Ingenico aims to make acquirers more competitive

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After adding Klarna and Splitit as partners this year, Ingenico is in talks with other payments companies whose software it may add to its growing catalog of services targeting banks and other acquirers.

The French payments company’s cloud-based platform allows acquirers to access a list of payment services and, from there, choose the options they want to offer their merchants at the point of sale, such as those from Klarna or PayPal, said Ingenico Senior Vice President Giulio Montemagno. 

Acquirers enable merchants to accept consumer credit card payments by maintaining an account on their behalf. Sometimes payments processors act as acquirers as well.

The company started building the service in 2020, and offered it to acquirers in North America, Europe and Australia throughout 2022, said Montemagno, also the general manager of the service. The effort was announced in late 2021.

Adding a large acquirer client

By the end of the current quarter, a large U.S.-based acquirer with an international footprint will go live with Ingenico’s service, Montemagno said in an interview, but he declined to name the company.

With the service targeted to acquirers, banks and independent sales organizations, Ingenico aims to enable “the acquiring community that’s not in the software business” to compete with technology-driven providers such as Stripe and Adyen, or FIS’s Worldpay, said Aaron Press, research director for IDC Insights’ worldwide payments practice.

“There’s a risk to acquirers who aren’t in the technology business, of being left behind,” he said.

That could include Global Payments or Elavon, or other large acquirers that don’t have their own tech stack, Press said. Additionally, “if you’re a fairly sophisticated ISO, I would think this could be very attractive to keep you competitive,” he said.

“By partnering with these technology companies, they are able to increase the breadth of their offerings,” Press said of acquirers.

For those on the partner side, such as Klarna, working with Ingenico offers a brick-and-mortar presence those BNPL providers are seeking as e-commerce slumps. Ingenico’s service is a “significant accelerator” to in-store use, said Kristina Elkhazin, head of North America at Klarna, in a news release

Expanding payment options

The service marks a further push into the software market for Ingenico. Currently, about three-quarters of Ingenico terminals use the company’s payments software, a spokesperson for the company said.

Acquirers that Ingenico works with were experiencing churn in their merchant base, losing customers to digitally native rivals, Montemagno said. Acquirers also wanted to be able to offer flexible payment options commonly found in e-commerce settings, such as BNPL, Montemagno said.

Ingenico announced BNPL provider Klarna and card-based installment firm Splitit as partners in January and February, respectively, and is in talks with several other potential partners, including other BNPL providers. Montemagno declined to name any of the possible allies. 

“Typically, when you look at acquirers and banks, every time they need to expand, they need to add one more payment method in a store, one more service,” he said. “It’s very complex. So our goal is to do all the heavy-lifting behind the scenes and expand this catalog of services as much as possible.”

Ingenico has about 40 million point-of-sale terminals in operation globally and works with about 1,100 acquirers, banks, independent service vendors, payment aggregators and fintechs, Montemagno said.

Adding more for in-store

The company is offering the service in-store only for now, with the goal of making it omnichannel by the end of the year. But the in-store opportunity is large, he said, given shoppers have returned to brick-and-mortar stores as the pandemic has ebbed and are seeking payment methods they became comfortable with online.

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