Companies in this industry provide services such as credit card processing, electronic funds transfer, and check clearing. Major companies include Alliance Data Systems, First Data, Global Payments, Heartland Payment Systems, MasterCard, Visa, and Western Union (all based in the US), as well as China UnionPay (China), Cielo (Brazil), and Moneris Solutions (Canada).
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 economies of scale in processing and typically can provide more services; small companies can compete by specializing in industries and providing custom services. The US industry is highly concentrated: the top 50 companies account for about 85% of industry revenue.
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.Buy Now