VeriFone doesn't mind long check-out lines, but it does try to make them move faster. The company is a leading supplier of electronic payment hardware and software for merchant-operated, consumer-facing, and self-service payment systems. Its products include point-of-sale (POS) software and terminals, smart card and check readers, receipt printers, and Internet commerce software. It also provides installation, training, and other services. Customers include companies in the hospitality, retail, and healthcare markets, as well as government agencies. VeriFone generates about 70% of sales outside the US.
The US is VeriFone's largest single market, accounting for about a quarter of sales. Brazil, where the electronic payment card industry is quickly growing, contributes about 10% of sales.
Outside the US it has offices in France, India, Brazil, Israel, Sweden, Philippines, New Zealand, Taiwan, China, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, Australia, Mexico, Finland, South Africa, the U.K. and Latvia.
Sales and Marketing
With clients ranging from small merchants to government-sponsored payment processors, VeriFone augments its direct sales force with a network of distributors, resellers, and systems integrators.
Fast-growing VeriFone has seen sales almost double in just the past few years before hitting a wall in 2013. It reported $1.7 billion in revenue in fiscal 2013 (ended October), down 8% year-over-year. The decrease was due to distribution changes, the timing of demand from large customers, increased competition and, in certain markets, delays to product releases and certifications. Previous growth was driven almost completely by acquisitions. In 2013 the company also recorded a net loss after three years of profitability. Net income fell to -$296 million, in line with the decreased revenue and increased operating expenses.
VeriFone has benefited from a general trend away from cash and check transactions toward electronic credit and debit payments. In addition to credit and debit card readers, the company has developed systems that handle radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards, mobile phone transactions, gift cards, electronic bill payments, signature capture, and benefits transfers.
VeriFone provides customized systems that address the specific needs of select markets, including financial services, government, health care, multi-lane retail, and petroleum. Providing pay-at-the-pump functionality to petroleum retailers is an example of such specialization. The expansion of other payment applications, including pay-at-the-table systems for restaurants, is part of the company's growth strategy. The spread of wireless infrastructure has also helped the company, as it creates applications for electronic payments in new areas such as vending machines and taxis.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The company uses acquisitions to build out its product and technology portfolio while pushing into new geographies. In 2013 VeriFone bought two New Zealand businesses -- EFTPOS New Zealand and Sektor Payments, both of which provide payment solutions and managed services.
In the US it bought LIFT Retail Marketing Technology in 2012 to expand its line of products for convenience store and gas station operators in North America, in particular. LIFT's networked digital marketing hub integrates with retail (POS) systems to provide targeted marketing to individual shoppers by presenting them with digital ads on a touchscreen. The product complements VeriFone's Secure PumpPAY product.
In a 2011 purchase that changed the landscape of the electronic payments systems industry, VeriFone purchased key rival Equinox for $485 million that gave VeriFone expanded geographic coverage in a number of key European markets. The transaction also strengthened VeriFone's position against its biggest remaining rival, France-based Ingenico. The company further expanded its European operations with the acquisition in early 2012 of Point, which provides payment and gateway services for the retail sector in more than 10 European countries.