An open letter to ISOs (and Agents) from PaymentCollect’s Founder

WHY HAVE WE CHANGED BUSINESS MODEL

Over the last 12 years in business, I have learned that a true partnership between Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), Agents, and PaymentCollect™ has never been achieved. There are many factors to this and I will attempt to cover them here.

The first and most important problem is that ISOs and Agents never truly understood what we do. They view and compare us to a gateway. Other than forwarding transactions to a processor, we have nothing in common with gateways like Authorize.Net or CardPointe. We have a software client component that resides in each of the merchant computers. This client software needs to interact with the appropriate version of QuickBooks® in a seamless way, interact with the payment terminals, printers, Windows operating system, Windows firewall, network environment, and the many iterations of anti-malware on the market. 

Complicating matters, none of these components remain static. Terminals stop connecting, develop corrupted batches, or require firmware updates (which we do on behalf of many different ISOs). Windows files get corrupted, DNS servers experience outages, anti-malware software blocks us out of the blue and payment terminals batch data gets corrupt. These factors change on a monthly to weekly basis, necessitating constant vigilance by our support and development teams to keep dollars flowing for merchants and their agents.

This is no easy feat. Each QuickBooks® product is different. Our plugins consist of hundreds of thousands of lines of code. In short, we are more of a Managed Service Provider than a processing gateway.

Secondly, PaymentCollect™ is required to be PCI compliant as the card data flows through our software and infrastructure on its way to the end processor. This poses tremendous liability for us. We need to protect our servers against cyberattack or no client will be able to process. That costs time and money. ISOs have none of this exposure and almost no infrastructure to maintain. With the exception of larger, full processors like Heartland, card data does not even flow through the ISO’s servers.

Thirdly, we answer questions related not just to transactions but also to the myriad QuickBooks® versions and their quirks. Our clients often turn to us for bookkeeping advice, advice which we offer at no charge.

Additionally, answering ISO and agent questions not related to PaymentCollect™ takes significant time. We conducted an internal review and our highly paid sales and support staff spend more than 40% of their phone time assisting agents with superfluous tasks. When we onboard and maintain an account directly, it takes an order of magnitude less time to support as we have full access and have streamlined our internal onboarding process and relationship with our processor. 

Furthermore, ISOs frequently level harsh criticism at my staff for not immediately resolving problems caused not by PaymentCollect™ or the end customer but by the ISOs themselves. If emails are not replied to within a few minutes, if immediate demo calls and installations are not scheduled, if the red carpet is not rolled out…my staff are berated. They are told we are lazy and greedy. Even when we charged a flat 7.5 ¢ per transaction it was this way. Every penny we earn is a penny less that the ISO could charge. Listening to this vitriol has burned out our team, with a top employee leaving every two years on average. These employees are so highly trained that it takes a full year for them to be self-sufficient. It is a big problem.

Industry mergers and acquisitions have led ISOs to increase merchant pricing. By introducing new fees (such as monthly minimums, annual contracts, and exorbitant PCI non-compliance costs) and by purposefully scrambling statements, ISOs are distorting the price that merchants think they are agreeing to pay when they sign up.

Lastly—and most importantly to you—agent satisfaction in the industry is plummeting. We greatly appreciate our partner agents and the yeoman’s work that they do building relationships nationwide and endorsing our product. Those agents who know us well know that we see ourselves as your biggest advocates and allies. But time and again we see good agents fired via quota creep and their accounts taken by the house. After that point, we get little to no on-the-ground support and end up maintaining the account in virtual isolation on a fraction of the revenue. Independent agents are struggling. Rather than enabling ISO investors and executives to get rich off this process, we want to offer fair, lifetime, guaranteed residual revenue to both agents and their ISOs.

We are not looking to re-invent this industry. We are not starting an ISO. If you sell FD150 standalone terminals to pizza parlors, we have no interest in poaching your market. But what we do want is to sell QuickBooks® integrations to merchants in need at a price they can afford, with fair compensation to the processing agent or entity that sent them our way.

In conclusion, we at PaymentCollect™ insist upon:

  • fair pricing for merchants
  • fair treatment for agents, and
  • fair compensation to PaymentCollect™ for our development, service, and support.

Here is how we propose to accomplish these goals:

Two Business Models To Chose From

To ensure fair pricing to merchants and restrict the ability of ISO’s to introduce new policies in detriment of Merchants, Agents and PaymentCollect, all merchant accounts will be boarded under PaymentCollect. There is also significant added benefits:

  • Merchant pricing increases or new fees will require merchants authorization
  • We supply, provision and maintain the payment terminals
  • Account VAR sheets are created expeditely
  • Merchants have a single point of contact for support
  • Single account for EMV/Non EMV, giving them the ability to receive online payments

Merchant Referral

Under this model, you would sell us a merchant that signs up with to process with us for a minimum of 2 years. You will assist us in signing them up by introducing them to us and in getting processing statements. In exchange, you will receive 80% of the net revenue we receive from this merchant during the first year of processing, payable on a monthly basis.

Who is this for

  • Agents/ISO’s who do not wish sign an exclusivity agreement
  • Agents who are not able to board an account with their current ISO/processor
  • Agents/ISO’s who do not have a QuickBooks solution that meets current merchant needs
  • Agents/ISO’s who are losing an account due to an inferior solution, inferior support or changes in the credit card regulations
  • Agents who are ISO employees and expect to be let go, planning to leave or do not have a solution that meets merchant needs

Revenue Share

You would sign up a merchant under PaymentCollect for a minimum of 2 years. You would obtain and analyze the statements and assist us in signing them up at the price point you determine and we approve. You would also collaborate with us in resolving  any technical issues at the merchant site, such as connecting terminals, if required.

You will be required to sign an exclusivity agreement with PaymentCollect for all QuickBooks solutions.

In exchange, you will receive 50% of the net revenue we received from this merchant on an ongoing basis.

How to sign Up

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1.828.214.5550

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Hours of Operation

9 AM – 5 PM EST (Monday-Friday)