Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Credit Card Processing is a $40 Billion Dollar Industry

Just how much money is involved with the merchant service industry? The answer in the US is $40 Billion. According to a report by Research and Marketsleading industry intelligence company:

The US credit card processing industry includes about 2,000 companies with combined annual revenue over $40 billion. Major companies include Banc of America Merchant Services (a joint venture between Bank of America and First Data), Alliance Data Systems, Total System Services, Heartland Payment Systems, and Global Payments. The industry is highly concentrated: the top four companies account for nearly 40 percent of industry revenue.


Demand is driven by consumer spending. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations, as services are sold largely based on cost. Large companies have big economies of scale in processing and can provide more services; small companies can compete by specializing in industries and providing custom services. The business is capital-intensive: average annual revenue per employee is about $330,000.


Processors provide transaction services to banks that issue credit cards and to merchants that accept credit card payments. Merchant products include authorizing, capturing, and settling merchants’ credit and debit card transactions, and handling chargebacks. Chargebacks occur when a consumer disputes a charge and charges it back to the merchant. Processors also sell or lease point-of-sale (POS) terminals. Card issuer products include transaction authorization and posting, statement generation and printing, and card embossing.

Large processors such as First Data Corporation and Total System Services provide services to both sides of the transaction. Small processors typically offer either merchant or card issuing services, and may specialize ...

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