Matt Good, senior vice president and general manager, Elan Advisory Services

How to select a strong provider for merchant services

Explore capabilities SMBs want, types of third-party models, and more.

July 25, 2022

Payment methods are constantly evolving, and to meet consumers’ expectations in today’s omni-commerce world, small businesses want to offer services such as mobile app payment processing and text-to-pay.

But they need a trusted provider to make it happen. What better partner than their credit union? 

Research shows that small businesses prefer to have all their banking and credit needs met by one financial institution. According to BlueVine, nearly nine out of 10 small businesses consider it important for a single provider to handle their credit and banking services. 

Additionally, a study by J.P. Morgan and Forbes shows that 52% of executives plan to consolidate their treasury and payment service providers.

What local businesses want

Credit unions must recognize that offering a credit card terminal, competitive pricing, and timely deposits is no longer enough. According to a recent survey by Paysafe, 52% of customers at 65% of businesses want more payment options including cryptocurrencies and digital wallets. 

Offering streamlined services is foundational in today's business ecosystem. Companies that use their credit union for merchant services will also bring in more revenue for the credit union. 

Elavon, a leading payments provider and financial institution merchant partner, shows an 88% increase in average revenue, an 85% increase in deposits, and an 80% increase in loans from businesses that use their financial institution for merchant services versus those with only a checking account. 

Working with a third-party payments provider is an opportunity to provide members with the type of all-in-one services they’re looking for. It’s can also be a tool to engage prospective members. 

For example, many payments providers now offer a broad range of services beyond traditional payment processing, including inventory management and loyalty programs.

Types of models and evaluation criteria

Merchant providers work with credit unions in a range of models. Each offers varying degrees of ownership, flexibility, and associated economics, but all are focused on strengthening the value of a credit union’s services. 

When exploring potential merchant services providers, credit unions should consider these guideposts for determining the viability of a payments provider:

  • Financial considerations.
  • Cash flow and currency.
  • Vertical support.
  • Operational efficiency.
  • Risk management and compliance.
  • Support structure.

Download the full whitepaper for details supporting each guidepost and to view sources. 

No matter the model, a strong partner gives small business owners ways to increase revenue, process orders, and manage inventory while meeting consumer expectations securely and risk-free. 

If your credit union is exploring how to expand your offerings through payment process and merchant services, read more here or reach out with any questions.

Elan Advisory Services

Elan Advisory Services partners with financial institutions to grow their business through our outsourced credit card program, mortgage solutions, and our all-in-one merchant processing business solution platform, talech®. Our dedication to our partners, growth philosophy, and investment in evolving technology has made us a leader in the industry since 1968. In a world of rapidly changing digital technology, increasing compliance burdens, and competing rewards programs, more have turned to Elan for innovative solutions. For more information, visit

MATT GOOD is senior vice president and general manager at Elan Advisory Services.