The old saying “less is more” is certainly true of many things in merchant payments. Less complexity, lower costs, less admin and infrastructure to manage—these all deliver tangible benefits to merchants and payment service providers (PSPs).
Then why are an increasing number of organizations choosing to work with multiple acquirers, instead of just one?
A new global survey, commissioned by ACI and conducted by Edgar, Dunn & Company, reveals a clear trend towards multi-acquiring:
- 57 percent of merchants work with multiple acquirers—as do 70 percent of PSPs. The sweet spot seems to be between two and five acquirers for merchants, and between two and ten for PSPs.
- 40 percent of merchants that use a single acquirer today are looking to move to a multiple acquiring arrangement in the next 12 months.
- 70 percent of PSPs plan to increase the number of acquirers they use within the next 12 months.
When more is more
What’s the attraction of a multi-acquiring strategy? Merchants and PSPs in our survey identify the same primary reasons for working with multiple acquirers:
Resilience—and, with it, business continuity—is critical for merchants and PSPs. Multiple acquirer relationships allow organizations to maintain business continuity if, for example, one acquirer experiences a service outage or a business failure, or if a change in business strategy leads the acquirer to change the types of business it wishes to handle. With multiple acquirers, the risk of being unable to authorize a transaction is reduced, as traffic of different types can be routed to the most appropriate acquirer and soft declined transactions can be re-routed to an alternative acquirer. It is no surprise, then, that ACI has seen a 66 percent increase in take-up of our smart dynamic routing capabilities over the past 18 months.
The ability to optimize transaction routing across multiple acquirers can help merchants and PSPs reduce declines and this, in turn, reduces operational costs and increases revenues. But, working with multiple acquirers can also give merchants increased leverage when it comes to negotiating fees. Connecting to multiple acquirers via integration to an independent payments gateway can also reduce the costs to grow and to innovate.
Increasing conversion rates
Some of the most important reasons for merchants and PSPs to adopt a multi-acquiring strategy relate to reducing declined transactions and increasing conversion rates—not least as this plays a crucial role in customer experience.
Among merchants that have moved to multiple acquirer relationships, 85 percent have seen an increase in conversion rates as a result—with 23 percent increasing their conversion rate by more than 10 percent. Among our PSP customers, those working with multiple acquirers are achieving an acceptance rate up to 16 percent higher than those working with only one acquirer.
Uplift is likely to come from increased payments acceptance (via more flexible, smart routing) and through merchants’ ability to accept a broader range of alternative payment methods when they have multiple acquirers. This enables them to deliver the mix of payment options most relevant to their customers, whether domestically or cross-border.
Flexibility—the ultimate prize
45 percent of PSPs in our survey see flexibility as the primary benefit of multi-acquiring. With the acceleration towards digital channels, and growth in alternative payments, consumers today are very much in the driver’s seat. They demand a seamless, secure payments experience across all channels and ability to use their preferred payment instruments.
To cater to these consumer preferences, adapt to rapidly changing demand and continue to grow, merchants and the PSPs that support them must be able to tailor their payment strategies, flex their relationships and adapt with ease. In these circumstances, it is not so much about whether “less is more,” but about the limitations of having “all your eggs in one basket.”
For more results from our multi-acquiring research study, access the on-demand webinar or read the research reports for Merchants and PSPs.
Learn more about our ACI Secure eCommerce solution, including our acquirer-independent eCommerce payments gateway, connecting merchants and PSPs to a global network of local and cross-border acquirers and alternative payment methods.