Jennifer Miles, Ingenico
Merchant terminals—the longtime bedrock technology of the payments industry—are rapidly evolving, and few people have a better view than Jennifer Miles, executive vice president of North America for France-based payment terminal maker Ingenico.
In a 20-year career spanning top roles at two of the world’s biggest terminal companies, Miles has navigated fierce competitive pressure, shifting regulations and requirements and the rise of an increasingly global merchant base, placing her among PaymentsSource’s Most Influential Women in Payments for 2019.
Miles spent 16 years at payment terminal giant Verifone—where she rose to president—moving to Ingenico in 2017, where she’s charged with expanding the company’s North American business at a time when startups are chipping away at incumbents and new technology is creating opportunities for all players.
One major achievement in Miles' career was her role helping to oversee Verifone’s massive U.S. EMV migration, ensuring a smooth transition for the largest card market. At Ingenico, Miles is focusing again on improving the payment experience for merchants through new technology.
“Payments is one of the most compelling industries globally, because of how quickly it evolves,” said Miles.
North America is a particularly exciting spot for the payments industry right now, according to Miles.
“We’re the tip of the spear for so much change and movement in technology, and working in payments you get to see much of that being put to the test. When you look at what Amazon Go has demonstrated for frictionless payments and how small businesses are adapting to mobile technology to better serve their customers—it’s amazing to work in this space,” Miles said.
When one company scores a breakthrough with new payments technology, the overall industry benefits, Miles said.
Venmo is one company she admires. “What really impresses me is seeing companies that can work from top to bottom to cohesively to drive disruption. Like Venmo, which came in and totally disrupted how our industry approached fintech, making it work for the consumer,” Miles said.
Leading teams to achieve that kind of success in payments requires the right chemistry and a measure of boldness, according to Miles.
“Success in our space can’t fall on the shoulders of one or two impressive individuals, because all of that can fall apart if a team can’t work together effectively,” she said.
A great team should have people of different backgrounds and perspectives, and all members must be comfortable with pushing back and asking tough questions, challenging the status quo, according to Miles.
Most importantly, payment industry leaders must keep their focus on the customer experience.
“In fintech, everything comes back to putting yourself in the shoes of the consumer, and as more and more women enter and thrive in the fintech ecosystem, it will widen the pool of fresh ideas we can pull from,” Miles said.
Payments is on the verge of major transformation stemming from a combination of artificial intelligence and 5G technology, according to Miles.
“As robust 5G networks become more commonplace, we’ll be looking at a more real-time experience for the consumer on a much wider scale. 5G networks will be the catalyst that will make AI a reality for a much broader set of merchants,” she predicted.