In recent reports, researchers have disclosed that as many as 2,000 financial technology (fintech) companies are now trying to stake claims on banking turf and that billions of dollars of venture capital are pouring into fintech firms, especially those seeking to disrupt the payment and lending activities of banks and credit unions.
This is spurring banks, as well as many acquiring organizations, to become more nimble. Innovation has always been a hallmark of the payments industry, but it is even more imperative now, with well-funded disruptors diving into our realm. This issue's lead article delves into the effects of disruptors' activities. For many payment professionals, this encroachment represents an opportunity, as well as a challenge. Staying abreast of technology and finding comprehensive solutions are essential to capturing and keeping market share.
You'll always find articles in the Education section that address ways to adapt to our changing industry. This year's Street SmartsSM theme, for example, is dedicated to how MLSs can regroup and rebrand to thrive in the current environment. Also in that section, industry experts share insights on the qualities of honest processors (who really do exist); the promise of marijuana-related businesses and why it's important to observe developments in this market; and how to determine whether automatic electronic loan payments are right for your customers.
Other features cover how the battle for wallet share, traditionally fought among card brands' plastic cards, is shifting toward virtual wallet options; news that despite flat-fee pricing models now popular among certain merchant verticals, the need for traditional merchant accounts remains strong; and how the industry will benefit more by harnessing MLS power.
The news section features stories on Version 3.2 of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which takes effect Oct. 31, 2016; regulatory moves inside and outside of the United States that are of concern to fintech firms; initiatives designed to accelerate EMV transaction speed; federal plans to draw the financially underserved into the mainstream; and briefs on a host of payment company milestones, readers' professional triumphs; industry research, and more.
Also check out the new products and profiles in this issue, along with words of wisdom and advice to foster your success. We'd love to learn what you appreciate about our publication and what you'd like to see us do better. Contact us at email@example.com. And remember, we will welcome your press releases at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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