Fraud is certainly a focus in the modern market, but the consumer end tends to get a bit more attention than the merchant end. That makes sense — everyone is in some sense a consumer, and so the customer-side of payments gone wrong is generally interesting. But the merchants tend to feel a lot of the sting of charges gone awry — often in the same ways, over and over, noted Verifi Inc. CEO Matt Schwartz.
“I got into this business because there was an apparent need, and I realized that there was so much potential for fraud to the merchants. Most fraud protection sought to help the consumer, but few paid attention to the merchants. I’m a technologist, and there was an obvious path to opportunistically use technology to produce efficiency,” Schwartz said.
Verifi was a small organization when it got its start in 2005 — it was pretty much a one-man show run out of Schwartz’s apartment. These days it is somewhat larger — with 300 employees to date and counting, though Schwartz noted that growing the team has been one of the company’s biggest areas of success as well as one of its most ongoing areas of challenge.
“[Our biggest hurdle] is finding exceptional people to drive our initiatives forward and align with our culture as rapidly as we would like,” he said.
Verifi’s culture is fast-paced and a bit aggressive — which it kind of has to be, given the company’s line of work in getting between merchants and fraud and preventing the chargebacks before they occur. To date, Schwarts told PYMNS, Verifi has stopped 3.4 million chargeback claims — a value of about $150 million to their merchant partners.
“It is persistent, ongoing work,” Schwartz noted. “[In fraud fighting], there is no one moment. What we work for is continued growth and evolution over time. And over the last decade or so, we’ve developed incredible relationships with our clients and an outstanding team of smart, aggressive associates.”
And those relationship have been very long-term, Schwartz noted, as Verifi is still working today with many of the firms it signed on originally.
“We won’t claim to be the smartest, but we listen with our ears open and our mouths shut to how we can help provide services that drive value long-term for our clients or solve major challenges,” he noted.
Verifi also goes about its business a bit differently from many other flashier players in the fraud fighting world. Verifi, Schwartz noted, is about innovating first and not selling itself as an innovator first — and then innovating on borrowed money and time.
Which means, he says, that their focus has always had to be the same — focusing on Verifi’s clients needs because it has to in order to stay in business.
“We very much maintain the original company entrepreneurial spirit. We were born from growing organically and not taking outside money. Verifi has been profitable since its second week in business.”
And, he noted, for as long as fraud exists and chargebacks remain a problem for merchants everywhere, Verifi plans to be in business for a long time to come.