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Key decision makers in the payments industry recently gathered for SourceMedia's 2014 Card Forum and Expo. They discussed the trends shaping the industry and their own strategies for surviving the challenges ahead. Here are a few highlights. (Image: Shutterstock)
Big data's all the rage, but the real value is distilling it into little data to get insights on individual customers. This is especially important for credit card issuers, who are competing with a dozen other cards in the customer's wallet, according to executives from Citi, B of A and Barclaycard who spoke at Card Forum. (Image: Shutterstock)
Melissa Smith, honored as one of PaymentsSource's 2014 Most Influential Women in Payments, talked about the sudden flurry of attention she received for announcing her pregnancy shortly after becoming CEO of WEX Inc. "It's an important conversation for people to have because it should happen more frequently, but at the same time I want to be known for my career," she said.
Express Meets Success
American Express talked up some of the unique things it's done to boost enrollment for its Serve prepaid card. Among them: a partnership with the Isis mobile wallet that has resulted in a significant number of signups at mobile phone stores, especially when a hot new phone comes out.
Square co-founder and professional glass blower Jim McKelvey discussed the mobile payment company's early days, and how the idea came from his own needs as a small-business owner selling handcrafted glass faucets on the road. "That was the genius of Square," he said. "It [solved] a very personal problem."
Consumers Must Keep Control
Executives from Facebook and U.S. Bank emphasized the importance of keeping customers in control of their data. Doing so builds trust, improves the quality of the data and makes customers more receptive to targeted offers. (Image: Bloomberg News)
Fuel for Thought
WEX's general manager of virtual payments, Jim Pratt, explained how the company's app helped recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy. The app shows real-time updates of gas prices based on purchases made by users of WEX's fleet cards. Since gas pumps only work when they have electricity, emergency crews were able to use WEX's app to spot power outages. (Image: Shutterstock)
Checks and Balances
Level Money CEO Jake Fuentes questioned the industry's obsession with providing offers and discounts with mobile wallets. Offers "primarily serve the merchant," he said. "Where we're putting our energy and what Millennials expect out of their relationship with money is different." (Image: Shutterstock)