Evan Albert represents one of the cofounders of Seamless Chex, a paperless checking industry that began 9 years ago in 2012. Due to demand, they created a company called Paynote in 2018 to complement their existing business, adding the payment processing facet to their suite of services. Although they specialize in high-risk businesses, they focus on value-add solutions for all industry types. Before creating his own company, he gained most of his experience working on Wall Street. At Lehman Brothers, Barclays, and others are where he was first truly exposed to the ins and outs of ACH payments and credit card processing.
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We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to Valiant CEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Evan Albert: Hello, my name is Evan Albert, and my brother Jon and I founded Seamless Chex and a host of other services to complement our business in early 2012. Seamless Chex and Paynote provide online payment processing solutions for retail, eCommerce, check verification, and many more facets of digital sales and business. Our mission is to enhance payment technology for our multitude of users and provide complex solutions to the many payment challenges faced by each unique industry. We understood early on that the world was growing more reliant on technology and figured that most industries would need to adapt or fall behind.
Our company strives to help merchants expand their businesses by making digital payments easier, faster, and more secure than ever before. We provide a cost-effective alternative to paper checks, traditional credit card processing, and ACH payments, one which enables large, scalable, and sustainable merchant accounts. We work primarily to add value to your business, covering all payment processing needs, endorsing eCommerce, and working intimately with the banking industry. So whether you are sending or receiving or receiving payments, regardless of if it is a chip, ACH, or credit card: we have a solution.
Over time, we have only enhanced these functions by continuously updating our technology, interface, and connections with the banking world. Almost a decade later, Seamless Chex produces almost 100 times the volume it had within its first year, covering merchants all across the country, and expanding over 500 different industries’ growth.
Who has been the most influential person(s) in your life and how did they impact you? How did that lead to where you are today?
Evan Albert: The most influential person in my life has been and continues to be my father. My dad epitomizes the ‘hardworking American.’ Throughout my childhood, I watched him come home from work exhausted daily for the sake of providing for us. Regardless of the clear mental and physical toll work had regularly served him, every day he would still take the time to listen, advise, and love each of his three children. My dad ingrained into me the importance of effort, instilling the values of working hard, respecting others, and never taking shortcuts.
He would tell me that I needed to show up every day as my best self to succeed and that if I could, I would be able to provide for my family in the same way. Unlike other children in my hometown, there was no family business, money, or anything of that nature to fall back on if I should fail. Succeeding was the only option, but luckily my dad had given me the blueprints to achieve. He always supported my entrepreneurial spirit and encouraged me to be innovative in my professional life. I don’t know if I would be nearly as successful in business if it weren’t for his dogged perseverance, but I do know that I would not be nearly as successful as a person if it weren’t for him.
2020 was a challenging year for all of us, particularly for businesses. How did the pandemic impact your business? Please list some of the problems that you faced, and how you handled them.
Evan Albert: Coronavirus-19 was detrimental to many businesses. As Seamless Chex is based in New York, we were devastated watching local businesses struggle to survive the decrease in customers, materials, and employees. Having said that, the pandemic created many opportunities for our company. Since we specialize in electronic payments, we were able to accommodate the payment processing needs of businesses across all industry types. Many offices were forced to decentralize and subsequently required an electronic method to send and receive payments, and Seamless Chex was able to provide that solution. Paynote also saw an uptick in cliental for accounts payable, as merchants were forced to adapt to electronic payments and found that they no longer needed or wanted to send paper checks by mail.
One of the biggest hardships we did face during the pandemic was figuring out how to work in a remote setting. Like many others, we quickly needed to learn how to navigate telework and adjust to the remote environment. Utilizing many of the popular video-call and communication platforms, we were able to overcome this difficulty and work as a team.
The pandemic led to a myriad of cultural side effects, including one that was quite unexpected that is informally known as “The Great Resignation”. Did this widespread trend affect you in any way?
Evan Albert: Fortunately, we did not endure the negative side effects from “The Great Resignation”. On the contrary, we were in higher demand and the resigned employees sought out companies like ours for work. “The Great Resignation” showed individuals what sort of businesses could survive a crisis like the pandemic: online payments, technology, and other IT companies not only survived but thrived under these conditions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. How do you feel about this trend? Explain.
Evan Albert: I feel that this trend comes across as a negative statistic, meanwhile I perceive this as largely positive. The majority of these individuals have shifted their work priorities and have left positions for higher-paying salaries. Americans have found positions more suited to their lifestyles, be it more flexible hours or higher pay grades. Although this means temporary job displacement, a large number of these Americans were able to make this shift for an ‘upgrade’ in their employment status.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, Employees between 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021. That can be quite an alarming rate. What advice would you share to increase employee retention?
Evan Albert: I would advise employers to provide good benefits, promote open conversations about compensation, and be deliberate about expectations. These actions will encourage a good work environment and enable employees to express concerns within the given work environment. It is important to be upfront about requirements such as in-person work/telework/etc. For this particular age group, I find it also may be prudent to provide good childcare options with flexible work hours to accommodate those with children. As we have seen schools shut down and students working from home, this may be a necessity for many employees.
According to a Nature Human behavior study, In 2020, 80% of US workers reported feeling that they have too many things to do and not enough time to do them – a phenomenon known as “time poverty”. What is your take on the work-life balance? Explain.
Evan Albert: Work-life balance is important for employee retention, as it distinctly defines what duties your employees are responsible for and when they must put these responsibilities aside. Employers must make allowances for those with special needs, like childcare and so on. Promoting a positive work-life balance will increase productivity, keep employees motivated, and guarantee positive morale in the workplace.
A more recent survey by Joblist asked about 3,000 respondents if they’re actively thinking about leaving their job. That survey found that 73% of 2,099 respondents who answered this question on their employment plans are considering quitting. How are you preparing for the future to counter this potentially persistent problem?
Evan Albert: Promoting work-life balance is key. Keeping employees satisfied is also crucial. One can accomplish this by checking in with their employees: seeing how they are managing their workload if have any questions, or how they feel about their position.
Thank you for all that, our readers are grateful for your insightful comments! Now, if the Great Resignation isn’t your greatest concern, what is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Evan Albert: Currently, the most pressing issue we are facing is high volume and new industry types looking for online payment solutions. Consequently, we are learning the new businesses and addressing the corresponding needs for each merchant category. High-volume requires us to be on our “A-game” consistently as we are dealing with a larger workload.
Before we finish things off, we do have one last question. If you had 10 Million Dollars to spend in one day, what would you spend it on?
Evan Albert: I would spend a million dollars on a lavish employee retreat for some team building, providing a pleasant way to reconnect in person. I would dedicate another $2 million to training programs and new computers/technology for my business needs. Additionally, I would allocate another 2 million dollars to provide bonuses to all of my staff to reward them for their hard work during these uncertain times. Another 3 million dollars will fund value-add features to the business platform, like office space, URL updates, and benefit programs. The final 2 million dollars will be invested into various cryptocurrencies, promoting diversity and again adding value for the company’s future.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Evan Albert for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Evan Albert or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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