Review by Pierre Zarokian
This is the kind of book most business owners wish they’d had when they started a decade or so ago. It offers a great deal of information about everything from merchant services to what happens at the terminal.
The authors, Benson and Loftesness, cover every basic concept behind payment processing. They cover checks, ACH, cards, cash and wire transfers in great detail, offering perspective on users and what’s coming in the near term. They also talk about emerging payment systems like cryptocurrency, and digital wallets.
The major overview of business and political aspects behind the payments market is also welcome information. It’s important stuff that most business owners and banks will find useful, but maybe not the average consumer.
The chapter on credit card services is the longest in the book, and a must read for anyone getting into this industry. It’s highly suggested you take detailed notes if you’re aspiring to make a dent in this industry.
There are some drawbacks, though.
First, the book doesn’t really spend a lot of time defining acronyms, not even if they are used only once. It also lacks case studies, and fails to present a ton of concrete examples to back up its point.
The book is also light on fraud discussion, which is unusual for this topic. Also, some say it’s not a very engaging book. It’s somewhat like a textbook, and not written in a very lively tone. That could be a problem for some.
Overall, Payments Systems in the US offers a comprehensive look at the entire industry with detailed points. Its lack of engaging writing may be a barrier for some, but several chapters are crucial to understanding the industry.