Become a Credit Card Processing Company

Shaw Merchant Group
7 min readMar 16, 2024

In today’s digital age, having a credit card processing company can be a lucrative venture. With the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, businesses of all sizes are in need of reliable payment processing solutions. If you’re considering starting your own credit card processing company, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to get started, from understanding the industry to acquiring clients and growing your business.

Understanding the Credit Card Processing Industry

Before you dive into starting your own credit card processing company, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the industry. Credit card processing is the process of verifying and approving credit card transactions made by customers at stores and online. Payment processors are the intermediaries that facilitate these transactions between merchants, banks, and credit card networks.

The credit card processing industry is highly competitive, with many established players dominating the market. However, there is still room for new entrants to carve out a niche by offering competitive rates, excellent customer service, and innovative payment solutions.

How to Start a Credit Card Processing ISO?

Key Players in the Credit Card Processing Industry:

1. Payment Processors: These are the companies that handle the actual processing of credit card transactions. They work with banks and credit card networks to facilitate payments and ensure that funds are transferred securely.

2. Merchant Services Providers: These companies offer a range of payment processing solutions to merchants, including credit card processing, point-of-sale systems, and payment gateways.

3. Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs): ISOs are third-party organizations that work with payment processors to sell their services to merchants. They often act as intermediaries between merchants and payment processors.

4. Payment Gateways: Payment gateways are software platforms that securely transmit payment information between merchants and payment processors. They are essential for processing online transactions.

5. Credit Card Networks: These are the companies that operate the electronic payment networks that enable transactions to be processed using credit cards. Examples include Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

Choosing a Niche Market

One of the key considerations when starting a credit card processing company is choosing a niche market to focus on. While some payment processors target all types of businesses, others specialize in specific industries or payment types. By focusing on a niche market, you can tailor your services to meet the unique needs of your target customers and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Some niche markets to consider include:

1. E-commerce businesses: With the rise of online shopping, e-commerce businesses are in need of secure and reliable payment processing solutions.

2. Small businesses: Many small businesses struggle to find affordable payment processing solutions that meet their needs. By catering to this market, you can provide personalized service and competitive rates.

3. High-risk industries: Some industries, such as adult entertainment or travel services, are considered high risk by payment processors. By specializing in high-risk industries, you can offer specialized solutions and higher processing fees.

4. International businesses: Businesses that operate internationally often face unique challenges when it comes to payment processing. By offering international payment solutions, you can attract businesses looking to expand globally.

5. Nonprofit organizations: Nonprofit organizations have specific needs when it comes to accepting donations and processing payments. By specializing in nonprofit payment processing, you can provide tailored solutions and support charitable causes.

Creating a Business Plan

Once you’ve chosen a niche market to focus on, it’s important to create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, target market, pricing strategy, and marketing plan. Your business plan will serve as a roadmap for your business and help you stay focused on achieving your objectives.

Key components of a business plan for a credit card processing company include:

1. Executive summary: A brief overview of your business, including your mission statement, target market, and unique selling proposition.

2. Market analysis: An analysis of the credit card processing industry, including market trends, competitors, and potential opportunities.

3. Target market: A description of your target customers, including their needs, preferences, and purchasing behaviors.

4. Services and pricing: An overview of the payment processing solutions you offer, as well as your pricing structure and fee schedule.

5. Marketing plan: A detailed plan for promoting your business and acquiring clients, including digital marketing strategies, networking events, and referral programs.

6. Financial projections: A forecast of your projected revenue, expenses, and profit margins for the first year of operation.

How to Become a Payment Processor

Obtaining the Necessary Licenses and Certifications

Before you can start operating as a credit card processing company, you will need to obtain the necessary licenses and certifications. The requirements vary depending on your location and the type of services you offer, so it’s important to research the regulations in your area and ensure that you are in compliance.

Key licenses and certifications for credit card processing companies may include:

1. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance: PCI DSS is a set of security standards designed to protect credit cardholder data and prevent data breaches. To become PCI DSS compliant, you will need to undergo a security assessment and implement security measures to protect sensitive information.

2. Money Transmitter License: If you plan to offer money transmission services, such as facilitating the transfer of funds between customers and merchants, you may need to obtain a Money Transmitter License from your state’s financial regulator.

3. Merchant Account: To process credit card transactions, you will need to establish a merchant account with a bank or payment processor. The approval process for a merchant account involves a review of your business model, financial history, and processing volume.

4. Industry certifications: There are several industry certifications that can enhance your credibility as a payment processor, such as the Certified Payments Professional (CPP) designation offered by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA).

Choosing a Payment Processing Partner

As a credit card processing company, you will need to establish partnerships with payment processors, banks, and credit card networks to facilitate transactions on behalf of your clients. Choosing the right payment processing partner is critical to the success of your business, as it will determine the quality of service you can offer to your clients and the fees you can charge.

When selecting a payment processing partner, consider the following factors:

1. Reputation: Look for payment processors with a strong reputation for reliability, security, and customer service. Check online reviews, industry publications, and customer testimonials to assess their track record.

2. Services offered: Evaluate the range of services and payment solutions offered by the payment processor, including credit card processing, point-of-sale systems, payment gateways, and fraud prevention tools.

3. Pricing structure: Compare the pricing structures of different payment processors to find one that offers competitive rates and transparent fees. Consider factors such as interchange fees, monthly fees, transaction fees, and chargeback fees.

4. Customer support: Choose a payment processor that provides responsive customer support and technical assistance to help you resolve issues and support your clients.

Acquiring Clients and Growing Your Business

Once you have all the necessary licenses and partnerships in place, it’s time to start acquiring clients and growing your credit card processing company. Building a client base can be challenging in a competitive industry, but with the right strategies and a strong value proposition, you can attract businesses looking for reliable payment processing solutions.

Key strategies for acquiring clients and growing your credit card processing company include:

1. Networking: Attend industry events, trade shows, and networking events to connect with potential clients and partners. Building relationships with other businesses in your niche can lead to referrals and new business opportunities.

2. Digital marketing: Use online marketing strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, and social media marketing to attract leads and drive traffic to your website. Create targeted campaigns that highlight your unique selling points and value proposition.

3. Referral programs: Offer incentives for existing clients to refer new business to your credit card processing company. Referral programs can help you generate leads and expand your client base through word of mouth.

4. Partner with sales agents: Establish partnerships with independent sales agents and ISOs who can sell your payment processing services to merchants. Provide training, marketing materials, and support to help them succeed in promoting your services.

5. Offer competitive rates: Price your services competitively to attract businesses looking for affordable payment processing solutions. Consider offering custom pricing packages and discounts to win over clients and retain their business.

6. Provide excellent customer service: Focus on delivering exceptional service to your clients to build loyalty and trust. Be responsive to their needs, address any issues promptly, and go above and beyond to exceed their expectations.

Starting a credit card processing company can be a rewarding venture for entrepreneurs looking to enter the financial services industry. By understanding the credit card processing industry, choosing a niche market, creating a solid business plan, obtaining the necessary licenses, and partnering with reputable payment processors, you can build a successful and profitable business.

To succeed as a credit card processing company, focus on acquiring clients, providing excellent customer service, and continuously innovating your payment solutions to meet the evolving needs of businesses in the digital age. With dedication, hard work, and a commitment to excellence, you can become a trusted provider of payment processing services and grow your credit card processing company into a thriving business.

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Shaw Merchant Group

At Shaw Merchant Group we specialize in merchant services agent and ISO development. We are a group of experienced payment processing industry professionals.