TNS EVP: 2016 is the year European players go global (Interview)

Lisa Shipley of TNSIn this interview Lisa Shipley, executive vice president at Transaction Network Services (TNS), tells PaymentEye about entering new verticals and which 2016 trends are exciting her most. 

For those who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a bit about TNS?

TNS is over 20 years old, and we’re a global provider of data communications. It sounds complex, but it’s a global hub connecting companies within the payments industry to each other. For instance, if you’re an acquirer in the States and you have a merchant doing business in Hong Kong we’re going to provide that physical connection and get that transaction back to your host securely. If there are network issues we respond.

A lot of people think of us as a dial company, but it goes so much further than that — for instance, TNSLink is a router if you will. Think about how an off-premise ATM needs to communicate; we would provide those routers and SIMs, and the secure PCI DSS network.

How is TNS looking to evolve this year? Are there any verticals or geographies you’re actively looking to enter or expand in?

One of the things that we’re really excited about this year is taking the solution that enables us to look after 50 per cent of the off-premise ATMs in some countries — Australia, for example — and expand it into new verticals. We’re looking to get into vending, parking, kiosk — because, frankly, there’s nothing new that we need to recreate and these customers are still looking at ways to manage these large deployments and standalone devices.

What advice would you give to players looking to expand into new territories and verticals?

We’ve been in business more than 25 years, and now operate in more than 60 countries; in the past you had to have the in-country infrastructure to expand into a new market. What we’re allowing our customers to do is ride our rails, if you will, and do that business in not just new countries, but also new verticals.

If you think about the environment — and I’ll use the United States as an example — it’s very difficult to get into the payments market if you’re a new player. It’s a very long implementation: one acquirer at a time, one customer at a time. With TNS you can physically connect to us and then we’ll provide all of that back-end connectivity. We call it TNSConnect2All.

What 2016 trends are you excited about now?

The thing that I’m most excited about is that our customers want to go global. I think this is really important for the European market. I’ll use Italy as an example — some of our customers there have been tied to Italy only, and even though they’ve got all of these countries so close together, they’re not allowing their merchants to expand across those borders.

For the last year what I’ve heard from the key players in the European market is that they need that cross-border connectivity. They need to link to each other and allow their global merchants to expand into those regions. It will be a really interesting dynamic in 2016 to see which companies really come out of the gate with their intentions to go global — I don’t think they realised the ease of how they could do that.

What should providers be on the lookout for this year?

One thing I would mention is Managed POS Encryption. For years it’s been a home grown product in the States, and there was a mentality that it wasn’t necessary in countries outside of the US. If you think of some of the breaches that have occurred, it was data at rest that was breached. A migration to EMV doesn’t solve that — you still need encryption services.

If you think about the parties that do that, you have acquirers that have branded their own encryption services and hardware manufacturers that have done the same. At TNS we can can actually support all of those, or a generic, and allow customers to come into us directly without handcuffing themselves to a specific acquirer or terminal vendor.

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