Taking a cue from the insurance business, Priority Payment Systems LLC is lending its name, prestige and marketing power to its ISOs and agents.

Much like Allstate agents, anyone promoting transaction services to merchants for Priority can rebrand with the Priority name.

“We’ve created this brand licensing program,” says Ed Alba, Priority’s vice president of marketing. “We feel there’s value in waving the Priority flag.”

Most participating ISOs link the Priority name to a geographic area, Alba says. The size of the geographic area an ISO or agent uses in the name depends on the number of deals they make for Priority, Alba says.

For example, one took the name Priority Payment Systems Cascades, for the mountain range, because it wasn’t big enough to qualify for the name Priority Payment Systems Northeast. Another added the number of a highway because it wasn’t big enough to use the name of the state.

Using the Priority name and financial clout that goes with it enables ISOs and agents to sign up larger accounts, including community banks and business-to-business clients, Alba says.

“They have bigger opportunities because of the Priority name and the resources behind that,” he notes.

Those resources include marketing power that’s beyond the financial reach of most small and mid-sized ISOs, Alba says.

Priority began the program last year by setting up websites with the corporate look but with the names and contact information for participating local ISOs or agents.

Since then, the company’s added a portal where participating ISOs and agents can choose localized Priority-branded marketing collaterals that include brochures, fliers, videos, power-point presentations, sales sheets, business cards and letterhead stationery.

Participants also receive marketing aid from Alba himself, who’s helping with local campaigns.

Besides the marketing boost, some ISOs who have joined the program have decided to become sales agents by cancelling their registration with the card brands.

Registration with Visa Inc. requires an initial fee of $5,000 and a $2,500 annual renewal fee. MasterCard Inc. charges a $5,000 initial fee and $5,000 annual renewal fee, Alba says.

Although he declined to say how much Priority charges ISOs and agent for the brand licensing program, he notes that it’s much less than the cost of registering with the card brands.

Twenty agents have signed up for the program, and another 15 expressed strong interest in joining when they learned about it at the company’s recent conference.

Priority has 400 agents, of whom 250 to 300 are considered active, Alba says.


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