Skipjack Financial Services

ISO/MLS contact:
Bill Marquardt
Account Manager
Phone: 888-368-8507, ext. 2102
Fax: 513-588-2101

Company address:

2230 Park Avenue, Suite 100
Cincinnati, OH 45206
Phone: 513-588-2100 or 888-368-8507
Fax: 513-588-2101
Web site:

ISO/MLS benefits:

  • Comprehensive data management tools
  • Sales and technical support
  • Choice of partner programs
  • One-time referral and recurring residual opportunities
  • Varying commission levels

Article Originally Appeared in
Green Sheet Issue 06:05:01

Flexibility and innovation with services and applications

Business is about evolution. Most of today's successful companies looked different at their inception than they do now. To achieve success, a business must be flexible enough to take advantage of developing technologies and meet market demand, while maintaining its identity and remaining true to its mission.

One such company has been able to grow with the financial services industry as it has matured: Skipjack Financial Services provides payment gateway services and related payment applications to merchants across North America.

Some who are familiar with the company may mistakenly think that it's only an Internet gateway. "It is how we started, but today most of our transactions are non-Internet; a good portion are MO/TO," Skipjack's President, Brad Hoeweler, said. "We also process POS and mobile transactions."

Today you will find Skipjack solutions in retail environments, call centers, Web sites and wireless solutions. "We are an IP [Internet protocol] solution, as opposed to a strictly Internet solution," Hoeweler said.

Skipjack specializes in meeting the needs of high-volume merchants that have complex payment solution requirements. "This is possible through our in-house ability to define, build and deliver complex solutions faster and more cost effectively than if built elsewhere," Hoeweler said.

Hoeweler founded the company in 1996. His father, Bob Hoeweler, is the Chief Financial Officer. Robert Levings, Chief Operating Officer, and Raj Sodhi, Chief Technology Officer, round out the leadership team.

Skipjack's 25 employees in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, process transactions for approximately 10,000 merchants in the United States and Canada. The Skipjack merchant base runs the gamut from small mom-and-pop sole proprietorships to Fortune 100 companies.

"Skipjack is more than just a payment gateway; we are payment solution experts," Hoeweler said. "Skipjack has the ability to cost-effectively build and deploy payment solutions that address complex internal payment process issues for our clients."

A huge year for Skipjack

Skipjack attained many milestones in 2005; it was an important year. Revenues grew more than 100%, and the company increased its focus on providing advanced payment solutions to high-volume merchants. In addition, it completed the purchase of TransActive Ecommerce Solutions Inc., a Canadian reseller of payment solutions.

Skipjack also recently deployed a PIN-based debit processing via IP solution. "We believe this to be an industry first," Hoeweler said. "This capability is targeted primarily at the Canadian marketplace where PIN-based debit is a must, but is also relevant to the U.S. market where more customers are using PIN-based debit."

In 2005 the company also launched its Vital POS Check service, which is certified with TSYS Acquiring Solutions (formerly Vital Processing Services) and Visa U.S.A.

"We offer the same value-add in check as we do in the credit card environment, that is, added information, reporting capabilities and integrated service," Hoeweler said. "We are pretty agnostic as to who we are tied into for processing, and we are working to add other check processing capabilities."

In addition to existing processor connections with First Data Merchant Services, NOVA Information Systems, TSYS, First Tennessee Bank and Universal Savings Bank, this past year Skipjack added certifications with Alliance Data Systems, Concord EFS (which was acquired by First Data Corp. in 2004) and RBS Lynk. Skipjack also re-certified with Global Payment Systems.

Customized solutions to satisfy varying needs

Skipjack works to provide tailored solutions for each individual merchant. "Skipjack is extremely flexible in terms of how we interact with merchants, and in the solutions we provide," Hoeweler said. "Because of our in-house development capabilities and merchant-focused service orientation, we can rapidly customize solutions to meet specific merchants' needs." One area of expertise is information. "Our focus on added information and security have defined our space. We can process Level III + 30," Hoeweler said.

Don't worry if you aren't familiar with the term "Level III + 30." It's an in-house term created to describe how Skipjack enables merchants to process level 1, 2 or 3 transactions and to also transmit up to 30 user-defined fields with the transaction data.

These user-defined fields can include whatever the merchant wishes, such as unique transaction IDs or demographic information. "This provides merchants with tremendous flexibility in terms of what data they can pass to us with each transaction, and what they can extract from our system," Hoeweler explained. "This is invaluable in building advanced payment forms and to facilitate powerful data mining direct from our system."

Most merchants define the fields to correspond to existing fields in their in-house accounting or support systems. "We have a lot of clients in the health care industry who use it for patient IDs, and some use it with questionnaires as a reporting tool," Hoeweler said.

These additional data fields allow merchants to use the Skipjack system for data management, as the data stored on the Skipjack system are readily available to merchants. The data are available online for 13 months, and if a merchant needs access after that time, Skipjack provides data retrieval services.

Another example of Skipjack's merchant-focused solutions is its PowerPay application. "Skipjack has a wide range of pre-built payment solutions for different market verticals that are quite unique," Hoeweler said.

"The PowerPay application, for example, is targeted at merchants who manually key large numbers of transactions, such as courier companies and bank lockbox applications," he continued. "Our goal is to understand the specific payment needs of those market segments and build solutions that reduce their payment processing costs."

Skipjack also goes to significant lengths to meet its clients' customer service needs. "Our knowledgeable support staff can typically respond to customer issues while the customer is on the phone, but in instances where that is not possible, our goal is to respond to inquiries within 24 hours," Hoeweler said. Customer support is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Emergency support is available 24/7, 365 days a year.

A sales channel for all

Skipjack has an array of partner programs designed to fit the unique needs of ISOs, merchant level salespeople and acquiring organizations. "The income potential is significant, and Skipjack will help you achieve it," Hoeweler said. The company offers three sales-channel options: the referral program, the reseller program and the alliance program. "The driving choice among the programs is the volume the agent expects to process," Hoeweler said.

Each program offers varying levels of commissions, one-time referral fees and recurring agent fees. These opportunities are designed to allow Skipjack partners to control their revenue streams. "We generally do not market directly to merchants. We are a reseller-based program," Hoeweler said. "We do our best to not sell."

Referral program

The referral program is designed for businesses that wish to resell Skipjack products but don't want the monthly commitment of billing or supporting the client. ISOs and MLSs simply refer a merchant to Skipjack and earn revenue on every Skipjack account sold.

"We are very flexible with creating a model that works best for each company," Hoeweler reported. "We have two models, a flat-fee-per-merchant model, or a residual-based-on-referral model." The agent refers the merchant, and Skipjack maintains the relationship directly with the merchant.

Reseller program

Skipjack's reseller program is best for ISOs and MLSs that wish to invest a bit more time into the program. "Skipjack provides resellers with unparalleled solutions that allow them to attract, retain and manage merchants, resulting in significant profit opportunities," Hoeweler said.

The reseller program includes four levels of pricing, based on the reseller's sales volume and commitment. Each level provides differing amounts of support and commitment, so most ISOs and MLSs are able to find a fit that works for their organization. Skipjack charges resellers wholesale prices, which resellers then mark up.

Resellers provide merchants with set up, billing and support, and they earn revenues from merchant transactions. Skipjack works to make the program easy for resellers. "We tie into the reseller's account setup process, so when they are creating an account on their end, they are creating an account on the Skipjack end too," Hoeweler said.

This means the agent does not need to re-key information or set up a merchant twice. When the account is set up, an e-mail is automatically sent to the merchant, as well as the reseller, to notify both parties of its status.

Resellers can also benefit from private-labeling the service. "We can configure the service so we become invisible," Hoeweler said.

Alliance program

Finally, Skipjack has an alliance program designed for software or hardware providers. With this program such providers can seamlessly integrate Skipjack payment processing into their solutions. The company works with software vendors, such as third party POS providers or billers, that want to integrate with Skipjack's solutions.

Alliance candidates include companies that develop shopping cart, storefronts, Web sites and so forth. Web hosting services and Internet service providers can also benefit from the program.

Regardless of the program chosen, Skipjack works to make the ISO or MLS relationship a profitable one. "Skipjack's unique features and functionality create lasting relationships for ISOs and their merchants.

"In addition, Skipjack sales support can act as the solution experts for the ISO and help them to close sales," Hoeweler said.

Synonymous with innovation and service

Hoeweler pointed out that an integral part of Skipjack's mission is to "aspire to become synonymous with innovation and service excellence, and to be 'top of mind' for businesses looking to solve complex payment problems."

To that end, the company works to help ISOs and MLSs attract, retain and manage merchants to grow their businesses profitably.

"ISOs and MLSs will benefit by offering the most efficient, functional and customizable solutions on the market," Hoeweler said. "Skipjack develops and delivers flexible Internet-connected payments solutions that dramatically reduce a merchant's cost of processing payments.

"We become the sales expert for our resellers. We realize there are a lot of products out there and we feel like we're a great fit for any merchant."

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