COVID-19 has created an incredibly difficult environment for everybody, but in particular, small business owners across the nation. Small businesses do not have the luxury of riding out the storm on cushioned credit lines and the wherewithal — or “corporate thinktank” — to support their business and negotiate with large suppliers and providers that are critical to the survival of their business. One category of these providers that all small businesses must learn to navigate are payment processors. Anybody that has managed a merchant system knows that payment processing fees are not easy to reconcile nor understand — and rarely can you lean on your payment processor to lend a hand.
VizyPay is a different kind of payment processor. They have established themselves as an award-winning payment processing company that supports local businesses through transparent fees, a Look Local First initiative, and free-of-charge marketing efforts to support small businesses.
We had the chance to speak with Amy Hayes, Marketing Director at VizyPay, and what follows is exactly what you’d expect from someone that works for a company with a mission to support others — it was pleasant, easy going, and seemed to focus just as much on others (i.e. small businesses) as it did VizyPay.
Wise Marketer (WM): Tell us a bit about VizyPay.
Amy Hayes (Amy): VizyPay is based in West Des Moines, Iowa and it is about 3 years old and founded by Austin Mac Nab who was previously a small business owner and somebody who had a lot of experience in the credit card processing industry for over 15 years. Co-Founder, Frank Pagano, was also a local small business owner. They each came from small business, to serve small business.
Austin felt the payment industry was too complex and small business owners were getting themselves into programs that they did not fully understand resulting in surprising payment processing fees that were higher than expected. He wanted to create a transparent fee platform that makes it easy for small business owners to navigate and understand. This approach is unique to the industry. Being so transparent with fees has been at times a difficult path, but we stand by our mission.
Business owners are usually “sold on savings”, but it never seems to work out that way.
Here are just a couple of our goals:
- Offer traditional payment processing but break down the fees — line by line — with a comparison table detailing their fees against their competition.
- Unique cash discount program where we can incorporate fees into their prices which allows the merchant to only pay a fixed fee as low as $25/month. This eliminates pain points of variable fees and inconsistency.
We have a simple payment calculator on our website. It does not capture every bit of detail, but it is a nice starting point for small businesses.
WM: Are you focused nationally or locally?
Amy: We are national, but we are proudly remember our Des Moines roots and supporting local business. We have a marketing initiative “Look Local First” which is something we do to support local small businesses. It is not a prospecting/sales tool. It is something we use to support our current clients and to maybe one day attract other small businesses that may be unhappy with their current payment processor.
WM: What did you do during COVID-19 to help small businesses?
Amy: Many small businesses do not have the support of “corporate thinking” or “corporate resources” to help respond to the rapid changes due to COVID-19. We helped small businesses by providing things such as floor stickers for social distancing and helpful blogs such as supporting and guiding small businesses on things to consider when reopening; these blogs were about overall, practical business help, not necessarily “payment related”.
WM: What are you doing different than big processors?
Amy: AMEX has done small business Saturday, but this is just one day a year. We are encouraging consumers to think about small business every day. It goes beyond just encouraging consumers to shop locally — it is about educating consumers on the why of why they should shop local.
We have found research that 68% of revenue stays circulated in the local community versus 43% when shopping at a big chain.
WM: What else do you do to support small businesses?
Amy: In addition to just writing blogs, we recognize small businesses on our social pages for free e.g. we do small business spotlights. We also do a lot of giveaways to help small businesses gain high quality followers and generate “quality traction” versus as an example, paid campaigns that may generate bots and cost money.
WM: What is your growth plan?
Amy: Nationwide. Three years ago, we had 11 employees and now we have almost 50. In Fall of 2021, we will have completed our new corporate headquarters. We attribute our fast growth to customers that have really appreciated our message and support.
WM: How is VizyPay handling COVID—19?
Amy: Iowa has been an “open state” for most of the pandemic. We are back in the office, but practicing social distancing, mask wearing, washing hands, etc. — it is good to be back in the office and socializing, to an extent.
WM: Is there anything we missed?
Amy: In addition to partnering with small business, we partner with chambers of commerce. They can purchase a “chamber kit” which is a window sticker, presentation for chamber meetings, and flyers to give them an easy way to bring the “Look Local First” initiative to their communities.