Becoming a Merchant Service Provider, ISO, Reseller or Agent

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Wondering how to become a merchant services agent? Maybe you don’t know how the credit card processing program works and want to understand its basics? Well, whichever reason has brought you here, this comprehensive guide will help you understand how to become a merchant account reseller and how the merchant account reseller program works, along with many more useful things. So with that said, let’s get started: Process of Becoming a Credit Card Processing Reseller Program Agent: The process is not really hard; you just need to understand who is who and what is what and you will be quickly able to figure out how to become a merchant account reseller. So basically there are two ways you can become a merchant services agent, and we will discuss both of them below:

  • Being MSP: Short for Member Service Provider, MSP, or also known as ISO (Independent Sales Organization), is usually a company (it can also be an individual) that is directly connected with the bank. However, if you go with this route, you will have to pay a large chunk of money to the bank on a yearly basis to establish a relationship with them and enjoy various perks like low buy rates and continuous support. However, the amount you pay to the bank per year can be up to $10k or more, and since you are just starting out, you won’t have this much money. Plus, some banks don’t even sign up individuals and require them to work with their registered MSP.
  • Working with MSP: This is the second method of becoming an agent where you will be working with an MSP that is directly registered with banks like the North American Bancard agent program. Now obviously, you won’t get the buy rates that the bank is offering, you will get a rate that will have MSP’s commission added to it. But considering that the MSP is paying a hefty sum of money to the bank per year, this is more than a reasonable deal. A good MSP or ISO partner program will provide you with ample learning resources and continuous support so you will be able to learn quicker and ultimately earn quicker.

Now that you know the difference between both, you should not have any problem with joining a merchant services reseller program. However, there are some more things you need to understand before you dip your toe into this field. So for that, we will cover things like how this program works, what your responsibilities will be, and some things to look for in a suitable ISO partner program.

So How Does The Credit Card Processing Reseller Program Work?

The process is pretty simple and straightforward. Assuming you are working with an MSP/ISO, you will get a ‘buy rate’ from the company. You can call it the profit of the MSP program. Now when you deal with a merchant, you will have to add your own profit to that buy rate and offer it to the merchant so that whenever a transaction is made, both you and the MSP will get a piece of it.

For instance, if you join a merchant services program that is offering you a buy rate of 2% + 20 cents, you can resell it to the merchants for 2.3% + 25 cents. These additional %0.3 + 5 cents will go in your pocket. Now, this looks like nothing compared to the work you will put in converting the merchant. However, this amount will be charged for each transaction the merchant makes on credit cards.

This means that if the merchant processes 100 credit card transactions with an average of $10 per transaction, then it becomes $1k. So you get, 0.25% x 1000 = $2.5. Now also add 5 cents for each transaction which will be $0.05 x $1000 = $50. So the total becomes $52.5 in recurring monthly income. Now that’s the income from just one merchant.

If you sign up 10 of them in your first year, your monthly income will be $520 per month in the second year. So you can keep adding merchants to your portfolio and keep increasing your income.

Responsibilities of a Merchant Services Reseller Agent:

Your main responsibility will be to sign up as many merchants as you can because that is the sole factor behind your monthly income. Here are a few more things that’ll be on your plate once you become a reseller agent:

  • You will have to first learn everything about the products/services you will be selling to merchants
  • You will have to educate merchants about what you are selling and persuade them to sign up for your program.
  • You will have to help the merchants in completing necessary paperwork and setting up their merchant accounts with the MSP.
  • You will have to work continuously with the merchants you sign and offer them support whenever they encounter a problem.
  • You will also have to actively search for new merchants and pitch them your products/services. Most of them will show reluctance, keep paying them friendly visits, and help them without asking for anything in return, some of them might convert soon.
  • You will have to keep a continuous track of your progress, how many merchants you signed up, how much you are making, what your monthly goals are etc. (Some good ISO programs offer web-based dashboards for performance measurement).

These are a few important things that you will be doing on a daily and weekly basis as a credit card processing reseller program agent.

Things to Look for in a Suitable Merchant Account Reseller Program:

The policies, procedures, and rules of merchant programs vary, which is why you need to be very careful when choosing one. We have already discussed the things you need to look for in a program in this guide — Selecting the Best Merchant Services Agent or ISO Program. However, to provide you with a basic idea, we have covered some basics you should remember below:

  • Their Buy Rate: The MSP/ISO you will be working with should have a lower buy rate as merchants will prefer to pay a low fee, which is why a program with a high buy rate won’t get you high sales. North American Bancard eliminates the concept of buy rate with cash discounting, making it easier to get more merchants. Read about it here (Link to the guide on cash discounting)
  • Monthly Sales Quota: Some merchant processing programs require you to make X number of sales to keep earning the residual coming from your merchants, avoid them at all costs. Your residuals should stay yours no matter how many sales you make.
  • Customer Support: Go with the merchant processing program that offers the best customer support. You don’t want to be stuck in a position where a merchant is having a technical issue, but the processing company is not answering your phone.
  • Freebies: Some of the top merchant services programs offer freebies like a free POS terminal and signage to let customers know the merchant accepts credit cards. These things really help when you pitch your program to the merchants.

There are many more important factors you need to look for when joining a credit card processing reseller program, make sure to read out detailed guide this subject.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

Who Can Become a Merchant Services Agent?

To be honest, anyone can become a merchant services agent as long as they are disciplined, self-reliant, and go-getters.

Granted, you will have to study a lot at the start about the programs you will be selling and the techniques to sell effectively, but once the ball starts to roll, you will find it easy to work in the industry.

How Much Can a Merchant Services Reseller Make?

There is a lot of potential for how much you can make. If we look at the example above, then you might make $50 off of a single merchant.

If you manage to sign up 15 merchants per year, then in 5 years, you will be making $3750 in monthly recurring income without doing much. Keep increasing merchants, and your income will increase.

How Do I Become a Merchant Account Reseller?

It’s simple, just select a good merchant reseller program, talk to them, discuss your concerns, and once you are satisfied, fill their form.

You might be required to provide them with some documentation, just follow what they tell you, and after some verification work, you’ll be registered as their merchant accounts reseller.

Over to You:

See, it’s not really hard to be a merchant account reseller, plus the perks of being your own boss and no income cap really make it an appealing business model. However, just be careful when joining a credit card processing reseller program as you don’t want to be bound by unfair rules and regulations.

Written by

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

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