s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for Take Charge Business Consulting LLC - a Houston-based consulting firm specializing in payments industry acquiring operations, risk management and residual payments - Deana Sellens personifies the notion of climbing the ladder to success.
"I started out as a receptionist and ended up as Assistant Vice President of Risk, Collections and Underwriting," Sellens said, recalling her first job in the payments industry: answering phones at Retriever Payments Systems, a registered merchant services provider since 1986.
"I've done call center, every aspect of operations, and then all types of risk management and underwriting solutions," Sellens said. "It was an expensive education for Retriever, but I'm a little guru now in risk and operations. Bill Higgins of Retriever gave me my entire education, and I can't thank him enough."
Sellens started TCB out of boredom and a desire to compete with consulting firms that she felt grossly overcharged ISOs. "There was no challenge in my work after all of the losses dropped to under a basis point," she said. "I have always performed consulting projects on the side. When I started getting enough clients to launch my own consulting group two years ago, I took the leap."
Scrubbed and streamlined
TCB provides a range of services including new department setups, fraud casework, risk training for staff, residual revenue error checking, system evaluation, loss reduction, agent registration, documentation and automation.
"TCB offers a 24/7 risk counseling service for newcomers into risk, and its loss reduction services are paid for as a percentage of what we save a company, so it is a win-win situation for everyone," Sellens said. The company has streamlining and automation expertise, and it focuses on the four areas of merchant credit card risk: acquiring risk, compliance, operations and residual payments.
"We can assess those [areas] and tell you where you are losing money in losses or payroll, and then we help the management team figure out where to streamline and better maintain their portfolio," Sellens said.
One of TCB's most popular services is its residual error-check reporting. "The data entry errors in this industry are rampant ... and these guys are just bombarded with mistakes," Sellens added. "We'll scrub those transactions for them and make sure they're getting paid correctly."
Tailor-made and thorough
TCB also processes monthly residual files to calculate payments for ISOs and individual reps. The service includes the production of monthly statements and error checks.
It also offers three months of free follow-up after every job. And the consultancy publishes a free loss prevention newsletter on its Web site, as well as a comprehensive list of links useful to those involved in fraud investigation and prevention.
In addition, TCB can assist ISOs who want to bring risk management operations in-house. "We don't just run, do a quick job, get the big check and then get out of there," Sellens said. "We want to make sure that these ISOs - with whom we deal exclusively - can implement tailor-made solutions we've given them. ... That's why we offer 90 days of free follow-up on every job."