A dialogue with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak kicked off the 2011 ETA Annual Meeting and Expo held this year in San Diego, Calif. May 10 - 12. Wozniak explained that payment processing at Apple is not a top priority and that Apple is waiting until they can do it right – “I think they'll hold off and not make any moves until they know they can do it right” (The Green Sheet). Wozniak also discussed the future of mobile payments, suggesting that "tap-and-go technology is so compelling that it will be in everyone's hands within just a few years" (The Green Sheet). He believes that Near Field Communications (NFC) technology will be the next big thing for mobile payments.
The conference also featured keynote speaker, former Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Mass., co-author of the Consumer Protection Act of 2010 and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform. Dodd touched upon the Durbin Amendment and the looming debit interchange regulation. Dodd went on to encourage ISOs, MLSs and their partners to reach out more to their local politicians to fight against further legislation. Dodd feels that it would be easier to contact them directly, saying “I can assure you that if you were to invite your member of Congress to come to your business to learn what you do and about your issues, you'd have a lot more luck than anyone standing in the halls of Congress trying to [lobby] staffers" (The Green Sheet). However painful, regulatory and PCI compliance issues are not going away. Critical security measures are put in place to protect consumers and stay current with technology.
Mobile payments was the hot topic for this year’s meeting, since more and more people have smart phones and are using them to shop, therefore making mobile card acceptance, couponing and security high priorities for merchants. Visa took the opportunity at the expo to announce its mobile wallet plans that feature "a range of customized mobile payments services that address the specific requirements of geographic markets around the world" (Visa). People are excited for mobile wallet solutions and it came through at the show.
ETA 2011 had a lot of hype around a new certification program was promoted. Visa’s new Certified Payments Professional program, which had officially launched in February 2011, is designed to be the industries first professional certification process for sales agents and others engaged in the distribution of electronic payment products and services.
ETA attendees noted that this year’s show seemed to be a bit quieter, with fewer people and less industry news as compared to past expos. However, ETA contacts say that attendance and exhibitor numbers had increased. Overall, attendees reported to be pleased with the quality of the interactions and networking opportunities.
The Electronic Transactions Association is an international trade company that represents companies who offer electronic transaction processing products and services. The ETA encourages businesses to network within the electronic payments industry through education and advocacy. The three-day meeting and expo was open to international electronic payments professionals and business owners.