VAR and ISO guide to competing with large payment companies.

Written by Jereme on

Communicate how your solutions, services, and support are different – and better.

Competition from newer, larger players in the payments space is one of the biggest challenges that VARs and ISOs face. But have no doubt: You can compete and win against these larger entities. 

Start with these two advantages that differentiate your business from larger payment companies.  

Your ability to laser focus.

Some of your competition is striving to be a one-stop-shop for everything an owner needs to run a business. These companies may be competing with you for merchant services accounts, but their focus is divided among hardware (payments, POS systems, and other devices), POS software, and, in some cases, a boatload of services.

In their quest to provide everything, these competitors of yours have had to standardize their offerings. Therefore, the solutions they provide are designed to meet general needs across vastly different markets. Meanwhile, they may not have all of the features that any specific vertical or niche is looking for. 

Also, the way larger competitors charge payment processing fees may benefit some businesses, but not others. For example, one plan may be a good option for mom-and-pop shops that have comparatively low revenues per month, but not a good fit for a regional chain with $100K or more per month in payment transactions. The math might make sense for the small shop but be cost-prohibitive for the larger company.

You have probably also encountered confusion and misinformation that these companies have created among your prospects. They may be portraying your offerings as expensive (even with their own hidden fees), clunky, hard to manage, and with contracts they can never get out of. It’s hard for a small business owner to separate the payments piece from all of the competitor’s other offerings and make a one-to-one comparison.

Cut through the noise by presenting your offerings in a clear, easy-to-understand way, backed by the terms of your agreement in writing. Stress exactly what you do, the problems your solutions solve, and the products and services you provide. Be sure to convey that your focus and expertise provide value that your competitors don’t.

Your willingness to provide personalized service.

Some of your competitors are dead set on quantity over quality. Their goal is to sign as many merchants as possible by offering them a simple way to accept credit cards. However, that means your small and mid-sized business (SMB) prospects would just be small fish in a big pond. That’s because mass-market POS solutions have limited features and few options for customization. So, if a merchant needs something a little different, they will find that it’s hard to find answers to their questions and, ultimately, that the “bargain” they thought they were getting is actually an expensive and insufficient solution.

Moreover, the Sales Partners of these companies likely do not have a dedicated account representative who knows them and their markets. So, if a user turns to them for help, service, and troubleshooting can take longer than you or your merchants would like. 

Show your prospects the best of the payments space.

Startups or small businesses are often attracted to large payment companies’ solutions because they’re easy and inexpensive. The good news is this: You can offer solutions that fit into those categories as well – with the bonus of providing personalized service and support!

You can also have a conversation that your competitors tend to avoid – how your solution can scale as a merchant’s small business grows and they want to add new features or payment capabilities to optimize customer experiences. After the events of 2020, retailers know the way they operate their business can change in an instant. Show these potential additions to your portfolio how the solutions you provide can support any way they need to operate.

It’s also worth calculating the costs of your system and the options for payment processing fees compared to the allegedly “cheap” competition. It’s highly likely that the total cost of ownership of your system will be the best deal over the system's life, which can make a low sticker price less appealing.

The competition is tough, and the fight is real, but you have the advantage of providing a better overall solution. Go forth in confidence that you can win business.