Are you aware of legislation like the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010? This probably hasn’t fallen into your list of must-read categories. Well, here’s what it is in a nutshell: to increase government regulation and oversight of the payment card industry and its participants. On the surface this may sound like it could be of great benefit to merchants, especially to those that have discovered that they have been misled by someone in this industry. However, many in the credit card processing industry worry that these certification programs aren’t enough. Some are calling for the kind of licensing programs states require for the insurance industry, as an example.
Back in March, the ETA (Electronics Transactions Association) announced they were going to launch the first industry-wide professional certification testing program later this year. Successfully passing the 125-question ETA test will earn ISO’s (Independent Sales Organizations) MLS’s (Merchant Level Salespersons) and other payment professionals a Certified Payments Professional certificate. This multiple choice test will given twice a year in numerous centers around the country. MLS’s must have at least one year of industry experience and a degree or three years’ industry experience to be eligible to even take the test.
For those of us that have been around this industry for many years, and have personally witnessed some of the outright deception that exists, it seems necessary, for the merchants benefit, that something must be done. However, many payment professionals, myself included, don’t see the value in certification programs unless certification is accompanied by a stare or federally regulated licensing program. Let’s face it, just because reps go thru a “certification” program with their processor, earn a plaque upon successful completion and can place a “seal” on their business card, does it really mean anything to the merchant? Certification really has no “teeth” to it but when coupled with real regulation, unethical behavior could result in the loss of the agent’s license and his or her ability to work in the industry.
My success in this business has always been attributed to building relationships with my merchants and educating them on this cost center of their business. Dealing with merchants in a totally ethical manner is the only way that I know to do business. Until, and if, this certification and/or licensing in the payment industry becomes a reality, merchants really need to continue to be diligent in thoroughly understanding these services that they are contracting and paying for in their business. My FREE email course entitled, “Understanding Credit Card Processing” can be accessed by simply enrolling in the form at the right of this page. Thanks for reading.