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50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2020

An Interview with Andrew Siden, Prepaid Ventures Founder and CEO: ‘We’re a Leading Provider of Payment Processing, Program Management, and Prepaid Debit Card Solutions in the United States’

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“We conduct on-going individual development plans with all employees and discuss both short and long-term goals.”

Prepaid Ventures(PPV) is a company that provides businesses with tools and expertise to support their payment initiatives from technical and financial modeling to payment-as-a-service, compliance, and back-office support.

The company was incorporated in 2007 and is headquartered in New York.

Andrew Siden, Prepaid Ventures Founder and CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. The financial technology industry or FinTech is one that is growing quickly, with an increasing number of companies offering an even greater number of online and mobile platforms. How do you distinguish your services from others?

For businesses looking to enter the electronic payments marketplace, PPV provides a wide range of customizable financial products including multiple wallets, online bill pay, direct deposit, mobile apps, websites, IVR’s, and many more. The solutions function as a foundation that enables companies to grow their customer base and benefit from new technological trends. PPV follows a consultative approach that involves understanding a client’s needs and their customer base. This is because the goal is to ultimately become a partner to the client rather than be limited to a transactional relationship. Importantly, PPV does not rely on a one-size-fits-all approach as each client has a unique vision.

Q. Do you provide customizable CRM solutions? How does it make an impact on the client?

Yes, PPV has built a highly customizable CRM solution. We understand the importance of our clients to manage the relationship between their business and customers. PPV has developed its proprietary CRM that has evolved for use cases arising from their own business needs. Taking a scaled approach, our CRM has modified to allow for client use. CRM systems are cloud-based tools designed to gather, manage, and analyze data to transform it into useful business information that drives decision-making, affects change, and increases performance. Although CRM applications have traditionally been used as sales and marketing tools, PPV recognizes the increased focus by businesses to shift their attention to holistic customer experience. Since customers can engage with the company in multiple touch-points across many different channels (especially in Fintech services), CRM systems are becoming an integral and foundational component for success.

Q. How do you balance the customer service aspect with the security aspects?

In the card and payment industry, security is a concerning topic for consumers because they want protection from any unknown threats. PPV recognizes this demand, and therefore, it implements any regulatory changes swiftly, monitors its systems, and relies on stringent risk management approaches to ensure consumer protection. The company employs security tools on a product, program, and portfolio level. Moreover, it undergoes an annual PCI audit and has achieved Level 1 PCI, the industry’s highest standard. Below are some of the ways PPV employs its solutions:

Account Shield: Customers have full control over their account security by blocking transactions. They can instantly protect their card by turning on ‘Account Shield’. This option temporarily enables or disables account transactions. Cardholders can do this by using the mobile app or cardholder website.

Biometrics: The company secures customers’ data with 256-bit encryption, a high level of data security. Using biometrics like Touch ID and Face ID protects the information with automatic sign-out if a customer leaves the app open. It also uses two-factor authentication for an extra layer of protection when a customer creates their account or performs certain actions.

EMV chip technology: This technology is used to support safe and secure payments. It offers enhanced fraud protection, smart security, and is the global standard to safeguard customers’ data and transactions.

Real-Time Alerts: Any time a customer uses their card, it sends instant transaction reminders to that customer. As a result, the customer will know their balance in the account. Additionally, its card programs support a robust alert/notification system.

Visa’s Zero Liability Policy: Visa’s Zero Liability Policy covers card programs to ensure that cardholders are not liable for unauthorized charges. This is a guarantee from Visa that customers will not be held responsible for unauthorized charges resulting from their account or account details. They are protected even when their Visa credit or debit card is lost, stolen, or fraudulently used, online or offline.

FDIC Insured: PPV’s top priority is to protect its customers — that starts with keeping their information and money secure and safe. Therefore, card programs are FDIC insured. Funds are insured up to $250,000 through its issuing bank, Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Member FDIC.

Enhanced Fraud Engine: Using industry best practices, cardholder experience, past transactional history, and knowledge of the retailer environment, PPV makes it possible to prevent what may seem like an assault by fraudsters who also threaten prepaid cards and prepaid industries.

Q. ‘When people are having fun, they work together better and they produce better work.’ How do you interpret this saying?

A collective unified vision across PPV employees and a passion for their work elevates the quality and value of our deliverables. I think that “fun” could be interpreted as “spirit” or “passion”. Our team spirit, professional zeal, and mutual respect drive excellence in the caliber of our work.

Q. Growing the company based on employees’ passions must be the priority. Do you ask your employees what they are interested in doing and how they would like to see their career unfold?

We conduct on-going individual development plans with all employees and discuss both short and long-term goals. PPV has sponsored many team members' professional growth by exposing them to various sides of the business or even through professional certifications/education.

Q. A good workplace stresses teamwork while still encouraging individual achievement and creativity. Does your company follow the same strategy?

PPV breeds a culture of self-organization. Self-organized collections of team members motivated by a unified vision and socially empowered to take action will create the kind of organization that is successful in the future. By fostering growth based on self-organizing principles such as collaboration, respect and trust, autonomy, and continuous improvement, individual achievement, and creativity along with teamwork sits atop a harmonious summit at PPV.

Q. Trust is a difficult attribute to measure and a delicate dynamic to maintain. How do you maintain this with your employees?

In our everyday lives we maintain many different types of relationships ranging from family to friends as well as coworkers. We feel a human connection based on the power of trust.

As employees we spend many hours working together to grow and flourish as both an individual as well as a team. Meaningful interactions and encouragement at any level, gives purpose. In business whether dealing with suppliers, customers, coworkers, or employees it is trust that allows those relationships to become successful.

As a business leader, I am keenly aware that I am only as good as my word. Treating people with respect and fairness allows for trust to grow at all levels. I also know that it is hard to be a leader if nobody is following; Trust allows this to happen.

Q. What does the future hold for Prepaid Ventures and its employees? Are exciting things on the way?

PPV is committed to providing the latest technology and digital resources to its users and clients such as cloud-based applications and digital wallets. The company will also be launching two new card programs in the upcoming months that include a companion card program and a payroll card program. Besides, PPV will continue to develop more financial solutions and enhance existing features of current programs to remain competitive in the cloud-based payment industry avant-garde.

Andrew Siden: A Formidable Leader

Andrew Siden, founder, serves as the Chief Executive Officer. He has been a major driving force behind Prepaid Ventures’ success. He brings 30 years of financial services and electronic payment processing experience to the company. The veteran leader started his career at Smith Barney in 1991, where he worked as a Guided Portfolio Manager and ultimately became an Equity Trader with Knight Capital Group. Then, in 2003, he left Wall St. to pursue the rapidly evolving Alternative Financial Services (AFS) market, where he joined a leading New York-based check-cashing business. Once there, Andrew implemented new corporate strategies, leveraged technology, and improved compliance, and operational procedures. All the while gaining a broad understanding of the AFS landscape and ultimately launching Prepaid Ventures and developing its initial product, the NexsCard Prepaid Visa Card.

Now, as the founder and CEO, Andrew has set up new priorities for PPV, which includes the launch of new programs such as a payroll card program and a companion card program. Also, Prepaid Ventures will continue to build upon existing programs such as Avid Prepaid, NexsCard, NexsCard for Business, and a remote deposit capture feature-mobile teller.

“We offer innovative solutions and financial management technologies to businesses looking to grow and evolve into the electronic payments network.”