What does your company do and what is your USP?
ACI Worldwide provides electronic banking and payment solutions around the world. We connect merchants with more payment capabilities than any other provider, numbering nearly 400 global acquiring and alternative methods.
Behind the software is our global network of payment professionals and the market intelligence that we have as a result of our more than 40 years of industry experience. We really do see ourselves as the leader in payment connections when it comes to delivering choice for merchants that we work with.
What is your company vision?
Our vision is to enable real-time “any to any” payments, regardless of time, location or type of payment. Consumers and businesses continue to push the requirements to transact wherever they want in a frictionless way, whether on mobile, at a kiosk, online or soon on the IoT. The immediacy of anytime-anywhere commerce is pushing merchants, banks and anyone that serves them to think about how they will go to market with their channel approach. It is about leveraging technology to meet those critical requirements from their customers.
What type of company do you work with?
We serve anyone who moves money and transacts on a daily basis, powering around $14 trillion in transactions each day. This includes 18 of the 180 top banks worldwide, 300 leading global retailers as well as merchants and intermediaries. 3500 organisations use our bill payments solution and over 1500 institutions are protected by our fraud prevention solutions.
For retailers, we have two models – we focus on the first one where we sell directly to large omni-channel retailers or other merchants who may sell either domestically or globally. We also have a sizeable indirect model working with service providers selling to mid-tier merchants and retailers.
One client is Aegean Airlines, whom we are providing with the ability to monitor and track real-time fraudulent activities but also a frictionless experience so that a good paying customer doesn’t get caught up in fraud controls.
How would you characterise your growth to date and what has driven it?
A lot of it is driven from our platform business, which is where all of our fraud and gateway customers sit. Retailers don’t want to be in the payments business, they want to focus on what they do best: selling goods and services. Payments can be very complex and come with lots of requirements like PCI. By outsourcing the payments function to a company like ACI, they minimise the PCI compliance burden on themselves. We still have many customers who have an on-premise version of our UP Merchant Payments solution, but more and more are moving into a cloud-based platform environment.
More and more merchants are looking at cross-border and global expansion opportunities. Those who want to sell in new areas but don’t have the local or regional knowledge can work with us to work out how they can get themselves to get ready to accept preferred payment options in those various geographies.
How do you help retailers meet the demands of peak?
A lot of the focus is around fraud. We have globally dispersed risk teams that work with each merchant client on fraud strategies throughout the year. With the peak season fraudsters like to take advantage of heightened consumer activity and blend in with good transactions. They may be trying to test the limit of retailers who are trying to sell as much as they can during this time. Gearing up for peak is an important part of our risk team’s focus.
Last year, total transactions during holiday season increased by 19 percent but fraud attempts between Thanksgiving and December increased by 22 percent. Despite the sales lift, 1 in 85 transactions were fraud attempts.
What are the main challenges facing the retail sector and how are you addressing these?
Digital and physical are continuing to entwine and blur. The blending of these channels will drive a lot of need for consolidated intelligence around activity of consumers, which is still very siloed.
We are bringing together intelligence with a consolidated view and reporting. Retailers can make use of all of the information running through payments activities and marry it with other data to put together packages that are best for the consumer.
What are your targets over the next five years?
We are continuing to push on real time any-to-any movement. We are really entrenched in what is happening with faster payment schemes around the world. The banks and central infrastructures are already moving, but the merchants aren’t far behind in trying to figure out how to take advantage of this.
We did a survey earlier this year with Ovum, which showed merchants continue to look for ways to reduce cost and see the idea of real time payments as a way to try to take advantage of that.
It also found they expect to see a decrease in use of cards over time as more and more real-time payment opportunities come to fruition.
GIVE US YOUR ONE SENTENCE ELEVATOR PITCH.
ACI makes fast, simple and secure payments possible around the world.
CASE STUDY – REDUCING RISK AND SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL SALES AT AEGEAN AIRLINES
Narrow profit margins are commonplace in the travel and airline industries, making the swift and secure processing of customer payments a high priority. The complex multi-channel, international nature of the travel market also makes it a key target for fraudsters, and airlines frequently experience some of the highest fraud to turnover ratios of any industry.
Aegean Airlines, the largest carrier in Greece and a Star Alliance member, connects Greece with 87 international destinations in 32 countries, as well as flying to 33 domestic airports. In 2014, the company planned to operate approximately 100,000 flights and to offer more than 13 million seats, including 6.6 million seats to 33 domestic destinations and 6.4 million seats to 87 international destinations. During the year, Aegean Airlines extended its reach to make 205 international routes and 51 domestic routes available, from eight Greek Aegean bases.
With the increase in international passengers, however, came a corresponding increase in fraudulent transactions received by Aegean Airlines. The airline quickly realized they needed an expert partner to help them reduce their risks and support genuine sales.
Aegean Airlines was experiencing fraud issues across a number of channels. Chief among these was the online channel, but fraud was also evident in call center transactions.
Bookings being made less than a week before departure were one of the biggest problem areas, accounting for 81% of fraud. Many of these transactions were being conducted using U.S. cards. The card schemes intervened, introducing the possibility that the airline’s U.S. sales channel would be shut down, due to unacceptably high fraud rates. With 50% of Aegean Airlines’ transactions coming from international cards, this presented a huge threat to the company’s profitability and growth prospects.
After an extensive selection process, Aegean Airlines identified ACI Worldwide, with its sector-specific fraud solutions and global expertise, as the right partner to help the company address these challenges.
Prior to engaging ACI, Aegean Airlines’ fraud screening was reliant on manual processes — nothing was automated. ACI’s expert risk analysts worked closely with the airline’s own team to review the existing rules, also making an historical analysis of six months of transaction data to form a comprehensive view of customer behavior profiles, trends and the effectiveness of the existing fraud prevention approach. Based on their knowledge of the industry and broader fraud trends, the ACI team was able to recommend the addition of several new data fields to enhance Aegean’s fraud strategies.
With the information gathered through the review process, ACI worked with Aegean to implement a highly customized version of the ACI ReD Shield® online fraud prevention solution, with built-in case management functionality and a bespoke reporting module — giving Aegean Airlines the ability to view key transaction trends quickly and easily, and obtain other valuable information that would help to implement timely and effective rule changes where needed. Core to the new strategy was a focus on critical issues, for instance, consistently prioritizing short-notice bookings in the fraud screening process.
To ensure a smooth transition into production, ACI’s experts stayed on site at Aegean over the course of the launch, providing go-live analysis and making minor adjustments to ensure the solution was fully optimized and working efficiently.
The first year of the collaboration between Aegean Airlines and ACI delivered a range of demonstrable benefits including:
- An average 97% of all confirmed fraud was denied by the rules, saving the airline €3 million
- Manual review rates reduced from 12% to less than 5%
- Chargeback rates are now less than 0.1% on average
The cost savings and efficiencies achieved since the implementation of ReD Shield have also enabled Aegean Airlines to extend the solution to cover call center transactions without any additional resource requirements to support fraud screening.
With its acquisition of Olympic Air, Aegean Airlines is now building on its earlier growth and success, secure in the knowledge that the fraud strategy supports the company’s business objectives and, with the help of ACI, is easily reconfigured to address any changes in the customer base or transaction trends.
ACI Worldwide IN BRIEF
Date launched: 1975
Global reach: Headquarters in US, UK and Singapore, offices across 31 countries
Turnover: $1.024 Billion
Number of customers: 5100+
Number of employees: 4100+
This Company Spotlight was produced by InternetRetailing and sponsored by ACI Worldwide. Funding articles in this way allows us to explore topics and present relevant services and information that we believe our readers will find of interest.