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Looking Back at PF World 2018

A few weeks ago, members of the Wind River Financial software partner team attended PF World 2018 in New York City. This one-day session brought together top thought leaders in payments and software to discuss payment facilitation, one of the hottest topics in the industry. Payment facilitation refers to an emerging payment integration model available to software platforms and payment companies alike.

Being a payment facilitator (pay fac) offers new options for processing companies like Wind River (as well as software platforms) that enable their customers to accept payments within their platform. While it is a complex model, being a pay fac can be summarized as a large step away from the “traditional” or legacy payment industry approach.

Among other advantages, it also provides an opportunity to improve the on-boarding of new clients and help with disbursement of processed payments. As a pay fac, you are operating as a your own mini-payments company.

There were a lot of great ideas shared at PFWorld 2018, but here are a few of our key takeaways.

  • The pay fac model is in its early stages. The majority of attendees agreed that it is only in the third inning (or just the first third of its lifecycle).
  • The growth that will happen over the next three years is significant. Experts predict that by the year 2021, total payment facilitation volume of new entrants will exceed $580 billion annually.
  • That growth is driving higher valuations for SaaS companies that have decided to solution payments within their UX. Many private equity and venture capital funds were in attendance declaring their attraction to the convergence between software and payments companies.
  • The card brands are supporting pay fac wholeheartedly. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover were in attendance and were extremely supportive of the initiative.
  • Many software companies are struggling to manage the various payment integrations they have built over time. Some are turning to development of a service layer that acts as an intermediary between their platform and the various payment engines that their customers utilize.
  • Payment facilitation is a stronger fit in vertical solutions and is ultimately use-case driven. Simply put, it’s not for every software company, and there are several factors that go into “whether to pay fac or not.” We’ll be going into deeper dives on this very topic soon. Stay tuned!

Software companies and payment processors need to evaluate the business case of being a payment facilitator. Becoming a pay fac comes with many benefits, but it can bring unintended consequences as well. Software companies that are new to payments should be cautious as payments bring many risk and compliance challenges that have been underestimated.

Are you a software platform trying to make sense of payment facilitation? Or more broadly, are you confused by the options for software companies when it comes to payments? You’re not alone. We’d love to help you start to make sense of the payment ecosystem and better understand the options in front of you. Contact us today, and we can help you get started.

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