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VOL. 130 | NO. 228 | Monday, November 23, 2015

Payments Company Payscape Expands to Memphis

By Andy Meek

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The financial technology company Payscape has landed in Memphis, opening an office here with plans to ramp up quickly as it works to introduce the community to its merchant services and payment processing capabilities.

With mobile payments company Square completing its IPO this week, and other so-called “fintech” services like Apple Pay entering the mainstream, companies like Payscape see a field rife with opportunities as more people are becoming familiar with it. The trick is to avoid commoditization, since another company can always come along and shave a few cents off the cost of processing a payment.

Atlanta-based Payscape, though, thinks it’s found a way to escape that. It’s not just a payment processor, in other words. District sales manager Brent Westbrook, who Payscape recruited to open the Memphis office, said the enterprise can help with a variety of business needs – everything from working with nonprofits to put a “click here to donate” button on their websites, to helping companies set up online so they can pursue e-commerce, to helping a retail business where someone buys a burger and fries process a payment.

Another way Paysacpe tries to differentiate itself is by relying heavily on talent like Westbrook in its 13 markets. Those people are tasked with ginning up new business and developing customer relationships.

“I think that Payscape needed to be in Memphis because this market is fractured, and we have the opportunity to help big and small business at the local level,” Westbrook said about the company, which is operating for now out of a coworking space in the Cooper-Young neighborhood. “In an industry driven by call centers and big brands, Payscape brings a down-home feel to Memphis. We hire local talent to service local businesses.”

The Memphis business community, he said, is going to love Payscape because the company is passionate about its work “and we sleep here at night.”

Payscape CEO Jeremy Wing said the company was founded in 2004. In recent years, it’s grown especially fast, and its entry into Memphis comes as another payment processor – First Data Corp. – said in recent days it’s closing its Memphis office.

“We started at a time when payment processing was still in its infancy in a lot of ways,” Wing said this summer about his company.

As part of a recent growth spurt, it expanded into Chattanooga this summer.

“We saw an opportunity for us to come in with a fresh perspective on a legacy business,” Wing said.

The stakes, though, are high. The industry, he adds, is changing more now every year than it has in the past five years.

“Anybody can facilitate payment processing transactions for a penny cheaper than the next guy,” Wing said. “We’ve got a slew of other things we can do to be value-added for business owners. Part of our model involves us actually being there.”

That means a heavy reliance on Westbrook and his team – to which Payscape is still looking to add staff – to be firm’s face in the community. They’ll be involved in things like the Greater Memphis Chamber, ribbon cuttings and hand shakes – anything to start the process of building the relationships the company needs to succeed locally, Wing said.

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