Wednesday, April 19 2023
Looking to Become a Credit Card Processing Agent? Here are the Guidelines:
Are you excited to become a credit card processing agent? Do you want to start a credit card processing company? If your answer is YES, then you have come to the right place.
In this article, I am going to teach you ways to start a successful credit card processing company. I am also going to take you through the fine details of planning, setting up, and starting a credit card processing company.
You are going to learn about what it takes to become a successful credit card processing agent, how to conduct market and niche research, how to create a great business plan, how to get funding for your venture, and also tips to run a successful credit card processing company.
It is important to note that when you become a merchant service provider you will be helping corporate and businesses to process payment for their customers.
Your credit card processing services will involve offering the platform and equipment to facilitate the sending, approval, and processing of payments and transactions between customer’s bank accounts and your clients' bank accounts.
What It Takes To Become a Credit Card Processing Agent:
The credit card processing industry is very dynamic, and the success of becoming a merchant services agent is both easy and hard.
There are a few things that you need to know; some of these include having a clear understanding of how selling credit card processing works. You will also need to have deep knowledge of how credit cards work and what they do.
Another overly important thing that you will need to understand is your market and, most importantly, your niche market. This way, you will be able to connect with your customers on a personal level. In addition, you will also be able to create a solid relationship with banks for financial transactions and payment processing.
Market Feasibility and Niche Research
It is critical to note that any successful venture always starts with thorough research. When you want to become a credit card processing agent, you will need to do thorough market research.
Understand the type of services or products you will be offering and where your clients are and their needs.
Make sure that you look at the services offered by your competitors, their rates, and also how satisfied their customers are with the services they get.
The few steps you can take to become a merchant services reseller are to first create a survey on several businesses in your area, determine the most common services they use, and evaluate the satisfaction level of customers with their current payment providers.
Another important step that you need to take is to gather client information, such as phone numbers or email addresses. These details will help you when you start sending out pitches.
Crafting a Comprehensive Business Plan
For you to become a credit card processing agent and be successful in it, you will need to come up with a detailed business plan.
It is okay if you are not a seasoned writer, but you can hire one to do the work for you. Better still, there are several business plan templates available online that you can use.
There are several details that need to be included in your business plan; some of these details include:
Ideally, the business plan for a credit card processing company can serve as proof to investors and stakeholders that you are serious about with your venture as the document shows all the strategies.
A great business plan can help you win funding from various investors and banks.
How to Finance Your Credit Card Processing Business
Most business requires a startup capital; the same case applies to credit card processing companies.
To become a credit card processing agent, you need to consider where you are going to get funding to start your venture. You will also need to cater for all the operational costs until you start realizing some profits.
According to research, on average, a minimum of $51,000 is needed to start a credit card processing company.
There are options that you can use to get financing for your credit card processing company, some of these options include;
Launching Your Merchant Services Reseller Company
Once all the above are set up, you can go ahead and launch your credit card processing company. There are other finer details that you will need to consider before you do this. These include finding the appropriate location for your business, understanding the requirements which you must have beforehand, and understanding the manpower needed to run the business.
To become a merchant services reseller, you should fully implement your business plan. The best way is to strictly follow the plan without cutting corners.
Tip: Due to the competitive nature of the credit card processing business, it is critical to ensure that your business stands out.
Put more efforts to stand out among your competitions. The best way to do this is to have a business network. You can reach out to organizations and corporations to widen your reach and customer base.
Marketing Plan for Your Credit Card Processing Company
To further increase your reach to potential clients, you can create business cards, flyers, pamphlets, or business website.
Tips To Help You Run a Successful Credit Card Processing Business
In order to succeed in starting a credit card processing business, understand that you will not only be providing requirements and services to help process payment for customers BUT also, you will be selling yourself. As a credit card processor, you will need to clearly show potential clients why they need your services. Show them the benefits they will get from your services. Never seize to reach out to potential customers. In addition, ensure that you do a follow up on those pitches. To simplify the process of becoming a credit card processing agent, North American Bancard provides all the tools you need for a successful credit card processing business.
Wednesday, April 12 2023
All around the world, there are thousands of businesses that use vital services that are referred to as merchant services. These are services such as payment processing, which is what allows businesses to accept and process payments so that they can make a profit on their product. Without these services, businesses would be unable to function in the modern world. You might think that the fact that these services are an absolute necessity to these businesses make them an easy target for selling, but that is now always the case. There are definitely some positives as well as some negatives when selling merchant services.
This guide will show you some of each and hopefully give you some insight as to whether a career selling merchant services is right for you.
Undoubtedly, there are some very positive aspects of selling merchant services for a living. If you have had a sales job that is similar in the past, you already have known some of these benefits. Here are some of the best things about selling merchant services.
There is always a market
One of the best things about working in the merchant services industry is that there is never a lack of demand for these services. There are always new businesses sprouting up as people chase their passion for owning their own business. And existing businesses are always evaluating their options and ensuring that they are getting the best deal on the market. For that reason, you won’t ever have to worry about the industry as a whole drying up. People will always need to spend digital money and businesses will always need to find a way to accept it.
Set your schedule
For many that are in a commission-based sales job, one of the greatest benefits of it is being able to get to the point where you are working when you want to work instead of punching a time clock when you get to work. When you are a partner in a merchant services ISO agent program, you will be able to set your appointments on a schedule that works well for you.
Build passive income
Finding and signing clients to lucrative merchant processing contracts is hard work, nobody denies that. However, all of the hard work that you put into this process could end up paying out tenfold throughout the years. One of the greatest things about being a merchant services salesperson is that your accounts can earn you passive and residual income long after you have closed them to a contract. This could help you build passive income for years to come and eventually phase out the bulk of the labor that is involved in this career.
High commission rates
When you compare merchant services to other industries out there, you will find that it has a very competitive and comparatively high commission rate compared to those other industries. The high price of the contracts and the fact that they continue to pay out for years to come is what makes these sales so valuable and why some of the best salespeople in the world turn to merchant services when they want to increase their earning potential.
Just as there are many pros to selling merchant services, there are also some aspects that could prove difficult. You should watch out for these aspects and consider whether they are something that you are able to overcome and overlook.
Highly competitive industry
There is always a lot of demand for merchant services, but this fact also means that there is a lot of competition. One of the hardest aspects of selling merchant services is that you will always have competition breathing down your neck, waiting to provide your client with a better rate. This is really where your ability to create and nurture relationships will come in handy with client retention. This industry is not for those that don’t like competition and healthy capitalist tendencies.
Dependent on success to make money
When you are a merchant services representative in any industry, you know that your ability to make money is heavily dependent on the success that you have when selling your product or service. It’s no different in selling merchant accounts. If you want to have a good income, then you will need to become skilled at selling these products. If you don’t feel confident that you can do that, then it might not be the right choice for you.
Friday, March 03 2023
Though you might hear the term ISO or Independent Sales Organization used a lot in the merchant services business, people don't always use it accurately. Let's take a look at what this term actually means according to credit card companies and banks.
What is an ISO? - Basically, a merchant services ISO program is an entity (a company or a person) who is not a MasterCard or Visa member bank—also known in general as Association members—yet they have a relationship with these banks. This can mean many things. For example, they may find new customers, offer customer service to the merchants, or sell terminals to them.
What is an MSP? - An MSP (Member Service Provider) is more or less similar to a credit card processing ISO program, though this isn't always exactly the case. An MSP is more of a “middle man” usually, a company that is often not an Association member, but who provides services to members.
What Do ISOs and MSPs Do For Their Banks? - First of all, remember that neither MSPs nor merchant services ISO agents are actually banks. The MSP / ISO will contract a processing bank to do this, and each MSP / ISO must have this kind of relationship with a bank to be able to process credit cards.
Under normal circumstances, the acquiring bank will be an Association member with both Visa and Mastercard, and they usually register for both at the same time. ISOs in turn can have relationships with more than one bank. By the way, these processing banks can also engage in vertical integration and become their own ISOs. This isn't common, though, and normally they will just specialize in processing credit cards, since it takes a lot of resources to draw in leads all the time.
An ISO is required to disclose their processing bank on their brochures, website, and other material. Usually, these are somewhere inconspicuous, like the bottom of a page.
How Does an ISO / MSP Register with the Credit Card Companies? - It's not exactly easy. First, the merchant services ISO needs to find a processing bank that will serve as a sponsor. Next, the merchant services ISO has to demonstrate to the companies that they have the means to perform their duties. Afterwards, there's lots of paperwork to do. For example, a merchant services ISO program might have to provide:
On top of all of that, the owners of the companies will also have their credit checked.
What Kind of Fees Does an ISO / MSP Have to Pay For Registration? Once they are actually approved, the fees are $10,000 upfront. These fees are paid every year as well, as part of a review process.
What Are So-Called Sales Agents? - Many times it's helpful for merchant services ISOs to have an independent sales team, so they will hire sales agents to find interested merchants. According to MasterCard, a sales agent is someone who provides services to a member, but isn't an MSP. In other words, sales agents don't have to be Association members, since the merchant services ISO program is the one that takes care of the processing. Sales agents have to be registered, however, though the fee is quite negligible—something like $50 every year. Sales agents, though functioning somewhat independently, can't advertise as a service provider and have to use the name of their merchant services company.
What Option Works Best? - Is it enough to be a merchant services sales agent? Or should you consider becoming a merchant services ISO or MSP, even though it requires going through all that bureaucratic process? Like anything else, this really depends. How much processing volume do you have? Obviously, you get a better price per transaction as a merchant services ISO, so you'll need to make some calculations and decide for yourself whether the increased profit margin is worth the overhead costs.
Be cautious, though, when looking at proposals from processing banks. There might be some fine print in there that can come back to haunt you. Specifically, look for fees that might cut into your profit, such as minimum processing fees. Minimum processing fees are charged when transaction fees during a certain period don't reach a minimum threshold.
These minimum processing fees can sometimes be really exorbitant, so watch out for them. Sometimes they can run into tens of thousands of dollars per month, and if you can't come up with the transaction fees, you'll be paying the difference yourself.
If you don't have a large portfolio yet, this can really harm you. Let's say the minimum processing fee for you is $6,000 every month. Let's say that, like many ISO's, you make an average of between $0.07 to $0.09 for every transaction. You would basically need to make 66,600 to 85,700 transactions on a monthly basis just to reach the minimum, which is unfeasible if you are a brand new company.
Usually, your processing bank will give you a period of time to build up your clientèle, however. If you think you can manage to reach a volume that surpasses the minimum processing fees by this time, then go right ahead and become a merchant service provider. However, make sure that you calculate everything very carefully.
By the way, since you're kind of expected to increase volume over time, the whole minimum processing fee can increase as well. That's right, a bank can progressively charge you more and more. For example, they may have given you a minimum fee of $4,000 in year 1, but every year that your contract renews, they might increase it by a lot—maybe even by the original amount, so that you're paying $4,000 more every subsequent year.
You can probably see why this would be a problem. Your fees are growing linearly, but your portfolio might not be. In fact, it is unlikely that your business would be able to support that amount of growth every year, unless your company is just so great that people are abandoning their merchant service agreements just to work with you. Either way, never sign an agreement that has fine print like this. Fees that increase like this are not very sustainable and you may get ripped off in the end.
Another (Not Great) Alternative - One thing you can do is to try to find a small bank that doesn't have any minimum fees at all. The problem here, though, is that their pricing might not be as good of a deal as larger processing banks, and their service might not be as reliable.
Besides, these smaller processors often have their own version of a minimum fee requirement—instead of transactions, they require you to bring in a certain number of new clients per month. If you don't comply, then you could stand to lose your residuals. In other words, you could have worked for years to build up a portfolio of dozens of merchants, and you could be bringing in a huge volume for your bank. You might have built up to tens of thousands of dollars per month for yourself, but your bank requires you to bring in five new merchants, and you only brought in four.
What happens? You lose all of your income, just like that. Does that sound fair to you? Your processor still has all of those accounts, but you are left in the dust. It's not really “passive income” if you have to keep adding a certain arbitrary amount of merchants per month, is it?
Conclusions - All of this can be confusing if you are new, but you can probably draw a few conclusions from it and get an idea of your game plan. To put it simply, if I had to start in this business over again knowing what I know now, I would just pick a large ISO and become a merchant services agent for them. This would help me learn about the industry and build up some income, and I wouldn't be risking falling victim to some fine print from my processing banks, or having to pay huge fees just to stay in business. I would work with several merchant services ISOs until I had decided which one was the best fit for me long-term.
After that, I would stop working with all of the other merchant services ISOs and concentrate on the best one exclusively until my volume had increased substantially. Once I thought I could pay all of the entry fees, I would consider becoming a merchant services ISO myself. I would speak with my merchant services ISO and see if they have a sponsorship program. Either way, I would shop around and be a hard negotiator, and not settle with a sponsor until I had a fair deal that I could actually work with.
Last, I'd hire an attorney to look over the paperwork. Yes, attorneys can be expensive, but in a business like this they are worth their weight in gold. You don't want to sign something without understanding all of the ramifications. Once that was settled and the deal seemed right, only then would I sign the agreement.
Tuesday, January 17 2023
Important Payment Dates
Whether you are already a merchant services sales rep or you are thinking of becoming one, one of the most important things that you would like to know is when you are going to get paid. As it turns out, being a merchant sales representative usually means that you have a pretty easy-to-understand payment schedule that allows you to know when to expect your commissions and residuals.
To make it easy, most merchant service companies pay out their representatives twice a month. There are two important dates that you will need to pay attention to as days that you are likely to get paid on. The first payment date for each month is on the 15th. The second most important date of the month that you will be paid on is the 25th. With these two dates in mind, you can always know when to expect a payment to come into your bank account.
If you are a merchant services sales rep, you often have the choice of getting your funds on the 15th of the month of the 25th of the month. For most, it is preferred to get your payments earlier. However, it is up to you how you wish to structure the payments.
In addition to regular salary and commissions that will hit your account twice a month, there are also two types of bonuses that you might expect to be paid out at various times throughout the month. As a salesman, it is important that you know how and when these bonuses are paid out because you work hard to get your bonuses.
The first type of bonus that you might experience is called an approval bonus, which kicks in when a business is approved for their merchant account. This bonus will usually payout within 24 hours of the merchant getting approved, and there is no set date per month that these are paid out.
Another type of bonus that you might be paid if you are making consistent sales and your accounts are having success is an activation bonus. This is a bonus that occurs when the merchant account that you have signed up has processed $300 of either Visa or Mastercard transactions on the account. This bonus should hit your bank account within 24 hours of the bonus requirements being met.
Finding Payment Information
If you are curious about how your income breaks down and what is being paid to you, then you can always consult your partner dashboard. Within this dashboard, you’ll be able to see the breakdown of your residuals, month-to-month comparisons, and even performance metrics. With this information, you will have everything you need to be informed about the status of your payments and your performance as a seller.
Though some people have trouble understanding how merchant services rep payments work, this breakdown should have made it easier for you to understand how you can expect to be paid out on a regular bonus for both residuals and bonus payments.
Monday, January 16 2023
Do you know if you really own your credit card processing residuals? The best way to find out is to ask your credit card processor if they want to buy you out—that is, purchase some of your future income steams. If you need fast cash, this is a great way to go. Let's look at some of the details:
For example, what if you closed twenty deals in October, and each of those yielded $50 in profit. If you have a 50% split, then your residuals would be $25 for each account per month. This makes for about $500 dollars a month total in residuals, which is $6,000 dollars per year. Not bad, right? Especially considering that your portfolio will only increase from there.
Just like any other asset, you can sell your merchant portfolio, though. If you need cash upfront, you can sell the right to this long-term passive income to your processor. How much would they pay? Well, typically, they will pay the same as about 15 months of your residuals, which in this case is $7,500. And then they would pay you another $4,500 throughout the year ($500 x 9), depending on the retention of your accounts. That's a pretty handsome amount for closing just 20 accounts.
There are some rules to consider when you're doing a buyout, though, so let's take a look at some individual guidelines:
1.) First, the residuals need to be from a merchant account that has been activated for awhile—at least a month, but more often around three months. Why? Consider this: your processor will decide what to pay you based on the average income generated over the past three months. You don't want one or two of those months to be a 0.
2.) Selling your residuals shouldn't affect your upfront payment for closing the deal.
3.) You're more likely to get that second payment if less accounts cancel, so sometimes it's better to sell more accounts to your processor to increase your chances. Another thing you can do is to get a buyout that is 100% upfront, though usually this isn't as lucrative in the long run.
Do you feel like you're a bit more familiar with buyouts now? The above guidelines are good things to keep in mind, but how do you know when a buyout would be helpful?
1.) To break your fall when you're first getting started. Running a business can be a difficult challenge and sometimes this requires putting money upfront. It might be fine to work off savings and initial capital for a few months, but eventually you're going to have to start earning income from your business to be able to avoid running out of money. If expansion is happening slower that you thought and you need some money to put into savings or to invest in your business when you're brand new to the industry, a buyout may just help you find the liquid cash that you need without having to go into debt.
2) When you need stability. You might be tempted to go with a buyout as a way to pay for the cost of growing—for example, getting a fancy advertising campaign going, or moving to a bigger office—but don't do it. Selling your residuals is not a long-term strategy, so it should not be used to meet long-term goals like growth. You may have more money upfront, but it will obviously lower the amount of your monthly residuals. It is not worth it; the point of this business it to build your monthly income over time. Only perform a buyout when you really need liquid cash upfront to put out a fire and return your business to the status quo—not to add more complexities and growth.
When shouldn't you sell your merchant residuals? Well, there are a few situations where it's not recommended:
Sunday, January 15 2023
As a merchant services agent, you know that one of the largest struggles is finding a way to organize your merchants, monitor their activity, and review your own performance. With a traditional merchant services company, this could fall to you to monitor. However, there is a better solution. The North American Bancard Sales Partner Portal is one of the most innovative partner portals in the industry and it has a robust set of features that allow you to do all of these things and more with ease. With this partner portal, you’ll be empowered to handle your merchant services business and gain full control over the metrics that drive your livelihood.
Feel at home with custom branding
One of the most interesting features of the partner portal is that you are able to brand the portal with your own logo and color to make it feel more personalized and specific to your brand. This feature allows your firm to gain all the reputation and legitimacy of a large corporation just for cooperating with North American Bancard.
Easy to use dashboard
If you have ever dealt with an unnecessarily complicated dashboard that is complicated to use and navigate, then you know the strain that it can put on your workflow. With this dashboard, you’ll never be held back from productivity. This dashboard is one of the easiest to use in the industry and provides you with an easy way to navigate and find the information that is important to your business.
Visualize your progress
When you are making progress and signing on new clients, it is always helpful to visualize your progress and see how far you have come from the beginning of your journey. If you are a visual person that values having these resources, then this portal is perfect for you. It contains visual aids to show you your progress and visualize the performance of your business.
Gain access to marketing materials
Within the portal, you’ll not only find payment information and performance metrics, but also the tools that you need to improve your performance as a representative. There are marketing materials located within the portal that will help you close more sales, connect with your clients, and save time throughout your day by giving you all of the information that you need in one central location. With the help of these marketing materials, you can quickly rise through the ranks to become a highly paid account representative.
Handle support tickets
When your merchants have issues or concerns, it can often be a hassle to try and communicate with them and organize their issues while also documenting them well. That is where the partners' dashboard comes in. The dashboard contains support capability to allow you to handle and facilitate product support inquiries from within the dashboard. There is also a knowledge base within the partner portal to help solve any minor issues and give your customers the care and attention that they deserve.
Friday, January 13 2023
In this industry, you will often hear the words “merchant sales agents,” “Member Service Providers,” and “Independent Sales Organizations” used in a similar context, as if all three of these things are the same. The truth is that these terms actually refer to distinct roles in the credit card processing business. If this seems confusing to you, don't worry; all of these terms will be explained in this article, as well as their relationships to the credit card associations. We will also go over how you might go about becoming a merchant services ISO or an MSP.
After we've sorted all of that out, we'll go over what the advantages and disadvantages are of working in the industry as each of these roles. Getting an idea ahead of time of what each of these entails will hopefully save you from making a lot of mistakes early on in your business ventures.
What Every Term Means - First of all, let's get everything perfectly clear by defining the terms that we've mentioned so far:
ISO (Independent Sales Organization) – This is basically the credit card processor, the company that serves as the middle man between the credit card companies and the merchant. It will often provide terminals to the merchants, as well as tech support, training, and customer service. Another common term for this is “merchant service company.”
MSP (Member Service Provider) – ISO is a term often used by Visa, and so MSP is basically MasterCard's version of this. They both mean roughly the same thing. However, to make things a little more obscure, MasterCard also uses the term ISO, but it means something different. Basically, in their case, an ISO offers services that are not processing and transaction services, like customer service and lead generation. For our purposes, though, don't worry too much about these subtle distinctions. They are basically the same thing. For the sake of simplicity, let's just assume that we're including MSPs when we use the term “ISO” from now on.
Sales Agent – This role is completely different from the above mentioned roles. A merchant services agent is a third party that sells the services of merchant services ISOs and MSPs. Since merchant services companies often like to concentrate on processing credit cards and offering POS solutions, they will contract sales agents to find merchants to work with. A sales agent doesn't have to pay the high association fees like an merchant services ISO does, but he can't do business in his own name and have a merchant services ISO program with an ISO or MSP company.
What is the Relationship Between an ISO / MSP / Sales Agent and the Processing Banks? - You probably realize that merchant services ISOs are not banks, and that these organizations need banks to ultimately perform the transactions. Every merchant services ISO will need a sponsoring bank, one who is a member of Visa and MasterCard's respective associations. In practice, these banks will usually not take on small merchant service companies, and actually most merchant services ISOs use larger ISOs as intermediaries between them and the banks.
A merchant services ISO program can also have several sponsor banks. Though this can be extra costly, it also gives merchant services ISOs the advantage of being able to take on different kinds of merchants. For example, some banks might be averse to what they see as “high-risk” businesses, while others are not (though these usually charge higher fees).
By the way, these sponsoring banks don't really need merchant services ISOs at the end of the day. They could cut out the middle men and sell directly to merchants if they wished, but most of these companies prefer to focus their energies on processing transactions and don't want to bother with customer service and other issues.
If you're curious about what acquiring bank a given ISO uses, simply check out their website. They are actually required to make this information public, and it will usually be apparent in the footer of the page.
Now, how about sales agents? Well, agents are indeed registered with the credit card associations, but of course it is much less complex and expensive than it is for ISOs. Sales agents are basically contractors and the ISOs that they work with usually take care of the heavy lifting when it comes to paperwork.
How Do ISOs Go About Registering With Visa and MasterCard? - If you're an ISO, you'll have to swim through a rough sea of bureaucracy before your business can start processing credit cards. First, you need to find a bank that is a member of the credit card associations—usually both, but sometimes one—and you need to show the bank that you know what you're doing.
The banks will have to put you through a vetting process before the Associations are comfortable taking you on. You will usually have to submit all kinds of information on your business, and what type of business you are running, whether it is a “high risk” business, and what sort of services you provide to customers can all be a factor.
Usually, the bank and credit card companies will want to see:
After all of that is squared, you'd be required to pay $5,000 for each of the credit card associations. This is a yearly fee, by the way, and your application gets reevaluated every year as well. By contrast, an agent pays a bit of pocket change—maybe $50 once a year—to stay in business.
Should You Be an ISO or a Sales Agent? Which is Better? - Now, you might be curious about what path to take when it comes to your merchant services business. Should you become an ISO for merchant services, or take the safer and cheaper route and become a merchant services agent? Really, it comes down to your revenue. Do you have the sufficient merchant volume to be able to afford all of the crazy fees that ISOs have to pay? Then maybe it would be worth the trouble for you. If not, you should probably stick to the path of a sales agent, at least until you have more capital.
Becoming an ISO might seem really expensive and complicated to you right now, so you might be wondering why you would even want to become one. Well, basically you have the potential to make way more money. As a merchant services ISO, you are working directly with the processing banks (or at least with a larger ISO that is working with the banks), so you get a very low price in terms of transaction costs because there are less middle men between you and the bank. Your profit margins are higher than that of a merchant services sales agent. Merchant services sales agents get less of a share and they also have higher fees to deal with. It's like the difference between wholesale and retail, to give a somewhat awkward analogy.
However, not everything is rainbows and sunshine when it comes to being a merchant services ISO. There is a lot of responsibility and a lot of bank fees to dodge, things that sales agents don't really worry about. For example, you would need to watch out for so-called minimum processing fees. Basically, these are fees that the bank will charge you if you don't make a certain amount of transaction fees. Even worse, some banks will increase these fees year after year, and you will lose your residuals if you can't keep up. In fact, you might even have to pay a penalty out of your own pocket!
In order to avoid these minimum fees, you need to have a substantial portfolio of merchants. The minimum threshold that you are required to meet may be thousands of dollars, and since you're making pennies per transaction, you're going to need a huge volume of transactions. This is why it's not very wise to become an ISO if you have no experience in the business and no clients yet. It is just too risky.
As mentioned, the bank can also decide to increase the minimum every year, so that you're constantly trying to catch-up. This can be bad news for you because you can lose everything that you worked for. It's hard to escape having minimum fees of some kind, but steer clear from the kind of agreement that increases it every year if you can.
There are also some companies that will require you to sign up a certain minimum amount of new merchants per month, or you could lose all of your residuals. Don't sign up for such a deal, either, or you could see all of your income disappear quickly through no real fault of your own.
What We Have Learned - What's the best way to get started, then? Well, like anything else, that really depends on you and where you are with your business. If you're starting from square one, it's advisable to avoid the risks of becoming an ISO, and to simply stick to being a sales agent until you have decent enough income. There's something to be said about gaining experience and learning the business as well. No matter what you do, make sure to read every single contract before you sign anything so that you can avoid being taken for a ride. Don't jump into anything until you are ready. If you're not confident enough to negotiate with sponsor banks, then don't become an ISO just yet and spend some time as a sales agent building up your portfolio. Take things slow and you will avoid costly mistakes.
Friday, January 06 2023
Lead-generation is the heart of any business and importantly credit card processing leads. No matter what kind of line of work you're in, you're going to need some sort of plan or sales funnel that will allow you to capture leads and hopefully turn them into paying customers. Since you surely have competitors, you're going to have to have some kind of edge to make these customers yours, and usually that edge is a solid marketing strategy. Most good marketing plans that capture worthwhile leads cost money, though, so you have to be prepared to invest in your business first and foremost.
Just spending money isn't enough, either. You need to spend it in the right places and know what tactics work best for your specific business. You also need to know when not to waste your time and money on someone who is likely never to grab the bait. The ROI of your marketing efforts really depends largely on whether you are targeting people who are actually interested. This is why I recommend creating relationships first and understanding your customer's problems before you try to help them.
Here are a few different techniques you can use to get potential quality clients in front of you:
Pay Per Click (PPC) - Nowadays, when people need something, they search for it on the Internet. This is great for them because it gives them what they want, but it's also great for you because you can grab their attention on a search engine results page or on someone else's website by buying ads. You might be thinking: Why would I use PPC ads that run when people search for my business on Google, when I can simply practice good SEO on my website and rise to the top of the results for my chosen keywords?
This is a legitimate argument, but there are two main reasons you would choose PPC anyway, either alongside aggressive SEO tactics or instead of them: 1) hiring an SEO expert to rank your business website for your chosen keywords costs money, possibly more than simply buying the ad space; and 2) your competitors are probably running PPC ads on the major search engines, so even if you rank high organically, their ads will be all over the place when people search for the keywords that you are targeting. Ideally, you would use both good SEO and a PPC campaign to target leads.
The nice thing about PPC compared to other methods where you pay for traffic is that the conversion rate is usually pretty good because your lead is already interested in what you're offering. Unlike more traditional methods, you have a lot of analytics to work with so you can learn about your audience. It also tends to be more cost-effective than other common lead-generation approaches.
Social Media - People mostly go on social media to hang out and not buy, but you should have a presence here anyway because there is a good chance that some percentage of people who are interested would rather contact you via Facebook or a similar medium rather than via phone, especially if they just have general questions.
Call Like a Madman - Part of being a merchant services sales rep is being able to persuade people in a variety of context, and that includes over the phone. You can buy a list of prospects or look online for businesses that seem like they might be needing your services. It really is a numbers game because you will have to call a lot of places before you get any results. However, if you're willing to deal with rejection and having people hang up on you every once in awhile, this can be a great method, especially if you're just starting out and your capital is somewhat limited. It may seem cumbersome, but if you call dozens of people per day, 5 days per week, someone is bound to use your services at some point.
Go in Person - If you have the courage, then meet your prospects in person. You can do this by either paying other companies to arrange meetings between you and prospective merchant processing leads, or you can simply look up businesses in your area and visit the owner at their location unsolicited. This of course takes social skills and a certain amount of courage, but if you've been in sales for awhile, you probably have both. If you feel like this is too much of an intrusion, you can also call ahead of time and warm up your lead before you meet them in person.
The main thing to consider of course, is to play off your strengths, so if you're too awkward over the phone, meeting in person might just be the ticket. On the other hand, remember to challenge yourself to learn other methods of lead-generation, even ones that may make you feel uncomfortable at first. Always expand your horizons.
Focus on the Funnel - What do you do after you have used one of the methods above and you have an interested party? They might not always be interested in buying right away. Though you should do what you can to close the lead in the moment while it is “hot,” not all is lost.
One thing that you can do is use “bait” to create or keep your leads, by offering them free information or a newsletter via email. This is your “list,” and it will allow you to simply keep collecting prospects and remind them every once in awhile that you exist and that you want to help them. How you find these prospects in the first place depends, but you can use any of the methods above potentially.
The fastest way to build up a list is probably PPC, though. People are already at their computer, so it's not hard for them to go check their email and confirm when they sign up, and you are targeting people who are already in the “information-gathering” phase of their quest to find a credit card processor.
Using these tactics, it shouldn't be too hard to find some leads. All that you have to do from there is solve the client's problem consistently, and you will have a stream of income potentially for a long time. If you're still confused or curious about any aspect of selling merchant services, check out the Shaw Merchant group website and be enlightened.
Friday, January 06 2023
Whether you are a merchant in need of services for processing payments or a representative looking to break into the industry and start off with a reputable solution to provide for your clients, the PayAnywhere suite of solutions is the ideal package for you. PayAnywhere’s suite of solutions is the latest in an industry full of innovation and forward progress. With our robust products, you’ll soar to new heights in the world of merchant services sales.
PayAnywhere POS Equipment
One of the greatest things about our PayAnywhere solutions is our POS equipment that runs on cutting-edge technology. We utilize robust construction, superior technology, and hyper-focused features that solve the problems of small businesses around the world.
For those that are in need of a small and compact solution for their mobile needs, the PayAnywhere handheld terminal is the perfect solution. It features a 5.5” screen that makes it easy for staff to process payments with ease. The compact size makes it perfect for those that need to accept payments outside the store.
The payment processing options include a chip reader and stripe reader to accommodate all customers with varying types of cards. You’ll also find a receipt printer for maximum convenience and PIN capability. Scan barcodes with ease with front-facing and back cameras. The best thing about the handheld smart terminal is the fact that it all operates on our PayAnywhere software, which is designed to help your business be more efficient.
Countertop Smart Terminal
If you need something a bit larger for your store POS, try out our countertop smart terminal option. This larger, but still sleek and compact version of our payment processor gives you maximum functionality and features.
The countertop terminal features a 4.5” screen that interacts with the customers, card processing through chip and stripe, PIN capability, and a built-in receipt printer. It also carries two cameras to allow easy scanning of barcodes and can connect to either 4G networks or Wi-Fi.
The countertop smart terminal runs on the PayAnywhere app to give you control and insight into your payment processing and revenue reports. With this tool by your side, you'll be ready to process payments efficiently, effectively, and affordably.
The most important aspect of our PayAnywhere solutions is the PayAnywhere app, which is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive merchant services and payment processing software solutions on the market.
The PayAnywhere portal will allow you to get a visual representation of the day’s activity, various modules to help you gain insight into what’s happening in your business, sales applications to monitor employees, and more.
The PayAnywhere app differentiates itself by also offering an inventory module to allow you an easy way to monitor stock levels and evaluate product viability. To gain even more insight into your business, use the robust report functionality to generate reports that are based on your sales data. If you’re ready to gain a business tool that will give you full control over the numbers that drive your business, then pairing a PayAnywhere terminal with the PayAnywhere app is the best possible combination.
EDGE Cash Discount Program: Defeating Processing Cost and Providing Even More Value to Business Owners
Thursday, January 05 2023
If you ask any business owner about the costs of accepting payments, one of the first things that they will tell you is that they feel that the fee they pay to process credit cards and other plastic is unfair and high. Given the chance, any one of these business owners would eliminate the cost and charge their customers for it. Until now, there has never been an easy way to do this without angering the customer and causing strife in their business. Furthermore, consumers in the modern world are heavily incentivized to use their plastic to pay for products for many reasons. To defeat this, you need to be able to present your business clients with a program that is equally as lucrative for them and their customers. The EDGE Cash Discount program is this system.
The problem merchants face with credit card payments
As you know, processing companies make most of their revenue from charging a percentage of each transaction. Typically, merchants will absorb this cost and deal with it as a cost of doing business. There is not an easy way to explain having to raise prices for those that pay with plastic, so the transaction cost cuts into the margin for the merchant and makes it harder to do business with high margins. Accepting cash is preferable because it offers higher margins, but people are heavily leaning towards card payments and are even incentivized with rewards programs and signup bonuses to use plastic as opposed to having to carry around cash.
Traditionally, merchants would charge the same amount to both their cash-paying customers and their card-paying customers. This makes things rather unfair to those that are paying with cash, as they are paying the same as someone else who pays with cards, which costs the merchant a high percentage to process. This less-than-ideal situation is what has led many merchants to seek out a different option. The EDGE cash discount program allows merchants to charge the same sticker price to both customers, but keep the same margin, as well.
Selling the EDGE Cash Discount Program
Remember how we said earlier on that merchants would love to pass the credit card processing cost onto the customer? Well, it's now possible with the EDGE program. The EDGE Cash Discount Program is an easy way to allow business owners to keep equal margins for any payment method and make pricing products that much easier. With the EDGE program, merchants won't have to worry about which payment methods their customers use most because they will be achieving the same profit either way.
In short, this program allows merchants to essentially wipe out processing cost in their store for all card payments. The program is implemented in a way that advertises it as a rewards program for cash instead of simply charging more for those that choose to use their card. For merchants, getting over the hump of advertising this program is the biggest hurdle. Once merchants realize that it will have no noticeable effect on foot traffic and revenue, it becomes an easy jump to make.
What’s included in this program?
One of the largest concerns that business owners have when implementing this program is the procedure change that must occur and how that change is presented to their customers. Luckily, the materials that are included in the program make it an easy transition and results in minimal disruption.
For starters, this program includes EDGE cash discounting software, which is a program that will automate all of the repricings that have to occur at checkout depending on which payment method the customer decides to use. This reduces the amount of time and labor that the business owner will have to spend, streamlining operations and making the transition anything but a burden on the daily operations of the business.
To explain the slight change to their customers and advertise the cash discount program, there will also be signage and literature explaining the program and how the pricing works so that the business owner can adequately inform the customers about the changes and ensure that there is no confusion. The business owner benefits from this information and incentivization, which could drive more customers to use cash because of the perceived benefits.
Finally, all of the equipment that is needed to facilitate this change can be provided to the merchant in this program. This includes POS systems and other technical equipment that is needed to facilitate the repricing and restructuring of transactions and how totals are calculated.
With these tools, merchants will have everything that they need to implement the EDGE cash discount program and increase their margins without a noticeable disruption in the checkout flow. Merchants won't have many reasons to resist this change and with a trustworthy rep to walk them through the process, they should see only benefits from the new system.
10 Things Your ISO Partner Should Provide
Merchant services such as POS systems and credit card processing are an invaluable part of any retail business, and as such the job of a merchant service company is critical. The role that the merchant sales agents of these companies play is just as important, as they are the intermediaries that make all of these deals work. If you are a merchant services agent, you are going to need a partner company that is on your side, or else you are not setting yourself up for success, and you are bound to disappoint your customers as well.
As a merchant services sales rep, you're running a business, so it's actually your responsibility to make sure that you have everything that you need to get the job done. Part of that responsibility encompasses choosing a merchant services company that you would be proud to be partners with. In business, relationships are everything, and you need to choose the kind of relationship that will benefit all parties involved, or else it won't be sustainable. Because of this, it is important to “shop around” and make sure that you have carefully examined the terms that you will be working with.
Not all companies will be worth it because they may be trying to get you to push a shoddy product or to try to sell way above market price, so you must choose carefully. There are a few key things that you should keep an eye out for that will indicate a promising choice, and ideally the company that you choose as your partner should exhibit all of these traits and provide you with all of these resources. Let's take a look at them closely to get a better idea of what your business will require:
1) A Win-Win Partnership
Of course, a business (even yours) will always act in its own self-interest, so agreements will often be skewed at least slightly in the favor of the merchant service company that you're working with. The point is to carefully review the terms and make sure that they are at least fair before you go ahead and sign up. It may seem like overkill, but you might even want to hire a specialized lawyer to look over the paperwork if you feel like you might miss something or if you're not totally sure what you're getting into. At any rate, make sure you have an exact idea of what the terms are before you get started or it may come back to haunt you later. As “the little guy,” you have a lot more to lose when things go wrong.
Here are a few things you're going to want to keep in mind when you're looking over your agreement:
- You shouldn't be liable for your merchant's losses or chargebacks.
Make sure that this is stated plainly in black and white. You shouldn't have to bear any of the risk of the merchants and should be held blameless in the event of losses. You also shouldn't have to pay for any chargebacks that the merchant experiences.
- Your revenue sharing model should be balanced.
This is especially true when it comes to your residuals. Make sure that you have a fair amount coming to you for every sale. You do all of the heavy lifting to get the lead, so you deserve a cut of the profits for as long as that customer pays.
- Don't let them force you into exclusivity.
Don't allow yourself to be seduced by a single company because you never know how things are going to turn out, especially if you're new to the business. Relationships can fall apart, or you might notice better deals with new companies as you work. Never paint yourself into a corner and sign any kind of exclusivity agreement.
- Make sure that you get what you're entitled to, even after a contract ends.
Part of what makes merchant services so lucrative is that you will have access to residual income streams even long after your initial sale. As the sales agent who established that lead, you are entitled to the residuals from the merchants that you have sold to. It doesn't matter if your contract with the merchant services company expires or is severed in some other way, you must be able to still receive that income for the life of the merchant's account. More importantly, you should be able to sell these residual streams as well, or secure loans against them.
- Make sure that you can move your merchants to another processor in the event that you are not paid.
Normally, payment processors aren't going to want you to take the leads you gave them and then switch them to another processor, but you may have to do this to protect your asset. This may take some negotiation, but you're going to want to establish that if the merchant services company fails to pay you your residuals from a given merchant, that you can switch the merchant to another service provider.
This is not a completely exhaustive list, which is why you will want to check with a lawyer if you can. Speaking of lawyers, make sure that your contract specifies that you can recover attorney's fees in the even of a lawsuit.
2) A Price Model That Works
Selling merchant services is a line of work with a huge potential for both active and passive income. As you might expect, this means that you're certainly not the only merchant services agent out there and that you have tons of competition. Though it is always best to not attempt to compete on price, and to focus on value creation for your customer, you won't get very far if your prices are too high.
Try to negotiate to get the best deal with the payment processor or else you are going to have a hard time selling your wares. The fees for your merchant can really add up, so make sure that you are passing on the savings. In the long run, the better deal your clients get, the better your residuals are likely to be. Remember that you are helping your merchants to stay in business.
Perform your due diligence and make all the calculations before you determine if a deal is worth it or not.
3) Multiple Payment Processors
Your merchant service partner ideally should allow your merchant to use many different payment processing services. The more options, the better, because there's nothing worse than losing a
potential lead simply because they want to use their current processor. Whatever POS system that you are selling, it should be flexible and allow for many different processors and payment methods.
4) Good Customer Service
Customers are the heart of your business, and without them, you can't hope to thrive. Ideally, since so much of your business is based on residuals, you want to acquire customers that you can serve over the long-term. One of the things that will absolutely kill customer retention is bad technical support and customer service. You may be doing the best you can to solve your client's problems, but if the merchant services company can't hold up their end of the bargain when it comes to customer support, it is like you have wasted all of your efforts.
Makes sure to ask lots of questions before you sign a contract and do plenty of research about the company, because you are ultimately putting your valuable merchant connections into their hands. Take a few of these factors into consideration:
- The size of their customer support department.
What kind of investment, in terms of labor, do they make in the realm of customer support? If you or your clients call to fix some technical issues, how long will you have to wait before you can talk to a human being?
- The quality of the customer support.
Are the people on the other end of the line well-trained? Do they actually successful solve your clients' problems in a timely manner, or do they seem under-trained and clueless? Do novel problems that don't follow their script make them confused?
- The hours of their customer support lines.
Do their customer support call centers have decent hours? Ideally, they would be available around the clock, though this isn't always realistic, of course. Another thing you will want to consider is what happens if a client calls and it is after-hours.
- Whether they do out-calls.
Is the merchant service company willing to send tech support technicians out to your merchant's location? Many times, this can actually be faster and easier for your merchant than their having sit there on the line with a remote technician, especially if the problem is hardware-related.
- What is the training like?
What kind of help does the merchant service provider give to your client to get them up and running? Do they offer training material? Do representatives from the company go on-site to show them?
- Are you informed about customer service issues or kept in the dark?
At the very least, you should get a call or some form of notification when your merchant is having technical trouble. Even better, it would be great if they provide you with a way to remotely access all of your client's trouble tickets.
Remember all of these factors when you are choosing a good partner company. It can mean a lot when it comes to customer retention. The thing is, it may be hard to determine some of these things—like, for example, the exact quality of their customer service team—until you are actively working with them. This is why it is so important to never sign an exclusivity deal with any one company when you are first starting out, as there are always going to be a few unknowns that you can't quite fathom until you're out there helping your merchants to succeed.
5) Upsells That Actually Provide Value
A large percentage of the income that you will be making will come in the form of upells because it's simply easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to sell to a potential one. This is a classic example of the “foot in the door” technique, and you will find that you will be using it a lot.
Upselling can be a great source of income for you, but what about your customer? These are going to be long-term relationships for you, so you don't want to rip your clients off by selling them useless services that they don't need. This is why you want your partner to offer genuinely high-quality products that you can upsell to your clients. For example, if you sold a POS system to a merchant, and you learn from your regular communications with him that he is in need of liquid cash, you might be able to make a decent profit if your merchant services partner also allows you to sell short-term merchant loans.
6) Free Credit Card Terminals
Sometimes clients aren't going to want to pay for hardware upfront, especially if they are going to be paying a substantial monthly fee. A similar evolution has happened in other subscription-based electronics industries, such as the cell phone industry, where the customer receives the hardware for free or at a huge discount, but pays a service fee for its use. Nowadays, the POS industry is leaning in this direction, so don't be surprised if your clients don't expect to pay anything upfront.
In order to cater to this demand, make sure that your merchant services company offers a free terminal deal, even if they have other options that require paying for hardware. As time goes on, you may find that there will be more and more of an expectation in the market for free credit card terminals, so be prepared. If the merchant services offer all-inclusive package deals that will get the client started for absolutely no upfront cost, that is even better. If your potential client basically has nothing to lose, then the sale is much more likely to happen. A lot of the time, paying upfront for a equipment isn;t really worth it unless there is some major advantage to it, such as greater flexibility and not having to be tied to a specific merchant service provider.
7) Decent Analytics
In our age of technological progress, there's really no excuse for a merchant service to not provide you with analytics on the back-end. This will allow you to manage your business and examine where the money is coming and going. You might have access to a few different kinds of information, including your merchant's sales activity, their history of tech support calls, and maybe even information about your own residuals or the activities of agents who are working under you.
When it comes to any business at all, you can perform the trial and error that you need to perfect your sales strategy much better once you have access to a decent level of analytics. Ask about this before you decide on a merchant service company. Even if you don't plan to make heavy use of these tools (though you should) it at least shows that your partner is technologically advanced and that
they are ready to meet the challenges of the future head-on.
8) Good Training Material
There's no point in your client even purchasing a POS if he isn't going to know how to use it. Examine your merchant service provider's training and information material. You want to do this before you get started selling because 1) you need to familiarize yourself with how the system works if you are going to sell it anyway and 2) you need to decide if the information material is actually decent.
A good service provider will offer more than manuals, too. You want online resources, and some sort of payment processing sales training program, especially one that involves merchant services representatives from the company coming out to the field and showing your client exactly what they need to do. As with providing good customer service, a decent training program of some kind is critical. If your client feels that the system is too difficult or cryptic to use, he is bound to drop you sooner or later, and that is a stream of residuals that you will lose out on.
It just makes good business sense to make sure that your client is on board and that there are no problems from the beginning. Play the long-term game by making sure your merchant has everything that he needs.
Though, as mentioned before, you will probably find that more and more of your clients will expect a free credit card terminal, since the industry is trending in this direction, some clients will still want to lease equipment for various reasons. Perhaps they are interested in something more high-end, for example. Maybe they want a credit card terminal that is not tied to a specific merchant service, so that they have the flexibility to switch if they feel the need, but this means that they must buy the hardware themselves.
Even when a client wants to pay for the equipment, though, he might not have to pay upfront. Having a fair leasing plan means that the client can afford the terminal even if he doesn't have as much capital to spend upfront. This kind of flexibility is key in accommodating all kinds of merchants, and you want to look for a merchant service provider that offers this kind of option just in case.
As with any other kind of sale, you should receive a percentage of the monthly payments that your merchant makes on the equipment. Make sure that this is part of the agreement before you sign up.
10) Help Analyzing Statements
Reading merchant statements and coming up with just the right pricing for your client can be complicated. This can be a headache even for people who have been working as sales agents for awhile, so you can imagine how confusing analyzing all of this unfamiliar financial information can be for someone who is totally new to the business. Make sure that your merchant service company is willing to help you on this front, and that they will provide you with merchant statement analysis services if you should find that you need them.
Getting into merchant service sales is a great choice if you're looking for a challenging and rewarding career where you can legitimately help customers while making a decent income for yourself. There are few lines of work that allow this level of residual income and revenue sharing, and there are many directions that you can take in this business.
The first factor that you should keep in mind, though, since it affects so many other things, is
your choice of partner company in this endeavor. They should be willing to give you a fair cut of the deals, should be willing to negotiate with you on the details, and they should provide good customer service to your merchants that will allow you to retain them as customers for a long time to come. The key here is to find a company with which you can forge a long-term relationship that works for both of you.
Not all merchant service providers are created equal. First and foremost, you will want one with integrity—this is the trait that really encompasses all of the others. A company without integrity is not one that you will be able to work with in the long-term because you will never be able to create trust. Make sure to perform your due diligence an research the reputation of every merchant service that you're considering working with, but a good place to start might be with North American BanCard. We are a solid company to work with and have a great reputation of helping our sales agents every step of the way. Of course, you don't have to take our word for it—always ask for recommendations and look at reviews before you make that first critical partnership decision.