Nilson Report

Issue 1193 | Mar 2021


Companies featured in this issue include:

Top U.S. Merchant Acquirers—Ranked by Transactions in 2020

Transactions at the Top U.S. Acquirers 2010-2020

Merchant Acquirers in the U.S.—Ranked by Mastercard/Visa Volume

Card-Not-Present Acquiring in the U.S.

Mastercard/Visa Share of Purchase Volume at Top Acquirers

Top 10 Merchant Acquirers in the U.S.—Ranked by Purchase Volume and Transactions

Investments & Acquisitions—February 2021

Card-Not-Present Acquiring in the U.S.

The 34 largest U.S. acquirers of payment card transactions from online merchants are ranked based on their business in 2020. The five largest are listed here.

1. Chase
18.11 billion transactions
2. Wells Fargo
8.35 billion transactions
3. FIS
4.15 billion transactions
4. Elavon
0.68 billion transactions
5. Santander
0.11 billion transactions

Full access to the Card-Not-Present Acquiring in the U.S. results is available when you subscribe to the Nilson Report.



Zwipe and Tag Systems Biometric Card Partnership

Manufacturer Tag Systems, which provides high-security bank cards to clients in Europe, is a partner with Zwipe on that company’s “single silicon” fingerprint biometric technology for contactless payments. Tag Systems says that prior to the recent release of Zwipe’s Pay One product, it did not see a business case for biometric cards because too many components were needed. The cost was too high to issue at scale.

Zwipe’s third-generation product connects a biometric fingerprint sensor and the RFID antenna on a single-silicon, EMV-compliant chip, something not done in a standard dual-interface chip card. Pay One lowers a biometric card’s cost because fewer components are required and manufacturers can work with existing equipment and production processes. Manufacturers receive an EMV chip with biometric components pre-installed as well as a fingerprint sensor and an inlay which can be embedded into the card after the hot lamination process used to manufacture all EMV cards. 

Compared to the existing manufacturing process used to produce dual-interface contactless cards, Zwipe’s technology requires only a slight modification in the milling and embedding process. Sensors used in Zwipe’s Pay One product are supplied by Idex Biometrics.

Zwipe is a co-investor in the biometric-based single-silicon EMV chip with Idemia, the second largest card manufacturer. Idemia will incorporate the technology in all of its biometric cards. Zwipe has exclusive global marketing rights covering payment cards and wearables for the lifetime of the product. Like Tag Systems, U.S.-based CPI Card is also a Zwipe partner.

Tag Systems says it will be testing biometric cards by the third quarter of this year, which it expects to sell to issuers for $15 to $20 each. The companies believe that price will drop by half in time after expected exponential growth. While considerably more expensive than standard dual-interface contactless cards, which sell for between $1 to $5 each, research suggests consumers will be willing to pay monthly or annual fees to use biometric contactless cards. BNP Paribas is charging its customers a monthly fee of $2.40 (€2) for its biometric Visa Premier card. 

For card manufacturers, a conversion of 10% of existing dual-interface cards to biometric-based contactless cards will increase overall revenues by up to 100%. Card issuers could gain from new account acquisition, enhanced loyalty and customer retention in addition to new revenues from annual fees.

Tag Systems merged with AustriaCard in 2019. The companies manufactured and personalized 90 million Visa/Mastercard cards last year. The company opened a card personalization facility in New Jersey in the U.S. last year.


André Lovestram is Chief Executive Officer at Zwipe in Oslo, Norway,,

Jon Neeraas is Chief Executive Officer at Tag Systems Group in Barcelona, Spain,,

Prior issues: 1187, 1175, 1174, 1168, 1161, 1143, 1141, 1131, 1130, 1124, 1110, 1050

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