Leaf Disrupts Acquirer Market

As point-of-sale processing evolves to include enhanced technology, including tablets and sophisticated POS software, many acquirers and independent sales organizations have found themselves being disintermediated by newer market players. A new Payment Apps marketplace tablet vendor Leaf is announcing today provides a means for them to better compete through enhanced lead generation and direct merchant contact.

Acquirers and independent sales organizations (ISOs) now have increased branding opportunities and merchants more insights into their processing options through a new Payment Apps marketplace that point-of-sale tablet creator Leaf is announcing today.

Through Payment Apps, merchant acquirers and ISOs can market their payment-processing services directly to merchants. Leaf is launching two apps for the marketplace initiative through which they can conduct such communications, one for credit card acceptance and another for prepaid gift cards.

In an interview with PYMNTS.com, Leaf CEO Aron Schwarzkopf noted the product came out of necessity because merchants buying the company’s hardware and services were inquiring about processors to support payment card acceptance. “It will now be easier for ISOs and acquirers to connect to merchants,” he said.

For $10 per month, Leaf is giving acquirers and ISOs direct access to active merchants through their LeafPresenter tablet payments apps for use in messaging and marketing opportunities. Leaf also provides them with free access to merchants seeking processing services when they participate in the program, thus providing them with lead-generation benefits as well, Schwarzkopf said.

“Many were losing portfolios to technology,” he said, noting many new players in the space (such as Square) do their own processing and disintermediate the ISOs. “We’re helping them be able to adopt technology without losing what they do day to day, which is processing.”

Leaf a year ago also launched the Membership Network, which serves as a “university” where ISOs can learn about new point-of-sale technology and how to use it to interact with merchants in today’s changing market. Some 100 ISOs are participants, Schwarzkopf said.

The Payment Apps marketplace, Leaf contends, offers such potential benefits to payment-services providers as increased sales via online referrals; an online profile highlighting key differentiators; improved customer retention via in-product branding, messaging, and upselling; and brand reminders. “With every swipe, their branding and content comes out,” Schwarzkopf said in the interview.

Leaf also views Payment Apps as a convenient way for merchant acquirers to stay connected to their payment-processor services through its back office POS platform. Leaf also sees the marketplace as helping reverse merchants’ perception that processing is a commoditized service “by adding real-time, in-POS product marketing that deepens the merchant-processor relationship,” the company said in its product announcement.

The Payment Apps marketplace enables merchants to integrate and leverage new mobile technologies and to make a smart choice by providing them with the tools they need  as they sign up with a payment processing company, Leaf said, noting Payment Apps helps ensures merchants are matched with an acquirer that best aligns with their business goals.

The marketplace offers merchants a new and easy way to navigate a broad variety of credit, debit, gift card, and mobile-wallet providers in one place. Unlike many traditional and new mobile POS companies, Leaf empowers merchants to set up an independent agreement with a payment processor directly – without incurring a payment rate markup. Leaf says it earns no processing residuals from merchant acquirers.