Practice Areas

Payments are an ever-evolving technology. What started with bartering (grain for livestock) evolved to trinkets, coins, paper and, more recently, electronic exchanges of value, over the past several thousand years. There is no reason to think this evolution has stopped, therefore organizations who participate in the payments space must have a well-developed strategy to ensure they stay relevant and adaptable to be a part of whatever comes next. At McGovern Smith Advisors, we understand the need for a comprehensive and adaptable payments business strategy from both a payee and payor perspective. Let our experienced partners help your company develop or refine a payments strategy designed to ensure that your goals and objectives are achieved.

Debit cards. Credit cards. Commercial cards. Prepaid cards. It’s hard to imagine a world without them, yet all these payment options developed within the past 70 years. The complexity of providing your customers with compelling payment card options while managing the technical and back office support required for delivering these globally accepted offerings can be daunting and challenging. Build or buy the needed technology? Staff or outsource key support functions such as customer service or collections? Which payment network(s) to use? McGovern Smith can help you with all these questions and more. Our experienced partners have managed debit, credit, prepaid and commercial card issuing and acquiring businesses, so they have the knowledge and technical expertise to help you get the most out of your payment card business, regardless of what products you currently offer – or plan to offer in the future!

In todays payments world the acquiring business touches a wide range of players in asset exchange. Banks, non-banks, processors, traditional and non-traditional networks, technology companies, and investors all have a role in business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer and business-to-business transactions. McGovern Smith provides assistance in a comprehensive fashion. We support strategy development, financial reviews, buy and sell services, due diligence, processor evaluations, and new alternative payment integration. Our experience as advisors and as operators offers a unique perspective in the payment acquiring business.

In payments, the pace of change is fast. Those that do not anticipate change and actively prepare to keep up will go the way of the Pony Express upon completion of the trans-continental telegraph – that is, rendered obsolete overnight! As the Canadian speculative fiction writer William Gibson commented in 1999, “the future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed.” Digital identity, blockchain, the internet of things, chatbots, tokenization, near-field communications and a host of other technologies are all around us and being deployed within the payments space by new and innovative competitors. How do you keep up, anticipate and prepare for an uncertain future? Let the professionals at McGovern Smith Advisors help. Several of our partners participate with organizations and forums that are at the forefront of the coming changes in the payments space, learning first-hand how things like the Faster Payments Initiative and mobile payment technologies are likely to alter the future of the payments industry. Let them bring their expertise to your organization and help you to envision and plan for the payments business of the future.

To paraphrase Mark Twain upon reading his obituary in the newspaper – “reports of the death of retail cards have been greatly exaggerated.” Organizations from traditional brick and mortar sellers of goods and services like Macy’s to online exchanges such as Amazon are enjoying great success with both private label as well as co-branded credit card offerings. Their business model allows them to offer products and promotions that are difficult for traditional payment card issuers to match. Integrating their payment card offerings with their websites for easy “one click” checkout provides them with a powerful tool for motivating consumers to take and use their cards over others they may have in their wallet, including ones issued by your company. At McGovern Smith, we understand the retail card space and can help your organization manage and grow its retail card/co-brand portfolio or compete effectively against such offerings if your institution does not issue such cards. We have the experience and knowledge to help you devise either an offensive or defensive retail card strategy that can help you to achieve your overall payment business growth and profit objectives.

McGovern Smith’s Commercial Payments practice addresses the shifting corporate payments landscape and takes into account the dynamic change in buyer-supplier relationships. We focus on three client types. We provide a variety of services to issuers including, strategic positioning, business casing, sourcing, partnership development, and technology implementation support. We support technology providers in the commercial payments space, including established players such as processors and card management technology providers as well as new fintech entrants. Finally, we support large corporate buyers and suppliers looking to technology to solve accounts payable and accounts receivable issues. Our commercial payments team is knowledgeable, nimble, and experienced.

In today’s payments industry landscape partnerships go beyond co-branded credit card issuance. The rapid pace of change and continual introduction of new technologies almost mandates that participants be skilled at partnering with other organizations if they are going to remain competitive and keep up! Build or buy, insource or outsource – these challenges are present across the wide spectrum of the functions a payment industry participant must address. From product development to transaction processing to customer servicing to integration into emerging technologies, organizations are faced with challenging decisions as to how to provide the products and services their customers demand. At McGovern Smith, we have helped dozens of clients devise solutions to these challenges via the identification, negotiation and contracting of partnership arrangements with numerous companies across a wide range of payment provider needs from processor/servicers to mobile application developers to payment networks such as Visa and MasterCard. Let us help you devise and enter into mutually beneficial partnerships designed to help you manage and grow your payments business successfully.