The ETA 2013 Annual Meeting & Expo 2013 offered participants the opportunity to attend the Investment Forum – a one-day conference held prior to the main ETA exhibition. The forum aimed to bring together investors and companies able to share their cross-border ecommerce knowledge and experience in the payments landscape, to show entrepreneurship and to drive innovative discussions in this area. The panels included in the one-day forum tackled topics such as disruptive technologies and trends, international ecommerce opportunities, and international payment processing.


Our interest was in getting a better understanding of the international opportunities and cross-border ecommerce discussion. SumUp, PAY.ON, RS2, and Smorenberg Consultancy were invited on stage to share their opinions and knowledge, together with the moderator Michael Burtscher, VP Business Development Payvision.


Key questions such as “Which are the right partners to work with, for which merchants, in which country?”, “Is it more important to have a good conversion rate than to have a good pricing?”, “How global are the acquirers?”, “How can one single payment service provider take you internationally?”, were raised and debated, creating interesting and hugely inspiring discussions around the cross-border ecommerce hot topic.


One of the main takeaways was that as soon as a company wants to expand outside the Europe, it needs to have an acquirer in each market, and even if it can find one or two acquirers with a presence in multiple markets, they will certainly not have a BIN sponsorship in every single country, nor the ability to obtain regulatory approval for every single market. So partnering with one strong payment service provider that can help you expand globally, but which can still adapt locally, seemed to be one of the best solutions to overcoming all the legal, social and cultural differences. Expanding globally is thus actually a country by country approach, as it is very difficult to harmonize the entire payment ecosystem across the globe.


When it comes to the challenges a company expanding globally might face, the speakers referred to the card organizations’ willingness to allow new players in some markets, whilst fiercely protecting other local markets. So the issuers’ behavior and mentality is a key factor to take into account when entering new markets. Another challenge is the regulatory framework, a strategic element where payment processors have pain points in the absence of proper enforcement regulation; more self-regulation became an item for the Christmas wish list of the speakers. And for Europe, the new regulatory framework governing opening up full access to the bank account was predicted to have an enormous impact in addressing and boosting innovation.