Evolution of Merchant Acquiring in Europe


Evolution of Merchant Acquiring in Europe

New Mercator Advisory Group research discusses challenges for merchant acquirers in the Europe.

Published on: November 3, 2017
Author: Ken Paterson
Alternate Point of Contact: Amy Dunckelmann

When credit cards were introduced in Europe, the market was still very fragmented. For the most part, merchant acquiring was a low priority for the banking industry. The focus was on card issuance, and the acquiring business was treated as a utility with a domestic focus to facilitate those card-issuing businesses. In a fairly short time though, Europe has become a very competitive acquiring market. The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) initiative and regulation harmonizing cross-border payments facilitated new market entry and the evolution of new business models. The dust hasn’t settled yet.

A new Mercator Advisory Group research report, Evolution of Merchant Acquiring in Europe, reviews how the European merchant acquiring market has developed to its current state and discusses what acquirers need to do to remain competitive.

This research report contains 36 pages and 21 exhibits.

Companies mentioned in this report include: Advent International and Bain Capital (CartaSi, Concardis), Adyen, BNP Paribas Fortis, B+S Card Service, card complete, CardProcess, First Data and ABN AMRO (EMS), Mastercard, Nets, PayLife Bank, SIX Group, UNICRE, Visa, Worldpay, and Worldline.

Highlights of the research report include:

  • Historical context :from domestic interbank utilities to a competitive market, unbundling of Interpay, acquiring for international card schemes, domestic card schemes
  • Current credit and debit card landscape: mobile payments, card-not-present transactions, regulations (interchange, Payment Services Directive 2, authentication standard)
  • Other factors affecting acquirers: alternative payment methods, Payment Initiation Services, instant payments
  • Value chain shifts
  • Active market dynamics for acquirers: the players, joint ventures
  • Implications: Volume winner take all? Domestic focus or pan-European? sale of merchant portfolios and other options



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