How to Benefit from Merchant Relationships
In Canada, businesses can only accept credit and debit card payments when they contract with a payment processing provider. In some cases, they do this by dealing directly with the acquirer, who both provides the point-of-sale equipment and the processing services for payments. More often, though, an independent sales organization, or ISO, serves as the middleman, contracting with the acquirer to sell the equipment and provide some processing services for its customers.
How ISOs Use Agents in Canada
ISOs working with independent agents provide an example of how different businesses specialize in what they do best, then coordinate efforts. An ISO will focus on contracting with acquirers, often working with several at once. This allows the acquirers to focus on their relationships with financial institutions, and the ISOs to work on understanding and implementing the payment processing systems for their customers.
In some cases, they focus on connecting customers to the acquirers' processing services, which include collecting and protecting information stored on cards, communicating between the customer's financial institution and that of the purchaser of the customer's product or service, and facilitating completion of the payment. At other times, they provide some of these processing services themselves.
In either case, the ISO will contract with independent sales professionals to distribute the payment systems to as many customers as possible. The ISO agents in Canada work on commission, keeping them hungry and working to sell as efficiently as possible. The ISO avoids the overhead that an in-house sales team would create, ensuring that all of the cost it accrues comes in response to real sales results.
Benefits for Independent Agents
ISO agents in Canada do not generally receive benefits or a secure salary from the ISOs with which they work. Still, they stand to gain much from these relationships. Part of this comes from potential income. Because they do not incur overhead costs, ISOs can pay higher commissions to independent agents than they could otherwise afford. Further, an independent agent has the potential to sell as much as he or she wants, and to keep earning commission income as a result.
The best ISOs in Canada will pay their agents on a rising scale, rewarding the top producers with ever-increasing commission rates. And finally, because ISOs earn fees on every payment processed by its customers, the sales professional on an account earns residual commissions off of those fees. The longer a payment system is in place, the longer these residual payments can keep rolling in.
Beyond the direct payments, ISO agents in Canada have the benefit of an almost limitless pool of potential customers. Since every business has to process payments, every business--large or small--serves as someone the independent agent can call. And the best ISOs, recognizing the breadth of the customer pool, provide scheduling and technological infrastructure for the agents to streamline the running of their business and focus on building more sales calls and producing better results.
Like any entrepreneurial work, operating as an independent agent for a Canadian ISO requires focus and dedication, and more work ethic even than a large corporate sales department would demand. But the potential income exceeds almost any other sales opportunity available. Sales professionals in Canada ready to leap to a greater opportunity than they have should look into ISOs for an almost unlimited career potential.