Find a Niche As a Merchant Services Provider

Solutions by Industry | M&T Bank Merchant Services

If your approach is still broad when it comes to finding new merchants, you may find that you are losing business to competitors who have tactically focused on a particular niche in the industry. It’s my recommendation that you reevaluate your strategy and brainstorm ways to differentiate your service from your competitors. I spoke to many ISOs in early March 2011 at the Southeast Acquirers’ Association (SEAA) 2011 Annual Conference in Weston, FL. I was enamored by the fact that a large percentage of the ISOs in attendance no longer White Label Credit Card Processing thought of themselves as a general merchant services provider. They have moved their focus to a niche segment of the market and offer a unique and more tailored solution to successfully target specific merchants. So what is a niche exactly? Well, Merriam-Webster defines a niche as “a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted” as well as “a specialized market. ” I like to consider it as focusing on something you do very well – better than your competition – instead of trying to provide everything for everyone.

If you are wondering what some example niches for an ISO might be, let me start with a few examples that were brought to my attention at the SEAA 2011 Annual Conference. One gentleman is in the process of starting a new ISO focused on point-of-sale solutions. He is planning to help merchants find the right software/hardware to meet their needs, and the merchant account is what comes along with it. Another ISO had the idea to create a loyalty program to use as a lead for new merchant acquisition and to help with customer retention. A third ISO focuses on businesses that create POS and other related software used by merchants to help integrate his merchant services into their software.

Whilea merchant account is a bank account that allows a business to provide their customers with choices on the mode of payment, merchant services simply refer to the services related to the account. These services can be credit card transaction processing, age verification and many more. Merchant services will be able to help you cope up with the changing needs of your customers since not all people always use cash to pay for their purchases. It is basically a system that allows a particular business to accept payments other than cash.

Usually merchants purchase or lease debit/credit card processing terminals that can either be connected to a telephone line or to the internet. The terminal is where the card will be swiped and then it will be responsible of transmitting the data for verification and approval. The terminal then provides a receipt for both the customer and the merchant to keep. However, this is not what always happens especially if the payment is done online. But either ways, before getting a particular service, you should consider some important things.

The first thing that you should do is to determine the right kind of service that your business needs. When talking about merchant services, these may include a lot of features like debit processing without using a pin, credit/debit card processing, programs for electronic transfer, etc. Given with all these features, you should only choose the one that is really needed for your business. Getting the features that are not really useful on your part will just be a waste of money because the more features mean the higher the fees/cost. So because you are doing business, you have to carefully and wisely decide on this matter.

After making the decision on what services you want for your business, you can then take a look into some of the good merchant service providers around. There will be a lot of merchant service providers that you can find so you have carefully and wisely decide again on which one to choose. Some of the service providers that you can find are PayPal, PayRight, different banks and merchant service companies. So for you to save time and effort, you might want to consider sitting down in front of your computer and do a little research online first.

Compare the deals that each service providers offer and make a list of those that really offer very good deals. Remember that you have to consider everything that the merchant service providers offer and not just the rates/fees. You have to know if there are additional fees that you have to pay to start with or if you want to end the contract earlier than agreed. Make sure to read everything in the contract and read the fine prints to make sure that there is nothing misleading in it. And after making the list, you can then pick the one that offers the best deal so far and the one that will contribute to your business growth.

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