CardWeb.com’s CardExecs database of payments industry movers and shakers today features Biff Matthews, President & Founder of Cardware International.
Biff Matthews was born, raised and educated in West Virginia receiving a BBA in 1969 from Marshall University in Huntington WV.
Following a stint as personnel manager for one of Federated Department Stores in Memphis TN, he and a fellow member of the Memphis JC created, then sold a local entertainment and discount magazine.
Biff then moved to Columbus OH to assume a sales role for a then Master Charge acquirer-issuer, Ohio National Bank becoming sales manager the following year.
Biff is divorced, widowed and is now married to Terre, who is also from the same town. Terre was a cheerleader when Biff played high school sports and though they never dated, they double dated several times.
How long have you been in the payments industry? “I realized during the President’s Dinner at ETA that next year, 2011, it will be four decades.”
Why did you create a business your self? “It all started with imprinters with our bank along with the rest of the Columbus banks being overcharged by then Addressograph Multigraph. POS wasn’t a twinkle in anyone’s eye but one person at then City National Bank, the first BankAmericard franchise. I started repairing imprinters part time in my garage and never looked back.”
“We’ve just evolved, I say we’ve gone thru four or five iterations with the market to a point that CardWare is now THE single source for almost everything acquiring related in the electronic transaction industry.”
Why do you continue working at age 64? “I really enjoy our customers and suppliers, many of whom I have become close personal friends with. It is rewarding to provide solutions and make the business lives of our customers and their merchants easier. What I do is similar to my golf game, I hit several poor shots, practicing, and improving then hit that one great shot.”
What do you like about CardWare? “Without a doubt it is our people. We’ve had really good people over the years. Many moved on to better and bigger things. We now have an amazing staff that allows me the privilege of living and working from North Carolina.”
North Carolina? “Yes, my wife and I purchased a house this past October in Chocowinity, NC, located on what they call the inner banks. It is the west end of Pamlico Sound. I moved in late March while Terre is preparing the Ohio house for sale.”
“With today’s telephony and computer systems, I am literally an extension of our Ohio headquarters.”
“The NC purchase is a story itself. We traveled with close friends to China for over two weeks last October and while there negotiated the house purchase over the Internet. We made our initial offer the day before we boarded the plane and they accepted an offer two days before we returned home.”
What do you regret the most? “I’ve spent too much time working and not enough time with my family; still do unfortunately.”
On your bucket list what is yet to be accomplished? “I’ve traveled to several foreign countries, China in particular, piloted an airplane, ridden in a helicopter, owned boats and have flown a hang glider. Still to complete – parachute from an airplane, learn to play the piano, spend a month in South America, plus finish my private pilot’s license.”
Favorite color – “Yellow without a doubt.”
Favorite food – “Sushi, Sashimi and Kim chi. I’m pretty good with chop sticks. In fact, I was complimented in China on my ability to use chopsticks to pick up tofu, something difficult even for some Chinese.”
Favorite car – “1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350. Owned a Porsche 944 turbo for 20 years. It went from zero to ticket too quickly, too often so I finally had to sell it.”
Favorite music – “Anything except heavy metal and rap. My music collection spans gospel, rock and roll, soul, classical, big band, C&W and contemporary.”
Latest book – “I’m reading 1421 about the discovery of the Americas by the Chinese almost a century before Columbus is credited with finding Americas.”
Greatest fear – “Drowning.”