What kind of name is AND?
Good question. At first glance, it sounds so… common. Almost generic? It’s such a regularly used word, something you don’t really even think about. It’s rarely called out on its own, nor is it the focus of a conversation. It’s just there. But at the same time, there must be a reason this name was chosen. Although not obvious at first glance, there most certainly is a reason for the naming of our firm. We are co-founders Anthony, Nick, and Derek – together, the “A”, “N”, and “D” of AND. Best friends since childhood, the three of us have seen it all together. Beginning in elementary school, our friendship runs incredibly deep and has continued into our professional careers.
But why focus on names? Any company can put together an acronym of names, so what’s the purpose? Well, we focus on our names here because we want our merchants to understand that knowing your name (and ours!) is central to our business. We believe that our merchants deserve to be on a name to name basis with every single one of us, so that we can truly know who you are, and how you operate. We aren’t faceless representatives, operating off of scripts – we’re humans, and we know you are too. So we want you to know who we are! And we want to know who you are, too. We help your business succeed when we understand your needs, your frustrations, and your concerns. We are your advocate, so we need to know you! So with names in mind – let us introduce ourselves:
Anthony Lawson is our CIO, and has been friends with Derek since the 2nd grade. Definitely the “creative” side of AND, Anthony is a skilled painter and photographer. He has been in customer service for his entire professional career and has a deep understanding of terminal deployments and integrations. He is incredibly personable, with a deep love for all things Chicago Sports. Anthony carries an innate curiosity that leads him to find and explore so many new outlets in his life – he loves succulent gardening, classic records, baking – a true renaissance man! Anthony manages much of the branding, design, and content of AND processing.
Nick Bencivenga, our CEO, is the brain-child of AND. This guy doesn’t like to slow down! If he’s not busy emailing, calling, coding, designing, or writing for AND… then he’s probably playing with his daughter in the backyard. Or perhaps he’s riding his bike or motorcycle… or maybe he’s attempting to build something in the garage? Going hiking? Who knows, this guy doesn’t like to sit down for very long. But Nick loves a challenge, and is known for “going to bat” for his merchants. He’s passionate, gregarious, analytical, and a bit of a jokester too! He carries over a decade of financial services experience, with deep knowledge of payments, merchant pricing, integrations, and the inner workings of the merchant services industry.
Derek Jarrett is our Chief Operating Officer, who carries a uniquely cool and leveled disposition. Known to be “impossible to rattle”, Derek has a calm, relaxed demeanor that allows him to truly assist his friends and merchants in their times of need. Neighbors with Nick since grade-school, they’ve been friends for over 20 years. He loves the outdoors – you’ll almost certainly find him going for a run or a ride if he’s not serving merchants at AND. He’s known for growing some pretty crazy beards while out on his trips! Derek carries deep industry knowledge in POS integrations on numerous processing networks, assisting merchants with terminal deployments, semi-integrations, and gateway setups. He has a knack for finding the root cause of problems within complex systems, due to his willingness to dive into the data!
Anthony and Derek met in second grade, in elementary school. Since then, they’ve remained close friends! They grew up in the same neighborhood and were paired in many classes together throughout the years. They played basketball after school almost every day, with a deep vein of competition that still remains between these two. (Don’t get them near any sort of hoop, or there will be some trash talking!) It’s all in good fun, though – these two friends have known each other so long that there’s nothing but love between them. Nick moved to the same neighborhood at age 11 – only two doors down from Derek. Naturally, they ended up crossing paths, and a friendship quickly formed. It wasn’t long before these two were known as “partners in crime”. Derek and Nick were colloquially known as the “other sons” in their respective houses, based on how much time they spent there! Always bike riding and getting into mischief, these two stayed close as they got older, too. Nick also got to know Anthony throughout these years, and their friendship grew as well. Although Nick moved to California after graduating college, they all still stayed in touch regularly and saw each other when possible.
A few years later Derek joined Nick in California. Nick had already been working in the merchant services industry for several years, and Derek was convinced to join! He made a great fit and worked side-by-side with Nick for over 5 years. Anthony followed suit and joined Nick and Derek himself! It was meant to be – the three best friends working together, building our collective knowledge, and setting the stage for future endeavors. Together, we worked serving merchants at a provider with over 3500 merchants, on a small 5-person team. Nick managed the sales team, operations, and the website - growing the merchant base from under 1000 merchants to over 3500 during his time there, with Derek spearheading the support team and Anthony managing terminals and equipment. We had learned so much in our decades of payment processing, why not do this on our own? We have the tools, the relationships, and the knowledge to truly help merchants save money and provide the best processing experience possible. So why not do it? And that’s just what we did. We started AND processing. It wasn’t easy! Starting a business never is (we’ll actually write about that separately!) and it has carried several frustrations, challenges, and hiccups. But it has also been an extremely rewarding experience. We are able to define the experience for our merchants, instead of being forced to say “that’s the way it is”. We can choose vendors, products, solutions, and pricing that we know will be beneficial for our merchants! We can stand with pride behind what we do. That’s so powerful.
These past 6 months have been a long-haul of work, getting ready to support our new merchant base. We’ve had to build a website and an infrastructure for merchant support, setup and craft numerous vendor relationships, make countless hardware decisions, select and test software/gateway options, design a brand, logo, and content, and create employee policies and procedures. As we’re sure any business owner knows, the “nuts and bolts” of the back end of your business can take just as long to set up as the actual business itself! It’s a daunting task. But we’re excited. We’re ready. We know that we’re offering some incredible services, fantastic pricing, and unparalleled customer support. We are ready to be nimble, to be responsive, and to listen to our client base in order to pivot when necessary. We recognize that businesses who stagnate are ones who die – we intend to listen to our clients, make changes when necessary, and be the best processing firm possible.
We know this post has been very personal, and without much business “substance”. That won’t always be the case when we post to our base, but we wanted to ensure that you know who we are, and how we operate. On a more practical note, we are excited to launch several different initiatives, and we encourage you to take a look at our offerings:
Zero-cost processing. Some merchants are very familiar with this, but for others this may be brand new. Zero-cost is the act of “passing along” your credit card processing fees to the customer – so on a $100 sale, you actually charge the customer $103.99 – you keep $100, and the extra $3.99 paid by the customer covers the processing fee. Historically, this has been frowned-upon by Visa/MC, however the tide has shifted (rapidly) from both the legal sense, and consumer acceptance. There are several different methods to zero-cost, the most popular being surcharging and cash-discounting. We work directly with you to understand your customer base, the payment flow, and how to best incorporate zero-cost processing. In the best circumstances, merchants can save over 95% in processing fees, as your total processing costs can be as low as just $50/month. Our terminals are inexpensive (starting at $149 or $10/month) and handle all of the back-end work, displaying and printing the proper information for your customers. Your bank deposits look normal, the only difference is that your month-end bill will be significantly lower! Membership Pricing. We are offering the cheapest membership-based interchange-plus rates out there. Go check out our competition, and you’ll see that we’re cheaper than the rest of the field. We offer a true, direct wholesale model where we add a flat monthly fee and small transaction fee. Our plans start at just $19/month, with no variable percentage fees over interchange. We are intentionally pricing ourselves very competitively and encourage merchants to compare us to the “other guys” to see how low we are! We also offer high-volume rates for merchants processing at least $200k/month. Our rates are incredibly low, at only 0.05% and 5¢ over cost. Nothing else! No nickel-and-diming here – we’re trying to make this a really easy decision for our prospective merchants.
Smart Terminals and Clover POS. We are of the opinion that smart terminals can make a lot of sense for many merchants! They’re inexpensive (starting at $249) and offer many upper-level features typically reserved for POS systems, such as WiFi connectivity, inventory, cloud-based reporting, and more. The Pax a80 is our favorite! We are also offering Clover POS systems at super competitive prices – lower than Clover direct in most circumstances. Plus, when you go with AND, you’re not locked into Clover’s high-priced merchant service plans. Instead, you can opt to process with our fair membership pricing model, or you can even use zero-cost processing on Clover! We’ll guide you through the process.
The AND gateway is built-in with our Business/Premier membership accounts, and is an incredibly powerful gateway with no additional fees. You get level 2/3 processing, invoicing, recurring billing, secure customer information storage, surcharging, fraud tools, an open API, and more. No transaction fees! Plus, you can add ACH processing for only $10/month and 50¢ per sale. Those are incredibly low rates, and we have no volume minimums or limits. Process as much or as little as you want – just $10/month, and 50¢ per sale.
In addition to an expanding product line that we will be regularly enhancing, AND is built on our exemplary customer support. We pride ourselves on our personal relationships, and for being there when our merchants need us. We encourage you to call us directly. Merchants get direct access to their account manager, we have a 24-hour support chat on our website, and we’re truly dedicated to answering the phone and resolving your issue as quickly as possible. No lip-service here. You’ll know who you’re talking to, you’ll know how to get in touch with them in the future, and your problem will be tended to until resolution. That’s a promise.
AND (that’s Anthony, Nick, and Derek as a reminder!) totally understands the importance of our role in your business, as payment processor. We pay you! We represent you in disputes. We manage the equipment and technology that allows you to interact seamlessly with your customers. This is not a small undertaking, and we fully recognize how vital it is that your payment processor operates with your best interests at heart. We post all rates and fees – we don’t want surprises here. We have no long-term agreements or early termination fees. If you want to leave, you can! We also offer solutions that most other processors don’t allow – true surcharging and cash-discounting programs that allow you to reduce your costs FAR BELOW normal. Most processors still haven’t embraced these newer technologies. We don’t think that’s right – we think that all merchants should have access to all of the tools that allow them to reduce costs. Our agents are trained in understanding the intricacies of different pricing models, industries, equipment options, and local regulations. Let AND guide your business through the world of zero-cost and payment processing!
We at AND are so excited to work with our community in reducing costs, implementing advanced hardware/software solutions, and providing unparalleled customer service experiences. We appreciate this great opportunity to serve our future merchant base, and welcome you to reach out with questions, feedback, or requests to get signed up! We’ll be working closely with all early-adopters to ensure your pricing is unmatched, and that you’ll be staying with AND for life.