06/03/2014

The FTC is Prosecuting Shady MSPs and ISOs

The FTC is Prosecuting Shady MSPs and ISOs

After 20 years in the industry, we’ve noticed that far too many of them seem motivated only by the dollar, and not by any real desire to help the merchants they supposedly serve. For years, we’ve warned our merchant customers about the shady business practices of some merchant services providers (MSPs) and independent sales organizations (ISOs).
Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that all MSPs and ISOs are bad news, but more and more we’re realizing just how unethical some of these guys can be. And it looks like we’re not the only ones. A recent article published by the Electronic Transaction Association (ETA) highlights an investigation launched earlier this year by the FTC, code named “Operation Choke Point.” According to the FTC, the operation’s objective is to find and prosecute MSPs, ISOs, and processors who knowingly provide services to deceptive/fraudulent businesses and/or who knowingly process chargebacks and refunds even after the business’ assets have been frozen by the government due to pending litigation.

In other words, the FTC is currently identifying and prosecuting a number of payment industry players who are either knowingly breaking the law or willingly assisting business that are breaking the law – all in the name of making a quick buck. The scary part about all this is that these processors, MSPs, and ISOs work with more than just criminal organizations. They likely have hundreds of honest merchant customers – like you.

If they’re willing to play dirty and potentially break the law to gain a few additional customers, what else are they willing to cheat on? Your discount rate? The advice they give you? Recommending services you don’t really need? The list goes on.

The beauty of Shift4’s neutrality is that you are always free to change your bank, processor, and/or MSP if you feel that the one you have is not looking out for your best interests. Here are a few things to consider if you decide it’s time to look for a new MSP/ISO.

As always, Shift4 is on your side. If you need advice or assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing info@shift4.com.