The Payments Standard Bearers Are Waking Up To The Payment Facilitator Opportunity (And Threat)

There is growing realization among researchers that the payment facilitator model is a rocket ship, and that old models in the payments industry have slowed their rolls at the PFs’ expense. Major players are now saying what we’ve been shouting from the rooftops for years.

In the past three years, I said:

“We are seeing more ISOs looking to do frictionless on-boarding and move into aggregation. Support for the aggregation model among acquirers is also increasing.”

“With today’s foundation of the Internet, mobility, cloud computing, and new business models, we see a much more rapid convergence of technology, payments and services that puts fintech on a path of revolutionary change or at least hyper-evolution.”

Then, Double Diamond Group analyst Rick Oglesby led a PF market sizing project that showed these predictions were coming true. I presented this data at the 2016 PF Day at TRANSACT, saying, “The explosion of the payment facilitator market is not going to slow any time soon. Evidenced by recent research we conducted, not only is the number of payment facilitators skyrocketing year over year, but we predict that payment facilitator transaction volume will experience at least a 70 percent average annual growth rate through 2018.”

Now, we see those statements and data bolstered by a well-respected peer, First Annapolis Consulting. That firm said this week independent software vendors (ISVs), payment facilitators and aggregators, and marketplaces account for just 10 percent of the U.S.’s $3.5 trillion acquiring market but boast 52 percent of the growth the acquiring sector has enjoyed in 2014 and 2015.

It’s clear that the new models’ strategy to streamline onboarding and offer business building services has energized a small-merchant class that is looking for simple partnerships to enable it to take credit cards and mobile payments. Will old-school acquirers and ISOs be able to adapt?

I thought this then and it rings true now:

“It’s not just about payments anymore. The value is in the capabilities, and payment is the secondary concern. If you’re an acquirer, processor, or independent sales organization, you should be thinking about what you’re doing with services.”