Chosen Payments launched in 2008 with a distinct ISO model, one that would revolve around treating agents and merchants as business partners, and value quality over quantity when signing agents and boarding niche market merchants across a variety of industry sectors.
That concept appears to be working. Today, the Moorpark, Calif.-based ISO manages two full service offices in Salt Lake City and Overland Park, Ks., and has operations in Canada. The company has an established presence in the ground transportation, uniform retail, eye care, jewelry, home housewares and pet care niche markets.
Chosen founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Brodsly, a veteran merchant level salesperson (MLS) and organization leader, understands ISO dynamics. "I'm not worried about closing a thousand deals," he said. "I have a niche market model where we really just focus on markets where we dominate one specific sector, and we spend a lot of time in that sector as opposed to just feet-to-street or cold calling or brand new businesses; we focus on niche market sectors."
Chosen's agility in reaching niche markets has stemmed, in part from the all-in-one, custom-built platform the company developed. Customer relationship management, online application, batch reporting, and residual reporting tools and alerts are among its features, as are merchant-, agent- and operations-facing access to business-critical information and data.
"We spent a lot of time building this all-in-one, ISO-driven software system that has completely changed the way we do business," Brodsly said. With the automated alert and tracking system, MLSs can better manage the boarding process, from underwriting to programming merchants, Brodsly added.
The merchant side of the platform is highly specialized. "It's all customized based on industry type, so based on the needs of the industry, we'll write specific code in the gateway that enhances the user experience," Brodsly said, noting that convenience is a major benefit. For example, a merchant with automated clearing house and credit card transactions can log in to one portal.
Merchants can also prequalify for various products through the portal. The system's automated alerts let merchants know how much money to expect in their bank the next day. Educational materials, data analytics, loyalty program and other offerings are accessible on the platform as well, the company noted.
Chosen places a premium on transparency at every level. With MLSs, processing fees and costs are straightforward, and they offer no bonuses. "We don't mark up any of our costs," Brodsly said. "Whatever the processor gives me, I give to my agent. I don't have a buy-rate program. We treat them like a true partner. We allow them to control their own destiny, whether that means how they want to price accounts or they want to sell their book of business. They own the rights to do what they want to do."
For merchants, Chosen's team of interchange experts focuses on procuring the best possible rates. "At a high-end restaurant, they're going to take more corporate rewards than a dry cleaner or liquor store, who might take more debit," he said. "We really get to know our merchant and then, based on the majority of the cards they accept, we educate them." One tactic Chosen employs is to write customization into its gateway that ensures merchants qualify for the best interchange rate based on card types accepted.
Brodsly pointed out that once merchants board, they typically stay. "A merchant calls here, my staff knows who they are, what their name is, how many kids they have, things of that nature," Brodsly said. "We create relationships with them, so they don't leave us."
As Chosen continues to institute its ISO model, it is receiving recognition from payments industry insiders. For example, the company was named to the First Data President’s Club for two consecutive years, and Brodsly was invited to join the First Data Advisory Board.
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