How Do Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) Work?


We’re frequently asked, “How do independent sales organizations (ISOs) work?”.

The payments processing ecosystem is undergoing some major shifts. Digital payments are the way of the future, paving the way for digital and omnichannel providers to gain prominence. 

Customers are becoming more and more comfortable with varied methods of transaction (e.g., mobile-in-store, voice, and chatbots). And as such, it’s becoming necessary for processors to diversify their business offerings in order to compete in the market.

This market essentially breaks down to include: acquirers/processors, card networks, issuers, gateways, and the ISOs that work across them. And at IRIS CRM, we’re proud to provide ISOs with the integrative capabilities needed to do so effortlessly.

What is an ISO?

Before we dive into what an ISO is, let’s first break down the idea of merchant accounts. 

A merchant account is essentially how businesses are able to accept payments by debit or credit card. It’s a type of bank account set up between retailer, merchant bank, and payment processor for the settlement of transactions.

ISO stands for Independent Sales Organization. And these organizations operate as authorized agents for a bank, in addition to being registered with both Visa and MasterCard.

While at face value, many businesses will assume it’s better to work with a larger name or banks directly, ISOs undergo a lengthy vetting process. They must prove to be compliant with set regulations and are generally more flexible to work with.

How Does an ISO Work?

An ISO will set up special relationships with banking institutions. With that being said, it’s important to reiterate the distinction between them. ISOs themselves are not banks. In fact, they can be sponsored by multiple banks in providing greater benefits and flexibility to the merchants they sell to.

It is the banks that are responsible for actually processing and fulfilling payments made. ISOs handle day-to-day activities in relation to merchant accounts. They assist businesses in account setup, providing payment technology and support, and assisting with any unique processing needs.

As an ISO, under the pressure of following strict rules and regulations, staying on top of your game in this highly competitive industry is crucial. You need to provide services that are both functional and secure to merchants that have chosen to partner with you in fulfilling their various payment processing needs.

When you’re evaluating your own ISO business processes and needs, you’ll want a tool that syncs efforts across internal departments in helping you to provide an unbeatable quality of service. You should also be paying attention to the level of integrations made available to you.

IRIS CRM is proud of the strategic partnerships we’ve built over the years in working with various ISOs across the payment processing industry. In doing so, we’ve been able to provide more value to our mutual customers, while making them more successful in their own service offerings. 

Some of the companies we currently integrate with include: Authorize.Net, TSYS, Outlook, nuvei, twilio, and Adobe Sign.

Learn more about our integrations and how they can add benefit in your day-to-day. Sign up for your free IRIS CRM demo!


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