National Benefit Programs is looking for more ISOs, processors and acquirers to promote the buying group to merchants.

The Atlanta-based white-label program started in September 2009 and began working with ISOs in 2010. It specializes in procuring good deals on shipping, travel, business supplies, and other goods and services for retailers, says Diane Vogt Faro, NBP’s president.

“Small businesses don’t have the opportunities of the Fortune 500 companies,” she says. “What NBP did was look at buying power – how could we help stand-alone small businesses receive better discounts?”

More than 50 vendors have signed contracts with the program and “tens of thousands” of merchants have joined, says Faro, a former Electronic Transactions Association president and a founder of Women Working in Electronic Transactions, or W.net.

As more retailers participate, the program uses the additional buying power to renegotiate even lower prices, she notes.

NBP is contemplating expansion into Canada in the fourth quarter and the addition of niche markets, including high-end restaurants, says Faro.

ISOs, transaction processors and acquiring banks began offering the program to merchants in 2010 and have found it helps keep clients from moving their transaction-business to other providers, she says.

“If they’re using the services, it’s highly unlikely that they will leave their acquirer or ISO,” Faro says.

If merchants still choose to switch to another merchant services provider, they lose their membership in NBP, she notes.

The program represents a fourth type of value-added service to offer merchants in addition to the usual terminals, supplies and Payment Card Industry data security standards services, Faro says.

More than 80% of the merchants in the program signed up through their ISOs, she says.

ISOs can charge merchants a monthly service fee for the program because the member’s savings quickly surpass whatever they’re assessed, Faro says.

“The benefits they’re receiving far outweigh the monthly fee,” she notes.

Discounts can amount to as much as 50%, she says, adding that specials occur for a limited time, too.

“We want merchants to use the program because we all win,” Faro says.

Because it’s a white-label program, the ISO’s name goes on the customized websites, email messages and flyers that the NBP creates for ISOs.

NBP also trains ISO employees to field questions on the program from their customers.

The company’s CEO, Gary Alloy, has been in the discount benefit business more than 35 years, according to the company’s website.

Faro, who became NBP president in January, is also an investor and partner in the company. Before becoming president in January she was a consultant to the company.

“I wanted to kick the tires before I got involved,” Faro said of the program.

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