To the best of our knowledge, we are the only gym management software provider who is not an ISO (independent sales organization), or in layman’s terms middle man for merchant services. Furthermore, we don’t have any kickback arrangements with ISO’s or merchant service providers. The normal course of business for a gym billing provider is to either be an ISO (broker) or have a working relationship with one or more ISO’s for opening and processing payment card transactions.
The merchant processing industry has developed their own language for common things such as brokers or middle men who take a percentage every time you swipe or process a recurring charge on a credit card. While there’s nothing we can do about the nature of the credit card processing industry, we can at least shed a little light on who the interested parties are and who gets a percentage of every charge.
Typically the next rung up the ladder is the company who sold you a merchant account. Generally speaking (but not always) the company who sold you a merchant account is what’s called an Independent Sales Organization (or ISO). The ISO’s primary job is selling merchant accounts. Although the ISO has little to do with the actual financial transaction, they are usually the face of your merchant account – meaning that for customer service issues you’re calling into your ISO’s office. ISO’s make their money by marking up the percentages and fees charged for your merchant account (meaning that they take a percentage of your transaction).
Depending on which vendor you choose for your membership and billing software, you will likely encounter two flavors:
a. The software vendor who is also an Independent Sales Organization (ISO).
b. The software vendor who has partnered with an Independent Sales Organization
From our observation, both of the two mentioned arrangements are common. With option (b), the ISO will be providing a kickback to the software vendor generally meaning that you’re paying an even higher percentage than you would if you were working with a software vendor who is also an ISO.
What sets us apart from our competitors is the fact that we are neither an ISO nor do we have any kickback relationships with ISO’s. In fact, if you call us and ask us where to get a merchant account, we will simply make introductions directly top tier merchant processors like First Data, TSYS, and Elavon (to name just a handful). When you work directly with a merchant processor you cut out several layers of middlemen, all of whom are taking percentages of your transactions.
Because we don’t have a dog in the fight either way, we always try to work with whomever you’re already processing your transactions with (typically an ISO). We won’t ever try to get you to switch merchant providers or open a new merchant account. We try to keep things as easy and seamless as possible.