Andy Phillips, CEO
The payments industry has been weathering an endless series of transitions and disruptions, which have intensified in recent times. From electronic payments rising up the adoption curve to emerging data privacy and security issues, the industry is a hotbed of dynamism. When it comes to retail payments, electronic transactions have strongly established their dominance today, nudging cash and paper-based payments down the road to obsolescence.
And now, with the pandemic sweeping the world, "contactless payments" have been catapulted into the mainstream consciousness. A recent study by the State of Retail Payments, conducted for the National Retail Federation (NRF), states that 67 percent of retailers surveyed accept some form of notouch payment. Additionally, 56 percent now take digital wallet payments on mobile phones. Due to growing safety concerns, many retailers are also providing customers with the option to pay online or over the phone and then pick up merchandise in-store or at curbside, avoiding the need to touch card readers, signatures for transactions, or a numerical PIN.
All of these are only made possible by payment partners that facilitate merchants' digital transactions with ease. This is where the prowess of companies like Cliq, a provider of innovative merchant processing services, ACH processing and prepaid card solutions, comes to play. With a mission to help reduce costs, increase sales, and provide the best possible customer support, Cliq empowers businesses with robust payment processing tools and technology. The brain behind the company, Andy Phillips, holds extensive experience of almost four decades in the payment processing industry. After setting up and building a string of companies over the years, Phillips established Cliq to bring his vision of better serving clients to life. He recruited a large part of his team from his previous company, bought a small ISO (independent sales organization), and shaped it to what Cliq is today.
"Historically, companies in the payment processing space have been exclusively focused on pricing, which gravely impacted their profit margins and service levels," states Andy Phillips, founder and CEO of Cliq. On the contrary, Cliq has embraced a slightly different approach to maintain its service levels while caring for its customers. "We are large enough to support the needs of merchants of any size yet small enough to care about each customer, no matter the size," mentions Phillips. With its comprehensive array of payment solutions, Cliq has the culture, technical expertise and experience to create and/or match a solution that fits the customer’s needs. In this way, Cliq is able to cater to businesses across a large array of industries, from property management, summer camps, online retail, nonprofits, startups, restaurants, and more to companies with unique technical needs.
Another unique aspect of the company and its culture is that the company splits its customers into three different segments—agents/ distribution channels, merchants, and cardholders—and places equal importance on each one of them. Phillips notes, “It is my experience that many of my peers believe that the Agent/Distribution channel is a means to an end.
Instead of Requiring Our Customers to Fit Into Our Box, We Are Committed to Developing Solutions to Fit Into Theirs
I believe that our Agents and Distribution channels are our partners, they are key to our success and more importantly stickiness. Afterall, the relationship begins with them.” As such, Cliq has a client services division with the exclusive purpose of taking care of the important customer base.
The Answer to All Payment Processing Needs
According to Phillips, the demand for information dissemination solutions has been on the rise within the industry. Oftentimes, customers approach Cliq with unique requirements, including provisions for multiple location reporting and hierarchical information. With the decades of experience of its in-house development staff and management team, Cliq has the capability to deliver the data in just about any method or format that merchants are looking for. "We live in the information age, and only a few companies can disseminate data like we do. We are able to do that because of the information that we receive from our processors in realtime and our vast internal capacity to develop specialized solutions geared toward the unique needs of merchants," mentions Phillips.
As a third-party payment processor, Cliq has the capacity to provide its customers with a wide spectrum of payment solutions, including Merchant Processing Services, Pay by text, Prepaid Cards, ACH for Electronic Check Processing, Tips Management, Expense Cards, Remote Payment Processing, and Retail Point of Sale Payment Processing Solutions. The company's state-of-the-art funds distribution and gratuity distribution platforms, (PayByCliq) in particular, allow hospitality businesses like restaurants, beauty salons, barbershops, valet services, and country clubs to streamline the distribution of tips. Cliq distributes funds via ACH or instantly via Visa and MasterCard prepaid cards, in many cases eliminating the need to manage large sums of cash while providing quality accounting. The company has also developed an out-of-the-box split funding solution for businesses with this unique need such as property management, delivery and ride share, virtually any business that has a need to split settlement. The software can collect payment from a customer on behalf of the business owner and then distribute the funds based on the instructions and needs of the business during settlement. This is all accomplished using available fields in most commercial gateways. From accepting the funds via ACH or credit, to fund distribution, though Cliq does take advantage of some of the Best of Breed technology solutions in the market, Cliq does not outsource any of its operations thereby offering a single phone number to customers to easily reach out to its in-house team for assistance. Cliq also renders verticalspecific platforms, such as a nonprofit platform and a municipality platform, to equip organizations with an all-in-one solution for fundraising on websites or processing and collecting donations via credit cards. Phillips adds, "However varied and distinct the needs are, Cliq is here to help."
With such exemplary capabilities, Cliq caters to a vast client base. On one occasion, Cliq helped a casino's accounting department by developing a unique system.
The client had more than 52 points of sale with over 20 employees in the accounting department whose job was to consolidate data from POS terminals and then enter it into their books. After deploying Cliq's solution coupled with its information dissemination capabilities, the client was able to reduce the number of accounting personnel to just three. In yet another impressive feat, Cliq was able to create a solution for a client that was processing billions of dollars a month by implementing its funds distribution platform for property management and automating the entire process.
"We Are Big Enough to Support the Needs Of Merchants of Any Size Yet Small Enough to Still Care"
Cliq has established solid relationships with several ISVs and offers an API set that can be used to integrate with Cliq's different platforms. Once integrated, clients can effectively be up and running in no time. Alternatively, if the merchant already has their proprietary system, they will be given the necessary APIs to integrate directly with Cliq. For smaller businesses, the company gives them access to a virtual terminal, which permits them to use all of Cliq's platforms. With a keen focus on security and reliability, Cliq also ensures that all its clients are PCI compliant while providing them with the necessary direction, applications, and guidance to set up their business within the regulatory guidelines.
Spotlight on Seamless Payment Processing
During his decadeslong stint in the industry, Phillips has witnessed how payment processing solutions have transformed by leaps and bounds. He recalls, "Back in the 80s, credit cards were yet to become widespread. Oftentimes, I'd walk around with a POS device, leave it with a merchant, and come back a couple of days later to pick it up. Soon enough, they never let me take it back!" Today, to deal with the increase in sales volume, businesses are increasingly seeking advanced payment processing solutions like never before. Due to the widespread mergers and acquisitions in the industry, businesses are finding it difficult to have their specific needs met. This has created a unique opportunity and niche for Cliq. To this end, Cliq is always innovating to come up with best-of-breed, cost-competitive solutions that fit the bill. "Instead of requiring our customers to fit into our box, we are coming up with solutions to fit into theirs," adds Phillips.
Cliq has recently adopted text-to-pay technology in keeping with the growing trend toward contactless payments. Expanding on the texting capabilities, Cliq is now offering a two factor authentication technology that is geared toward reducing the friendly fraud that plaques so many e-tailers. According to Phillips, Cliq's range of solutions, coupled with its customer centric approach and teamworkoriented culture, is what steers the company ahead of its competitors. Every member of the Cliq team takes pride in the work ethic they follow within the company, giving and receiving the same level of respect they render to customers. With an incredible team at the helm, Cliq is constantly brainstorming to introduce interesting solutions and put in the effort necessary to serve customers in the best possible way. Phillips adds, "For the future, we are laserfocused on solid growth and have multiple projects in the pipeline to keep pace with the growing needs of customers."