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Refer merchant cash advances to our merchant cash advance company and get commissions for selling merchant cash advances.
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Selling Your Merchant Services Business | Overview
Saturday, April 16 2022

There are lots of reasons why building a merchant services business can be extremely lucrative, not the least of which is the fact that you can build a lasting asset (your residuals), which you can then sell. In fact, I spoke to someone in the industry today, and he was telling me all about his plan when he leaves the business and how he's planning to sell his residuals. What that conversation made me realize, though, is that lots of people underestimate the power of those residuals. The best thing you can do with this income is to use it as capital.

To be able to sell your business in the long-run, you need to make sure that you start the business the right way in the first place. There are some major things you're going to have to take into consideration so that your company is able to grow:

1) Own your portfolio's residuals. Maybe this seems very transparently obvious to you; after all, what's the point if you don't own your source of income? However, it's not uncommon that sales agents will lose their entire portfolio simply because they did not read the agreement that they made with their processor closely enough. You should always consider what might happen if you just decide to stop selling; if the answer is that you will lose your hard-earned residuals, then choose another partner.

2) Be able to sell your residuals. If you can't sell something, do you really own it, then? Sometimes processors will require you to have to consider an offer from them before selling to an outsider, and that's fine, but just make sure you are free to choose.

3) Find out if you can borrow cash against your residuals. A large ISO that isn't operating as a middle man should be able to lend you money. If they can't, this is a problem. Usually, you're going to want to exhaust several options before a buyout, and this includes borrowing.

So let's assume you have all of these issues squared away and are the proud owner of a growing portfolio of accounts. Now you can start to use that asset to raise some capital!

Before you do anything else, though, take a look at these general guidelines that will help you get a better picture of what is going on when the selling occurs:

Do you qualify? Don't bother trying to pump any cash from your portfolio before you have at least two dozen accounts or so. Make sure that your accounts are making at least $1000 every month as well. You will be hard pressed to find anyone who would want to buy residuals less than this.

Performing a buyout: When you perform an 100% upfront buyout, you'll get about 12 to 20 times the monthly worth of the accounts that you're selling. This is a rough estimate, but adjust your expectations accordingly.

Performing an earn-out: Basically, this is the same as a buyout, except you get less upfront. Some of the money is upfront, and the rest is sent to you in increments with the stipulation that your accounts don't get canceled and that they continue brining in a certain amount of money. This will yield you more than a buyout in the long run—about 20 to 24 times your monthly income.

Performing a secure buyout: Let's say you have a significantly-sized portfolio and you only want to sell some of your residuals. You can sell some of those accounts, and then use your others as collateral essentially to guarantee against any cancellations. This means less risk for the processor, so they are usually willing to pay more.

Getting a loan: Maybe you just need to borrow some liquid cash and use your residuals as a guarantee. Most ISOs can do this for you. Usually, you can borrow anywhere from a few months to up to a year's worth of residuals. The terms will vary depending on your merchant services ISO program. Since of course your ISO will be interested in minimizing risk, just show that you are using the funds to grow, and you'll have a better chance at getting the deal you want. Your ISO will also usually offer better terms than outside lenders.

Did this article help you learn more about how to turn your portfolio into a machine that pumps out capital? Do you have a portfolio that you're looking to use right now for these sorts of purposes? Contact us and we'll show you the way.

Download PDF: Using Your Portfolio as a Source of Capital – Selling Your Processing Business ​

Are You Getting Paid Correctly by Your Payment Processor?
Friday, April 01 2022

Most successful merchant services agents are very dedicated to what they do. If you take this line of work seriously, you probably make it a priority to deliver the best customer service possible to your merchants. You may even be the type who makes himself available 7 days a week in order to serve his clients during busy times or even emergencies. If you are really making an effort to give the merchants what they need, then you should be fairly compensated for it, period. Is your payment processor giving you all of your money?

As terrible as it sounds, it's possible that you may get shortchanged by your processor. Even some people that I know who have been in the industry for awhile don't know with 100% certainty if they are getting the residuals that their contracts state that they should. After all, these documents can be complicated, and it's just so easy for a company to nickel and dime you without your realizing.

I had this sinking feeling that something like that might have been happening it me. I was pretty sure that if it had, I wouldn't readily notice it—I was too busy working on singing up clients and giving them the best possible customer service. I didn't consider it part of my merchant services job to spend my time making sure that my credit card processors were doing theirs.

Do you suspect that your own residuals are coming in short? Do you think that you're being paid less than what you actually made? This can certainly happen, and here are some common signs:

  • You're not sure if the residual payments that you get every month are an accurate reflection of what you earned. This is the first red flag. Sure, it is definitely partially your responsibility to keep on top of your income, but by no means does this excuse a processor ripping you off.
  • You can't make any sense of your statement and you're not sure how your residuals are even tallied up. Ignorance is a tool that ethically dubious companies can use to prey on hard-working people.
  • The statement of your residuals doesn't include much detail beyond the name of your merchants and how much they brought it. Everything should be broken down, or else you don't know why you're getting what you're getting.
  • You notice mistakes in your residual report frequently, and you have to waste a lot of time every month fixing the problem, to the point where it's barely even worth it.
  • There are fees or adjustments on the statement for reasons that you can't figure out.

Are any of these factors true about your residuals? If so, then it's possible that you are not getting all of the money that is owned to you. This can be hugely detrimental to your business, especially when you're first starting out, because you really need every penny you can get to help you expand. You don't want a payment processor that is engaging in unfair business practices and trying to leech money away from you.

Because of this, it is extremely important that you have all of the details about your payment laid out before you sign up with a processor. Make sure you know exactly how they calculate your residuals, so that there is no guesswork. Just as your clients have the right to know what you are going to charge them for your merchant services, you have the right to know exactly what your payment processor will charge you. After all, payment processing fees are going to be one of the larger costs of your business, so you need to take this into consideration beforehand.

In order to make sure that you are getting what you truly deserve in terms of residuals, take a look at this checklist and make sure that everything is right:

  • Your statements and reports should break down your payments in details, so that you know exactly why you are making a certain amount. Don't allow any mystery to exist here.
  • Your reports should be made available by your processing company in a variety of formats, and you shouldn't be limited to just paper or some obscure file extension. Make sure that you can get something like an Excel spreadsheet, and that way you can study your statement deeply and verify every detail yourself with your own calculations.
  • They should provide some way for you to compare the performance of each of your merchants, and to be able to see what your residuals have been from month to month. Even better, if they have some sort of electronic back-end where you can do this, exploit it as much as you can and verify every cent.
  • There should always be a way for you to know what your merchant paid, so that you know they are getting billed exactly the amount that you quoted to them when they signed up.
  • You should always have records of the past available to you, and your processor should not make these hard to access. Ideally, there should be a back-end where you can look all of this up with an online account of some kind.

If your payment processor loves to play the mysterious role and keeps you in the dark about all the details—for example, by not offering a break-down in their reports and only giving you general details—then maybe you should start shopping around for another company to work with. Honest companies typically make it a point to be transparent, and you should know that a shady processor that tries to hide details from you isn't your only choice in this business.

These days, I work with a company that truly honors transparency, and I can always expect them to give me an accurate report that stays true to the original contract. After spending nearly two decades working with different processors with varying results, I stopped allowing this kind of vagueness in reporting to be acceptable to me, and I'm very glad I did.

If you find yourself frustrated in a similar way by the statements that you receive, then maybe it's time that you raise your standards as well. Remember that there are tons of options out there, and that you don't need to stay with a processor that doesn't respect the agreement that you signed or that makes tons of mistakes when calculating your share.

So, have you ever experienced an inaccuracy in your statement? What did you do to fix it? Let me know your story, especially if your experience might be of value to others.

How to Pick the Best Merchant Services Agent or ISO Program
Sunday, January 30 2022

Are you planning to become a merchant service provider? When it comes to selling merchant services, there are thousands of merchant services agent programs for you to choose from. It is very exciting to become a merchant services provider. However, without the necessary information and details, it is very easy for you to fail. The merchant services business is both complex and lucrative. There are several merchant services ISO agent programs available. Choosing the one to suit your specific needs can be very tricky, but luckily we are going to give you expert advice and tips on choosing the best one. Some factors to consider in order to become a merchant service provider include the tools offered by the company you chose, technology use, and customer supports. This article paints a clear picture of what a great merchant services agent program should look like.

9 Characteristics of a Good Merchant Service ISO Program

The following are some of the key characteristics that define a reliable merchant service ISO program. A company with the following traits increases your chances of being successful in your credit card processing business.

Exceptional Customer Service

This is one of the most critical characteristics of a good merchant services ISO agent program. However, it is one of the most overlooked things when an agent wants to become a merchant services ISO and when seeking out an ISO partner. In the merchant services business, the worst-case scenario would be to receive complaints from your clients, and you are unable to get in touch with your merchant services agent program. This can really ruin your business. It is a great practice to look for merchant services ISO agent program that provides 24/7 customer support. In addition, the customer care representatives should be able to attend to any questions, both general and technical, within the shortest time possible.

Same-Day Funds Deposits

This is another important feature to look out for when choosing a merchant services agent program. Clients do not have to wait for long to get their funds deposited into their bank account when a transaction is made. The same day funding is a great incentive that will leave your clients happy and also help you when promoting your business.

Ability to Handle High-Risk Merchant Accounts

Though you might not be dealing with clients who have high-risk transactions such as travel agencies, CBD companies, bail bonds, credit collections, medical marijuana, etc. it is important for the merchant services ISO program you choose to handle high-risk merchant account. You might get clients who operate high-risk operations, and therefore the benefit of this is to ensure that the business of your clients is running smoothly without any payment glitches.

Great Discount Opportunities

The fees associated with credit card processing are quite high. These high fees have been causing businesses to scramble. The cash discount programs enable merchants to implement a service fee to customers who pay via credit card and issue discounts to those who pay via cash. The merchant does not have to pay a fee for each transaction they run, and therefore this saves them money. You should, therefore, ensure you find a merchant service agent program that offers discount opportunities.

Assistance on Marketing

When it comes to credit card processing business, marketing can be the hard part. However, with a great team behind you to offer marketing assistance, it becomes easy. For you to turn cold leads to warm leads, you will need an effective marketing team. They will assist in providing marketing information as well as design about selling merchant services.

Flexible Compensation Plan

Getting paid is one of the most important steps as a merchant services provider. It is critical to get compensated for the work and effort you put into your merchant services business. Look out for a credit card processing agent program that will help you realize your goals and meet your needs. Note: Pay attention to the agreement document to make sure you understand all the details.

Residual Income Tracking

A good credit card processing agent program will help you get residual analytics; this is very important for your business. The use of technology and the latest software to track residual income is a must for a good merchant services ISO agent program that you are going to choose. You should be able to see, at a glance, these details: number of clients, average profit, average ticket, top 10 merchants, and more.

Infrastructure

For the success of your credit card processing business, it is critical to look for an ISO partnership who readily avails the necessary infrastructure to you. The payment technology is very dynamic, and each year, there are new changes and improvements. There are several other payment methods that have come up. A good credit card processing agent program should give you access to these assortments of payment processing products. All these will give your clients payment processing options to choose from, which helps them to run their business smoothly. A good merchant services agent program should be in the capacity to support most of the following infrastructures:

  • Point of sale options to suit the need of your clients and buyers
  • Smart terminals Online payment processing
  • Mobile payments options
  • A gift card and loyalty programs
  • Check processing services

Multi Relationship with Various Banking Options

A great credit card processing ISO agent program should facilitate a solid relationship with several banks. This creates options to resort to incase one bank declines an account. With this feature, you will have peace of mind and be able to easily close deals and get paid. Shaw Merchant Group Can Help You To become a merchant service provider and to succeed in it can be tricky, especially if you do not have the necessary information, but with the above expert tips, you will be a step closer to being successful. At Shaw Merchant Group, we pride ourselves as being the best merchant services agent program providers. We are ready to help you become a merchant services ISO and succeed in your credit card processing business.

Making Money Selling Merchant Cash Advances as a Broker
Monday, January 25 2021

When most sales companies get into selling merchant cash advances, they concentrate on logistical concerns. They study what the market looks like, and try to determine how they're going to supply what it needs. From there, they concentrate on making as much commission as possible from their deals. This isn't a bad place to start, of course, but it's far from the whole story. Since the market is constantly changing, there's more to selling merchant cash advances these days than simply making commissions.

Sales agents and brokers actually have a huge role in these dealings and provide an important service to companies that fund merchant cash advances. Since their role might seem a bit vague to you at first, let's explain how a deal like this works, and then you might see the kind of value that they bring to this process:

1.) A merchant is contacted / a merchant contacts the sales company. This can happen a few different ways. A sales organization may follow through with a lead and call the merchant, or the merchant may contact the company after seeing information about the opportunity.

2.) The merchant will have to fill out an application. In addition to the application that will ask for basic information, the merchant will also have to send in paperwork such as bank statements.

3.) The sales company will continue to contact the merchant until he has filed the paperwork.

4.) The sales company will decide which provider should fund this particular merchant.

5.) The sales company will then send this information to the provider for evaluation.

6.) The provider will send their approval and conditions back to the sales company.

7.) Sales representatives then explain these conditions to the merchants.

8.) The merchant decides to take the offer.

9.) The sales company asks for the contract from the provider.

10.) The sales company gives the merchant the contract to sign and any other relevant paperwork.

11.) The sales company sends all of this paperwork back to the provider.

12.) The provider ties up any loose bureaucratic ends and then sends the money to the merchant electronically.

13.) The sales company is paid for the deal.

Clearly, sales companies play a significant role in most of these transactions. They serve as an important “middleman” that helps the provider and the merchant understand each other. As the market for merchant cash advances increases, more opportunity for both business owners and funders will arise over time.

Let's change gears a bit though, and take a look at what this means for the bigger picture of being a broker.

Supposing that nothing radical changes in this market, more and more brokers will tend to materialize and this will flood the supply side, which will cause most brokers to face a loss in revenue. Indeed, as a market grows and there is more demand, there is more overall money to be spent on brokers, but the “pie” will be divided into much thinner “slices” between them. In other words, being a broker will be less lucrative on an individual level. Brokers will find themselves working longer hours for less reward, and funding companies will continue to make more money.

In a case like this, you might be able to carry on for a time, trying to make as much money as you can in spite of the increasingly saturated broker's market. However, it's getting harder to build a brokerage company if your only source of income is commissions. You are much better off if you invest in the business yourself and partially fund these loans with your own money. Instead of wasting your time chasing more leads, why not make every lead generate more income?

You can try a few different techniques for making money in this business using your own cash, and we'll discuss some of those basic strategies in a moment. First, let's talk about a little bit of history:

In the first decade of the 21st century, providers decided to bring sales companies into their dealings and allow them to partially fund these cash advances. They call this activity “syndication.” It quickly became obvious that syndication was a good move because providers found that having brokers vet their merchants beforehand led to higher quality deals that were less likely to default. The broker is there to make sure the deal goes through properly, and normally he will take care of the customer very well because his own money is on the line. Brokers helped create a long-term relationship between merchants and providers. This helped funders to potentially make more money.

Originally, syndication wasn't as common, and only a few providers allowed it. Nowadays, many companies use sales organizations in this way. When you're new in this business, put your energy into finding a good provider which will allow you to put your own money on the line.

Strategies for Making Good Money Selling Merchant Cash Advances

Let's look at some concrete numbers so that you can get a feel for how you can make money in this industry. Keep these rough stats in mind:

  • Deals vary in terms of amount, but the average is around 35,000 dollars.
  • Factor is 1.39 on average.
  • You can expect the average commission to be around 8 points

So now let's play with some numbers and come to a few conclusions:

From Commissions: If you fund 100 deals, with an average commission of $3,000 per deal, you can expect to earn $300,000.

Rolling Your Commissions Into the Deal: If you fund 100 deals, with an average commission of $3,000, multiplied by a factor of 1.39, then you can expect $417,000. 

Co-funding: If you co-fund 100 deals of a total amount of $2,000,000 from your own pocket, multiplied by 1.39, then subtract the original $2,000,000, then you are left with $780,000.

Add to that an average commission of $1,500 for 100 deals, and you also have $150,000 in commission.

Total = $930,000.

You can make substantial money even when you're not taking on all of the risk. In the last example above, you only funded half of the deal with your own money, but you still made some money on both sides—commission for the 50% that you did not fund and a good ROI on the half that you did.

So you don't have to give up the idea of commissions altogether. Providers that allow you to fund part of the deal will also allow you to collect commission. This is the smart way to make money in this business, because as you can clearly see, you stand to make many times more than if you relied on just commission alone. This is a great way to grow your business even if you're not acquiring many new customers.

Merchant Cash Advance: ISO Agent Broker Program
Tuesday, January 19 2021

If you have any sales experience, you probably already know that it can be an extremely lucrative field to get into. As a merchant cash advance agent, you are basically in charge of your income, and as you get better at serving your clients, you see more and more returns. This is no different when you're working with businesses instead of simply consumers. If you've ever sold POS equipment or other necessities to business owners, then you likely realize the huge potential for income that such a venture represents. Businesses always need more products and better technology, and if you can help them to succeed, chances are that you will be able to benefit lucratively when it is time for them to upgrade.

However, there is a little known opportunity in the world of credit card processing that many people are unaware of. As consumers, some us might have dealt with cash advances at some point in our lives. Did you know that businesses have a similar option, as well? In the case of small enterprises that need quick liquid cash to get things flowing, they can strike up a deal with their merchant account agents and get some cash immediately without the need to go through a lengthy approval process as they would with a bank.

This process is not a loan, exactly, but rather the merchant account company makes a short-term investment in the business by buying future credit card and debit card payments. In other words, they pay a certain amount upfront to the business, and when customers pay with a credit cards, a percentage of these transactions are sent directly to the merchant account company to pay them pack. It's not as risky as a normal loan because there is much less of a chance of the debtors defaulting; they would essentially have to go out of business to not be able to pay. The business owner is happy because he has the liquid cash that he needs without the need for any monthly loan payments to worry about; the payment processor company is happy because they receive what is essentially interest for their trouble and are practically guaranteed to be automatically paid back, and the sales agent is happy because he makes a portion of this. It is a win-win-win situation.

Now, you may not be a sales processor and you might not be interested in exploring the red tape that it might take to get into the position where you might provide people with merchant accounts. This is perfectly fine because, you see, you can simply work as a sales agent for a payment processing company and receive a cut of these profits. There's a lot of opportunity out there and plenty of companies are looking for sales representatives that can send leads their way. On your end, you would be getting a hefty commission for every one of these cash advances.

Let's take a look at a rough sample of the possibilities. For example, let's say that you start working for a merchant cash advance company and they offer you the usual 5 to 10% comission on the merchant cash advance ISO program that your prospect takes out. If the merchant agrees to a merchant cash advance of $30,000 dollars, you would be making $1500 to $3000 on just that single sale. As you can see, this is far more than if you were working selling, say, electronics or other expensive merchandise. Offering financial services greatly expands your income potential because you're working directly with businesses and directly with money. The best part is that there's less red tape for you to deal with in a case like this because you're not working for a bank. Merchant cash advances are simple, fast, low-risk, and don't require much paperwork at all.

If you thought that the initial commission seemed like a lot, most companies that you work with will allow you to receive even more cuts of the earnings. For example, you might receive another cut after the merchant has successfully paid off the merchant cash advance (usually a single-digit percentage). In addition, you might be able to lock in that particular merchant, where you receive a certain percentage of future credit card processing revenue simply because you were the one who brought in the lead. This merchant account residual income can really accumulate, and there's certainly nothing like making money even when you're not working.

In addition to these income streams, there's also an added opportunity in upselling products. The merchant services company probably has many other products that could be useful to your prospect, and you can make a handsome amount by simply offering these as well. After all, when someone buys from you once, they are much more likely to buy other services from you, so you should always try to upsell if the opportunity presents itself. These “added value” products could be anything from marketing services that the merchant service company might offer to POS equipment and other physical goods. Just focus on what problems you think the merchant may have and try to find a way to solve it. Put yourself in his shoes, and you'll be bound to make money.

Finally, when you work as a merchant cash advance agent selling cash advances and other products for a merchant service company, they will probably compensate you for helping them find other sales agents. Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out for sales, so there might be a high turnover. Because of this, a lot of merchant service companies are hungry for new recruits.. Again, this can be a residual income opportunity, where you can make a small percentage of what your recruits are making. This give agents incentive to help each other succeed.

With all these possible sources of income, sales agents can easily make thousands of dollars per month, even working part time. If you have experience in sales and you want to expand your horizons, or even if you just have an interest in sales and need a place to get your start, you should consider getting into selling merchant cash advances. There really is a lot of money there, just waiting to be taken by ambitious salespeople.

Download PDF: Merchant Cash Advance Agent Programs

How to Sell Merchant Cash Advances
Monday, January 04 2021

Have you been considering selling merchant cash advances as part of your merchant services business? For the uninitiated, a merchant cash advance is basically when the credit card processor buys the future credit card sales, giving the merchant a lump sum of liquid cash upfront. This sort of deal can be arranged much faster than a loan from a bank, and approval rates are much higher as well. If you sell merchant services, it's a good idea to make cash advances a part of your offerings.

Merchant cash advances can be very lucrative for your business. Not only are they a fairly easy sell for the kind of merchant who needs money fast, but selling merchant cash advances can result in handsome commissions from the processor. In addition, depending on what program you choose, you can also often provide some of the funding yourself with your own money, which will net you even more revenue. If you're looking for a good added value product to increase revenue, this is a very flexible service that you can sell to the right merchants.

Why would a merchant even need a cash advance in the first place? - Well, there can be many different reasons. They might want the money for growth reasons, for example if they have a great opportunity to upgrade their equipment, but they don't have the liquid cash to do it. Perhaps they are unable to get a normal line of credit for whatever reason and they need to buy inventory in bulk in order to keep costs down. Often, however, you will find that, just as with the more common paycheck cash advances that consumers use, the merchant probably needs the money to cover some unexpected expense or an emergency situation. This is perfectly fine, so long as the merchant is consistently bringing in revenue regardless.

How much the merchant can get depends largely on how much revenue they are bringing in via credit card transactions. Ordinarily, the processor will allow them a loan of between roughly 80% and 120% of their monthly credit card sales.

What do you need to sell a merchant cash advance? - Selling merchant cash advances doesn't have to be hard, but there are a few key things that you will need. First of all, your processor will have to have a cash advance program, ideally one with the possibility of syndication (which is when you are able to also invest your own money). Next, you will need a merchant that is bringing in at least $5,000 or so in credit card revenue every month. The processor also won't consider the business unless it has been running at the very least for 12 months and has a record of processing credit cards for at least 6.

How do you find merchants that need cash advances in the first place? - Of course, not all of the merchants that fit the description above will actually need a cash advance. Really, it is a very all-or-nothing issue with not a lot of space in between: a business either needs cash quickly, or it doesn't. Because of the high interest rate, most business owners wouldn't even consider a cash advance of this kind unless they were hurting for a large lump sum of money.

The best way to find these kinds of merchants is to simply ask the ones that you're already working with. Let them know that you offer these kinds of short term loans, and that you can have the money to them within days, instead of weeks or months like the banks. Network with as many merchants as you can, even those with whom you currently don't work with, and make sure that people are aware that you can bring them the liquid cash that they need as quickly as possible.

How do you present the cash advance to clients? - Selling merchant cash advances is like any other kind of selling in that the presentation is important. Be mindful not to insult your client. The best way to bring up the issue of cash advances is probably when you are consulting with a merchant in order to sell them some other service.

For example, if you are working with a merchant to sell them on a new contract with your processor, mention that you offer merchant cash advances as well. You will find that most of the merchants aren't interested, and this is expected.

Do not push it because the fact of the matter is that most merchants genuinely have no use for this kind of loan, and are understandably wary because they are expensive. However, if the merchant's ears seem to perk up a the prospect of a quick loan, this probably means that he does indeed need some money. Tell him that you can help his business grow and emphasize the ease of this kind of deal. Mention as well that you will be able to help him through the process in person, and that you can take care of much of the paperwork. Make it as easy as possible for the merchant, and try to get them the best deal if you can.

What can you expect to make when you're selling merchant cash advances? - How much you make really depends on a number of factors and also on how much of your own money you're willing to put in. In terms of commissions, this varies a lot between processors as well, and every one of them is different, so make sure to ask ahead of time before you sign up for a ISO program. Typically, though, the higher the factor, the higher the percentage of your commission will be. Also, if the cash advance is for a very short-term period—say, 3 months—your commission will also be higher because the processor is taking less of a risk.

Does selling merchant cash advances sound like something you would like to try? It all comes down to finding the right merchants in need and partnering with a worthwhile merchant services company.

Download PDF: How to Sell Merchant Cash Advances

How Much Can You Make Selling Merchant Services? | Schedule A Training
Thursday, December 31 2020

When you're new to selling merchant services, lots of things can get confusing, but one of the most confusing things that you will have to deal with is understanding all of the statements that affect your residuals, and especially the fee schedules that determine your costs. Many times, this can be so cryptic that your partner company may actually spend some time and effort explaining the fees to you. At the very least, they should provide you with some kind of written material that demystifies things. Even still, things might not always be totally clear.

In order for you to have a better idea of your Schedule A as a new Merchant Services Sales Agent, let's break down the various sections so that you're not completely in the dark:

Authorization and Capture / Settlement Per Item Fee - A key part of your Schedule A, you'll want to pay close attention to this section specifically. These fees are associated with the front-end platform. Should the processor that you work with offer more than one front-end, this section might look a bit different, as they may break everything down further and have different costs listed for different front-ends.

First and foremost, you need to have your Schedule A on hand, so make sure that you ask your payment processor or merchant services provider for a copy. After that, you're going to have to figure out whether these three fees are depicted as one entire line or if they are broken down. Depending on your provider, they may be expressed differently. For example, you might find an “Authorization” line with a fee listed as $0.02, and that might seem uncommonly generous, but then there will be a “Capture” line that lists a fee of $0.07, and then a “Settlement” fee of $0.01, bringing the fees up to a total of $0.10. Other times, things will be combined already; for another example, you might see a line that reads “Authorize and Capture” with a fee of $0.06, and below that a “Settlement” fee of $0.02, making the total front-end transaction cost $0.08.

Since this is kind of complicated, you usually won't bother to break things down for merchants. As you explain things to them, just tell them about the total transaction fee and don't have them worry about the details. For you personally, though, these broken down fees will mean a lot more because they can certainly affect your residuals. To illustrate how your fees can make a huge difference in your profit margin, let's say you have a portfolio of 100 merchants and, on average, they perform 500 transactions per month per merchant. Now, let's say that you charge $0.10 for your transaction fee. With 50,000 transactions, that means you are grossing $5,000 in revenue every month. How much of that will you keep? Well, if you're being charged $0.05 total per item by your processor, then your margins are 50%, and you take home $2,500. However, if your fees per item are $0.08, then you're only making $1,000 per month in profit. That's quite a difference. As you can see, your profit margins will depend largely on your fees, so you need to stay on top of them.

Settlement Fees and Batch Fees - If you think that your Schedule A gets less confusing after all that authorization and capture stuff, then you're in for an unpleasant surprise. You might find that in addition to a settlement fee per item, there is also a fee per “batch.” The point of this fee may not be immediately obvious, but it's basically like this:

For instance, maybe one of your merchants performs 100 transactions via credit card one day. You would be charged a settlement fee that applies “per item” for each of these individual transactions. When your merchant is closing up for the day, however, and they settle by sending the batch of daily transactions to the processor, then there will also be a “batch fee.”

More than likely, your processor will have this fee on the Schedule A. Almost all of them do, so be sure to look at this section for how much you are being charged and pass the cost onto your merchant accordingly. As another example, your processor might charge $0.07 per batch (your cost), and you might decide to charge your merchant $0.25 per batch (your revenue). In this case, you're making $0.18 in profit whenever that terminal is settled at the end of the day.

Bank Identification Number (BIN) Sponsorship - You might find this section expressed a few different ways. All this really means is that your processor is keeping a tiny percentage of the profits (measured usually in a few basis points) before they give you your share. In case you were wondering what a basis point is, it's just 1% of 1%, or 1/100th of 1/100th (1%) if you want to break it down. So for instance, let's say your merchant processes $20,000. If the BIN sponsorship fee is 5 basis points, then your processor is keeping $10.00 before giving you your share of the profit.

Now, there are definitely more items on your Schedule A than just these, but they're the key lines that you should keep a close eye on, and they're the basic items that you will find with most processors. For information about other sections that may appear on your Schedule A, you should ask your processor for an explanation. In essence, these three line items are important because they are what is going to determine how much you charge your merchant. As with any business, you're going to have to deal with costs compared to your revenue, which is what determines profit—and the fees are basically your cost. You're going to use your Schedule A as a detailed list of your costs, and from there you can come up with a fair and profitable fee schedule for your merchants. That difference between revenue (the fees your merchant pays) and cost (the fees your processor charges) every month is what will give you your merchant residuals.

Download PDF: How your Schedule A works | How Much Money Can You Make Selling Merchant Services

Merchant Services Agent ISO Agreements | How to Guide
Monday, December 07 2020

Becoming a merchant services agent or an ISO is a major step, so it's important that you know the various pitfalls that you might face when working with credit card processing companies as an agent. Especially if you're relatively new to the business, you should keep alert that you don't give in to agreements that could crumble your business prospects over the longterm. Here are some major factors that you will want to consider when signing contracts:

Don't Take on Liability - Unless you are already a large and experienced company that can bear the brunt of this kind of risk, don't allow yourself to make agreements that hold you liable for losses. As an MLS, this holds even more true. Don't take on more responsibility than you have the cash reserves to manage, or you may find your capital or residuals drying up.

It's fairly typical nowadays for programs to not require you to take on liability, so there's no reason for you to attempt this if you don't have the means. Make sure to watch out for the fine print, though, and examine the contract for any statements that imply any conditions where an credit card processing ISO would have to take responsibility for any loss.

Make Sure You Are Paid Your Residuals Frequently - Don't deal with a processor that won't send you your residuals on time, every time. If you sell an account, you should receive your cut as soon as possible in accordance with the payment schedule, and you shouldn't have to face a waiting period to receive those funds.

Another thing to avoid are minimum payment thresholds. For instance, you may have to wait until your residuals have accumulated to a certain amount before you are paid. Yes, this helps to cut costs somewhat for the processor, but this is the money that is going to be flowing through your business, so you are going to need it in a timely manner. You are owed what you are owed, and you should receive it regardless of how much or how little it is.

Make Sure You Own Your Residuals - If you can't transfer or sell your residual income, you don't really own it. The bank or processor might own the merchant account, but you should own the residuals. These residuals are the lifeblood of your business, and without them, you won't have an asset that keeps paying you even when things slow down or you decide to leave the industry. Ideally, you should be able to sell them, keep them, use them as collateral for loans, or even pass them off as an inheritance. They should function like any other investment.

This issue can become especially dire if you find that you are unable to work or you pass into the next life unexpectedly. In such a case, you will need to be able to transfer that residual stream to new bank accounts.

Make Sure Your Agreement Isn't Exclusive - If you allow yourself to be taken in by a contract that demands your exclusivity, especially if you are new to the industry, then you have just entered an unhappy marriage of sorts. It might not be that you even dislike the processor that you're working with, but you are at a disadvantage if you can't see what else is out there. You never know when you'll be able to find a better deal or a more flexible company to work with. It's perfectly fine to have multiple relationships with many companies before you settle down with your favorite, and an exclusivity deal is going to hinder that, so make sure that you look over the contract closely.

Be Sure That Your Can Sell Your Residuals to Someone Other Than Your Processor - Again, if you can't sell your residuals or transfer them to someone else, you don't really own them. However, some processors have clauses in their contacts that compel you to sell your merchant account residuals only to them. This is obviously problematic if your processor isn't in the mood to buy.

Now, it's not out of the question if your processor demands the right to give you an offer before anyone else. Just make certain that aside from this, you can sell your residuals.

Think of the Future - Remember that companies always change, so you're probably going to want to consider a few things before you make an agreement. Where is this company headed? Are they likely to go through a merger or are they likely to be bought out by another company in the near future? This could potentially affect your residual income, so it's important.

Make sure that the agreement you make protects your residuals. If circumstances change, there are a few things that you can do, such as taking a buyout from your processor, taking one from a third party, or continuing under your current contract, which should be honored by the processor regardless of a merger. You may not be able to sell new accounts under the old Schedule A in such a case, but you should be able to continue getting paid in a similar fashion as before for the deals that you already closed.

They Should Not Force You to Buy Their Hardware - Your processor should not demand that you only buy equipment from them, and you should be free to choose your supplier. Now, it's perfectly fine if the processor gives you incentives to buy from them, such as heavy discounts, but you should not be forced to do this as per your contract.

Be Sure Their Reporting is Accurate - The rates of a given processor may be great, but that means nothing if they're actually charging you much more in hidden fees. You should be able to look up reports of what fees they are charging you and what residuals you are receiving, and the actual numbers that show up in your bank account should match this.

Go with a processor that offers the opportunity to look at reports online. This will help make everything more clear.

Never Pay to Become a Sales Agent - As in any other field, if you must pay upfront to join a sales team, then something fishy is going on. Don't fall for programs that charge you for training; there are plenty out there that offer similar amenities for free. There is simply no reason why you should have to do this, so be wary and steer clear from these kinds of processors.

Find a Company That Communicates Well - One of the most important things in any relationship—business or otherwise—is having good lines of communication. You should be able to have your questions always answered and your concerns addressed in a timely manner.

Also make sure that you have access to the management of the company that you're working with. This will help you get what you need much faster and it will also help avoid miscommunication. Going through all the members of the company's hierarchy can be like a game of “telephone,” after all, and things can get distorted.

Finding a processor to work with when you're starting out can be overwhelming, but it helps to know that there are many good ones in the industry. The key is to try many different companies and eventually find one that you can build a strong, long-term relationship with. If you're still having trouble finding the right one for you, though, feel free to get into contact with North American Bancard, and we'll help you out.

Sneaky Secrets of Credit Card Processing Companies
Tuesday, December 01 2020

As you might already realize, when it comes to the world of financial transactions, the devil is in the details. You have to stay on top of the fine print, or you may find yourself getting taken for a ride that you didn't sign up for.

Companies always go out of their way to tell you what you want to hear when they are trying to recruit you, so you'll no doubt hear all about their great features, their superior technology, and how low their rates are. However, this doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of other things that they're strategically sweeping under the rug. It's not that they're being dishonest exactly, it's just that they're probably not going to tell you the whole story.

This is especially an issue when you're a smaller enterprise, as you're basically the model victim for tiny, fine print fees since you likely don't have a dedicated legal department. Many processors will attempt to nickel and dime you, and you might quickly realize that the fee schedule that you were shown while you were being sold the merchant account isn't what you're actually being charged.

According to experts at Shaw Merchant Group, there are a few different kinds of hidden fees that a credit card processor can slip into your transactions without your realizing. Sometimes it's so under the radar, that you may go through the life of your account without even realizing that they're there. This is usually perfectly legal, as the fees are likely accounted for in various clauses in your contact—though the processor is probably not too keen on pointing them out until after you've signed up.

Here are some examples:

Withholding a Certain Amount of Money - A lot of the time, especially in high risk accounts, the processor may want to accumulate a certain amount of cash from your transactions as security against charge backs or fraudulent activity. You can basically think of this as a sort of deposit that the credit card company may accumulate without even so much as consulting you about it first.

Withdrawing from Your Checking Account - Sometimes it is convenient to allow a credit card processor to automatically deposit the cash from your credit card sales into your bank account, but this also gives them the power to withdraw money from it too, without necessarily notifying you about it first. This money might be used to cover any fees that you owe them, any penalties, or they may even take money out for the purposes of withholding (as mentioned above). If you like having control over your checking account, obviously this is something of a problem.

Fees for Terminating Your Account Early - For the most part, if you as a merchant have signed a contract with an ISO, you are stuck with them for the life of the contract, unless you want to pay a few hundred dollars to terminate early. This isn't quite so bad, but often it doesn't stop there. You may also have to pay the processor for the fees that they would have collected throughout the rest of the contract, and that obviously can be a hefty sum.

Making You Lease Equipment - A lot of ISO's will push you to lease their equipment, even if it's more expensive in the long run than just simply buying your own. It often will also lock you in with a specific provider, since the length of the lease can last for years and you may not be able to cancel it. This puts you in the position of trying to decide whether you should pay the high price of breaking the lease or simply wait it out until it is over.

Not Offering Interchange Plus - Interchange plus is a less costly way of processing transactions, but many providers will not offer this to you. Make sure that you ask about it beforehand, or you may not be getting your money's worth.

Offering Promises That Are Not in Writing - It's terrible, but sometimes what the sales agent told you while he was trying to get you to close the deal may not agree with what is actually written in the contract. Whether it was an honest mistake or he intentionally misled you, there are often clauses in the contract that specify that the provider will not honor verbal deals of this kind. This is why it's important to read over the contract and not allow yourself to believe anything that an agent tells you if he is not willing to back it up in writing.

Even better, stick to providers and agents that you know you can trust. Shaw Merchant Group, for example, can help you to get in contact with the right people and the right companies that will treat you with dignity and honesty.

Perform your due diligence and research any company that you're planning to do business with as well. It's harder these days than ever for shady companies to not leave evidence of their burned customers, since the world is so connected. Look to see what other merchants have said about the company. Look for reviews or any complaints that other business owners may have made.

Other than that, keep your eyes peeled for certain obvious signs in the contract that you may charged much more than you might have assumed. When you're reading through the paperwork, look for the word “damages” and examine that area particularly closely. Anything that makes you liable for some unspecified amount if you break the contract early is bad news. If you can't ascertain what the price of canceling early will actually be and this sort of language is used, then it's likely to be an astronomical amount. Steer clear of this sort of company.

If you're still confused about who to turn to for your merchant account, or if you're a sales agent who is concerned for your clients' interests and you're looking for an honest processor to partner with, then feel free to get into contact with Shaw Merchant Group.

Download PDF: Sneaky Secrets of Credit Card Processing Companies

Placing Free Credit Card Terminals VS Leasing Credit Card Terminals
Saturday, June 20 2020

When you are selling merchant accounts or looking for a merchant services agent program to work with, one of the major things that you will have to consider is whether you want to offer your customers free terminals or whether you want to offer them a leasing deal. As with so many other factors in this business, it really depends on the specific customer. You must spend some time examining their needs before you can decide which option to sell them. You will find that different merchants have different goals, as well as different amounts of capital that they can provide upfront.

You might also notice that, more and more, merchants will expect that at least their basic, entry-level terminals will be free to use. Lots of newer, innovative merchant service companies have taken to lending free equipment to their customers, as well as supporting the hardware and software for free, so you will want to take this into consideration as well.

Let's go over what these two options really are in a bit more detail:

Free Terminals - “Free” isn't exactly accurate here, since the merchant doesn't really keep the equipment. Basically, they are allowed by the service provider to borrow the POS terminal at no charge until they end their contract, and then the equipment is returned. You can think of this as being similar to how many broadband Internet companies loan routers or modems to their customers, which are then returned when the customer terminates their service.

This is an easy option for many businesses, especially those that are just opening their doors, because it requires essentially no upfront cost. There are sometimes monthly fees tacked onto this option, such as the cost to insure the machine, but for the most part, the merchant pays a lot less than they would have if they opted to buy their own equipment. Since POS terminals can be expensive, this is not a bad option for you to suggest to very lean startups.

Always make sure that a merchant services partner program that you are signing up with has some kind of free terminal plan, since a lot of merchants will want this. “Free” is also not a very hard sell, so you might find that it will be easier to close deals with a loaned terminal. Your job is first and foremost to sell your clients on the merchant account, and you will want to do everything in your power to make it easier for them to use it—that means making it easy for them to get the terminal that they need.

Leasing Terminals - With the popularity of free terminals, this has sort of fallen out of favor as of late, but it still has a certain amount of relevancy. Some merchants want to have their own equipment, and this could be for a number of reasons. Most commonly, a merchant may simply want to be able to switch service providers without going through the arduous process of re-learning how to use a completely new terminal.

Leasing terminals is not without its problems, however. Compared to simply buying a terminal outright, leasing one may actually be a raw deal for the merchant. Because they will be paying little by little for their equipment, they may not even notice that their money is trickling away over the course of months or years, and that they might end up paying five or ten times the market price for their POS system. It's nice to make small monthly payments, but as business owners, these merchants can't afford the delusion that those costs don't add up.

On the other end of things, leasing equipment can make lots of money for an ISO and a merchant services sales agent. Just as those monthly fees add up for the merchant, they can add up for the agent, and leasing equipment can mean a handsome addition to ones residuals. The bigger question is, however, should you sell merchants on such an unfavorable deal?

In general, the answer is no. Now, not all leasing deals are bad. Some equipment is actually quite cost-effective, especially modern, more simple POS systems that are based on popular mobile operating systems and touch interfaces. The leasing options from popular service providers are sometimes quite fair. However, there are still a lot of merchant service companies in existence that use these tactics to rip off potential merchants, and it's best that you avoid associating with them.

Your goal should be to build a long-term, sustainable relationship with your merchants. After all, this is what is going to give you sustainable, long-term residuals month after month. Being honestly concerned with your merchant's problems and offering them the best solution is also what will get you repeat business whenever it is time for them to buy added value products and services. You will want to cultivate trust, and it is difficult for a merchant to trust you if they feel that you have been trying to take them for all they have right from the beginning.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with selling a fair leasing option to a merchant if that is what they honestly want. By all means, listen carefully to the client's needs, and if you feel that leasing a terminal is a better fit than providing one for free, then give them what they need.

Regardless of what option you ultimately decide to give to your merchants, remember that no terminal is the least bit useful if your clients don't know how to use it. Make sure to partner with a company that not only offers various terminal options for your clients, but that has great training material and customer service to get your customers up to speed. After all, the sooner they are using your terminals to take in revenue, the sooner both you and the merchant service company can start seeing a new income stream. Make sure that your clients get what they need from the beginning, and you will be rewarded with few complaints, a strong reputation, and a consistent stream of residuals trickling into your bank account every month.

The best merchant services agent ISO reseller program is North American Bancard Agent Program. Choosing North American Bancard as your primary merchant services partner with earn you the largest commissions, give you access to the most powerful industry sales tools, and total sales support for you and your merchants. 

Download PDF: Placing Free Credit Card Terminals VS Leasing Credit Card Terminals​


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    © Shaw Merchant Group, LLC. Our goal is to gather accurate, updated information and assist you in your research. We recommended that you check with your service provider or financial institution directly and get independent financial advice before making any commitments or business decisions. 

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