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ISO contact:

George Mayo
Phone: 800-288-8472, ext. 923

Rich Lopez
Phone: 800-288-8472, ext. 912

Company address:

MSI, Merchant Services Inc.
2204 Morris Ave, Suite 303
Union, NJ 07083
Phone: 800-226-5227
Fax: 908-622-1221
Web site:

ISO benefits:

  • Online and faxed merchant applications.
  • Real-time status reporting on the Web.
  • Check truncation on all terminal types.
  • Equipment loaded in-house and shipped at no charge to the customer.
  • Direct leasing with no declines.

Good Things Come to Those Who Don't Have to Wait

MSI, the New Jersey Headquarters takes the concept of "same day approvals" for merchant accounts to the next level. As part of its new program, called 1-800-BankCard, the company said ISOs can fax their merchant applications to MSI NJ and submit them online through MSI's Web site. In the past, to be eligible for "same day approval" an ISO had to send the original merchant application to MSI NJ for next day delivery.

Mario Parisi, Chief Operations Officer for MSI NJ, is thrilled with the new program and thinks ISOs will be, too. "This is a program designed to do everything you possibly want," he said. "Basically, you get paid in 24 hours. If you're a sales rep and you're out in the field, you get to fax in an application ... we have instant approvals. No pictures are needed, no original application is needed."

In addition to online and faxed applications, the 1-800-BankCard program offers ISOs the option to fax leasing contracts, with no originals needed. It also provides 24-hour lease funding via an automated clearinghouse (ACH). MSI NJ said it is able to offer direct leasing with no declines because of its strong relationship with a reputable leasing company, Lease Finance Group, a division of CIT.

"As a sales rep for us, we give you direct leasing. We give you the relationship with the leasing company, and we don't touch your lease money. You get to fax in the lease, you get to get your commission instantaneously," said Parisi.

1-800-BankCard allows ISOs to check the status of their accounts online through MSI NJ's Web site, The information available to ISOs and merchants includes current and historical data from statements, batches and chargebacks. "Our site is very interactive and easy to use," said Parisi. "[ISOs] can go on there and tell when things are shipped and when things are approved."

MSI NJ also deploys equipment in-house and then ships the equipment via UPS ground; both services are free of charge. If equipment is under warranty and a defect arises during the first 30 days, it is replaced immediately, no questions asked and at no cost to the merchant or ISO. "We do believe in quality control," he said. "We make sure everything goes right the first time so there's no technical support problems."

The 1-800-BankCard program is the latest offering from a company in its 14th year of business, which has grown along with the industry. Mario Parisi and his two partners, George Mayo and Andrew Czujko founded MSI NJ in 1989. The partners set out to establish their company as a leading provider of electronic payment processing services. Its initial steps were taken in leasing equipment, which evolved to residual streams and eventually led to "ISO in a box," as Mario put it - front- and back-end relationship and processing.

In 1993, MSI New Jersey formed a buying cooperative with two other entities, Merchant Services of Long Island and Merchant Services of South Dakota, although each entity remains independently owned and operated as well as financially autonomous.

Today, MSI NJ provides merchants with quality credit/debit card processing for Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and other private-label card transactions in addition to offering check truncation, conversion and guarantee, gift card/loyalty card programs and an Internet payment gateway (the company also does its own risk and credit underwriting). All programs are accomplished through sales channels on a national basis. Direct sales channels, major accounts, independent ISOs - they all are part of the mix. According to Parisi, hundreds of merchants can be approved automatically, regardless of credit, brick-and-mortar retailers such as hair salons, bicycle shops, etc. MSI NJ has no specific target market, although the company does not approve of all merchants. On its Web site, MSI NJ lists the types of businesses it typically does not do business with, such as 900 numbers, although there are some exceptions, and businesses operating under certain criteria will be allowed.

"Our target is whatever our sales force wants," Parisi said. "We're not afraid of high-volume accounts if the criteria is there."

The criterion that Parisi refers to is the volume of deals within a profit-sharing structure. MSI NJ has no set guidelines within that structure. Each ISO partnership is coordinated on an individual basis.

"It is so hard to define what level ISOs are at," Parisi said. "It's so hard to get the truth about their merchant numbers. Here at MSI NJ, we do not give anyone any type of false promises. We don't say yes to everyone. If they are credit worthy, we are willing to participate."

An even more appealing offer for ISOs is the signing bonus. When an ISO signs up a merchant to accept American Express, Discover and Diner's Club, MSI NJ will pay that ISO an upfront commission of $35, $20 and $15, respectively. MSI NJ adds in a free merchant welcome kit with conventional stickers, a user's guide, overlays and plates. And don't forget the highly competitive wholesale equipment rates because of MSI NJ's direct-buy relationships with providers such as Hypercom, Lipman, Thales and VeriFone.

"ISOs like our longevity, our stability and the way we pay," said Parisi. MSI NJ promises monthly residual checks for life, paid like clockwork on the 25th day of the following month to all partnering ISOs. Those checks can be paid in conjunction with portfolio ownerships that contain aggressive buy rates and multiple revenue streams. MSI NJ offers buyouts to ISOs who prefer money up front rather than residuals. Custom, comprehensive programs are available to every ISO who partners with MSI NJ with no app or set-up fees.

"Our primary market is ISOs," Parisi said. "Our main goal is that we want them to know that we are honest, reputable - a good company to do business with. We give you more opportunity. You'll make the most possible money available, and not only can you make the most money, but you're going to get paid it. There is something to be said for companies who don't break promises. We wake up every morning and do the right thing."

Parisi said MSI NJ focuses on finding the good ISOs and getting rid of the bad ones - the ones guilty of profiling, poor credit, no credit or credibility. "We do our due diligence," he said. "In the real world, everyone represents but can't say yes to everything. We're in the real world."

In that real world, support is vital to MSI NJ as well. Consider the three departments that make up its support services: The ISO support desk is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time; the customer service desk has a live, real-time 800 number because MSI NJ insists that merchants always have a live contact; and the technical support desk, also a live 800 number, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Several years ago, MSI NJ implemented a proactive support program as opposed to a reactive help desk. It was simple - every terminal gets tested in-house before it goes out the door.

Parisi reports that it has eliminated 20% to 30% of equipment problems. "Here at MSI, we basically do it right the first time so we're not chasing our tails all day," he said.

The program also involves quality control, dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Person A inputs data. Person B double-checks it. MSI runs daily reports in-house as yet another backup to insure high ROI as well as a 95% effective support rate.

"We just have a well-oiled machine here," said Parisi.

MSI NJ continues to grow; about 19,000 merchants use MSI NJ's services, up from about 15,000 two and a half years ago. The company reports it processed $1.48 billion in 2002, and its revenue has doubled since 2000, to $12 million. Hypercom Corp. named MSI NJ "ISO of the Year" for 2002.

"MSI's philosophy is to maintain the communication between the merchant and their sales channels," Parisi said. "This communication maintains positive customer relations along with client loyalty. It's better for the merchant and the rep."

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