Last night, Thursday 20th October 2016, I represented Edgar, Dunn & Company (EDC) at the 4th Annual Payments Awards.  The event was held at the London Marriott in Grosvenor Square and I was a guest of Equiniti, the international payment service provider.  By the way, the new Equiniti international payments team has a Multi-Currency Pricing (MCP) solution that goes one step further from a conventional multi-currency solution.  They told me that it was worth looking at this if you are reviewing your MCP solution.  Personally, I thought the Malbec was worth tasting, and I’ll check out the MCP later.

The awards were hosted by Richard Herring, the standup comedian, which certainly made the evening much more agreeable and entertaining.  These award evenings can drag on a bit too long but getting through 20 different awards could have been tedious but on the contradictory, it flew by within a couple of hours.  This allowed for valuable networking time and catching up with people that I hadn’t seen for a while in the payments industry.  I know this is nothing like the Oscars but it is the equivalent in the world of payments.

The full list of the winners can be found on the link below but some of the highlights for me were; best online payments solution (merchant), the winner was ACI Worldwide.  This is an extraordinary announcement considering that not long ago people would have associated ACI with boring back-office banking systems.  This is certainly an indication that ACI is cultivating itself to be a full solution provider for all aspects of the payments value chain, from payment network, to bank, to processor, and to merchant.  The best contactless payments project was the Rugby Football Union.  Best anti-fraud/security solution of the year, the winner was Kount – I understand this is the fourth time Kount have won this category and the event is only in its fourth year!  Kount must be doing something right in the specialist area of fraud prevention.  For the payments startup of the year, the winner was Optimus Cards Group, a debit and prepaid card issuer, certainly one to watch in prepaid.  Best technology provider of the year was Verifone.  Well done to Verifone, a leading POS manufacturer and solution provider.

The best merchant acquirer/processor was announced as Paysafe Group.  Great news for the Joel Leonoff, the CEO, and his team.  The clearing/settlement initiative of the year the winner was VocaLink.  The odds of winning this particular category were certainly better for VocaLink as there were only two nominees.  Perhaps next year the winners will be MasterCard-VocaLink. Watch this space.  The Financial Services Institution of the year was Raphaels Bank – could this be the tipping point for Raphaels in 2017?

Two other categories which I always find interesting is the marketing campaign of the year and engagement & loyalty scheme of the year.  These were won by FromMe2You gift card issued by Wirecard Card Solutions – it was a well-desired award for this innovative marketing campaign.  Intriguingly, Vodafone won the engagement & loyalty scheme of the year category, with Welcome Realtime and Quidini missing out; better luck next year.

The best prepaid card solution was announced to be Payment Card Solutions (PCS) and Wirecard Card Solutions – this was a winning partnership on this particular evening.

Following the award presentations, the 250 to 300 guests gathered around the bar or their hang bags on the dance floor until the very small hours.  More entertainment was provided by the hosts, FStech and Retail Systems, in the form of gambling pretend money on roulette and Blackjack tables.  It was strange yet surreal to be attending the payments awards using pretend gambling chips making payments at a real roulette table.