make decisions about a merchant's ethics and has to rely on the merchant services provider bringing clients to the table, said Brian Riley, senior research director and analyst with Boston-based CEB TowerGroup. "There is a need for these merchants to have payment rails, but it is something to be very cautious about with their partners," Riley said.
Some direct response merchants may not qualify with other payment processors for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with whether its operations are legal, so EVO can fill a niche in that market, Riley added.
Through EVO's application interface, a company like Lime Light will complete one integration to give its merchants access to payments routing through 50 countries and 120 currencies. In addition, Lime Light merchants will gain mobile acceptance, marketing services, merchant-funded incentive programs and back-office reporting tools through EVO Payments.
EVO Payments also provides various other services to merchants, including preparation for EMV chip card acceptance, incorporating contactless Near Field Communication payments, or accepting payments through a mobile point-of-sale.
Nearly a year ago, EVO Payments partnered with Ingenico subsidiary Roam to market Roam's mobile card reader technology and expand EVO business into that market.
Many mobile payment hardware providers integrate EVO Snap into their technology to accept payments, Osberg said. "But we don't want to build our own product that would compete with those partners," he added. "We want to provide products, while also making sure we are supporting our partners with those services."
EVO Payments supports Apple Pay in its platform, a move that coincides with increasing use of Near Field Communication as a payment technology.
"The most exciting thing is the merchant adoption of NFC terminals, which we believe is going to gain a lot more traction as part of the EMV [chip card] migration in the U.S." Osberg said.
EVO Payments has invested "an enormous amount of effort" into making sure its partners have the proper EMV capabilities and NFC payment technologies, Osberg said.
EVO Payments built onto its acquiring network in Europe in 2013, purchasing a controlling interest in PKO Bank Polski's merchant acquiring arm in Poland, and Banco Popular's merchant business in Spain.
The company is the exclusive card-acquiring provider for Deutsche Bank's global transaction banking in Europe, and a principal member of Visa Europe and MasterCard.