From merchants to processors to card networks to banks, every player in the payments ecosystem faces an ever-changing business and regulatory environment where challenges loom. Our dedicated payments team helps structure deals, interface with regulators, and develop comprehensive payments strategies. Across multiple jurisdictions and all sectors of the payments industry, our team has you covered.
Counsel to the Payments Industry The Payments & Fintech Group at Alston & Bird—consisting of over 20 attorneys—is a leading legal resource for the payments industry, with advisors based in the United States and Europe working on engagements worldwide. Our attorneys have varied, global experience in all sectors of the payments industry, including merchant acquiring, card issuing, mobile payments, ecommerce, card schemes and payment networks, stored value, gift cards, payroll cards and other prepaid products, health care payments, B2B payments, and other traditional and emerging payment systems. We have been recognized in Chambers FinTech Legal: Payments & Lending (USA) 2023.
Depth and Breadth with a Global Reach We have represented clients throughout the world, with extensive experience in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Our deep industry knowledge and transatlantic footprint, coupled with Alston & Bird’s 800 attorneys and full-service legal capabilities, enable us to offer comprehensive, “best-in-class” counsel to the payments industry. We believe the depth, diversity and sophistication of our experience across the entire spectrum of payments activities is unmatched by any law firm worldwide.
“The firm’s payments clients conduct business globally and our Payments & Fintech Group, with hubs in London, Brussels and Atlanta, allows us to provide seamless, responsive coverage. With London and Brussels having a six-hour or less time zone difference with Tel Aviv, Sao Paulo, Toronto, and New York—all, incidentally, places where our Payments Group has recently worked on matters—our European presence is an ideal complement to Atlanta in serving and supporting our payments clients across multiple geographies.”
—Richard Hays, Managing Partner, Alston & Bird
Who We Serve We provide legal counsel to our clients across multiple jurisdictions and across all sectors of the payments industry.
Our clients include:
Payment Networks and Card Associations
Global, Regional, and Community Banks
Third Party Processors
PSPs, ISOs, MSPs and VARs
Alternative Payment and Funding Innovators
Mobile Payment Participants, including Handset Manufacturers and Network Operators
Prepaid, Loyalty and Rewards Program Managers
POS Equipment Manufacturers
Financial Technology Innovators
Payments Associations and Clearing Houses
Partnering in the Payments Industry
In addition to bringing our legal expertise to our engagements, we also work and partner frequently with the world’s leading payments consultants in providing an integrated professional services offering in areas such as:
Mobile payment strategies
Market opportunity assessments
New product, service and market viability studies
Operational and systems audits and reviews
Business and product strategy, execution and implementation
Acquisition and new business integration
We partner frequently as well with private equity and venture capital firms in assessing global opportunities, conducting due diligence, and both acquiring and divesting portfolio companies in the payments space.
Bringing Value to Our Clients
World Class Team To provide the scope and quality of services our clients expect, our multidisciplinary Payments Group is comprised of exceptional, nationally and internationally recognized practitioners who are drawn from all of the firm’s subject matter specialties and across all of our offices. In many instances, these lawyers have worked in, if not dedicated their practices to, the particular and varied needs of the payments industry for over 20 years and are trusted, sought-after advisors to some of the industry’s most recognized global leaders.
As a representative cross-section of the firm’s Payments Group, below are profiles of 12 different team members:
A Brussels-based lawyer who has worked with leading payment industry companies for nearly 20 years and has led dozens of acquisitions and strategic alliances across Europe, Latin America, North America and Asia, with particular expertise and experience in cross-border joint ventures.
The United States’ leading authority on retail and wholesale payment systems, products and services related to card-based products, and ACH and check-based products — a trusted advisor to one of the world’s largest card networks and the United States’ oldest and most innovative payments association and processor.
A U.K.-qualified solicitor who previously acted as in-house counsel onsite in Dublin, Ireland for a leading international payments company during its most acquisitive period focused on European expansion, and who later helped lead from Brussels a pan- European payments related reorganization and expansion of a U.S.-based bank.
A lawyer who has represented financial services companies in their entry into new markets in Europe and the Americas, who spent two years based in Brussels leading an international expansion in corporate payment systems for a leading financial institution, and who recently led PSD registration efforts for a leading B2B joint venture 50 percent owned by the world’s best known payment network.
A lawyer with more than 14 years of operational experience as a business person at a leading retailer of financial services (including payday loans, consumer loans, check cashing, bill payment and prepaid debit card services), who now applies both her business experience and legal expertise on behalf of payments clients, with a particular focus on electronic payment systems and products, including credit and debit cards, stored value/prepaid card products and health benefit cards.
A former official of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, who served various roles over the course of a 15-year tenure, including as the responsible officer for the banking applications and enforcement functions, as well as the founding director of the Retail Payments Risk Forum, where he worked to identify, understand and mitigate emerging risks in retail payments systems.
A multidisciplinary commercial lawyer fluent in Mandarin Chinese who recently assisted one of the world’s leading merchant acquirers in its strategic, global relationship with China’s best known payments company.
A former editor-in-chief of the Electronic Banking Law and Commerce Report (1999 to 2008) with over 25 years of experience who, in 1994, represented a leading bank in its pre-IPO equity investment in what has become one of the world’s leading payment companies.
A lawyer who has spent two years working onsite as an in-house resource for a leading provider of innovative paycard solutions, including prepaid and general purpose reload cards, and who currently serves in a similar role with one of the world’s leading providers of payment solutions and POS devices.
A pioneer in health care payments and health care benefit cards and their intersection with the consumer-directed health care arena and HIPAA privacy, who has worked closely with private industry as well as U.S. government institutions in advising upon tax-favored health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs).
A leader in counseling banks, payment services companies and their service suppliers regarding privacy and security compliance, with a particular expertise in leading multidisciplinary teams in privacy, security and data breach/network intrusion response.
The leading United States expert in advising clients regarding unclaimed property, tax, consumer protection and other regulatory issues related to gift cards, loyalty/awards/incentive programs, discount voucher programs, virtual gift cards and other stored value/prepaid access products.
Recent representative engagements demonstrating the depth and breadth of our experience in the payments industry include:
Representing a global payment network in structuring its third party merchant-acquiring platform and in negotiating merchant-acquiring alliances with the major payment card acquirers.
Assisting a leading financial institution in connection with negotiating a long-term joint venture and strategic alliance with the world’s largest payment processor.
Advising a large and growing ISO in connection with its acquisition of a payment gateway and related Card Scheme compliance matters.
Representing a card issuer in connection with the development and roll-out of its European commercial card program, including negotiating systems agreements with a major platform provider and an issuing agreement with a major card network.
Assisting a top five retail bank assess the feasibility of a prepaid debit card program for payment of insurance benefits under the laws of all fifty U.S. states.
Representing more than 75 companies on the structuring of open loop and closed loop prepaid card programs, including retailers, restaurant operators, airlines, hotel/resort operators, vacation programs, spa/health club operators and discount voucher sales programs, and representing a variety of major retailers in the establishment of private label and co-branded credit card programs.
MOBILE PAYMENTS, ECOMMERCE, AND EMERGING PAYMENTS
Representing a leading mobile network operator in connection with its three-way joint venture to build a national mobile commerce network that will utilize mobile phones to make point-of-sale purchases utilizing NFC technology.
Representing a major regional transit authority in the development of a next-generation electronic fare payment system.
Representing one of the world’s best known online, global retailers in their consideration of stored value/promotional instruments, including virtual currency.
CARD SCHEMES AND PAYMENT NETWORKS
Representing a leading payment card network in developing network partnership/reciprocal arrangements in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Canada and throughout Europe.
Qualifying multiple credit institutions as full members of the world’s leading payment networks.
Representing a global merchant in its strategic alliance with China’s leading payment network.
NEW MARKET ENTRY
Representing one of the top five U.S. financial institutions in establishing, de novo, a licensed banking institution in Europe, in the regulatory and tax driven restructuring of its pan-European operations, and in preparing various business lines for a roll-out within all countries of the European Economic Area.
Developing strategy and advising new market entries via joint venture and acquisition for payments businesses in multiple international jurisdictions, including Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, and virtually every country in the EU/EEA.
Advising a global payment network in connection with the international expansion of its ATM/PIN debit network.
M&A, STRATEGIC ALLIANCES AND JOINT VENTURES
Representing a global payments provider in its entry into Brazil via the creation of a 50/50, new-entity joint venture with a leading Brazilian bank.
Representing a merchant acquirer in its initial entry to the Mexican marketplace via the establishment of a complex strategic alliance utilizing a novel tax structure with one of Latin America’s leading banks.
Structuring, negotiating and documenting more than 100 strategic alliances with financial institutions and other third parties, including with many of the world’s largest financial institutions, merchant acquirers and leading third party service providers to the payments industry.
Representing one of the world’s largest retailers in structuring its program to accept in-store payments at the point-of-sale from the world’s leader in online payment services.
Representing global retailers in the negotiation and documentation of their card acceptance agreements, processing agreements, and service contracts with third party merchant acquirers and private label program managers.
Advising a Fortune 500 retailer in establishing a card network brand alliance and co-branded credit card issuing relationship.
Counseling a leading retailer in connection with its outsourced multinational gift card distribution program.
REGULATORY AND COMPLIANCE
Advising in connection with European payments requirements related to the Payment Services Directive and SEPA, including PSD registration efforts with EU member state regulators.
Counseling with respect to compliance with international, federal and state laws and industry requirements (including payment network rules and PCI compliance), obtaining key regulatory interpretations or clearances related to proposed new products or services, and advising with respect to privacy, data security, and incident prevention and response.
Providing a range of strategic regulatory advice on bank regulatory compliance matters under the new U.S. regulatory regime resulting from the Dodd-Frank Act.
Representing a U.S.-based global B2B and G2B payment platform in its application and registration as a payment institution under the Payment Services Directive.
Representing a London-based financial institution (one of the world’s largest) in the development of new agreements for use in its global commercial card program, including integration of the card program into existing corporate treasury and cash management product offerings.
Acting as international counsel in conjunction with the spin-out and establishment of a B2B payments joint venture with operations in Canada, Europe and India.
HEALTH CARE PAYMENTS
Advising numerous health insurers, third party administrators and employers as to the use of debit and stored value card products in the delivery of health benefit programs.
Representing multiple issuers of health care payment cards in the evaluation of the Durbin Amendment and Regulation II on HSA, FSA and other qualified employee benefit programs.
Representing the world’s largest payment network and related issuers in developing a strategic response relating to the U.S. government’s adoption of EFT standards under HIPAA and the HITECH Act.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: PATENTS
Representing clients in developing strategic approaches to maintaining and improving their competitive position by protecting exclusive rights to their payments-related innovations.
Defending an innovative data analytics and payments company in a key patent infringement claim.
Representing an industry-leading marketer, distributor and technology innovator of stored-value gift and prepaid products in several patent infringement suits.
Representing clients throughout the world, the Payments Group is a leading legal resource for the payments industry.
Press ReleaseMay 17, 2023
Alston & Bird Adds Payments & Fintech Partner in London
Alston & Bird has grown its Payments & Fintech Group and Financial Services & Products Group with the addition of Jonathan Garforth in the firm’s London office.