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Shaw Merchant Group
Sunday, July 23 2023
Starting a Merchant Services Brokerage: Business Model Overview

If you are a merchant or business owner, then you know that one of the most important aspects of your business is accepting payments. While it is a part of business that is often taken for granted and assumed as being operational, choosing a merchant services partnership and accepting payments is not quite the walk in the part that it is usually thought to be. In fact, it is a somewhat complicated process that involves a lot of different parties and requires business owners to make several very important decisions. While choosing a merchant services partner might seem trivial, it actually has a large impact on the future of the business and can even play a large part in the profit margin that a merchant is able to achieve.

When you are going through the process of finding a merchant services partner to help you, it’s best to find a merchant services partnership that can help you navigate this complicated topic and pair you with a merchant services provider that fits your needs and is considered trustworthy by the merchant services industry. With an experienced and helpful partner by your side, you’ll be able to find the payment solution that fits your needs and elevate your business to the next level.

What businesses need a merchant account?

The answer to this question is very simple. If you want to be able to accept credit card payments for your goods and services, you need a merchant account. Almost every business in existence needs a merchant account so that they can accept payments in the most effortless and convenient way possible. Merchant accounts are typically provided by banks that partner with processors in order to process these credit payments.

Basically, a business cannot function without a merchant account, unless they somehow can operate on just accepting cash. As this is not a viable solution for most businesses, every business that hopes to remain competitive and gain market share should have a merchant account.

Some businesses point out the fact that merchant accounts also come with fees, and that is a valid point. However, accepting cash only in your store or business affects you in heavier ways that merchant fees ever could. The credit card is the fastest path to the purchase and if you are a business that wants to see growth and revenue, then getting a merchant account is essential.

What exactly is a merchant account and how much does it cost?

Now that we have established that everyone needs a merchant, you probably want to know about the downside, what it involves, and what it’s going to cost your business. A merchant account is an account with a merchant services company that allows a company to accept credit and debit card payments. It often also includes POS solutions to help facilitate payments of any kind.

To obtain a merchant account, a business must go through a thorough application process that often involves providing important information such as past processing information, bank statements, tax information, credit checks, and more. This very thorough process ensures that you can be trusted with a merchant account and your industry is suitable for accepting credit and debit payments.

Getting this service for your business is a great achievement and will unlock unlimited possibilities for growing your revenue, but it never comes without a cost. Getting a merchant account is often free, but using it is most certainly not. Merchant accounts often take anywhere from 1-4% as a transaction fee off of every transaction. This is how the operations are funded. While many look at this as a large expense, it is actually a low expense when you consider what having a merchant account enables you to do.

When searching for a merchant account provider, the rate is one thing that you’ll want to pay attention to and work with your merchant account services brokerage to find the best solution at the best rate for you.

About merchant services brokers

While you have almost definitely heard of merchant services providers, there’s a slightly lesser chance that you have heard of merchant services brokers. Merchant services brokers are not as well known, but they are every bit as important in the process of helping you to find a great merchant services partner.

The role of a merchant services broker is to be your partner throughout the process of finding merchant services to fit your needs. It can often be overwhelming and confusing trying to find a merchant services partner, and to help with that you can enlist the help of a merchant services broker.

With a merchant services broker, much of the work of finding a merchant services provider is eliminated for the owner of the business. Simply tell the merchant services broker what you are looking for in a merchant services partner and they will hand-pick options that work for you and present them to you in an easy-to-digest manner.

By using a merchant services broker, the process of selecting a merchant services provider is made much easier and you may be able to save your business thousands of dollars in the long run by finding a partner that not only meets your needs, but is also affordable.

How can a merchant services broker help you?

There are various areas that a merchant services broker can help your business to be a more efficient and effective organization. When you think of merchant services, you might only be thinking of credit card processing. However, there’s a lot more that goes into the process of choosing a merchant services provider and many aspects to consider. Here are the areas that a merchant services broker can help you with when it comes to picking out merchant services providers:

There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind when you are picking out payment providers for your business, so when you need to go through that process, you should partner with a merchant services broker that has a great understanding of each of these symptoms and knows what makes for a good partnership between businesses and merchant services providers.

Should you consider a third-party service?

Over the past few years, several third-party merchant services and payment processors have risen up and started to offer businesses direct access to payment processing. This might seem like an easier process, but there are many considerations to keep in mind when you decide to go this route. The benefits of working with a merchant services provider and traditional broker are almost always more plentiful than the benefits of using a third-party service.

One of the most relevant struggles that businesses go through when they are trying to obtain merchant services for their business is the fact that many banks and merchant services companies are not willing to provide brand new merchants with processing accounts. This could leave many businesses out in the cold, but if you have a reliable merchant services broker, that doesn’t have to be the case. Many brokers already have strong and trusted relationships with the banks that provide these services, so they are able to provide you with a competitive edge when it comes to applying for a merchant services account. With a third-party provider, you don’t have anyone advocating for you or passing on their trusted status to your business when applying.

Another major factor that holds merchants back from selecting a third-party provider is the lack of accessibility to funds. Yes, funds typically settle within a couple days just like any other provider, but they settle to a merchant account within your third-party application. You will then have to withdraw the funds from your third-party merchant service account into your own bank account. Sounds simple, but what you might not know is that many of these third-party services impose a maximum withdrawal limit which heavily interferes with your cash flow and ability to expand your business. With so much cash being held up in your third-party account, any small crisis that requires cash to fix could severely damage your business.

Becoming a merchant services broker

The role of a merchant services broker is to work closely with businesses to find them the right merchant processing services solution for them. This means meeting with business leadership and determining exactly what their needs are, identifying pain points, and other information that will help lead a broker to the right option when it comes to processing services.

In addition, merchant services brokers continue to collaborate with merchants to optimize their payments process and take full advantage of what their selected solution has to offer. This intensive job is also rewarding and can be lucrative under the right circumstances. Regardless, a merchant services broker will always be essential for businesses that want to truly get the most out of the merchant services that they have deployed and gain a competitive edge in their industry.

Posted by: Shaw Merchant Group AT 01:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
ISO Agent Partnership

Become a payment service provider today and take your business to the next level. If you are a sales-oriented individual with vast experience in the world of payment processing or you are a driven and motivated professional looking for a new challenge, the SMG ISO agent program might be a great fit for you. With the highest paying commission structure in the industry, superior products, and sales support, our program will see to it that you are rewarded for your efforts.

For anyone with a sales background or a passion for the payments industry, SMG is the ideal partnership. There are dozens of reasons to become a sales partner with Shaw Merchant Group, but don’t just take our word for it. Here are some of the top reasons that we were given when we asked our ISO agent participants why they chose us and why they continue to work with our highly lucrative program.

Sales Partner Portal

With our industry leading partner portal, you’ll have access to online enrollment, training sessions, marketing materials, and you’ll always be ahead of the game with the latest news and promotions.


Stay up-to-date on merchant issues and their resolutions via automated emails and text messages that include a detailed ticket number describing what the merchant’s concern was and how it was resolved.

Registered DBA (White Label)

With our program, you’ll be able to market under your own brand, without paying costly fees! Your brand will be seen on the partner portal, marketing communications, merchant statements, and more.

Free Equipment for Your Merchants

Selling businesses on a new processing plan is much easier when you are able to effortlessly jump over the hurdle of the cost of the equipment. With this program, you can offer your clients free equipment that they will need for their processing provider change. This lowers the barrier to switching and creates a higher conversion rate for you.

Lifetime Passive Income

You will recieve 50–70% of residual income based on the pay structure you select. You will share income on every available revenue stream. With SMG, you get a True Interchange Revenue Split. Unlike other ISO agent programs, there is no basis points off the top for BIN sponsorship or for what they call hidden losses. Our sales partners earn more residual income with our 50/50 partner program than you would with our competition who claim to offer a higher percentage because thier interchange cost (buy rate) is higher.

$20K Performance Bonus

We offer a performance-based fast start bonus that is payable for anyone that onboards more than the standard threshold of clients in the first 4 months. This program is designed to reward those experienced sales members that join our team and quickly learn how to sell this product. The bonus can reach up to $20,000, making it one of the most lucrative and competitive in the industry.

Profitability Based Bonuses

We will look at how much profit is generated on the account after they have been processing for one month and you earn 14 times of the total profit. Example: If we retain $100 in residuals in that month, the bonus would be 14 x $100 or $1,400. You would have already been paid $600, so we would pay you an additional $800 on that account. This bonus is capped at a max of $10,000 per merchant per location. With our dual pricing program it is easier than ever to earn huge bonuses with a 14x profitability bonus. This dual pricing model enables you to maximize your bonus at $10,000 on almost every merchant processing over $90k.

Dual Pricing Program

When you are selling merchant services, one of the best assets of any partner program is more rewards and incentive programs that save your client money. The Edge dual pricing program is one of the hottest new commodities in credit card processing, as it is designed to save the client thousands of dollars in credit card processing cost, instead passing on the fee to the consumer in a way that isn’t damaging to their own conversion rate and revenue. We offer this program to our clients and make it easy to understand and present for our sales partners.

Medical Benefits

With some sales jobs, you don’t even have the option for medical coverage. With the SMG ISO agent program, you’ll have the resources that you need to provide healthcare coverage to you and your family at an affordable rate. We take care of our own, and when you are in our program you will have access to these benefits.

White Label ISO Program

Grow Your Merchant Services ISO with White-Label Payment Solutions

As an independent sales organization (ISO), you can upgrade your business by providing merchant processing services under your own brand. You may dismiss the idea at first, probably thinking that you don’t have the infrastructure or expertise to set up your own payment processing company. However, with white label payment processing, all you really need is a good ISO partner.

How a White Label ISO Program Works

To offer payment processing services under your own brand, your ISO partner will provide you with an online application page that doesn’t identify their company. This “white label” solution is ready for your brand and includes your logo, colors, and contact information, so your merchants only identify the payment solutions with your company. It eliminates any confusion among your merchant customers about who their service provider and primary contact should be. Your brand is the only thing the merchant will see on your website, merchant portal, and marketing materials. 

Your payments ISO partner becomes a silent partner, providing technology, payments functionality, and services. This puts you in more control, allowing you to deliver seamless, consistent customer experiences in all interactions – and enhance your brand’s reputation. With this white label payment solution, you won’t need to overcome negative perceptions a prospect may have about the company your working with. This is because you are creating a unique customer experience. Better still, you don't have to fall in line with another company's existing customer experience. 

Once you start providing white label payment services, you will also find that you build stronger, longer lasting relationships with your merchants. They'll begin to view you as a payments expert and an expert in the other solutions you provide. You may even find you are able to grow your customer base, as merchants in every vertical or niche can benefit from accepting payments, enabling you to market to more types of businesses.

Remember: white label payment processing enables you to earn huge residual income.

Our White Label Program Will Save You Thousands in Fees

Put your brand on merchant statements and applications — build your brand with your sub-agents and merchants. Full white label payment solution with your logo and branding on applications, statements, online enrollment, merchant and partner portals.

We at Shaw Merchant Group have an awesome white label solution. There is no huge package of documents for you to fill out, no approval process by Visa and Mastercard and the sponsor banks, and best of all no annual dues. Here are some details on the “White Label ISO” program:

  • Roughly 4–5 weeks to fully set up once we get the signed license document back.
  • Executed addendum from you saying it’s OK for us to use your brand too.
  • This program can run on our standard schedule A’s with bonus and free equipment and has no other obligations. from you other than the standard agent agreement.
  • When we set up the DBA you will have access to EPX/BMO Harris for submitting merchants under your brand.

What do we brand?

  • Paper Applications
  • Online Applications (Simplified Enrollment)
  • Partner.PaymentsHub for your back office.
  • PaymentsHub for your merchants — It’s generic when your merchant logs in and then show your brand once inside.
  • Merchant Support Email — TMS (ticket management system) which emails you and your merchant each time we speak with your merchant and shows the proper brand in the notice and as the from address on the email.
  • Merchant Support Phone — Our call centers answer with a generic “merchant services” then once they have the MID identified, they represent your brand.
  • Deployment Packages — Generic boxes and welcome docs inside with proper brand.

What we need:

  1. A letter authorizing EPX to register your DBA on your company letterhead.
  2. A high resolution image of your company logo.
  3. A certificate of good standing from the state you are registered in. It may not be called a certificate of 'good standing' in some states.
  4. The ISO Branding request form.

    ©2023 Shaw Merchant Group is a registered DBA of EPX, a registered ISO of BMO Harris Bank N.A., Chicago, IL, Fresno First Bank, Fresno, CA, and Citizens Bank N.A., Providence, RI.