EDC’s Ulf Geismar met with Marcus Mosen, CEO of Concardis, to discuss the future of payments and life at Concardis since its acquisition by Advent International and Bain Capital in Jan 2017. Concardis is the leading full-service payment provider in German-speaking Europe with some 116,000 customers with more than 470,000 connected terminals.

 

What is the future of card payments in the German market? Will non-card payments become popular in the future?

In an international comparison, Germans tend to be rather traditional in their payment behaviour. In 2016, 51.3 percent of all payments at the physical point of sale were made in cash. And in e-commerce, invoice payments continue to dominate with a 30.5 percent share of total payments.

That being said, cashless payments are becoming more popular, this is also because younger people value convenience and round-the-clock availability with regard to their shopping habits – even in Germany. New card based payments like contactless and smart mobile payment solutions are thus some of the key factors driving the cashless payments growth in Germany right now.

What is interesting is that most solutions for mobile wallets or in-app usage are credit card based. Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Alipay…they all rely on the well-established credit card system. At the moment, Paypal is the only widely popular payment option that is directly linked to the customer’s account. Therefore, I do believe that card payments will remain the preferred payment option in the near future – even if we use smartphones or voice devices to trigger the payment.

How is Concardis different to other acquirers in the German market? How will the acquisition by Advent International and Bain Capital impact this positioning going forward?

Concardis is a company that started out as an acquirer, focused on connecting retailers to the credit card systems – over thirty years ago. We have been around for quite a while, which means we know the market inside out; with about 116.000 merchants as customer base in the German speaking DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) mainly, we have a deep understanding of their needs and demands. Simply put: we know our customers’ business and we know which problems to solve for them in order to make their lives easier when it comes to payments.

And that is what we aspire to do today: Make payment simple – all aspects of it. In recent years, Concardis has developed a leading position as a full-service payment provider in the DACH region. The company has expanded its suite of services across the whole payments value chain, strengthening its capabilities in e-commerce, omni-channel solutions and value-added services for our merchant customers. And we will further drive the growth and internationalization or our business in order to help our customers in their own internationalization efforts.

Advent International and Bain Capital share our vision to make Concardis the payments-champion of German-speaking Europe. They consider Concardis to be the ideal platform for establishing a leading payment service provider with its head office in Germany combined with local teams and competencies in Austria and Switzerland. And they will support us financially, best practice in achieving operational excellence and with the execution of strategic growth. Advent International and Bain Capital supported the first building block back in April with the acquisition of the invoice purchase specialist Ratepay, which is planned to expand the e-commerce product portfolio of Concardis Group. We are very excited about this acquisition.

Is the acquiring business set to change significantly with PSD2 over the next 5 years or so?

New regulation always triggers innovation, as it forces us to rethink and enhance our products and services. Therefore, I am quite optimistic that PSD2 will lead to new, smarter payment solutions and innovations. But the new regulation will have less impact on acquiring than on the banking sector, which needs to open up its accounts to other payment providers, and providers of one-click check-out solutions such as Amazon Pay or Paypal. They will need to incorporate two factor authorizations in order to meet PSD2-Standards. That will be a challenge and certainly change the way we pay online.

What do you other than work? Hobbies?

Some say I am somewhat of a payment-nerd or payment veteran – even if I am not working, I am constantly checking out the payments scene. But I do make time for my family and an occasional round of golf. And as I live in Cologne I do appreciate a Kölsch beer with friends from time to time.-)