WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE PROVIDER (FSP) AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO MY BUSINESS?
A full-service provider (FSP) is more than your standard credit card payment processor. To become an authorized FSP it is not a simple form submission. For an organization to be classified as an FSP, it must go through a lengthy and thorough process and meet specific requirements. An extensive due diligence package with bank statements, tax information, and additional financial information must be provided to the bank to be approved as a full-service provider. Once the process is complete and a company becomes a full-service provider, they are subject to regular reviews and audits. There are ongoing annual fees expected to be upheld by an FSP.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN AUTHORIZED FSP:
If you’re in the payments industry and you’re a payment professional, it can be to your advantage to understand the benefits of working with an FSP. Full-service providers are able to remove the middle-man and offer optimal service and support. As a business owner or merchant, an FSP has advantages that trickle down include lower costs and faster-approvals. See our graphic below to understand the merchant services provided by an FSP compared to the other guys can greatly benefit small to medium size businesses:
FSP’s can define and set parameters that work best for their partners and merchants. An FSP has the ability to simplify processes or standardize forms to create a better experience. For example, requiring the completion of one agreement/contract to reduce the time away from conducting business. Some FSP’s offer in-house underwriting and risk management which can expedite approvals and provide additional protection to you. There are FSP’s with layers of technical support with service level agreements to give you peace of mind in the event problems arise. In general, FSP’s have more leniency to offer and extend this flexibility to their clients if they so choose. So, why care? Working with a partner and full-service provider with your growth in mind is the ultimate goal. Which leads us to our next point...
NOT ALL FSP’S ARE CREATED EQUAL
There are a fair share of full-service providers in the industry. It comes down to evaluating the differences in reputation. Seeking out an FSP you can trust starts with doing your homework. There are a few things you will want to do to understand each FSP you are considering. Start by using the resources at your fingertips. Internet searches, customer reviews, and competitive company information can assist you in uncovering the truth (*Please keep in mind the sources of truth need to come from quality sources such as business articles, journals, trusted association publications are best). Picking up that smartphone and contacting the FSP you’re interested in is always a great option. A good FSP is proud to be able to provide you with the features and benefits unique to their organization and it would be a good idea to request references of happy clients. Reaching out to a handful of current customers will likely give you a solid understanding of whether your values align, and they are a good quality FSP for you. Keep in mind that working with an FSP will help you with conserving your most valuable resources; time and money. Time and money savings are accomplished with an FSP because in its most simplistic form, you’re removing the middleman. Recognize these savings when SLAs are shortened or any customer service needs are promptly addressed with the support of the FSP.