Independent sales organizations and agents can use automated clearing house and credit card data to identify the most likely prospects for transaction services, a vendor says.

"It's like shooting fish in a barrel," says Rod Katzfey of Katzfey's International.

First, ISOs have to gain access to a bank's ACH records. That data could show, for example, that 2,000 of the bank's 5,000 commercial customers are accepting credit cards, Katzfey says.

From that, an ISO can identify the 2,000 already accepting cards as the best prospects because they're already comfortable with the process and won't require as long a sales cycle, he says.

"Then look at the others for possible candidates to accept cards," Katzfey suggests.

Katzfey, who has worked with such data in a number of capacities for about 15 years, started his company to guide ISOs into forming relationships with banks.

The bank stands to benefit from reviewing the information because some of its accounts are under contract for transaction services from someone else, he notes. That means the bank is losing out on transaction revenue and missing a chance to form a "stickier" relationship with its customer.

What's more, the data shows which of the bank's customers are going elsewhere for services such as loans, insurance or help with handling checks or payroll.

For an ISO to form that sort of relationship with a bank, it could approach the financial institution with a parameter file, a list of necessary data elements, such as account name, encrypted account number and ACH information.

In some cases, the bank might sort and mine the data and then create a lead sheet for the ISO to use to pursue the relationship with the merchant, Katzfey says.

Besides using ACH data to ferret out potential customers, banks and ISOs can use credit card data to make wiser decisions, he adds.

By looking at a consumer's credit card information, banks and ISOs can determine which acquirer and processor a merchant uses.

With that knowledge, an ISO won't pursue a merchant that already has an account with a processor the ISO uses because a processing agreement may not allow it. The ISO also will shy away from seeking an account already using an acquirer with whom it's hard to compete.

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