In the second of a two-part series on partnerships in payments , Payments Cards & Mobile (PCM) caught up with Jonathon Gould, Regional Managing Director, Global Acceptance, Asia Pacific at Discover Global Network, to discuss the company’s approach to partnering with banks, FinTechs and other organisations around the world.
PCM: Given the history of your company’s growth, there’s no doubting the importance of partnerships to the organisation. Can you tell me about Discover’s approach to partnerships?
Jonathon Gould [JG]: Our approach is all about enabling growth for mutual benefit. When it comes to payments, the factors that matter most are trust and security. As the payments market grows, people may be attracted to alternatives, but trusted methods and brands usually prevail.
After trust and security comes know-how, whether that’s in technology or regulation – people want to know their partners excel in these fields.
Finally, a successful partnership must enable growth, whether that’s a fintech expanding its business beyond the initial concept, or a domestic payment scheme looking to grow internationally.
That focus on the future is an important element of success – being able to deliver not just in the short-term, but longer-term as well. And that takes flexibility.
PCM: Viewed from outside, what are the key advantages to partnering with Discover?
JG: I would characterise our advantages as being the reach of our network, our technical and regulatory knowledge and the flexibility I mentioned earlier.
Relationships matter if you’re a growth company, and Discover has outstanding relationships with banks, financial institutions and FinTechs worldwide. When it comes to know-how, our USP is that we can save our partners time and money, since they don’t need to invest in the global relationships we already hold.
And our payments network is secure, trustworthy and compliant with international and local regulations – these are all vital factors.
PCM: How have you applied this philosophy to developing acceptance networks, to take one example?
JG: Building a great global acceptance network in partnership with leading domestic schemes is a speciality for us, and it’s one of the reasons why we’re now the world’s fastest-growing payment system.
Take our relationship with Elo, the largest Brazilian payment network. In response to growing requests from its domestic customer base, which was seeking a card with global acceptance, the company teamed up with Discover back in 2016.
Now, with our partnership deal, they’re accepted at more than 50 million locations across more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. We’ve been able to do similar deals with more than 20 payments networks, including BC Card in South Korea and the Turkish card scheme, Troy.
PCM: What kinds of challenges present themselves in these partnerships?
JG: There are several, not least is the fact that there’s typically no common technology structure between different countries – so from that perspective, things are accomplished on a market-to-market basis.
The fact that we operate open APIs [application programming interfaces] securely makes things easier – as does the fact that we can adapt all our solutions for the needs of specific markets, including our D-PAS solution for contactless payments and our ProtectBuy® product for internet commerce.
As more and more FinTechs spring up and domestic networks seek to connect with the wider world, you’ll continue to see Discover at the forefront of payments partnerships globally.
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