The Year of Payments – 2015 – One Quarter In

Q&A with CashStar’s VP of Marketing, Gary Lombardo

How different are the first 3 months of 2015 from the first 3 months of 2014?
Apple has made a huge impact in the consumer and merchant adoption of mobile payments. Specifically, Apple’s adoption of near field communication (NFC) technology and the subsequent rollout of Apple Pay have challenged physical payment standards such as credit, debit or gift cards and really built momentum in the mobile payments marketplace. This year we will see the mandated support of EMV credit cards, which will force merchants to ensure their payment terminals comply with this standard, which opens the door for NFC to become a must-support technology.

From the perspective of your business, what’s the most significant development so far this year?
The most significant development from CashStar’s perspective has been the expansion and evolution of prepaid commerce, and specifically gift cards, into a “branded currency” – the convergence of gift cards, coupons and loyalty rewards into a single asset that retailers can use to influence purchase decisions, drives consumer engagement and builds customer loyalty while generating incremental online and in-store sales. Retailers and merchants can leverage branded currency to enhance their marketing and promotions efforts in innovative and creative ways not possible with traditional plastic cards, giving themselves a competitive advantage.