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Distinctly personal differentiation

In an industry where competition is largely driven by technology offerings and pricing structures, SignaPay Ltd. has zeroed in on another element: people. "How do you humanize a commoditized industry?" said Nancy Drexler, SignaPay's Vice President of Marketing. "That's what we strive to do."

According to SignaPay President Kevin Jones, "humanizing" the Irving, Texas-based company's services means:

  • Hiring executives and other employees with significant industry experience and a knack for strong networking
  • Offering top-notch customer support to ISOs
  • Refraining from using direct sales channels that would compete with ISO partners
  • Providing programs that target neglected areas of the marketplace

"The biggest thing we're trying to aim for is not doing business the same way it's usually done, but to find dynamic differentiations," Jones said. "We try to find these differentiations through what we call, 'influential niches,' which give us access to ISOs and merchants that haven't been prospected in our industry."

Such untapped, influential market segments include Spanish-speaking business owners, high school education clubs and military veterans who work in merchant services, according to Jones. They are addressed, respectively, by three crucial programs in the SignaPay playbook: SeñorPay, BoosterPay and Veterans Merchant Services, Jones added.

Spanish-speaking merchants

The creation of SeñorPay was driven by SignaPay founder and Chief Executive Officer John Martillo, who was born and raised in Ecuador and who devised the idea to assist Spanish-speaking merchants in the United States. "Hispanic business owners are increasing very rapidly, and we felt we could cater to them with turnkey, start-to-end Spanish solutions," Jones said.

He added that SeñorPay is a complete credit card processing solution that is entirely geared to Spanish speakers: the boarding papers, the business materials, the computer programs and the phone support all are Spanish language-based. "We have a Spanish website, application, Spanish marketing materials, training, ownership and customer service," Jones said. "We feel we are one of only very few processing firms with a start-to-finish offering where everything can be done in Spanish. We recruit ISOs who speak Spanish, and they have exclusivity [with Spanish-speaking merchant prospects]."

Military veterans

Veterans Merchant Services is another program that targets what Jones feels is a much-neglected demographic: veterans of the United States military. Unlike SeñorPay, Veterans Merchant Services is not a merchant recruiting program, per se, but an ISO recruiting program. The recently launched program hires veterans to run an ISO, called VeteransPay, in all of its different aspects.

"We're one of the larger employers working with veterans in merchant services," Jones said. "Veterans with SignaPay will be the owners of VeteransPay, will be in charge of recruitment, operations, sales and everything else that goes into the business. So the veterans who own and operate the company will not only be getting paid and be earning commissions, but will also have ownership stake in the company." Drexel pointed out that Veterans Merchant Services is another example of how SignaPay is humanizing a commoditized product. "All else being equal, with two would-be processors at the door and one is a veteran, the merchant is going to choose the veteran," she said.


SignaPay's third major "humanizing" project, called BoosterPay, is focused on helping high school booster clubs through the contributions of SignaPay merchants. Merchants are recruited for the program by high school booster clubs, which are student-run fund-raising organizations for athletic clubs and other extracurricular endeavors. Jones said SignaPay provides participating high school booster clubs with lists of local merchants whom they can approach for possible funding.

Merchants who participate in the program pay a percentage of their card receivables to a local booster club, or clubs, of their choosing. In return, merchants can drive sales by advertising to the community that they pay a portion of their revenue to local schools.

"We find merchants who want to give back to their own communities, and whose businesses benefit when they tell customers that part of their money will go to help a good cause," Drexler said. She added that SignaPay runs advertisements in local media outlets around the country about the company's booster program, which helps the company's ISOs generate leads by attracting merchants interested in participating in the community outreach program.

Service and outreach

In general, strong outreach and customer service form the core of SignaPay's platform, according to Jones. For starters, the company does not do any direct selling, opting instead to provide merchant services exclusively through its ISOs to avoid creating extra competition that could hurt them, Jones said. The types of ISOs operating under SignaPay run the gamut, ranging from small to large service providers working in a variety of business niches, he added.

"What we're funding is high-tech, high-touch ISO support, with 100 percent of our focus on our ISO partners," he said. "We have no direct sales channels, and our partnerships combine a good sales structure, affordable pricing and outstanding support. ... We drive this with accessible phone support and programs for training, marketing and operations."

All of SignaPay's ISOs receive top-of-the-line, specialized services and customer support, Jones said. For one, every ISO gets updates at least once a month about trends in the larger merchant services industry and trends within the particular niche or niches a given ISO does business in, along with an analysis of trends in the ISO's portfolio. ISOs who sign up with SignaPay are also provided extensive training and marketing materials to help guide their operations and outreach.

Tailored support

SignaPay also works to ensure that specialty ISOs receive support that is catered to each partner's particular niche. "Instead of asking ISOs to conform to our operations, we created in-house operations - accounting, operations, risk management, aggregation, customer retention, technology services," Jones said. "We created these in-house to service our ISO partners. We have consultants on staff, and every ISO is teamed with a growth specialist to develop successful sales strategies, competitive pricing and analysis of industry trends."

Jones pointed out that the company's consultants do a monthly review with every ISO partner. "On top of that, we pretty much keep in touch with them every week or two, and try to be cutting edge with our technology and tools in things like online boarding tools, e-applications with e-signature, residual tool, mobile applications solutions, gateway acceptance and allowing multiple front ends [for payment acceptance]," he said.

Drexler added, "We have some or all of our internal staff people well-versed in these particular niches, so we can provide our knowledge and create for them opportunities to capitalize on. If you call and say, 'I specialize in health care,' we will make sure we have someone working in that vertical for support."

In other ways, too, SignaPay is zeroed in on maximizing the ease with which ISOs board merchants and conduct business, Jones noted. The company offers an e-boarding program with online signature capture that allows ISOs to board their merchants online and without the hassle of faxing reams of paperwork. Using the e-boarding tool, a merchant who signs with SignaPay can be up and running within 24 hours, according to Jones. Both ISOs and merchants operating under SignaPay have access to extensive online reporting tools that can help them track things like card receivables and monthly residuals.

Rewards and more

SignaPay offers a free rewards program, Firefly Rewards, through its ISOs, and its technology offerings are diverse and manifold, Jones said. The company offers mobile payment acceptance and online gateways for e-merchants, and can easily accommodate multiple payment front-ends, he added. He also noted that in every area of payment acceptance - online, mobile, brick-and-mortar - SignaPay provides a wide spectrum of product offerings. In addition, merchants who don't want to buy a new terminal all have the option of converting an existing mobile phone or Internet connection into a payment acceptance medium, Jones said.

SignaPay also provides 24-hour phone support, and reps are easy to reach without significant wait times and without automated menus, Jones said. He added that the company's support structure is not limited to its support agents; it also includes the executive team. SignaPay makes a point of hiring executives who are experienced, established and well-connected within the industry and who commit themselves to optimizing the experience of the company's ISOs, Jones said. "You get all the benefits of a big company, but they also have our phone number," he said.

VIP care for all

David Magley, founder of Florida-based ISO and SignaPay partner Yelgam Efficient Solutions, said the four-month-old startup chose SignaPay because it felt well-provided for even as a small, fledgling ISO.

"What it comes down to is the people who run SignaPay are quality, upright people," Magley said. "A startup company can get help from them and be treated like family. Every piece of software and operations support is available very quickly, and they treat us like we're important. We were looking for that family feel, and they're going to care about your business even if, instead of being a 1,000-merchant ISO, you're only a 50- to 100-merchant ISO." income opportunity end of article

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SignaPay Ltd.

SignaPay Ltd.

ISO/MLS contact:

Kevin Jones, President
Phone: 800-944-1399, ext. 5520
Email: kevinj@signapay.com

Company address:
105 Decker Court, Suite 650
Irving, TX 75062
Phone: 800-944-1399
Fax: 214-614-4860
Website: www.signapay.com

ISO/MLS benefits:

  • Beginning-to-end merchant services offered for Spanish-speaking business owners through SenorPay
  • Military veterans enlisted to own and operate an ISO through Veterans Merchant Services
  • Sales opportunities provided to merchants who support local schools through BoosterPay
  • Free rewards program offered to merchants through Firefly Rewards
  • ISOs provided with full-service suite that includes 24-hour phone support, marketing materials and monthly industry updates

Company Profile originally appeared in
The Green Sheet Issue 111201

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