API Software Inc. has created a mobile app for independent sales organizations to help merchants tabulate the best payment services deals.
The Square Deal Pro app for the merchant services industry allows sales reps to compare their company's rates to those of Square, PayPal, Stripe and other mobile and online payments providers.
"I'm a software developer more than a salesperson, but I started asking merchants why they chose a certain provider, and they just said the pricing was simpler," says Frank Haggar, president of Boca Raton, Fla.-based API Software. "It might be more expensive, but it was easier for them to understand."
That sort of feedback moved Haggar to develop Square Deal Pro for iPhones, Android devices and Windows phones as a vendor-neutral tool. Service providers pay $15 for the application and all of its sales features, and a simplified free version for price comparisons is available for merchants.
"Merchants are experts in what they know how to do, and they may not want something that includes math distracting them from that," Haggar says. "But the sales rep can do it for them and use it along the lines of a calculator helping someone figure out mortgage rates."
As for the application's name, which might make it sound like a new product from Square Inc., Haggar says it was based on Teddy Roosevelt's Square Deal.
"Teddy Roosevelt wanted to give everyone a fair shake and a fair deal, and we based our product on his quote, more so than with anything to do with Square as a payments company," Haggar says.
ISOs already have many other tools at their disposal, but most will likely find Square Deal Pro a valuable addition, says industry analyst Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group, LLC.
"Something that takes complicated pricing schemes and factors it all into an easy interface, that puts out a clear comparison, that is valuable, certainly out in the field," Ablowitz says.
API Software has to deliver something unique that is difficult or impossible to copy because that "would set this permanently apart as opposed to being a lead to other [similar] products in the market," Ablowitz adds.
An ISO can change rates or make adjustments for a client if the numbers show that another provider is offering a less expensive option, Haggar says. But the numbers in the app don't lie, he adds.
"The app will show how a bundled rate can work in your favor, such as if you are selling Girl Scouts' cookies at $3 a box, then use Square all day long," Haggar says. "But an ISO can compare how his product works compared to others and the app can show that at a certain time, it might be beneficial to switch over."
Square Deal Pro takes into account various factors in addition to interchange rates, including merchant volume, average ticket price and whether transactions are keyed or swiped, or both.
"All of those things determine where you fit in on the diagram of how your rate should be structured," Haggar says. "There is a lot of analysis on minimal focal points."
The application may also help defuse potential problems with merchants who sometimes feel their sales rep was not providing a fair assessment of pricing structure or comparisons, Haggar says.