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Nov 2015

Michael Dooley Joins The Strawhecker Group as Director of Business Development

The Strawhecker Group (TSG), has announced today the addition of Director of Business Development, Michael Dooley who brings over 20 years of deep experience in managing sales and client projects. Dooley will use his expertise to help TSG reach new heights and grow its dedicated consulting practice by improving speed and efficiency.

"Dooley is a major addition to TSG," said Kurt Strawhecker, Managing Partner. "His industry experience, coupled with his consulting background, will be a great benefit for clients, further cementing TSG as the industry's leading provider of advisory services," added Strawhecker.

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Nov 2015

ETA Helps Tech Companies Find Opportunity in $5 Trillion Payments Industry

ETA and The Strawhecker Group revealed the latest research on the future of FinTech at TRANSACT Tech. The report shows the payments industry is a lucrative growth sector for startups and established industries alike because it embraces innovation and companies are eager to form partnerships to fill gaps or gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. ETA Members can access the report here.

Globally, the report found that nearly 800 payments mergers and acquisitions occurred between September 2014 and September 2015, netting an average price of about $90 million per deal. Half of those deals were in the U.S. market. Top company categories include crypto currency, mobile payments and card processors.


Oct 2015

TSG in Digital Transactions: Merchant Acquirer TransFirst Takes Another Stab at an IPO

TransFirst’s timing of its IPO is intriguing given the number of payments companies with IPO announcements, says Kurt Strawhecker, managing partner of Omaha, Neb.-based The Strawhecker Group, a payments advisory firm.

“The list includes Worldpay, First Data and Square,” Strawhecker says via email. “This would appear to indicate the overall strength and continued growth potential of the payments industry—especially in the face of a few other IPOs so far this calendar year.”

It may not hurt that payments is getting a lot of attention this year, especially among the broader consumer press because of the EMV migration and mobile commerce, he says. “Current public payment stocks such as Visa, Vantiv and MasterCard have been strong performers, so it may feel like a ripe time from the perspective of these investment entities to get these companies back into the public markets,” he says.


Oct 2015

TSG in The Green Sheet: A Week to Remember for Payments IPOs

The week of Oct. 12 to 16, 2015, was a historic one for payments industry IPOs, with Worldpay Group plc going public Oct. 13 on the London Stock Exchange and two days later First Data Corp. on the New York Stock Exchange. Before the week was over, two more companies had filed registration statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for proposed IPOs, Square Inc. on Oct 14 and TransFirst LLC on Oct. 16.

Capital investment in the financial technology sector has been consistent as competition heats up nationally and globally. "Current public payment stocks such as Visa, Vantiv and MA [MasterCard] have been strong performers," said Jared Drieling, Business Intelligence Manager for The Strawhecker Group. "This clearly indicates that some of the major investment firms and equity groups feel that this is an ideal time to offload or minimize their investments in these payment companies since the payments market is hot."


Oct 2015

TSG in MIT Technology Review - Why Apple Pay’s Slow Start Doesn’t Mean It’s a Failure

Exactly what we should have expected, actually. It was never a secret to those close to the payments and retail businesses that usage of Apple Pay would be slow to build. Here’s why: although many major retailers such as Rite Aid, McDonald’s, and Best Buy take Apple Pay, only 27 percent of U.S. retail outlets, which include millions of small businesses, have the new checkout terminals needed to accept it, according to a September 17 study by the Strawhecker Group, a payments consultant. As a result, it’s hard even for people who have used Apple Pay to get in the habit of paying with it.


Oct 2015

TSG Commentary on EMV - Anecdotes from Around the Country

TSG Associates were trying to use their chip cards around the country over the last week – here are some of their experiences:


  • “The first dip I had was at a small liquor store in Estes Park over the weekend and then Home Depot today. I wonder if liquor stores are more concerned with fraud?”
  • “My local drycleaner was under the impression that EMV was a government enforced law.”


  • Sign posted at a local vitamin shop: “Until our equipment is able to take chip cards, all credit card transactions over $25.00, will require a photo ID” “All transactions over $250.00, will require address verification”
  • “Just had my first dip of a chip at Home Depot - they just went live and the clerk was very well informed of the process and Oct. 1 date, etc.”

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Sep 2015

Which Types of Retail Merchants are EMV-Ready?

The Strawhecker Group (TSG) released data today, ahead of the October 1st liability shift, that represents EMV-readiness by merchant type. Among merchants in the retail category, 69 percent of Shoe Stores and 59 percent of Department Stores have EMV-ready terminals. On the lower end of the spectrum, 23 percent of Stationary Stores and 24 percent of Book Stores have EMV-ready terminals.

“It makes sense that certain retail merchant types are more ready than others for the liability shift, as some are much more likely to potentially see fraudulent transactions,” says Mike Strawhecker, Principal at TSG. “While many retailers have not yet upgraded their terminals, big-box merchants such as Walmart and Target are ready for October 1st.”

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In conjunction with this release, TSG has published a chart looking at 30 retail merchant types and their respective EMV-readiness: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/fdd15cca0b92ae5a85c1daf76/files/Why_Types_....


Sep 2015

TSG in The New York Times: Coming Soon to Checkouts - Microchip-Card Payment Systems

Visa drew a line in the sand four years ago: American merchants would have until October 2015 to update their systems or absorb the losses themselves. Other major card networks quickly adopted the same deadline.

Just days before the deadline, few merchants are ready.

A handful of national retailers — most prominently, Walmart and Target — have invested in E.M.V.-ready terminals and spoken publicly about the switch, but many others have stayed silent. Around 27 percent of American merchants will be ready to process E.M.V. cards next month, according to a survey conducted this month by the Strawhecker Group, a consulting firm for the payments industry.

For small sellers, the readiness rate is even lower. Banks and industry groups estimate that one in five will have their new systems running by Oct. 1. Both systems will continue to be available during a lengthy transition period.


Sep 2015

Two Weeks Out- How Ready are U.S. Merchants for EMV?

The Strawhecker Group (TSG) released survey results today that illustrated only 27 percent of U.S. merchants will be EMV-ready by the October 1st liability shift. This represents a sizable decline from 34 percent estimated in March.

By December 2015, 44 percent of U.S. merchants are expected to adopt EMV, however EMV-readiness will not reach a threshold of least 90 percent until 2017 – more than 15 months after the shift.

“Though the cost to become EMV-ready may be substantial to many, merchants with fraud exposure should get ready for the liability shift,” says Mike Strawhecker, Principal at TSG. “This would include merchants that are targets for fraudsters because they sell items that might have high value and/or can be easily resold such as electronics, household appliances, and jewelry.”

EMV may not be as much of an issue for certain merchant types, such as restaurants for example, that have a lower likelihood of fraud. One survey respondent said, “I think that EMV is being overblown in terms of urgency for the vast majority of merchants in the U.S.”

Read more here.


Sep 2015

The Strawhecker Group Advises Terrapin Financial Services in Its Sale to BluePay

The Strawhecker Group (TSG) is pleased to announce its role as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to Terrapin Financial Services (Terrapin) in their sale to BluePay Processing (BluePay), a leading provider of technology-enabled payment processing for enterprise, small and medium-sized businesses in the United States and Canada.

Founded in 2006, Terrapin is a merchant services company focused on the financial institution channel and has partnerships with over 25 banks in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. This high growth company serves 4,000 merchants processing over $1.2 billion in annual dollar volume.

Terrapin’s leadership team of Joe Posey, Prudence Posey, and Clint Lucas are excited for their company’s new chapter as part of BluePay. “Led by John Rante, BluePay truly fits our strategic, technical and cultural needs, which provides a great opportunity for future success,” explained Joe Posey.

TSG is well versed in the transaction advisory space, having completed business assessments for more than 150 payments companies with values up to $2 Billion in addition to advising on over 20 successfully completed transactions over the past nine years.