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Apr 2017

TSG in Digital Transactions: Despite Hundreds of Players, Just a Few Processors Dominate the Acquiring Industry

Consulting firm The Strawhecker Group is out with its 2016 rankings of U.S. merchant acquirers, and they show that 240 acquirers and independent sales organizations processed more than $5 trillion in payment volume. The 10 biggest acquirers accounted for 80% of that volume.

Topping the list is JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Chase Commerce Solutions, which posted $1 trillion in U.S. volume last year. Next was First Data Corp.’s direct acquiring business, with $770 billion.

The next eight were: Bank of America Merchant Services, $730 billion; Vantiv Inc., $550 billion; U.S. Bancorp’s Elavon, $320 billion; Wells Fargo Merchant Services, $275 billion; Global Payments Inc. (excluding its Heartland Payment Systems and OpenEdge units), $200 billion; Citigroup Inc.’s Citi Merchant Services, $200 billion; Heartland, $130 billion; and TSYS Merchant Solutions/TransFirst, $120 billion.

First Data, however, is the clear leader when all of its sprawling acquiring businesses, including joint ventures with some of the nation’s largest banks, are added together. The Atlanta-based firm processes for BofA, Wells Fargo, Citi, SunTrust, PNC, and through them, scores of ISOs, many of them billion-dollar-plus entities in themselves. Combined, those five bank partnerships alone generated $1.31 billion in volume last year, putting First Data’s estimated total volume at more than $2 trillion.

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Apr 2017

TSG in Digital Transactions: The Battle of the Contactless POS Technologies

The overall goals of the contactless-payment provider play a key role in which technology to use, says Jared Drieling, business intelligence manager at The Strawhecker Group, an Omaha, Neb.-based payments consultancy.

A service like Chase Pay, which incorporates technology from the QR code-based CurrentC mobile-payments service developed by the Merchant Customer Exchange LLC consortium, is a closed-loop system, he says, while the Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay services have a different goal. “They view their mobile wallets as another prong to get mobile users onto their operating systems,” Drieling says.

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Mar 2017

Now Available: Directory of U.S. Merchant Acquirers

TSG's newest Directory of U.S. Merchant Acquirers is now available. This eReport features profiles on 240 Acquirers that include the country's top tier and technology-centered players.

This information, built upon primary and secondary research, provides an unprecedented and detailed look at the players currently involved in the merchant acquiring marketplace. The report is an excellent tool for competitive awareness, M&A activity, potential partnerships and general reference purposes. 

The data included was collected from the companies via a survey in early 2017, from public sources, and/or are estimates by TSG. Where illustrated, numbers have been rounded and are intended to be directional in nature. Company profiles include (as available) processor relationships, merchant vertical specializations, dollar volume statistics, transaction counts, active merchant outlet counts, corporate structures, sponsor banks, partnerships and more. 

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Mar 2017

Credit Card Chips: Industry Grapples with Costly POS Upgrades

Consumers love credit cards for quick and easy purchases. Merchants? Not so much. One big problem is fraud: Transactions with bogus plastic can drain significant sums from the bottom line.

In a move to address security concerns, the card industry has introduced plastic with embedded chips highly resistant to counterfeiting. Even so, many businesses are delaying the costly investments required to upgrade their point-of-sale (POS) terminals to read the new technology.

“By late 2016, only 44 percent of U.S. merchants of all kinds had installed chip-reading terminals,” says Jared Drieling, Business Intelligence Manager at The Strawhecker Group, an Omaha-based consulting firm specializing in the electronic payments industry. “And only 29 percent of merchants had activated such terminals to actually accept transactions.”

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Feb 2017

Peter Michaud Joins TSG as Director - Project Management

TSG has announced the addition of Peter Michaud to its team as Director - Project Management. Michaud is a payments industry expert, having recently led Product Development at Hap-X and Competitive Intelligence at TSYS. His depth of knowledge on the industry will help him serve TSG clients across the ecosystem in various capacities including product development and corporate strategy.

“We are very excited to have Peter join the team,” said Kurt Strawhecker, Managing Partner. “His breadth and depth of knowledge on the payments industry is elite.  With markets like B2B and Healthcare moving away from cash and check and towards electronic payments, Peter’s skillset is invaluable to have on the TSG team for our clients.”

Prior to joining TSG, Michaud was the Vice President of Product Development at Hap-X, a leading healthcare B2B payments company acquired by Global Healthcare Exchange in 2016.  He also worked at TSYS as the leader of Market Research and Competitive Intelligence for TSYS Merchant Segment and as the head of Financial Planning and Analysis for TSYS Acquiring Solutions. 

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Feb 2017

TSG Promotes Judith Tullius to Executive Operations Specialist

TSG is pleased to announce the promotion of Judith Tullius to Executive Operations Specialist.

Judith has made significant contributions to TSG since joining in 2014 through her extensive corporate, administrative, and office management experience. Her responsibilities include improving office operations, managing administrative tasks, and being the central point of contact for incoming communications to the company.

"Judith is the glue that keeps everything together,” said Mike Strawhecker, Principal of TSG. “Judith’s charm, intelligence, and witty sense of humor creates an inviting atmosphere for TSG staff and clients alike,” added Strawhecker.

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Feb 2017

Now Available: Payment Gateway Directory

TSG has just released its expanded/updated Payment Gateway Directory. This eReport covers:

  • 50 leading/emerging gateway providers (twice as many as the 2016 edition)
    • From players with hundreds of billions in processing volume to those with hundreds of thousands
  • 54 metrics on functionality and company information (as available)
    • Side-by-side comparisons on each provider covers over 3,000 data points

Gateway data points have been primarily gathered from company surveys. Additional research included calls, web research, and internal TSG knowledge.

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Jan 2017

What’s “In-Store” For Payments In 2017?

Commentary by Jared Drieling, Business Intelligence Manager

The world around us has become increasingly connected, and as such purchasing behaviors of consumers are evolving as well as the tactics merchants are pursuing to take advantage of this reality. For consumers, merchants and payment providers, the need is clear: a frictionless, efficient and pay anywhere, anytime platform. Unfortunately, for many incumbents with legacy technology, supporting digital and physical payments across multiple channels was a key hurdle in 2016. More so, the transition to EMV distracted attention and resources to developing innovative products that could tackle some of these pressing issues. As the industry struggled with EMV and faced legacy technological challenges, emerging players without legacy technology, such as WePay and Adyen, continued to take the market by storm and increasingly found themselves on the radars of many large acquiring entities.

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Jan 2017

10 Years With TSG - A Journey Through Time

In 2016, The Strawhecker Group (TSG) celebrated its ten year milestone. Now, as we kick-off 2017, we have compiled a timeline visual to illustrate how TSG has evolved over the years with the help of our clients, readers, and friends. Without you, we would not be the leading industry consultancy we are today.

Check out the timeline.

TSG wishes you and your firm a prosperous 2017!

Jan 2017

TSG in Digital Transactions - The Big Payoff in Big Data

Big data has been a hot topic for years as companies look for innovative ways to become more competitive, boost customer retention, and raise their bottom line. Now merchant acquirers, which are under constant pricing and customer-retention pressure, are taking a keen interest in it, too. 

“Acquirers that want to get ahead of the big-data curve have to invest in it,” says Jared Drieling, business intelligence manager for The Strawhecker Group, an Omaha, Neb.-based payments consultancy. “The investment is so great that only a handful of acquirers are proactively pursuing it.”

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