Fifth Third Processing Solutions LLC is weighing its next steps as the merchant processor nears its one-year anniversary as a joint venture between Fifth Third Bancorp and Advent International Corp., a Boston-based investment firm.

Over the next five to 10 years, the Cincinnati-based processor hopes to double in size, Chris Pike, Advent managing director, told ISO&Agent Weekly at the Electronic Transactions Association Annual Meeting and Expo last week in Las Vegas. Advent owns 51% of the processor.


Growth Strategy

To get there, Fifth Third Processing, which now counts approximately 170,000 merchants, is considering several strategies: increase the role of banks that refer their merchants to Fifth Third for card-processing services, work with software developers and point-of-sale system makers so they include Fifth Third’s services in their products, and create a reseller program for ISOs to add more small and midsize merchants, segments not well represented in Fifth Third’s merchant portfolio, Pike says.

Fifth Third Processing could use any combination of these tactics, and it is “looking hard now” at all of them, with an ISO program near the top of the list, he says, noting Fifth Third Processing historically has done little with such organizations.

Advent also could make other acquisitions that could include merchants, Pike says.

Fifth Third Processing also could target other payment functions, such as prepaid, Pike says. The processor also is not as strong in card-not-present or international transactions, indicating other areas for growth, he adds.

Just as Advent has growth plans for the processor, Fifth Third Bancorp also wants it to grow, Pike says. “There’s still a lot of growth to come, and we hope to be a part of that,” he says.

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