Incomm Health Care recently won the IPA’s Payments Innovation award. In this episode, we talk with Rod Kersch from InComm about how its system makes delivering health care benefits easier for insurers, retailers, and recipients.
Few areas of payments are more complicated than health care benefits delivered to individuals. While health plans want to give consumers more control over how they spend their dollars, the tax code restricts how those dollars can be used.
For years, health plans that wanted to provide consumers with money for over-the-counter medicines and incent behaviors like healthy eating or getting a flu shot, had to resort to an assortment of payment tools. Checks and gift cards might be distributed before or after the fact. Consumers might need to use a prepaid or debit card, but then report what they bought and prove it fit within a plan’s guidelines. Whatever the methods used, the process was cumbersome and not always effective.
InComm Health Care has developed a system that can streamline these payments. The company’s system combines point of sale services and a multipurpose card to make the payment process as easy as any card payment. The system can filter eligible items down to the SKU level, and automatically pull from different pools of funds available to the cardholder for everything from medicines to healthy food.
While the topic of financial services regulation is not being by the campaigns, nevertheless, the outcome of the election will determine the shape and tone of the regulatory landscape.
In this episode, we talk with Dee Buchanan and Gordon Taylor, principals at Ogilvy Government Relations, about the various ways the 2020 election could go and what each outcome might mean for the regulatory environment.
This episode was recorded before the news broke about the President’s COVID19 diagnosis, so we did not discuss its effects on the campaign. However, the analysis in this conversation remains the same.
Although most of the attention is going to the presidential election, the struggle for the control of Congress also will play a role in the future of regulations. State races and political attitudes are also discussed as we look ahead to the vote.
In addition to this podcast, the IPA will continue to monitor the election and host an election update webinar for its members on October 14, and a discussion about potential regulatory threats to fintechs on October 21.
What inspired you and/or your company to get involved with the Innovative Payments Association?
What sticks out first, and differentiates the IPA from other industry organizations, is inclusivity. The IPA represents a wide range of members within the payments ecosystem, including banks, fintechs, suppliers, providers, and processors. Given the rapidly evolving industry landscape—especially within the digital economy—the IPA represents firms and products that touch all consumers with varying levels of access to banking services.
Specifically, the IPA’s connections with card companies, banks, service providers, and processors were very compelling for my company and have been a great way for us to connect with banks and other firms, as well as with federal and state government agencies. When InComm became a member over a decade ago, our industry was navigating through the government’s response to the financial crisis, which included Dodd-Frank, the Durbin Amendment, and other major legislation and regulatory measures at the federal and state level. The IPA’s connections with lawmakers and regulators and knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process, was invaluable during those years that were so difficult for our industry and consumers.
What specific efforts have you been most involved in, and what role have you played?
InComm was not actively engaged in government affairs on either the state or federal level before we joined, and the IPA has helped us to get plugged into that process, including providing a forum for us and other IPA members to meet with key decisionmakers over the years, including former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Representative Sanford Bishop, and various U.S. Senators and regulators—leaders at the CFPB, FDIC, and FinCEN, to name a few. Fostering as many connections as we can with federal and state lawmakers and regulators is a main area of focus for us, especially when it comes to educating them regarding various networks and payments processors, and the wide and evolving payments landscape.
Through the IPA, InComm and other IPA members have been able to meet with multiple CFPB Directors, FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams, and other key staff at all major financial regulatory agencies. Given the interconnectivity within prepaid, we also prioritize meeting and partnering with other member companies to learn from them and drive the industry forward for consumers.
What has your experience been like as a member of the IPA?
Our experience has been terrific! The opportunity to meet with key legislative and regulatory officials, send joint letters alongside other influential IPA members, and tap into the IPA’s industry resources has allowed us to carry significant weight in front of key decisionmakers and given us a leg up in accomplishing policy and business priorities.
Our annual conference is something that comes to mind when I think of some of the greatest benefits of our IPA membership. Each year, the Innovative Payments Conference allows us to network with industry leaders and key decisionmakers. Past speakers have included Senator David Perdue, Representative Sanford Bishop, heads of the CFPB, IRS, and FDIC, and congressional committee chairmen. The conference offers wide-ranging opportunities for members and is always bipartisan in nature. It is also great to see the various products and services IPA members offer to consumers all over the world.
What is one thing—either payments-related or not—you learned in the last month?
Over the past month, I have reinforced my understanding of the cycle of production, influence, and efficacy within the payments ecosystem. For us, banks, networks, and payment processors interface with lawmakers and regulators who govern and control the use of our products and services. The IPA provides the bandwidth, infrastructure, and scope that brings each of these elements together in order to advance members’ priorities. From digital wallets to traditional prepaid cards to consumer-protection products and everything in between, this all gets absorbed by the IPA and disbursed to the benefit of members. Having a trade association with such broad representation carries significant weight and authority. For example, the Atlanta Fed tapped the IPA and our members for help in producing a white paper on how payments companies can become more inclusive to unbanked and underbanked Americans. Engaging in this type of research, improving financial literacy and working alongside the federal government to innovate and reach more consumers is one of the most rewarding elements of IPA membership.
What is your company’s role in the payments industry (program manager, issuer, processor, service provider, etc.)?
PayActiv provides holistic financial wellness including employer-sponsored earned wage access (EWA) to users. PayActiv verifies earned wages, and makes on-demand earned wage disbursement to employees directly to: the Payactiv Prepaid card, any Visa/MC debit card, any bank account through ACH, or users can pick-up EWA in cash from Walmart. Users can also pay bills or make online purchases on Amazon through PayActiv-disbursed EWA.
Payactiv is also a program manager for a General Purpose Reloadable & Payroll Visa prepaid card.
What kinds of payments do you support?
What kinds of special features do your products and services offer?
The Payactiv platform provides several benefits including timely access to earned wages, budgeting and savings tools, pharmacy discounts, and financial counseling.
What kinds of companies are you looking to partner with?
In addition to its own enterprise clients, from small businesses to Fortune 100 employers, PayActiv looks to partner with payroll processors and industry leaders to offer EWA to their employer clients.
What do you think the future of payments holds in the next five years?
Payactiv predicts nationwide acceptance of earned wage access as an employee benefit and vital consumer protection against the challenges of living paycheck-to-paycheck.
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