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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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Dec 2016

TSG in Digital Transactions - Payments IPOs Plunge in 2016, but 2017 Could See Some High-Profile Offerings

“IPO windows come in cycles,” Jared Drieling, business intelligence manager at The Strawhecker Group, an Omaha, Neb.-based consulting firm, tells Digital Transactions News. “There’s a lot of different variables.”

Common reasons for IPOs include generating funds for business expansion, enabling existing investors to cash out, and debt reduction. Those factors played varying roles in the IPOs of First Data, which raised $2.56 billion, and Square, which raised about $231 million before underwriting expenses. Last year also saw payment card manufacturer CPI Card Group Inc. complete an IPO, and online-payments leader PayPal Holdings Inc. separated from long-time parent company eBay Inc. On the global market, London-based merchant processor Worldpay completed a $3.32 billion IPO.

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Dec 2016

Transaction Trends Feature: Kurt Strawhecker Ponders Next Steps for Payments

Already a seasoned ad executive, Kurt Strawhecker joined First Data in the 1980s and started a marketing division that reportedly put the first stuffers in credit card statement envelopes. Then, a decade ago, he and Jamie Savant launched the Strawhecker Group, which the founders say mixes lengthy experience with Big Data to advise clients on all aspects of payments. Here, he leverages both to offer some insights on the industry.

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Nov 2016

Loyalty Could Attract US Millennials to Mobile Payments

Millennials, or what many refer to as "digital natives," continue to draw attention from all corners of commerce. This group — roughly individuals who are now in that long-prized 18- to 35-year-old age group — is the single largest generation ever seen in the U.S., with 75.3 million members at the end of last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  

As a generation, their habits, attitudes and thinking reflect the enormous change technology has had on our world. For instance, analysts like those at The Strawhecker Group (TSG), have asserted that millennials now play a critical role in leading overall adoption and use of consumer technology. That is, in part, why those seeking to understand which changes are still to come in social and consumer behavior are watching millennials for answers.

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