Finetics™ Studio at Money20/20: Robert Carr

Finetics Studio | Payments | 12/2/2015 7:59 PM

Funding today is more readily available for fintech startups than ever before. But is that necessarily a good thing? Not according to the chairman, founder and CEO of Heartland Payment Systems Robert Carr. Speaking candidly during an interview with PaymentEye's Sarah Gill, he says there’s too much money in the market to tell what’s really working yet.


Sarah Gill, Reporter: I'm joined by Bob Carr, CEO and founder at Heartland Payments. Good morning.               

Bob Carr: Good morning.

Sarah Gill, Reporter: With the perspective that you have over the sort of wider financial industry, and per the amount of time that you've been working in it, it feels now that payments is at an inflection point. I mean is that just because we're kind of swept up in it? Or you know, do you feel like there are different components coming together that means that that is true?

Bob Carr: I think we've been at an inflection point for the last few years. But it's going to get more-- the change will become even more rapid. I definitely think there are business models that are not going to be out there five years from now, maybe three years from now that the commodity players just aren't going to be able to make it.

Sarah Gill, Reporter: No. Okay. And you know, kind of staying on that sort of track, obviously there's a lot of kind of hype around different verticals in FinTech, sort of funding coming into certain verticals. Do you feel like any maybe getting a little bit too much attention for what-- you know, where the hype is sort of outstripping reality?

Bob Carr: I think a lot of segments are getting more venture capital than is really needed. However, you know, different entrepreneurs are going to find their different ways of attacking the market. And who knows who's going to be successful.

There's way too much money in our-- in the market right now to really understand what's really working. There's a lot of false positives. So there's some great stories out there about how customers love the system and all this. But there are so many customers that aren't paying for what they're receiving. And they're being paid to promote products.

So there's a lot of confidence in products that really shouldn't have the confidence that they have in it. Because there's so much money behind them. So let's see what happens with Square when they have to make a profit. Let's see what happens with some of these companies. They have really great ideas and great things, but can they be used in a way that is financially viable for the long term?

Sarah Gill, Reporter: And you know, apart from the segment that you're in, are there any particular technologies or innovations that you're excited about?

Bob Carr:  Well, we're trying to be in all the things that excite and interest us. There are some things out there that it's going to be interesting to see what happens with cyber coins and with biometrics. Those are two-- well, biometrics in particular. Is our society going to ever allow biometrics to be used in a large-scale way?

If our society would adopt them, without all the privacy issues that could sure make things a lot easier in many ways.

Sarah Gill, Reporter: Of course the next maybe 10 years, maybe what do you think will be the key innovations that we're going to see, or the key trends?

Bob Carr: I think we're going to see the point of sale-- SAP and Oracle have really changed the world with ERP systems. I think that's coming down to the smaller merchants, and that the point of sale is going to not only continue to handle payments, but it's going to become much more sophisticated. It's going to sort of get rid of the batch accounting and payroll and other financial service products, legacy products, and turn this all into a real-time business where managers have real-time information that's actionable.

And I think that's a big trend that's in progress right now that some people are missing.

Sarah Gill, Reporter: And you know, just to talk about you a little bit. You know, what makes you passionate to be part of this industry? What makes you excited to be working in it?

Bob Carr: Well, I think it's because I may be the oldest guy still in the industry. It's a great industry. I've been in technology since I was in college. And it's been non-stop my entire career. It's just the speed, the velocity has picked up immensely the last few years. And it's just very exciting with all the new tools of what can be done. It's-- your imagination is really the limiting factor.

Sarah Gill, Reporter: If you had to, you know in one sentence, describe why you're excited and passionate to be part of this industry, what would that be?

Bob Carr: Because the industry is growing. It's not just a payments industry now. It's an enriched payments industry. So whereas we were doing a trillion dollars annually, that's gone to 5 trillion in the US. But then when you add all the other components around it, the loyalty, the gift, the payroll services that can be done on the point of sale, and on and on and on and on; the business has really expanded for those who are not commodity players.

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