This is a guest blog post from Rodney Bowen-Wright, Chief Business Development Officer, FreedomPay

It has been an exciting event so far here at Sibos 2013. There has been so much talk about mobile payments and how banks are going to move into the brave new world of technology enabled product offerings. But I’m happy to report that the conversation is evolving past mobile payments as just a point solution. Banks are beginning to understand that investing in short term solutions that get them a cool new feature for their customers isn’t really enough. FreedomPay in collaboration with Microsoft really studied the trends and we strongly believe a platform approach is what is needed. The FreedomPay Commerce Platform provides a comprehensive range of services and is a critical enabler of payments innovation for Financial Institutions and Retailers. The platform includes mobile payments, digital wallet and incentive technologies that integrate with live point of sale (POS) systems for real-time interactivity, a state-of-the-art payments gateway that transports exceedingly detailed transaction data, and banking-grade security tools. When combined and integrated to existing systems, this platform enables retail merchants to improve sales and drive customer loyalty. When utilized by a bank – this translates to a highly innovative extension of banking and payments products.

The challenge is moving from a prototype of a slick app in a lab, to a real life operational payments tool. FreedomPay’s module platform has a proven implementation process to help guide banks through a complicated web of components including security and identity management, point of sale integration, online and mobile channel integration, new products and incentives, and more.

The other piece of the puzzle that I’m seeing people pick up on here at Sibos is that a payments app isn’t enough. Consumers want to get more benefit from the app than just another way to pay. This is where the power of targeted offers and loyalty programs comes into play. If a bank can generate offers to influence when and where people shop by offering incentives, they add value to the customer relationship.

Here again there are many ways to implement offers. They could be implemented in a card-linked program where the offer is applied after the fact, where you would receive a credit on your next bank statement. The incentive could be applied to the transaction as a whole so you would receive a dollar amount or discount off the total bill, where you would get 20% off your total check. Or, in the best case scenario, as is the case with the FreedomPay Commerce Platform, customers receive discounts in real time at the point of sale on the specific line items that they purchased. This allows offers to be incredibly relevant to the consumer and allows the offer to steer customer behavior for the benefit of the merchant and bank.

But for those who have already invested in home grown or proprietary offers solutions and want to continue to leverage those investments, the FreedomPay Commerce Platform has been designed with modular components to plug into and extend existing infrastructures. Banks need the flexibility and consistency of a robust platform to deal with an ever changing landscape of devices and end points from mobile phones and tablets, to gaming consoles in addition to an equally shifting landscape of payment instruments like NFC, QR Codes and similar contactless payment technologies.

With the FreedomPay Commerce Platform, banks and retailers can "launch" promotions instantly and track success in real-time, fuelling offers that are successful and ending or tweaking those that are not. It also creates a way to issue short-lived promotions when business is slow. For example restaurants with open tables at 7pm can offer incentives to those within a five mile radius, ending once the tables are full. A customer segment that this would provide considerable value to is a bank’s small and medium sized business customers. Banks continually seek to add value to their small business customers. With the ability to offer a white-labeled incentives and loyalty program, banks are driving new and repeat business through their customers’ doors.

It’s exciting to watch the industry evolve right in front of my eyes at this event. It is so much fun to demonstrate our platform with the use of Windows Azure and Windows Phone to key industry influencers and watch them see how this could truly change their business for the better. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop by and see us in the Microsoft stand D108. If you don’t get a chance to stop by and see us, please email us at commerce@freedompay.com.