Vantiv had a specific vision in mind when acquiring Mercury Payment Systems two years ago to provide the ultimate playground for app developers to operate in a multi-channel world.
The Cincinnati-based payments processor and technology provider has launched that playground in the form of Vantiv ONE, or One Network Experience. And like any other playground, it has a wide range of toys to play with.
Vantiv ONE expands on the company's DevHub portal concept by providing a suite of software that the company calls TechTools; personalized technical support services called TechLift; and a membership-based developer community called TechTribe.
"We wanted to bring a seamless, singular experience with all capabilities of Vantiv and Mercury to the developer community that wants to bring payments to their platform across all segments of the markets, from small business to government, be it online, in-store, mobile or enterprise," said Matt Taylor, former Mercury CEO and now group president for integrated payments and emerging channels at Vantiv.
Vantiv's launch of ONE this week comes at a time when merchants are becoming more involved with omnichannel commerce and integrated payments. As such, developers have an eager audience for new services. Vantiv is one of several companies tapping into this change in the payments landscape, getting an early lead through Mercury's past work in this area.
"Mercury had always been more advanced in its ability to work with developers, however in joining with Vantiv, we …. are now far more advanced in serving the market with a very robust offering," Taylor said.
Vantiv ONE also addresses the long-time complexity of integrated payments, said Richard Oglesby, president of AZ Payments Group and a senior analyst at Double Diamond Payments Research.
"There has been a huge amount of effort to make it more simplistic, with a lot of that coming from the likes of Stripe and Braintree trying to push the envelope," Oglesby said. "But Vantiv in particular and its recent acquisitions have had a developer focus and want to keep up the trends in the marketplace."
Companies of all sizes are developing application interfaces and offering them as a way to access other software to integrate payments, Oglesby added.
Indeed, two years after Vantiv bolstered its reputation a processor and tech provider that worked closely with developers through the acquisition of Mercury, other major players in the payments industry have opened their networks to developers seeking to advance digital commerce.
Earlier this year, Visa launched Visa Developer with that purpose in mind, providing access to payment technologies and other services to further advance software services.
But Vantiv doesn't view such developments as direct competition or efforts that would undermine Vantiv ONE in any way.
"It is one thing to work with an open API, but another thing to combine that with distribution channels," Taylor said. "We have taken the approach of integrated point of sale in that we are not going to sell our own product and build a second vertical or products to go to market."
Vantiv's distribution center consists of the point of sale vendors, the value added resellers, and independent software vendors.
"That is the setup Mercury has leveraged and now what Vantiv is investing in," Taylor said. "We call that the open platform approach."
More than 150 developers are already participating in TechTribe, addressing difficult challenges, such as capturing payments from a mobile device and completing the transaction in a physical retail location, Taylor said. More than 1,000 independent software vendors and the Vantiv merchants now have access to the company's payments platform through Vantiv ONE, he said.
"If a brick-and-mortar software developer has never included mobile capture before, that developer can work with others in the TechTribe to develop what is needed to accomplish that," Taylor added.
Vantiv's $1.65 billion acquisition of Mercury became the genesis of its Vantiv Integrated Payments unit, which focuses on omnichannel technology advancements and increased integration of payments software on a point of sale platform.
Vantiv Integrated Payments provides a developer lounge/lab at its Durango, Colo.-based office to "show many different payment use cases," said Matt Ozvat, head of developer integrations at Vantiv.
"The lab also shows how our team works, how we pull together in that community with our tech team," Ozvat said. "We bring developers to the lab to talk about their exciting architecture and then work on enabling their innovation."
But Vantiv stops short of describing itself as "leading edge," because it wants to emphasize its core mission of secure payment processing, Ozvat said. "We are right behind leading edge, but we look ahead and get involved in many events and processes to improve concepts and products."
In that manner, Vantiv ONE is in place to "drive new payments trends" rather than just help developers and, ultimately, merchants simply adapt to them, he added.