By Kevin Woodward
New York-based iPayment Holdings Inc. has named O.B. Rawls IV chief executive and president and charged the veteran payments executive with guiding the payments company’s plans to increase sales . Rawls, whose prior experience includes First Data Corp., also joins the iPayment board of directors. He has been interim chief executive since mid-September.
IPayment’s focus has been on internal matters—it is contending with a lawsuit over a board-level power struggle involving investors and founder Carl Grimstad—but it is now looking at how to grow the business, Rawls says.
The strategy has two prongs, Rawls tells Digital Transactions News. It includes growing sales using its direct sales staff and via an expanded reseller network. Each currently accounts for approximately 50% of revenue and new-account production, Rawls says. Currently, iPayment has more than 400 resellers that are active and producing merchant sales. IPayment currently has approximately 153,000 merchants.
The plan is to focus on resellers, such as independent sales organizations, Rawls says. To make iPayment more interesting, and profitable for resellers, the company is revising its products, he says.
Chief among these efforts is expanding its software-based payments products, such as those favored by independent software vendors and value-added resellers. To do that, iPayment plans to expand beyond parking and wineries, two merchant categories it already has had success with. “We’ve committed a lot of resources to it next year,” Rawls says.
There also will be more bundled products to sell, such as a reputation-management product for merchants to monitor their social-media presence that resellers can sell alongside basic credit and debit card processing services.
Even with new products, iPayment will have to persuade resellers. Rawls says the company wants to make it easy for them. “We can offer them the scale that our system runs,” he says. “We have client service, everything from onboarding to merchant support. We want to help bring smaller ISOs under our fold and teach them how to sell solutions. For a lot of smaller partners, they’ve been trying to piece this together themselves and they’re losing ground.”
The concept is that small ISOs will have something to sell other than price. “For us, it’s about building confidence with these new partners and teaching them how to sell in a new manner,” Rawls says. IPayment anticipates filling an executive position to lead this reseller effort.
Other top priorities for 2017 include maintaining the safety of the iPayment payment network by spending more money to ensure its integrity, Rawls says.
Rawls is confident that legal issues involving the iPayment capital structure will be resolved. “We’ve engaged the bankers to fix the capital structure,” he says. “The rest is how do you produce a business that has value. You do that by growing the business and increasing the number of merchants and revenue per merchant.”