Guest Column | November 13, 2012

Discover ‘Different' — And Profit By Partnering With A Change Leader

By John Badovinac, Senior Manager, U.S. Acceptance, Discover Network

Discover has taken a different path to become the fastest-growing domestic payments network and is now the third-largest global payments brand1. They recently announced a relationship with PayPal to enable in-store acceptance of PayPal at the 7+ million merchant locations that accept Discover cards. Discover achieved this dramatic growth by aligning interests with its closest partners in order to drive industry change. Now VARs (Value-Added Resellers), ISVs (Independent Software Vendor), and distributors can partner with Discover to grow profits while meeting both industry and customer demands.

We have a rare opportunity for Discover, ISVs, VARs, and distributors to meet our strategic needs while delivering industry enhancements that will make payments more secure and more flexible. All of these entities need to grow volume, deepen customer relationships, and comply with industry requirements while delivering great customer experiences. Discover has proven their ability to develop partnerships that do just that. For example, they worked with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) to develop their Terminal Trade Up Program to meet the needs of the ISO (Independent Sales Organization)/Agent community. This program offered free and discounted POS terminals to merchants that replaced outdated equipment. Discover ensured that the new terminals could take advantage of the dramatic growth of domestic spending from international travelers in the U.S. from their growing list of international partnerships, including JCB, UnionPay, BC Card, RuPay, and others. The distributors benefit by being able to deliver free or low-cost terminals. The merchants benefit by being able to say ‘yes’ to growing transaction volume from a larger number of card types. The critical activities required to make this program successful included updating POS systems to ensure full card range acceptance, updating client facing materials to raise acceptance awareness, and providing sales training in order to take advantage of the new program.

So what’s next?

Discover is currently reaching out to leaders in the VAR/ISV space to build new relationships that can take advantage of opportunities created by macro and industry changes. These changes include the growth of the international middle-class traveler, the migration of online providers into brick-and-mortar sales, EMV compliance requirements, and the explosion in the proliferation of payment and loyalty application developers. Discover listens to the needs of key partners in order to jointly develop solutions that accept all Discover-related card brands, while preparing for EMV transactions. They also want to accelerate the development and deployment of payment and loyalty applications using new tools and relationships.

There’s never been a more exciting time to be in payments, and Discover has committed significant resources to ensure that we enable our partners with the ability to deliver experiences that are more accessible, more secure and more…’different’ than ever before. Call us today to review your portfolio and discuss a custom incentive program designed to ensure all of your merchants can benefit from the Discover difference. To learn more or become part of the VAR connection call (800) 951-0633, or email us at

1. The Nilson Report, Feb 2010 - 2012.