In the U.S. acquiring business, there are thousands of financial institutions who offer merchant services through an agent relationship with an upstream acquirer. Uniformly, these banks offer acquiring services as a relationship product to their commercial banking relationships. According to First Annapolis Consulting, for the upstream acquirer, the agent banks represent a specialized channel. In aggregate, agent banks control about $100 billion in volume (out of a total market of $2 trillion). Their merchants tend to have better retention characteristics. Agent banks’ merchants also tend to have much higher average tickets than the market in general, which is significant because large ticket merchants tend to be more profitable than small ticket merchants. First Annapolis believes agent banks attract larger ticket merchants for two reasons. First, agent banks do not play in segments such as quick service restaurant and transit which generate very low tickets, but require specialized technology and rock bottom unit costs. Second, as a general statement, large ticket merchants are slightly more price insensitive than small ticket merchants, making agent banks more competitive, on the margin, with larger, more specialized acquirers.