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Monday, March 13, 2017

Betting on ATMs, PAI sells acquiring arm to Clearent

Payment Alliance International shed its merchant card portfolio in an effort to focus more on its ATM business. Clearent LLC purchased the business from PAI in the first of what could be a string of portfolio acquisitions.

The deal with PAI adds $4.2 billion in processing volume and 17,000 merchants to Clearent's acquiring card business, as well as operations centers in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Louisville, Ky. Included are telesales staff, feet on the street and strategic association partnerships. Clearent now boasts 300 employees, 45,000 merchants and $14 billion in annual processing volume.

"This first acquisition is an important milestone in Clearent's growth," said Dan Geraty, the company's Chief Executive Officer. "I am excited to officially welcome our new likeminded team members from PAI in West Palm Beach, Louisville and remote offices to the Clearent family."

Jeff Zimmerman, Clearent Senior Vice President for Product Management and Marketing, noted in an interview that the deal boosts the company's processing volume by about 40 percent and adds substantial new staff resources. "The acquisition adds scale and a lot of great people that can help us deliver better support to our partners and customers," Zimmerman said. He added that Clearent will continue to grow organically but would look favorably on additional acquisitions that could increase the company'a scale of operations.

"Clearent will be an outstanding home for those customers and employees associated with the bankcard business," stated John J. Leehy III, President and CEO of PAI. "They bring the same energy and commitment to supporting the retail, shooting sports and healthcare industries that our merchants have counted on from PAI over the years."

Banking on ATMs

Headquartered in Louisville, PAI has been a major player in the card-acquiring space, serving ISOs, agents, financial institutions and associations. But the company also has built a large book of business installing, managing and branding ATMs for financial institution and merchant clients.

Company statements describe PAI as "the nation's largest, privately held provider of ATMs." Shedding its merchant card portfolio is expected to position PAI to further grow its ATM business. "The growth and success of our industry leading ATM processing business demands our clear focus and full attention," Leehy said.

In the more than 40 years since they first began to appear at U.S. banks and grocery stores for cash access, ATMs have become central to banking and payments. And increasing numbers of the devices now can handle much more than just dispensing cash. New and evolving uses include mobile and prepaid card top-ups, ticketing, money transfers, check cashing, utility payments, statements and other self-service activities.

In 2014, 3.2 million ATMs were installed worldwide, according to the ATM Industry Association. That's up from 2 million in 2010. ATMIA expects that by 2020, worldwide ATM penetration will reach 4.3 million. Global Market Insights, a research and management consulting firm, said the global ATM market will exceed $26 billion by 2013, with North America accounting for an estimated 35 percent of projected revenues.

In 2015, Americans used debit cards to make 5.8 billion cash withdrawals from ATMs, according to the 2016 Federal Reserve Payment Study. end of article

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