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Become a Merchant Services Broker

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Even in modestly sized cities and towns, there are many retail and e-commerce merchants, all of whom need financial services. Typically, the most important–and easiest to broker – is the ability to accept credit cards. Becoming a merchant services broker is not overly challenging and often leads to earning residual income every month. Additional income opportunities may also appear for other services.

Learn all you can about how credit card services work for all types of merchants. The most obvious option is typically retail stores, which you see everywhere. There are many other potential clients you need to consider. Restaurants, beauty salons, mail order/telephone order (MOTO), e-commerce businesses, gyms, medical offices, hotels and even government agencies, like motor vehicles and tax collection, are all potential clients.

Talk with local banks and credit unions that offer credit card merchant services. Financial institutions are always looking for new merchant accounts. These relationships usually work two ways. Banks typically want to work with the best and biggest merchants–and those with the best credit standing. Good merchant services brokers have other relationships with national credit card processors. Your bank relationships often generate new business, as your financial institutions will refer merchants to you.

Get approved as a broker with one or more national companies that generate business from merchant services brokers. North American Bancard, IPayment, and other national Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) are usually looking for knowledgeable, hard-working merchant services brokers.

Learn how to price your processing services. Treat the rates given you by your associates, be they banks or national ISOs, as “wholesale” prices. You want to add some basis points (1/100th of one percent) to the rates the bank, ISO or processor wants. This differential becomes your income each month.

Learn how to analyze the rate structures of your prospects. Then, price your offer lower than the rates the prospect is currently paying. Using the last three months’ processing statements from your prospect, compare the cost the prospect had with the cost they would have had if they had signed with you.

Constantly build up your portfolio of merchants and your monthly residual income will continually increase. Over time your monthly checks may become very impressive.

Look for opportunities to sell or lease credit card terminals. Your prospects already accepting credit cards obviously have one or more terminals. If their hardware is old or insufficient, they may be interested in upgrading their terminal(s). Have a few sources to offer terminals to your new clients – at a reasonable profit for you, of course.


Be patient and persistent. Your prime market will, at first, be smaller merchants. Your monthly residual checks will be modest. But you will soon be pleasantly surprised at their constant increase. Make profitable arrangements to sell or lease terminals. Develop cost effective hardware distributors. Become associated with one or two lease companies that have good rates and pay you a full commission once your client signs the lease.


Don’t fail to stay up-to-the-minute with your knowledge of your competition. You should always know what they’re doing and what rates they are offering. Never fail to provide red carpet service to your clients. Most of your competition doesn’t. You will hold on to your clients by treating them well. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Be honest about what you can do for a prospect. If they already have great rates, tell them. Remind them to call you if their current processor has problems.