Monday , February 24, 2020

U.S. Bancorp’s Merchant Volume Rises 10% While BofA Sees Big Zelle Growth

U.S. Bancorp, owner of the big merchant acquirer Elavon Inc., reported Wednesday that its fourth-quarter 2019 merchant volume rose 10.5% year-over-year on a nearly 14% increase in transactions. And U.S. Bancorp rival Bank of America Corp. said its volume for the Zelle person-to-person payments service jumped 76%.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp reported $119.1 billion in merchant volume versus $107.8 billion in 2018’s fourth quarter. Transactions totaled 1.69 billion, up 13.8% from 1.49 billion a year earlier. That generated $409 million in non-interest income, a 5.1% increase. The revenue growth was “driven by higher sales volumes and merchant fees,” U.S. Bancorp said in its earnings report.

Elavon, which says it is the fourth-largest acquirer in Europe, in November announced it has a deal with Sage Group PLC to buy Sage’s payments gateway business in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Sage Pay Europe Ltd. for $300 million. “The acquisition is part of Elavon’s strategy to help its business customers grow as the global economy becomes more digital, and as businesses look to streamline their operations with software that includes payments capabilities,” U.S. Bancorp said in its earnings release.

Meanwhile, Zelle continues to grow rapidly for Charlotte, N.C.-based BofA, one of the biggest backers of the multi-bank-owned P2P service. BofA reported Wednesday that its customers sent and received 95 million payments via Zelle in the fourth quarter, up 86% from 51.1 million in year-earlier period. Payment value totaled $23.8 billion, up 76%. BofA says it has 9.7 million active Zelle users.

A leading debit card issuer, BofA reported $93.5 billion in debit purchase volume in the fourth quarter, a 6% increase from $88.1 billion a year earlier. The company also said it had 16,788 branded U.S. ATMs as of Dec. 31 and had recently deployed 258 new machines, all of them enabled for contactless transactions.

BofA is a 49% owner of the Bank of America Merchant Services joint venture with Fiserv Inc., but the bank disclosed last July that it will pursue an independent merchant-acquiring strategy beginning in June 2020. The venture’s 700,000 merchants, however, have been told their services will continue until 2023.

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