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Table of Contents

Lead Story

The shifting landscape of merchant acquiring

Patti Murphy

News

Industry Update

Merchants, courts debate credit card surcharging

Merchant groups press on for lower Durbin cap

Amazon unveils exclusive e-commerce program

Features

How tax fraud impacts your merchants

Andrew Altschuler

Views

The showroom effect

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

What to disclose to underwriters

Ken Musante
Eureka Payments LLC

Education

Street SmartsSM:
The merchant cash advance

John Tucker
1st Capital Loans LLC

Getting legal with millennials in payments

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

A great leader may not be your friend

Steven Feldshuh
Merchants

Facilitating collaboration to safeguard sensitive data

James Daube
Global Legal Law Firm

From EMV to CNP: A look into U.S. authentication

Christoph Tutsch
Onpex GmbH

Company Profile

Go4Payments

New Products

Internet failover for high-volume merchants

OptConnect duo
OptConnect

Comprehensive, proactive ID theft protection

BFR SecurID
Business Financial Resources LLC

Inspiration

Brush up your phone manners

Departments

Letter from the editors

Readers Speak

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 25, 2016  •  Issue 16:04:02

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What to disclose to underwriters

By Ken Musante

I recently came across a merchant level salesperson who mentioned that using an agent to obtain a merchant account is better than going direct for several reasons. Among the reasons cited was that an agent can help a merchant decide what to submit and what to withhold from an underwriter. Although I believe a merchant can receive stellar service from an agent because agents have fiduciary responsibility to ensure the underwriters know all the potentially negative information an agent has about a merchant account, I thought this individual needed guidance.

Pertinent versus superfluous

Let's presume this individual was not suggesting any pertinent information be held back from an underwriter but was instead suggesting some items are superfluous to an underwriting decision and would increase the size of the file without providing additional material useful in rendering an opinion. A telemarketing script is likely appropriate to submit with a MO/TO merchant file. Fulfillment procedures are likely not appropriate.

For full disclosure, I am the President of a registered ISO. I believe that, as an agent, we can better assist by placing the merchant with the bank that can offer the merchant the best terms over the life of the account. Moreover, by sometimes placing a merchant with two banks, we can ensure redundancy of a critical service as well as provide other benefits such as increased processing limits and lowest reserves.

When placing a merchant at a second institution, however, it is important for that institution to know of an existing account if one exists. That allows the underwriter to fully understand the magnitude of the merchant's activities. If we have statements from a prior processor within a relevant time period, we must provide them to the underwriter ‒ even if that information does not cast the merchant in the best light.

Disclosure to build trust

An agent's job is to fully explain negative information about the merchant and present that information at the time of the underwriting. We have much greater credibility with the underwriter, and the underwriter is far more likely to approve a merchant, if we present past issues, as opposed to the underwriter finding that information independently. When providing the information, we can explain what caused the situation and what the merchant is doing (or has done) to remediate the problem. As we gather application information, one of the questions I like to ask is, What negative information might the underwriter find independently? Playing catch up once that information is discovered rather than disclosed is a far more difficult task.

Trust takes many interactions and time to build, but it can be lost in an instant. Gaining the trust of an underwriter or underwriting team is invaluable to our business. It allows us the opportunity to have conversations regarding files that would not otherwise be considered. But when submitting any file, we must recognize that trust is continually being tested. Withholding critical information is not only a violation of our fiduciary responsibility; it's just plain wrong.

Ken Musante is President of Eureka Payments LLC. Contact him by phone at 707-476-0573 or by email at kenm@eurekapayments.com. For more information, visit www.eurekapayments.com.

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

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