Company Spotlight

Why Discover Set Its Sights On Barclaycard

“Discover is building a global payments business, and as such, you need to have acceptance.”

According to Gerry Wagner, vice president of global acceptance at Discover, such is the simple yet practical logic behind his company’s deal with Barclaycard: a pairing that made headlines around the payments world when first announced early in June.

Illustrated by their acquisition of the Diner’s Club brand back in 2008, Discover is a company focused on expanding its international acceptance. Barclaycard, as one of the largest players in the UK payments space, was somewhat of a natural fit as a partner.

But how long has Discover had Barclaycard on its radar, and what will their partnership entail moving forward? Wagner spoke with Karen Webster, CEO at Market Platform Dynamics, to explain.

“As you know, we bought Diner’s [Club] back in 2008.  And that really took us global.  But with that, we knew we had to make investments,” Wagner explained. “We knew we had to shore up acceptance in certain markets.  Really, the UK was one of them and Barclaycard, being one of the lead acquirers there, has been on our target list from 2008.”

As Wagner explains, the UK remains a key target for Discover thanks to the large number of U.S. visitors that flock to the country each year, as well as its status as a “key destination” for other businesses and leisure travelers. Wagner noted that Barclaycard also has a strong portfolio of high-end retailers, which serves as a “sweet spot” for with Diner’s Club cardholders.

After discussing what Discover is gaining from the new partnership, Webster flipped the script on Wagner, and asked him why he believed Barclaycard would be interesting in joining forces with Discover.

Wagner stated that he believes all acquirers are interested in offering as many payments types as they can when they make their value proposition to merchants. Offering this type of choice to merchants lets acquirers meet their needs and present a more enticing offering in a competitive market.

“When a Barclaycard representative goes out into the marketplace, they will be offering, you know, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Diner’s — it’s a whole basket of card payment types that they can accept,” Wagner said.

“It’s the power of one, if you will.  It’s all in a fully-integrated solution.”

To hear more Wagner and Webster on Discover’s Barclaycard partnership, listen to the full podcast below.


*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.


Vice President, Global Acceptance, Discover Financial Services

Gerry Wagner is Vice President Global Acceptance for Discover Financial Services. In this role, Mr. Wagner is responsible for developing and maintaining merchant and acquirer relationships and ensuring acceptance for Discover, Diners Club, and Pulse networks.

Mr. Wagner has recently returned from London after serving for two years as Vice President of International Acceptance for Diners Club International.

Mr. Wagner began his career with Discover in 1985 and has served in a variety of management positions within Discover Network’s merchant sales organization. Drawing on his more than 30 years of experience in the payment-services industry, Mr. Wagner has been instrumental in the successful signing of Discover Network’s key merchant accounts and the payment industry’s largest merchant acquirers. In 2004 alone, he and his team successfully acquired more than one million new merchant outlets-an industry record. As part of Discover Network’s evolution, Mr. Wagner is the leader of its current strategy of partnering with acquirers to offer merchants the power of an integrated single-source solution for three major card networks. Not only has he been the face of Discover to the industry for many years, he has been a visible supporter and advocate for the industry and its organizations.

He received his B.B.A. from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.


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