The CRM a payments company chooses has a huge impact on its ability to outcompete other ISOs and PayFacs for merchant attention and to maximize the profitability of a portfolio. CRMs are mission-critical software in the payments industry – as they are in all sales environments – and, because the CRM sits at the center of everything its users do, choosing the right one is a decision that can’t be approached lightly. While there are dozens of good CRMs on the market, the availability of payments CRMs, with tools designed specifically to meet the needs of companies selling merchant services, makes it much easier for ISOs and PayFacs to narrow down their choices to a short list of just a few systems. The following is a brief overview of some of the systems likely to make that short list, including two ISO CRMs – IRIS CRM and Pegasus CRM. 


Why CRM Payment Processing Software is a Must for ISOs and PayFacs

Customer resource management systems are software tools designed to help sales organizations compete better, use time and resources more efficiently, minimize costs, and maximize revenues. They accomplish those goals by streamlining and automating the tasks involved in lead management, sales process delivery, relationship building, support, and more – all with customer data at the heart of everything.  

In short, CRMs exist to help sales organizations leverage customer data to work smarter instead of just harder. 

Payments CRMs are specialized systems that are designed specifically with the merchant services industry in mind. They offer the same sales and relationship management tools as any other CRM, but with additional benefits for ISO and PayFac-specific tasks like merchant onboarding, residuals management, payment gateway sales, and more.

That specialization offers huge advantages both in accessing and recruiting more merchants and in squeezing more profit out of each through tighter operations, better cost management, better pricing, better service, and more. 

Any ISO or PayFac operating without a payments CRM is at a disadvantage that could potentially cost them both merchants and revenue – two things no company can afford to lose in an industry as saturated and competitive as payment processing. 


Payments CRM Comparison

Understanding that a CRM is a must to be able to compete successfully in the payment processing space, the question becomes which CRM to adopt. It’s a big question, too, because a CRM not only represents a significant investment, but as a central part of an ISO or PayFac’s tech stack, any shortcomings have the potential to impact operations for years to come, as well. 

With all that in mind, the following is a comparison of three customer resource management systems; two targeted specifically at the payment processing industry, and one targeted towards a more generalist sales user base. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but upon review, it’ll likely become clear that the extra features and benefits offered by a payments-specific system make for an easy choice.


Top Choice: IRIS CRM Payments CRM


IRIS CRM was the payments industry’s first ISO-specific CRM, and the platform continues to lead the space, having been constantly updated and refined to meet the needs of ISOs and PayFacs for over a decade. As of January 2022, IRIS CRM is now part of NMI – a leading global payments company. 

IRIS CRM offers a full suite of lead management and sales tools rivaling those offered by any top competitor like Salesforce or HubSpot, but with a wide variety of payments-specific tools built-in as well, including:

  • Automated merchant onboarding
  • Automatic residuals calculations
  • Advanced residuals and financial reporting
  • Integrated payment gateway sales
  • Integrated automated underwriting for wholesale ISOs and PayFacs
  • Built-in power dialing
  • Private-label merchant support portal and helpdesk tools

…and much more. 



IRIS CRM’s primary strengths are its exceptionally wide feature set, its unparalleled integrations, and its unlimited-user billing model.

Built-in Payments Specific Features: IRIS CRM’s payments features make it stand out in the space, especially from systems offering only more generalist tools. The proprietary TurboApp tool automates onboarding, reducing the process from 30 minutes or more to five or less while eliminating human error. Automatic residuals calculations save managers hours each month and ensure agents get paid out as quickly and accurately as possible. Automated underwriting enables wholesale ISOs to reduce one of the most time-consuming aspects of operations to a matter of minutes while improving risk mitigation.

As a whole, in addition to being a powerful sales tool, IRIS CRM is unmatched in its ability to streamline and speed up the most time-consuming yet important tasks many ISOs and PayFacs struggle with on a daily basis. 

Wider Payment Integrations: IRIS CRM’s ability to integrate with outside payments systems like NMI’s reseller gateway and Agreement Express automated underwriting make it far more than just a CRM system. Together with NMI, IRIS CRM represents a full-commerce enablement system, designed to enable ISOs to manage the entire merchant lifecycle, from acquisition, to underwriting, to boarding to processing and gateway services, to ongoing support. 

Unlimited User Billing: IRIS CRM offers ISOs and PayFacs unlimited user accounts, unlimited leads, and unlimited document storage. As a result, as a merchant services company grows, the ISO CRM will never become a bottleneck requiring them to either change out their technology or accept a rapidly ballooning monthly bill. Unlimited everything makes IRIS CRM an ideal growth solution for forward-thinking ISOs. 



The primary weakness of IRIS CRM is that, because it’s a growth-oriented product offering unlimited use, it’s tailored more to ISOs that are slightly later in their lifecycle. As a result, brand new unregistered ISOs may find it slightly cost-prohibitive at the very beginning. ISOs planning to stay small – either as unregistered owner-operators or registered with only a few employees – may be better served by a per-user billing arrangement. However, ISOs with aspirations for growth will find the slightly higher initial costs well worth it once expansion sets in. 

Click here to find out more about the IRIS CRM payments CRM and its merchant services tools.


Runner-Up: Pegasus CRM Payments CRM

Overview: Pegasus CRM is the other main player in the payments CRM space, offering a system with a wide variety of sales and productivity features, albeit with very limited payments-specific functionality. Just some of the standard CRM features included in Pegasus CRM include:

  • Standard CRM lead management tools
  • Real-time sales analytics
  • Built-in support
  • Email integration 
  • Document management

On the payments side, Pegasus CRM does not offer automated onboarding, automated split calculations, or automated underwriting, but it does offer a universal residual reporting tool that can be used to bring together reports from multiple processors within the payments CRM. 


Strengths: The primary strength of Pegasus CRM is that its per-user billing model makes it a slightly lower-cost option for brand new unregistered ISOs / independent agents. However, the system does have a minimum bill of $895 per month, so users will have to weigh whether the modest savings are worth the rapidly escalating costs once an ISO’s staff starts to grow. 


Weaknesses: The main weakness of Pegasus CRM as a payments CRM is that it only comes with one payments-specific toolset. While users will enjoy a solid set of sales and productivity tools, selecting Pegasus over a more feature-rich generic CRM doesn’t really make sense, and the platform can’t match the wide range of payments-specific benefits offered by IRIS CRM. Another weakness is that the per-user billing model makes the price fairly high for registered ISOs, especially considering the narrow industry-specific functionality. 


Honorable Mention: HubSpot Generalist CRM

Overview: HubSpot is one of the most well-known and popular CRMs available today, thanks to its extremely large set of features and its ease of use. HubSpot is a modular CRM that enables (or requires, depending on point-of-view) users to bolt on additional HubSpot products to expand the CRM’s functionality. That can be both a blessing and a curse, but one undeniable fact is that, across the various add-on suites, HubSpot’s CRM is one of the most robust and highly-functional on the market. 

In addition to the HubSpot CRM, available add-ons include:

  • HubSpot Marketing Hub
  • HubSpot Sales Hub
  • HubSpot Service Hub
  • HubSpot CMS Hub
  • HubSpot Operations Hub

The company offers a variety of packages mixing and matching the various hubs with the core CRM, enabling companies to quickly select and signup for a CRM that roughly approximates their needs. However, this generalist system does not offer any tools specific to the payments industry. 


Strengths: Hubspot’s primary strength is that businesses can expand it to do almost anything they need involving sales, marketing, and customer support. Another potential strength is that the core HubSpot CRM is actually available from the company for free – albeit with such limited functionality and so few contacts included that anything beyond the smallest businesses will soon need to upgrade. 


Weaknesses: Aside from the fact it offers no payments-specific tools and therefore offers fewer competitive advantages to ISOs and PayFacs, the biggest issue with HubSpot CRM is that its modular nature effectively requires companies using it to purchase add-on packages. Unfortunately, the cost of those packages can add up extremely quickly. The Professional and Enterprise packages larger ISOs and PayFacs are likely to need start at $1,600 and $5,000 per month – and those prices only include five and ten users respectively – not nearly enough for merchant services companies serious about growth. 


Additional Honorable Mentions:

There are a number of other non-payments CRM companies offering fantastic sales platforms, some more well-known than others, but all packed full of tools to help salespeople work smarter and build better relationships. However, the common threads among these other options is that, as great as their sales tools are, they’re extremely limited in what they can offer to meet the unique demands of ISOs and PayFacs, and their costs balloon rapidly as companies build a larger portfolio of merchants and take on more agents and staff.


Salesforce: Salesforce is arguably the best-known CRM in the world, and it’s used by behemoth companies like NBC, HP, Dr Pepper Snapple, and many others. But, Salesforce’s huge enterprise-level customer list gives a good indication of the type of business it’s most focused on. So, while businesses of any size can use Salesforce, even small businesses need to be ready to pay like a giant enterprise-level client. But, while Salesforce is expensive, it is unquestionably feature-rich and particularly useful for large, multi-pronged campaigns. 


VanillaSoft: VanillaSoft is a basic CRM with one additional twist – a “queue-based” lead routing system that dynamically prioritizes leads to help save agents the time and effort of deciding who to call. It’s a medium-cost CRM, especially compared with a company like Salesforce, but its tools are more modest than some of the beefiest CRMs on the list like Salesforce and IRIS CRM. However, companies looking purely to increase the number of contacts their agents make each day may find VanillaSoft a good fit. 



Customer resource management software is a mission-critical tool for independent sales organizations and payment facilitators looking to gain an edge and maximize profitability in a difficult and highly competitive market. 

While generalist CRMs like HubSpot and Salesforce are feature-rich enough to offer payments companies significant value, only payments CRMs, like IRIS CRM, offer tools specifically designed to solve the unique problems faced by ISOs and PayFacs. From lightning-fast merchant onboarding to instant and laser-accurate residuals calculations, to automated underwriting and beyond, a good payments CRM offers all the same benefits as HubSpot or Salesforce, but with industry-specific advantages that lead directly to elevated competition and a larger portfolio of merchants – often at a much lower cost, to boot. 

But, regardless of which CRM a payment processing company chooses to go with, having one is a must, as putting customer data and advanced automation at the center of operations is by far the best way for modern ISOs and PayFacs to thrive in today’s payments industry. 


To find out more about how a payments CRM can improve effectively every aspect of your ISO’s operations, saving you money while maximizing your revenues, schedule a free guided demonstration of IRIS CRM today.