An International Company Flies Under the Radar

By Beacon Staff

From a humble office in a small Montana resort town, officials at NXGEN Payment Services think in global terms.

But just getting to the international level hasn’t been enough for them. They want NXGEN to get there and make a splash. And with the recent announcement of a major international expansion, the payment processing industry is feeling NXGEN’s splash, reverberating across the globe.

Through a new deal, in partnership with Atlanta-based Elavon, NXGEN’s payment services – most notably credit card processing – will now extend to 16 countries worldwide, quadruple the company’s previous total. The added countries are all in Europe. Company officials say South America and Asia are next on their radar.

According to a recent press release, the estimated value of the deal exceeds $1.5 billion in transaction volume. NXGEN’s headquarters are in Whitefish, with satellite offices across the country and in Canada and London.

“We’re really the only company in the world that provides these services in 16 countries,” Giuseppe Caltabiano, NXGEN’s president, said in an interview.

NXGEN works with banks and credit unions across the country, providing services and tools that allow the banks’ business customers to accept payment methods such as credit cards, in addition to other services. NXGEN receives a percentage of the transactions.

Other NXGEN services include check verification and guarantee; electronic gift and loyalty cards; Internet e-commerce processing; dynamic currency conversion; ATMs; and merchant cash advance.

The company bills itself as the “largest worldwide Merchant Service Provider of payment processing.” Also, on its website, NXGEN states that it was awarded top compliance for fraud prevention and risk management by MasterCard and Visa.

Michael Jaffe, an NXGEN owner and its vice president of global marketing and new programs, said there are more than 3,000 Independent Sales Organizations (ISO) like his company nationwide, but few of comparable size. Most, he said, have one to five employees, while NXGEN has 35 full-time employees in its Whitefish office alone, plus 160 independent contractors and 10 other workers spread across the country.

“We’re unique in size – most our size have been bought out,” Jaffe said. “We have no debt and we’re growing.”

Jaffe and his business partners started NXGEN in Whitefish in 1999. The partners had previously been involved in the payment services industry but sought the desirable lifestyle of Northwest Montana, Jaffe said. In the Flathead, NXGEN officials have found a suitable environment to expand their business and enjoy their free time.

“We’re very proud to have an international company based in the valley,” Jaffe said. “I definitely feel like I can put my staff up against anybody. Their talent and ability is every bit comparable to anybody else’s in the industry or better.”

Kim Morisaki of Montana West Economic Development calls Jaffe and NXGEN’s other executives “Lifestyle CEOs.” They want the Montana lifestyle and are willing to run their international business from a small town in order to enjoy that lifestyle.

“We find that most people that move their businesses here fit that profile,” Morisaki said.

“We recognize the fact that they are in 16 countries and they’re doing a great job,” she added. “And their headquarters are in Whitefish. They could literally be anywhere in the world and they choose to be here.”

Morisaki said Caltabiano spoke to a crowd of about 150 businesspeople at a recent economic seminar titled “Building Bridges to Canada.” He discussed the potential benefits of using NXGEN’s “dynamic currency conversion” when accepting Canadian credit cards to minimize costs.

Also, Morisaki said Jaffe did a video interview with Montana West Economic Development “about why the Flathead is a good place to do business.” That video will be shown on a big-screen television at Glacier Park International Airport during the summer tourism season, Morisaki said.

“They’ve helped us a lot,” Morisaki said.

Morisaki says NXGEN has flown “a little under the radar,” considering how large the company is. But they’re making efforts to “let the world know that they’re here,” and she hopes people – especially other potential Lifestyle CEOs – notice.

“NXGEN is exactly the kind of company we’d like to see more of in the Flathead Valley,” Morisaki said.

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