MPE 2021 / 22-25 Feb 2021

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MPE 2014 summary

Brief information

The Merchant Payments Ecosystem 2014 was again an exciting event, with major companies forming the acceptance value chain on board either as delegates, speakers or sponsors. The MPE attracted over 520 participants, significantly raising the attendance bar from the previous year. Enhanced networking opportunities contributed to the overall satisfaction and helped to quench the thirst for b2b talks.

Event in numbers
  • Attendees: 541
  • Speakers: 92
  • Sponsors: 29
  • Exhibitors: 24


The Merchant Payments Ecosystem 2014 was again an exciting event, with major companies forming the acceptance value chain on board either as delegates, speakers or sponsors.

The MPE attracted over 520 participants, significantly raising the attendance bar from the previous year. Enhanced networking opportunities contributed to the overall satisfaction and helped to quench the thirst for b2b talks, representing a very important part of the meeting.

Merchant Academy, along with Hackathon, two newly-introduced features of the event, attracted both merchants and payment application developers and further educated and enriched the horizons of the payment industry professionals which where present. The hackathon also provided a perspective on the future of payments formed by application-based environment.

Please enjoy the overview of the 2014 event below. We are looking forward to seeing you in Berlin next year again!

The team of Empiria.

Chairmen summaries

Remarks on Conference Day 1 by Roger K Alexander, Non-Executive Director, Accourt

Roger joined Accourt in July 2008 as a non-executive Director. Most recently he was European President for Elavon Merchant Services and previously CEO of Switch Card Services following a distinguished career at Barclays. Roger provides support and counsel to the team at Accourt, a niche consultancy operating across the full spectrum of the Payments Value Chain, and also works with Clients on some Assignments specifically those of a strategic nature. Few leaders can match his knowledge and experience in the payment industry - combine this with his deep and genuine concern for nurturing and developing people and he makes a great addition to the team! He currently holds a number of other non-executive and advisory roles, including Caxton FX, Greenings International and The Logic Group in the UK as well as Pensio in Denmark; Roger also acts as an Advisor to the Private Equity sector where he is particularly active at present. Roger lives with his wife and family (and their dog) in Northamptonshire.


„It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Belin and the 7th Annual Conference for the Acquiring Industry organised by the Empiria Group. Originally the European Card Acquirers Forum (ECAF) when the first Conference took place in 2008, Empiria recognised the sea change in our industry and decided to change the name, and focus, of the Conference which took on a new title, Merchant Payments Ecosystem (MPE) in 2012. Participation has gown considerably during these last few years and from humble beginnings we have outgrown hotels in Brussels and Berlin and are now in our second year here at the InterContinental.

This industry, which I have been privileged to work in for 40 years, never ceases to amaze me. We just don’t stand still and this year will be no different. We really do live and work in an exciting and innovative industry which has morphed from basic acquiring into one where the focus is on the provision of ‘Merchant Services’. The historical value chain has expanded as a result of that innovation and we continue to see new players developing lines of business throughout that value chain. During the next 3 days you will have a unique opportunity to hear from many of these young entrepreneurial companies as well as the established ones who have survived and thrived despite this new competition. No doubt you will learn a lot and I am sure you will be better equipped when you return to your own organisations later in the week.

Our industry has also caught the eye of the Private Equity and Venture Capital businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. Over these past few years there have been scores of Transactions ranging from relatively small sums through to those in excess of €3bn. Indeed, there is a major Transaction imminent here in Europe which will again change the landscape considerably. The access to money (for investment) is another reason why we see the level of innovation and this has been highlighted in the entries for this year’s awards which will be presented on Wednesday evening. Specifically, the Emerging Payments category had 19 entries!

One other feature of this Conference that makes it stand out is the opportunity for networking. In addition to listening in the formal sessions do take every chance to network with colleagues and peers; this is another way of learning and sharing experiences. The cosmopolitan nature of this event makes it even more interesting and enriching. Enjoy the next few days and participate as much as possible.

Carpe Diem’


„Well I am sure that you will all agree that this year’s MPE vent in Berlin was, yet again, interesting, insightful and informative. Given the increased opportunities to network and talk with the Exhibitors I hope, like me, you all thought it to be a valuable experience. We had a great start on Day 1 with a variety of topics and excellent speakers. As always it is very difficult to pull out the highlights but let me try and summarise the key points, and learnings, from my own perspective.

I was impressed with the number of partnerships that became obvious during the proceedings. For many years we have all been faced with the ‘Build, Buy or Partner’ challenge; the protective instincts of many, particularly banks, has been to try and develop solutions internally and I believe that this is one of the main reasons that banks/acquirers have failed to keep pace with innovation in our industry over the past few years. The change is apparent now and the ‘not invented here’ syndrome is definitely over; pragmatism, and the need to be competitive, have led to all sorts of partnerships from straight JVs through commercial agreements to occasional M&A activity. This has to be the right way forward and I expect to see more such activity in 2014 and beyond.

We heard that International Acquiring is a myth and that flexibility and the need to react to local differences is essential. We also learnt from multiple retailers that there is a hunger for cross border acquiring to minimise their costs and to provide a more efficient and effective service. Given the thirst from our customers for that level of service it appears that the challenges to provide International Acquiring may be worth reviewing. However, I was intrigued to learn that the role of the domestic acquirer and indeed the specialist acquirer are still likely to exist during the coming years. This is really good news and allows us all to create and execute strategies commensurate with our own strengths – maybe it’s not just the large consolidators who will win the day!

The regulatory debate proved as interesting as usual. It is clear that we will see legislation imminently which will have a material effect on the way we price our services at the point of interaction. Whilst the direct impact of changes to interchange will be felt more specifically by Issuers we, as acquirers, retain the relationship with our retailer customers and thus the challenge to pass on those charges in an appropriate fashion to the mutual benefit of all stakeholders. Other regulatory changes, particularly those associated with the role of the Schemes (Networks) will also have a major impact on how we flex our business models in the immediate future.

A great day and a great conference; I look forward to meeting up again in Berlin next February for MPE’s 8th Annual Conference."

Roger K Alexander
Chairman of the first conference day

Remarks on Conference Days 2 & 3 (Stream A) by Alex Rolfe,
Managing Director, PaymentsCM (Payments Cards and Mobile Mobile; Mobile Payments World)

Alexander Rolfe is the Managing Director of Payments Cards and Mobile (PCM). He is the publisher of European Payments Card Yearbooks and Eurasian Payments Card Yearbooks, Mobile Payments World and Payments Cards and Mobile. Alexander is also a Director at Mobile Payments Consulting. He has been in the publishing business for 16 years and has been involved in m-payments consultancy for 12 years. PCM, as well as publishing industry magazines, provides PR, Research and Consulting services specifically for the Payments industry. Alexander Rolfe graduated from Manchester University in 2000. After a period of time with Guardian Media Group he was taken into employment by European Card Review – Europe’s leading payments magazine – as the m-commerce editor. In May 2002 he acquired the company, incorporated several smaller magazines, rebranded it as Payments Cards and Mobile and is now the Managing Director. PaymentsCM offers a niche portfolio of services for the Payments Card and Mobile Payments industries. With a 16 year heritage in the industry we are ideally positioned to help drive small, medium and large companies to achieve focussed goals within the Payments Card and Mobile Payments industries.


„It is always interesting to see how focus changes from year to year.

We live in an increasingly complex, technical world and in our efforts to simplify it, do we really succeed?

At this year’s conference I found that the constant message from Merchants was that we, as the payments industry, should simplify their lives. That we should make it easier for them and the end consumer to shop and transact.

This sounds great. Why not? The problem is, payments is not simple, it’s not an easy thing to implement anytime, global, omni-channel payment systems that integrate with millions of merchants, thousands of banks, PSP, switches etc. And that’s not forgetting all the fraud and security checks that go along with a payment. Not just at the consumer front end, but at the merchant POS and in the multitude of networks that the payments ultimately run through.

Global commerce, as was well established this year, is going to be a challenge. In my view, short term; payments will become more complex, not less. Long term, the goal will be to resolve this. I very much look forward to next year’s conference to see what we, as an industry, can do to make this long term goal a reality."

Alex Rolfe
Chairman of the second and third conference day

Remarks on Conference Days 2 & 3 (Stream B) Angelo Caci, Co-Managing Director, ADN‘co



„I can’t start any speech about the cards & payment landscape whitout recalling what has been at stake for a few years now, because of the conjunction and acceleration of various phenomena:

  • Ongoing changes in regulations at national or regional level which have notably given birth to new entrants and have brought additional pressure on business model
  • Advent of new technologies and new channels, which has led to the proliferation of new payment methods and oblige all stakeholders to reshape their value proposition in front of new shopping experiences
  • Increasing number of pretenders of all types which want to play a part along the payment value chain or are introducing a disruptive model
  • And last but not least, consumers have got choice and power, they’re better connected and informed as ever, they use social networks, they give recommendations and advice, they’re fond of collaborative models like crowdsourcing or crowd funding
  • On top of that, if you put buzz words like Mobile, Wallets, Digital, Contactless, Cross-Channel… together, you can only get a myriad of questions, opportunities and challenges when it comes to payments and most of these challenges and opportunities have not been fully explored yet

On the one hand, we don’t know who will have the last word… amongst the various contenders, be they incumbent or new entrants, giants or start-ups…

On the other hand, we don’t know either at what speed behaviours will change, especially in mature countries where we already have a lot of valid payment methods.

Last, there are many combinations to take acount of when you want to provide clients with a new payment solution : what technologies, what partnerships, what business models, what added-value services, should I go alone or together with my peers ?... in a nutshell, how to find the best alchemy that would ideally enable to reach a fast and massive adoption ?

To make it happen, you need at least a clear awareness of the opportunities and challenges, some degree of flexibility and a strong determination and strategy in order to make the right-trade offs.

As if it were not hard enough to decide what to do or not, after you’ve just launched your brand new service, a few competitors and startups will announce something that could make your solution already exceeded.

And obviously, as some recent facts recall us, security and trust are not options…

For the next years, we can only attend the cohabitation of many offers and models before we can hope a certain degree of standardization… so plenty of room for innovation, imagination and courage ! Fortunately, the MPE 2014 sessions will enable a series of speakers and experts from different industries and countries, to share their own experiences, thoughts and views, so that we can better understand what is happening today and what could happen in the future.


„Through the diverse and interesting presentations who have succeeded during those 2 days, we have had a very good synthesis of the key themes, changes and challenges that are relating to the cards & payment industry across Europe. We have defintely entered a new era based upon new rules, new paradigms, new stakeholders, new business models, new territories, new value-propositions, new partnerships… and all opportunities have not been explored yet. A few key considerations have been highlighted:

  • Understanding and supporting clients along their shopping journeys is a strong asset and differentiator, especially as clients have got choice and power
  • Omni-channel and multi-screen services (PC, tablets, smartphones, kiosks, TVs, in-car, watches, glasses…) are coming of age as well as added-value services beyond payment towards consumers and merchants
  • Next generation of payment platforms have to manage large volumes, be agile, easily integrate alternative payment methods, and be multi-X capable (channel, currency, language, country…)
  • As payment business is getting even more complex, that complexity has to be hidden to the clients as they primarily want convenience, convergence, speed, relevant and customized rewards, services and promises
  • Data is the new oxygen when it comes to transactional services and to next generation of loyalty programs and above all, deep knowledge and insights have to be turned into easy access and activation as well as clear reporting
  • Security and fraud prevention are of paramount important as recent facts and attacks have recalled us → Trust is not an option as well as the need to accurately cope with international standards and to rely on powerful and scalable solutions

All in all, as we have observed for several years now, we can only expect additional pressure on usual cards’ business model, proliferation of new payment methods and as a consequence of pretenders, need to re-invent the value-proposition towards merchants and consumers in order to generate new revenue streams.

As such, all stakeholders along the payment value chain will still have to juggle with many ingredients like Cards, Mobile, Wallets, Digital, Contactless, Data, Cross-Channel… in order to make the best cooking and ideally find the holy grail. Plenty of models are going to coexist in the coming years, be they defensive, offensive or even disruptive… before to have a certain degree of consolidation → room for action and innovation!

Angelo Caci
Chairman of the second and third conference day

MPE Awards 2014 - Winners

Vast majority of the Merchant Payments Ecosystem 2014 attendees gathered on the second night of the event to celebrate the winners of the 2014 MPE Awards and to network during a gala dinner.

The awards committee, consisting of recognized independent consultants and dedicated press professionals, was impressed by the number of entries that came in at the end of last year and beginning of this year.

This year, a great amount of new, budding companies entered the awards contest and some of them not only made it to the finals, but eventually left behind some of the largest, well established players, impressing the awards committee…

...and the beautiful „Guiding Hand“ statuette in 2014 went home to:

Goes to the acquirer, the payment services provider, the network services provider, the MNO or the payment scheme, who did set-up the best offer, programme, or system, to service international merchants:

Allied Wallet

“In an ever faster moving electronic commerce world, Allied Wallet enables merchants to open their online store within 24 hours, key to competitive success”, says Leon Dhaene, Chairman of the MPE (Guiding Hand) Awards. „Allied Wallet makes it convenient for merchants and customers to transfer money in less than 24 hours”, Leon ads.

More categories coming soon!

MPE History