What makes a payments CRM different from the dozens of non-industry-specific tools on the market today? At the highest level, customer resource management tools are software platforms designed to help sales organizations do more with the data generated from every interaction they have with a lead or customer. CRM as a practice and a technology is all about collecting as much of that valuable data as possible and using it to improve future interactions across marketing and outreach, the sales process, and service delivery. 

But a good CRM does a lot more than just improve relationships and speed up sales – helping companies streamline and improve almost all aspects of their operations. And that expanded capability is really where payments CRMs shine over their more generalist competitors. With that in mind, the following is a quick look at how payments CRMs are similar to standard CRMs, how they differ, and why the differences represent so much value to ISOs and Payment Facilitators. 


The Similarities

All CRMs are sales tools at their core, and as such, there are many common features and functions shared by payments CRMs and generalist systems. In fact, most of the lead management aspects are nearly identical, enabling users to quickly and easily capture, organize, manage, and access leads and the ongoing data they produce. Other common CRM aspects like communication tools, scheduling, email marketing, and more are also effectively identical across both payments and generalist CRMs. 

As a result, an independent sales organization or payment facilitator could theoretically use any CRM to manage things like their lead flow and customer communication. But, just as a racing team could race a semi-truck and still get around the track, the costs in effectiveness of choosing not to go with a purpose-built vehicle make it impractical and essentially a waste of money and effort. The same goes for CRMs. The specialized tools included in a payments CRM offer so much industry-specific utility over generalist CRMs – at marginal to no additional cost – that it makes little sense for any ISO or Payment Facilitator to choose a system that wasn’t built with their unique needs in mind. 


The Key Differences

While there are widespread similarities between many of the core functions of all CRMs, it’s the ability of a payments CRM to enhance and expand those core functions with industry-specific tools that make them so valuable. Payments CRMs may include tools designed to speed up onboarding, improve and streamline underwriting, provide instant residuals calculations, make reporting easier to manage, and more.

Onboarding Tools:

Payments CRMs may come with onboarding tools designed to improve accuracy and cut down the time it takes to board new merchants. IRIS CRM, for instance, includes TurboApp – an automated merchant boarding tool that uses eSigned digital MPAs to automatically fill in almost all necessary fields and all but eliminate the manual data entry required to board a merchant. 

When a user imports a digital MPA into TurboApp, the system automatically preconfigures itself to match the fields required by the selected processor’s boarding portal. It then pulls the data from the MPA and prefills all relevant merchant information, leaving the user to simply review and set pricing – which can also be mostly automated using preset pricing structures. Users can even onboard merchants to payment gateway services all without ever having to leave the CRM. The result of using a tool like TurboApp is that the boarding process can be reduced from 30 minutes or more to five or less while also significantly reducing the potential for human error. 

Risk Management Tools:

Some CRMs can integrate with third-party underwriting tools to help wholesale ISOs and Payment Facilitators streamline their due diligence. Systems like Conformance Technologies PreComm Toolkit or Agreement Express Merchant ScanXpress can be set up to pull merchant data directly from the CRM, perform a fully automated scan and analysis, and return a decision back to the CRM in minutes or even seconds, enabling the boarding process to go ahead as quickly as possible. In the case of IRIS CRM, these types of tools can be combined with one-click onboarding to create a nearly instantaneous boarding system – something no generalist CRM can even begin to offer. 

Residuals Management Tools:

Residuals are at the heart of everything an ISO or Payment Facilitator does, but their complex nature can also make them a major headache, requiring careful monitoring and application of agent splits to ensure fees are being applied properly, profitability is being maintained, and agents are getting paid what they should. A good payments CRM reduces or even eliminates the headache by taking the complexity out of residuals management altogether. A system like IRIS CRM automatically combines monthly residuals reports from each processor and applies the correct agent splits, providing instant and perfectly accurate residuals information each month, including ISO gross, ISO net, agent net, and more. Better yet, users have the option to access the information at a glance or to dig in further to whatever level they need. The fast, accurate, and easily searchable residuals data a payments CRM provides eliminates the need to comb through reports and apply splits manually, helping management reclaim countless hours.

Reporting Tools:

Payments CRMs don’t just report on residuals; they report on all aspects of an ISO or Payment Facilitator’s business, providing unmatched insight into everything from profitability to merchant performance to marketing and beyond. While all CRMs provide robust reporting, payments CRMs like IRIS CRM offer reporting tools designed to give insights into areas specific to the payments industry and connect directly with top processors like Fiserv, GlobalPayments TSYS Wholesale, GlobalPayments TSYS Retail, Vantiv, Elavon, and many more. The result is a level of deep insight into ISO and merchant operations that just can’t be matched by the more generic sales analytics provided by generalist CRMs. 


The utility payments CRMs offer independent sales organizations and payment facilitators in areas like onboarding, underwriting, residuals management, and reporting make going with a payments-specific system an easy decision. To find out more about everything a payments CRMs can offer your business, schedule a free guided demonstration of IRIS CRM today.