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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Oct. 1, 2011: D-Day for debit cards?

News

Industry Update

New Visa, MasterCard rates take effect

Heartland offers Durbin impact insights

Operation Swiper succeeds, cyber theft continues

World payments growing in recession

Trade Association News

Features

An interview with Douglas Bergeron

Ken Musante
Eureka Payments LLC

Underbanked in America

Patti Murphy
ProScribes Inc.

Research Rundown

Helping to expand services while minimizing costs

Square versus the payments world

Tim McWeeney

ISOMetrics:
Payroll and gen Y

Excelling at social media marketing

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

First Data powers prepaid for Google Wallet

Prepaid spot-on for incentives

Views

Merchants lack focus, fraud eats profits

Patti Murphy
ProScribes Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Vertical market tradeshows hold many helpful surprises

Bill Pirtle
MPCT Publishing Co.

Fraud's twists and turns in 2011

Nicholas Cucci
Network Merchants Inc.

Customer longevity in the new commerce chain

Dale S. Laszig
Castles Technology Co. Ltd.

Steps toward efficient IRS 1099-K reporting

Troy Thibodeau
Convey Compliance Systems Inc.

Company Profile

Lead Source Call Center

New Products

A complete online payment center

Transaction Express
TransFirst LLC

Cloud-based POS comes in three flavors

Morris
Moneris Solutions Inc.

Inspiration

It really is about you

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 24, 2011  •  Issue 11:10:02

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Helping to expand services while minimizing costs

No longer can most ISOs sit on the sizable revenue streams that once flowed in from high-volume merchant portfolios, said Linda Grimm, who in March 2011 launched the merchant services consulting business, Linda Grimm Consulting.

Grimm said margin compression caused by new payment acceptance forms, like mobile, and increasingly stringent regulations are the main reasons ISOs are broadening their sales strategies to include an array of revenue sources. Grimm's business has the dual focus of finding new revenue channels and streamlining operational tasks for ISOs and other payment entities - processors, acquiring banks and software providers among them - that seek her help.

"ISOs need to be aware of what's going on, and they need to start proactive measures," Grimm said. "As margins compress, ISOs need to find alternative ways to keep merchants and generate revenue. I can assist a processor or ISO by saying, 'Let's look at your portfolio and what makes sense for your business,'" she said. "Maybe there are other things we can add."

Top-notch services

She pointed out that the expanded service component her company provides largely revolves around providing top-flight risk management and compliance services. She partnered with a software company to develop a risk management and underwriting program that provides transaction parameters and monitors work flows. She said the program's fraud filter is based on "standard industry exceptions," but the program can be adjusted to fit particular businesses or verticals.

Regarding Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance, Grimm advises merchant service providers to remove all customer data from a merchant's environment whenever possible. She also helps make sure ISOs provide merchants the proper assistance for completing Self-Assessment Questionnaires, as well as appropriate resources for POS system scanning and compliance level monitoring.

Grimm added that, while the PCI DSS is a crucial tool, merchant service providers must recognize the pieces it doesn't cover. For example, within certain verticals like health care, the protection of personally identifiable information, such as Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers and birth dates is essential.

An efficiency expert

Grimm began her merchant services career 14 years ago with Humboldt Merchant Services in California, where she oversaw the company's risk management, underwriting, compliance with card brand and government regulations, and customer service operations.

"When I took over the customer service area, we had all of our employees doing everything," she said. "They'd take an incoming call, and if it needed research, they'd do all of that. The learning curve was about six months for employees to function autonomously.

"So we moved the job duties into smaller chunks, and the [entry level] learning curve went from six months to a month, and the other benefit was employees had another level to get to for career growth. I think we had been answering 65 percent of calls within one minute, and we increased that to 85 percent."

Grimm said she works with ISOs to find ways of "improving efficiency, so you can take on more volume without having to hire staff at the same rate." That also includes examining whether a company's operations are in line with its mission. For example, making sure that the portfolios taken on are in keeping with a company's underwriting policy - a common problem in the industry, Grimm noted.

Based in California but providing services to businesses across the country, Linda Grimm Consulting offers a personalized service at a much lower cost than what big consulting firms typically charge, Grimm said.

"I'm going to be able to give them very targeted and personalized service at a rate that's going to be far lower than the larger players out there," she said. "My niche is the smaller ISOs that don't want to pay the fees of a large consulting firm, but I bring to the table the same level of professionalism and expertise."

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 | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems | Board Studios