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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Integrated systems create a new POS paradigm

News

Industry Update

Intuit's IMS ends agent program

Indictment halts the action for poker sites, processors

PayPal, Discover launch Money Messenger

Does certification without licensing make sense?

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

China's prepaid market a different world

Prepaid's unique way in India

Features

Text message marketing, the other mobile

Pal Flagg
Street Savings

Meet The Expert: John Arato

ISOMetrics:
Technology in the hospitality world

Press release power

Views

Facts and figures from the feet on the street

Jeffrey Shavitz
Charge Card Systems Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Let's reform our industry's education and training

Bill Pirtle
MPCT Publishing Co.

What tokenization is and isn't

Tim Cranny
Panoptic Security Inc.

Ask, don't sell

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

How to use direct mail to build your business

Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing

Global opportunities mean global strategies

Caroline Hometh
RocketPay LLC

New Products

Tapping the government and education markets

ConvenuPAY
Electronic Merchant Systems

Inspiration

Learn to make use of conflict

Departments

10 Years ago in
The Green Sheet

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Miscellaneous

2011 Calendar of events

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 09, 2011  •  Issue 11:05:01

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Intuit's IMS ends agent program

Innovative Merchant Solutions, the payment processing arm of Intuit Inc., is terminating its agent program effective July 31, 2011, the end of its fiscal year. IMS National Sales Manager Jeff Broudy confirmed his company is ending its agent program.

"It's no longer a channel Intuit is focusing on," he said. "We are turning our attention to our core channels. We've just decided not to use our agent channel as one of our core channels."

Broudy noted that the revenue generated by agents has been falling over the years. "We really haven't been investing in the agent channel," he said. "For regular ISOs the agent channel is their bread and butter. We really didn't put enough resources and focus into our agent channel. There are so many opportunities in our business strategy. We are really different than the normal ISO because of our ecosystem."

Intuit is the manufacturer of popular small-business software systems such as Quickbooks, Quicken, and TurboTax. In 2003, Intuit acquired IMS to be its bankcard processor. IMS now has an annual processing volume of nearly $10 billion and more than 25 million customers. As many as 7,000 agents in 13 states could be impacted by the decision to terminate the agent program.

"I think big and small companies each have their own DNA," Broudy explained. "Some have DNA that is very good in certain sales channels. Typically, if you focus on a few, critical sales channels you get better. We found our agent channel is not one of the few critical channels we wanted to focus on."

Merchants might have caused headaches

Some industry insiders are speculating there is more to the IMS decision to terminate its agent program than IMS is letting on. US Merchant Services Chief Executive Officer Steve Norell believes merchants just got fed up with IMS' service and fees.

"I can only speculate, but I can tell you what I saw in person," he said. "When they opened their offices they were hiring people left and right. The people they hired started culling merchants and giving out erroneous information.

"The problem is a company like Intuit doesn't understand this business at a street level. I think they were probably hit hard over the years by a lot of angry merchants. I don't think their agent program was as successful as they thought it would be. I mean, why should they have street agents when they can just pay someone $10 an hour to sit at a desk and take orders?"

Norell made another observation. "They have three channels out there, and they are all competing with each other every day of the week," he said. "You just can't have that and have all three be successful."

Forum members gladly bid farewell to IMS

There was lots of chatter on GS Online's MLS Forum about the Intuit agent termination. None of it was flattering. A forum member who goes by SLICK STREETMAN commented, "Par for the course for a publicly held corporation. The greedy stockholders probably figured they could bleed a few more bucks into their pockets if they didn't have to pay residuals."

SDSORENSON added this to the forum discussion, "I think that's awesome! Innovative Merchant Services [Intuit] in my area is home of the 'no contract' processing - except for the $295 deconversion fee which is never disclosed. Also no mids, nons, ten-cent trans fee, unrealistic savings proposals, etc., etc., etc. ... One less rotten apple in the barrel."

Another forum member, HIPOINT, agrees with Norell's assessment. "To my mind ... Intuit enjoys a respectable reputation with their other products, Quickbooks et al.," he stated. "I'm thinking the number of merchant complaints Intuit had to deal with as a result of their ... agent boardings is the reason they terminated the program."

CCGUY posted that he looked over an IMS statement for a merchant and "added a few lines together," and the merchant "almost fell off the chair" when he saw how much he was paying IMS for processing.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | USAePay | Super G Capital LLC | Humboldt Merchant Services | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems