Should Merchant Acquirers Turn Over A New Leaf?

Leaf, a commerce company that bills itself as the creators of the “world’s first tablet specifically designed for commerce,” is announcing the launch of their new Leaf Reseller Membership Program today at the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

According to Leaf, the Reseller Program will focus on letting qualifying merchant acquirers bundle Leaf’s platform with their own core payments products, helping to close more merchants accounts and take advantage of Leaf’s “agnostic” approach to payments acceptance.

Will merchant acquirers and ISOs use the new Leaf program in an attempt to lure merchants away from their existing POS infrastructure? And just how much does Leaf claim to boost the business of merchant acquirers who sell its platform?

We spoke with Aron Schwarzkopf, CEO at Leaf, to ask those questions and more in this PYMNTS.com Exclusive.

PYMNTS.com: How much of this program is really about differentiation? It doesn’t sound like you’re revamping the Leaf platform, you’re just including it as an incentive for merchants to onboard with acquirers?

Aron Schwarzkopf: This program is directed to merchant acquirers. We have found that merchant acquirers today are looking for solutions that help their merchants and to add more value to their credit card processing services. With the Leaf Platform, resellers will be able to provide an essential service which helps a merchant grow their business, something a simple credit card terminal can not do today.

The press release states that merchant acquirers offering Leaf are closing 66 percent more merchants on average — that’s an eye-popping statistic. Are these merchant acquirers targeting SMBs without infrastructure in place, thereby making Leaf more attractive? Or is Leaf actively replacing POS platforms that are already established in these stores?

You are right, this is an unbelievable result and it’s because our solution is a game changer for ISOs and other merchant acquirers. Today, ISOs have very few sales tools – they can either lower rates or offer free or highly subsidized credit card terminals. They can’t do much else.

The Leaf solution changes the conversation for ISOs with their prospective customers. Any merchant using just a credit card terminal and a cash register becomes an ideal prospect. An ISO’s introduction to a new merchant starts with offering a Leaf POS tablet – we like to call it a “Point of Smart” – that’s connected to social networks, analysis, labor reports, mobile wallets and much more. Almost every Leaf sale also results in the merchant reevaluating their credit card account. A perfect opening for an ISO.

Further, we have seen ISO’s switch merchants with legacy POS to our Point-of-Smart. The merchant saves money and time. The ISO avoids the hassle and cost of trying to get his legacy POS dealer to change the merchant card account.

What does Leaf get out of this? Why did you create the Leaf Resellers Membership Program?

It’s really a well-balanced Membership program where all parties benefit. ISO’s are able to sign more merchants and fight off competitors by offering a solution that’s easy to sell and in many respects, sells itself. ISOs know the merchants and can easily collect the information required to get them started. As a result, Leaf’s cost of signing a new account is low, which helps our fees remain the most economical in the industry. At the same time, through our Members (resellers) we can provide that friendly neighborhood touch.

What sort of adoption are you expecting to see? Can you share early estimates or results with us?

Our phones are ringing already. Many major merchant acquirers have already contacted us before making this announcement. We think this is a natural win for all. We urge anyone interested in our Member Program to visit us at ETA or go to our website to learn more.


Should Merchant Acquirers Turn Over A New Leaf?Aron Schwarzkopf, CEO

Aron is the founder and CEO of Leaf, creators of the world’s first tablet specifically designed for commerce. Leaf’s online management and analytics platform helps small business owners run and grow their business and get more out of their everyday transactions. Aron started Leaf upon graduating from Babson College, where he now mentors students on how to bootstrap and finance new startup ideas. In the past year, he has led Leaf from an idea on a napkin to processing over $20 Million in payments through the platform. Mass High Tech recently named the company as one of five startups to watch.

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