ISO of the Year: Selecting the Best ISO/MSP Sales Agent Partner Programs
If you are ready to dive into the world of becoming an ISO for merchant services, then you are probably on the prowl for the best ISO agent program. The merchant processing industry is a lucrative one, but only when the ISO chooses the right partner to operate under. The ISO agent program that you choose to operate under can have a big impact on your earnings, quality of business, range of potential clients, payout frequency, and many other parts of your business that should be considered essential. This short guide will give you the information that you need to select the best credit card processing ISO program in the industry and will even give you a bit of information about who we feel has the best ISO agent program and why.
Why is it important to select the best ISO agent program?
It is important to pick out the best ISO agent program because the program that you choose will have some very drastic effects on the income that you are able to earn and other aspects of your business. If you want to set your business up for success in merchant processing, then choosing the ISO program that you are going to be operating under is a highly essential part of that process.
Each ISO agent program attempts to achieve relatively the same thing, but with different benefits and results that attract different types of clients and merchants. You should never assume that all ISO agent programs are the same and have the same benefits, rates, payouts, and other incentives to get you to use their program. Carefully screen the specifications of each program to actually find the program that is right for you.
Is it the same for everyone?
When it comes to finding the best ISO agent program in the industry, the truth is that there is no one answer that fits the needs of everyone. Each ISO program is different with their pay structures, marketing tools, and other resources that they give you to succeed in merchant services. So, the answer likely won’t be the same for everyone and will instead depend on what industry you’re in.
However, that’s not to say that some programs don’t rise above the rest. There are certainly programs out there that have displayed excellence time and time again, giving themselves an excellent reputation when it comes to payments, resources, and the other benefits that a particular program is able to offer.
While one program doesn’t usually fit all sizes, you can increase your chances of having success as an ISO by picking out a program that has repeatedly exceeded expectations and set the gold standard when it comes to ISO agent programs.
What to look for in a credit card processing ISO program
When you are in the process of selecting a program, there are some select features that you should be examining to ensure you find the right program for you. Here are some of the features that you should look for when screening potential ISO agent programs for your ISO to partner with and offer merchant services.
When you partner with an ISO agent program, you definitely want to make sure that they pay accurately and that they pay on time. Closing sales as an ISO won’t help you unless you are actually being paid your residuals and commissions that are due to you. Make sure that the company that you work with has a reputation for paying on time.
A very important factor that you should take into consideration when selecting an ISO agent program to work with is what the residual rate is. These rates range from 50%-75% and are the backbone of your business. Earning residuals is often passive after the initial setup, so be sure that you are getting as big of a share of them as possible before moving forward.
When you partner with an ISO agent program, you want to be sure that the program you select has the tools and resources to make you more successful in merchant services. This includes the access that they give you to their marketing materials, initiatives, promotions, and literature that you can use to sway clients into signing on with your ISO.
Who has the best ISO program in the industry?
If you’re looking to partner with the best in the business, then you can’t do much better than Shaw Merchant Group. SMG has continuously proven their excellence and the quality of our ISO agent program. This ISO agent program has many benefits including high residual rates, prompt and accurate payments, and the ability to help market your services and provide you with the resources you need to close more sales. Choose Shaw Merchant Group if you want to set up your ISO for success now and in the future.
Want to become a merchant services agent but don’t know which merchant services ISO agent program is right for you? Well, why don’t we solve this problem for you? This guide is specifically created to help people who are stepping their toe into the vast sea of merchant processing. By the end of it, you will have a pretty clear idea of how to find a good processor.
10 Things You Need to Consider in a Merchant Services Agent Program
We will tell you 10 factors that you need to consider when looking for a viable, credible merchant services agent program. This way, you will ensure that there are no problems later on in your career as a credit card processing agent. With that said, let’s get started:
1. Fast Funding:
One of the most important things to look for in a merchant services ISO agent program is their funding period. Clients should not have to face delays in terms of funds transfer after a transaction is made. One of the most attractive and compelling features of a good merchant services ISO program is that the merchants get their funds the same day.
This is what attracts most of the merchants as they do not want their earnings to be kept by a 3rd party for more than a day. You will also be able to sell this kind of program better because of the speedy service.
2. Several Discounts:
When you are deciding to become a merchant services agent, go for the processor that offers a cash discount program. Simply put, it is a payment processing tactic where the fee of a particular credit card transaction is offset to the customers. This means that the merchant will not have to pay any transaction fee, the customers are using the facility instead of paying in cash, so it should be them who bear the cost.
The best cash discount program allows merchants to do just that! The algorithm of POS software is already trained to charge the percentage of fees levied on each transaction from the customer. Plus, some of the top merchants also provide free signage that educates customers about the fee on a credit card transaction, so there are no surprises at the end.
3. Dealing in High-Risk Industry:
There are many that become a credit card processor, but they have a very low-risk appetite. This means they will only deal in safer industries and not offer services to risky businesses like medical marijuana stores, travel agencies, and pharmacies etc. Now you might not work with these businesses when starting out, but soon, when your business grows, you will have to get clients from high-risk industries.
So if the credit card processor doesn’t deal with these industries, then you will be limited to a few fields which will put a cap on your growth potential. So instead of finding a merchant dealing with high-risk industries later on, you need to work with one from the start.
4. Assistance in Marketing:
As a credit card processing agent, you will need several marketing resources at your disposal to close sales. One of them is a team assisting you with lead capturing and turning the cold ones into warm leads. A terrific processor will have excellent merchant support that will help you convert more merchants with minimal energy, time, and resource exhaustion.
Plus, some of the excellent credit card processors also have their own landing pages designed to show to your potential customers. These landing pages can take several hundred dollars to make, but the processor will offer you for free, making your conversion process easier.
5. Flexible Plans:
One of the most necessary parts of working with a merchant services ISO program is to get paid properly and on time. You do not want to be underpaid, so make sure to work with a processor that offers a fair share of the income to you. Also, they must have lucrative bonuses if you go out of your way to close a specific number of sales in X amount of time.
You need to properly analyze the contract you will sign with them and check their payment terms, make sure to work with a company that pays on time.
6. Merchant and Income Analytics:
The best part of working with the top credit card processors in the industry is that they leverage technology to make things easier for their agents. A good processor will provide you with your own dashboard that will display various performance metrics like the number of sales you closed, your earnings, number of clients, and more.
Some even go the extra mile and provide data on merchants as well. You might be able to see the number of transactions they make and even get information on individual transactions.
7. Equipment and Software:
Many become a registered ISO for merchant service providers, but they do not work on their equipment and its advancement. The credit card processor must provide you with the necessary technology that you can offer to your clients and seal the deal. A good processor should offer these equipment and facilities:
- Point of Sale terminals to suit the needs of merchants
- Smart online payment options
- Facility of mobile payments
- Support loyalty programs and gift cards
- Fast processing with minimal errors As for the software, they must have up to date, user-friendly software in their equipment, allowing merchants to complete the transaction process smoothly.
8. Excellent Support:
Besides the marketing assistance that we discussed above, the merchant services provider should offer fast, responsive, and friendly customer services. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where your customers are facing any issues that need to be solved, and you cannot get in touch with the processor’s customer support to fix them.
In this case, even if the problem is not caused by you, you will be the one facing the consequences if you cannot get a customer support agent to solve the problem. The merchant might stop using the processor, and that will result in your financial loss.
So before you decide on working with a merchant, you need to ensure that they have a dedicated customer support team that can quickly answer your questions and solve any problems as soon as possible.
9. Multiple Boarding Options:
Look for a program that provides different boarding options from big payment processing platforms like EPX, First Data and Global Payments. Being able to access these programs means complete peace of mind for both you and the merchants.
Because there will be fewer chances of facing any integration or technological problems when connecting the POS or billing software of the merchant with the platforms your program uses. This will ensure your whole sales process goes smoothly, and you don’t lose a ready-to-convert client at the last moment.
10. Must Be Credible:
Lastly, you need to do your complete due diligence in finding everything about the company you can. They should not have a shady track record, damaged reputation, or bad reviews on the internet.
You need to work with a company that has the face of its CEO attached to it, has a brick and mortar headquarter, and is licensed to operate.
Plus, keep your eyes peeled for any too good to be true bonuses or discounts; these things come with bad surprises later on.
Is There Any Program With These Qualities?
Glad you asked, I was wondering that I have written 10 points for you to look in a company so it might be challenging to find one that meets this criterion. Well, let me make things simple for you by introducting Shaw Merchant Group. They are excellent at what they do, and their core focus is to benefit their agents and merchants. Have a look at a few of their key features:
- They have Global Payments, EPX and First Data powered merchant accounts
- Their terminals work with both credit and debit cards. Plus, they support both EMV and NFC based methods of payment
- They also support mobile payments via PayAnywhere technology
- Their PayAnywhere feature also works with storefront point of sale system
- Automated cash discounting
- They have web-based terminals that provide agents with all the details of their performance and the specifics of their merchants
- Very attractive signup and profitability bonuses
If you have successfully made it to the end, then it means you already know about the key things to look for to find the cream of the crop credit card processing company. We have also suggested the leading program with all the qualities discussed in this guide. So it is fair to say that you have everything you need to get started on your journey to working as a merchant services representative. You just need to take the first step and make a career doing what you really want to do.
How to Start a Credit Card Processing ISO
Wondering what it takes to be a legend merchant services sales rep? We will tell you exactly the things you require! This guide is specially designed to help you take off your career and get so many sales that it might become hard for you to handle.
But all of this will require you to work hard, give your 101%, put in several hours a day, and have patience. If all of this seems feasible, then congrats, you are the perfect candidate for merchant services sales jobs. Now you just need to work on the five important tips we have mentioned below, so let’s start:
1. Work On Your Business Plan:
Being a merchant services sales rep has many perks, and one of them is freedom. You are your own boss; you don’t have to answer to anyone. However, this freedom means that you need to work and think like a business owner, and that’s why you need to have a business plan. Yes, having a good credit card processor on your back is helpful as you will get merchant services sales training, but you will have to embark on this journey on your own. So to ensure you have a solid plan for taking your business to the height of success, you need to answer the following questions:
- How will you approach the market? (Your method for getting clients)
- From where will you get your revenue? (Will you only be selling merchant services or the technologies like POS terminals as well?)
- Will you leverage the internet to get leads?
- Will you use cold calling to promote your product(s)?
- Will you personally reach businesses and pitch?
- How will you pitch to get as many clients as you can?
These are a few major points you need to include in your business plan. We suggest that you just focus on a few approaches at the start and measure the results. Selling credit card processing service is something that needs a strategy, implementation, evaluation, and continuous fine-tuning.
Soon you will know which approach is working for you and where you lack, you can focus on the ones that are giving you results and get more education and training for the ones that need improvement.
2. Build Your Network of Referrals:
Finding a reliable credit card processor is an essential yet challenging step that merchants need to take. If they know that there is someone who can help them connect with a credible processor, they will come running towards him, and YOU CAN BE THAT SOMEONE! All you need to do is increase your social circle and hand out merchant services sales jobs to people in your network.
You can tell them to refer businesses that need credit card processing service to you, and in return, they will get a commission. The referrers will send businesses your way; you will educate them about the credit card processor and seal the deal. Yes, you will have to share some of your earnings, but you don’t have to share the bonus that you get. Plus, you wouldn’t have gotten those sales anyway, so something is better than nothing. Your business needs sales at the start, whatever your approach is.
Besides this, you also need to have a circle of merchants. Start approaching merchants and offer them your help for free. You don’t have to sell them the plan; you need to sell without selling! Just connect with different merchants, join their conventions or conferences, or whatever events they have. Network with them and if anyone approaches you for help, lend them a hand without asking for anything.
When your expertise and continuous support come into notice of merchants, they will definitely suggest you to anyone who needs credit card processing in their circle. This is called the word of mouth marketing, and it is extremely powerful, nearly 92% of people believe in suggestions coming from friends/family more than advertising.
3. Pick The Right Merchant Services ISO Program:
This is the most crucial part of your journey that can either make or break anyone’s career. Not all credit card processors offer equal opportunities, benefits, or services to both merchants and agents, which is why you have to be very careful when selecting one. Here are a few key points to consider:
- Their Offerings to Merchants: They should offer value to the merchants with things like free POS terminal, fair fees, and the latest, smooth and easy-to-use POS software. These are the things that attract merchants, which means you have more chances of closing the sale.
- Gauge Their Customer Support: Talk to the merchants and agents working with them, make sure they have a good customer and agent support. Nothing is worse than a processing company leaving its agents hanging when there is an issue that needs to be solved.
- See if They Work in High-Risk Industry: You might start small and play it safe by dealing with low-risk businesses, but as your business grows, you will be dealing with high-risk industries like cannabis as well. Make sure that the processor works in such industries, so you don’t have a limited group of merchants to work with.
- Discuss Your Contract: You need to work with a company that offers a good share of the fee to its agents along with different bonuses. Also, look out for too good to be true kind of deals because if they are offering something that doesn’t leave them any money, then something can be fishy.
- Should Not Be Exclusive: They should not require you to only work with them and not any other processor. This will limit your earning potential. You should be able to work with others along with them or switch to others if they are not working out for you.
- Should Not Have Quota Requirements: There should not be a requirement that you need to make X amount of sales each month to keep your residuals even if the past clients are still working with them. Find a company that allows you to keep the residuals regardless of the number of accounts you open.
- They Should Train You: The partner should offer the necessary training you need to know how to use all the equipment and software so that you can better educate the merchants. They should offer merchant services agent training and also teach you to read all types of forms that you will be dealing with, so you know what you are doing. Working with a credit card processor offering all of these benefits will ensure a safe and successful career for you as a merchant services sales rep.
4. Know What You Are Doing:
No matter which kind of field you are working in, your number one priority is to serve your customer the best way you can; this is the secret to success that everyone asks about. If your clients have any problem, you need to go running to them, fix the issue, and leave them happy. This is what will make you a successful merchant services sales rep.
So to be able to do this, you need to leverage all the pieces of training available, read every educational material you can find, and also utilize online resources like YouTube, Lynda, and Udemy to learn the things that are not covered in the company’s curriculum. You need to be on top of your game in both selling and customer support. Also, attend various workshops and conferences related to your field, connect with experienced agents who have been selling merchant services for years. Consume any knowledge bombs they drop like a sponge. Be a merchant services nerd if you have to but get an excellent grip over how things work. This will help you in ways you cannot imagine now because knowledge is power after all.
5. Always Be Truthful:
They say honesty is the best policy; I say AMEN TO THAT! Honesty is what will make people keep coming back to you. The world is already full of liars and cheaters; finding someone businesses can lean on is difficult. So if amid all of this dishonesty, you come with your truthfulness; merchants will come running to you.
However, you cannot advertise that you are authentic and credible; you need to prove it. So for that, you need a lot of patience and a lot more honesty. Tell your merchants everything right off the bat; who you are, what you are offering, how much will they be paying, the good and bad about the processor, and anything else that might come as a surprise later on.
When your clients see that they can actually trust you and that you went out of your way in helping them, they will not only prefer to work with you; they might ask their merchant friends to tag along – a win-win situation!
Over to You:
You see, becoming a pro in selling credit card machines is not as hard as it might seem. You just need to have a plan, a network of referrals, a good processor, a wealth of knowledge, and honesty. These ingredients will soon make you one of the most successful agents in the industry.
So if you want to stop thinking and do something, then join a credible merchant processor now, work on yourself and reach the heights of success – the sky is the limit!
Wondering how to become a merchant processor? Maybe you don’t know how the credit card processing program works and want to understand its basics? Well, whichever reason has brought you here, this comprehensive guide will help you understand how to become a merchant account reseller and how the merchant account reseller program works, along with many more useful things. So with that said, let’s get started:
Process of Becoming a Credit Card Processing Reseller Program Agent
The process is not really hard; you just need to understand who is who and what is what and you will be quickly able to figure out how to become a merchant account reseller. So basically there are two ways you can become a merchant services agent, and we will discuss both of them below:
- Being MSP: Short for Member Service Provider, MSP, or also known as ISO (Independent Sales Organization), is usually a company (it can also be an individual) that is directly connected with the bank. However, if you go with this route, you will have to pay a large chunk of money to the bank on a yearly basis to establish a relationship with them and enjoy various perks like low buy rates and continuous support. However, the amount you pay to the bank per year can be up to $10k or more, and since you are just starting out, you won’t have this much money. Plus, some banks don’t even sign up individuals and require them to work with their registered MSP.
- Working with MSP: This is the second method of becoming an agent where you will be working with an MSP that is directly registered with banks like the North American Bancard program. Now obviously, you won’t get the buy rates that the bank is offering, you will get a rate that will have MSP’s commission added to it. But considering that the MSP is paying a hefty sum of money to the bank per year, this is more than a reasonable deal. A good MSP or ISO partner program will provide you with ample learning resources and continuous support so you will be able to learn quicker and ultimately earn quicker.
Now that you know the difference between both, you should not have any problem with joining a merchant services reseller program. However, there are some more things you need to understand before you dip your toe into this field. So for that, we will cover things like how this program works, what your responsibilities will be, and some things to look for in a suitable ISO partner program.
So How Does The Credit Card Processing Reseller Program Work?
The process is pretty simple and straightforward. Assuming you are working with an MSP/ISO, you will get a ‘buy rate’ from the company. You can call it the profit of the MSP program. Now when you deal with a merchant, you will have to add your own profit to that buy rate and offer it to the merchant so that whenever a transaction is made, both you and the MSP will get a piece of it.
For instance, if you join a merchant services program that is offering you a buy rate of 2% + 20 cents, you can resell it to the merchants for 2.3% + 25 cents. These additional %0.3 + 5 cents will go in your pocket. Now, this looks like nothing compared to the work you will put in converting the merchant. However, this amount will be charged for each transaction the merchant makes on credit cards.
This means that if the merchant processes 100 credit card transactions with an average of $10 per transaction, then it becomes $1k. So you get, 0.25% x 1000 = $2.5. Now also add 5 cents for each transaction which will be $0.05 x $1000 = $50. So the total becomes $52.5 in recurring monthly income. Now that’s the income from just one merchant.
If you sign up 10 of them in your first year, your monthly income will be $520 per month in the second year. So you can keep adding merchants to your portfolio and keep increasing your income.
Responsibilities of a Merchant Services Reseller Agent:
Your main responsibility will be to sign up as many merchants as you can because that is the sole factor behind your monthly income. Here are a few more things that’ll be on your plate once you become a credit card processor:
- You will have to first learn everything about the products/services you will be selling to merchants
- You will have to educate merchants about what you are selling and persuade them to sign up for your program.
- You will have to help the merchants in completing necessary paperwork and setting up their merchant accounts with the MSP.
- You will have to work continuously with the merchants you sign and offer them support whenever they encounter a problem.
- You will also have to actively search for new merchants and pitch them your products/services. Most of them will show reluctance, keep paying them friendly visits, and help them without asking for anything in return, some of them might convert soon.
- You will have to keep a continuous track of your progress, how many merchants you signed up, how much you are making, what your monthly goals are etc. (Some good ISO programs offer web-based dashboards for performance measurement).
These are a few important things that you will be doing on a daily and weekly basis as a credit card processing reseller program agent.
Things to Look for in a Suitable Merchant Account Reseller Program:
The policies, procedures, and rules of merchant programs vary, which is why you need to be very careful when choosing one. We have already discussed the things you need to look for in a program in this guide - Selecting the Best Merchant Services Agent or ISO Program. However, to provide you with a basic idea, we have covered some basics you should remember below:
- Their Buy Rate: The MSP/ISO you will be working with should have a lower buy rate as merchants will prefer to pay a low fee, which is why a program with a high buy rate won’t get you high sales. North American Bancard eliminates the concept of buy rate with cash discounting, making it easier to get more merchants. Read about it here (Link to the guide on cash discounting)
- Monthly Sales Quota: Some merchant processing programs require you to make X number of sales to keep earning the residual coming from your merchants, avoid them at all costs. Your residuals should stay yours no matter how many sales you make.
- Customer Support: Go with the merchant processing program that offers the best customer support. You don’t want to be stuck in a position where a merchant is having a technical issue, but the processing company is not answering your phone.
- Freebies: Some of the top merchant services programs offer freebies like a free POS terminal and signage to let customers know the merchant accepts credit cards. These things really help when you pitch your program to the merchants.
There are many more important factors you need to look for when joining a credit card processing reseller program, make sure to read out detailed guide this subject.
Who Can Become a Merchant Services Agent?
To be honest, anyone can become a merchant services agent as long as they are disciplined, self-reliant, and go-getters.
Granted, you will have to study a lot at the start about the programs you will be selling and the techniques to sell effectively, but once the ball starts to roll, you will find it easy to work in the industry.
How Much Can a Merchant Services Reseller Make?
There is a lot of potential for how much you can make. If we look at the example above, then you might make $50 off of a single merchant.
If you manage to sign up 15 merchants per year, then in 5 years, you will be making $3750 in monthly recurring income without doing much. Keep increasing merchants, and your income will increase.
How Do I Become a Merchant Account Reseller?
It’s simple, just select a good merchant account reseller program, talk to them, discuss your concerns, and once you are satisfied, fill their form.
You might be required to provide them with some documentation, just follow what they tell you, and after some verification work, you’ll be registered as their merchant accounts reseller.
Over to You:
See, it’s not really hard to be a merchant account reseller, plus the perks of being your own boss and no income cap really make it an appealing business model. However, just be careful when joining a credit card processing reseller program as you don’t want to be bound by unfair rules and regulations.
The industry is filled with credit card processing resellers claiming to be the best. They will make promises of bringing the moon for you, but the curtain from the reality is lifted when you start working with one, as most of them usually make false promises.
So if you want to become a merchant services agent but don’t know which merchant services agent program is the real deal, then we’ve got your back.
Top 5 Merchant Services Reseller Programs
We will tell you about the top 5 merchant services reseller programs that are leading the charts right now, and then you can decide which one you want to work with. Sounds good? Let’s get started then:
If you are looking for a corporation that has the most experience in the industry and is considered a goliath when it comes to the best cash discount program, then look no further than NAB (North American Bancard) agent program. They are regulated by top banks like Wells Fargo, BMO Harris, and Bancorp Bank, which speak for NAB’s credibility.
The company has been in the merchant processing game for nearly three decades now, and because of their vast knowledge and connections, they offer the best benefits to their agents. This allows their partners to rise above the competition and get maximum sales. Out of the many strengths that this program has to offer, the most appealing one is its cash discount.
They offer the best cash discount program where the merchants don’t have to pay any fee for processing credit card transactions. The amount is offset to the end customers allowing the merchants to save heaps of money in monthly processing fees. Furthermore, they offer excellent customer support and are always present to help out their agents and merchants.
2. Shaw Merchant Group:
If you want to work with someone who has an impeccable track record in the industry, then Shaw Merchant Group is another option to consider. Their merchant services ISO agent program offers tons of benefits and opportunities to ambitious agents looking to make a killing in the credit card processing industry.
Furthermore, they have an excellent customer support team working with the agents to solve any issues their merchants might come across. Shaw Merchant Group also offers a wealth of learning resources to the sales agents looking to expand their knowledge and be savants in their fields. They offer a great residual income split with lifetime availability allowing their agents to work without worrying about meeting sales targets to keep their bills paid.
Although you might want to do your own research before joining the merchant services ISO agent program of any single company, the ones we are talking about in this article are truly the cream of the crop. That being said, let’s move to number three on our list.
Another reliable merchant services reseller program that is, although a small company, but has a track record of being very reliable. Since PayProTec is a family-owned business, they work closely with their agents and merchants, which creates a strong bond of trust, respect, and understanding. The company was launched in 2006 with headquarter in Warsaw, Indiana, and is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank.
They work with tons of POS solutions, including HotSauce, Paradise POS, Linga POS, Growthzilla, Revel Systems, Vend, and NCR Silver. Furthermore, they also offer eCommerce payment processing solutions for various platforms ranging from Shopify, and Magneto to WooCommerce and OpenCart. The company offers ample resources to help agents build their businesses, such as a free website that can be used for lead generation. Plus, they provide their agents with a portal where they can check their performance stats based on metrics like the number of sales, total residuals, and so on. The best part of working with PayProTec is that they don’t just claim to offer excellent support; they do care about their agents, which is one of the main factors behind their success.
4. Shift 4 Payments:
Launched in 1999, HarborTouch is one of the leading merchant services reseller programs in the U.S. With headquarters in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the company processes over 120,000 businesses and the total value of these transactions exceeds a whopping $10 billion. HarborTouch offers POS equipment, credit card processing services, card processing terminals, and electronic cash registers.
The company used to operate under the name of ‘United Bank Card,’ but then it became a subsidiary of Shift4 Payments. HarborTouch currently promotes the POS systems of SkyTab, Echo, and Oryx, which are mainly designed for cafes, food trucks, spas, and retail businesses. Furthermore, they also offer a payment gateway for eCommerce businesses backed by Authorize.Net.
All in all, you can say that HarborTouch is a one-stop solution for all payment processing and POS equipment needs for most of the businesses. Lastly, just like Shaw Merchant Group ISO agent program, they offer free POS terminal to their clients, which makes it pretty easy for the agents to make an attractive pitch to their merchants.
5. eMerchant Broker:
Nothing shouts disappointment more than being limited to working in just a few niches, and that is what most of the merchant services agent programs do. They pull their hands out of the high-risk niches like pharmacy, eCommerce, or Cannabis. This limits the agents’ earning potential as they are only allowed to work in a handful of industries. eMerchant Broker, on the other hand, doesn’t put a limit on niches. They deal in virtually all sorts of niches, and in fact, 99% of merchants get their accounts approved with them, which is perfect for agents working hard in the field to convert as many merchants as they can.
Established in 2011, eMerchant Broker’s headquarter is located in Thousand Oaks, California. The company is backed by BMO Harris Bank and deals in all kinds of niches, including retail, mobile, MOTO, eCommerce, and virtually all of the high-risk ones. The company offers ample processing products and services, including merchant cash advances, virtual terminals, POS equipment, check processing, credit card processing, and debit card processing.
Since eMerchant Broker deals in high-risk niches, they understand that chargebacks are going to be a major issue, which is why they work with Verifi to leverage their CardHolder Dispute Resolution Network. Furthermore, they also work with Ethoca to get chargeback alerts. With the help of these two partners, eMerchant Broker efficiently handles chargebacks and prevents the loss of their customers’ funds.
So Which Merchant Services Agent Program to Join?
Now that you know about the leading merchant services agent programs in the industry, you can become a merchant services agent with the knowledge of things to expect from them. If you ask us, our personal favorite is the Shaw Merchant Group ISO agent program, and there are lots of good reasons for this. Let’s discuss some of them below:
- Multiple Products: They have a diverse range of products ranging from POS systems to EMV enabled terminals and mobile card readers. The availability of these options will ensure you can capture as many physical stores as you want.
- Multiple Banks on Back: Unlike many credit card processing resellers that work with one or two banks at most, SMG works with three different banks that include Wells Fargo, BMO Harris, and Bancorp Bank. This allows them to work with different kinds of businesses and offer multiple processing options.
- Lucrative Payment Plans: Not only they pay their merchants and agents without any delays, but they also offer various bonuses to the agents working hard to bring lots of sales. Furthermore, they provide lifetime residual income, which means as long as the merchant is in business, the agent will keep getting residuals from it.
- Cash Discounting: They also offer the best cash discount program that allows merchants to offset processing fees onto their customers and not pay anything whenever a card is swiped from the terminal.
- Advanced Technological Infrastructure: They offer lots of technological benefits to their agents like a dashboard depicting the sales numbers, residuals, and merchants’ data in one place. Furthermore, they provide their agents with a free landing page that helps them attract more leads and eventually get some sales from the internet too.
There are many more benefits of working with them, such as their own online university filled with a wealth of knowledge that you can consume like a sponge and get an edge over competitors.
Over to You
We are certain that now you can become a merchant services agent with full confidence as you know about the top players in the industry and what to expect from them. Joining a merchant services reseller program is the most crucial step that will dictate the direction of your career’s growth. However, there will be a lot of things that you will have to learn after signing up for a merchant services agent program. This is where the learning resources and customer support of the processor will help you out.
Credit cards are all the rage in the USA and have been for decades, and six out of ten Americans have at least one credit card. The number of credit card users has been growing each year exponentially. People use them as the primary mode of payment. Similarly, debit cards are widely used online payment substitutes, and the number of new users is rising worldwide. Today, debit card usage accounts for 25% of all purchase volume which was 13% in 2005.
Moreover, there were 45 billion dollars in credit card transactions in the year 2019. It means more volume of the transaction will increase demand for credit transaction processors. Payment processing companies act as a bridge between the merchant and the customers making the payments. This industry may be competitive, but it’s true that it can be very profitable. Do you want to become a merchant service agent, or wondering how to start a payment processing company? If yes, then read on to learn how to become a credit card processor.
How to become a credit card processor in 4 simple steps?
You might think it’s simple to become a credit card processor, but it is not as simple as it sounds. In fact, it is more than project projection, payment terminal, and POS options to get things started. Follow these steps if you are on a mission to becoming a merchant service provider.
Conduct Market Research
Market research will not only help you better understand your target market but also uncover insights about your competitors. So don’t forget to invest some time to conduct market research to analyze your competitors and potential clients. Determine the viability of new selling merchant services and the niche of the local retailers. Don’t forget to monitor how your competitors are doing business, their services, and the average fee their customers are paying for credit card processing.
Come up with a great deal for your future clients. If you offer to deal with a lower amount than your competitors, you will likely get more profit. All you need to go to your local market and create a survey to gather comprehensive information from your targeted audience about the service they use the most. Ask them about their current merchant service provider and check how much they are satisfied with them. And most importantly, don’t forget to collect the contact information of your potential clients, like their phone numbers and email address.
Plan Out How You Will Operate Your Business
The second step is to create a profitable business plan. It will give you an idea of how your credit card processing company will work. Plan out what kind of services you will offer and their pricing. Moreover, your business plan should also cover how large your sales team will be. In other words, it is a guideline that will help to make business-related decisions. Also include other details like how much capital you need to start a payment processing company, how you will obtain this capital, and how you will market your new business.
There are two main options for those who are becoming a credit card processor, i.e., start your own company or franchise (work under another company or brand) a credit card processing company. When you start your company independently, it offers various benefits. First of all, starting an independent business may cost less, and you earn more profit because there are no chances of getting your hand-tied in any contract or bad deal. In addition, it comes with downsides too. When you start a new company, no one recognizes you in the market, and you have to do a lot of hard work to beat your competitors around. Not only that, you should have good terms with banks to finance your company.
On the other hand, if you choose the second option, i.e., franchise an existing credit card processing company, forget about designing a winning business model, finding credit card terminals, machines, and other equipment, and build a relationship with finance resources like banks. However, if you choose this option, you will require big bucks to get started. Moreover, the parent company will also cut through some percentage of your profits.
Partner With The Bank
You need to partner with a bank to handle the interbank routing and get financing for operational costs. Initially, you need at least $50,000 capital to start a credit card processing company with a physical office location. If a contingency plan fails and unexpected expenses arise, consider a secondary source.
Execute Your Business Plan
Now, it’s time to execute your business plan and launch your company. Having a killer marketing strategy helps you grow your business exponentially. Your ultimate goal should be to stay ahead of your competitors. To reach out to more clients, business networking can help you rack up new contacts. Provide the best services as promised to your customers. Referrals from merchants play a crucial role in the company’s growth.
Want to know how to sell merchant services? Just keep in mind that there is no secret formula to selling it; it starts with you. First off, you should know how this transaction processing procedure works. You should be an expert as a credit card payment processor that helps you get more profit than MSPs (Merchant Service Providers). Over time, when you see more trade growth, people will recognize your business assets. Prepare your business assets like yellow and white pages, business cards, website, business cards, and local directory for your company and market them to grow your business.
One of the best tips on selling merchant services is that give your clients the reason to choose you. Don’t offer the same thing that other hundreds of merchant service providers are offering. Let them know what benefits they will get because only special discounts are not enough. A high percentage of profit is probably is more attractive to sell your merchant services. Don’t focus on discount price offer only. Show your numbers and merchant testimonials as your company’s proof of growth. Moreover, don’t hesitate to build a good relationship with them which helps you increase sales.
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:
- How you intend to run your venture
- The executive summary about your business
- How you intend to raise startup capital
- Products and services you will be offering
- Marketing and sales analysis
- SWOT analysis
- And more
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 payment processing company.
There are options that you can use to get financing for your credit card processing company, some of these options include;
- Getting a loan from banks
- Approaching investors
- Getting funding from business partners
- Using your savings or selling assets to raise funds
- Sourcing some funds from friends and family members.
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 payment service provider, 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
- Just like any other business, a marketing plan is a must. You can do all the above work, but if you don’t come up with an effective marketing plan, you might fail.
- Take your marketing strategies seriously. The following are some effective marketing ideas that you can use.
- Use social media platforms to spread the word about your business
- Reach out to stakeholders, clients, and managers of big corporations
- Make sure that your business is listed in local directories
- Use TVs, magazines, newspapers, and radio to advertise your business
- Start bidding for available contracts
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 processing processing company, 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.
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 credit card processing 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.
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:
- Financial statements / tax returns
- Incorporation documents
- Their business plan
- Their sales material
- A list of their sales agents
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?
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.