ISOs Advised to Start Looking Beyond Profits

Oct 22, 2018

The independent sales organization (ISO) business has grown into a multimillion-dollar venture. But merchant-acquiring executives advised that it’s time for the sector to start seeing beyond profits.

The managers sat in a roundtable branded “Payments Doing Good” at the Midwest Acquirers Association annual forum in Chicago. Team supervisor Mark Dunn, a co-founder and treasurer at MWAA, said the panel’s board of directors has agreed to give the charities supported by the three panelists $2,000 each.

Robert O. Carr, the founder of payments provider Beyond (2017), is one of the panelists. He served as CEO of the Heartland Payment Systems Inc., which was later acquired by Global Payments Inc in 2016. Back in 2003, Carr had launched Give Something Back Foundation Inc., famous as Give Back, an aid organization that supports low-income learners through four years of college. The charity is now the beneficiary of Carr’s holdings in Beyond.

According to Dunn, Since Give Back foundation got underway; it has collected up to $35 million for students. The program features 27 universities and assists would-be scholars from the vulnerable youth group (ninth grade) by ensuring they enroll in a high school college-prep course. Give Back covers every cost but for travel and books by adding state grants to its own tuition funding. And the founder is a happy man as the graduation rate for students stands at 91 percent.

“We all believe in something,” Carr said. “To me, the best thing you offer someone otherwise thinks they have no opportunity is to enable them to get a college education.”

Elsewhere Jeff Marcous, co-founder at Vancouver, and CEO of Washington-based ISO Dharma Merchant Services. The company consists of 2,500 competent benefit corporations that agree to work within the non-profit B Lab regulations. These standards cover all aspects including employee treatment, transparency, environmental stewardship and many more. Last year alone, Dharma contributed around $250,000 to non-profits, said Marcous.

The final panelist, Mr. Andy Kinnecom is CEO of Wickford, and Swipe for a Cause, an ISO that offers 5 percent of its revenues to a Rhode Island hospital. Swipe for a Cause was founded eight years ago purposely to better healthcare after following several deaths that claimed his friends and family, including his 30-year-old wife.

“When she passed, I was totally shell-shocked,” he said.

It’s challenging for individuals alone to cause social change, and “authorities won’t get together” to uphold it, Marcous said. “Nevertheless, private enterprise can be organized for good causes. If the business is the backbone of the idea, then that’s a good driving force, perhaps we’ll have a chance.”

In a nutshell

ISOs should now look forward to supporting students and any ISO agent they work with rather than concentrating on profits.

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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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