Guest Column | February 21, 2012

POS VARs vs. ISOs/Agents: Who Has The Processing Advantage?

Robert Bertke Sage

By Rob Bertke, senior VP for R&D, Sage Payment Solutions

When it comes to the challenges POS VARs and ISOs/agents face in today's converged world of POS and payments, it is easier for a POS VAR to learn what they need to know in payment processing than for an ISO to learn POS technology. However, both represent a steep learning curve. Payment processing is very complex, especially considering pricing options, underwriting and risk management, payment-specific processes, and the mission-critical nature of payment processing. However, a POS VAR does not need to become a specialist in all these areas in order to offer an integrated payment solution. Advanced payment processors offer these services, allowing POS VARs to focus on the customer experience. On the other side, POS technology is also sufficiently complex, but has the additional issue of the details not being passed along to others. Like any software solution, POS technology is largely protected by the developer in building a competitive advantage. This means an ISO seeking to move into the POS space would need direct experience or to make the investment required to analyze and understand existing systems and the related technology.