Having recently formed a joint venture with Total System Services Inc. (TSYS), Central Payment Co. LLC (CPAY) is poised for a major take-off. The founders of the Northern Calif.-based ISO said the company's capacity for devising creative, tech-savvy solutions will be bolstered by the financial and technological backing of one of the industry's largest, most reputable processors.
Brothers Matt and Zach Hyman, who co-founded CPAY in 2005, said the relationship with TSYS allows CPAY to retain its identity and creates a unique dichotomy: a company that combines the economy of scale of a payment giant with a smaller firm that has catered to the small and midsize merchant space and relied on innovation and flexibility to gain a leg up.
"I think our [agent] partners perform better with us than they do the competition, and the reason is that our company - all of our 130-plus employees - are focused on offering the utmost flexibility to meet the needs of every agent," Matt Hyman said. "We want our agents to feel like they're part of something bigger and better, we want them to feel our entrepreneurial spirit, and we do what we can to make sure they have the tools to make that happen."
According to Matt Hyman, those tools include efficient, thorough and individualized phone and technical support; flexible compensation schedules; and an array of value-added products to expand POS functionality. These include facilitating back-office functions such as tracking outlays and receivables and ramping up merchant marketing campaigns with promotions via email, text message and social media.
Zach Hyman noted that CPAY's approach to its agents is very individualized. "One area we've really put a lot of work into is building systems and support to be more flexible with each agent," he said. "We have 50 different compensation schedules. We talk to each agent separately, help them establish marketing guidelines and [sales] programs. We do not do our policies and procedures with a broad scope." He added that the company also provides 24/7 phone support with zero hold times, as well as ready field assistance for issues related to payroll, service, technology and proposals.
Matt Hyman said CPAY's signature value-add is the SpotOn digital loyalty and marketing platform - a product that employs texting, email and social media as both channels for multipronged loyalty campaigns and as vehicles for tracking customer purchasing data.
Zach Hyman said many of CPAY's value-added products are the same as those offered by other ISOs; however, SpotOn is the type of program that "99 percent of these merchants have never been pitched before." He added that the product is "one of those things every agent looks for, and that's something that gives them a distinct competitive advantage. Our check services and POS services are great products, but those aren't things that give our outside sales agent a real competitive advantage."
SpotOn is part of the larger evolution in gift and loyalty programs away from plastic cards, stamp cards and paper coupons and toward mobile phones and digitization. The program uses a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, placed on the merchant's counter top, to communicate with customer cell phones (using Quick Response Codes) to automatically redeem coupons, confer loyalty rewards and the like.
"Loyalty [programs] depend typically on sending out 100 or 200 loyalty cards, and that solution doesn't help your relationship with merchants," Matt Hyman said. "Number one, it's expensive: merchants need to re-order their cards every time they run out. And number two, it's not consumer friendly: consumers end up having to carry 10 different loyalty yogurt shop cards."
A consumer signs up for SpotOn by either tapping a smart phone to a counter-top tablet and entering an email address or by downloading a smart-phone app.
Once registered, every time a consumer pays for merchandise or services at a store that uses SpotOn, the customer simply taps his or her phone on the merchant's reader for loyalty offers and promotions. The program also enables smart-phone users who download the app to look up the names and locations of merchants that use SpotOn in a given locale.
Merchants collect, at minimum, an email address for every customer who registers, which merchants can use to send ads or promotions. They can also track consumers' spending habits and craft individualized marketing campaigns.
Beyond that, the program allows consumers to opt into a mobile alert program that uses text messaging. Merchants can also post deals on Facebook and Twitter, where customers can redeem coupons anywhere they are posted, be it the merchant's Facebook page or where it pops up in the news feed on the customer's own page.
According to Zach Hyman, social media creates a more interactive element, too. Consumers can rate deals and post feedback, while merchants can use social media to target customers with selective ads and promotions, based on the customer's feedback and other online activity.
"Part of SpotOn is the merchant connects their business with social media and can respond to posts, as well as put one up," Zach Hyman said. "They might post on their Facebook page, 'Come in tomorrow between 5 and 6 p.m. for a free tequila shot.' And if the customer clicks to redeem something, we recognize that customer, who will then see the deal they redeemed on the tablet [at the merchant's POS].
"On the other hand, they can just send an email to 1,500 customers, maybe if a restaurant is changing locations, or is opening for lunch. Now you can tell everybody. It all makes it very easy for a business to track redemptions and see their [return on investment] on SMS, a mobile app, emails or social media outlets. ... Just that power to connect is worth a lot of money."
According to Matt Hyman, the benefits of CPAY's new partnership with TSYS are financial, technological and reputational. "TSYS has a solid reputation, and this deal really puts CPAY on the map," he said. "I think TSYS is an ethical company, so our cultures align that way. ... And we don't have the bandwidth that they do, so we'll be able to do things with products and technology that we couldn't do before."
Zach Hyman added, "We plan to aggressively board outside agents and let them know who we are and about the venture. It's a huge value, and our phones have been ringing off the phone with interest."
As for TSYS, the venture with CPAY represents its second major move into the acquiring space - but its first into the arena of independent sales, CPAY noted. In March 2010, TSYS established itself in the direct merchant acquiring space by purchasing a 51 percent controlling interest in the First National Bank of Omaha.
CPAY, on the other hand, does all of its merchant boarding through independent sales channels, thus giving TSYS a strong foothold in both the direct and indirect acquiring sectors, according to Susan Sheen, Senior Director of Marketing, Communications and Business Support for TSYS Merchant Services. "It gives us both sides of the equation," she said.
Sheen said the other selling points for CPAY include what she described as a "great cultural fit," as well as the fact that it was already a TSYS processing partner before the acquisition. "They don't have to learn the tools as they go to market," she pointed out, adding that TSYS has aims of becoming a top 10 global acquirer.
"We see ourselves growing through our existing business, through this joint venture, and we will also be looking at making other acquisitions in the future," she said.
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Company Profile originally appeared in
The Green Sheet Issue 120902
220601 - Nationwide Payment Systems
211102 - Kalamata Capital Group
210701 - Choice Merchant Solutions
200601 - Delta Payment Solutions
190802 - Credit.net, a division of Infogroup
190702 - Samsung Electronics America Inc.
181201 - Network Merchants LLC
180902 - MainStream Merchant Services Inc.
180801 - Century Business Solutions
180502 - Priority Payment Systems Northeast
180501 - Merchant e-Solutions Inc.
180301 - Wirecard North America
180201 - Sysnet Global Solutions Ltd.
171202 - Secure Cryptopayments
171002 - National Benefit Programs LLC
170902 - Frates Insurance & Risk Management
170901 - DCS Holdings Group LLC
170802 - Apogee Payment Systems LLC
170702 - Active Software & Hardware Systems
170701 - Veratad Technologies LLC
170502 - Frontline Processing Corp.
170501 - Platinum Choice Bancard LLC
170201 - Electronic Payments Inc.
161202 - International Bancard Corp.
161201 - CSR Professional Services Inc
161102 - Digitzs Solutions Inc.
161101 - Residual Sheriff LLC.
160801 - DigiPay: Solutions Inc
160702 - CreditCardProcessing.com
160201 - Lead Tracking Systems LLC
151202 - Benseron Information Technologies Inc.
151201 - CardWare International Inc
151101 - Lion Capital Group LLC
150801 - Topcreditcardprocessors.com
150702 - Vision Payment Solutions LLC
150601 - Conformance Technologies
150502 - Global Processing Systems
150402 - Mercantile Processing Inc.
150401 - Field Guide Enterprises
150302 - Signature Card Services
150301 - Premier Payment Systems Inc.
150201 - Humboldt Merchant Services
150102 - Expansion Capital Group LLC
141102 - National Merchants Association
141001 - Instant Credit Manager
140902 - Merchant Cash and Capital LLC
140701 - National Transaction Corporation (NTC)
140601 - Total Merchant Services
140501 - Nationwide Payment Solutions
140501 - BPC Banking Technologies
140301 - Meritus Payment Solutions
140201 - Process Pink Payments LLC
131202 - First American Payment Systems L.P.
131102 - Evo Payments International LLC
131001 - Live Reps Call Center
130901 - Regal Payment Systems LLC
130901 - The Merchant Solutions
130802 - North American Bancard LLC
130801 - Payment Logistics LLC
130702 - Plug n Pay Technologies Inc.
130601 - U.S. Merchant Systems LLC
130402 - National Processing Co.
130202 - Charge Card Systems Inc.
130202 - Layered Technologies Inc.
130102 - Glazer_Kennedy Insiders Circle LLC
121202 - American Microloan LLC
121102 - Keep in Touch Systems Inc.
121102 - Merchants Choice Payment Solutions
121002 - Washington Bancard Merchant Services LLC
120902 - Central Payment Co. LLC
120802 - Royal Merchant Holdings LLC
120801 - National Benefit Programs LLC
120602 - Cardinal Commerce Corp.
120601 - Veritrans Merchant Services LLC
120502 - ExecuTech Lease Group
120502 - The Small Business Authority
120402 - Chargeback Guardian Inc.
120401 - Electronic Payment Exchange
120301 - Complete Merchant Solutions LLC
120201 - CSR - Compliance Solutions and Resources
120102 - Alpha Card Services Inc.
111002 - Lead Source Call Center
111001 - First Annapolis Consulting Inc.
110902 - Point of Sale System Services Inc.
110901 - Sage Payment Solutions
110801 - Century Payments Inc.
110702 - Creative Vision Studio LLC
110702 - Network Merchants Inc.
110701 - Capital Access Network Inc.
110602 - eProcessing Network LLC
110602 - Moneris Solutions Inc.
110502 - Paragon Application Systems Inc.
110401 - Merchant Implementation Services
110301 - FrontStream Payments Inc.
101202 - CheckAlt Payment Solutions
101102 - Impact Payments Recruiting
101101 - Global Electronic Technology Inc.
101002 - TriSource Solutions LLC
100802 - Federated Payment Systems LLC
100801 - Voltage Security Inc.
100601 - NETSURION (formerly Vendor Safe Technologies)
100502 - Transaction Network Services Inc.
100402 - Secure Payment Systems Inc.
100401 - Elite Merchant Solutions
100302 - Retail Decisions Inc.
100102 - Payment Alliance International
091201 - Performance Training Systems Bankcard Boot Camp
091101 - Merchant e-Solutions Inc.
091002 - Whitehall Capital Advisors LLC
090901 - CoCard Marketing Group LLC
090801 - First National Merchant Solutions
090701 - checXchange Money Transfer Systems Inc.
090601 - Sterling Payment Technologies
090502 - Infinity Payment Systems
090501 - Merchant Cash and Capital
090401 - UseMyBank Services Inc.
090401 - Data Delivery Services Inc.
090302 - Velocity Merchant Services
090302 - Metro Merchant Services
090301 - Smart Transaction Systems Inc.
090301 - DCC Merchant Services USA LLC
090202 - TransFirst Holdings Inc.
090201 - ACH Payment Solutions
081202 - Affirmative Technologies Inc.
081201 - On-line Strategies Inc.
081101 - Vision Payment Solutions LLC
081002 - Veratad Technologies LLC
081001 - International Merchant Solutions LLC
080801 - GreenSoft Solutions Inc.
080702 - Smart Circle International
080601 - International Bancard Corp.
080502 - DRG Telemarketing Inc.
080501 - BCC Merchant Solutions
080402 - U.S. Merchant Systems
080401 - Greystone Business Resources Corp.
080302 - Transmedia Payment Services Ltd.
080102 - Sonoma Technical Support Services
071202 - Barclay Square Leasing Inc.
071102 - FirstView Financial LLC
071001 - Sage Payment Solutions
070902 - YourTownMall Business
070901 - Nxgen Payment Services
070802 - All card Processing-AAMonte-USA
070801 - Money Movers of America Inc.
070602 - Central Point Resources Inc.
070601 - Positive Feedback Software LLC
070502 - Premier Payment Systems
070501 - Amacai Information Corp.
070402 - National Bankcard Systems