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More money, possibilities for ISOs, MLSs

Cayan LLC, an acquirer and tech company that reports more than 80,000 active merchants and $14.5 billion in annual processing volume, is sweetening its compensation package for ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs). They'll now make more money under either of the Boston-based firm's compensation plans, according to John Buchanan, Cayan Director of Third Party Sales.

ISOs and MLSs who choose residuals instead of larger upfront commissions, will see their share of the margin on deals rise to 85 percent, Buchanan said. That's up from 70 percent to 80 percent, he noted. Those who choose larger, front-loaded commissions will continue to receive 60 percent of the margin.

But the increased percentages tell only part of the story. The margins themselves are increasing as Cayan lowers the buy rate, or break-even point, Buchanan said. The company is achieving that reduced buy rate by refining the way it does business, he added.

And Cayan's improvements for ISOs and MLSs don't end there, the way Buchanan tells it. The company is setting lower minimum requirements to qualify for the best return, he said. "We've made the production thresholds more attainable," he said.

That change will help Cayan share the wealth earlier with promising new ISOs and MLSs, Buchanan said. "We want to reward productive agents while they're building the portfolio," he explained. "If you're building a portfolio that will eventually amount to x number of deals, we want to pay you accordingly rather than requiring you to build up the portfolio to begin with."

Cayan also bases a signing bonus for new ISOs and MLSs on their sales performance, Buchanan said. The bonus can reach as high as $7,000, he noted.

Training based on experience

Besides improving compensation, Cayan is continuing to offer training to its ISOs and MLSs, Buchanan emphasized. The company's web seminars provide a foundation for that training, which it varies to benefit salespeople at all levels of experience, he said.

Structured online sessions guide rookies through the basics of selling transaction deals and onboarding merchants, for example, while sessions for more experienced salespeople provide updates on changes in the industry, Buchanan noted.

That emphasis on third-party salespeople is coming from a company with a long history in the acquiring industry. Henry Helgeson, Cayan's Chief Executive Officer, co-founded the company in 1998 with Scott Zdanis to provide transaction services and resell credit card terminals.

The journey to technology

Helgeson and Zdanis, who'd made friends in college, originally called the company Merchant Warehouse, a name that conveyed the idea of offering merchant services and countertop hardware at a low price. They sold terminals on the Internet for about $400 each at a time when other salespeople were offering terminals door-to-door for $1,000 or more.

For years, the company has pursued technological innovation in payments, and it claims to have been the first to build its own mobile application to accept credit cards and the first to certify readers that would eventually offer point-to-point encryption. Along the way, the company developed a tech parade that has included products known as TransPort, BinSMART and MerchantWARE Mobile.

The focus on technology has produced the company's Genius customer-engagement platform, which came out about three years ago. It was designed to handle current and future forms of payment while incorporating value-added gift and loyalty products and providing a high level of security from fraud.

Changing the name from Merchant Warehouse to Cayan in 2014 reflected the metamorphosis from an acquiring company with tech on the periphery to a company with tech at its core, Helgeson said at the time. The company website states that the Cayan name captures "the boldness, energy and excitement at our company and the bright future of the payments industry." In marketing materials the name often appears with a subtitle: "Cayan – The Payment Possibilities Company." end of article

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ISO/MLS contact:

Doug Small
Manager of Third Party Sales

Company Profile originally appeared in
The Green Sheet Issue 160202

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