When it comes to payments processing, Laura Wagner, Digits CCO, is a shaman — because she believes commerce should be magical, not painful. That philosophy has defined her decades-long career in the payments processing industry.
Wagner graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983 with a communications degree. By the late 1990s, however, she had shifted focus from the communications space to payments processing, which has defined her career ever since.
First Payments Processing Venture: OTC Innovations
Wagner’s work on innovative payments processing solutions began with Over-the-Counter Innovations, which she founded in 1999. The company made it easy for fast-food restaurants to accept credit and debit card payments at a time when consumer demand for these payment options was increasing, but many quick-serve restaurants lacked the infrastructure to accept card payments easily. (Remember, this was long before the days of Internet-connected card readers and touchscreen point-of-sale systems.)
Over-the-Counter Innovations, where Wagner served as CEO until 2009, solved this challenge by developing a processor, called PayPoint, which allowed restaurants to accept credit and debit card payments at no cost to them. The processor was purchased by First Data for $252 million.
Rethinking Payments Processing Fees: PayRover
Wagner went on to found PayRover, another payment-processing company that aimed to make merchants’ lives easier. It offered an alternative fee structure for merchants to accept card and check payments that was based on actual “raw cost” transaction fees, without the markup of traditional payments solutions.
Payments Processing for Modern Apps
While Wagner was doing all of this, she was also working as a founder and partner at Digitsz, which helps developers build payments solutions into the software they write. Technologically speaking, the world of payments processing today is very different from the one in which Wagner first became involved twenty years ago, and Digitsz reflects today’s demand for digital-native payments solutions that any developer can access with ease. However, the innovative, pain-free thinking behind the solution is of the same variety that made Wagner’s first payments processing platforms so innovative.
That type of thinking is also evident in Digits, the cryptocurrency payments solution that lets anyone pay for goods and services with cryptocurrency via credit and debit cards that they already own. Wagner brings her payments processing expertise to Digits, helping to round out an executive team that also includes seasoned and successful entrepreneurs, startup managers, and software experts.
At the same time, Wagner’s boundless energy and passion help to define the culture at Digits. Colleagues from Wagner’s past ventures speak of her “energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge” and call her “one of the few truly dynamic people I know.” Those qualities are just as important as payments processing experience in helping to ensure the successful growth of Digits into a platform that will make paying anywhere with cryptocurrency feel magical.