Exeleon Magazine

Andy Phillips: Simplifying Payments Space

Andy Phillips_Exeleon Magazine

Over the past five decades, financial institutions have transformed the face of the payments industry. Moreover, with the advent of technological disruptions, the payment space continues to serve a variety of purposes. Its promising growth has also attuned more people to adopt efficient transactions and reap the benefits of frictionless payment systems.

With this, more entrepreneurs are innovating products and designing services to make it a seamless and unique experience. Contributing to these efforts is Andy Phillips, Founder and CEO of Cliq. A celebrated veteran in the payment-processing industry, Andy has created one of the leading giants of innovative prepaid card solutions and merchant processing services through his vision, perseverance during trials and tribulations, and drive to accomplish what others cannot.

Andy moves at the speed of now. His intention is to deliver top of the line services without any hassle through his one-of-a-kind business model that supports both business and consumer markets. The aim of this boutique firm is to design processes and support merchants to meet their specific needs. This has also helped him form a dynamic vision to produce the best ideas and find latent opportunities.+

Building resilience

Early childhood experiences play a significant role in every adult’s life, as it provides a strong and broad foundation for lifelong learning. It also builds emotional, physical, and social well-being. Andy learned this at the young, impressionable age of 8, delivering newspapers before and after school, in the snowy terrain of Denver. In many ways, it set him up for his entrepreneurial journey.

He taught himself how to work and overcome obstacles one step at a time. “Failure wasn’t an option; people wanted their papers. I worked all the way through school, in fact, every year,” he fondly recollects.

And during his high school years, Andy stepped into the construction industry where he worked every day after school until the sun went down, and on the weekends. “I was born to work,” he explains.  This was his first step towards becoming an empowering leader. “I loved the hard labor, and I loved the creation even more,” he remarks. Consequently, this gave him the confidence to start his own framing and trim company. He bolstered the courage to pivot from the traditional route of college and eventually, dove straight into self-employment to find his recipe for a successful life.

Tryst with destiny

With the economy struggling in the early-80s, Andy’s construction company felt the impact of the recession. This led Andy to seek other opportunities; ones that would support his entrepreneurial goals, but also take care of his family. An opportunity to purchase a check-recovery business called CheckRite was presented to Andy, which proved to be a crucial moment in his career. By identifying his customer’s needs, Andy was able to discover a huge untapped market for an end-to-end electronic payments solution.

In an industry that was underdeveloped at the time, Andy set his sights on creating and integrating these homegrown systems to hundreds of retailers. His ambitions led him  to found his first true payment company, Integrated Transaction Services (ITS), which he sold in 1996. In 1998 he founded Payment Resources Int’l, a creator of one of the first internet payment gateways in the USA,  which was eventually sold to TransFirst in 2004. He believes in the saying, “third times a charm,” as this holds true for his third payment company: Cliq.

Uncovering opportunities

Andy has been a trailblazer in the payments ecosystem. Though he as had multiple setbacks as have most successful entrepreneurs, it has never dampened his energy as he turned every challenge into a learning experience.

From the early stages of Andy’s career, to forming Cliq, to winning several accolades, Andy has constantly challenged himself. The industry “standard” is simply not good enough for him. His role as the founder of this innovative payment platform continues to make an impact every day.

Besides his thirst to develop solutions, Andy stands tall on his customer-centric approach that gives his company a compelling value. He says, “Today, first, it’s not what people want, it’s what they demand.” And this thought has snowballed into positive results. He has now created a big window to differentiate the firm through his dynamic, diverse, and digital strategies.

The balancing act

Not all entrepreneur days are the same, but each day is planned to make the most out of it. For Andy, this includes leading weekly meetings with his management and finance team, brainstorming with individual managers, interacting with business development teams and keeping track of distribution channels, client relationships, and strengthening his leadership skills. Above all, his ultimate goal is to always support and create a unified vision for the company, while embodying a subset of specific values.

One of those values, Andy believes, is having a flourishing personal life while being a visionary leader.  Being at the helm of crucial roles that require energy, courage, and tenacity, Andy did not neglect his priceless relationship with his wife, children, and grandchildren. He believes that the challenges that he overcame due to his early career decisions shaped his destiny to a great extent.

Andy also took self-care seriously and indulged in experiences like flying airplanes, climbing tall peaks, extreme skiing, jumping horses, life coaching and almost anything that gets his adrenaline pumping. This helped him in handling things with candor and care.

The dream Team

A company’s success hinges on a team that has the ability to add unmatched value. Andy credits his success to his capable, loyal, and hardworking team, many of which have ridden the wave of highs and lows, along with him. “The lows have made the highs just that much better. I firmly believe everything happens for a reason,” he says.

His tightly knit team, some from the previous two ventures, strongly believe in his solid conviction and optimism. Hooked on the motto “you dream it up, we will fulfil it,” this unique dynamic processing system caters to those seeking specialized integrated solutions.

Being one of the first EBT processor in the country in the early 90’s and one of the first full-service internet gateway providers in the late 90’s, his team has delivered, time and again. It fulfilled the vision to be one of the nation’s largest non-bank ACH processors while delivering conventional and/or alternative payments. This has advanced Cliq’s versatile services – large or small – by evolving continuously. Another added bonus is the flexible infrastructure that modifies the “box” to support various merchants’ wishes and desires.

Value bombs from the past

Riding on his belief that “everything happens for a reason,” he decodes his learning experiences behind every mistake for inspiration. “All of the mistakes I’ve made up until now (which are too numerous to list) have provided me with the experience and wisdom to be the CEO I am today,” he says.

Andy earnestly believes that roadblocks don’t pull him down. He says, “I don’t look at roadblocks as blocks in the road, rather I look at them as hurdles, challenges and opportunities.” His humility, determination, and wisdom have been consequences of overcoming these obstacles. “My success is not my success, it’s our success,” he quickly adds.

Fruits for Future

Andy’s success can be attributed to his strong leadership and perseverance, committed team members, innovative technology and loyal customer base. He wishes for a day when Cliq becomes an ingenious name in the payment sector and beyond. He says, “We are pioneers, that is what got us to where we are today and that is what drives us every day.”

His pride for the team is truly admirable. He has bigger and higher expectations to build an effective hybrid fintech company that specializes in all forms of payments. The goal is to build a best of breed platform in the payments space — a frictionless, multi-faceted solution. And with the continuous addition of businesses of all types, Andy’s on his way to grander success.

A mindset of reinvention

Every successful person has seen rough days. These experiences have made their principles and values shine brighter, especially during dark times. Andy’s advice for aspiring and emerging leaders in the payment space is to create and define their own identity,. “If you think you can simply hang out your shingle and start calling on merchants, find another career,” he suggests.

Transformation is second nature to this industry with the booming, daily advances of technology which infiltrate everyone’s lives. He also thinks that this is the time to co-create and unravel your true potential. He concludes, “Be prepared to work harder than the next guy, be creative, be clear and focused and most of all, have a solid strategy and a distinctive differentiator.”

Visit Cliq Website.

Read Digital Version.

Read Previous

Nicole Martin: Helping your Business do what it does Best

Read Next

Scott Cullather: The Wizard of Brand Storytelling