At its core, a merchant services CRM – also known as a payments CRM or ISO CRM  – does all the same things traditional CRMs do. It streamlines lead collection and management, speeds up and enhances the sales process, enables higher-quality ongoing service and support, and saves time and resources across a wide variety of daily tasks. 

But, in addition to all that, merchant services CRMs are also designed to tackle some of the unique problems independent sales organizations (ISOs) and payment facilitators (PayFacs) face every day while recruiting, managing, and serving merchants. Just some of the valuable features merchant services CRMs offer over more generic platforms include faster onboarding systems, advanced residuals management, automated underwriting tools, and the integration of third-party reseller tools to help generate more revenue.  

As a whole, a merchant services CRM offers a level of value to ISOs and PayFacs that generic CRMs can’t really match, making them an ideal choice for most companies selling payment processing.


Expediting Onboarding to Reduce Costs and Improve Results

Problem: Onboarding new merchants to payment processors is one of the most important tasks an ISO performs on a regular basis. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the slowest, often taking 30 minutes or more just to get the data from a merchant’s MPA into the boarding system. 

That kind of line-by-line data entry is also exceptionally error-prone – a big problem when even a single typo could result in pricing errors or even tank an application altogether. Unsurprisingly, boarding eats up a significant amount of time for agents and operating staff, and large ISOs often have entire departments dedicated just to processing and boarding merchant applications. 

Solution: With the right merchant services CRM, the boarding process can be streamlined to take five minutes or less. As an example, IRIS CRM uses digital MPAs and a proprietary automated merchant onboarding system to eliminate most, if not all of the manual data entry involved in boarding. Instead, the CRM pulls all the relevant data from the MPA and automatically populates it into a custom-configured form based on the selected processor’s requirements. The end user just needs to review the data, ensure there are no errors, and click submit. Even untrained staff can complete the entire process accurately in a matter of minutes.

For low-risk accounts, even the review step can be eliminated, enabling merchants to submit their MPA online and board instantaneously with a single click. 


Automating Residuals to Simplify Calculation and Management

Problem: Residuals are the lifeblood of the merchant services industry, but their complexity also makes them a major hassle for ISOs without the right CRM. Since each processor an ISO works with – often six or more – has its own unique reporting format, when residuals drop each month, ISOs are buried in processor data that can’t even be used or understood until it’s painstakingly organized and combined. At best, it eats up a ton of time and causes headaches for management. At worst, mistakes get made and important, useful insights get lost in the noise.

Solution: A merchant services CRM brings clarity and simplicity to residuals by automating their calculation, reporting, and management. When processor reports hit the CRM each month, the system automatically combines them, giving management instantaneous access to an easily searchable, sortable, unified report covering all key residuals data at the portfolio-wide, processor, and merchant levels. Users can find the data they need in seconds, whenever they need it, without having to spend hours sifting through dense reports. The end result is a far clearer picture of residuals, profitability, and growth at all levels.

Automated residuals calculations also benefit an ISO’s relationship with its agents. Because residuals numbers are available instantly – including agent splits – agent payouts can be made faster and with perfect accuracy every time. Faster payout is an important carrot that can be used to help recruit and retain higher-quality sales talent – an important advantage in a highly competitive industry. 


Expanding Underwriting Capacity and Reducing Risk

Problem: Wholesale ISOs are responsible for performing due diligence on new merchants they recruit in order to identify red flags and catch risky merchants before they can cause a problem. But truly thorough underwriting, when done manually, can take hours for the average merchant or potentially even days for higher-risk accounts. That’s a bottleneck many underwriters feel significant pressure to avoid, and, as a result, shortcuts are often taken with predictable results – red flags get missed, risky merchants slip through the cracks, and problems emerge down the line when they cost the most. 

Solution: To solve the problem of slow and insufficient checks, some merchant services CRMs offer integration with automated underwriting tools that enable underwriters to perform complete due diligence in a matter of minutes, without even having to leave the CRM. 

One example of CRM-based due diligence is IRIS CRM’s integration with Agreement Express – a leading automated underwriting provider. IRIS CRM users can launch an Agreement Express scan with a couple of clicks as soon as they start to board a new merchant. Agreement Express then performs dozens of checks in the background and returns a fully scored assessment right within the CRM, which the underwriter can accept with a click or use a jumping-off point to dig further.

With automated underwriting, a wholesale ISO can check 10x more merchants in the same amount of time while significantly improving the quality of the analysis – higher capacity and better risk management, all from within the CRM. 


Integrating Additional Verticals to Open New Revenue Sources

Problem: The payments industry is crowded, and competition for merchants is fierce. Smart ISOs know that acquiring new customers, while necessary, is an expensive proposition. Finding ways to generate more revenue from existing accounts is a smarter, more efficient, and lower-cost way to compete, and growth-oriented ISOs need to constantly look for opportunities to do it. 

Solution: A merchant services CRM can open up new revenue opportunities by enabling ISOs to bundle additional services their merchants already need – namely, payment gateways and associated add-ons. 

Becoming a gateway reseller turns every one of an ISO’s existing merchants into a pre-qualified upsell lead and provides an effective and immediate way to increase the average revenue earned on each account. Better still, merchants get more of the tools they need from a single trusted source, reducing the complexity of their vendor relationships and adding significant value to their services. 

With a platform like IRIS CRM, merchants can be onboarded to new gateway services through the same system used to board them to payment processing. ISOs can also board merchants to any value-added services their gateway partners offer, like the full suite of advanced payments tools offered by NMI


The Benefits of a Payments-Specific CRM Can’t Be Ignored

While merchant service companies can theoretically use generic CRM platforms, the additional industry-specific benefits offered by a merchant services CRM boost overall utility so far beyond what competitors like Salesforce can offer – often at a lower cost – that it makes far more sense to choose a platform designed with the unique challenges of the payments industry in mind. 

IRIS CRM is the payments industry’s leading ISO CRM. It offers a complete, one-stop merchant services control center, centralizing all aspects of an ISO’s business into a single, user-friendly platform. It saves ISOs time and money by centralizing, streamlining, and enhancing:

  • Lead collection and management
  • Sales process delivery
  • Merchant agreement and documentation management
  • Merchant onboarding to payment processing and gateway services
  • Merchant support and helpdesk ticketing
  • Residuals management and calculations
  • Independent agent payouts
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Telephone, email, and SMS communications
  • Schedule management
  • Wholesale underwriting 

And much more. Better still, IRIS CRM offers unlimited users, lead accounts, and storage, making the platform ideally suited for growth-focused ISOs. 


For a firsthand look at everything an advanced merchant services CRM has to offer your ISO or PayFac, schedule a free guided demonstration of IRIS CRM today.