Is a Direct Sales Business Model or ISO Sales Model Best for Me?

In the sales world, there are two popular types of sales models: the Direct Sales Model and the ISO Model (Independent Sales Office). In the merchant services industry, workers can make a comfortable living off each, but some are better suited for one model over the other. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each.

Merchant Services: Direct Sales Business Model

Those who work direct sales in the merchant services industry work directly for a credit card processing company as an employee. They are expected to report to an office for a certain number of hours each day, usually between the hours of 9am and 5pm where they report to a manager. In addition, they have sales quotas that they are responsible for making or risk being terminated.

Perks of the job on the Direct Sales Business Model often include: a generous base salary (they are not paid commission only), health insurance, paid time off, a 401K, and more. Because they work on-site, they are true experts in the merchant services space and in addition to selling merchants card processing, payment technology, and merchant cash advances, they provide support.

The ISO Model in the Merchant Services Industry

boss - direct sales model vs. iso model

Self-employment is a rising trend in the American workplace, as pointed out by New York Post.

“Climbing the corporate ladder is no longer the American dream. Over the last few years a significant mindset shift has taken place and with it has emerged a workforce which values flexibility over stability,” cited the second annual Self-Employment Report.

The Post article also noted:

  • Some 27 million Americans will leave full-time jobs from now through 2020, bringing the total number of self-employed to 42 million.
  • Those nontraditional workers — who will approach 33 percent of the workforce in coming years — want more control over how and why they work, the report said.

Starting and running a business such as a retail store, e-commerce company, or restaurant can require a significant amount of startup capital and experience which can be a deterrent for some entrepreneurs. The ISO Model is perfect for those who want to have a career that is flexible. defines an ISO as: a third-party organization that represents a bank or other financial institution that sells and promotes its services, one of which is merchant accounts. An ISO, which is sometimes also referred to as a Member Service Provider, has partnerships with various banks such as Wells Fargo and Merrick and opens merchant accounts on behalf of the financial institution it represents.

Referral partners on the model make their own hours and can work from wherever they’d like. For some, being a referral partner is their only job, but many use the opportunity to make extra income while continuing to run a different business or work a 9 to 5 job. The position pays uncapped residual commissions (a payment structure where the worker receives a commission every month for the life of the relationship) and does not come with health benefits, paid time off, or other standard employee benefits.

Priority’s ISO Model

Consumers typically don’t go directly to banks for merchant services due to the lack of personalized customer service. Since payment technology and card processing is the bread and butter of a company like ours, we are experts at what we do and connect merchants with the best equipment and rates for their business. However, card processing companies need the backing of the banks and must be a member of a Mastercard or VISA association. Some direct sales representatives set up ISOs under them and serve as mentors to the ISOs.

Additional benefits of our ISO Model include the following:

There’s minimal risk.

Retail and restaurant businesses can be a huge success and those who have the desire to start those types of businesses should follow their dreams, but be aware that there are more risks associated with them than there are with direct selling businesses. Typically with an ISO Model, there is little to no startup capital required and if you don’t like the job you can get out of it easily at any time.

You’re not alone – get access to mentors and improve your business skills.

Our ISO Model comes with mentors and support. Each of our representatives gets a dedicated Business Development Manager (who is part of our in-house direct sales team) that serves as their direct contact and support system. On-site and remote training is available for representatives who have a desire to become an expert in the industry.

Be your own boss.

With a direct sales model, there’s no punching the clock and reporting to anyone – you are your own boss and are in control of how much money you make.

“A benefit I can appreciate about this program includes how flexible it is to sell; I can sell it anytime from anywhere and there are not any quotas. Of course, the more I sell, the more residual income I make, which makes the job more rewarding than earning a one-time commission. Having other roles in my full-time job, merchant services, unfortunately, cannot take up 40 hours of my time each week but yet with the time I spend, I’ve seen significant increases in my take-home pay,” said Christopher Jimenez, pictured, Referral Partner, Priority Payments Local.

Priority Payments Outside Agent

Anyone who has never done direct sales or has worked in this industry before will be able pick it up because of how hands-on the Priority Payments Local team is – something that sets them apart from other merchant services companies. They provide on and off-site training which I was able to utilize and are very responsive via phone and email, helping me and my team get our new accounts approved. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking for a way to make additional income,” added Jimenez.

This is the model that based off our research, most of the industry follows and it is the most common way a business can contract to accept payments. Among businesses, choosing the right ISO depends on its ISO agents’ relationship and level of expertise. Among agents, choosing the right ISO to resell depends on their training, product offering, ease to navigate support teams, and knowledge of the latest and greatest programs and systems along with a strong compliant “home” or ISO like Priority Payments Local.

Payment Technology Company: Product & Service Offering Preview

At Priority Payments Local, we pride ourselves on being able to provide our merchants with secure, fast, and reliable payment technology solutions. Our most popular solutions include MX Connect, Priority Force CRM, MX Merchant, and Net Zero Processing Fees Program.

MX Connect: Available to Employees and ISOs

No alt text provided for this image

MX Connect is a client management tool that’s available to employees and ISOs only, serving as a place for them to manage their merchant accounts. Features include:



  • A summary of rolling volume
  • Merchants by business type
  • Top-performing merchants
  • Statistics on: submitted, approved, pending, declined, canceled, closed, projected accounts, volume, transactions, chargebacks, retrievals, approved volume, and merchant notes.
  • News and alerts



  • A search button to locate merchants by date created.
  • Approved apps
  • Draft apps
  • In process apps
  • Pending apps
  • Prospects
  • Submitted apps
  • SAQ merchant
  • TIN validation list


Manage labels, portfolios, and manage invites.


Get access to:

  • Daily ACH
  • Daily adjustments
  • Daily boarding
  • Daily chargebacks
  • Daily discount
  • Daily interchanges
  • Daily reserve
  • Daily retrievals
  • Daily volume
  • Reserve balance
  • ACH balance

Priority Force CRM: Available to Employees and ISOs

No alt text provided for this image

Built on-site in our Red Bank, New Jersey office, Priority Force is our internal client relationship tool that’s strictly for managing sales and new merchant onboarding. Upon joining our team, employees and ISOs are provided with a login to the Force where they:

  • Submit new accounts.
  • Receive status updates on pending and approved accounts.
  • Manage their sales process setting calendar reminders and follow-ups with merchants via text and email directly from the Dashboard.
  • Get access to sales templates to assist them with reaching new merchants.

MX Merchant: Available to Merchants

No alt text provided for this image

Thousands of businesses are migrating each and every month from traditional payment processing vendors to Priority’s integrated core processing platform. The strength of our dynamic, custom-built payments ecosystem is that it streamlines workflows and effectively manages all critical aspects of running a business from a single source.

MX Merchant is one of the most powerful payments platforms available and is a payments ecosystem that goes far beyond the traditional gateway. It comes standard with your merchant account and includes these robust features:

  • Dashboard
  • Quick Pay
  • Payments
  • Customers
  • Settings
  • Support
  • Docs
  • Reports
  • Deposit
  • Settlement
  • Chargeback
  • MX Express App (Download in the Apple App Store)
No alt text provided for this image

Net Zero Processing Fees Program: Available to Merchants

After years of being told by our merchants that they hate paying credit card processing fees and that the cost of running a business, especially in New York and New Jersey, continue to rise, we developed a program that rewards customers for paying by cash, saving merchants nearly 99 percent on card processing fees.

How that program coined Net Zero Processing Fees ­­works is simple. Everything you sell is already discounted to the “cash price.” When a customer pays by credit card they pay the retail cost. Announce the program with the complimentary signage provided at sign up then process paying virtually $0 on credit card processing fees and instead pay a $49 monthly program fee.

A complete product listing is available on our website.

How to Get Started with Priority Payments Local

We are proud to offer a hybrid – Direct Sales Model and the ISO Model, which feature two pathways of selling. The hybrid model is successful because it combines excellent customer support with competitive pricing, and a wide array of secure, reliable, and fast payment technology that our reps sell based on what is best for each businesses’ unique needs.

Direct Sales Model: Inside Sales (W2)

Employees are usually individuals who love office culture, are not multi-level selling along with the ability to consistently hit benchmarks and sales goals, treat their company as if it were their own, and live and breathe the company and its products 24/7. These positions are reserved for those elite individuals who are responsible for:

  • Utilizing existing relationships and developing new relationships to drive merchants to Priority’s card processing and a wide array of payment technology.
  • Having the ability to be successful every day. Creating leads is the No. 1 priority.
  • Retrieving processing statements and a merchant processing application from merchants.
  • Upload merchant documents to Priority’s easy to use Client Relationship Management System.
  • Engaging Priority’s list of cultivated leads via phone and email.
  • Cold calling targeted merchants.
  • Meeting and exceeding sales quotas.

Referral Partners

This option offers the most flexibility to compliment your existing career and busy lifestyle.

1.      Refer your contacts to your dedicated Relationship Manager.

2.      Await account closings by your Relationship Manager.

3.      Collect earnings in the form of residual income that is paid to you once a month for the life of the relationship with the merchant.

ISO Model: Outside Sales (1099)

This is the best path for entrepreneurs who want to have their own business in this space. Instead of just referring merchants to our team, they become the experts and close their own deals. For agents, choosing the right ISO to resell depends on the training that’s provided, products that are offered, ease to navigate support teams, and knowledge of the latest and greatest programs along with a strong compliant home or ISO like Priority Payments Local.

As an example of an entrepreneur who wanted to take his own path on the ISO Model, we’ll use Cliff Green, founder and owner of Green Payments in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Green started off as an employee of our company who climbed to the top as Vice President of Sales. After working in our Red Bank Office under the guidance of our founders and earning his place as one of our top selling reps, Green opened his own office that now employees a team of more than 10 sales agents. While he enjoyed working in our office, he wanted the flexibility to create his own hours and work remotely as needed.

Typically, entrepreneurs in this space don’t work in our office as employees but rather work with our office as independent contractors. The requirements are as follows:

1.      A strong desire to become an expert in the industry.

2.      A business mindset with killer sales skills – in order to be successful, generating new business is a must.

For additional information on direct sales, ISOs, or working with our company, contact us at 800-717-1250 or and mention this article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *