It’s hard to pin down the merchant payment processing vendor landscape. Incumbent giants vie with fast movers in a market in which scale and adaptability play tug-of-war for proving their value to merchants. So merchants bring multiple partners into the fold: for precious redundancy, for optimization opportunities, for geographic footprint, for specific use case support or other specialties, for commercial bargaining power, and myriad other reasons.

For our latest evaluation in the merchant payment provider space, Forrester identified 11 leading vendors and spent the last five months analyzing their offerings via a combination of briefings, demos, capability assessments, and customer reference checks. Specifically, we evaluated ACI Worldwide, Adyen,, Cybersource, Fiserv, Global Payments, J.P. Morgan Payments, PayPal, Stripe, Worldline, and Worldpay from FIS. We uncovered a market in which Stripe, Adyen, and Fiserv lead while each of the other vendors offers a competitive solution with specific strengths. For details, Forrester clients can see the evaluation here.

So after all this, what advice does Forrester offer merchants when selecting a payments provider? You’ll want to find a partner that:

  • Meets your “non-classic” payment needs. Merchants create their vendor shortlists based on payment touchpoints, local payment methods, settlement currencies, global connectivity, and compliance. But once these classic lines in the sand are drawn, isolating the best vendor fit comes down to your specific priorities and pain points.
  • Keeps pace with your appetite and expectations for adaptability and innovation. Some vendors’ software architecture is especially well suited to iteration. Another area where vendors’ pacing is important is in their adoption of, or adaptation to, ongoing industry innovation and regulatory changes or mandates.
  • Matches your specific self-service versus full-service needs. Businesses increasingly see payments as strategic, so they allocate more resources to the teams and tools responsible for them. But their expectations of their payment vendor partners are also growing. You may be seeking low-code/no-code configurability and extensibility, data granularity and accessibility, and other self-service tools to self-diagnose and optimize your payment operations independently of your vendor’s customer success services. But you may also want to selectively outsource payment optimization and payment innovation to the vendor in a full-service capacity and get the strategic insights that the vendor can unlock by proactively sharing their data and expertise.

You can read our full Forrester Wave™ evaluation here and our preceding Q1 2022 Now Tech (vendor landscape) report here.

Merchants, brands, and retailers: Please schedule an inquiry or advisory with me to see how to use this report to identify the best-fit solutions for your needs. I’ll walk you through my findings and help you identify the vendors that should make your shortlist.

Payments processors and payments-related solution providers: Please schedule your inquiry or advisory with me to discuss what my findings mean for the industry and your offering. Let’s discuss how you fit into a rapidly changing payments world, the vision for the future of payments and your roadmap toward that, and how to identify partnership opportunities for you moving forward.