Nilson Report

Issue 1201 | Jul 2021


Companies featured in this issue include:

Asia-Pacific Global Network Cards 2020—Purchase Transactions

Asia-Pacific Spending, Transaction and Cards by Global Brand

Asia-Pacific Market Shares of Purchase Transactions—2008-2020

U.S. Debit Card Issuers—Ranked 51-100

U.S. Merchant Processing Fees—2020

Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Financing Transactions—January-June 2021

U.S. Merchant Processing Fees—2020

Merchants in the United States paid $110.32 billion in processing fees in 2020 to accept $7.630 trillion in credit and debit card purchase volume. Fees paid declined 5.2% from 2019.

Visa/Mastercard Credit
$61.63 billion fees, $2,776.21 billion purchase volume
Visa/Mastercard Debit
$22.60 billion fees, $3,138.74 billion purchase volume
American Express
$15.77 billion fees, $691.52 billion purchase volume
PIN Debit
$4.21 billion fees, $637.33 billion purchase volume
$3.11 billion fees, $142.80 billion purchase volume

Full access to the United States Merchant Processing Fees–2020 is available when you subscribe to the Nilson Report.

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Tokenized Wearables for the Fashion/Design Industries

Watches, rings, bracelets and other wearables that incorporate contactless payment technology have been available for more than five years. However, overwhelmingly those wearables are disposable wristbands sold for use at sporting events and concerts. They almost always are a private label prepaid product sold with a fixed monetary value and are not reloadable.

Adding personalized general purpose credit and debit card credentials into a wearable for use everywhere contactless payments are accepted has proven to be challenging to roll out at scale. However, that could soon change using technology from companies including Digiseq and Tappy Technologies.

Digiseq says it has solved the problem of linking wearables sold by fashion retailers to a payment account through its Rapid Contactless Personalization technology and Manage Mii app.

The company believes the opportunity for tokenized payments in wearables is based on how much a consumer wants to own the object for aesthetic or practical reasons. Payment is a secondary value. Because contactless payment chips only cost about 60 cents, they can be an inexpensive added value for designers of quality merchandise. 

Digiseq has started to sign contracts with chip manufacturers such as Infineon Technologies with the aim of leveraging their existing relationships in the fashion and design industries. It plans on offering retailers a role in distribution of payment-ready wearables enabled by its Manage Mii app for Android or iOS smartphones. The app links the payment chip to the buyer’s card issuer.  

A growing number of wearables are coming onto the market in the U.S., Europe, India and Mexico. However, a consumer still needs its card issuer to apply a tokenized card service. Issuers have so far not prioritized support for wearables despite consumer interest.

JPMorgan Chase is breaking from the pack. It is making tokenized payment card credentials available to its Visa debit card customers in the U.S. who buy Timex watches with contactless chips embedded in straps. The chips are enabled by Tappy Technologies, a company based in Toronto, Canada.

Digiseq is approved by Mastercard for instant issuance of a token via a consumer’s mobile device. It hopes that approval will help grow the number of issuers willing to support tokenized wearables. Among more than 10 banks in Europe that already tokenize card accounts for wearables are ABN Amro, Rabobank, Swedbank, Nordea and Gazprombank. If an issuer supports Apple Pay it can support Digiseq’s technology.

Digiseq also markets its app on a white-label basis to prepaid card program managers. Agreements have been reached with PSI Pay, and Icard in Europe, M2P and ICICI in India and Cascade in the U.S.


Terrie Smith is CEO at Digiseq in London, U.K.,,

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