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Issue 04:03:01

Industry Update

First Data Corp./Concord EFS Merger Goes Through

Card Payments at QSRs by the Numbers


Defining Internet Transaction Communication

By Mike English

Death, Taxes...and ATM Regulation?

By Ann All, Senior Editor,

Flamenco Dancers and Key Lime Pie

Book Review:
Uncovering Google Secrets with "Google Hacks"

By Kyle Rankin, Systems Administrator, Green Sheet Inc.


Speaking Many Languages At the Point of Purchase

By Paul Rasori

The Opportunity for Risk-sensitive Pricing in Acquiring

By Charles Marc Abbey

Marketing 101: A Monthly Column for Processors

By Nancy Drexler


Street Smarts:The Gifts That Keep on Giving

By Ed Freedman

Understanding the Payment Processing Trade Association Events

By Peter Scharnell

What MLSs Should Know About Business Entities

By David H. Press

Bankcard 101

By Lazaros Kalemis

New Products

MagTek's USB-compatible Magstripe Reader

Using Digital Signatures for Authentication

Spend it Just like Dough

Company Profiles



Pop Quiz Time!



Resource Guide


The Faces Behind the Name

The merchant level salesperson (MLS) network spans far and wide across the country, and it's not often that agents get to match the names with the faces of their ISO partners. Starting with its latest ad campaign, Westbury, NY-based IRN Payment Systems is one ISO you'll be seeing and hearing a lot more of.

The ads picture IRN's President and management team, and the company has several exciting new programs available: merchant cash bonuses, the launching of a proprietary point-of-sale check debit processing system and a new partnership with a gift card provider.

IRN is also guaranteeing to beat any sales agent's current deal-so you might want to take a closer look.

"There are not many ISOs that have been in this industry as long as we have," said Amedeo Dino Sgueglia, founder and President of IRN Payment Systems. "And we're not just a standard ISO that comes in and bases the deal on a price and a handshake and that's it.

"We're also not a standard ISO in this sense: send us your merchant account, and we'll send you a residual. We're forming relationships and strategic partnerships to be able to provide services outside just Visa or MasterCard."

Dino Sgueglia founded IRN Payment Systems, a provider of merchant services to ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs), in 1988 with one other associate. Today, Sgueglia is the sole principal of the company.

The company's original name was Independent Resources Network. "The name was kind of ambiguous for a reason," Sgueglia said. "When we first got started we didn't know which types of products and services we were going to offer for payment processing."

As the company became more focused on its offerings, it changed its name to IRN Payment Systems.

Partner America

Through IRN's PartnerAmerica sales agency program (, IRN supports many different payment products and services, such as credit (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners' Club) and debit card acceptance with point-of-sale terminals, electronic cash registers and PC's, EBT, gift and loyalty cards, check services, leasing and agent banking to name a few.

Some of the value-added service providers working with IRN's PartnerAmerica are Lipman, Hypercom, VeriFone, Global Payments,, Cingular, TenderCard and Key Bank.

Sgueglia said the company offers flexible programs to its agents and products and services can be purchased in part or in total-whatever it takes to help them get their merchants on board. "We offer them a full menu of services, and they can pick and choose what's cost effective or the best resources for them," he said. "So they can buy terminals from us, they can buy check processing services from us, or just Visa and MasterCard."

IRN offers a variety of sales agent pricing programs, including shared profit, fixed buy rate pricing, no risk and risk pricing programs, referral and buy back merchant programs-and says it will beat any deal out there today.

The company also said it provides monthly commissions approximately 15 days at the end of each month and it provides income on all areas of merchant transactions and surcharges.

"We don't want to limit agents in what they have to do," said Ben Whittemore, Marketing Manager for IRN. "We're not saying you have to do this-it's our way or the highway. We're giving them a lot of different options.

"We are enabling agents to go out to the merchant and act as their own company."

Get An MBA

In February 2004, the company announced a new Merchant Bonus Allowance (MBA) program. Agents partnering with IRN have the option to offer merchants a cash incentive for signing up with them, or keep the money for themselves and put it back into their marketing program.

Sgueglia said the bonus could be as much as $100.

"It's like a no risk guarantee for the merchant," he said. "If you look at the average merchant across any portfolio you may be looking at anywhere from half that amount in just fees that they would pay. Basically it's a guarantee of fees-if the merchant is unhappy, it's really not going to cost them anything.

"The concept is fairly unique in that we're providing an incentive to merchants through our sales offices in the form of a cash bonus just for signing with us."

IRN hopes the program will help generate more sales for its agents, which in turn generate more revenue for the company.

Check Debit Processing

IRN Payment Systems has formed a strategic partnership with Payment Option Solutions to offer its Paid On Signing system that provides access and debit capabilities for check acceptance. Merchants pay a few cents on each transaction for this service, and they are charged no discount rate.

When merchants are able to convert a check at the point of sale into a real time debit transaction, they benefit from having guaranteed funds from a customer's account. There is little to no risk in accepting checks.

"Through this partnership, we're not only converting the check, we are actually processing the check through Visa POS and the routing and transit numbers (RT's) of participating banks that are registered with Visa," said Sgueglia. "We actually go into the DDA and in real time take the money out of their account and guarantee those funds to our customers.

"We think there is a tremendous value in check card processing. It has increased at a significant pace annually and that isn't going to go away; there's value from a marketing standpoint for a sales group to offer check debit at the point of sale."

Gift Cards Add Value

In January 2004, IRN announced a partnership with TenderCard's gift and loyalty card products, which enables IRN's agents to offer these value-added solutions to new and existing merchant customers-of all sizes; this offering also creates a potential revenue stream for agents. "The evolution of the past 15 years has allowed us to point things in the right direction," Whittemore said.

"Before, we were actually manufacturing [gift cards] in house, but we sought a better deal that was more effective for our salespeople."

Agents selling the program are offering gift cards that are similar in appearance and thickness as credit cards and can display a merchant's logo and name. Each card is activated by dollar amount and used as either a gift certificate or loyalty card.

The Company

IRN said it has been growing at a steady pace; the company's services are used through a national network of more than 250 sales agents, and it recently surpassed the one billion dollar mark in merchant services volume.

"Our sales have grown by 18% in 2002 and 25% in 2003," Sgueglia said.

IRN has approximately 35 employees that handle everything from underwriting, customer service, technical support, risk, collections and chargebacks; it also has controllers, HR, IT, software and systems developers on staff.

IRN services more than 20,000 merchant sites, although it sold some of its portfolio a few years ago to invest in and build its own check-processing host-completely maintained and controlled in-house.

"We built this host processing switch and this strategic alliance with POS to be able to provide these services through our ISO channels on an exclusive basis," Sgueglia said. "We have written and developed a host to be able to write to Visa directly." Key Bank of Ohio is IRN's sponsor bank, and American Express Co. recognized the company for its long-term outstanding tenure as one of its original three ESA members.

Sgueglia explained why he and his team are pictured in the company's latest ads: "I'm putting my reputation on the line," Sgueglia said.

"We wanted to show our credibility and stand behind our products and services.

"We'll beat any deal, we guarantee it, and Dino's standing behind it," Whittemore said.

IRN Payment Systems

800 Shames Drive

Westbury, NY 11509


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