Dublin, Ireland-based Alpha Payments Cloud launched an enterprise-level payments industry app hub in May 2013 with $12 million in funding to seed the cloud-based platform. Since then, the company has expanded across Asia, Europe and the United States. The AlphaHub was designed to connect merchants, banks, and payment products and vendors via a single interface and offers users the flexibility to select, switch and combine products as needed.
"We are positioning ourselves to be the Android of the payments industry," said Oliver Rajic, Chief Executive Officer at APC and former First Data Corp. executive. "We are removing barriers of entry like upfront costs, providing access to global distribution channels and boosting time to market for all parties."
APC Digital Marketing Coordinator Ronan McDonnell described Rajic's vision for the future as a payments industry where everything is a lot easier to integrate and much less fragmented. "He had this idea, similar to an app store, where you could turn on and off whatever products you wanted just through one connection, without having to build all these outward integrations into whatever product you want," McDonnell stated.
APC builds the systems for its channel partners based on personal preferences and vertical markets served. "ISOs can tailor the solutions that are presented to their merchants," McDonnell said. "APC works with our channel partners to align the product library with the particular needs of their merchant base."
He added that the product library includes transaction, risk solution and commerce providers from across the globe. Categories encompass dynamic currency conversion, alternative payments, payment processors and gateways, ID and address verification, fraud screening, tokenization, sales tax and chargeback management, billing, shopping cart connectors, and loyalty solutions, among others.
Within each category, price points and system features vary. "You can customize which fraud tool to use by cost, by country, by card type, by merchant type, and you can use this to create a waterfall set of rules that will improve authorization rates and fraud detection rates at the same time," McDonnell said, noting that if one payment option should fail, an alternate option can be programmed to allow legitimate customers to complete transactions.
McDonnell further noted the ease with which integration is achieved after an ISO selects its desired product features. "We build an integration from our system to theirs, so we have loaded their API [application programming interface] essentially onto our system," he said. "The merchant can then come in, they have access to a suite of products, they choose the ones they want, and the products that are in use then are paid as if they were selling the product directly."
With growing complexity in omni-channel commerce, resolving merchant stressors presents a tremendous opportunity for ISOs. "We are increasingly seeing a demand from merchants to align their payment strategy and integrations with their fraud and risk strategy," McDonnell said. "Merchants are looking to access different solutions in an easy-to-use manner so they can apply the right solution to the right problem rather than a one-size-fits-all approach."
For example, McDonnell pointed out that AlphaHub's back-end system allows merchants to set up the processes they desire. "Maybe you're selling products that are a bit more expensive, so you want better risk tools and you want to be able to take alternative currencies or alternative methods of payment," McDonnell said.
Having a single back-end connection also simplifies reporting. "You're not going to have to take your fraud analysis, your risk analysis, all that and cross reference," McDonnell said. "It's all going to be in one place … so you're going to be able to get some really good data out of our system."
He noted that primary targets for AlphaHub are midsize to large merchants who seek to consolidate different integrations or want easy access to new products as they expand business globally. And there is only one global merchant agreement to sign.
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