Orlando Alvarez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Prospay Inc., believes offering innovative technology solutions is key to acquiring new merchants in today's payments industry, where landing new accounts is an increasingly formidable challenge.
"A lot of ISOs are no longer here because they didn't adapt to changes in technology," he said. "If you aren't using technology to acquire merchants, you aren't going to be in the game, because everyone is tired of being told, 'Hey, let me lower your rates!' It doesn't work anymore because rates are so low. Where am I going to take you? From 15 basis points to 10? There's no value there."
One of the ways Prospay provides value is by offering merchant cash advance (MCA) services to unbanked Hispanic merchants through its Avanzame Dinero brand. Alvarez said unbanked merchants don't typically qualify for bank loans due to lower FICO scores; however, excellent revenue streams can offset the underwriting risk these merchants present.
Prospay began offering MCA to this market after Alvarez noticed the growing demographic was not a priority for most domestic payment providers. "The Hispanic market in the United States is huge, and nobody was addressing that vertical," Alvarez said. He added that many Hispanics do not speak English, so the road to becoming an ISO is typically closed to them because nobody has been catering to their needs. "Our Hispanic model for our agents is incredible because our portal is in Spanish," he said. "When they call here, our applications are in Spanish, and all our agents speak Spanish."
Founded in 2006, Prospay derived its name by shortening and combining the words "processing" and "payments." The company provides a full line of payment processing solutions for credit and debit cards, contactless and wireless payments, check acceptance, and ATM cash. Prospay said it maintains one of the highest merchant approval rates in the industry and generally approves merchant accounts within two days or less.
Prospay stated it also provides e-commerce solutions to merchants, getting them boarded quickly with virtual terminals through its Prospay Connect solution and application programming interface. "The key is how fast we can get a merchant up and running, not only approved," Alvarez said.
He also pointed out that no third party is involved in gateway setup. "We set up our own gateways ourselves," he said. "We have technical support that sends the merchant their email address, their user name, their password right away. We then do a follow up call asking merchants if they need any help logging in to their gateway. We go through a little training with them on the virtual terminal side if they are using the virtual terminal."
One of Prospay's primary goals is to be an exceptionally agent-friendly company. "We try to have that bond with our agents, that trust, and we have an open-book policy," he said. "If they ever want to audit us, they can do so at any time; we have no problem with doing that. I think that is one of the key things that has made us very successful. Not only do we pay on time, but we help our agents create more verticals and, obviously, if agents are making money, we are making money. You have to help them be successful."
In addition, Prospay has ambitious plans. "Our future is in innovation and staying in the forefront of technology by offering POS systems, online ordering, mobile apps, cash advances and e-commerce solutions that people need," Alvarez said. "These are the key factors for an ISO to be successful. If you are not pushing those products, then it is going to be very tough. We are in the business of processing, and I have to give you the technology. … That's the bottom line."
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