Monday , June 14, 2021

Fiserv Announces a Strong First Quarter As It Teams With PayPal on QR Codes

Fiserv Inc. announced Tuesday morning it will enable QR code payments for consumers using PayPal or Venmo at merchants Fiserv processes for through its Clover devices or Carat omnichannel payment systems. Users of the PayPal or Venmo app will scan a QR code with their phone and can receive a digital receipt.

Fiserv is targeting a wide range of venues for the service, including sports stadiums. One of the first venues to adopt the new capability is the Phoenix Suns arena, home to the Phoenix Suns National Basketball Association franchise.  Clover and Fiserv devices located throughout the stadium will support the QR code capability, Fiserv said. PayPal last year began pushing QR codes to trigger in-store payments, beginning with a chainwide rollout to CVS Pharmacy stores.

The announcement came just ahead of Fiserv’s release of financial results that indicated a far better first quarter than the company’s top management may have expected. Adjusted revenue for the company totaled $3.56 billion, up 2.3% from the first quarter in 2020. Chief executive Frank Bisignano had warned earlier that the year’s first quarter would offer a tough comparison, as the first period a year ago reflected only the start of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact.

High expectations: A QR code transaction taking place on a Clover POS device.

“Our sales momentum remains quite strong and continues into the second quarter,” Bisignano told equity analysts on an earnings call Tuesday morning. 

The merchant-acceptance segment, which includes the former First Data processing operation Fiserv acquired in 2019, enjoyed 4.6% revenue growth to nearly $1.4 billion. Much of this is driven by the Clover, Carat, and Clover Connect technology, along with strong headway from independent software vendors, which integrate payments capability with business software they install for their clients. 

Clover Connect in particular is aimed at ISVs. “We continue to see momentum in the ISV channel,” Bisignano said, adding Fiserv signed 40 new ISVs in the quarter, with the active merchant count through ISVs growing 38% during the period. The ISV business will grow even stronger in June, when Fiserv expects to close on its acquisition of Pineapple Payments, a processor oriented toward supporting integrated payments.

With these tools in place, Bisignano predicted strong growth among small sellers. “I think we’re going to see the strongest small-business formation in the second half [of 2021] that we’ve ever seen.”

Fiserv’s other two divisions also grew, albeit at a slower rate than merchant acceptance. The financial technology unit, where the company performs core processing for banks, posted $736 million in revenue, up 2.5%. The payments and network unit, which houses the company’s Zelle and proprietary peer-to-peer payments services as well as its debit network, saw nearly flat growth, registering $1.41 billion in adjusted revenue. Still, Fiserv reported the Zelle user count and transactions doubled during the quarter compared to the same period in 2020, though the company did not cite a number.

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