Clearent at MWAA: Mark Passifione on Integrating Payments

Clearent’s VP of Partner Sales, Mark Passifione, was recently invited to be part of the “3 Companies Discuss the Practical Side of Integrating Payments” panel discussion at the Midwest Acquirer’s Association annual conference. Mark joined Jake West, the director of North American payments for Vend and Mark Ward, the CFO of One Cause. The goal of the discussion was to look at payment integration from a software company’s perspective. The conversation covered several topics, including the future of payments, the ROI of offering integrated payments and how ISOs and agents can fit into this new landscape.

Where are payments headed?

A major theme within the industry is subscription-based payments. By the year 2021, 75% of businesses will be run on a cloud-based subscription model. Many of us are already witnessing this theme with the number of media and gaming services we use each month, as well as the growth of subscription boxes that deliver everything from meals and clothes to cosmetics and pet toys.

This trend is moving into the business world as well. It’s no wonder, as subscription-based businesses are growing nine times faster than the S&P 500. The combination of subscriptions and transactions is becoming a part of the products themselves, so when buyers choose to use a particular software platform, they expect the payment process to be seamless.

What does the ROI look like for the integrated payments model?

SaaS companies are looking beyond the original services their software was created to provide. They’re looking for additional revenue opportunities, which is where integrated payments come into play. The most successful companies are not just selling software. Thanks to integrated payments, they’re boosting revenue and reducing attrition since customers are using their software longer.

“You have to think in terms of recurring revenue, reducing churn and how much it costs to acquire new customers. You’re not going to create ROI by saying you can do it cheaper.” – Mark Passifione 

Businesses are looking for so much more than whether a transaction is approved or declined. They want reporting and data to help them run their business better. Therefore, delivering analytics with the data being captured and fed through software is critical for merchant acquisition and retention. The better the analytics, the more valuable and essential that software becomes to running the customer’s business.

This is why a payments integration involves the product, reporting, data flow, onboarding, and more. Small changes within these elements are crucial to a positive customer experience and are why SaaS providers want to know how integrating payments can help them deliver a better product.

How do ISOs and agents fit into this new landscape?

In order to be successful in this new ecosystem, ISOs must seek to truly understand their customers’ business, uncover their pain points and serve as a consultant who can provide value instead of focusing on feature-based sales.

ISOs must take integrated payments one step further and look at how they can provide integrated support. Most SaaS companies are not payments experts, so this is where seasoned payments professionals can find their niche, working with both software companies and payments providers.

“ISOs are in a unique position. It’s not critical that they are the technology provider. It’s their expertise that makes them valuable so they can take on an account management role.” – Mark Passifione  

This is especially important with the consolidation of the major players that we’re seeing in the payments industry. The largest players will struggle to provide exceptional service for smaller customers, so this is where ISOs can provide a lot of value.

Another area where ISOs can add value is helping software companies future-proof their business. Predicting exactly where the industry is headed is tricky. But by partnering with an agile, forward-thinking payments technology partner, ISOs can make sure software providers are in a position to leverage emerging technologies.

By focusing on solution selling, speaking the customer’s language and having meaningful conversations about how a payments integration can drive long-term growth, ISOs can help secure a profitable position within the future of payments.


Looking for an integrated payments partner? Contact us and we’ll show you how we can help set you up for success.

About Author

Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier

VP, ISO Channel Director

Doug has nearly 20 years of experience in payments. Before coming to Clearent, he spent more than 16 years at TSYS in a variety of sales, account management and leadership roles. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife and children.

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