NECN Features Merchant Warehouse President

Brian Waldman

May 26, 2006

TOPIC: Merchant Warehouse President Henry Helgeson Appears on New England Business Day to Discuss Credit Card Processing
DATE: May 26th, 2006
TIME: 6:30 PM
PROGRAM: New England Business Day
ANCHOR: Beth Shelburne
GUEST: Henry Helgeson, CEO of Merchant Warehouse

BETH SHELBURNE: You will hear a lot more than horn honking this Memorial weekend. The swiping of plastic is practically a holiday tradition. Tens of millions of credit card transactions are made everyday in the U.S.-Visa says it handles more transactions in an hour than all U.S. security exchanges handle in a day, combined, and that's just VISA®. There are dozens of other credit card companies, all managing billions of dollars in transactions. It's mind boggling if you think about it. Somewhere, in all that business, are companies that process the information. Boston based Merchant Warehouse is one of them, and Henry Helgeson is the CEO. He is our guest tonight, on New England Business day. Thank you for being here.

HENRY HELGESON: Thanks for having me.

SHELBURNE: You guys started up in '98 and the business has blossomed since then.

HELGESON: Thank you, yes.

SHELBURNE: Explain what it is that you guys do.

HELGESON: Sure. We're the people behind the credit card transactions. We help get the money off your credit card and into the business's bank account.

SHELBURNE: So, when you swipe your credit card at a store, the data goes to you guys. Is that how it works?

HELGESON: That's it. We outsource a lot of the technology, but we handle the sales process and get that money securely to the merchant's bank account at the end of the day.

SHELBURNE: What's the biggest challenge? Is it security right now? Identity theft is a big problem. Fraud is a big problem. How do you insure that you're keeping everybody's information safe?

HELGESON: Sure, well, we're held to some pretty high standards by VISA and Mastercard®. Actually, tougher than some of the Federal standards out there for data security. So, it's our job to make sure that none of that gets lost along the way.

SHELBURNE: Yeah, there are so many ways to make purchases these days. I mean, you can purchase things on the Internet, over the phone, through the mail-there's data floating around everywhere. I mean, specifically, what do you do. Are you encrypting things? How does it work?

HELGESON: We are. When those transactions hit us, there are certain data requirements, or we can't store certain information, and a lot of it is destroyed right after the sale. But, for the most part, all that data is encrypted at secure facilities around the country, and we hold on to it pretty tightly. We make sure the bad guys don't get it.

SHELBURNE: What's the future of your type of business?

HELGESON: Right now we're pretty excited about some new technology out there: Mastercard Paypass, Contactless payments, the Internet is still growing. We see a lot of growth in the credit card industry right now. We're just happy to be where we are.

SHELBURNE: All right. Well, thank you so much for coming in. Henry Helgeson, the CEO of Merchant Warehouse, based in Boston. We appreciate it.

HELGESON: Thank you.