The Green Sheet Online Edition
September 13, 2010 • Issue 10:09:01
Data management for ISOs, merchants
Nucleus Platform, a new offering from iPayStation, is designed to be a tool that ISOs can use both to enrich their merchants' payment platforms as well as to manage their own client boarding data.
For merchants, Nucleus is a gift and loyalty platform that helps with customer retention and acquisition, improves data analytics and eases the burden of Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance, according to Bruce Burke, Director of Business Development for iPayStation.
Merchants who subscribe can market to their customers using any number of channels, text messaging, email and online social media among them. Customers who enter the loyalty program can keep tabs on their loyalty points or gift card balances through an online portal. They can also add gift card functionality to cell phones and conventional payment cards.
"Let's say you have a $50 gift card, and you take your friends to lunch and the total comes to $100," Burke said. "They swipe the gift card, take the balance off of it, and you give them a credit or debit card for the other $50.
They can swipe your credit card for the remaining balance and then attach your credit card to that loyalty reward card right there on the fly.
"So now you don't have to carry around that loyalty/reward card: your credit card is that loyalty card, and every time you use that card within that loop, boom! You get both loyalty points with [the credit card issuer] and your [merchant's] loyalty/reward points."
Nucleus also allows merchants and ISOs to consolidate normally disparate streams of information into a single portal to facilitate marketing efforts.
Burke said merchants often deal with split data because they have separate processors for conventional card purchasing and gift card purchasing, while ISOs must deal with segregated data from the various processors to which their merchants connect.
Nucleus consolidates these different data streams into a single portal. ISOs see the aggregated data from all of their merchants; merchants see aggregated data from all their card transactions, including gift card purchases.
"If the ISO is selling three or four different processors to get deals done and that sort of thing - because some processors specialize in certain industries - they can still have all their data concerning all their transactions going through all their processors all in one easy to utilize format," Burke said.
On the fly
Nucleus is also a data management tool for boarding merchants. Burke said MLSs can access the program on a smart phone, either through a downloaded application or web portal, and use it to send contractual and other merchant boarding information to their ISOs.
Burke added that agents can also use the program to track the merchant authentication process in real time.
"We have ISOs that, when they go to the retail store, all the applications and forms they need are in an application on their iPhone," Burke said.
"They have the retailer review the documents, enter the information and when he's done entering all the info, the agent can submit the app via the iPhone back to headquarters.
"When headquarters receives it, the agent can start tracking it through the authorization process before they turn [the merchant] up as a live account. And once it becomes live, the agent can actually use the same application to track the commissions of all the sales for all these locations."
Nucleus is a software-as-a-service program that runs off of iPayStation's server, so neither ISOs nor merchants who use the platform store customer data. For merchants, that feature eliminates certain PCI requirements around safeguarding stored data, Burke said.
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