Founded in 1989, we are a global merchant acquirer and payment processor servicing more than 550,000 merchants in North America and Europe and processing more than 950 million transactions in North America and 2.1 billion transactions in Europe annually. We operate at the center of global electronic commerce with local operations in 11 countries and the ability to serve 50 markets around the world through our three proprietary, in-house processing platforms that are connected by a single point of integration. We differentiate ourselves from our competitors through (1) a highly productive and scaled sales distribution network, including exclusive global financial institution referral partnerships, (2) our three proprietary, in-house processing platforms, and (3) a comprehensive suite of payment and commerce solutions. We believe these points of differentiation allow us to deliver strong organic growth, increase market share, and attract additional financial institution, technology and other strategic partner relationships.
Our business, both domestically and abroad, is supported by partnerships with independent software vendors (“ISVs”), integrated software dealers, enterprise resource planning (“ERP”) software dealers and eCommerce gateway providers which we refer to as our “Tech-enabled” division. These partnerships function by way of a technical integration between us and the third party in which the third party seamlessly passes information to our systems to streamline the merchant boarding process. We have emerged as a preferred partner for these third-party referral partners because of the ease of integration through our proprietary solutions, high merchant satisfaction levels driven by the quality of our service, the ease and speed of our boarding systems for new merchants, and our consistent and transparent approach to risk and underwriting.
Our business is also supported by our “Direct” division, which includes our referral relationships with fourteen leading financial institutions, many of which are long-term and on an exclusive basis. In the aggregate, these banks represent more than 12,000 branch locations which actively pursue new merchant relationships on our behalf every day. These financial institutions provide us with access to their brands, significantly enhancing our credibility and recognition. We build and maintain a direct relationship with our merchants in order to control our sales, price negotiation, underwriting, boarding and support processes. Our Direct division also includes our extensive direct sales capabilities and relationships. Finally, our “Traditional” division is our heritage U.S. portfolio composed primarily of independent sales organization (“ISO”) relationships.