In this quick Q&A proud Scotsman Mike Doherty talks about his 30 years in the payments industry and his new role as Senior Product Manager at AccessPay…
Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born and raised in Dunfermline and, to my surprise, I’ve ended up back in my hometown.
As a father-of-four, my family life is busy but I spent many years travelling with my career.
Now aged 56 I like to keep fit and enjoy walking, cycling and going to the gym. Instead of playing sports these days I’m a big armchair fan and will watch motorsports, rugby and football.
My team are Celtic and I’ve really enjoyed watching the quadruple treble success over the last four seasons.
How has your career progressed?
I studied computer science at the University of Stirling and then took the classic path of moving down to England for my first job, starting in Milton Keynes.
I was attracted to computing science because I enjoyed mathematics and physics at school so I thought I would give computing a go.
Funnily enough, I started off automating processes for banks and building societies back in the late 80s. We were writing software but it certainly wasn’t called FinTech back then, there wasn’t a buzz word for it.
After a stint in Cheshire, I re-joined the payments industry in 1989 with Fortronic in Fife, which was then owned by the De La Rue group (now Ingenico).
These were the very early days of credit and debit card payments being accepted in shops and garage forecourts. The business manufactured point of sale machines and I was involved in writing the software to process card payment and sending transactions off for authorisation via acquirers.
I then played a key role in establishing De La Rue’s new transaction services business, the UK Payzone network, which is now part of the Post Office.
By 2000 I decided I wanted to do this for myself and set up TS3 Services writing payments software.
Eventually, with over 120,000 POS merchants connected to us, we were processing over 1.5million real-time card payment transactions daily for the major UK card acquirers and international card schemes.
After 14 years I went on to found Payment Centric, a mobile app and cloud-based solutions business with a primary focus on emerging economies.
The aim was to enable immigrants to send money to family back home as direct, targeted payments for the likes of utility bills and school fees as well as developing an on-the-ground network of payment agents, taking bill payments and agency banking into local communities.
Tell us a bit more about your new role at AccessPay?
I recently joined AccessPay, overseeing a team of three product owners.
The team will expand as we scale-up the business considerably in the coming months and explore more integrations with ERPs and third party partners within the payment space.
To support this we will be expanding our API capabilities and looking to develop the UX and UI across our product range. I see us evolving from a slightly siloed payment and cash management solution into a suite of banking automation services.
What has kept you in the payments sector for 30 years?
There’s lots of different reasons. The payments industry has changed so much since I started (it used to be 95% manual-based).
During my career I have witnessed a perfect storm of an industry going from manual to fully automated at a time when technology was evolving rapidly and markets were deregulating.
There’s been a lot of really great innovation and new products coming through, at a time of phenomenal growth in technical capabilities.
The payments space is always fast changing and that’s what makes it a really exciting and interesting place to be.