The CardLinx Association is a membership association with a clear mission to promote the growth of online-to-offline commerce and card-linking by fostering cross-industry collaboration, developing industry services and instituting common standards.

Fidel joined the CardLinx Board of Directors in September 2017, as its mission resonates very well with that of ours. As part of the on-boarding process, we were asked to participate in a Q&A session to introduce Fidel to the CardLinx members. We thought it would be valuable to share the Q&A here. If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via hello@fidel.uk.


How does your company fit into the card-linking or online-to-offline commerce ecosystems?

Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of card-linking by making the technology more accessible. We believe card-linking is the ultimate technology for linking online and offline commerce.

It can however, be difficult to access this technology. In order to get card-linked, companies need to undergo multiple complex integrations with different payment networks which all require specialized skills. It can take months, if not years, to fully implement.

Since the technology inevitably deals with sensitive payment card data, companies also have to go through the cumbersome and costly process of becoming PCI DSS compliant.

For obvious reasons, each integration also comes with a substantial price tag. Typicallly, there are a mix of different fees including set-up fees, maintenance fees, annual guarantees, along with others.

Fidel API’s role in the ecosystem is to remove the above obstacles and make the process easier for everyone. We take care of all the 'heavy-lifting' in the background, while our partners can focus on building innovative products that drive transaction volume and overall growth of the ecosystem.

Fidel API provides a single integration point with fully customizable SDKs. This means that our partners can build fully functional card-linked applications in a matter of days!

Who are you trying to reach?

Any company that has an interest in attributing payment transaction data (in real-time) at any location (online or offline) to an actual person. Our current partners range from top tier retailers and loyalty operators to airlines, newspapers, utility providers, insurance companies and various tech startups.

How will your company approach online-to-offline commerce that is new or different?

We are addressing the market purely from a technology enablement perspective. Our purpose is to democratise the technology by making it easy to access.

Today there are many great companies that are utilizing card-linking for very specific purposes, but we believe there are so many more potential applications of the technology that have not yet been explored. We have built the API for maximum flexibility so that our partners aren’t limited to a particular use case only, such as CLO.

What are some insights and challenges of implementation?

The payments processing landscape varies widely from country to country. These different domestic constructs come with inherent challenges that may result in limited visibility.

Much of our effort is directed towards understanding the limitations of each territory and addressing those issues on a case-by-case basis, working strategically towards our long-term goal of having 100% transaction visibility globally.

There are also other industry specific challenges that card-linking does not solve on its own, such as pre-tender identification, double-discounting, demonstrating incrementality, etc. On these individual subjects, we are working in focus groups, in collaboration with well established partners in their respective areas and stakeholders that have a common interest in addressing these challenges to come up with solutions for the marketplace.

What are some new projects for this year?

We have many exciting projects on at the moment! One that I’m particularly excited about is our Merchant Offers Platform and what it brings to our partners in the offers space. Aside from the technical integration to get card-linked, getting merchants on board is probably the second most time-consuming task. With the Merchant Offers Platform, we now have a very neat solution to enable our partners to populate their consumer proposition with unique content, simply by clicking a few buttons!

We believe this platform will increase the speed at which new merchants can reach the market. This ties in well with our mission of accelerating, supporting and enlarging the card-linking ecosystem.

How will the online-to-offline commerce industry develop over the next five years?

Chances are, the payment industry will be radically different in five years. There are so many exciting developments happening in the space right now including AI reaching new heights, biometric verification quickly gaining acceptance and digital P2P transactions are extending to commerce and the list goes on. These developments coupled with the regulatory initiatives such as PSD2/OpenBanking and GDPR (in Europe) will fuel innovation in the space. The power is shifting back to the consumer and consumer preference is driven by convenience.

Online and offline commerce is merging into a single consumer centric experience. The ability to attribute seemingly disparate purchases across multiple channels to a single customer will be key in harmonizing the consumer experience.

To us, and all other service providers in the space, these developments present a huge opportunity and it’s a privilege to take part in shaping whatever the future holds. What is certain is that the future is moving towards automation and card-linking plays a huge part in it.