Global Payments Inc.
10-K on 02/19/2021   Download
SEC Document
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
    
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the transition period from              to     
 
Commission File No. 001-16111
gpn-20201231_g1.jpg
GLOBAL PAYMENTS INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in charter)
Georgia 58-2567903
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
 
3550 Lenox Road, Atlanta, Georgia
30326
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
 
Registrant's telephone number, including area code:     770-829-8000

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading symbol Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, No Par ValueGPN New York Stock Exchange
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
NONE
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes    No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes    No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes    No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer         Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer         Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes    No

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter was $50,324,272,356. The number of shares of the registrant's common stock outstanding at February 16, 2021 was 295,243,402 shares.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Specifically identified portions of the registrant's proxy statement for the 2021 annual meeting of shareholders are incorporated by reference in Part III.



GLOBAL PAYMENTS INC.
2020 ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
  Page
PART I
ITEM 1.
ITEM 1A.
ITEM 2.
ITEM 3.
PART II
ITEM 5.
ITEM 6.
ITEM 7.
ITEM 7A.
ITEM 8.
ITEM 9.
ITEM 9A.
PART III
ITEM 10.
ITEM 11.
ITEM 12.
ITEM 13.
ITEM 14.
PART IV
ITEM 15.




Table of Contents
CAUTIONARY NOTICE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Some of the statements we use in this report, and in some of the documents we incorporate by reference in this report, contain forward-looking statements concerning our business operations, economic performance and financial condition, including in particular: our business strategy and means to implement the strategy; measures of future results of operations, such as revenues, expenses, operating margins, income tax rates, and earnings per share; other operating metrics such as shares outstanding and capital expenditures; the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business; our success and timing in developing and introducing new services and expanding our business; and statements about the benefits of our acquisitions, including future financial and operating results, the company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions, and the successful integration of our future acquisitions or completion of anticipated benefits and strategic initiatives. You can sometimes identify forward-looking statements by our use of the words "believes," "anticipates," "expects," "intends," "plan," "forecast," "guidance" and similar expressions. For these statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Although we believe that the plans and expectations reflected in or suggested by our forward-looking statements are reasonable, those statements are based on a number of assumptions, estimates, projections or plans that are inherently subject to significant risks, uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control, cannot be foreseen and reflect future business decisions that are subject to change. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee you that our plans and expectations will be achieved. Our actual revenues, revenue growth rates and margins, other results of operations and shareholder values could differ materially from those anticipated in our forward-looking statements as a result of many known and unknown factors, many of which are beyond our ability to predict or control. Important factors, among others, that may otherwise cause actual events or results to differ materially from those anticipated by such forward-looking statements or historical performance include the timing and severity of the effects of global economic, political, market, health and social events or other conditions, including the timing and severity of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; regulatory measures or voluntary actions, including continued or prolonged social distancing, shelter-in-place orders, operating restrictions on businesses and similar measures imposed or undertaken in an effort to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic; management’s assumptions and projections used in their estimates of the timing and severity of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our future revenues, results of operations and liquidity; our ability to meet our liquidity needs in light of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against our directors; difficulties, delays and higher than anticipated costs related to integrating the businesses of Global Payments and TSYS, including with respect to implementing controls to prevent a material security breach of any internal systems or to successfully manage credit and fraud risks in business units; failing to fully realize anticipated cost savings and other anticipated benefits of the Merger when expected or at all; business disruptions from the Merger integration that may harm our business, including current plans and operations; failing to comply with the applicable requirements of Visa, Mastercard or other payment networks or card schemes or changes in those requirements; the ability to maintain Visa and Mastercard registration and financial institution sponsorship; the ability to retain and hire key personnel; the diversion of management’s attention from ongoing business operations; the continued availability of capital and financing; the business, economic and political conditions in the markets in which we operate; increased competition in the markets in which we operate and our ability to increase our market share in existing markets and expand into new markets; our ability to safeguard our data; risks associated with our indebtedness, foreign currency exchange and interest rate risks; the effects of new or changes in current laws, regulations, credit card association rules or other industry standards, including privacy and cybersecurity laws and regulations; and events beyond our control, such as acts of terrorism, and other factors presented in "Item 1A - Risk Factors" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which we advise you to review. These cautionary statements qualify all of our forward-looking statements, and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

Our forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and should not be relied upon as representing our plans and expectations as of any subsequent date. While we may elect to update or revise forward-looking statements at some time in the future, we specifically disclaim any obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to our forward-looking statements, except as required by law.


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PART I

ITEM 1- BUSINESS

Global Payments Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries are referred to collectively as "Global Payments," the "Company," "we," "our" or "us," unless the context requires otherwise.

Introduction

We are a leading pure play payments technology company providing cutting edge payments and software solutions to approximately 3.5 million merchant locations and more than 1,300 financial institutions across more than 100 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Our technologies, services and employee expertise enable us to provide a broad range of solutions that allow our customers to operate their businesses more efficiently across a variety of channels around the world. Headquartered in Georgia with approximately 24,000 employees worldwide, Global Payments is a member of the S&P 500. Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "GPN."

Merger with Total System Services, Inc.

On September 18, 2019, we consummated our merger with Total System Services, Inc. ("TSYS") (the "Merger") for total purchase consideration of $24.5 billion, primarily funded with shares of our common stock. Prior to the Merger, TSYS was a leading global payments provider, offering seamless, secure and innovative solutions to issuers, merchants and consumers. See "Note 2—Acquisitions" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for further discussion of the Merger.

Industry Overview

The payments technology industry provides financial institutions, businesses and consumers with payment processing services, merchant acceptance solutions and related information and other value-added services. The industry continues to grow as a result of wider merchant acceptance and increased use of credit and debit cards, advances in payment processing technology and migration to ecommerce, omnichannel and contactless payment solutions. The proliferation of credit and debit cards, as well as other digital payment solutions, has made the acceptance of electronic payments a necessity for many businesses, regardless of size, in order to remain competitive. The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in 2020 has further accelerated the use of electronic payments, the need for development of technologies and electronic-based solutions and expansion of ecommerce, omnichannel and contactless payment solutions. This increased use of cards and the availability of more sophisticated technology services to all market segments has resulted in an increasingly competitive and specialized industry.

Strategy

We seek to leverage the adoption of, and transition to, card, electronic and digital-based payments by expanding our share in our existing markets through our distribution channels and service innovation, as well as through acquisitions to improve our offerings and scale. We also seek to enter new markets through acquisitions, alliances and joint ventures around the world. We intend to continue to invest in and leverage our technology infrastructure and our people to increase our penetration in existing markets.

The key tenets of our strategy include the following:

Deepen our competitive advantage through our pure play payments strategy;

Continue to scale the three pillars of our strategy: software-driven focus, omnichannel expansion and exposure to faster growth markets;

Further expand our leadership position in our technology-enabled businesses;

Enhance and expand our offerings as a product-led, sales-driven company;

Deliver operational excellence and outstanding customer experiences;

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Continue to develop seamless multinational solutions for leading global customers; and

Pursue potential domestic and international acquisitions of, investments in and alliances with companies that have high growth potential, significant market presence, sustainable distribution platforms and/or key technological capabilities.

Competitive Strengths

We believe that our competitive strengths include the following:

Global Footprint and Distribution - Our worldwide presence allows us to focus our investments on markets with promising gross domestic product fundamentals and favorable secular trends, makes us more attractive to customers with international operations and exposes us to emerging innovations that we can adopt globally, while diversifying our economic risk.

Technology Solutions - We provide innovative technology-based solutions, including enterprise software solutions, that enable our customers to operate their business more efficiently and simplify the payments process, regardless of the channel through which the transaction occurs. We believe our robust technology solutions will continue to differentiate us in the marketplace and will position us for continued growth.
Scalable Operating Environment and Technology Infrastructure - We operate with a multi-channel, global technology infrastructure, which provides scalable and innovative service offerings and a consistent service experience to our merchants, customers, financial institutions and other partners worldwide, while also driving sustainable operating efficiencies.

Strong, Long-lasting Partner Relationships - We have established strong, long-lasting relationships with many financial institutions, enterprise software providers, value-added resellers and other technology-based payment service providers, which enable us to deliver a set of diverse solutions to our customers.

Disciplined Acquisition Approach - Our proven track record for selectively and successfully sourcing, completing and integrating acquired businesses in existing and new markets positions us well for future growth and as an attractive partner for potential acquisition targets.

Business Segments

We operate in three reportable segments: Merchant Solutions, Issuer Solutions and Business and Consumer Solutions. See "Note 16—Segment Information" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for additional information about our segments, including revenues, operating income and depreciation and amortization by segment as well as financial information about geographic areas in which we operate.

Our foreign operations subject us to various risks, including, without limitation, currency exchange risks and political, economic and regulatory risks. See "Item 1A - Risk Factors" for additional information about these risks.

Merchant Solutions Segment

Through our Merchant Solutions segment, we provide payments technology and software solutions to customers globally. Our payment technology solutions are similar around the world in that we enable our customers to accept card, electronic, check and digital-based payments. Our comprehensive offerings include, but are not limited to, authorization services, settlement and funding services, customer support and help-desk functions, chargeback resolution, terminal rental, sales and deployment, payment security services, consolidated billing and statements and on-line reporting.

In addition, we offer a wide array of enterprise software solutions that streamline business operations to customers in numerous vertical markets. We also provide a variety of value-added services, including specialty point-of-sale solutions, analytic and customer engagement tools, payroll and human capital management services and reporting that assist our customers with driving demand and operating their businesses more efficiently.

Our value proposition is to provide distinctive high-quality, responsive and secure services to all of our customers. We distribute our Merchant Solutions services globally through multiple relationship-led and technology-enabled distribution channels and target customers in many vertical markets located throughout North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin
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America. The majority of our revenues is generated by services priced as a percentage of transaction value or a specified fee per transaction, depending on the payment type or the market. We also earn software subscription and licensing fees, as well as other fees based on specific value-added services that may be unrelated to the number or value of transactions.

Distribution Channels

In the Merchant Solutions segment, we actively market and provide our payment services, enterprise software solutions and other value-added services directly to our customers through a variety of relationship-led and technology-enabled distribution channels.

Through our relationship-led direct sales force worldwide, as well as bank and other referral partnerships, we offer our payments technology services, software and other value-added solutions directly to customers across numerous verticals in the markets we serve. We offer high-touch services that provide our customers with reliable and secure solutions coupled with high quality and responsive support services. Although our primary focus is on building high quality direct relationships with merchants, we also provide our services to merchants through independent sales organizations ("ISOs") and financial institutions.

Many of our payment solutions are technology-enabled in that they incorporate or are incorporated into innovative, technology-driven solutions, including enterprise software solutions, designed to enable merchants to better manage their businesses. Our technology-enabled solutions represent a substantial component of our revenues. Our technology-enabled distribution includes integrated and vertical market software solutions and ecommerce and omnichannel solutions, each as described below.

Global Payments Integrated Solutions. Our integrated solutions provide advanced payments technology that is deeply embedded into business management software solutions owned by our technology partners who operate in numerous vertical markets, primarily in North America. We grow our integrated solutions business when new or existing merchants enable payments services through enterprise software solutions sold by our partners, including existing and new partners.

Vertical Markets Software Solutions. Our vertical markets software solutions provide advanced payments technology that is deeply integrated into business enterprise software solutions that we own. We distribute our vertical markets software solutions primarily through the following businesses:

ACTIVE Network. Through ACTIVE Network, we deliver cloud-based enterprise software, including payment technology solutions, to event organizers in the communities, government services and health and fitness markets.

AdvancedMD. Through AdvancedMD, we provide cloud-based enterprise solutions to small-to-medium sized ambulatory physician practices in the United States.

Education Solutions. We offer integrated payment solutions specifically designed for all levels of educational institutions. At the university level, we offer integrated commerce solutions, payment services, higher education loan services, credentialing services and open- and closed-loop payment solutions. For kindergarten through 12th grade, we provide ecommerce and in-person payments, cafeteria POS solutions and back-office management software, hardware, technical support and training.

Gaming. We offer a comprehensive suite of solutions to the gaming market in North America. These solutions include credit and debit card cash advance, cashless advance, iGaming solutions, traditional and electronic check processing and other services specific to this market.

Xenial. Through Xenial, we offer leading-edge enterprise software solutions, integrated with our payment services and other adjacent business service applications, to the restaurant and hospitality and retail vertical markets.

Ecommerce and Omnichannel. We offer ecommerce and omnichannel solutions to our customers that seamlessly blend payment gateway services, retail payment acceptance infrastructure and payment technology service capabilities through a unified commerce platform to allow merchants to accept various payment methods through any channel across our geographical footprint. We sell ecommerce and omnichannel solutions to customers of all sizes, from small businesses accepting payments in a single country, to enterprise and multinational businesses that have complex payment needs and operate retail and online businesses in multiple countries.

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Credit and Debit Card Transaction Processing

Credit and debit card transaction processing includes the processing of the world's major international card brands, including American Express, Discover Card ("Discover"), JCB, Mastercard, UnionPay International ("UPI") and Visa, as well as certain domestic debit networks, such as Interac in Canada. Credit and debit networks establish uniform regulations that govern much of the payment card industry. During a typical payment transaction, the merchant and the card issuer do not interface directly with each other, but instead rely on payments technology companies, such as Global Payments, to facilitate transaction processing services, including authorization, electronic draft capture, file transfers to facilitate funds settlement and certain exception-based, back office support services such as chargeback and retrieval resolution.

We process funds settlement under two models: a sponsorship model and a direct membership model. Under the sponsorship model, member clearing financial institutions ("Members") sponsor us and require our adherence to the standards of the networks. In these markets, we have sponsorship or depository and clearing agreements with financial institution sponsors. These agreements allow us to route transactions under the Members' control and identification numbers to clear card transactions through Mastercard and Visa. In this model, the standards of the card networks restrict us from performing funds settlement or accessing merchant settlement funds, and, instead, require that these funds be in the possession of the Member until the merchant has been funded.

Under the direct membership model, we are direct members in various payment networks, allowing us to process and fund transactions without third-party sponsorship. Under this model, we route and clear transactions directly through the card brand’s network and are not restricted from performing funds settlement. Otherwise, we process these transactions similarly to how we process transactions in the sponsorship model. We are required to adhere to the standards of the various networks in which we are direct members. We maintain relationships with financial institutions, which may also serve as our Member sponsors for other card brands or in other markets, to assist with funds settlement.

How a Card Transaction Works

A typical payment transaction begins when a cardholder presents a card for payment at a merchant location where the card information is captured by a point-of-sale ("POS") terminal card reader or mobile device card reader, which may be sold or leased to the merchant and serviced by us. Alternatively, card and transaction information may be captured and transmitted to our network through a POS device or ecommerce portal by one of a number of services that we offer directly or through a value-added reseller. The card reader electronically records sales draft information, such as the card identification number, transaction date and transaction amount.

After the card and transaction information is captured, the POS device automatically connects to our network through the internet or other communication channel in order to receive authorization of the transaction. For a credit card transaction, authorization services generally refer to the process in which the card issuer indicates whether a particular credit card is authentic and whether the impending transaction amount will cause the cardholder to exceed defined credit limits. In a debit card transaction, we obtain authorization for the transaction from the card issuer through the payment network verifying that the cardholder has access to sufficient funds for the transaction amount.

As an illustration, shown below in the sponsorship model, on a $100.00 card transaction, the card issuer may fund the Member, our sponsor, (indirectly through the card network) $98.50 after retaining approximately $1.50 referred to as an interchange fee. The card issuer seeks reimbursement of $100.00 from the cardholder in the cardholder's monthly credit card statement. The Member would, in turn, pay the merchant $100.00. The net settlement after this transaction would require us to advance the Member $1.50. After the end of the month, we would bill the merchant a percentage of the transaction amount, or merchant discount, to cover the full amount of the interchange fee and our fee from the transaction. If our discount rate for the merchant in the above example was 2.00%, we would bill the merchant $2.00 after the end of the month for the transaction, reimburse ourselves for $1.50 in interchange fees and retain $0.50 as our fees for the transaction. Under some arrangements, we remit the net amount of $98.00 to the merchant, rather than funding the full $100.00 and subsequently billing the merchant at the end of the month. Discount rates vary based on negotiations with merchants and the economic characteristics of transactions. Interchange rates also vary based on the economic characteristics of individual transactions. Accordingly, our fee per transaction varies across our merchant base and is subject to change based on changes in discount rates and interchange rates. Our profit on the transaction reflects the fee received less payment network fees and operating expenses, including systems cost to process the transaction and commissions paid to our sales force or ISO. Payment network fees are charged by the card brands, in part, based on the value of transactions processed through their networks.

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Issuer Solutions Segment

Through our Issuer Solutions segment, we provide solutions that enable financial institutions and other financial service providers to manage their card portfolios, reduce technical complexity and overhead and offer a seamless experience for cardholders on a single platform. In addition, we provide flexible commercial payments and ePayables solutions that support business-to-business payment processes for businesses and governments. We also offer complementary services, including account management and servicing, fraud solution services, analytics and business intelligence, cards, statements and correspondence, customer contact solutions and risk management solutions.

Issuer Solutions segment revenues are derived from long-term processing contracts with financial institutions and other financial services providers. Payment processing services revenues are generated primarily from charges based on the number of accounts on file, transactions and authorizations processed, statements generated and/or mailed, managed services, cards embossed and mailed, and other processing services for cardholder accounts on file. Most of these contracts have prescribed annual minimums, penalties for early termination, and service level agreements that may affect contractual fees if specific service levels are not achieved. Issuer Solutions revenues also include loyalty redemption services and professional services.

Business and Consumer Solutions Segment

Our Business and Consumer Solutions segment provides general purpose reloadable ("GPR") prepaid debit and payroll cards, demand deposit accounts and other financial service solutions to the underbanked and other consumers and businesses in the United States through our Netspend® and other brands. Through our Business and Consumer Solutions segment, we provide customers with access to depository accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") with a menu of features specifically tailored to their needs. The Business and Consumer Solutions segment has an extensive distribution and reload network comprised of financial service centers and other retail locations throughout the United States, and is a program manager for FDIC-insured depository institutions that provide the services that the Business and Consumer Solutions segment develops, promotes and distributes. Business and Consumer Solutions currently has active agreements with four card issuing banks.

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The Business and Consumer Solutions segment markets its services through multiple distribution channels, including alternative financial service providers, traditional retailers, direct-to-consumer and online marketing programs and contractual relationships with corporate employers. Business and Consumer Solutions segment revenues principally consist of fees collected from cardholders and fees generated by cardholder activity in connection with the programs that we manage. Customers are typically charged a fee for each purchase transaction made using their cards, unless the customer is on a monthly or annual service plan, in which case the customer is instead charged a monthly or annual subscription fee, as applicable. Customers are also charged a monthly maintenance fee after a specified period of inactivity. We also charge fees associated with additional services offered in connection with our accounts, including the use of overdraft features, a variety of bill payment options, card replacement, foreign exchange and card-to-card transfers of funds initiated through our call centers. Revenues are recognized net of fees charged by the payment networks for services they provide in processing transactions routed through them.

Competition

Our Merchant Solutions segment competes with financial institutions and merchant acquirers who provide businesses with merchant acquiring services and related services. We believe that as of December 31, 2020, we were one of the largest merchant acquirers in the small and medium-sized business segment (merchants who have less than $5 million in annual bankcard sales volume) in the United States. In the United States, we compete primarily with Fiserv, Inc. (and its alliances) ("Fiserv"), Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. ("FIS"), Chase Paymentech Solutions, LLC, Elavon, Inc., a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A and Square, Inc. While these are our primary competitors, our vertically focused business in the United States compete with other organizations.

Internationally, financial institutions remain the primary providers of payment technology services to merchants, although the outsourcing of these services to third-party service providers is becoming more prevalent. In addition to financial institutions, competitors in Europe include Ayden N.V. and FIS.

Our Issuer Solutions segment encounters competition from third-party payment card issuer processors, core banking platform providers, independent software vendors and various other firms that provide products and services to payment card issuers in the markets we serve. The United States market for third-party issuer processing is primarily serviced by three vendors, including TSYS, with our largest competitor being a subsidiary of Fiserv. We believe that as of December 31, 2020, we were the largest third-party processor for credit card issuers in North America and one of the largest in Europe based on net revenue from solutions provided to credit card issuers.

Our Business and Consumer Solutions segment primarily competes with other demand deposit account and prepaid debit account program managers to provide financial service solutions to the underbanked and other consumers and businesses. Our primary competitors in this space include Green Dot Corporation, InComm and Fiserv. As of December 31, 2020, we believe that we were one of the two largest prepaid program managers in the United States based on gross dollar volume (total spending on the accounts we manage) processed.

Safeguarding Our Business

In order to provide our services, we process and store sensitive business information and personal information, which may include credit and debit card numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names and addresses, and other types of personal information or sensitive business information. Some of this information is also processed and stored by financial institutions, merchants and other entities, as well as third-party service providers to whom we outsource certain functions and other agents, which we refer to collectively as our associated third parties. We may have responsibility to the card networks, financial institutions, and in some instances, our merchants, ISOs and/or individuals, for our failure or the failure of our associated third parties (as applicable) to protect this information.

We are subject to cyber security and information theft risks in our operations, which we seek to manage through cyber and information security programs, training and insurance coverage. To strengthen our security and cyber defenses, we continue to deploy multiple methods at different layers to defend our systems against misuse, intrusions and cyberattacks and to protect the data we collect. Further, we work with information security and forensics firms and employ advanced technologies to help prevent, investigate and address issues relating to processing system security and availability. We also collaborate with third parties, regulators and law enforcement, when appropriate, to resolve security incidents and assist in efforts to prevent unauthorized access to our processing systems.

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Intellectual Property

Our intellectual property is an important part of our strategy to be a leading provider of payment technology and software solutions. We use a combination of internal policies, intellectual property laws and contractual provisions to protect our proprietary technologies and brands. In addition, to protect our various brands, we seek and maintain registration of U.S. and international patents, trademarks, service marks and domain names that align with our brand strategy. We also enforce our trademarks against potential sources of confusion that could harm our brand and ability to compete. In addition to using our intellectual property in our own operations, we grant licenses to certain of our customers to use our intellectual property.

Human Capital Management

Our company currently does business in over 100 countries around the world, with team members living and working in 38 of them. As of December 31, 2020, our approximately 24,000-employee workforce represented approximately 80 nationalities and 16 natively spoken languages, with approximately 68% residing in the Americas, 12.5% residing in Europe and 19.5% residing in Asia Pacific. Many of our employees are highly skilled in technical areas specific to payment technology and software solutions.

Growth and Development

Our strategy to develop and retain the best talent includes an emphasis on employee development and training. Our online training platform provides a vast array of tools and application resources for all team members to build learning experiences and skills. In order to help our employees strengthen the skills and behaviors needed for career advancement, the enhanced curriculum has been mapped to each of our defined leadership capabilities. Mandatory annual unconscious bias training is also required for all team members.

Well-being and Safety during COVID-19 Pandemic

The success of our business is connected to the well-being of our team members. Accordingly, we are committed to the health, safety and wellness of our team members worldwide. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented significant changes that we determined were in the best interest of our team members as well as the communities in which we operate. This included enabling the vast majority of our worldwide employees to seamlessly shift to work from home. Over the past several years, we have made significant investments in our operating environments and technology that support day-to-day execution. The largely cloud-based systems and collaboration tools we use globally facilitated this smooth transition of operations to business continuity mode. Additional health and safety measures have been implemented for team members continuing critical work within office locations, such as:

Increasing cleaning protocols across all our locations;

Initiating regular communication regarding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations, including health and safety protocols and procedures;

Adjusting attendance policies to encourage those who are sick to stay home; and

Implementing protocols to address actual and suspected COVID-19 cases and potential exposure.

Inclusion and Diversity

Our inclusion and diversity program focuses on workforce (our people), workplace (culture, tools and programs) and community. We believe that our business is strengthened by a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we operate. We believe all of our employees should be treated with respect and equality, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious beliefs, or other characteristics and to further this goal, we formally launched an inclusion and diversity initiative in 2018. As part of this initiative, we became a signatory to the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance inclusion and diversity in the workplace. We have worked to make inclusion and diversity a common thread in all of our human resource practices so that we can attract, develop, and retain the best talent for our workforce. Our focus on these efforts includes:

Establishing an Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Council, consisting of team members worldwide who provide insight and input on our inclusion and diversity initiative;

Launching employee resource groups whose mission is to foster support, professional development, and cultural inclusivity for LGBTQIA, women, veterans, and Black team members;
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Creating a sponsorship program to ensure that women and people of color are represented in succession planning for key leadership roles; and

Establishing the Social Justice and Equality fund as a part of our pre-established philanthropic giving, which is used to advocate for or support education, health and wellness, financial empowerment and social equality in underserved communities.

For more information on certain of our human capital practices, including inclusion and diversity, refer to the Proxy Statement Summary section of our 2021 Proxy Statement.

Regulation

Various aspects of our business are subject to regulation and supervision under federal, state and local laws in the United States, and foreign laws, regulations and rules, as well as local escheat laws and privacy and information security regulations. In addition, we are subject to rules promulgated by the various payment networks, including American Express, Discover, Interac, Mastercard and Visa. Set forth below is a brief summary of some of the significant laws and regulations that apply to us. These descriptions are not exhaustive, and these laws, regulations and rules frequently change and are increasing in number.

We are currently in compliance with existing legal and regulatory requirements and do not expect that maintaining compliance with these regulations will have a material adverse effect on our capital expenditures, earnings or competitive and financial positions. See "Item 1A - Risk Factors" for additional discussion of the potential risks associated with future changes in laws or regulations.

Dodd-Frank Act

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the "Dodd-Frank Act") restricts the amounts of debit card fees that certain institutions can charge merchants. Pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Federal Reserve Board, debit interchange rates for card issuers with assets of $10 billion or more are capped at $0.21 per transaction and an ad valorem component of 5 basis points to reflect a portion of the issuer's fraud losses plus, for qualifying issuers, an additional $0.01 per transaction in debit interchange for fraud prevention costs.

In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act limits the ability of payment card networks to impose certain restrictions because it allows merchants to: (i) set minimum dollar amounts (not to exceed $10) for the acceptance of a credit card (and allows federal governmental entities and institutions of higher education to set maximum amounts for the acceptance of credit cards) and (ii) provide discounts or incentives to encourage consumers to pay with cash, checks, debit cards or credit cards.

The rules also contain prohibitions on network exclusivity and merchant routing restrictions that require a card issuer to enable at least two unaffiliated networks on each debit card, prohibit card networks from entering into exclusivity arrangements and restrict the ability of issuers or networks to mandate transaction routing requirements. The prohibition on network exclusivity has not significantly affected our ability to pass on network fees and other costs to our customers, nor do we expect it to in the future.

The Dodd-Frank Act also created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB"), which has assumed responsibility for enforcing federal consumer protection laws, and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which has the authority to determine whether any nonbank financial company, such as us, should be supervised by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the "Federal Reserve") on the ground that it is "systemically important" to the U.S. financial system. Accordingly, we may be subject to additional systemic risk-related oversight.

Money Transmission, Sale of Checks and Payment Instrument Laws and Regulations

Our Business and Consumer Solutions segment is subject to money transfer and payment instrument licensing regulations. We have obtained licenses to operate as a money transmitter, seller of checks and/or provider of payment instruments in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Our Business and Consumer Solutions segment is subject to direct supervision and regulation by the relevant state banking departments or similar agencies charged with enforcement of the relevant statutes and we must comply with various requirements, such as those related to the maintenance of a certain level of net worth, surety bonding, selection and oversight
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of our authorized agents, maintaining permissible investments in an amount equal to or in excess of our outstanding payment obligations, recordkeeping and reporting and disclosures to consumers. Our Business and Consumer Solutions segment is also subject to periodic examinations by the relevant licensing authorities, which may include reviews of our compliance practices, policies and procedures, financial position and related records, various agreements that we have with our issuing banks, distributors and other third parties, privacy and data security policies and procedures and other matters related to our business.

Banking Laws and Regulations

Because we provide electronic payment processing services to banks and other financial institutions, we are subject to examination by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Counsel (the "FFIEC"), an interagency body comprised primarily of federal banking regulators, and also subject to examination by the various state financial regulatory agencies that supervise and regulate the financial institutions for which we provide electronic payment processing and other payment related services. The FFIEC examines large data processors in order to identify and mitigate risks associated with systemically significant service providers, including specifically the risks they may pose to the banking industry.

Privacy, Information Security and Other Business Practices Regulation

Aspects of our business are also subject, directly or indirectly, to business and trade practices regulation in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and elsewhere. For example, in the United States, we and our financial institution customers are, respectively, subject to the Federal Trade Commission’s and the federal banking regulators’ privacy and information safeguarding requirements under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. These requirements limit the manner in which personal information may be collected, stored, used and disclosed. The Federal Trade Commission’s information safeguarding rules require us to develop, implement and maintain a written, comprehensive information security program containing safeguards that are appropriate for our size and complexity, the nature and scope of our activities and the sensitivity of any customer information at issue. In many jurisdictions, including every U.S. State, consumers must be notified in the event of a data breach, and such notification requirements continue to increase in scope and cost. The changing privacy laws in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, including the adoption by the European Union of the General Data Protection Regulation, and the California Consumer Privacy Act, which became effective in January 2020, create new individual privacy rights and impose increased obligations on companies handling personal data. In addition, multiple states, Congress and regulators outside the United States are considering similar laws or regulations which could create new individual privacy rights and impose increased obligations on companies handling personal data. See "Item 1A - Risk Factors" for additional discussion of the potential risks associated with future changes in laws or regulations.

Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Requirements

In many countries, we are legally or contractually required to comply with the anti-money laundering laws and regulations, such as, in the United States, the Bank Secrecy Act, as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act (collectively, the "Bank Secrecy Act"), and similar laws of other countries, which require that customer identifying information be obtained and verified. In some countries, we are directly subject to these requirements; in other countries, we have contractually agreed to assist our sponsor financial institutions with their obligation to comply with anti-money laundering requirements that apply to them. In addition, we and our sponsor financial institutions are subject to the laws and regulations enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"), which prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with certain prohibited persons or entities. Similar requirements apply in other countries. We have developed procedures and controls that are designed to monitor and address legal and regulatory requirements and developments and that allow our customers to protect against having direct business dealings with such prohibited countries, individuals or entities.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of the Treasury ("FinCEN") has issued a rule regarding the applicability of the Bank Secrecy Act's anti-money laundering provisions to "prepaid access programs." This rulemaking clarifies the anti-money laundering obligations for entities, such as our Business and Consumer Solutions business and its distributors, engaged in the provision and sale of prepaid access devices like our GPR prepaid cards. Certain of our operating subsidiaries have registered with FinCEN as a money services business. This registration results in our having direct responsibility to maintain and implement an anti-money laundering compliance program for such subsidiaries.

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State Wage Payment Laws and Regulations

The use of payroll card programs as a means for an employer to remit wages or other compensation to its employees or independent contractors is governed by state labor laws related to wage payments, which laws are subject to change. The paycard portion of our Business and Consumer Solutions segment includes payroll cards and convenience checks and is designed to allow employers to comply with applicable state wage and hour laws. Most states permit the use of payroll cards as a method of paying wages to employees, either through statutory provisions allowing such use or, in the absence of specific statutory guidance, the adoption by state labor departments of formal or informal policies allowing for their use. Nearly every state allowing payroll cards places certain requirements and/or restrictions on their use as a wage payment method, the most common of which involve obtaining the prior written consent of the employee, limitations on fees and disclosure requirements.

Escheat Laws

We are subject to unclaimed or abandoned property state laws in the United States and in certain foreign countries that require us to transfer to certain government authorities the unclaimed property of others that we hold when that property has been unclaimed for a certain period of time. Moreover, we are subject to audit by state and foreign regulatory authorities with regard to our escheatment practices.

Debt Collection and Credit Reporting Laws

Portions of our business may be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") and similar state laws. These debt collection laws are designed to eliminate abusive, deceptive and unfair debt collection practices and may require licensing at the state level. The FCRA regulates the use and reporting of consumer credit information and also imposes disclosure requirements on entities that take adverse action based on information obtained from credit reporting agencies.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

We are subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") and various state laws to the extent we place telephone calls and short message service ("SMS") messages to customers and consumers. The TCPA regulates certain telephone calls and SMS messages placed using automatic telephone dialing systems or artificial or prerecorded voices.

Where to Find More Information

We file annual and quarterly reports, proxy statements and other information with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). You may read and print materials that we have filed with the SEC from its website at www.sec.gov. In addition, certain of our SEC filings, including our annual reports on Form 10-K, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, our current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to them can be viewed and printed, free of charge, from the investor relations section of our website at www.globalpaymentsinc.com as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Certain materials relating to our corporate governance, including our codes of ethics applicable to our directors, senior financial officers and other employees, are also available in the investor relations section of our website. Copies of our filings, specified exhibits and corporate governance materials are also available, free of charge, by writing us using the address on the cover of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You may also telephone our investor relations office directly at (770) 829-8478. We are not including the information on our website as a part of, or incorporating it by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
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ITEM 1A - RISK FACTORS

An investment in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the following risks and other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and other SEC filings before you decide whether to buy our common stock. The risks identified below are not all encompassing but should be considered in establishing an opinion of our future operations. If any of the events contemplated by the following discussion of risks should occur, our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows could suffer significantly. As a result, the market price of our common stock could decline and you may lose all or part of your investment in our common stock.

Risks Related to Our Business Model and Operations Including the Use of Technology

Our ability to protect our systems and data from continually evolving cybersecurity risks or other technological risks could affect our reputation among our customers and cardholders, adversely affect our continued card network registration or membership and financial institution sponsorship, and expose us to penalties, fines, liabilities and legal claims.

In order to provide our services, we process and store sensitive business and personal information, which may include credit and debit card numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names and addresses, and other types of personal information or sensitive business information. Some of this information is also processed and stored by financial institutions, merchants and other entities, as well as third-party service providers to whom we outsource certain functions and other agents, which we refer to collectively as our associated third parties. We may have responsibility to the card networks, financial institutions, and in some instances, our merchants, ISOs and/or individuals, for our failure or the failure of our associated third parties (as applicable) to protect this information.

We are a regular target of malicious third-party attempts to identify and exploit system vulnerabilities, and/or penetrate or bypass our security measures, in order to gain unauthorized access to our networks and systems or those of our associated third parties. Such access could lead to the compromise of sensitive, business, personal or confidential information. As a result, we follow a defense-in-depth model for cybersecurity, meaning we proactively seek to employ multiple methods at different layers to defend our systems against intrusion and attack and to protect the data we collect. However, we cannot be certain that these measures will be successful and will be sufficient to counter all current and emerging technology threats.

Our computer systems and/or our associated third parties’ computer systems could be subject to penetration, and our data protection measures may not prevent unauthorized access. The techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service or sabotage systems change frequently and are often difficult to detect and continually evolve and become more sophisticated. Threats to our systems and our associated third parties’ systems can derive from human error, fraud or malice on the part of employees or third parties, including state-sponsored organizations with significant financial and technological resources. Computer viruses and other malware can be distributed and could infiltrate our systems or those of our associated third parties. In addition, denial of service, ransomware or other attacks could be launched against us for a variety of purposes, including to interfere with our services or create a diversion for other malicious activities. Our defensive measures may not prevent downtime, unauthorized access or use of sensitive data. While we maintain first- and third-party insurance coverage that may cover certain aspects of cyber risks, such insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover all losses. Companies we acquire may require post-closing implementation of additional cyber defense methods to align with our standards and, as a result, there may be a period of increased risk between the closing of an acquisition and the completion of such implementation. Further, certain of our third-party relationships are subject to our vendor management program and governed by written contracts; however, we do not control the actions of our associated third parties, and any problems experienced by these third parties, including those resulting from breakdowns or other disruptions in the services provided by such parties or cyberattacks and security breaches, could adversely affect our ability to service our customers or otherwise conduct our business.

In addition, we cannot provide assurance that the contractual requirements related to use, security and privacy that we impose on our associated third parties who have access to this data will be followed or will be adequate to prevent the misuse of this data. Any misuse or compromise of personal information or failure to adequately enforce these contractual requirements could result in liability, protracted and costly litigation and, with respect to misuse of personal information of our customers, lost revenue and reputational harm.

Any type of security breach, attack or misuse of data described above or otherwise, whether experienced by us or an associated third party, could harm our reputation and deter existing and prospective customers from using our services or from making electronic payments generally, increase our operating expenses in order to contain and remediate the incident, expose us to unanticipated or uninsured liability, disrupt our operations (including potential service interruptions), distract our management, increase our risk of litigation or regulatory scrutiny, result in the imposition of penalties and fines under state, federal and foreign laws or by the card networks, and adversely affect our continued card network registration or membership
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and financial institution sponsorship. Our removal from networks' lists of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliant service providers could mean that existing customers, sales partners or other third parties may cease using or referring our services. Also, prospective merchant customers, financial institutions, sales partners or other third parties may choose to terminate negotiations with us, or delay or choose not to consider us for their processing needs. In addition, the card networks could refuse to allow us to process through their networks.

We may experience software defects, undetected errors, and development delays, which could damage customer relations, decrease our potential profitability and expose us to liability.

Our services are based on software and computing systems that often encounter development delays, and the underlying software may contain undetected errors, viruses or defects. Defects in our software services and errors or delays in our processing of electronic transactions could result in additional development costs, diversion of technical and other resources from our other development efforts, loss of credibility with current or potential customers, harm to our reputation and exposure to liability claims.

In addition, we rely on technologies and software supplied by third parties that may also contain undetected errors, viruses or defects that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Our systems or our third-party providers' systems may fail, which could interrupt our service, cause us to lose business, increase our costs and expose us to liability.

We depend on the efficient and uninterrupted operation of our computer systems, software, data centers and telecommunications networks, as well as the systems and services of third parties. A system outage or data loss could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Not only could we suffer damage to our reputation in the event of a system outage or data loss, but we may also be liable to third parties. Many of our contractual agreements with financial institutions and certain other customers require the payment of penalties if we do not meet certain operating standards. Our systems and operations or those of our third-party providers could be exposed to damage or interruption from, among other things, fire, natural disaster, power loss, telecommunications failure, terrorist acts, war, unauthorized entry, human error, and computer viruses or other defects. Defects in our systems or those of third parties, errors or delays in the processing of payment transactions, telecommunications failures, or other difficulties (including those related to system relocation) could result in loss of revenues, loss of customers, loss of merchant and cardholder data, harm to our business or reputation, exposure to fraud losses or other liabilities, negative publicity, additional operating and development costs, fines and other sanctions imposed by card networks, and/or diversion of technical and other resources.

The payments technology industry is highly competitive, and some of our competitors are larger and have greater financial and operational resources than we do, which may give them an advantage with respect to the pricing of services offered to customers and the ability to develop new technologies.

We operate in the payments technology industry, which is highly competitive. In this industry, our primary competitors include other independent payment processors, credit card processing firms, as well as financial institutions, ISOs, prepaid programs managers and, potentially, card networks. We compete with many larger companies that have greater financial and operational resources than we have. Our competitors that are financial institutions or subsidiaries of financial institutions do not incur the costs associated with being sponsored by a direct member for participation in the card networks, as we do in certain jurisdictions, and may be able to settle transactions more quickly for merchants than we can. These financial institutions may also provide payment processing services to merchants at a loss in order to generate banking fees from the merchants. It is also possible that larger financial institutions, including some who are customers of ours, could decide to perform in-house some or all of the services that we currently provide or could provide. These attributes may provide them with a competitive advantage in the market.

Additionally, the market for prepaid cards, demand deposit accounts and alternative financial services is similarly highly competitive and competition is increasing as more companies endeavor to address the needs of underbanked consumers. We anticipate increased competition from alternative financial services providers who are often well positioned to service the underbanked and who may wish to develop their own prepaid card or demand deposit account programs. We also face strong price competition. To stay competitive, we may have to increase the incentives that we offer to our distributors and reduce the prices of our services, which could adversely affect our financial position, operating results and cash flows.

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Furthermore, we are facing increasing competition from nontraditional competitors, including new entrant technology companies who offer certain innovations in payment methods. Some of these competitors utilize proprietary software and service solutions. Some of these nontraditional competitors have significant financial resources and robust networks and are highly regarded by consumers. In addition, some nontraditional competitors, such as private companies or startup companies, may be less risk averse than we are and, therefore, may be able to respond more quickly to market demands. These competitors may compete in ways that minimize or remove the role of traditional card networks, acquirers, issuers and processors in the electronic payments process. If these nontraditional competitors gain a greater share of total electronic payments transactions, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

In order to remain competitive and to continue to increase our revenues and earnings, we must continually and quickly update our services, a process that could result in higher costs and the loss of revenues, earnings and customers if the new services do not perform as intended or are not accepted in the marketplace.

The payments technology industry in which we compete is characterized by rapid technological change, new product introductions, evolving industry standards and changing customer needs. In order to remain competitive, we are continually involved in a number of projects, including the development of new platforms, mobile payment applications, ecommerce services and other new offerings emerging in the payments technology industry. These projects carry the risks associated with any development effort, including cost overruns, delays in delivery and performance problems. In the payments technology markets, these risks are even more acute. Any delay in the delivery of new services or the failure to differentiate our services could render our services less desirable to customers, or possibly even obsolete. Furthermore, as the market for alternative payment processing services evolves, it may develop too rapidly or not rapidly enough for us to recover the costs we have incurred in developing new services targeted at this market.

In addition, certain of the services we deliver to the payments technology markets are designed to process very complex transactions and deliver reports and other information on those transactions, all at very high volumes and processing speeds. Any failure to deliver an effective and secure product or any performance issue that arises with a new product or service could result in significant processing or reporting errors or other losses. We rely in part on third parties, including some of our competitors and potential competitors, for the development of and access to new technologies. As a result of these factors, our development efforts could result in higher costs that could reduce our earnings in addition to a loss of revenues and earnings if promised new services are not delivered timely to our customers or do not perform as anticipated.

Our revenues from the sale of services to merchants that accept Visa and Mastercard are dependent upon our continued Visa and Mastercard registrations, financial institution sponsorship and, in some cases, continued membership in certain card networks.
 
In order to provide our Visa and Mastercard transaction processing services, we must be either a direct member or be registered as a merchant processor or service provider of Visa and Mastercard, respectively. Registration as a merchant processor or service provider is dependent upon our being sponsored by Members of each organization in certain jurisdictions. If our sponsor financial institution in any market should stop providing sponsorship for us, we would need to find another financial institution to provide those services or we would need to attain direct membership with the card networks, either of which could prove to be difficult and expensive. If we are unable to find a replacement financial institution to provide sponsorship or attain direct membership, we may no longer be able to provide processing services to affected customers and potential customers in that market, which would negatively affect our revenues, earnings and cash flows. Furthermore, some agreements with our financial institution sponsors give them substantial discretion in approving certain aspects of our business practices, including our solicitation, application and qualification procedures for merchants and the terms of our agreements with merchants. Our sponsors' discretionary actions under these agreements could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In connection with direct membership, the rules and regulations of various card associations and networks prescribe certain capital requirements. Any increase in the capital level required would limit our use of capital for other purposes.

The termination of our registration, or any changes in the Visa or Mastercard rules that would impair our registration, could require us to stop providing Visa and Mastercard payment processing services, which would make it impossible for us to conduct our business on its current scale. The rules of the card networks may be influenced by card issuers, and some of those issuers also provide acquiring services and are our competitors or our customers in both the Merchant Solutions and Issuer Solutions segments. If we fail to comply with the applicable requirements of the card networks, the card networks could seek to fine us, suspend us or terminate our registrations or membership. The termination of our registrations or our membership or our status as a service provider or a merchant processor, or any changes in card association or other network rules or standards, including interpretation and implementation of the rules or standards, that increase the cost of doing business or limit our ability to provide transaction processing services to our customers, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial
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condition, results of operations and cash flows. If a merchant or an ISO customer fails to comply with the applicable requirements of the card associations and networks, we or the merchant or ISO could be subject to a variety of fines or penalties that may be levied by the card associations or networks. If we cannot collect or pursue collection of such amounts from the applicable merchant or ISO, we may have to bear the cost of such fines or penalties, resulting in lower earnings for us.

Our Business and Consumer Solutions segment relies on certain relationships with issuing banks, distributors, marketers and brand partners. The loss of such relationships, or if we are unable to maintain such relationships on terms that are favorable to us, may materially adversely affect our business, financial position, operating results and cash flows.

Our Business and Consumer Solutions segment relies on arrangements that we have with issuing banks to provide us with critical products and services, including the FDIC-insured depository accounts tied to the cards and accounts we manage, access to the ATM networks, membership in the card associations and network organizations and other banking services. The majority of our active Business and Consumer Solutions cards and accounts are issued or opened through Meta Payment Systems ("MetaBank"). If any material adverse event were to affect MetaBank's or another of our critical issuing banks, or we were to lose MetaBank or another critical bank, or MetaBank or another critical bank grew to a size such that it was no longer able to avail itself of certain regulatory exemptions for small banks, we may be forced to find an alternative provider for these critical banking services. It may not be possible to find a replacement bank on terms that are acceptable to us or at all. Any change in the issuing banks could disrupt the business or result in arrangements with new banks that are less favorable to us than those we have with our existing issuing banks, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, operating results and cash flows.

Furthermore, our Business and Consumer Solutions segment depends in large part on establishing agreements with distributors, marketers and brand partners, primarily alternative financial services providers, as well as grocery and convenience stores and other traditional retailers. Some of these companies may endeavor to internally develop their own programs or enter into exclusive relationships with our competitors to distribute or market their products. The loss of, or a substantial decrease in revenues from, one or more of our top distributors, marketers or brand partners could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, operating results and cash flows.

We rely on various financial institutions to provide clearing services in connection with our settlement activities. If we are unable to maintain clearing services with these financial institutions and are unable to find a replacement, our business may be adversely affected.

We rely on various financial institutions to provide clearing services in connection with our settlement activities. If such financial institutions should stop providing clearing services, we would have to find other financial institutions to provide those services. If we were unable to find a replacement financial institution we may no longer be able to provide processing services to certain customers, which could negatively affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Increased merchant, referral partner or ISO attrition could cause our financial results to decline.

We experience attrition in merchant credit and debit card processing volume resulting from several factors, including business closures, transfers of merchants accounts to our competitors, unsuccessful contract renewal negotiations and account closures that we initiate for various reasons, such as heightened credit risks or contract breaches by merchants. Our referral partners are a significant source of new business. If a referral partner or an ISO switches to another transaction processor, terminates our services, internalizes payment processing functions that we perform, merges with or is acquired by one of our competitors, or shuts down or becomes insolvent, we may no longer receive new merchant referrals from such referral partner, and we risk losing existing merchants that were originally enrolled by the referral partner or ISO. We cannot predict the level of attrition in the future and it could increase. Higher than expected attrition could negatively affect our results, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Our future growth depends in part on the continued expansion within markets in which we already operate, the emergence of new markets, and the continued availability of alliance relationships and strategic acquisition opportunities.

Our future growth and profitability depend upon our continued expansion within the markets in which we currently operate, the further expansion of these markets, the emergence of other markets for payment technology and software solutions and our ability to penetrate these markets. As part of our strategy to achieve this expansion, we look for acquisition opportunities, investments and alliance relationships with other businesses that will allow us to increase our market penetration, technological capabilities, product offerings and distribution capabilities. We may not be able to successfully identify suitable
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acquisition, investment and alliance candidates in the future, and if we do, they may not provide us with the value and benefits we anticipate.

Our expansion into new markets is also dependent upon our ability to apply our existing technology or to develop new applications to meet the particular service needs of each new market. We may not have adequate financial or technological resources to develop effective and secure services and distribution channels that will satisfy the demands of these new markets. If we fail to expand into new and existing markets for payment technology and software solutions, we may not be able to continue to grow our revenues and earnings.

Our ability to acquire other businesses or technologies, make strategic investments or integrate acquired businesses effectively may also be impaired by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, government actions in light of the pandemic, trade tensions and increased global scrutiny of foreign investments. For example, a number of countries, including the U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, are considering or have adopted restrictions on foreign investments. Governments may continue to adopt or tighten restrictions of this nature, and such restrictions could negatively affect our business and financial results.

Further, our future success will depend, in part, upon our ability to manage our expanded business, which could pose substantial challenges for our management, including challenges related to the management and monitoring of new operations and associated costs and complexity. We may also face increased scrutiny from governmental authorities as a result of increasing the size of our business.
 
There may be a decline in the use of cards and other electronic payments as a payment mechanism for consumers or other adverse developments with respect to the card industry in general.

If consumers do not continue to use credit, debit or GPR prepaid debit cards or other electronic payment methods of the type we process as a payment mechanism for their transactions or if there is a change in the mix of payments between cash, checks, credit cards and debit or GPR prepaid debit cards, which is adverse to us, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Consumer credit risk may make it more difficult or expensive for consumers to gain access to credit facilities such as credit cards. Regulatory changes may result in financial institutions seeking to charge their customers additional fees for use of credit or debit cards. Such fees may result in decreased use of credit or debit cards by cardholders. In each case, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows may be adversely affected.

Consolidation among financial institutions or among retail customers, including the merger of our customers with entities that are not our customers or the sale of portfolios by our customers to entities that are not our customers, could materially affect our financial position, results of operation and cash flows.

Consolidation among financial institutions, particularly in the area of credit card operations, and consolidation in the retail industry, is a risk that could negatively affect our existing agreements and future revenues with these customers. In addition, consolidation among financial institutions has led to an increasingly concentrated customer base, which results in a changing mix toward larger customers. Continued consolidation among financial institutions could increase the bargaining power of our current and future customers and further increase our customer concentration. Consolidation among financial institutions and retail customers and the resulting loss of any significant number of customers by us could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

If we do not renew or renegotiate our agreements on favorable terms with our customers within the Issuer Solutions segment, our business will suffer. The timing of the conversions or deconversions of card portfolio may also affect our revenues and expenses.

A significant amount of our Issuer Solutions segment revenues is derived from long-term contracts with large financial institutions and other financial service providers. The financial position of these customers and their willingness to pay for our services are affected by general market positions, competitive pressures and operating margins within their industries. When our long-term contracts expire, the time of renewal or renegotiation presents our customers with the opportunity to consider other providers, transition all or a portion of the services we provide in-house or seek lower rates for our services. Additionally, as we modernize the technology platform we use to deliver services, some Issuer Solutions customers may not be agreeable to our modernization effort, and may choose to end their contracts prematurely, or not renew their contracts, as a result. The loss of our contracts with existing customers or renegotiation of contracts at reduced rates or reduced service levels could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. 

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In addition, the timing of the conversion of card portfolios of new payment processing customers to our processing systems and the deconversion of existing customers to other systems affects our revenues and expenses. Due to a variety of factors, conversions and deconversions may not occur as scheduled and this may have a material adverse effect on our financial position and results of operations.

We incur chargeback losses when our merchants refuse or cannot reimburse us for chargebacks resolved in favor of their customers. Any increase in chargebacks not paid by our merchants may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

In the event a dispute between a cardholder and a merchant is not resolved in favor of the merchant, the transaction is normally charged back to the merchant and the purchase price is credited or otherwise refunded to the cardholder. If we are unable to collect such amounts from the merchant's account or reserve account (if applicable), or if the merchant refuses or is unable, due to closure, bankruptcy or other reasons, to reimburse us for a chargeback, we bear the loss for the amount of the refund paid to the cardholder. The risk of chargebacks is typically greater with those merchants that promise future delivery of goods and services rather than delivering goods or rendering services at the time of payment. We may experience significant losses from chargebacks in the future. Any increase in chargebacks not paid by our merchants could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. We have policies to manage merchant-related credit risk and often mitigate such risk by requiring collateral and monitoring transaction activity. Notwithstanding our programs and policies for managing credit risk, it is possible that a default on such obligations by one or more of our merchants could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Fraud by merchants, prepaid cardholders or others and losses from overdrawn cardholder accounts could have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

We have potential liability for fraudulent electronic payment transactions or credits initiated by merchants or others, and our prepaid card programs expose us to threats involving the misuse of cards, collusion, fraud and identity theft. Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to engage in illegal activities such as counterfeiting and fraud. Failure to effectively manage risk and prevent fraud could increase our chargeback losses or cause us to incur other liabilities. It is possible that incidents of fraud could increase in the future. Increases in chargebacks or other liabilities could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Additionally, COVID-19 has negatively affected the financial viability and operations of certain merchants. These consolidated financial statements reflect management’s estimates and assumptions related to allowances for transaction and credit losses utilizing the most currently available information. The future magnitude, duration and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are difficult to predict at this time, and the ultimate effect could result in additional charges related to the recoverability of assets. Actual losses could differ materially from those estimates.

Increases in card network fees may result in the loss of customers and/or a reduction in our earnings.
 
From time-to-time, the card networks, including Visa and Mastercard, increase the fees that they charge processors. We could attempt to pass these increases along to our merchant customers, but this strategy might result in the loss of customers to our competitors who may not pass along the increases, thereby reducing our revenues and earnings. If competitive practices prevent us from passing along the higher fees to our merchant customers in the future, we may have to absorb all or a portion of such increases, thereby reducing our earnings.

The integration and conversion of our acquired operations or other future acquisitions, if any, could result in increased operating costs if the anticipated synergies of operating these businesses as one are not achieved, a loss of strategic opportunities if management is distracted by the integration process, and a loss of customers if our service levels drop during or following the integration process.

The acquisition, integration, and conversion of businesses and the formation or operation of alliances, such as the Merger or joint ventures and other partnering arrangements, involve a number of risks. Core risks are in the area of valuation (negotiating a fair price for the business based on sometimes limited diligence) and integration and conversion (managing the complex process of integrating the acquired company's people, services, information security and technology and other assets to realize the projected value of the acquired company and the synergies projected to be realized in connection with the acquisition). In addition, international acquisitions and alliances often involve additional or increased risks, including, for example: managing geographically separated organizations, systems, and facilities; integrating personnel with diverse business backgrounds and organizational cultures; complying with foreign regulatory requirements; fluctuations in currency exchange rates; enforcement of intellectual property rights in some foreign countries; difficulty entering new foreign markets due to,
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among other things, customer acceptance and business knowledge of those new markets; and general economic and political conditions.

If the integration and conversion process does not proceed smoothly, the following factors, among others, could reduce our revenues and earnings, increase our operating costs, and result in us not achieving projected synergies:

If we are unable to successfully integrate the benefits plans, duties and responsibilities, and other factors of interest to the management and employees of the acquired business, we could lose employees to our competitors in the region, which could significantly affect our ability to operate the business and complete the integration;

If the integration process causes any delays with the delivery of our services, or the quality of those services, we could lose customers to our competitors;

The acquisition may otherwise cause disruption to the acquired company’s business and operations and relationships with financial institution sponsors, customers, merchants, employees and other partners;

The acquisition and the related integration could divert the attention of our management from other strategic matters including possible acquisitions and alliances and planning for new product development or expansion into new markets for payments technology and software solutions; and

The costs related to the integration of the acquired company’s business and operations into ours may be greater than anticipated.

Legal, Regulatory Compliance and Tax Risks

Our business is subject to government regulation and oversight. Any new implementation of or changes made to laws, regulations or other industry standards affecting our business in any of the geographic regions in which we operate may require significant development efforts or have an unfavorable effect on our financial results and our cash flows.

Our business is affected by laws and regulations and examinations that affect us and our industry in the countries in which we operate. Regulation and proposed regulation of the payments industry has increased significantly in recent years. Failure to comply with regulations or guidelines may result in the suspension or revocation of a license or registration, the limitation, suspension or termination of service, and the imposition of civil and criminal penalties, including fines, or may cause customers or potential customers to be reluctant to do business with us, any of which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition.

Interchange fees are subject to intense legal, regulatory and legislative scrutiny worldwide. For instance, the Dodd-Frank Act restricts the amounts of debit card fees that certain issuing institutions can charge merchants and allows merchants to set minimum amounts for the acceptance of credit cards and to offer discounts for different payment methods. These types of restrictions could negatively affect the number of debit transactions, which would adversely affect our business. The Dodd-Frank Act also created the CFPB, which has assumed responsibility for enforcing federal consumer protection laws, and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which has the authority to determine whether any nonbank financial company, such as us, should be supervised by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve on the ground that it is "systemically important" to the U.S. financial system. Any such designation would result in increased regulatory burdens on our business, which increases our risk profile and may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

All persons offering or providing financial services or products to consumers, directly or indirectly, can be subject to prohibitions against unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices under the Dodd-Frank Act. More generally, all persons engaged in commerce, including, but not limited to, us and our merchant and financial institution customers, are also subject to Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") Act prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices ("UDAP"). In addition, there are other laws, rules and or regulations, including the Telemarketing Sales Act, that may directly affect us or the activities of our merchant customers and in some cases may subject us to investigations, fees, fines and disgorgement of funds in the event we are deemed to have aided and abetted or otherwise provided the means and instrumentalities to facilitate the illegal activities of the merchant through our payment processing services. Various federal and state regulatory enforcement agencies, including the FTC, the CFPB and the states’ attorneys general have the authority to take action against nonbanks that engage in UDAP or violate other laws, rules or regulations and, to the extent we are in violation of these laws, rules or
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regulations or processing payments for a merchant that may be in violation of these laws, rules or regulations, we may be subject to enforcement actions and as a result may incur losses and liabilities.

In many countries, we are legally or contractually required to comply with the anti-money laundering laws and regulations, such as, in the United States, the Bank Secrecy Act and similar laws of other countries, which require that customer identifying information be obtained and verified. In some countries, we are directly subject to these requirements; in other countries, we have contractually agreed to assist our financial institution customers with their obligation to comply with anti-money laundering requirements that apply to them. In addition, we and our sponsor financial institutions are subject to the laws and regulations enforced by OFAC, which prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with certain prohibited persons or entities. Similar requirements apply in other countries. Our failure to comply with any of these contractual requirements or laws could adversely affect our business, financial credit results of operations and cash flows.

We are also subject to a variety of foreign and domestic laws, and their implementing regulations, which establish requirements for the collection, processing, storage, use and disclosure of personal information, require notice to individuals of privacy practices, and provide individuals with certain rights to prevent use and disclosure of protected information. For example, we are subject to applicable privacy and information security regulations in the regions where we operate; the Payment Services Directive in Europe; the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation; The Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada (issued by Canada's Department of Finance); the California Consumer Protection Act; the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 in the United States; HIPAA and other health privacy regulations and a myriad of U.S. federal and state consumer protection laws and state escheat regulations. In addition, the U.K. Payment Systems Regulator has increased its oversight of the card acquiring industry. We are also subject to examination by the FFIEC as a result of our provision of data processing services to financial institutions. It is possible that these laws may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our data privacy practices or operations model, which could result in potential liability for fines, damages or a need to incur substantial costs to modify our operations. Compliance with these laws and regulations can be costly and time consuming, adding a layer of complexity to business practices and innovation. As with other regulatory schemes, our failure to comply could result in public or private enforcement action and accompanying litigation costs, losses, fines and penalties.

Portions of our business may be subject to the FDCPA, the FCRA and similar state laws. These debt collection laws are designed to eliminate abusive, deceptive and unfair debt collection practices and may require licensing at the state level. If we fail to comply with any of these laws, to the extent they are applicable to us, we may be subject to fines, penalties and litigation.

With respect to our Business and Consumer Solutions segment, because each distributor offers prepaid cards, reload services and/or money remittance services as an agent of Business and Consumer Solutions, or another third party, we do not believe that the distributors themselves are required to become licensed as money transmitters in order to engage in such activity. However, there is a risk that a federal or state regulator will take a contrary position and initiate enforcement or other proceedings against a distributor, us, our issuing banks or our other service providers. If we are unsuccessful in making a persuasive argument that a distributor should not be subject to such licensing requirements and it is therefore deemed to be in violation of one or more of the state money transmitter statutes, it could result in the imposition of fines, the suspension of the distributor’s ability to offer some or all of our related services in the relevant jurisdiction, civil liability and criminal liability, each of which could negatively affect our financial position and results of operations. Furthermore, if the federal government or one or more state governments impose additional legislative or regulatory requirements on our Business and Consumer Solutions segment, the issuing banks or the distributors, or prohibit or limit the activities of our Business and Consumer Solutions segment as currently conducted, we may be required to modify or terminate some or all of our Business and Consumer Solutions services offered in the relevant jurisdiction or certain of the issuing banks may terminate their relationship with us. Moreover, as a number of our Business and Consumer Solutions distributors are engaged in offering payday, title and/or installment loans, current and future legislative and regulatory restrictions that negatively affect their ability to continue their operations could have a corresponding negative effect on our revenue and earnings from these relationships, potentially resulting in a significant decline in revenue from the Business and Consumer Solutions segment.

Changes to legal rules and regulations, or interpretation or enforcement thereof, even if not directed at us, may require significant efforts to change our systems and services and may require changes to how we price our services to customers, adversely affecting our business. Even an inadvertent failure to comply with laws and regulations, as well as rapidly evolving social expectations of corporate fairness, could damage our business or our reputation.

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New or revised tax regulations, unfavorable resolution of tax contingencies or changes to enacted tax rates could adversely affect our tax expense.

Changes in tax laws or their interpretations could result in changes to enacted tax rates and may require complex computations to be performed that were not previously required, significant judgments to be made in interpretation of the new or revised tax regulations and significant estimates in calculations, as well as the preparation and analysis of information not previously relevant or regularly produced. Future changes in enacted tax rates could negatively affect our results of operations.

Our tax returns and positions are subject to review and audit by federal, state, local and international taxing authorities. An unfavorable outcome to a tax audit could result in higher tax expense, thereby negatively affecting our results of operations and cash flows. We have recognized estimated liabilities on the balance sheet for material known tax exposures relating to deductions, transactions and other matters involving some uncertainty as to the proper tax treatment of the item. These liabilities reflect what we believe to be reasonable assumptions as to the likely final resolution of each issue if raised by a taxing authority. While we believe that the liabilities are adequate to cover reasonably expected tax risks, there can be no assurance that, in all instances, an issue raised by a tax authority will be finally resolved at a financial amount no more than any related liability. An unfavorable resolution, therefore, could negatively affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flows in the current and/or future periods.

Our risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective in mitigating our risk exposure in all market environments or against all types of risk.

We operate in a rapidly changing industry. Accordingly, our risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective to identify, monitor and manage our risks. If our policies and procedures are not fully effective or if we are not always successful in identifying and mitigating all risks to which we are or may be exposed, we may suffer uninsured liability, harm to our reputation or be subject to litigation or regulatory actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Financial Risks

We are subject to risks associated with changes in interest rates or currency exchange rates, which could adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows, and we may not effectively hedge against these risks.

A portion of our current indebtedness bears interest at a variable rate, and we may incur additional variable-rate indebtedness in the future. Increases in interest rates will reduce our operating cash flows and could hinder our ability to fund our operations, capital expenditures, acquisitions, share repurchases or dividends.

We are also subject to risks related to the changes in currency exchange rates as a result of our investments in foreign operations and from revenues generated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Revenues and profit generated by international operations will increase or decrease compared to prior periods as a result of changes in currency exchange rates. Volatility in currency exchange rates has affected and may continue to affect our financial results.

In certain of the jurisdictions in which we operate, we may become subject to exchange control regulations that might restrict or prohibit the conversion of our foreign currencies into U.S. dollars or limit our ability to freely move currency in or out of particular jurisdictions. The occurrence of any of these factors could decrease the value of revenues we receive from our international operations and have a material adverse effect on our business.

We may seek to reduce our exposure to fluctuations in interest rates or currency exchange rates through the use of hedging arrangements. To the extent that we hedge our interest rate or currency exchange rate exposures, we forgo the benefits we would otherwise experience if interest rates or currency exchange rates were to change in our favor. Developing an effective strategy for dealing with movements in interest rates and currency exchange rates is complex, and no strategy can completely insulate us from risks associated with such fluctuations. In addition, a counterparty to the arrangement could default on its obligation, thereby exposing us to credit risk. We may have to repay certain costs, such as transaction fees or breakage costs, if we terminate these arrangements.

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A downgrade in the ratings of our debt could restrict our ability to access the debt capital markets and increase our interest costs.

We currently maintain investment credit ratings with Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. Unfavorable changes in the ratings that rating agencies assign to our debt may ultimately negatively affect our access to the debt capital markets and increase the costs we incur to borrow funds. If ratings for our debt fall below investment grade, our access to the capital markets could become restricted and our relationships with certain customers of our Issuer Solutions segment could also be affected. Future tightening in the credit markets and a reduced level of liquidity in many financial markets due to turmoil in the financial and banking industries could affect our access to the debt capital markets or the price we pay to issue debt. Additionally, our credit facilities include an increase in interest rates if the ratings for our debt are downgraded. 

The alteration or replacement of the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") benchmark interest rate could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

A portion of our current indebtedness bears interest at a variable rate based on LIBOR, and we may incur additional variable indebtedness based on LIBOR. Furthermore, we have entered into hedging instruments to manage our exposure to fluctuations in the LIBOR benchmark interest rate. In July 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA"), a regulator of financial services firms and financial markets in the United Kingdom, stated that they will plan for a phase out of regulatory oversight of LIBOR interest rates indices. The FCA has indicated they will support the LIBOR indices through 2021, to allow for an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate. It is possible that the ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (formerly NYSE Euronext Rate Administration Limited) and the panel banks which contribute to LIBOR could continue to produce LIBOR on the current basis after 2021. The ICE Benchmark Administration Limited recently announced that it will consult on its intention to extend the publication of most tenors LIBOR to June 30, 2023. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee has proposed the Secured Overnight Financing Rate ("SOFR") as its recommended alternative to LIBOR, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing SOFR rates in April 2018. At this time, it is not possible to predict when LIBOR will be replaced as the reference rate in the agreements governing the Company’s indebtedness and hedging agreements or the effect any discontinuance, modification or other reforms to LIBOR, or the establishment of alternative reference rates such as SOFR, or any other reference rate, will have on the Company. However, if LIBOR ceases to exist or if the methods of calculating LIBOR change from their current form, the Company’s borrowing costs may be adversely affected.

Failure to maintain effective internal controls in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act could have a material adverse effect on our business.
 
Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires us to evaluate annually the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of the end of each year and to include a management report assessing the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report. If we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal controls, including, but not limited to, preventing unauthorized access to our systems, we may not be able to ensure that we can conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting. Furthermore, this assessment may be complicated by any acquisitions we have completed or may complete.

In certain markets, including, without limitation, China and Spain, our member sponsors perform payment processing operations and related support services pursuant to services agreements. We expect that the member sponsors will continue to provide these services until such time as we may integrate these functions into our operations. Accordingly, we rely on our member sponsors to provide financial data, such as amounts billed to merchants, to assist us with compiling our accounting records. As such, our internal control over financial reporting could be materially affected, or is reasonably likely to be materially affected, by the internal control and procedures of our member sponsors in these markets. 

While we continue to dedicate resources and management time to ensuring that we have effective internal control over financial reporting, failure to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment could have a material adverse effect on the market's perception of our business and on our stock price.


Intellectual Property Risks

We may not be able to successfully manage our intellectual property and may be subject to infringement claims.

In our rapidly developing legal framework, we rely on a combination of contractual rights and copyright, trademark, patent and trade secret laws to establish and protect our proprietary technology. Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual
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property, third parties may infringe or misappropriate our intellectual property or may develop software or technology that competes with ours. Our competitors may independently develop similar technology, duplicate our services or design around our intellectual property rights. We may have to litigate to enforce and protect our intellectual property rights, trade secrets and know-how or to determine their scope, validity or enforceability, which is expensive and could cause a diversion of resources and may not prove to be successful. The loss of intellectual property protection or the inability to secure or enforce intellectual property protection could harm our business and ability to compete.

We may also be subject to costly litigation in the event our services and technology infringe upon another party’s proprietary rights. Third parties may have, or may eventually be issued, patents that could be infringed by our services or technology. Any of these third parties could make a claim of infringement against us with respect to our services or technology. We may also be subject to claims by third parties for breach of copyright, trademark or license usage rights. Any such claims and any resulting litigation could subject us to significant liability for damages. An adverse determination in any litigation of this type could limit our ability to use the intellectual property subject to these claims and require us to design around a third party’s patent, which may not be possible, or to license alternative technology from another party, which may be costly. In addition, such litigation is often time consuming and expensive to defend and could result in the diversion of the time and attention of our employees.

Risks Related to Our Capital Structure

Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect us and limit our business flexibility.

We have a significant amount of indebtedness and may incur other debt in the future. Our level of debt and the covenants to which we agreed could have negative consequences on us, including, among other things, (1) requiring us to dedicate a large portion of our cash flow from operations to servicing and repayment of the debt; (2) limiting funds available for strategic initiatives and opportunities, working capital and other general corporate needs, and (3) limiting our ability to incur certain kinds or amounts of additional indebtedness, which could restrict our flexibility to react to changes in our business, our industry and economic conditions.

We may not be able to raise additional funds to finance our future capital needs.

We may need to raise additional funds to finance our future capital needs, including developing new products and technologies or to fund future acquisitions or operating needs. If we raise additional funds through the sale of equity securities, these transactions may dilute the value of our outstanding common stock. We may also decide to issue securities, including debt securities that have rights, preferences and privileges senior to our common stock. We may be unable to raise additional funds on terms favorable to us or at all. If financing is not available or is not available on acceptable terms, we may be unable to fund our future needs. This may prevent us from increasing our market share, capitalizing on new business opportunities or remaining competitive in our industry.

Our balance sheet includes significant amounts of goodwill and other intangible assets. The impairment of a portion of these assets could negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

As a result of our acquisitions, a significant portion of our total assets are intangible assets (including goodwill). Goodwill and intangible assets, net of amortization, together accounted for approximately 81% of our total assets as of December 31, 2020. We expect to engage in additional acquisitions, which may result in our recognition of additional intangible assets, including goodwill. We evaluate on a regular basis whether all or a portion of our goodwill and other intangible assets may be impaired. Under current accounting rules, any determination that impairment has occurred would require us to record an impairment charge, which would negatively affect our earnings. An impairment of a portion of our goodwill or other intangible assets could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may not be able to, or we may decide not to, pay dividends or repurchase shares at a level anticipated by our shareholders, which could reduce shareholder returns.
 
The extent to which we pay dividends on our common stock and repurchase our common stock in the future is at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other factors, our results of operations, financial condition, capital requirements and such other factors as our board of directors deems relevant. No assurance can be given that we will be able to or will choose to pay any dividends or repurchase any shares in the foreseeable future.

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Risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Our business has been and will likely continue to be negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to adversely affect global commercial activity and has contributed to significant volatility in the financial markets. We experienced revenue declines in fiscal 2020 related to COVID-19 due to a reduction in spending and closures of or slowdowns of certain of our customer businesses throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. While we expect the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have an adverse effect on our revenues and earnings in 2021, we do expect a steady and progressive economic recovery throughout the year.

We have experienced and may continue to experience adverse effects due to a number of operational factors, including but not limited to:

Third-party disruptions due to COVID-19, including potential outages and service effects at network providers, call centers and other suppliers due to restrictions or closures imposed in relation to the pandemic;

Increased cyber and payment fraud risk related to COVID-19, as cybercriminals attempt to profit from the disruption, given increased online banking, e-commerce, remote work and other online activity; and

Challenges to the availability and reliability of our solutions and services due to changes to operations, including the possibility of one or more clusters of COVID-19 cases occurring at our facilities, affecting key employees or a significant portion of our workforce or third parties on which we depend.

Increased operational, business continuity and cybersecurity risk resulting from the significant increase in the number of our employees working remotely as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, COVID-19 could require new or modified processes, procedures and controls to respond to changes in our business environment.

Any of these developments may remain prevalent for a significant period of time and may continue to adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. The full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and are difficult to predict at this time. Such developments include, but are not limited to, the ultimate severity, scope and duration of the pandemic and the preventative measures implemented to help limit the spread of the illness, the availability and effectiveness of treatments or vaccines and how soon and to what extent normal economic conditions, operations and demand for our services can resume. The continued spread of COVID-19 has caused an economic slowdown and recession in the United States and other markets in which we operate, and it is possible that it could cause a global recession. It may also affect financial markets and corporate credit markets which could adversely affect our access to financing or the terms of any such financing. Moreover, the global macroeconomic effects of the pandemic may persist for an indefinite period, even after the pandemic has subsided. Accordingly, the ultimate effects on our operations, financial condition and cash flows cannot be determined at this time.

In addition, many of the other risk factors described herein are heightened by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic conditions, which in turn could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, access to financing, results of operations and liquidity.

Risks Related to General Economic Conditions

We are subject to economic and geopolitical risk, the business cycles and credit risk of our customers and the overall level of consumer, business and government spending, which could negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

The global payments technology industry depends heavily on the overall level of consumer, business and government spending. We are exposed to general economic conditions that affect consumer confidence, spending, and discretionary income and changes in consumer purchasing habits. A sustained deterioration in general economic conditions in the markets in which we operate or increases in interest rates may adversely affect our financial performance by reducing the number or average purchase amount of transactions made using electronic payments. A reduction in the amount of consumer spending could result in a decrease in our revenues and profits. If our merchants make fewer sales to consumers using electronic payments or consumers using electronic payments spend less per transaction, we will have fewer transactions to process or lower transaction amounts, each of which would contribute to lower revenues. Additionally, credit card issuers may reduce credit limits and
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become more selective in their card issuance practices. Any of these developments could have a material adverse effect on our financial position and results of operations.

A downturn in the economy could force merchants, financial institutions or other customers to close or petition for bankruptcy protection, resulting in lower revenue and earnings for us and greater exposure to potential credit losses and future transaction declines. We also have a certain amount of fixed costs, including rent, debt service, and salaries, which could limit our ability to quickly adjust costs and respond to changes in our business and the economy. Changes in economic conditions could also adversely affect our future revenues and profits and cause a materially adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Reject losses arise from the fact that, in most markets, we collect our fees from our merchants on the first day after the monthly billing period. This results in the build-up of a substantial receivable from our customers. If a merchant were to go out of business during the billing period, we may be unable to collect such fees, which could negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

In addition, our business, growth, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by instability or changes in a country’s or region’s economic conditions; inflation; changes in laws or regulations or in the interpretation of existing laws or regulations, whether caused by a change in government or otherwise; increased difficulty of conducting business in a country or region due to actual or potential political or military conflict; or action by the United States or foreign governments that may restrict our ability to transact business in a foreign country or with certain foreign individuals or entities. A possible slowdown in global trade caused by increasing tariffs or other restrictions could decrease consumer or corporate confidence and reduce consumer, government and corporate spending in countries inside or outside the United States, which could adversely affect our operations.

On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom ceased to be a member state of the European Union ("Brexit"), with a transition period that ended on December 31, 2020. During the transition period, existing arrangements between the U.K. and the E.U. remained in place. Following the transition period, the U.K. is no longer a part of the E.U. single market. In December 2020, the U.K and E.U. announced they had entered into a post-Brexit deal on certain aspects of trade and other strategic and political issues. This new agreement could potentially avoid some of the anticipated disruption of the U.K.’s exit from the E.U. While we have not experienced significant adverse effects on our U.K. business and its financial condition, results of operations and cash flows to date as a result of the new deal, no assurance can be given regarding the potential future effects of the agreed Brexit trade deal, and our U.K. business and our financial conditions, results of operations and cash flows may be adversely affected.

General Risk Factors

If we lose key personnel or are unable to attract additional qualified personnel as we grow, our business could be adversely affected.

All of our businesses function at the intersection of rapidly changing technological, social, economic and regulatory developments that requires a wide ranging set of expertise and intellectual capital. To successfully compete and grow, we must recruit, develop and retain personnel who can provide the needed expertise across the entire spectrum of intellectual capital needs. In addition, we must develop our personnel to fulfill succession plans capable of maintaining continuity in the midst of the inevitable unpredictability of human capital. However, the market for qualified personnel is competitive, and we may not succeed in recruiting additional personnel or may fail to effectively replace current personnel who depart with qualified or effective successors. We cannot assure that key personnel, including executive officers, will continue to be employed or that we will be able to attract and retain qualified personnel in the future. Failure to retain or attract key personnel could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

The costs and effects of pending and future litigation, investigations or similar matters, or adverse facts and developments related thereto, could materially affect our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

We are from time-to-time involved in various litigation matters and governmental or regulatory investigations or similar matters arising out of our current or future business. Our insurance or indemnities may not cover all claims that may be asserted against us, and any claims asserted against us, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, may harm our reputation. Litigation could be costly, time-consuming and divert attention of management from daily operational needs. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that we will be successful in defending ourselves in pending or future litigation or similar matters under various laws.
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Should the ultimate judgments or settlements in any pending litigation or future litigation or investigation significantly exceed our insurance coverage, they could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
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ITEM 2 - PROPERTIES

We have properties located within the various global geographic markets in which we conduct business. Our properties include office space and data centers, most of which we lease. We believe that all of our properties will be suitable and adequate for our business as presently conducted. See "Note 6—Leases" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for further discussion of our leases.

ITEM 3 - LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
 
We are party to a number of claims and lawsuits incidental to our business. In our opinion, the liabilities, if any, that may ultimately result from the outcome of such matters, individually or in the aggregate, are not expected to have a material adverse effect on our financial position, liquidity, results of operations or cash flows. See "Note 17—Commitments and Contingencies" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for information about certain legal matters.


Part II

ITEM 5 - MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
 
Our common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "GPN." As of February 16, 2021, there were 13,490 shareholders of record.

Equity Compensation Plan Information

The information regarding our compensation plans under which equity securities are authorized for issuance is set forth in "Item 12—Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters" of this Annual Report.

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Stock Performance Graph

In 2016, we changed our fiscal year-end from May 31 to December 31. We refer to the period consisting of the seven-months ended December 31, 2016 as the "2016 fiscal transition period."

The following graph compares our cumulative shareholder returns with the Standard & Poor's Information Technology Index and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, 2017, and the 2016 fiscal transition period and the year ended May 31, 2016. The line graph assumes the investment of $100 in our common stock, the Standard & Poor's ("S&P") 500 Index and the Standard & Poor's Information Technology Index on May 31, 2015 and assumes reinvestment of all dividends.

COMPARISON OF 6 YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN*
Among Global Payments Inc., the S&P 500 Index
and the S&P Information Technology Index

gpn-20201231_g3.jpg
*$100 invested on May 31, 2015 in stock or index, including reinvestment of dividends.
Fiscal year ending December 31

Copyright© 2021 Standard & Poor's, a division of S&P Global. All rights reserved.
Global
Payments
S&P
500 Index
S&P
Information
Technology Index
May 31, 2015$100.00 $100.00 $100.00 
May 31, 2016148.95 101.72 103.32 
December 31, 2016133.12 109.96 114.53 
December 31, 2017192.33 133.96 159.00 
December 31, 2018197.95 128.09 158.54 
December 31, 2019350.86 168.42 238.27 
December 31, 2020415.89 199.41 342.85 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

There were no unregistered sales of equity securities during the year ended December 31, 2020.

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Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Information about the shares of our common stock that we repurchased during the quarter ended December 31, 2020 is set forth below:
Period
Total Number of
Shares Purchased (1)
Approximate Average Price Paid per ShareTotal Number of
Shares Purchased as Part of
Publicly Announced
Plans or Programs
Maximum
Number (or
Approximate
Dollar Value) of
Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under
the Plans or
Programs (2)
(in millions)
October 1-31, 20201,412 $177.49 — $— 
November 1-30, 2020822,592 182.79 — — 
December 1-31, 2020471,809 207.33 — — 
Total1,295,813 $191.72 — $1,020.0 

(1)Our board of directors authorized us to repurchase shares of our common stock through any combination of Rule 10b5-1 open-market repurchase plans, accelerated share repurchase plans, discretionary open-market purchases or privately negotiated transactions.

During the quarter ended December 31, 2020, pursuant to our employee incentive plans, we withheld 86,214 shares at an average price per share of $213.96 in order to satisfy employees' tax withholding and payment obligations in connection with the vesting of awards of restricted stock, which we withheld at fair market value on the vesting date.

(2)On January 28, 2021, the board of directors increased its authorization to repurchase shares of our common stock to $1,500 million, inclusive of prior share repurchase programs authorized by the board and repurchases made thereunder. As of December 31, 2020, the approximate dollar value of shares that may yet be purchased under our share repurchase program was $1,020.0 million. The authorizations by our board of directors do not expire, but could be revoked at any time. In addition, we are not required by any of our board's authorizations or otherwise to complete any repurchases by any specific time or at all.

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ITEM 6 - SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
 
You should read the selected financial data set forth below in conjunction with (i) "Item 7 ‑ Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," (ii) "Item 8 ‑ Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" and (iii) the historical consolidated financial statements of Global Payments and the related notes presented in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Years Ended December 31,Seven Months
Ended
December 31, 2016
Year Ended May 31,
 20202019201820172016
(in thousands, except per share data)
Income statement data:
Revenues$7,423,558 $4,911,892 $3,366,366 $3,975,163 $2,202,896 $2,898,150 
Operating income893,953 791,417 737,055 558,868 237,951 424,944 
Net income605,100 469,276 484,667 494,070 137,683 290,217 
Net income attributable to Global Payments
584,520 430,613 452,053 468,425 124,931 271,666 
Per share data:
Basic earnings per share$1.95 $2.17 $2.85 $3.03 $0.81 $2.05 
Diluted earnings per share1.95 2.16 2.84 3.01 0.81 2.04 
Cash dividends declared per common share
0.78 0.225 0.04 0.04 0.02 0.04 
Balance sheet data (at period end):
Total assets$44,201,545 $44,480,162 $13,230,774 $12,998,069 $10,664,350 $10,509,952 
Settlement lines of credit358,698 463,237 700,486 635,166 392,072 378,436 
Long-term debt9,293,764 9,125,501 5,130,243 4,659,716 4,438,612 4,515,286 
Total equity27,487,044 28,054,989 4,186,343 3,965,231 2,779,342 2,877,404 

Our financial results for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflect the unfavorable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our revenues as governments took actions to encourage social distancing and implemented shelter-in-place directives, slightly offset by cost-saving actions, such as reductions in employee compensation costs and discretionary spending, to help mitigate the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. See “Item 7 - Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for further discussion of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As more fully described in "Note 1—Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements, we adopted a new revenue accounting standard on January 1, 2018 that results in revenue being presented net of certain fees that we pay to third parties, including payment networks. This change in presentation affected our reported revenues and operating expenses for all periods after the year ended December 31, 2017 by the same amount and had no effect on operating income.

The selected financial data in the table above reflect the effects of acquisitions and borrowings to fund certain of those acquisitions. Notably, in 2019, we completed the Merger for total purchase consideration of $24.5 billion, primarily funded with shares of our common stock. We also restructured our long-term debt facilities to include a $5.0 billion credit facility, consisting of a senior unsecured $2.0 billion term loan and a $3.0 billion revolving loan facility, and unsecured senior notes of $3.0 billion. In addition, we also assumed $3.0 billion of TSYS' unsecured senior notes in the Merger. See "Note 2—Acquisitions" and "Note 8—Long-Term Debt and Lines of Credit," respectively, in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for further discussion of our acquisitions and borrowing arrangements.

Operating income, net income, net income attributable to Global Payments and basic and diluted earnings per share in the table above reflect acquisition and integration expenses of $320.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, $255.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, $56.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, $94.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, $91.6 million for the seven months ended December 31, 2016 and $51.3 million for the year ended May 31, 2016.
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Net income, net income attributable to Global Payments and basic and diluted earnings per share in the table above also reflect the following:

(a) the effects of a net income tax benefit of $23.3 million in connection with adjustments made to accounting estimates associated with the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ("2017 U.S. Tax Act") for the year ended December 31, 2018 and a provisional net income tax benefit of $158.7 million recorded in connection with the 2017 U.S. Tax Act for the year ended December 31, 2017; and

(b) a gain of $27.7 million and $41.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 and the seven months ended December 31, 2016, respectively, recognized in connection with the sale of our membership interests in Visa Europe Limited.

ITEM 7 - MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with "Item 6 - Selected Financial Data" and "Item 8 - Financial Statements and Supplementary Data." This discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements about our plans and expectations of what may happen in the future. Forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and estimates that are inherently subject to significant risks and uncertainties, and our actual results could differ materially from the results anticipated by our forward-looking statements as a result of many known and unknown factors, including but not limited to, those discussed in "Item 1A - Risk Factors." See "Cautionary Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" located above in "Item 1 - Business."

Discussions of our results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018 that have been omitted under this item can be found in "Part II, Item 7 - Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, which was filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on February 21, 2020.
 
Executive Overview
 
We are a leading pure play payments technology company delivering innovative software and services to our customers globally. Our technologies, services and employee expertise enable us to provide a broad range of solutions that allow our customers to operate their businesses more efficiently across a variety of channels around the world. We operate in three reportable segments: Merchant Solutions, Issuer Solutions and Business and Consumer Solutions. See "Note 16—Segment Information" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for additional information about our segments.

On September 18, 2019, we consummated our merger with Total System Services, Inc. ("TSYS") (the "Merger") for total purchase consideration of $24.5 billion, primarily funded with shares of our common stock. Prior to the Merger, TSYS was a leading global payments provider, offering seamless, secure and innovative solutions to issuers, merchants and consumers. Consolidated operating results for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflect a full year of the acquired operations of TSYS, while the prior year includes the acquired operations of TSYS only from the acquisition date through December 31, 2019. We continue to focus on merger and integration activities, such as combining business operations, aligning go-to-market strategies, streamlining technology infrastructure, eliminating duplicative corporate and operational support structures and realizing scale efficiencies. We also continue to invest in software and hardware to support the development of new technologies, infrastructure to support our growing business and continued consolidation and enhancement of our operating platforms. See "Note 2—Acquisitions" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for further discussion of the Merger.

Effects of COVID-19 on Our Business

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus a global pandemic. During 2020 and continuing into 2021, the global economy has been, and continues to be, affected by COVID-19. The pandemic has caused and may continue to cause significant disruptions to businesses and markets worldwide as the virus continues to spread or has a resurgence in certain jurisdictions. The pandemic and measures to prevent its spread affected our financial results during 2020. As governments took actions to encourage social distancing and implement shelter-in-place directives, spending and transaction volumes decreased beginning in mid-March 2020. We saw improvement in our financial results and positive trends during the latter half of 2020 as certain state and local governments in the United States and abroad began to gradually ease restrictions, certain businesses reopened and spending increased. While we continue to see signs of economic recovery, the
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rate of recovery has been affected by the recent reinstatement of restrictions in certain jurisdictions both in the United States and internationally due to a resurgence of the virus.

We have taken a number of actions to preserve our available capital and provide financial flexibility in response to the effects of COVID-19 on our business, including temporarily suspending our share repurchase program during the second and third quarters of 2020 and reducing our planned capital investments in the business. We also implemented cost-saving actions, such as reductions in employee compensation costs and discretionary spending, to help mitigate the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to closely monitor the evolving effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the implications on future global economic conditions and related effects on our business and financial condition are difficult to predict due to uncertainties around the ultimate severity, scope and duration of the pandemic, the availability and effectiveness of treatments or vaccines and the direction or extent of current or future restrictive actions that may be imposed by governments or public health authorities. While we expect the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have an adverse effect on our revenues and earnings in 2021, we do expect a steady and progressive recovery throughout the year.

For a further discussion of trends, uncertainties and other factors that could affect our future operating results related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, see “Item 1A – Risk Factors.”

Emerging Trends

The payments technology industry continues to grow worldwide and as a result, certain large payment technology companies, including us, have expanded operations globally by pursuing acquisitions and creating alliances and joint ventures. We expect to continue to expand into new markets internationally and increase our scale and improve our competitiveness in existing markets by pursuing additional acquisitions and joint ventures.

The industry continues to grow as a result of wider merchant acceptance and increased use of credit and debit cards, advances in payment processing technology and migration to ecommerce, omnichannel and contactless payment solutions. The proliferation of credit and debit cards, as well as other digital payment solutions, has made the acceptance of electronic payments a virtual necessity for many businesses, regardless of size, in order to remain competitive. Further, the expanding digitization of the economy and availability and access to financial services increases the demand for cards and electronic payments, which in turn drives growth in acceptance and transaction volumes.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in 2020 introduced numerous economic and operational challenges for many industries and businesses. However, the outbreak has also accelerated the use of electronic payments, the need for development of technologies and electronic-based solutions and expansion of ecommerce, omnichannel and contactless payment solutions. We believe that the number of electronic payment transactions will continue to grow and that an increasing percentage of these will be facilitated through emerging technologies. As a result, we expect an increasing portion of our future capital investment will be allocated to support the development of new and emerging technologies.

We also believe new markets will continue to develop in areas that have been previously dominated by paper-based transactions. We expect industries such as education, government and healthcare, as well as recurring payments and business-to-business payments, to continue to see transactions migrate to electronic-based solutions. We anticipate that the continued development of new services and the emergence of new vertical markets will be a factor in the growth of our business and our revenue in the future.

For a further discussion of trends, uncertainties and other factors that could affect our continuing operating results, see the section entitled "Risk Factors" in Item 1A in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Results of Operations

Revenues

Merchant Solutions. The majority of our Merchant Solutions segment revenues is generated by services priced as a percentage of transaction value or a specified fee per transaction, depending on card type or the vertical. We also earn software subscription and licensing fees, as well as other fees based on specific value-added services that may be unrelated to the number or value of transactions. These revenues depend upon a number of factors, such as demand for and price of our services, the technological competitiveness of our offerings, our reputation for providing timely and reliable service, competition within our industry and general economic conditions.

We provide payment technology and software solutions to customers and fund settlement either directly, in markets where we have direct membership with the payment networks, or through our relationship with a member financial institution in
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markets where we are sponsored. Revenues are generally recognized in the amount of customer billing, net of interchange fees and payment network fees. We market our services through a variety of relationship-led and technology enabled distribution channels, including a direct sales force, trade associations, agent and enterprise software providers and referral arrangements with value-added resellers ("VARs"). We also sell services to ISOs and financial institutions. In certain of these arrangements, the ISO receives a share of the customer profitability in the form of a monthly residual payment, which is reflected as a component of selling, general and administrative expenses in the consolidated statements of income.

Issuer Solutions. Issuer Solutions segment revenues are derived from long-term processing contracts with financial institutions and other financial services providers. Payment processing services revenues are generated primarily from charges based on the number of accounts on file, transactions and authorizations processed, statements generated and/or mailed, managed services, cards embossed and mailed, and other processing services for cardholder accounts on file. Most of these contracts have prescribed annual minimums, penalties for early termination, and service level agreements that may affect contractual fees if specific service levels are not achieved. Issuer Solutions revenues also include loyalty redemption services and professional services.

Business and Consumer Solutions. Business and Consumer Solutions segment revenues principally consist of fees collected from cardholders and fees generated by cardholder activity in connection with the programs that we manage. Customers are typically charged a fee for each purchase transaction made using their cards, unless the customer is on a monthly or annual service plan, in which case the customer is instead charged a monthly or annual subscription fee, as applicable. Customers are also charged a monthly maintenance fee after a specified period of inactivity. We also charge fees associated with additional services offered in connection with certain cards, including the use of overdraft features, a variety of bill payment options, card replacement, foreign exchange and card-to-card transfers of funds initiated through our call centers. Revenues are recognized net of fees charged by the payment networks for services they provide in processing transactions routed through them.

Operating Expenses

Cost of Service

Cost of service consists primarily of salaries, wages and related expenses paid to operations and technology-related personnel, including those who monitor our transaction processing systems and settlement functions; the cost of transaction processing systems, including third-party services; the cost of network telecommunications capability; depreciation and occupancy costs associated with the facilities supporting these functions; amortization of intangible assets; amortization of costs to fulfill customer contracts; provisions for operating losses; and, when applicable, integration expenses.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

Selling, general and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries, wages, commissions and related expenses paid to sales personnel, customer support functions other than those supporting revenue, administrative employees and management; share-based compensation expense; amortization of costs to obtain customer contracts; residuals paid to ISOs; fees paid to VARs, independent contractors and other third parties; other selling expenses; occupancy costs of leased space directly related to these functions; advertising costs; and, when applicable, acquisition and integration expenses.

Operating Income and Operating Margin

For the purpose of discussing segment operations, we refer to "operating income," which is calculated by subtracting segment direct expenses from segment revenues. Overhead and shared expenses, including share-based compensation, are not allocated to segment operations; they are reported in the caption "Corporate." Similarly, we refer to "operating margin" regarding segment operations, which is calculated by dividing segment operating income by segment revenues.

Equity in Income of Equity Method Investments

As a result of the Merger, we have equity method investments, including a 45% investment in China UnionPay Data Co., Ltd., which we account for using the equity method of accounting. Equity in income of equity method investments reflects our proportional share of earnings from these investments.

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Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019

The following table sets forth key selected financial data for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, this data as a percentage of total revenues, and the changes between periods in dollars and as a percentage of the prior-period amount. The income statement data for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 are derived from the accompanying consolidated financial statements included in "Item 8 - Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
Year Ended December 31,Year Ended December 31,
(dollar amounts in thousands)2020
% of Revenue(1)
2019
% of Revenue(1)
Change% Change
Revenues(2):
Merchant Solutions$4,688,33563.2 %$4,098,58083.4 %$589,75514.4 %
Issuer Solutions1,981,43526.7 %604,65412.3 %1,376,781NM
Business and Consumer Solutions829,50511.2 %227,4404.6 %602,065NM
Intersegment eliminations(75,717)(1.0)%(18,782)(0.4)%(56,935)NM
          Consolidated revenues$7,423,558100.0 %$4,911,892100.0 %$2,511,66651.1 %
Consolidated operating expenses(2):
Cost of service$3,650,72749.2 %$2,073,80342.2 %$1,576,92476.0 %
Selling, general and administrative2,878,87838.8 %2,046,67241.7 %832,20640.7 %
          Operating expenses$6,529,60588.0 %$4,120,47583.9 %$2,409,13058.5 %
Operating income (loss)(2)(3):
Merchant Solutions$1,162,74115.7 %$1,148,97523.4 %$13,7661.2 %
Issuer Solutions277,6513.7 %82,1721.7 %195,479NM
Business and Consumer Solutions138,6301.9 %19,4730.4 %119,157NM
Corporate(685,069)(9.2)%(459,203)(9.3)%(225,866)49.2 %
          Operating income$893,95312.0 %$791,41716.1 %$102,53613.0 %
Operating margin(2):
Merchant Solutions24.8 %28.0 %(3.2)%
Issuer Solutions14.0 %13.6 %0.4 %
Business and Consumer Solutions16.7 %8.6 %8.1 %

NM = Not meaningful.

(1) Percentage amounts may not sum to the total due to rounding.

(2) Revenues, consolidated operating expenses, operating income (loss) and operating margin reflect the effects of acquired businesses from the respective acquisition dates. For further discussion, see "Note 2Acquisitions" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements.

(3) During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, operating income for our Merchant Solutions segment reflected the effect of acquisition and integration expenses of $7.0 million and $56.1 million. Operating loss for Corporate included acquisition and integration expenses of $313.0 million and $199.5 million during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Acquisition and integration expenses were primarily related to the Merger.

Revenues

Consolidated revenues for the year ended December 31, 2020 increased by 51.1% to $7,423.6 million, compared to $4,911.9 million for the prior year, primarily due to additional revenues from the acquired operations of TSYS. Revenues from the acquired operations of TSYS were $4,205.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $1,215.0 million for the prior year. Starting in mid-March 2020, COVID-19 had an unfavorable effect on our revenues; however, we saw improvements throughout the latter half of 2020.

Merchant Solutions Segment. Revenues from our Merchant Solutions segment increased to $4,688.3 million, compared
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to $4,098.6 million for the prior year, primarily due to additional revenues from the acquired operations of TSYS. Starting in mid-March, COVID-19 had an unfavorable effect on our revenues as a result of a reduction in spending and transaction volumes and closures of certain of our customer businesses throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. We saw improvement in our financial results during the latter half of 2020 as state and local governments in the United States and governments abroad began to gradually ease pandemic-related restrictions and spending increased. While we continue to see signs of economic recovery, the rate of recovery has been affected by the reinstatement of restrictions in certain jurisdictions due to a resurgence of the virus during the fourth quarter.

Issuer Solutions Segment. Revenues from our Issuer Solutions segment for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $1,981.4 million, compared to $604.7 million for the prior year, primarily reflecting revenues from the acquired operations of TSYS. Starting in mid-March, COVID-19 had an unfavorable effect on our revenues as a result of lower transaction volumes, particularly related to the processing of commercial cards. We saw improvement in our financial results during the latter half of 2020 as state and local governments in the United States and governments abroad began to gradually ease pandemic-related restrictions. While we continue to see signs of economic recovery, the rate of recovery has been affected by the reinstatement of restrictions in certain jurisdictions due to a resurgence of the virus during the fourth quarter.

Business and Consumer Solutions Segment. Revenues from our Business and Consumer Solutions segment for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $829.5 million, compared to $227.4 million for the prior year, reflecting revenues from the acquired operations of TSYS. Our Business and Consumer Solutions segment experienced an unfavorable effect on revenues starting in mid-March due to reduced consumer spending as a result of COVID-19; however, these declines were mitigated by revenues from our customers loading individual stimulus payments and federal supplementary unemployment insurance distributions resulting from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in the second and third quarters. Additionally, we saw improvement in our financial results throughout the latter half of 2020 from increases in consumer spending as state and local governments in the United States began to gradually ease restrictions. Additional stimulus payment distributions in 2021 to provide relief from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic could have a positive effect on our revenues; however, the ultimate timing and magnitude is difficult to predict.

Operating Expenses

Cost of Service. Cost of service for the year ended December 31, 2020 increased by 76.0% to $3,650.7 million, compared to $2,073.8 million for the prior year, primarily due to additional costs associated with the acquired operations of TSYS, including the amortization of intangibles. Cost of service for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflects amortization of acquired intangibles of $1,256.9 million, compared to $667.1 million for the prior year. The year ended December 31, 2019 also reflects integration expenses of $41.8 million. Cost of service as a percentage of revenues increased to 49.2% for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 42.2% for the prior year, primarily due to the increase in amortization of acquired intangibles.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses. Selling, general and administrative expenses for the year ended December 31, 2020 increased by 40.7% to $2,878.9 million, compared to $2,046.7 million for the prior year. The increase in selling, general and administrative expenses compared to the prior year was primarily due to additional costs associated with the acquired operations of TSYS. Additionally, selling, general and administrative expenses included acquisition and integration expenses of $319.5 million, compared to $213.8 million for the prior year. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of revenues decreased to 38.8% for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 41.7% for the prior year, primarily due to the favorable effects of Merger-related cost synergies and cost-saving actions taken to mitigate the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corporate. Corporate expenses increased by $225.9 million to $685.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $459.2 million for the prior year, primarily due to additional expenses associated with the acquired operations of TSYS and an increase in acquisition and integration expenses primarily due to the Merger. During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, Corporate expenses included acquisition and integration expenses of $313.0 million and $199.5 million, respectively. Certain of these Merger-related integration activities resulted in the recognition of one-time employee termination benefits. During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, Corporate expenses included charges for employee termination benefits of $83.3 million and $57.1 million, respectively, which included $6.7 million and $17.3 million, respectively, of share-based compensation expense. In addition, during the year ended December 31, 2019, we wrote-off capitalized software and other assets of $40.2 million for legacy Global Payments technology that will no longer be utilized for the combined company. We expect to incur additional charges as Merger-related integration activities continue in 2021.

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Operating Income and Operating Margin

Consolidated operating income for the year ended December 31, 2020 increased to $894.0 million, compared to $791.4 million for the prior year. Operating margin for the year ended December 31, 2020 decreased to 12.0%, compared to 16.1% for the prior year. Consolidated operating income for the year ended December 31, 2020 includes income from the acquired operations of TSYS of $538.0 million compared to $78.7 million for the prior year. Consolidated operating income for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflects an increase in amortization of acquired intangibles and acquisition and integration expenses of $589.8 million and $64.4 million, respectively, compared to the prior year. The unfavorable effects of COVID-19 on our revenues and incremental expenses directly related to COVID-19 also negatively affected consolidated operating income and operating margin compared to the prior year. We saw improvement in our financial results and positive trends throughout the latter half of 2020 as a result of the recovery seen across our markets. Further, Merger-related cost synergies and cost-saving actions taken to mitigate the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had a favorable effect on operating income and operating margin for the year ended December 31, 2020.

Merchant Solutions Segment. Operating income in our Merchant Solutions segment was $1,162.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $1,149.0 million for the prior year. Operating income and operating margin in our Merchant Solutions segment reflect additional income from the acquired operations of TSYS, partially offset by the unfavorable effects of COVID-19 on our revenues, which negatively affected operating income and operating margin during 2020. We saw improvement in our financial results and positive trends throughout the latter half of 2020 as a result of the recovery seen across our geographic markets. Further, Merger-related cost synergies and cost-saving actions taken to mitigate the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had a favorable effect on operating income and operating margin for the year ended December 31, 2020.

Issuer Solutions and Business and Consumer Solutions Segments. Operating income in our Issuer Solutions and Business and Consumer Solutions segments primarily reflects the additional income from the acquired operations of TSYS.

Other Income/Expense, Net

Interest and other income for the year ended December 31, 2020 increased by $12.1 million to $43.6 million, compared to the prior year, primarily due to a gain of $27.7 million in connection with the release and conversion of a portion of our Visa convertible preferred shares. See "Note 7—Other Assets" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for further discussion of this transaction. Interest and other income for the year ended December 31, 2019 included interest earned on the net proceeds from the issuance of our unsecured senior notes while they were in escrow.

Interest and other expense for the year ended December 31, 2020 increased by $38.6 million to $343.5 million, compared to the prior year, as a result of the increase in our average outstanding borrowings. Interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2019 included fees and charges of $30.4 million in connection with financing activities related to the Merger. These fees and charges included fees associated with bridge financing and charges for the write-off of unamortized debt issuance costs related to borrowings under the credit facility that was extinguished prior to the completion of the Merger.

Income Tax Expense

Our effective income tax rate for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 was 13.0% and 12.0%, respectively. Our effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflects the benefit of tax credits, foreign interest income not subject to tax, excess tax benefits from equity awards and the foreign-derived intangible income deduction. Our effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2019 reflects the effect of the discrete benefits related to the Merger, principally the reduction of our U.S. deferred tax liability resulting from the effects of the Merger on the apportionment of income among states, and a benefit from the foreign-derived intangible income deduction and tax credits.

Net Income Attributable to Global Payments

Net income attributable to Global Payments increased to $584.5 million compared to $430.6 million for the prior-year period, reflecting the change in operating income and additional equity in income of equity method investments.

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Diluted Earnings per Share

Diluted earnings per share was $1.95 compared to $2.16 for the prior year. Diluted earnings per share for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflects the additional income from the acquired operations of TSYS. Additionally, diluted earnings per share for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflects an increase in the weighted-average number of shares outstanding as a result of issuing common shares as purchase consideration in the Merger.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

In the ordinary course of our business, a significant portion of our liquidity comes from operating cash flows and borrowings, including the capacity under our credit facilities. Cash flow from operating activities is used to make planned capital investments in our business, to pursue acquisitions that meet our corporate objectives, to pay dividends, to pay principal and interest on our outstanding debt and to repurchase shares of our common stock. Accumulated cash balances are invested in high-quality, marketable short-term instruments.

Our capital plan objectives are to support our operational needs and strategic plan for long-term growth while maintaining a low cost of capital. We use a combination of bank financing, such as borrowings under our credit facilities and senior note issuances, for general corporate purposes and to fund acquisitions. In addition, specialized lines of credit are also used in certain of our markets to fund merchant settlement prior to receipt of funds from the card network.

We believe that our current level of cash and borrowing capacity under our senior unsecured revolving credit facility, together with expected future cash flows from operations, will be sufficient to meet the needs of our existing operations and planned requirements for the foreseeable future. We temporarily implemented measures to preserve liquidity, taking into account the potential effects of COVID-19, including the reduction of certain operating expenses, including compensation costs, other discretionary expenses and planned capital expenditures. We also temporarily suspended repurchases of our common stock during the second and third quarters of 2020. We regularly evaluate our liquidity and capital position relative to cash requirements, and we may elect to raise additional funds in the future, through the issuance of debt or equity or by other means.

At December 31, 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents totaling $1,945.9 million. Of this amount, we consider $1,100.9 million to be available for general purposes, of which $32.3 million is undistributed foreign earnings considered to be indefinitely reinvested outside the United States. The available cash of $1,100.9 million does not include the following: (i) settlement-related cash balances, (ii) funds held as collateral for merchant losses ("Merchant Reserves") and (iii) funds held for customers. Settlement-related cash balances represent funds that we hold when the incoming amount from the card networks precedes the funding obligation to the merchant. Settlement-related cash balances are not restricted; however, these funds are generally paid out in satisfaction of a processing obligation the following day. Merchant Reserves serve as collateral to minimize contingent liabilities associated with any losses that may occur under the merchant's agreement. While this cash is not restricted in its use, we believe that designating this cash to collateralize Merchant Reserves strengthens our fiduciary standing with our member sponsors and is in accordance with the guidelines set by the card networks. Funds held for customers and the corresponding liability include amounts collected prior to remittance to or at the direction of our customers.

We also had restricted cash of $143.9 million as of December 31, 2020, representing amounts deposited by customers for prepaid card transactions. These balances are considered cardholder funds held and are subject to local regulatory restrictions requiring appropriate segregation and restriction in their use.

Operating activities provided net cash of $2,314.2 million and $1,391.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, which reflect net income adjusted for noncash items, including depreciation and amortization and changes in operating assets and liabilities. Fluctuations in operating assets and liabilities are affected primarily by timing of month-end and transaction volume, including changes in settlement processing assets and obligations, and by the effects of businesses we acquire that have different working capital requirements. Changes in settlement processing assets and obligations increased operating cash flows by $125.9 million and $213.7 million during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The increase in cash flows from operating activities from the prior year was primarily due to the increase in net earnings before certain noncash items, including amortization of acquired intangibles and depreciation and amortization of property and equipment, primarily as a result of the additional income from the acquired operations of TSYS.

We used net cash in investing activities of $438.3 million and $917.1 million during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Cash used for investing activities primarily represents cash used to fund acquisitions, net of cash and restricted cash acquired, and capital expenditures. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we used cash of $167.9 million for acquisitions, and recorded a cash inflow of $119.4 million from restricted cash balances acquired during the year. During
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the year ended December 31, 2019, we used cash of $1,093.6 million for acquisitions. Cash from investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2020 also reflects cash received from the sale of Visa common shares of $27.7 million.

We made capital expenditures of $436.2 million and $307.9 million to purchase property and equipment during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. These investments include software and hardware to support the development of new technologies, infrastructure to support our growing business and continued consolidation and enhancement of our operating platforms. We will continue to make significant capital investments in the business, and we anticipate capital expenditures and other investments in the business will slowly return to near pre-COVID levels. However, we continue to monitor the effects of COVID-19 and adjust our future level of capital investments accordingly.

Financing activities include borrowings and repayments made under our various debt arrangements, as well as borrowings and repayments made under specialized lines of credit to fund daily settlement activities. Our borrowing arrangements are further described in "Note 8—Long-Term Debt and Lines of Credit" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements and below under "Long-Term Debt and Lines of Credit." Financing activities also include cash flows associated with common stock repurchase programs and share-based compensation programs, cash distributions made to our shareholders, and cash distributions to or purchase of shares from noncontrolling interests. Cash flows from financing activities used net cash of $1,546.1 million and $28.7 million during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Proceeds from long-term debt were $2,401.1 million and $7,203.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Repayments of long-term debt were $2,342.1 million and $6,484.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Proceeds from and repayments of long-term debt consist of borrowings and repayments that we make with available cash, from time-to-time, under our revolving credit facility, as well as scheduled principal repayments we make on our term loans. On May 15, 2020, we issued $1.0 billion in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes. We used the net proceeds from this offering to repay a portion of the outstanding indebtedness on our revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes. For the year ended December 31, 2019, in connection with financing activities associated with the Merger, we received proceeds of $2,973.2 million from the issuance of senior unsecured notes and $2,868.0 million from our senior unsecured credit facility. We used these proceeds to repay TSYS' unsecured revolving credit facility, to refinance certain of our existing indebtedness, to fund cash payments made in lieu of fractional shares payable in accordance with the terms of the Merger and to pay transaction fees and costs related to the Merger. During the year ended December 31, 2019, repayments of long-term debt also included $5,127.5 million for the repayment of all outstanding principal under our secured term loan and revolving credit facility, which we extinguished in connection with the Merger.

Activity under our settlement lines of credit is affected primarily by timing of month-end and transaction volume. During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we had net repayments of settlement lines of credit of $133.3 million and $236.5 million, respectively.

We repurchase our common stock, mainly through open market repurchase plans and, at times, through accelerated share repurchase ("ASR") programs. During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we used cash of $631.1 million and $311.4 million, respectively, to repurchase shares of our common stock. We temporarily suspended repurchases of our common stock during the second and third quarters of 2020, and reactivated our repurchase program in the fourth quarter of 2020. As of December 31, 2020, we had $1,020.0 million of share repurchase authority remaining under a share repurchase program authorized by our board of directors. On January 28, 2021, our board of directors approved an increase to our existing share repurchase program authorization, which raised the total available authorization to $1.5 billion. On February 10, 2021, we entered into an ASR agreement with a financial institution to repurchase an aggregate of $500 million of our common stock. In exchange for an up-front payment of $500 million, the financial institution committed to deliver a number of shares during the ASR program purchase period, which will end on March 31, 2021. On February 12, 2021, 2,090,713 shares were initially delivered to us.

We paid dividends to our common shareholders in the amounts of $233.2 million and $63.5 million during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. During the year ended December 31, 2019, we funded assumed dividends payable (declared by TSYS' board of directors prior to consummation of the Merger) to former TSYS shareholders in the amount of $23.2 million.

During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we made distributions to noncontrolling interest in the amounts of $26.2 million and $31.6 million, respectively. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we paid $578.2 million to noncontrolling interest holders to increase our controlling financial interest in Comercia Global Payments Entidad de Pago, S.L. (“Comercia”) from 51% to 80%. We funded the transaction with a combination of available cash resources and borrowings on our unsecured revolving credit facility.

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Long-Term Debt and Lines of Credit

Senior Unsecured Notes

We have $7.1 billion in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes, which mature at various dates ranging from April 2021 to August 2049. Interest on the senior notes is payable semi-annually at various dates. Each series of the senior notes is redeemable, at our option, in whole or in part, at any time and from time-to-time at the redemption prices set forth in the related indenture.

On May 15, 2020, we issued $1.0 billion in aggregate principal amount of 2.900% senior unsecured notes due May 2030 and received proceeds of $996.7 million. We incurred debt issuance costs of approximately $8.4 million, including underwriting fees, fees for professional services and registration fees, which were capitalized and reflected as a reduction of the related carrying amount of the notes in our consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2020. Interest on the notes is payable semi-annually in arrears on May 15 and November 15 of each year, commencing November 15, 2020. The notes are unsecured and unsubordinated indebtedness and rank equally in right of payment with all of our other outstanding unsecured and unsubordinated indebtedness. We used the net proceeds from the offering to repay a portion of the outstanding indebtedness on our revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes.

On August 14, 2019, we completed the public offering and issuance of $3.0 billion aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes, consisting of the following: (i) $1.0 billion aggregate principal amount of 2.650% senior notes due 2025; (ii) $1.25 billion aggregate principal amount of 3.200% senior notes due 2029; and (iii) $750.0 million aggregate principal amount of 4.150% senior notes due 2049. Interest on the senior notes is payable semi-annually in arrears on each February 15 and August 15, beginning on February 15, 2020. Each series of the senior notes is redeemable, at our option, in whole or in part, at any time and from time-to-time at the redemption prices set forth in the related indenture. We issued the senior notes at a total discount of $6.1 million and capitalized related debt issuance costs of $29.6 million.

From August 14, 2019 until the closing of the Merger on September 18, 2019, the proceeds from the issuance of the senior notes were held in escrow. Upon closing, the funds were released and used together with borrowings under the term loan facility and the revolving credit facility, as well as cash on hand, to repay TSYS' unsecured revolving credit facility, refinance certain of our existing indebtedness, fund cash payments made in lieu of fractional shares and pay transaction fees and costs related to the Merger.

In addition, in connection with the Merger, we assumed $3.0 billion aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes of TSYS, consisting of the following: (i) $750.0 million aggregate principal amount of 3.800% senior notes due 2021; (ii) $550.0 million aggregate principal amount of 3.750% senior notes due 2023; (iii) $550.0 million aggregate principal amount of 4.000% senior notes due 2023; (iv) $750 million aggregate principal amount of 4.800% senior notes due 2026; and (v) $450 million aggregate principal amount of 4.450% senior notes due 2028. For the 3.800% senior notes due 2021 and the 4.800% senior notes due 2026, interest is payable semi-annually each April 1 and October 1. For the 3.750% senior notes due 2023, the 4.000% senior notes due 2023 and the 4.450% senior notes due 2028, interest is payable semi-annually each June 1 and December 1.

Senior Unsecured Credit Facilities

We have a term loan credit agreement ("Term Loan Credit Agreement") and a revolving credit agreement ("Unsecured Revolving Credit Agreement") in each case with Bank of America, N.A., as administrative agent, and a syndicate of financial institutions, as lenders and other agents. The Term Loan Credit Agreement provides for a senior unsecured $2.0 billion term loan facility, and the Unsecured Revolving Credit Agreement provides for a senior unsecured $3.0 billion revolving credit facility. Borrowings under the term loan facility were made in U.S. dollars and borrowings under the revolving credit facility are available to be made in U.S. dollars, euros, sterling, Canadian dollars and, subject to certain conditions, certain other currencies at our option. Borrowings in U.S. dollars and certain other London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR")-quoted currencies will bear interest, at our option, at a rate equal to either (1) the rate (adjusted for any statutory reserve requirements for eurocurrency liabilities) for eurodollar deposits in the London interbank market, (2) a floating rate of interest set forth on the applicable LIBOR screen page designated by Bank of America or (3) the highest of (a) the federal funds effective rate plus 0.5%, (b) the rate of interest as publicly announced by Bank of America as its "prime rate" or (c) LIBOR plus 1.0%, in each case, plus an applicable margin. As of December 31, 2020, borrowings outstanding under the term loan facility and the revolving credit facility were $2.0 billion and $36.0 million, respectively.

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We continue to monitor developments related to the anticipated transition from LIBOR to an alternative benchmark reference rate, such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate ("SOFR"), beginning January 1, 2022. Additionally, we maintain contact with our lenders and other stakeholders to evaluate the potential effects of these changes on any future financing activities.

As of December 31, 2020, the interest rates on the term loan facility and the revolving credit facility were 1.52% and 1.48%, respectively. In addition, we are required to pay a quarterly commitment fee with respect to the unused portion of the revolving credit facility at an applicable rate per annum ranging from 0.125% to 0.300% depending on our credit rating. Beginning on December 31, 2022, and at the end of each quarter thereafter, the term loan facility must be repaid in quarterly installments in the amount of 2.50% of original principal through the maturity date with the remaining principal balance due upon maturity in September 2024. The revolving credit facility also matures in September 2024.

We may issue standby letters of credit of up to $250 million in the aggregate under the revolving credit facility. Outstanding letters of credit under the revolving credit facility reduce the amount of borrowings available to us. The amounts available to borrow under the revolving credit facility are also determined by a financial leverage covenant. As of December 31, 2020, the total available commitments under the revolving credit facility were $2.1 billion.

Bridge Facility

On May 27, 2019, in connection with our entry into the merger agreement with TSYS, we obtained commitments for a $2.75 billion, 364-day senior unsecured bridge facility (the "Bridge Facility"). On July 9, 2019, upon our entry into the senior unsecured term loan and revolving credit facilities described below, the aggregate commitments under the Bridge Facility were reduced to approximately $2.1 billion. Concurrently with the issuance of our senior unsecured notes, the remaining aggregate commitments under the Bridge Facility were reduced to zero and terminated. During the year ended December 31, 2019, we recognized $11.7 million of fees associated with the Bridge Facility in interest expense.

Compliance with Covenants

The senior unsecured term loan and revolving credit facilities contain customary conditions to funding, affirmative covenants, negative covenants, financial covenants and events of default. As of December 31, 2020, financial covenants under the term loan facility required a leverage ratio of 3.50 to 1.00 and an interest coverage ratio of 3.00 to 1.00. We were in compliance with all applicable covenants as of December 31, 2020.

Settlement Lines of Credit

In various markets where we do business, we have specialized lines of credit, which are restricted for use in funding settlement. The settlement lines of credit generally have variable interest rates, are subject to annual review and are denominated in local currency but may, in some cases, facilitate borrowings in multiple currencies. For certain of our lines of credit, the available credit is increased by the amount of cash we have on deposit in specific accounts with the lender. Accordingly, the amount of the outstanding line of credit may exceed the stated credit limit. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, a total of $64.5 million and $74.5 million, respectively, of cash on deposit was used to determine the available credit.

As of December 31, 2020, we had $358.7 million outstanding under these lines of credit with additional capacity to fund settlement of $1,507.6 million. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the maximum and average outstanding balances under these lines of credit were $752.5 million and $341.4 million, respectively. The weighted-average interest rate on these borrowings was 2.35% at December 31, 2020.

See "Note 6—Leases" and "Note 8—Long-Term Debt and Lines of Credit" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for further information about our borrowing agreements and our lease liabilities.

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Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We have not entered into any off-balance sheet arrangements that have, or are reasonably likely to have, a material effect on our financial condition, revenues, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures or capital resources, other than the guarantee services described in "Note 1 - Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements.

BIN/ICA Agreements
 
We have entered into sponsorship or depository and processing agreements with certain banks. These agreements allow us to use the banks' identification numbers, referred to as Bank Identification Number ("BIN") for Visa transactions and Interbank Card Association ("ICA") number for Mastercard transactions, to clear credit card transactions through Visa and Mastercard. Certain of such agreements contain financial covenants, and we were in compliance with all such covenants as of December 31, 2020.

Commitments and Contractual Obligations

The following table summarizes estimates of our contractual obligations and commitments as of December 31, 2020:
Payments Due by Future Period
TotalLess than 1 Year1-3 Years3-5 YearsMore Than 5 Years
(in thousands)
Long-term debt$9,151,237 $806,834 $1,358,403 $2,786,000 $4,200,000 
Interest on long-term debt(1)
2,300,558 307,243 533,413 371,469 1,088,433 
Operating lease obligations(2)
633,190 122,002 183,476 122,817 204,895 
Settlement lines of credit358,698 358,698 — — — 
Purchase obligations(3)
1,279,965 292,865 290,096 169,504 527,500 
Finance lease obligations(2)
80,653 25,841 36,296 18,516 — 

(1) Interest on long-term debt is based on effective rates and amounts borrowed as of December 31, 2020 and includes the estimated effect of interest rate swaps. Since the contractual rates for our long-term debt and settlements on our interest rate swaps are variable, actual cash payments may differ from the estimates provided.

(2) Operating lease obligations did not include approximately $147.5 million for operating leases that had not yet commenced at December 31, 2020. Finance lease obligations did not include approximately $18.1 million for finance leases that has not yet commenced as of December 31, 2020.

(3) Includes an estimate of future payments for noncancelable contractual obligations related to service arrangements with suppliers for fixed or minimum amounts.

The table above excludes other obligations that we may have, such as employee benefit obligations and other noncurrent liabilities reflected in our consolidated balance sheet, because the timing of the related payments is not determinable or because there is no contractual obligation associated with the underlying obligations.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
 
Our consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, which often require the judgment of management in the selection and application of certain accounting principles and methods. We consider the following accounting policies to be critical to understanding our consolidated financial statements because the application of these policies requires significant judgment on the part of management, and as a result, actual future developments may be different from those expected at the time that we make these critical judgments. We have discussed these critical accounting policies with the audit committee of the board of directors.

Accounting estimates necessarily require subjective determinations about future events and conditions. Therefore, the following descriptions of our critical accounting policies are forward-looking statements, and actual results could differ materially from the results anticipated by these forward-looking statements. You should read the following in conjunction with "Note 1—Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" of the notes to the accompanying
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consolidated financial statements and the risk factors contained in "Item 1A - Risk Factors" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Business Combinations

From time to time, we make strategic acquisitions that may have a material effect on our consolidated results of operations and financial position. The measurement principle for the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed in a business combination is at estimated fair value as of the acquisition date, with certain exceptions. The excess of the total consideration transferred over the amount of the net identifiable assets acquired determined in accordance with the measurement guidance for such items is recorded as goodwill.

The estimates we use to determine the fair value of long-lived assets, such as intangible assets, can be complex and require significant judgments. We use information available to us to make fair value determinations and engage independent valuation specialists, when necessary, to assist in the fair value determination of significant acquired long-lived assets. The estimated fair values of customer-related and contract-based intangible assets are generally determined using the income approach, which is based on projected cash flows discounted to their present value using discount rates that consider the timing and risk of the forecasted cash flows. The discount rates used represented a risk adjusted market participant weighted-average cost of capital, derived using customary market metrics. These measures of fair value also require considerable judgments about future events, including forecasted revenue growth rates, forecasted customer attrition rates, contract renewal estimates and technology changes. Acquired technologies are generally valued using the replacement cost method, which requires us to estimate the costs to construct an asset of equivalent utility at prices available at the time of the valuation analysis, with adjustments in value for physical deterioration and functional and economic obsolescence. Trademarks and trade names are generally valued using the "relief-from-royalty" approach. This method assumes that trademarks and trade names have value to the extent that their owner is relieved of the obligation to pay royalties for the benefits received from them. This method requires us to estimate the future revenues for the related brands, the appropriate royalty rate and the weighted-average cost of capital. This measure of fair value requires considerable judgment about the value a market participant would be willing to pay in order to achieve the benefits associated with the trade name.

While we use our best estimates and assumptions to determine the fair values of the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed, our estimates are inherently uncertain and subject to refinement. As a result, during the measurement period, which may be up to one year from the acquisition date, we record adjustments to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed. Upon the conclusion of the measurement period, any subsequent adjustments are recorded to our consolidated statements of income. We are also required to estimate the useful lives of intangible assets to determine the period over which to recognize the amount of acquisition-related intangible assets as an expense. Certain assets may be considered to have indefinite useful lives. We periodically review the estimated useful lives assigned to our intangible assets to determine whether such estimated useful lives continue to be appropriate. 

Goodwill— We perform our annual goodwill impairment test as of October 1 each year. We test goodwill for impairment at the reporting unit level annually and more often if an event occurs or circumstances change that indicate the fair value of a reporting unit is below its carrying amount. We have the option of performing a qualitative assessment of impairment to determine whether any further quantitative assessment for impairment is necessary. The option of whether or not to perform a qualitative assessment is made annually and may vary by reporting unit.

Factors we consider in the qualitative assessment include general macroeconomic conditions, industry and market conditions, cost factors, overall financial performance of our reporting units, events or changes affecting the composition or carrying amount of the net assets of our reporting units, sustained decrease in our share price, and other relevant entity-specific events. If we elect to bypass the qualitative assessment or if we determine, on the basis of qualitative factors, that the fair value of the reporting unit is more likely than not less than the carrying amount, a quantitative test would be required.

The quantitative assessment compares the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying amount, and recognizes an impairment loss for the amount by which a reporting unit’s carrying amount exceeds its fair value, without exceeding the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit. When applying the quantitative assessment, we determine the fair value of our reporting units based on a weighted average of multiple valuation techniques, principally a combination of an income approach and a market approach. The income approach calculates a value based upon the present value of estimated future cash flows, while the market approach uses earnings multiples of similarly situated guideline public companies. Determining the fair value of a reporting unit involves judgment and the use of significant estimates and assumptions, which include assumptions regarding the revenue growth rates and operating margins used to calculate estimated future cash flows, risk-adjusted discount rates and future economic and market conditions.

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Our reporting units consist of the following: North America Payment Solutions, Integrated Solutions, Vertical Market Software Solutions, Europe Merchant Solutions, Spain Merchant Solutions, Asia-Pacific Merchant Solutions, Issuer Solutions and Business and Consumer Solutions. As of October 1, 2020, we performed a quantitative assessment of impairment for our Issuer Solutions and Business and Consumer Solutions reporting units and a qualitative assessment for all other reporting units. We determined on the basis of the quantitative assessment of our Issuer Solutions and Business and Consumer Solutions reporting units that the fair value of each reporting unit is equal to or greater than its respective carrying amount. Additionally, we determined on the basis of the qualitative factors that the fair value of other reporting units was not more likely than not less than the respective carrying amounts. Our current year assessments also included consideration of the expected near term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on revenues and our cost mitigation efforts, as well as longer term performance expectations. We believe that the fair value of each of our reporting units is substantially in excess of its carrying amount, except for Issuer Solutions and Business and Consumer Solutions for which the respective carrying amounts approximate fair value since they were recently acquired in the Merger.

Intangible and Long-lived Assets— Intangible assets are amortized over their estimated useful lives. The useful lives for customer-related intangible assets are determined based primarily on forecasted cash flows, which include estimates for the revenues, expenses, and customer attrition associated with the assets. The useful lives of contract-based intangible assets are equal to the terms of the agreements. The useful lives of amortizable trademarks and trade names are based on an estimate of the period over which we will earn revenues for the related brands, including contemplation of any future plans to phase out the trademarks and trade names in the applicable markets.

We use the straight-line method of amortization for our amortizable acquired technologies, trademarks and trade names and contract-based intangibles. Amortization for most of our customer-related intangible assets is determined using an accelerated method. Under this accelerated method, the first step in determining the amortization expense for any period is that we divide the expected cash flows for that period that were used in determining the acquisition-date fair value of the asset divided by the expected total cash flows over the estimated life of the asset. We then multiply that ratio by the initial carrying amount of the asset to arrive at the amortization expense for that period. If the cash flow patterns that we experience differ significantly from our initial estimates, we adjust the amortization schedule prospectively. We believe that our accelerated method reflects the expected pattern of the benefit to be derived from the acquired customer relationships. We did not make any significant adjustments to the amortization schedules of our intangible assets during the year ended December 31, 2020.

We regularly evaluate whether events and circumstances have occurred that indicate the carrying amount of property and equipment and finite-life intangible assets may not be recoverable. When factors indicate that these long-lived assets should be evaluated for possible impairment, we assess the potential impairment by determining whether the carrying amount of such long-lived assets will be recovered through the future undiscounted cash flows expected from use of the asset and its eventual disposition. The evaluation is performed at the asset group level, which is the lowest level of identifiable cash flows. If the carrying amount of the asset group is determined not to be recoverable and exceeds its fair value, an impairment loss is recorded, measured as the difference between the fair value and the carrying amount. Fair values are determined based on quoted market prices or discounted cash flow analysis as applicable. We regularly evaluate whether events and circumstances have occurred that indicate the useful lives of property and equipment and finite-life intangible assets may warrant revision.

Capitalization of Internal-Use Software

We develop software that is used in providing services to customers. Capitalization of internal-use software, primarily associated with operating platforms, occurs when we have completed the preliminary project stage, management authorizes the project, management commits to funding the project, it is probable the project will be completed and the project will be used to perform the function intended. The preliminary project stage consists of the conceptual formulation of alternatives, the evaluation of alternatives, the determination of existence of needed technology and the final selection of alternatives. Costs incurred during the preliminary project stage are recognized as expense as incurred. Currently unforeseen circumstances in software development, such as a significant change in the manner in which the software is intended to be used, obsolescence or a significant reduction in revenues due to merchant attrition, could require us to implement alternative plans with respect to a particular effort, which could result in the impairment of previously capitalized software development costs. The carrying amount of internal-use software, including work-in-progress, at December 31, 2020 was $606.3 million. Costs capitalized during the year ended December 31, 2020 totaled $230.3 million. Internal-use software is amortized over its estimated useful life, which is typically 2 to 10 years, in a manner that best reflects the pattern of economic use of the assets.

During the fourth quarter of 2019, we preliminarily determined our target technology architecture for the combined company. As a result, we wrote-off capitalized software assets of $31.1 million related to legacy Global Payments technology that will no longer be utilized.

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Revenue Recognition

In accordance with Accounting Standards Codification Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers ("ASC 606"), we apply judgment in the determination of performance obligations, in particular related to large customer contracts within the Issuer Solutions segment. Performance obligations in a contract are identified based on the goods or services that will be transferred to the customer that are both capable of being distinct, whereby the customer can benefit from the service either on its own or together with other resources that are readily available from third parties or from us, and are distinct in the context of the contract, whereby the transfer of the services is separately identifiable from other promises in the contract. To the extent a contract includes multiple promised services, we must apply judgment to determine whether promised services are capable of being distinct and are distinct in the context of the contract. If these criteria are not met, the promised services are combined and accounted for as a single performance obligation. In addition, a single performance obligation may comprise a series of distinct goods or services that are substantially the same and that have the same pattern of transfer to the customer.

Income Taxes

We determine our provision for income taxes using management's judgments, estimates and the interpretation and application of complex tax laws in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. Judgment is also required in assessing the timing and amounts of deductible and taxable items. These differences result in deferred tax assets and liabilities in our consolidated balance sheet.

We believe our tax return positions are fully supportable; however, we recognize the benefit for tax positions only when it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained based on its technical merits. Issues raised by a tax authority may be resolved at an amount different than the related benefit recognized. When facts and circumstances change (including an effective settlement of an issue or statute of limitations expiration), the effect is recognized in the period of change. The unrecognized tax benefits that exist at December 31, 2020 would affect our provision for income taxes in the future, if recognized. Judgment is required to determine whether or not some portion or all of our deferred tax assets will not be realized. To the extent we determine that we will not realize the benefit of some or all of our deferred tax assets, then these deferred tax assets are adjusted through our provision for income taxes in the period in which this determination is made.

Effect of New Accounting Pronouncements - Recently Issued Pronouncements Not Yet Adopted

From time-to-time, new accounting pronouncements are issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board or other standards setting bodies that may affect our current and/or future financial statements. Refer to "Note 1—Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for a discussion of recently adopted accounting pronouncements and recently issued accounting pronouncements not yet adopted.


ITEM 7A - QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

Foreign Currency Exchange Rate Risk

Certain of our operations are conducted in foreign currencies. Consequently, a portion of our revenues and expenses may be affected by fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. We have not historically hedged our translation risk on foreign currency exposure, but we may do so in the future. For the year ended December 31, 2020, currency exchange rate fluctuations reduced our consolidated revenues by approximately $4.9 million and reduced our operating income by approximately $0.5 million compared to the prior year, calculated by converting revenues and operating income, respectively, for the current year, excluding revenues and operating income from current year acquisitions, in local currencies using exchange rates for the prior year.

Generally, the functional currency of our various subsidiaries is their local currency. We are exposed to currency fluctuations on transactions that are not denominated in the functional currency. Gains and losses on such transactions are included in determining net income for the period. We seek to mitigate our foreign currency risk through timely settlement of transactions and cash flow matching, when possible. For the year ended December 31, 2020, our transaction gains and losses were insignificant.

Additionally, we are affected by currency fluctuations in our funds settlement process on merchant payment, chargeback and card network settlement transactions that are not denominated in the currency of the underlying credit or debit card transaction. Gains and losses on these transactions are included in revenues for the period.
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We are also affected by fluctuations in exchange rates on our investments in foreign operations. Relative to our net investment in foreign operations, the assets and liabilities of subsidiaries whose functional currency is a foreign currency are translated at the period-end rate of exchange. The resulting translation adjustment is recorded as a component of other comprehensive income and is included in shareholders' equity. Transaction gains and losses on intercompany balances of a long-term investment nature are also recorded as a component of other comprehensive income.

Interest Rate Risk

We are exposed to market risk related to changes in interest rates on certain of our long-term borrowings and cash investments. We invest our excess cash in securities that we believe are highly liquid and marketable in the short term. These investments earn a floating rate of interest and are not held for trading or other speculative purposes.

We have a senior unsecured $2.0 billion term loan facility and a senior unsecured $3.0 billion revolving credit facility, as well as various lines of credit that we use to fund settlement in certain of our markets, each of which bears interest at rates that are based on market rates and fluctuate accordingly. As of December 31, 2020, the amount outstanding under these variable-rate debt arrangements and settlement lines of credit was $2.4 billion.

The interest earned on our invested cash and the interest paid on our debt are based on variable interest rates; therefore, the exposure of our net income to a change in interest rates is partially mitigated as an increase in rates would increase both interest income and interest expense, and a reduction in rates would decrease both interest income and interest expense. Under our current policies, we may selectively use derivative instruments, such as interest rate swaps or forward rate agreements, to manage all or a portion of our exposure to interest rate changes. We have entered into interest rate swaps that reduce a portion of our exposure to market interest rate risk on certain of our variable-rate debt as discussed in "Note 8—Long-Term Debt and Lines of Credit" in the notes to our accompanying consolidated financial statements.

Based on balances outstanding under variable-rate debt agreements and invested cash balances at December 31, 2020, a hypothetical increase of 50 basis points in applicable interest rates as of December 31, 2020 would increase our annual interest expense by approximately $3.8 million and increase our annual interest income by approximately $1.9 million.


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ITEM 8 - FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
To the shareholders and the Board of Directors of Global Payments Inc.

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Global Payments Inc. and subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the related consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, comprehensive income, changes in equity, and cash flows, for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2020, and the related notes and the schedule listed in the Index at Item 15 (collectively referred to as the "financial statements"). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2020, in conformity with the applicable accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

We have also audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission and our report dated February 19, 2021, expressed an unqualified opinion on the Company's internal control over financial reporting.

Change in Accounting Principle

As discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company changed its method of accounting for leases in fiscal year 2019 due to the adoption of Accounting Standards Codification Topic 842, Leases.

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Critical Audit Matters

The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current-period audit of the financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.

Revenue Recognition - Issuer Solutions - Refer to Notes 1 and 3 to the financial statements.

Critical Audit Matter Description

The Company enters into long-term revenue contracts with its Issuer Solutions customers. Issuer Solutions customer contracts may include multiple promises, including processing services, loyalty redemption services and professional services to financial institutions and other financial services providers. The Company has determined that the processing services and loyalty redemption services represent stand-ready performance obligations comprising a series of distinct days of services that are substantially the same and have the same pattern of transfer to the customer. Professional services representing performance obligations are satisfied over time.
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Table of Contents

We identified the determination of performance obligations for Issuer Solutions revenue contracts as a critical audit matter, given the judgment required to determine whether promised services are capable of being distinct and are distinct within the context of the contract. A high degree of auditor judgment was required to evaluate the Company's identification of the performance obligations in the contract.

How the Critical Audit Matter Was Addressed in the Audit

Our audit procedures related to the Company's Issuer Solutions revenue transactions, specifically its identification of the performance obligations in contracts with its customers, included the following, among others:

We evaluated the effectiveness of controls over Issuer Solutions contract revenue, including controls over the identification of performance obligations.
We selected a sample of Issuer Solutions contracts and evaluated whether the performance obligations were appropriately identified in each of the selected contracts including whether the promised services are capable of being distinct and are distinct in the context of the contract.

Revenues - Payment processing solutions and services - Refer to Note 1 to the financial statements.

Critical Audit Matter Description

The Company's revenues from its payment processing solutions and services consist of activity-based fees made up of a significant volume of low-dollar transactions, sourced from multiple systems and applications. The processing of transactions and recording of revenue is highly automated and is based on contractual terms with merchants, financial institutions, financial service providers, payment networks, and other parties.

Accordingly, we identified payment processing solutions and services revenues as a critical audit matter. This required an increased extent of effort, including the need for us to involve professionals with expertise in information technology (IT), to identify, test, and evaluate the Company's systems, software applications, and automated controls.

How the Critical Audit Matter Was Addressed in the Audit

Our audit procedures related to the Company's systems to process payment services revenues included the following, among others:

With the assistance of our IT specialists, we:
Identified the significant systems used to process revenue transactions and tested the general IT controls over each of these systems, including testing of user access controls, change management controls, and IT operations controls.
Tested system interface controls and automated controls within the relevant revenue streams, as well as the controls designed to ensure the accuracy and completeness of revenue.
We tested internal controls within the relevant revenue business processes, including those in place to reconcile the various reports extracted from the IT systems to the Company’s general ledger.
We evaluated trends in recorded revenues, including interchange fees and payment network fees.
For a sample of revenue transactions, we tested selected transactions by agreeing the amounts of revenue recognized to source documents and testing the mathematical accuracy of the recorded revenue.


/s/ DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP

Atlanta, Georgia

February 19, 2021

We have served as the Company's auditors since 2002.



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REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
To the shareholders and the Board of Directors of Global Payments Inc.

Opinion on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

We have audited the internal control over financial reporting of Global Payments Inc. and subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 31, 2020, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). In our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by COSO.

We have also audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the consolidated financial statements and financial statement schedule as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020, of the Company and our report dated February 19, 2021, expressed an unqualified opinion on those financial statements and included an explanatory paragraph regarding the Company’s change in its method of accounting for leases in fiscal year 2019 due to the adoption of Accounting Standards Codification Topic 842, Leases.

Basis for Opinion

The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management's Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk, and performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Definition and Limitations of Internal Control over Financial Reporting

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

/s/ DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP
Atlanta, Georgia
February 19, 2021
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GLOBAL PAYMENTS INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(in thousands, except per share data)
 
Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
Revenues$7,423,558 $4,911,892 $3,366,366 
Operating expenses:
Cost of service
3,650,727 2,073,803 1,095,014 
Selling, general and administrative
2,878,878 2,046,672 1,534,297 
 6,529,605 4,120,475 2,629,311 
Operating income893,953 791,417 737,055 
Interest and other income43,551 31,413 20,719 
Interest and other expense(343,548)(304,905)(195,619)
 (299,997)(273,492)(174,900)
Income before income taxes and equity in income of equity method investments593,956 517,925 562,155 
Income tax expense77,153 62,190 77,488 
Income before equity in income of equity method investments516,803 455,735 484,667 
Equity in income of equity method investments, net of tax88,297 13,541  
Net income605,100 469,276 484,667 
Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests(20,580)(38,663)(32,614)
Net income attributable to Global Payments$584,520 $430,613 $452,053 
Earnings per share attributable to Global Payments:
Basic earnings per share $1.95 $2.17 $2.85 
Diluted earnings per share $1.95 $2.16 $2.84 
See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
50


GLOBAL PAYMENTS INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
(in thousands)

Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
Net income$605,100 $469,276 $484,667 
Other comprehensive income (loss):
Foreign currency translation adjustments153,210 58,369 (118,439)
Income tax benefit (expense) related to foreign currency translation adjustments1,160 1,281 (832)
Net unrealized losses on hedging activities(52,742)(90,238)(7,553)
Reclassification of net unrealized losses (gains) on hedging activities to interest expense
36,510 2,257 (4,792)
Income tax benefit related to hedging activities4,008 21,036 2,972 
Other, net of tax(7,150)4,174 760 
Other comprehensive income (loss)134,996 (3,121)(127,884)
Comprehensive income
740,096 466,155 356,783 
Comprehensive income attributable to noncontrolling interests(35,223)(35,938)(29,918)
Comprehensive income attributable to Global Payments$704,873 $430,217 $326,865 
See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.


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GLOBAL PAYMENTS INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(in thousands, except share data)
 December 31, 2020December 31, 2019
ASSETS 
Current assets: 
Cash and cash equivalents$1,945,868 $1,678,273 
Accounts receivable, net794,172 895,232 
Settlement processing assets1,230,853 1,353,778 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets621,467 439,165 
Total current assets4,592,360 4,366,448 
Goodwill23,871,451 23,759,740 
Other intangible assets, net12,015,883 13,154,655 
Property and equipment, net1,578,532 1,382,802 
Deferred income taxes7,627 6,292 
Other noncurrent assets2,135,692 1,810,225 
Total assets$44,201,545 $44,480,162 
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY
Current liabilities:
Settlement lines of credit$358,698 $463,237 
Current portion of long-term debt827,357 35,137 
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities2,061,384 1,822,166 
Settlement processing obligations1,301,652 1,258,806 
Total current liabilities4,549,091 3,579,346 
Long-term debt8,466,407 9,090,364 
Deferred income taxes2,948,390 3,145,641 
Other noncurrent liabilities750,613 609,822 
Total liabilities16,714,501 16,425,173 
Commitments and contingencies
Equity:
Preferred stock, no par value; 5,000,000 shares authorized and none issued
  
Common stock, no par value; 400,000,000 shares authorized at December 31, 2020 and 2019; 298,332,459 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2020 and 300,225,590 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2019
  
Paid-in capital24,963,769 25,833,307 
Retained earnings2,570,874 2,333,011 
Accumulated other comprehensive loss(202,273)(310,571)
Total Global Payments shareholders’ equity27,332,370 27,855,747 
Noncontrolling interests154,674 199,242 
Total equity27,487,044 28,054,989 
Total liabilities and equity$44,201,545 $44,480,162 
See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
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GLOBAL PAYMENTS INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(in thousands)
Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
Cash flows from operating activities:
Net income$