SignaPay Ltd., an Irving, Texas-based independent sales organization, has launched SenorPay, a sales division concentrating on Spanish-speaking merchants.

Additionally, SenorPay will sell iPay Station, a product unbanked consumers can use to pay bills and buy prepaid phone cards, alongside credit and debit card payment services and merchant cash advances.

The effort amounts to more than a Web site translated into Spanish, John Martillo, SignaPay president and CEO, tells ISO&Agent Weekly. The company will providesupport services in Spanish, and documents and marketing materials will be in Spanish, too, Martillo says. The risk manager, who assesses whether a merchant is creditworthy enough to accept payment cards, is bilingual.

"There were no marketing materials to support me as an agent," Martillo says of the situation earlier in his career. He is no stranger to guiding fledgling companies. Fifteen years ago, Martillo was one of the founders of Cynergy Data LLC, a New York-based ISO.

His philosophy with SenorPay is different. "Every contract, every form, every document is in Spanish," Martillo says.

To help translate all of those documents, SignaPay recruited a Spaniard who worked as a lawyer in Spain.

"The biggest challenge in getting SenorPay up and running was finding individuals capable of interpreting documents in a way that makes sense," says Dottie Ford, SignaPay vice president of operations. As SignaPay recruited for SenorPay, it sought bilingual staff, she says.

Martillo sees a lot of opportunity with Hispanic merchants.

A forecast prepared by Global Insight Inc., a Waltham, Mass.-based research firm, suggests the average Hispanic household income will grow from $64,247 in 2008 to $96,530 by 2018. That could mean increased spending at such merchants as at restaurants and convenience stores.

This year, the U.S. Hispanic population will spend approximately $51.7 billion on food away from home and $41.9 billion on gasoline and motor oil, says Global Insight. Martillo hopes to capture a share of those sales not only today but also in the future.

"The Hispanic community is very loyal," he says, a characteristic that sales agents could benefit from in SenorPay's reseller program for independent sales agents.

SenorPay is recruiting sales agents in markets with large Hispanic populations, Martillo says.

"We're not a direct-sales company," he says. "We're looking for as many ISOs as we can get to sell this."

For example, prepaid products sell well in Chicago, Martillo says, making that city a suitable location for a sales agent skilled in those products and services.

SenorPay's iPay Station is a collection of prepaid cards and bill-payment services for the unbanked built around a payment terminal where consumers complete transactions. Soon, iPay Station will have a fund product.

"You have to bring products and services the Hispanic community can benefit from," Martillo says. "For example, in Chicago, they're very big on prepaid products. They don't bank. You have to be able to bring a product that goes along with that, that a reseller can sell and make money with."

An agent talking to a Hispanic grocer will be able to talk about more than processing services for Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide transactions, something any other ISO can do, Martillo says.

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