Can you tell me a bit about your company and its role in the payments industry?
I worked in the payments industry, particular in merchant services, for several years prior to establishing Fattmerchant. I quickly realized that for an SMB to sign up for a merchant account, it was like a box of chocolates (a la Forest Gump) – you never know what you’re going to get. There were hefty markups, a slew of fees, and long-term contracts, not to mention a significant lack of support for the merchant as well. Fattmerchant is bringing transparency and service into the industry. We have opened up direct cost to all merchants, regardless of size, so they pay no markups, no ancillary fees and no contract all for a flat monthly membership. We save our members an average of 40% on their processing while providing them the equipment or software for free, and “the best damn service” as well.
What is a virtual terminal and how does it differ from an m-POS system?
An m-POS is a dedicated mobile solution, whether it be a smartphone or tablet, that will function as the point of sale for running the transaction, and it may have an attached dongle or reader for card swiping. A virtual terminal (VT) is traditionally found on a secured website and is the online POS for entering in a transaction whether by key-entry or swiping on a USB-attached reader. Most virtual terminals are not mobile responsive, however the Fattmerchant VT is mobile responsive so that it can function as an m-POS for our members. With the Fattmerchant VT, our merchants have access to a sleek and user-friendly virtual terminal that offers one time billing, recurring billing, invoicing, pre-authorization, analytics and more.
What are some of the security advantages of using a virtual terminal?
It depends on the virtual terminal, but generally speaking virtual terminals all process with the highest standards of security and compliance. Much like an EMV chip card works in a terminal instead of a traditional magnetic strip card, each virtual terminal transaction is securely tokenized and the transaction is encrypted from end-to-end.
How do you see the merchant service industry evolving over the next 5 years?
Technology is an amazing thing. We see changes already coming with new forms of transaction methods, money transfers, even new currencies … but the constant will remain that a business will always need to accept a payment for products or services rendered. Merchant services will have to continue to adapt to come out with the next bigger, better, faster, sexier payment method. I think we’ll see a continuation and evolution of NFC payments and wearable technology over the next 5 years.
Can you pinpoint what caused the “Ah ha” (moment of realization) moment you had that inspired Fattmerchant?
My “Ah ha” moment had been a long time coming throughout my experience as an agent selling merchant services. The lack of transparency was almost encouraged in terms of pricing, and there was also a lack of technology available to our merchants so if their business didn’t fit the mold there was no problem-solving available to them, and I felt like there was only so much support I could give them based on all of the corporate red tape. I had been dissatisfied with that model for a while, but I remember one day after all of the time spent unhappy with how the banks treated their customers, I found out some of my customers were getting charged a very hefty fee that was not disclosed to them nor myself. Imagine the phone calls you’d get and how to react when your company didn’t even tell you they were being charged. So, I took the idea to my bosses and challenged them to open up direct cost to merchants for a flat monthly membership. They laughed and questioned why they would only want to make a fraction of what they would traditionally make on their members. That’s all I needed … I left and did it myself. The industry has been too stagnant for the last twenty years and after recognizing the drastic need for change, I launched Fattmerchant to be that catalyst for disruption.