November 17th, 2010 by Jamie Estep
The credit card terminal monopoly is official
It just goes to show that US government anti-trust regulations do not apply to B2B organizations!
Verifone just acquired Hypercom corporation. This effectively removes all legitimate competition from the US credit card terminal market. Verifone’s own products have suffered a decline in reliability and quality starting 5 or 6 years ago, so naturally Verifone began purchasing competitors. They started with wireless leader Lipman, and then acquired Way Systems, and now have taken down the last barrier, Hypercom. Verifone stated that this acquisition was to expand their presence in the European market, but make no mistake it removed their last competition from the US market completely.
I don’t want to forget Ingenico whom is one of the worlds largest terminal manufacturers, however they are a mere drop in the bucket in the US and sell almost exclusively to large chains and direct placement deals that normal mom and pop merchants will never see.
I’m personally appalled that the government allowed this transaction to take place. On the bright side, if Verifone cannot produce a higher quality product, there’s several smaller manufacturers that are already gaining serious ground, most notably Dejavoo, ready to replace Hypercom. This will provide the perfect avenue for Dejavoo and others to become much larger terminal brands (until Verifone purchases them of course). Dejavoo’s product is far superior to Verifone or Hypercom and is cheaper than either.
I’m seriously holding back words on writing this. The impact of this on the credit card terminal industry would be comparable to Walmart purchasing Target or Microsoft purchasing Apple. This sort of acquisition is the reason that anti-trust laws exist. It’s unfortunate that the government’s priorities are so far removed from the B2B industries of the country.