Merchant Acquirers

Anyone who’s been in a Glenbrook Payments Boot Camp session with me has heard me emphatically stress that merchants “just want to sell stuff – they don’t want to be in the payments business”. Of course many larger and more sophisticated merchants have figured out how to use payments strategically to increase sales – think […]

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Chargebacks are one of the card system’s great consumer benefits. If fraud happens, the merchant doesn’t deliver on what was promised, or you’re charged six times for something you bought just once, the chargeback mechanism returns your money or restores your credit. What’s not to like? Well, if you’re a merchant, a lot. While there […]

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Visa’s CEO recently reported that more than 750,000 locations, representing 17% of the U.S. face-to-face card-accepting merchant base, are accepting EMV chip cards. While everyone in the industry agrees that it will be quite a while before the numbers reach “critical mass” (whatever that means to you), there are two key questions for today. The […]

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As I was slogging through the many payments-related articles and blog posts reminiscing about 2015 events and making predictions for what may or may not be ahead in 2016, I thought of a conversation I had with Scott Loftesness around 20 years ago, sometime in 1995 or 1996. Both of us were at First Data […]

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Interchange galvanizes the attention of regulators around the world like iron filings to a magnet. Everyone in card payments watches their moves closely because of its economic impact on merchants, card networks, issuers, acquirers and, in theory, consumer pricing. European regulators are among the most recent to weigh in. Based on the EU’s Multilateral Interchange […]

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Every three years or so, merchants and billers have an opportunity to reconsider their card processing agreements with their acquirers. This is an opportunity to negotiate lower rates — especially if business is booming – and also the time that a merchant or biller could consider changing to another service provider. Sadly, many merchants and […]

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How does disruption happen in mature industries? Clayton Christensen famously wrote about this phenomenon in his classic book “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” Most commonly, the new disruptor enters from below – by providing new capabilities to those unserved by the incumbent providers. Rather, incumbents stay focused on their best customers – and dismiss opportunities to serve […]

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Some 17 months ago, I wrote a post here titled “scott@glenbrook.com.

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What Drives Innovation? More often than not, the successful innovations that surprise us come from disrupters who focus in a laser-like way on unserved market opportunities. In doing so, they are able to successfully fly below the radar of the incumbents (to use Christensen’s familiar terminology). The incumbents, after all, have a laser-like focus on […]

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In a post titled “Great since day one“, Marco Arment blogs about what makes the iPhone different – in essence he writes that Apple makes products that are great today. Android isn’t. Reading his post brought to mind the fragmented nature of the card payments ecosystem that we live in – and how it’s so […]

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A number of us self-proclaimed “payments geeks” awoke this morning to learn of Visa Inc’s intention to purchase CyberSource for approximately $2 billion.  Over the course of the day, Glenbrook’s been getting a flood of emails generally asking, “What’s the REAL reason Visa’s buying this big gateway company?”

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So you really want to be a merchant – and accept card payments simply and easily? Jack Dorsey wants to be your friend. Hope you’ve got an iPhone! Earlier today, Dorsey and friends announced the launch of Square. Dorsey, co-founder and chairman of Twitter, is certainly a celebrity founder and CEO. TechCrunch notes that apparently […]

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Some of us payments geeks often lose sight of what merchants really want – they just want to sell more. Selling more stuff is like 10 times more important to them than saving money on their costs of payment acceptance. Bill Me Later is but one recent example of merchants (online in this case) will […]

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