Highlights from the Webinar: “How to Open More Merchant Accounts”

June 13, 2016


We had a huge response to our webinar “How to Open More Merchant Accounts in Less Time” with some of the top merchant acquirers and ISOs staying to the end to ask some questions about automated underwriting and Agreement Express. In this blog post, we answer your questions.

In the payments world, why has merchant onboarding speed become such an important topic in the last few years?

We set out to answer that question and provide actionable strategies for optimizing your merchant onboarding process in our webinar “How to Open More Merchant Accounts in Less Time” (you can find the webinar recording here if you missed the live presentation).

To recap, we shared how:

  • Square has fundamentally changed merchant expectations. Merchants now expect a fast, digital, same-day onboarding experience
  • With merchant acquiring volume increasing every year, organizations can’t afford to maintain paper-based, error-ridden backlogs
  • According to CEB TowerGroup, 86% of financial services companies have made onboarding automation their number 1 priority for 2016

We also shared 4 key strategies for opening more merchant accounts than your competition:

  1. Mapping your onboarding and underwriting process to identify bottlenecks and create your definition of the “happy path”
  2. Eliminate as many obstacles to the “happy path” by removing unnecessary complexities within your applications
  3. Create a consistent, repeatable process you can easily audit
  4. Automate manual checks where possible to increase underwriting efficiency

There was a huge response to the webinar, with some of the top acquirers and ISOs hanging around to the end to ask some great questions. So we thought we would share some of the most asked questions, along with answers from one of our onboarding experts.

Besides TIN matching, KYC and credit history, what other 3rd party interfaces are available to automate underwriting?

Interfaces are broken down into two types: verification sources (which are binary yes/no to determine acceptability), and 3rd party data services that scan for indications of fraud.

Examples of verification sources that can be used to automate underwriting include MasterCard MATCH, Visa Merchant Alert Service (in the EU), and any other verification source you’d want to check against.

3rd party services like KYC SiteScan and LexisNexis, and G2 Web Services will scan the internet for indications of fraud related to a merchant and report back to you.

Sage also offers the ability to score merchants based on their bank account balance, outstanding debt, inventory etc. through their accounting software.

There are new KYC and fraud-detection services being rolled out all the time, and through API integration they can almost always be integrated into an automated underwriting process.

Can proof of PCI compliance be uploaded similar to uploading a copy of a check?

Yes. Any document, whether physical or digital can be uploaded.

How can we connect Agreement Express to our credit rating vendor and other vendors like Chamber of Commerce in the countries where we as an acquirer are active?

Agreement Express can connect with any credit rating vendor in any country, as long as they have an API (which most do).

How does the scorecard in underwriting compensate for judgmental factors such as analysis of a financial statement, tax return information, a merchant’s previous processing history, and website review as mandated by the card networks?

Analysis of financial statements, tax returns, and previous processing history can all be performed automatically if the information is keyed in by the merchant. This isn’t always realistic for the acquirer, so they may want to have a human review for verification.

As far as website reviews, vendors such as KYC Sitescan are specialized in performing these kinds of checks automatically and factor into the underwriting scorecard.

Thanks again to all who attended our webinar “How to Open More Merchant Accounts in Less Time”. We look forward to seeing you in the next webinar, and in the meantime, you can watch the replay of the webinar.