When Gary Alloy and Mark Zisholtz co-founded Atlanta-based National Benefit Programs LLC in 2009, they set out to create a way to put more money in the pockets of ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) by saving them and their merchant customers money on expenses. Alloy, the company's Chief Executive Officer, noted that today, active program members save from 10 to 85 percent on more than 100 products and services.
As a former payment professional, Alloy, knows controlling costs can make a difference. "The reason why I left the credit card business was because of attrition and margin compression," he said. "I thought about how I could provide ISOs a program to offer merchants that could actually help them stop losing money on buying different benefits for their business, and that's how I came up with National Benefit Programs."
The company's leadership team now includes Rob Riggs, Chief Technology Officer, who provides major discounts to ISOs and MLSs on manufacturer and retail products through the merchant benefits program. Members save money on shipping, office supplies, air travel, hotels, car rentals, legal services, payroll, software, computers, electronics, web design and cell phone services, among other offerings.
"Merchants who use our program are finding significant savings that offset any discount they can get through somebody else," Alloy said.
Alloy said ISOs subscribing to the program have an advantage over their competitors because the benefits help them retain more customers. "ISOs face the challenge of keeping their merchants, and one way you can do that is to offer value-added services," Alloy said, adding that the program makes merchants stickier because once they experience the benefits, they will think twice about switching providers.
NBP stated its base of 100,000 members gives it power to negotiate discounts with major brands, including UPS, Sprint, ADP, Office Depot, Staples, Go Daddy, Priceline and more. At only $10 a month for each user, the program more than pays for itself, according to Alloy.
"A business can use Office Depot or Staples to buy furniture to get a nice discount, and they can get computers, fax machine, copier, chairs, furniture, pens, pencils – saving up to 80 to 85 percent depending on the particular thing that they are looking for," he said. "We also use American Data for payroll and UPS for shipping. You can get up to a 27 percent discount with ADP on processing on payroll, which is pretty significant. If they use just one benefit once a month, it is more than the premium that they pay for the package."
ISOs deliver the program through their websites, where merchants place orders directly with manufacturers. A designated person from the ISO's information technology department can work with NBP to design the website, or the company can help design it for them.
NBP also partners with ISOs on multilayered marketing campaigns. "We ask the ISO to send out emails, regular mail and put a statement message on their credit card processing statements to the merchants once a month," Alloy said. "We send them out a welcome letter introducing our program … and we try to engage with the merchant every month with new benefits that we offer to keep it fresh. In our marketing campaigns, we work directly with the ISO, and we help them market the program because nobody can help them market the program better than us."
NBP offers a full refund to customers if they become dissatisfied. "If you're unhappy with our product, or our service, we will give you back 100 percent of the money you put in," Alloy said. "It doesn't matter if you're in for a month, six months, or a year; we will return your money no questions asked."
The company prides itself on the fact that no customer has ever asked for a refund. "There is nothing better than that," Alloy said.
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