Owner and President
Kurt Karjalainen is the owner and president of Premier Merchants Group, LLC — an ATM and bankcard ISR headquartered in Kearney, Neb. Premier has deployed and processes for more than 2,400 ATMs in 29 states. Under Karjalainen’s leadership, Premier’s ATM transaction count has grown by over 800% over the last 10 years. Karjalainen spearheaded the Wholesale ATM Program, which provides a customized ATM program for over 20 broadline food distributors nationwide. Premier jointly operates the program with Payment Alliance International (PAI).
Karjalainen was a partner and co-founder of Premier Distributing in 1999. He was instrumental in adding ATM and bankcard services to the company, which specialized in phone cards, check services, pay phones, and gift and loyalty cards. In 2008, Karjalainen co-founded Premier Merchants Group and became the company’s sole owner in 2010.
Karjalainen has served as a member of Payment Alliance International’s Market Advantage Committee and is a two-time winner of PAI’s prestigious Vanguard Award. Karjalainen has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Nebraska at Kearney where he was also a two-time All-American wrestler.
- Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Neb.
- Outstanding junior in the Field of Economics from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Neb.
- Two-time All-American in wrestling for the University of Nebraska at Kearney,
- 1999 partner and co-founder of Premier Distributing ATM and credit card processing products.
- Bought out partners and become sole owner of Premier Distributing ATM and Bankcard assets. Created Premier Merchants Group, LLC.
- Created the Wholesale ATM Program partnership with 20-plus wholesale companies with Payment Alliance International, Inc. (PAI).
- Member of PAI’s Market Advantage Committee.
- Two-time winner of PAI’S Vanguard Award as well as winning numerous awards for fastest ATM growth, fastest number of ATMs purchased, and the largest increase in transactions year over year.
The current owner of Premier Merchants Group, which is an independent ATM deployer doing business in 29 states with more than 2,400 ATMs.