Since the last official list of top 10 credit card processing companies, based on 2004 data, not much has changed with our updated list.
The Ten Largest U.S. Merchant Acquirers in 2012, ranking by processor volume, including partnerships and alliances.
- First Data (includes Wells Fargo)
- Chase Paymentech Solutions
- Vantiv (Fifth Third Bank)
- Elavon (acquired Nova Information Systems)
- Global Payments
- Total System Services Inc
- Heartland Payment Systems
2012 Data Source: The Green Sheet. This list includes acquirers and ISO’s, or independent resellers.
The Ten Largest U.S. Merchant Acquirers in 2004, Excluding Partnerships and Alliances, RANKING by DOLLAR VOLUME
1. Chase Merchant Services
2. BA Merchant Services (Bank of America)
3. First Data
5. Nova Information Systems
6. Fifth Third Bank
7. Global Payments
8. Wells Fargo
9. First National Merchant Solutions
10. Heartland Payment Systems
2004 data Source: Nilson Report
How confident can merchants be when using services like topcreditcardprocessors.com, Top 10 Best Merchant Services, and Top 10 payment gateways? Other than gathering some educational information, buyer beware. The economic business model of how these companies exist ensures that merchants may never get the best of anything.
From topcreditcardprocessors.com, “Our evaluation and ranking service provides business owners and managers with the best service solutions for online, in-person, and mobile credit card processing and check processing.”
topcreditcardprocessors.com and others like them exhibit at industry trade shows to get merchant services and related companies to sign up to advertise online with them. I’m not judging the actual data reported, but whether the BEST of anything is real when not all businesses will pay to play. For example, Chase Paymentech and First Data, certainly both top 3 merchant processors by processing volume, are not ranked because they don’t pay to advertise.
I spoke with a topcreditcardprocessors.com representative at a trade show and asked whether they’d rank my payment processing gateway that attendees were saying was the only one with real product differentiation that benefited merchants. Nope. Not without paying a monthly fee. Even if you had a number one ranking and no company was ever better, the only way to be on the list, and stay on the list, is to pay. Therefore, merchants might find interesting companies to look into, but there’s virtually no chance of getting the best of anything.