Partner FAQ's

Find answers to common partner questions.

Helping Your Business Succeed

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions by our existing and potential new partners. If you require additional assistance our Customer Service Team can be reached Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 7:30PM EST at 1-888-689-6088 or submit your request online.


How do I build a merchant portfolio?

If you are new to the industry, make sure you take the time to get trained and do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and certainly be prepared to fail quite a bit in the beginning. Be sure to check out a couple videos from successful agents. You will also build your portfolio by offering merchants robust product lines, including check and gift and loyalty services. Be sure to find out what your processor has to offer for value added services and equipment before you sign up with one.

What is the best ISO to work with?

Before you can choose an ISO, you first need to decide what you want from an ISO. Here are some important things to research about the candidates:

  • Residuals policy (when they are paid, how they are computed, etc.)
  • Financial stability
  • Benefits
  • Training - if you are new to the industry, I would be sure to weigh this heavily
  • Processing Availability of merchant help desk
  • How long it usually takes for a merchant application to be approved
  • Background of principal executives

Also, be sure to check out the Better Business Bureau - www.bbb.org.

Is it best to work for an ISO or to get my own relationship directly with the bank?

That depends on how much you are willing to spend upfront. To work directly with the bank, you are looking at a $10,000 upfront investment. If you don’t want to make such a heavy investment, I would highly recommend working directly with an ISO.

How do I make money as an agent?

The number one way to make money is through residuals. Your residual paycheck will depend on the split you have agreed to with your processor and usually the number of accounts you submit with this processor. Some processors also give different splits based on the volume of the accounts. It really all depends on what you and your process agree to, but always keep in mind that a higher split doesn’t always end up meaning more money. Some processors that offer you a higher split might be sacrificing things such as customer support, business tools, resources, etc. Even worse, companies that give very high splits could end up going bankrupt someday, which could leave you high and dry. You can also make money on the following (again, depending on the processor you work with):

  • Bonuses – conversion and up-front
  • Equipment sales
  • Mid- & non-qualified surcharges
  • Amex/Discover transaction fees
  • Online debit costs
  • Chargebacks Statement, service, annual, & cancellation fees (should you choose to apply)

What is PCI Compliance?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that ALL companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. Essentially any merchant that has a Merchant ID (MID). The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) was launched on September 7, 2006 to manage the ongoing evolution of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards with focus on improving payment account security throughout the transaction process. The PCI DSS is administered and managed by the PCI SSC (www.pcisecuritystandards.org), an independent body that was created by the major payment card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB.).

What is the difference between an Agent and ISO?

An agent is someone who sells bankcard services to merchants on behalf of ISOs, acquirers and processors. Also known as merchant level salespeople (MLSs) and independent sales agents (ISAs), most agents are independent contractors. Others are paid employees of ISOs, acquirers and processors.An ISO is an organization registered with Visa and sponsored by an acquiring bank to sell VISA card acceptance services; also refers to an organization that works with and does business under the name of such a registered ISO. ISOs may also service merchant accounts once they are registered, dependent upon the contract with the acquirer. MasterCard uses the term “member service provider” to describe ISOs. However, it is common within the payments industry to use the term “ISO” when referring to independent sales organizations registered with either or both card brands.

How do I become an independent sales agent?

You can review the different Agent & ISO Program’s out there, but to become an Agent with Merchant Warehouse, all you do is fill out the form on our website and you will be contacted by one of our sales representatives who will walk you through the entire process. Whether you are forming an ISO or just want to work as an agent, you must sign a written agreement to be an agent of an ISO or a bank that is registered as a Member Service Provice (MSP) with Visa or MasterCard. Please keep in mind, that if you are going to be an independent contractor, you must represent yourself as working with the ISO or MSP and receive all compensation for bankcard services from them. Otherwise you will be violating Visa and MasterCard rules.

What are Interchange fees?

Interchange fee is a term used in the payment card industry to describe a fee that a merchant’s bank (the “acquiring bank”) pays a customer’s bank (the “issuing bank”) when merchants accept cards using card networks such as Visa and MasterCard for purchases. For Visa’s Interchange rates, click here. For MasterCards Interchange Rates, Click Here.

What type of experience do I need to become an Agent?

To become an agent in this Industry, it is important to have experience in selling. Selling merchant accounts is a very competitive business, so you must have a decent amount of experience in selling and have good communication and people skills. An individual does not necessarily need experience in the Industry, but it is helpful. The training that we provide here at MWU is a great way to get started in the business.

What is a merchant account?

A merchant account allows businesses to accept and process credit card payments. In order to accept credit and debit card payments, a business needs to establish a merchant account with an Independent Sales Agent or ISO.



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