Payment Industry Consultants
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Portfolios

Leveraging Payments & Payments Technology Data for New Economy

Enough. Enough reading and re-reading the unrelenting onslaught of inbound emails from companies claiming to be able to guide you through this pandemic with their services and products. You’re in the payments business. You’re in an industry that’s famously resilient to disruption and downtrends. It’s time to do something for yourself, your family, and your company. Starting now. Read more...

The Next Tech Disruptor in SME Optimization and Operability

Consolidation and integration of efficient back office technologies and business processes is well on its way towards irrevocably changing the way small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) conduct their day-to-day operations. Much of what I’ve witnessed over the past five years has been a massive tech-amalgamation of value added software solutions to assist businesses with payments, CRM, marketing, rewards programs, couponing, payroll, inventory, POS, booking, reservations, ordering, delivery logistics, consumer financing at the register, invoicing, billing, and a myriad of other business management needs. The end game, one could argue – and I will Read more...

Portfolio Rationalization

Once upon a time, a merchant was a merchant was a merchant. The putative strategy in merchant acquiring was simple: board as many accounts as possible – big merchants, small merchants, low risk merchants, high risk merchants, and even new LLCs – basically any merchant with a checking account and an “open for business” sign. The rationale for this was straightforward: payments processing – transaction processing – produced real, actualizable revenue that made merchant acquiring a lucrative endeavor. Read more...

ISOs take note: The value of operational expertise is skyrocketing – The Green Sheet 4.26.2017

The value of operational expertise in the ISO world is skyrocketing, taking on new import as the business paradigm for merchant acquiring has transitioned away from transaction processing and toward delivering robust, all-encompassing, technology-based business management solutions for merchants.

As such, the fundamental nature of the ISO’s personnel makeup is changing as well. It’s no longer viable for an ISO to exist purely as a sales platform providing Level 1 support. Because the products and services that ISOs sell today are more expansive and sophisticated, the sales channel, support platform and ability to manage both all require a higher degree of business acumen. Read more...

Why Fintech M&A Doesn’t Happen

It’s an exciting time for mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) in financial technology (“fintech”). Buyers and sellers abound, the number of transactions continue to pile up, and “fintech” has become a sine qua non in the lexicon of every sentient private equity, venture capital, and strategic investor. Read more...

High Stakes for Agents in 2017: Re-evaluating the Agent vs ISO Question

As the acquiring industry continues to rapidly reinvent itself, birthing a variety of new, technology-centric business models to better service the demands of the modern day merchant, many long time merchant level salespersons (“MLS’s”) and agents are faced with the increased pressure of having to decide how best to position their companies for a successful future. The sheer velocity of this “reinvention” of the acquiring industry has forced many agents to re-evaluate the upside of continuing their agent status versus registering directly with MasterCard and VISA and becoming an ISO. As a “successful future” for a business is oft measured by sustainability, growth, and value creation, 2017 will be a determinative year for many agents who will be forced to reconcile themselves to one or the other of these two pathways forward. Read more...

Payment Consultant’s Guide to a Successful Acquisition Strategy

Full version of article originally published in The Green Sheet, 6.27.2016 Edition. Written by Adam T. Hark My firm receives over a dozen inquiries every month from parties interested in acquiring merchant processing portfolios. I’m amazed by this level of interest. Why? The merchant acquiring industry is evolving at a blistering rate, pivoting away from the traditional model where the core product and service offering is just payments processing, and hurtling towards a model where comprehensive, end-to-end business management solutions, usually offered as SaaS platforms, rule the day. Let me be blunt: the traditional merchant acquiring model has crossed the event-horizon and is well on its way towards non-viability. As such, when parties approach me about acquiring a card processing portfolio, the first question I always ask them is “why?” I ask this because there is nothing more important in designing a successful portfolio acquisition strategy than clearly understanding the client’s objective with the acquisition, and given that the acquiring industry is undergoing convulsionary change, it stands to reason that past drivers for merchant portfolio acquisitions aren’t necessarily what’s guiding the market activity today. So what’s driving the interest in portfolio acquisitions right now? What strategies are being employed? Let’s take a look at three of the most common scenarios in today’s marketplace. Read more...

How Integrated POS and Infrastructure Technologies Lift Merchant Acquirer Valuations: Connecting the Dots

Full version of article originally published in The Green Sheet, 6.27.2016 Edition. Written by Adam T. Hark Theory has met reality in the merchant acquiring world. It’s no longer just an idea that there’s a ubiquitous convergence of technology and payments processing underway — it’s a fact. Before a merchant acquirer surrenders to this reality, however, and starts investigating which technologies may be worthwhile embracing, whether through acquisition, partnership, or development, it surely makes sense that an acquirer’s first inquiry should be, “what do these new technologies actually do for my platform?” The answer to this question, together with understanding the added value contribution, will pull back the curtain on how these technologies work to lift merchant acquirer valuations. Read more...

Payment technology companies offer more than EMV upgrades

The following article was originally published in the April 11, 2016 edition of the Green Sheet.

As I sit down to write this, I’m not sure if I’m doing so as a mergers and acquisitions professional in the payments space, or simply a payment professional seeking to impart some insight – and truth – into the payment processing community. Read more...

Targeting retail SMEs can kill your ISO’s value

The following article was originally published in the February 22, 2016 edition of the Green Sheet.

The thrill of signing a new account never gets old. The adrenaline rush you experience when closing a deal is real and, arguably, well deserved. From a merchant level salesperson (MLS), perspective, life is good. A new deal translates into more revenue, padding a residual stream that you may or may not sell one day. Read more...