Since 1983, CrossCheck has been allowing merchants to take it to the bank, literally. As the largest privately held check guarantee company in the nation, CrossCheck provides a most desirable service to retailers.
CrossCheck provides guarantee services on checks accepted at the point of sale, online, and by phone and fax. With over 180 million consumers around the country writing paper, that's a lot of guarantee to be looking at.
CrossCheck welcomes that-with the help of its ISO partners, of course.
CrossCheck handles and approves billions of dollars worth of transactions for its retail and dealer outlets every year. It is clearly a team effort with over 400 employees, 50 partners, some of which sell CrossCheck under private-label, and over 1,600 ISO offices. CrossCheck started out over 20 years ago developing an ISO community that has been the key to their growth.
That strategy has paid off big time for CrossCheck and now this very successful company is looking to enhance that strategy.
"ISOs may be different nowadays with consolidations and acquisitions, but our grass roots are still with the smaller ISOs," says Bob Ficarra, Vice President of Partner and ISO Relation's who has recently returned to CrossCheck. "I was amazed at how many small to mid-level ISOs were at this year's annual ETA conference. I'm excited that the smaller ISO market still exists. But it's tough out there to compete.
I know these guys and want to tell them what is happening in the check business, how our program works and all the exciting products, services and technology that CrossCheck offers. I want to get out there and talk to them."
Just how is CrossCheck going to do it? One way is by being involved in and speaking at many of the local seminars and regional association gatherings geared toward ISOs. This includes the ETA regional events as well as payment industry tradeshows. (For updated listings of shows that CrossCheck will be attending, visit www.cross-check.com.)
"If you want to learn about the check market; what's happening with conversion, ACH and Check 21, come out to these road shows or give me a call," says Ficarra. "There are a lot of changes going on in the industry right now, and we are committed to getting the message out, getting ISOs excited about our programs and showing them ways to make money selling checks."
Those exciting programs include check conversion and wireless applications along with standard check guarantee. CrossCheck's standard guarantee service differs from competitive programs as the company is willing to take the risk on high-ticket checks that are often not accepted through other providers.
This has opened up several lucrative markets including auto, auto aftermarket and building supply. CrossCheck has continued to develop programs that utilize the latest technology and has developed their own check conversion service. This service includes guarantee features and allows acceptance of business checks.
"We heard from ISOs that merchants wanted check conversion. Up until now, conversion wasn't the answer for a merchant that accepted a lot of business checks. So we came up with a service that provides acceptance and guarantee on business checks. What's very exciting for the ISO, however, is that our conversion program is compatible with a variety of terminals and check imagers. That makes for a huge opportunity to sell equipment. If the ISO can go out there again and make money on equipment by the sale of an imager or check conversion services, that's more money in their pockets.
We're not interested in selling equipment, that's not our business, so we didn't want to limit our service to proprietary devices."
Another area that CrossCheck is closely watching is the evolution of Check 21. It's an issue that has the potential to change the way checks are processed and CrossCheck believes it will also offer opportunity to their business and the ISO.
"We think Check 21 is going to be big," says Ficarra. "I personally believe that this is going to be a similar to what happened with the bankcard business many years ago. That provided a huge opportunity to sell equipment to the small merchant when the big banks ignored them. Ironically, Check 21 will keep the paper check alive. This is legislation that changes how paper checks are handled and transported and will make it more convenient and affordable for merchants and banks to process checks down the line.
It's not going to happen overnight but in a few years, imaging for Check 21 could take place at the point-of-sale, at the ATM, or by service providers such as couriers and armored transport. We see that providing equipment opportunities and guarantee opportunities."
CrossCheck has also developed patent-pending technology for online checks and checks accepted via phone or fax. In addition, the company has designed check applications to work on cell phones and infrared devices.
Hand in hand with developing new programs and services is providing merchant support. Thousands of merchants rely on CrossCheck's 24/7, 365 days a year authorization and customer service. Merchants receive assistance with troubleshooting, ordering supplies, training and garnering knowledge about CrossCheck's programs and services. All well and good, but what about support for the ISO?
"Our focus is to make it easy for the guy on the street to sell the product. Our ISOs are that important to us. I know the ISO doesn't want to spend time on the details of our products, rather they are concerned with selling the service," says Ficarra. "Because of that we have an extraordinary ISO support staff that really makes a huge difference in their success. This special group is there to answer questions, help with pricing and provide training over the phone or in person. But they can also help sell the product to the prospect over the phone. We'll even close the deal for our ISO partners. We will do anything to help them."
CrossCheck takes their support of the ISO one step further and has developed a unique partnership program.
"We find that many ISOs become successful with our products and see the tremendous opportunity. For them, we have an equity sharing partnership program that gives them a piece of the business. In effect, they can have their own guarantee program, under their name if they wish. We'll handle everything. It is even portable if they decide down the line to sell the business."
"I hope that ISOs will look to us as their partner, now and in the future," says Ficarra. "We have been in this business for 20 years. We have been paying residuals for 20 years. You can take this to the bank � we will keep paying residuals. That's our reputation. You sell for CrossCheck and you'll get paid!"
Contact CrossCheck at (800) 654-2365 or e-mail at [email protected].