STXNEWS LATAM-Itaú sees merchant acquiring unit regaining lost market share

Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:59am EDT

Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Brazil's largest lender by market value, expects to recoup part of the market share lost in the merchant acquiring industry in recent months, now that it finalized the integration of a series de acquisitions in the sector in the lender's banking services platform. Itaú, which last year bought out the stake it did not own of Redecard SA and this year bought card payment processor Credicard from Citigroup Inc, has seen market share in merchant acquiring, or card payment processing, fall to 37 percent from 45 percent three years ago, Milton Maluhy, the executive inc charge of the unit, said in São Paulo.

"We have all what we need to have a bigger market share than we do now," Maluhy said. The unit is introducing a strategy for mobile payment services similar to "square" in the United States and reiterated significant investments being made for the creation of a new data center and new capabilities for wireless terminals, which now represent 50 percent of total terminals, compared with 25 percent a few years ago.

Analysts have said that, even as competition in Brazil's $400 billion-a-year merchant acquiring is poised to heat up, increased competition is likely to come in the form of better, broader services than lower pricing.

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