First Data

There are seemingly endless applications for First Data to leverage “big data.” In fact, First Data is big data. Their business is to gather and manage information, specifically payment information. However, there are security concerns regarding most of these transactions. In spite of the sensitivity of payment information, there very well may be an additional opportunity to provide merchants with invaluable demographic and psychographic information about their customers gathered from data stored on customer’s smart phones. First Data’s promise to offer merchants an easy and secure way to receive payments from tech-savvy customers could be expanded into helping businesses better understand their customers. Developing a specific and practical strategy for First Data to implement may be difficult to dial in, but this company is well positioned to take the next step in leveraging big data.

Right now, First Data is pushing a concept called uCommerce, or “universal commerce.” This is an area where I could see the New Media Institute getting involved. uCommerce is a fast-payment method using a connected device like a smart phone, blurring the lines between in-store commerce, eCommerce, and mobile commerce. Part of this strategy includes Google Wallet. Google Wallet is a new payment system using near-field communication (NFC) on cellphones to pay for goods. Though this is a Google service, there is nothing indicating that First Data, or individual merchants, cannot also leverage Facebook’s Open Graph data when accepting a payment.

First Data has written extensive white papers on security and direct marketing through gifts cards, but nothing about social media or collecting/analyzing data from customers who use their uCommerce options.

Who is the constituency that the client wants to reach?

First Data has 5 primary types of services:

1. Selling point-of-sale (POS) uCommerce terminals to large and small merchants. 2. Providing payment solutions for businesses, meaning monitoring and securing in-house credit card transactions, bill pay, internet banking, etc. 3. Managing payments for government institutions and universities. 4. Issuing and monitoring fuel cards and payroll options for businesses that move goods via truck. 5. Providing customer payment options like automated bill-pay and call center support for businesses.

Who does the company want to show that it really gets?

Judging by their white papers, webinars, and promotional videos from the past two years, the most important issue to First Data is security. Security seems to be the number one issue they want to demonstrate that they understand, inside and out. Other recurring topics are the adoption rates of mobile payment options by consumers and pre-paid cards as an effective way to encourage spending.

What is it that the company wants out of the interaction?

Overall, First Data wants more businesses to adopt their services to manage payments. More specific aspects of this include,

  • encourage businesses to use pre-pay [gift] cards
  • demonstrate to small businesses that consumers are adopting mobile payments services like Google Wallet
  • demonstrate that managing payroll and purchasing is more efficient through online banking
  • show that customers are beginning to buy on credit once again, after a several year lull
  • convince businesses that uCommerce is safe from fraud

What does the constituency get?

First Data’s customer’s customers want an easy and safe way to pay for goods. Paying for goods via cell phone promises to be a time-saver and allows individuals to track their spending. Also, individuals will receive special offers and rewards. However, it appears that all these special offers will be administered on Google’s end or by individual merchants. This is an area where First Data can get more involved.