What is an ISO?
If you are seeking merchant services for your business organization, there are high probabilities you might have encountered an ISO agent. As the online payments domain is regnant on the popular imagination of all forms of businesses, the need for reliable ISO agents is also multiplying.
The constant buzz surrounding the role of ISO agents in the merchant services ecosystem might intrigue you to know more about them. Also, if you plan to kick start a suitable merchant account for your entity, a decent comprehension of the functioning of an ISO agent can be advantageous. Hence, without much ado, let’s begin. Learn more about Beyond Bancard’s ISO Program.
What is the meaning of an ISO agent?
ISO or Independent Sales Organization agent is a term that represents 1099 sales individuals or business entities involved in the merchant services segment in the US. An ISO agent primarily deals in the sale of credit card processing products and adjacent merchant services. Payment processors and acquiring banks depend on ISO agents to enhance their service demand.
Here, the term acquiring banks refers to the financial institutions with the authority and capacity to offer merchant accounts. Merchant accounts refer to the official accounts where business entities have to deposit their revenues before transferring to the selected business account. Most business entities cannot accept credit cards without opening a merchant account.
What eligibility criteria is applicable to become an ISO agent?
There are no pre-determined experience criteria for working as an ISO agent. Any individual, including a fresher or a veteran in the merchant services industry, can opt for this position. The most prominent aspect is to possess the convincing ability to lure more and more business concerns to buy credit card processing and other merchant payment services from their respective ISO entity.
What are the primary service offerings of ISOs?
With the support of their agents and employees, Independent Sales Organizations offer various services to business merchants. They comprise:
- Facilitating setting up of payment gateways
- Credit card processing services
- Assistance with implementing payment software or POS
- Support to find necessary hardware like POS terminals
What is the distinction between ISOs and MSPs?
People in the merchant services realm use MSPs and ISOs almost interchangeably. Merchant service providers, aka MSPs, operate in a similar fashion as ISOs.
The only contrast lies in the two acronyms. Visa uses the word ISO to indicate the merchant account providers functioning on their behalf. MSP represents the approved merchant account providers operating under Mastercard.
How do ISOs get compensated?
Most organizations yield revenue through the following mediums:
- Value-added upselling commissions
ISOs get such commissions for deploying additional services like POS hardware or fraud verification
The majority of earnings of ISOs come in the form of residuals. The residual denotes the percentage fees that a merchant disburses to an ISO for payment processing.
- Merchant portfolio selling
Many ISOs have the option to transfer their merchant portfolios to counterparts or private investors for a great price. The possible sale proceeds depend on the residual earnings from the portfolios.
- Sign-up bonuses
Another source of income for ISOs comes in the form of sign-up bonuses. In the US, such bonus amount usually varies between $400 and $5000 for every new merchant.
What are the traits of a successful ISO agent working in the merchant services sector?
There are some common character traits that you can spot in the most accomplished ISO agents in the market. Such traits include:
1. Ethical work approach
The key players among the loads of ISO agents in the market believe in nurturing long-term client relations. Thus, they stick to good business ethos and prioritize the benefit of their merchant businesses.
2. Specialization in specific industries
Most ISO agents possess familiarity with certain industry niches such as e-commerce or hospitality sectors. The ISO agent that you choose should most likely have the relevant exposure in your business domain.
3. Awareness of the nitty-gritty of the merchant services industry
An ideal ISO agent shall maintain his spark and will remain well-aware of the ins and outs of the payment processing industry.
4. Superior networking abilities
The crux of operating as an ISO agent revolves around sustaining business relationships. A good ISO agent knows his way to create long-term business connections with impressive networking skills.
Should you engage an ISO agent for your business entity?
The necessities and circumstances of each organization tend to be unique. Thus, before gushing to hire an ISO agent you must peruse your specific conditions and needs. Consider the attributes of the proposed ISO agents and formulate a decision that best suits your business. Whether you are a newbie or have a high risk merchant account, the chosen ISO should know how to serve your needs.
We wish you success!
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