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A Thing Don't be Afraid of Your Freedom


Don't be Afraid of Your Freedom


     If you’re familiar with Lynk Systems, Inc., you know that they provide electronic payment, cash dispensing, and e-commerce services, including credit, debit, check, and EBT processing, as well as ATM transactions. That’s probably not groundbreaking information. You may also know that the company serves more than 50,000 merchants and over 7,000 ATM locations nationwide, which is impressive, but again, not groundbreaking.

     What is newsworthy, and what makes Lynk unique, is that they control the entire processing sequence, including sales, end-user equipment, transaction authorization, capture, settlement, and customer service. As you probably guessed, this is no easy feat. It is the result of a two-year project.

     The endeavor, dubbed “Project Freedom,” was a high level data processing project with the goal of bringing all existing and future credit card settlement in house. Historically, Lynk had been settling credit transactions through First Data Resources (FDR). About two years ago, they undertook Project Freedom. The actual merchant conversion began in April and was completed in October, at which time Lynk became a full service provider in the credit and debit processing industry. The reason this is news is because it is very rare in our industry for an organization to undertake a project of this scope.

     Paul Riddle, Vice President, Operations, for Lynk told us Project Freedom was “a very big commitment and focus the company had to take. The ongoing maintenance of the settlement system is intense, to say the least.”

     Why would anyone want to undertake such a monstrous task? Well, according to Riddle, their reasons were threefold:

  • The company wanted more quality control and less reliability on third parties for core services. 

  • Secondly, they desired increased cost control. Lynk believes they have enough volume that they should do everything they can to leverage that volume and lower transaction costs.

  • Finally, Lynk wanted a higher level of flexibility in their core processing capabilities. Having their own code and own systems enables them to make changes and customize services which would be very difficult to accomplish through a third party. The result is better service.

     Lynk undertook the project and completed it with solely their own personnel and systems. Riddle reports that the biggest challenge was the time the project demanded, commenting that it was the main focus for many Lynk employees for a long time. But, Riddle adds, “We would absolutely do it again. In fact, we are currently working on projects of equal scope and complexity.”

     Riddle reports that FDR did try to woo them back. “Because Lynk’s growth has been exponential over the last four or five years, we were a fairly important client.” But, Riddle stresses that FDR was helpful in their conversion process. “They facilitated our transition in a very professional manner. They understood our philosophical direction and did not try to encumber it at all.”

     Of course, such a project would not be a success, unless it was transparent to the customer base, and this one was. In fact, quality increased. For example, Lynk now combines their customers’ credit and debit activity into a single statement and redesigned the statement so that it is clearer and easier to understand.

     Please note that Lynk does not solicit ISOs, nor do they provide settlement for other organizations. They do refer you to the folks at FDR for those services.

     Lynk owns and operates its own field sales organization in major market areas around the U.S., with the goal of enhancing the company’s quality control. They also run a special program designed for banks that seek to outsource merchant processing without risking the loss of the commercial banking relationship.

     For more information about Lynk, contact Monica Cooper at (770) 396-1616 or visit their Web site at


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