WSAA 2021: Defining the ‘New Normal’

Getting Back to Business

As we head into the final stretch of 2021, the Covenant Pay team is wrapping up a whirlwind of conferences, media appearances, and partnership discussions that culminated at the Western States Acquirers Association (WSAA) 2021 show at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.

Since it’s 2021, our team scattered back across the country in a remote work diaspora and only recently had a chance to get everyone together to discuss the show: who we met, what we liked, and what we learned.

The Future of Payments

Quote from Quincy McKnight - 'Convenience is the new currency'

Covenant Pay CEO Quincy McKnight offered his thoughts on defining the ‘new normal’ through the lens of what we’ve learned through 2020-2021; namely that the acceleration of consumer-friendly trends towards convenience and the rise of amorphously defined ‘integrated payments’ solutions.

McKnight says that merchants and payments industry firms both must realize that “change is here,” and it’s necessary to “have an open mind,” because “investments in new technologies will be necessary” to meet people and payments in all the ways and places they want to conduct business. “Convenience is the new currency,” he says.

“Everyone is New to This Industry”

Covenant Pay President and COO Daniel Percey reflected on the relative whirlwind of 2021 following his introduction to the industry during the height of the initial wave of the pandemic in 2020.

Saying that the year has been “an opportunity to learn, create new relationships, and understand how best to serve our clients,” Percey admits that when “[Quincy] invited me to join him…I did not yet fully appreciate the opportunity ahead for us to innovate and disrupt this industry.”

Entering an industry that has often been maligned as opaque and where the status quo is designed to benefit various established entities who thrive on merchants’ ignorance, Percey stresses the importance of Covenant Pay’s values: visibility, control, and efficiency. 

In a newly competitive world filled with fintechs and furiously pivoting financial services companies, Percey says that in the ‘new normal’, “there’s no longer a simple way to sell on rate, [just] one way for a merchant to accept payments, or believe only offering processing will keep a merchant in your portfolio.” In closing, he offers that the payments industry “must embrace a customer success mindset…and find the right integrated offering,” and that the “answer lies in the triangulation of your organization, the merchant, and the consumer.” In closing, he realized that with the way things are changing “everyone is new to this industry.”

Growth and Development

Grow Your Payment Business with Covenant Pay

With his role focused on partnerships and agent development, Covenant Pay’s JaBré Scott came to WSAA 2021 to meet ISOs and independent agents and find out more about what they have learned in the past 18 months and how their businesses have had to change as a result.

According to Scott, the short version is “growth through acquisition is the dominant [topic]” on everyone’s mind. Big purchases or rumors of them have the industry clamoring to buy or be bought, but he says there’s an undercurrent of sentiment focused on “getting back to basics”, and building “relationships with people who share your mission, vision, and values.”

To parrot Percey’s earlier point, Scott says “you can’t assume that deals ‘won’ will stay that way for long unless you maintain a personal relationship with your merchants,” and that as agents and ISOs realize they aren’t getting any reciprocal improvements in the service they receive as they make investments to deliver better service to their merchants, many of them are beginning to ask why.

Scott says that’s why Covenant Pay has invested in software and process improvements “not only for our merchants, but also for our partners.” He points out “weekly meetings between sales and marketing to align content development with the questions and objections salespeople hear in the field, a completely online application and merchant onboarding process with automated updates throughout, and a steady stream of pre-qualified leads tailored to you and your team,” is not just good service, it is good for business, because “the easier it is for you to win and keep new revenue, the easier it is for [Covenant Pay] to keep investing in our partners.”

Mutual growth and success is “just how we believe business should be done,” he finishes.

Putting it All Together

So, what does any of this have to do with WSAA 2021 at the Omni Ft. Worth? Well, the entire team agreed that the progression of discussions at the various Acquirers Association and Electronic Transaction Association (ETA) events we attended this year (WSAA, SEAA, MWAA, NEAA) indicates that most people in the payments industry are aware that we’re experiencing a sea change in how the business of doing business is conducted.

As consumers demand more choice, more convenience, and more control, so are merchants. New payment methods, new currencies, and innovations in products and services are driving a revolution in not only the payments industry, but in ALL industries. Events like WSAA 2021 serve to highlight the stark differences between how business was, is, and will be conducted in the future. If nothing else, the year has revealed Covenant Pay’s mission to improve visibility, give back control, and increase efficiency isn’t just about our merchants’ payments; it’s just good business, no matter who, what, when, where, or how. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Covenant Pay’s mission, or how to partner with us to deliver a better customer experience for your merchants and their customers, sign up on the form below, or drop us an email to [email protected].

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