Elavon participated in the EMEA Virtual Symposium hosted by Women in Payments, a global association dedicated to connecting, inspiring and championing women across the industry.
The EMEA Virtual Symposium is a unique event and awards programme that provides perspectives from female leaders, supports diversity and gender parity, and discusses topics across all aspects of the payment industry’s ecosystem.
Elavon’s five award finalists included:
- Akita Somani, Chief of Staff to the President, Elavon Europe, Diversity Champion for Europe at U.S. Bank, is an Advocate for Women award finalist.
- Rajeena Brar, Senior European Market Intelligence & Insights Manager, Elavon Europe, is a Women in Payments Rising Star award finalist.
- Ciara O’Farrell, Head of Direct Sales, Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), Elavon Europe, is an Inspiration Award finalist.
- Candice Pressinger, Director of Customer Data Security, Elavon Europe, is an Innovation Award finalist.
- Maura McGrath, Head of Payment Services Operations Controls and Compliance, U.S. Bank and Elavon, is a Distinguished Professional Award finalist.
Insights on payments industry trends
Candice spoke about the Second Payments Services Directive (PSD2) and Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) which went into effect on 31 December 2020 and what that meant for merchants, issuers, acquirers and gateways as they prepared for changes happening in Europe country-by-country.
She added: “Sometimes new security requirements, whilst vital, can increase friction in payments in the short term. Merchants can take proactive steps to prevent declines, starting with the correct implementation of the 3D secure protocol (3DS). Also, there are ‘exceptions’ to SCA, including Transaction Risk Analysis (TRA) services, which prevent fraud and are valid exemptions to PSD2 authentication. Elavon’s TRA pilots with major merchants have shown that this service is secure, provides well-above-average approval rates and frictionless payments for consumers.”
Candice broadly reflected: “PSD2 helps reduce fraud and create a more secure payments ecosystem, especially for Card-Not-Present transactions which we’ve seen grow as part of eCommerce over the past decade, and most acutely, during the pandemic. PSD2 opens the playing field to new developments using artificial intelligence and innovative applications: biometrics for security, open banking, direct payments that will reshape our industry in the future.”
Anna Kulagowska, Chief of Staff to Head of Operations, Elavon Europe and Site Head of Elavon’s Madrid office, moderated an insightful discussion on how the role of leaders has changed as a result of the volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous (VUCA) world. The session looked at lessons each panellist had learnt over the last year and the steps they have taken to adapt and lead through these challenging times. Anna focused the session on four key areas: to build trust, over/communicate, collaborate showing empathy and create safe spaces for employees.
Anna Oleksiak, Head of Hospitality & Emerging Segments Poland, Germany and Northern Europe, was featured in a session on building a culture of innovation and bringing end-to-end value to the customer during the pandemic. Anna spoke about her experiences working with customers:
“It’s been a very tough year for the hospitality industry, but importantly consumer demand remains, and we’ve seen the sector return to growth after the restrictions were lifted. As people revisit restaurants and hotels, there is an opportunity to optimise payments and operations. There are very clever solutions to integrate Electronic Point of Sale terminals (ePOS) with Enterprise Resource Platform (ERP) supply chain/procurement systems and HR software.”
She added: “We’re also working with the parking and fuel sector, which is changing as smart cities emerge. Paying for parking using apps, contactless payments kiosks on roads and charging stations for electric vehicles are all part of a new infrastructure to support traffic flow and reducing idling engines and carbon emissions.”
Elavon is a gold-level sponsor of Women in Payments and will be working with the association throughout the year. It aims to provide opportunities for female professionals and help them network and develop skills, and share advice and insights with industry peers.