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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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