A Personal Touch For Tech
Payment integration company helps launch software and startups
Jay Worthy and Chris Mills admit what they sell isn’t exciting to most people. But they’re all energy and passion when it comes to helping businesses achieve their goals. Their clients include pet services companies, interior designers, and retail, but many of them are tech start-ups.
Worthy and Mills own Priority Payments of North Atlanta, based in Acworth. They are independent resellers of Priority Payment Systems, which is ranked the 13th largest merchant processor in the United States. Simply put, Worthy and Mills serve clients who accept credit cards. They can provide credit card terminals for brick-and-mortar businesses and more customizable credit card processing for e-commerce businesses.
“I call a spade a spade; credit card processing isn’t the most exciting business,” Worthy said. “But business owners should take time to think about all of the services [they require] …your telecom, your credit card processing, your marketing.”
According to Worthy, many business owners, especially software developers who have a standby processor, don’t even realize the rates they’re paying are too high. But it’s becoming more important than ever, with the growing demand to accept payments online.
In fact, the Census Bureau reports* that e-commerce sales were up nearly 4 percent in the first quarter of 2018, at $123.7 billion, while total retail sales were only up 0.2 percent. Almost all of the growth in retail is in the e-commerce space.
Painting the town with a great credit card processing company
As more people shop online, the demand for businesses to offer online shopping solutions grows. Software developers and tech start-ups are creating more customized solutions for a variety of businesses.
According to Michael Henry, a Michigan-based web developer, using one of the more well known credit card processing companies is one thing if a business sells a straightforward product. But for companies that sell products and services with variations, it’s important to have a highly customizable payment integration system.
Henry works for Cork CRM, which produces software for home and commercial painters. Until about a year ago, he used one of the largest and most well-known credit card processors for all of his clients. But they weren’t always able to work with him on getting small merchants approved or even just getting money in the bank smoothly.
Because painting contractors typically accept high amounts for the combination of paint, labor and materials, the transactions would get flagged as suspicious and the contractors’ money could be in limbo for days.
That’s when one of his Atlanta-based clients recommended Priority Payments of North Atlanta. “Chris and Jay provide relationship,” Henry said. “It’s so nice to call someone with a complicated problem and know someone who knows what they’re talking about. They are always responsive.”
As for integrating Priority Payment Systems into his clients’ websites: Henry says it’s simple. “It is really easy,” he said. “As far as integrating it, it’s very straightforward.”
So now Henry’s software, a program that manages leads, appointments, proposals and jobs, has a payment processor with great customer service that keeps his clients happier. As for his clients that stuck with the old processing company, Henry recently noticed that they just raised their rates again, cutting into those contractors’ bottoms lines.
Maybe it’s time to switch.
Competing on price
According to Mills, Priority Payments of North Atlanta operates on three values: price, customer service, and technology. That first one though — that really hits business owners where it hurts, if it’s wrong. That’s why Mills and Worthy work hard to educate their clients on credit card transaction pricing and what to look for.
“Most people just don’t know,” Worthy said. “When people think about rates, they know mortgage rates, car loan rates. But they don’t know credit card processing rates. Let’s say your company is around 4 percent. Then someone else comes in and says, ‘We’ll give you 3 percent.’ To most businesses, you think, ‘that sounds pretty good.’ But that’s on the high end.”
Additionally, Worthy says the brick-and-mortar companies who need a physical machine at the point of purchase often opt to lease those machines rather than buy them. But he notes that the cost of the machines has come down by thousands in recent years. He wants to help his clients achieve the best bottom line, so he guides them toward affordable equipment.
Customer service: the real deal
Companies spout all day about customer service, but it’s what Priority Payments of North Atlanta was built on. In fact, most of their business comes from referrals. And some clients come from simply meeting Worthy and Mills in person. You can’t help it — you just LIKE these guys.
You may have just read that they compete on price and customer service. But how many businesses can really do that? Usually, there’s a trade-off. But with these gentlemen, customer service is the real deal.
“I treat our clients the way I’d want to be treated if I were to call in for customer service on a product I use personally,” said Mills, who has worked in the industry for 15 years. “It sounds silly to say we answer the phone, but it’s become the standard to have a system where it takes 30 minutes to an hour to get a person on the phone. We pick up the phone live.”
Another point of pride: the company’s call center is based locally, not overseas. This is important to guys who were born here, worked their entire careers here, and serve 90 percent of their clients locally.
As Henry (the web developer) mentioned, most programmers and many businesses have a big-name, go-to payment integration they use. But unfortunately, those larger providers don’t typically provide a phone number where they can be called to handle customer service issues.
“They’re the most expensive in the industry with the worst customer service,” Worthy said. “But they’re vendors, not partners. We are partners. People know their banker; they know their investor. Why don’t they know the phone number of the [payment] processor who handles more money than [either of those other businesses]?”
Customizable Payment Integration
Priority Payment Systems is highly customizable, which is the foundation of the processing software.
“Priority offers highly scalable and remarkably flexible payment technologies built to connect our partners and their merchants with the processing solutions, business tools, and customer support they need to help their businesses grow,” said Afshin Yazdian, president of Priority Payment Systems.
Worthy and Mills were attracted to partnering with the company because of the ease of integration for developers and start-ups. “Being able to integrate and have it be easy was the initial challenge,” Mills said. “At the end of the day, businesses just want to do the thing that’s easy.”
But the ability to use a credit card processor that is customizable was attractive to Henry. “The benefit is that it’s more of a personal touch,” he said. “There’s a lot more nuance to credit card processing than you think. If you were to go with a faceless organization, you’re not going to get anything beyond a standard shopping-cart experience.”
While the software has the power of a team of engineers behind it, it also has great local customer service upon which businesses can count. And, working with Priority Payments of North Atlanta doesn’t break the bank. “Technology, customer service, and price: those are the cornerstones of what we offer,” Mills said.
* “Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales 1st Quarter 2018.” Retrieved from United States Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/retail/mrts/www/data/pdf/ec_current.pdf.
Align your credit card processing with your business
Jay Worthy of Priority Payments of North Atlanta wants the best for his clients. Here are his tips to get the most out of your credit card processing service:
- Choose a lookout: Merchant services play into your bottom line, just like sales and other business functions. But once it’s selected, it’s often ignored. Designate someone in your company to keep an eye on your merchant services and whether your rates are helping — or hurting — your business.
- Contracts: Avoid contracts at all costs. Most merchants want you to sign three-year contracts. They’re only good for the processor; they don’t lock in low rates. Find a company that works for you month-to-month. They’ll work harder to keep your business.
- Own, don’t lease: For storefronts with machines at the point of purchase, equipment has become much more affordable. It’s too cheap to justify leasing. Look them up on the Internet. There are even tablet-options now. Ten years ago, it could be $5,000-$20,000. Now you’re looking at $1,000.
- Trust: The turnover in this industry is insane. If the rep you’re talking to has been there less than a year, they may not be around to help you when you need it. Use a processor you can trust. Ask your friends who love their processor for a referral.
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