Order Form

    This individual Report Merchant Acquiring in the United States 2008: Birth of the Perfect Storm? is available for purchase. This Report is available to members of Mercator Advisory Group’s Credit Advisory Service. Please be advised that this Report is normally part of a research and advisory service that provides ongoing support throughout the year. As such, this Report contains significant depth of content that is selected for its strategic importance to our members. (For a description of these services, see our Advisory Services section).

    While the Report represents significant analyst time invested, there is no means of our ascertaining if it will fully meet your specific intended purposes. Typically, these Reports form the basis for future discussions with our clients where we are able to fine-tune additional information that we have gathered in the construction of the series of Reports (or locate new information rapidly due to our exclusive focus on gathering information in the payments industry) for specific member needs.

    Unfortunately, in fairness to our paying members, we are not able to offer this level of support for a single Report purchase. We will, however, credit any Research Document purchase against the future purchase price of the service should you become a member within 30 days of purchasing the document.

    The price for individual Report purchases is $2950 per document. 


    Use the form below to request this individual Report purchase or

    Click here for a fax-back order form




Merchant Acquiring in the United States 2008: Birth of the Perfect Storm?

Boston, MA
July 2008

Merchant Acquiring in the United States 2008: Birth of the Perfect Storm


As we pass the middle of the year 2008, those of us focused on the acquiring side of the payments industry have to wonder if this will be year that the business encounters its "Perfect Storm." Three major events are about to converge upon the industry that could drastically alter the way acquirers do business. Introduced in Congress earlier this year, the proposed legislation to regulate merchant costs of card acceptance is of chief concern. Cumulatively, the presence of regulatory and legislative scrutiny on the acquiring side of the bankcard space has never been more intense.

Thus far, 2008 has also seen the beginning of the dissolution and division into two pieces of the largest merchant acquiring venture in the world. The potential market churn that this action could create portends a very busy 2009.

The industry is also uncertain about the effects of a potential recession in the US economy and what that means for electronic payments. From one perspective, the overall electronification of payments in general bodes well for those managing the opportunity. On the other hand, if the overall power of the US consumer diminishes, electronification may not make much difference in the acquirer's bottom line.

So Legislation, Dissolution, and Recession are the three major forces poised to converge upon the acquiring space in what could be a perfect storm of radical change.

Several other topics or issues of general concern are either significant enough in scope to have an impact on the business collectively, or are beginning to emerge as influential factors that acquirers will need to address if they have not begun to do so already.

In this report we will focus on discussion of the current trends and topical concerns within the acquiring space, as well as provide in-depth analysis of data surrounding the performance and activities of the major market participants in 2007, as well as some of the most meaningful bit-players.

One of the 11 Figures included in this report

This report contains 26 pages and 11 exhibits.

Report Highlights:

  • If the first half of 2008 is any indication, the coming months promise to be a period of drastic change for the acquiring industry.
  • Legislative scrutiny, a tight economy, and the potential for a substantial increase in market churn are all converging on the acquiring space in what could be a "perfect storm."
  • Acquirers continue to face challenges to their core business from outside the industry. For ISOs in the US, the biggest "disintermediation threats" are coming from two places, banks and Capitol Hill.
  • The economics of acquiring themselves could even be subject to sweeping revision, creating a new paradigm for merchant services. Acquirers with a "holistic" solution set, selling on value, will have competitive advantage in what could amount to a radically different future.
  • Concerns about profitability will take center stage when convergence of the forces acting on the acquiring space begins to intensify.

David Fish, Senior Analyst in Mercator Advisory Group's Credit Advisory Service and principal analyst on the report, comments, "Diversification of merchant services business models and emphasis on ancillary revenue streams generated by value-added services, fee revenue on non-bankcard payment processing, and new ways in which acquirers can leverage their data will all be necessary for continued market performance. Payments savvy merchants, who understand that the electronification of payments and the systems that support them are tools that can be used to optimize business, are after providers that can help them achieve that optimization."

Members of Mercator Advisory Group have access to this report as well as the upcoming research for the year ahead, presentations, analyst access and other membership benefits.

Please visit us online at

For more information call Mercator Advisory Group's main line: 781-419-1700 or send email to