Why smaller can be better when choosing a credit card processing partner.

Written by Jereme on

It’s smart to enter into a partnership with a vendor based on tech offerings, customer service track record, and channel commitment, rather than solely on name recognition.

There is a lot of advice out there on how to vet credit card processing companies. You’ll, of course, want to know how competitive their fees are, and what compensation plans they offer. You’ll also want to evaluate the features their solutions offer, the level of security and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance they provide, and the payment terminals their solutions are compatible with. 

However, there’s more to choosing the right credit card processing partner for your portfolio. Here are four additional areas of a potential partnership to explore, and why, perhaps counterintuitively, smaller ISOs may offer you more benefits than their larger competitors. 

1. The age of technology.

Larger, well-established credit card processing companies often stress that they have a long track record of providing reliable merchant services. Although that argument may hold water with other technologies, it’s really not an advantage in the payments space. Some large companies have payments infrastructure from the pre-cloud era. That means they’re playing catch-up with competitors offering more modern technology that can meet today’s merchant and consumer demands. So be sure to take a deep dive into any potential credit card processing partner’s technology to make sure it has the features you need today while giving you the ability to adapt as the industry changes.

2. Ability to be agile. 

We don’t just mean technology here. The company’s organization as a whole should also be able to promptly respond to the rapid pace of change in the payments industry. Large organizations are often weighed down by bureaucracy that adds time to decision making, prioritizing, and budget allocation. Smaller ISOs can move more quickly when they see an opportunity or a need for change – like providing merchants with online and touchless payments during the ongoing pandemic.

3. The personal touch.

Smaller payments partners are often more committed than larger ones to providing merchants with personalized service. In fact, providing responsive, in-person customer care and technical support (and not putting merchants through layers of automated call screening) is one of the ways smaller ISOs can differentiate their services. The bottom line is that the service your credit card processing partner provides will reflect on your own personal brand. Therefore, find a partner who will treat your customers with the same care that you do.

4. Channel focus.

In addition to the technology, features, and support a credit card processing partner will provide to your merchant customers, you also need to factor in whether the partnership will provide the greatest benefits to your portfolio. Does the partner offer its channel competitive margins? Can you rely on the partner for help with key accounts and marketing or technical support? Can you white label their services to help elevate your brand? Do they tend to focus on larger partners and not invest the same amount of time and resources in smaller agents? Answering these questions is essential to identifying the right partner. 

Business partnership best practices.

In summation, conduct your due diligence to learn all that you can about the partner through research and talking to their other partners and clients. Do the math to ensure the partnership will provide adequate ROI for the time and resources you will commit to it. Finally, trust your instincts when it comes to how well you click with your contacts at any potential payments partner.

Remember, you may be drawn to a larger credit card processing partner with a recognized “name,” but once you weigh the pros and cons, you may find that a smaller ISO is the perfect size and partner for you.