2 min read

Marcia Ortez Named Q2 2021 Duffy Leadership Award Recipient

By Celero Commerce on Jul 23, 2021 11:13:49 AM

Created in honor of one of fintech’s greatest leaders and a mentor to many at Celero Commerce, the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award is awarded to those who embody our most deeply held values as an organization: respect, excellence, communication, intention, performance, user experience, and simple, disruptive solutions. We’re excited to announce the latest recipient of this highest honor at Celero: Director of Bank Relationships Marcia Ortez.

Marcia has been with Celero from the very beginning. She brings warmth, commitment, and passion to her work with our financial institution partners and her teammates. Many people who work with Marcia describe her as both a colleague and a friend. She is the type of culture carrier that inspires everyone around her simply through leading by example.

“Marcia's primary responsibility is engaging our FI Referral Partners in generating lead activity; however, she provides much more than that,” said Kristia Poppe, Vice President of Bank Relationships. “When our industry was facing sales slowdowns due to the pandemic, Marcia stepped up her efforts in communications regarding educational opportunities for both merchants and partners; helped launch and train Compass for financial institutions; consistently provided key information to the leadership team for monthly and quarterly reports; and served as a key driver in the lead reporting cleanup efforts as Celero transitions to PowerBI.”

In 2020, Marcia also took the lead on our weekly "Did You Know" email newsletters to FI partners. This weekly email has been vital to our team's success, helping to keep merchant services top of mind for our bank partners.

“Her consistency and dedication to ensuring that a solid foundation was in place during the economic slowdown has led to record numbers of referrals and deals in the first half of 2021,” said Kristia. “It is often noted by leaders within Celero that Marcia is the glue that holds the FI Referral team together. Her ability to work with individuals and provide meaningful contributions throughout all levels of the organization is exceptional, and certainly worthy of Duffy Award recognition.”

Much like its namesake, the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award is all about teamwork. It is driven entirely by peer nominations and awarded to those who show team values like selflessness and humility.

“Marcia is an invaluable member of our FI Referral team and a major driver of their success,” said CEO Kevin Jones. “We all appreciate her positive attitude and the care she brings to her communications with colleagues and bank partners. Since our founding in 2018, she has been a steady and dependable force here at Celero.”

Marcia will join fellow Duffy Award recipients at the company’s second annual Leadership Summit in 2022. This event gathers leaders throughout Celero to recognize key team members, celebrate our accomplishments as an organization, and discuss the future of fintech. This year’s summit will include all Duffy Award recipients from 2020, as well as the top 10 percent of performers in other departments. Knowing this executive team, there’s sure to be some special Nashville entertainment in the works—and perhaps a surprise appearance or two.

Marcia’s name will be engraved on a commemorative Duffy Award plaque to follow in the tradition of 2020 winners Nicole Becher, Abigail Lucier, Karo Torosyan, Spencer Ellis, Kristia Poppe, and Lea Telonis, and Q1 2021 winner Kim Henley. The next Duffy Award winner will be named this fall.

3 min read

Protect Your Business From The Expense Of Card Testing Fraud

By Celero Commerce on Jul 7, 2021 9:00:00 AM

While having a website enabled to accept card payments for your goods and/or services may increase your sales, there's an important need to ensure your website will not permit the submission of transactions other than valid sales from your bona fide customers. Unfortunately, invalid transactions can result in unexpected and unwanted costs. Let’s discuss card testing fraud, a growing type of fraud that is silently threatening the payments space, and how to effectively combat it.

The Basics

First, let’s define what card testing fraud is. When a fraudster obtains stolen credit card numbers, they need to determine if the cards are valid before making any significant purchases. To do this, they will attempt to make a small online purchase to determine if the card is approved and therefore eligible for use in fraudulent purchase transactions elsewhere. Additionally, they will be on the lookout for whether or not the Address Verification Service (AVS) and Card Verification Value (CVV) responses match. Typically, they will utilize bots or scripts that can run thousands of test transactions at a time. The successful cards are then used to make large, fraudulent purchases at various online retailers.

The Risks

In addition to the consumers who have had their financial information compromised, any merchant that accepts credit cards online is at risk for card testing fraud. Card testers look for websites with the least amount of friction and user verification requirements for making an online purchase. Non-profit organizations and charities are especially vulnerable to this type of fraud since their websites are specifically designed to make it as easy as possible to make a purchase or give a donation.

When a merchant experiences card testing on their website, there are several potential costs. Whether a sale is approved or declined, online transaction fees are still charged to the merchant. Completed sales that are not voided or refunded are subject to chargebacks and any associated fees. In addition to these fees, merchants will lose time and effort when dealing with the damage inflicted upon their brand and reputation as a result of the fraud attempt.

Preventing Fraud

When it comes to detecting this type of fraud, be on the lookout for multiple small-dollar transactions from different card numbers submitted within a short period of time. A majority of these transactions will either decline and/or have mismatched AVS and CVV responses. To reduce the likelihood of card testing, you can implement several measures that will improve your website’s security. There will always be a balancing act between tighter security measures and ensuring your customers have an easy checkout experience, but most consumers are already familiar with many of these security measures:

  • Add a Captcha to your website: This makes it more difficult for bots and scripts to be used when testing cards. If you’re interested in getting this added to your website, make sure to contact us for assistance.
  • Set AVS and CVV restrictions: These restrictions prevent sales from being accepted if there is a mismatched address, zip code, or CVV response. Most of the time, card testers will not have a valid address or CVV when testing illegally obtained credit card information. This will make their testing unsuccessful and often cause them to move onto less secure websites to perform their testing. To ensure the ultimate safety of your customers, we will set up your payment gateway to automatically perform this type of AVS and CVV filtering.
  • Block fraudulent sales with IP restrictions: Another step you can take is to implement IP restrictions that will decline sales coming from outside of the United States, which is where most card testing happens. You can also set threshold limits on the number of sales that can be submitted from the same IP address. Most payment gateways and shopping carts already have these tools available.
  • Fraud alerts: As an extra precaution, you can add an additional fraud monitoring product or software to your website to enforce transaction thresholds and alert you if potential card testing occurs.

Get Help

If you’re interested in learning more about card testing fraud and how to prevent it in your online shop, please contact us today! Ensuring the security of you and your customers is our top priority. 

3 min read

BankMax: Exemplifying Our High-Tech, High-Touch Promise

By Celero Commerce on Jun 10, 2021 9:00:00 AM

The BankMax team at Celero Commerce is the driving force behind our promise of being "high-tech, high touch" with our largest community and regional bank clients nationwide. With dedicated support for your teams of bankers and customer service professionals, our team is committed to be a responsive, empowered problem-solver no matter the present challenge we face. 

As we go about our work, we use proprietary technology tools and human-driven processes to make our community and regional banks more competitive, not only against the larger direct competitor banks they’ve always faced, but also the rising tide of financial technology companies like Square. This new wave of competitors is coming through a back door of the community bank, the one that we should be guarding for you--merchant services. 

Protect Your Hard-Won Deposits, Grow NII

Oftentimes, bankers are challenged to know what’s happening within their own client base. At Celero, we help you identify your target market opportunity.

One of our aforementioned proprietary processes is how we mine data to examine your best fee income opportunities. This tool identifies fee income opportunities and, critically, your at-risk deposits. We also provide executive management at your bank with sales tracking tools, real-time revenue goals, and sales projections. With the BankMax growth program in place, we arm you for battle with facts--the facts you need in order to prepare your bankers and customer service teams with the information they need to protect your merchant base and help you grow it. 

A Sales Culture for the Win

In addition to great technology that helps you make data-driven decisions for precise targeting, our people equip your teams through the entire sales process, from training to prospecting, pricing, and closing the deal.

Banks have been implementing sales cultures for more than three decades, and we know that while there are some built-in challenges to arriving at a staff that’s engaged and motivated to sell, no matter the role, there are tried and true elements that solve these challenges rather routinely. In reality, your people need to see value in order to cross-sell and refer products and services outside of your core deposit and lending focus areas. When they have confidence placed in a competitive product and a trusted partner, they will indeed refer and pre-sell, on their credibility, your most valuable business relationships.

Our growth program adds fuel to the fire. You gain access to Celero's comprehensive sales training, best business practices, and even our own inside sales force to help you implement and execute not only a sales culture, but an elite one. In fact, our merchant sales practices are so successful that I’ve seen many of our relationships implement the BankMax way into all other banking products and services. These organizations are fast creating cultures based on results.

Banking the Right Way, As Always

Merchant pricing is complicated, and many of our competitors (and there are thousands of them) exploit this complexity in order to win merchant business that frankly, they don’t deserve. Celero partner banks pride themselves on leading with transparency and ethics, as they do with every product or service they sell. 

We help our partners reveal the predatory smoke-and-mirror pricing used by competitors to portray false savings opportunities used as incentives for clients to switch their services. Whether utilizing our real-time pricing tools and analysis or sending detailed statements into our office for comparison, our partner banks are on the cutting edge of product offerings and simplified sales tools.

BankMax: the Answer in These Challenging Times

With competitors now coming in all shapes and sizes, as well as many who will not only take their merchant services, but also their merchant relationships entirely, bankers are relying on data to make all sorts of decisions, from staffing to loan approvals to merchant processing. Now more than ever, having data that's presented in a visually engaging, simplified way is a necessary component for senior executives and board members at any company that’s in a competitive space. 

At Celero, our BankMax team understands your needs. We provide you with incredible analytics, from detailed daily merchant reporting to analysis to sales reporting. We pride ourselves on providing your bank with cutting-edge technology and reporting to manage and grow a successful portfolio. And we will always deliver this great technology with the kind of advice, training, coaching, and support to ensure that you succeed. 

2 min read

Celero Choice: The Perks of a Cash Discount Program

By Celero Commerce on Jun 10, 2021 9:00:00 AM

If you’re looking for a great way to lower your credit card processing fees, Celero Choice is your solution! Let’s discuss this breakthrough program, first launched during the pandemic, and the benefits you’ll see as a business owner. 

What is Celero Choice? 

Over the past few years, credit card issuers have steadily increased the rewards given to card holders, and this has caused more people to reach for their card instead of cash while shopping. While this is great for the consumer, it has unfortunately pushed the cost of merchants accepting credit cards higher and higher. Many merchants are shocked at how high their bill is each month but we’ve developed a way to prevent high processing costs. 

Celero Choice is a cash discount program that enables businesses to add a non-cash service fee to all purchases made via credit card. 

How It Works

Here’s how Celero Choice works: Your customers are given the choice to pay the bill balance “as is” using a credit card or accept a discount in exchange for paying with cash. For any non-cash payments, a small service fee is added to the purchase cost. With cash discounting, you’re able to let the customers help pay for the rising fees related to rewards cards. It’s perfect for merchants who frequently transact small ticket items, such as gas stations, coffee shops, and fast food restaurants. By encouraging customers to pay via cash, this program helps to eliminate many processing fees altogether.

Why You and Your Customers Will Love It

This simple process is legal, beneficial to merchants, and appreciated by customers--you’re giving them more choice (it’s in the name, after all). Many consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the high processing fees charged by credit card companies. Surveys have shown that 80 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t think twice about paying a $1.00 fee on a $25.00 transaction for the convenience of using their credit card. A majority of consumers are understanding of the plight of small to mid-sized businesses when it comes to the costs of accepting credit cards, as well as other costs of doing business.

When it comes to setting up cash discounting at your business, Celero Choice couldn’t be easier. We’ll handle the set-up, in-store signage, and employee training. All you have to do is sign up, go about your normally scheduled work, and start saving money. While this won’t completely eliminate your monthly credit card processing fees, Choice will significantly lower your bill. Many merchants that implement this program see their fees drop below $50.00 a month, even if their prior fees were several hundred or even thousands of dollars!

Contact Us 

Are you interested in learning more about Celero Choice? Contact us today for additional information and guidance on getting started!  

1 min read

FI Tech Focus: Celero Confirm

By Celero Commerce on Jun 10, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Before we launched as a company, co-founders Kevin Jones and Jeff Brown made it Celero Commerce’s mission to equip community banks and their armies of small and mid-sized merchants with technology offerings previously reserved for large banks and enterprise-level businesses.  

We’ve stayed true to that mission, as many of you have seen in the software allied under our BANKMAX Compass. Compass is a suite of tools designed to help you, our community bank partners, acquire and grow commercial relationships while driving your non-interest income.  A key element of Compass, in addition to features like friction-less merchant onboarding and lead management, is an underwriting tool called Celero Confirm.

We realized that our liability-holding agent banks needed all the help we could give them with regard to underwriting. The world of electronic payments moves at much greater speed, and the risk comes at you fast. Confirm is an automated underwriting tool that keeps you not only agile, but secure, too. You’ll underwrite the majority of your new merchant deals quickly, while remaining compliant with all major card brands, sponsor banks, and industry regulators. 

Integrated with Compass, Confirm is just another great example of how we believe in our community bank partners. With the right tools for the job, we know you can do anything.

2 min read

5 Tips for Success in the Lawncare & Landscape Industry

By Celero Commerce on Jun 10, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Your lawn is one of the first things people notice when visiting your home. For many Americans, having a lush, green, well-landscaped yard is absolutely essential to creating that “dream house.” In this article, we’ll take a look at five success tips that can help your business stand out in this ever-popular industry.

1. Create an Online Presence

In 2021, people need to be able to find your business online. These days, it’s the first place most of us look when in need of a service. You want to be sure that anyone in your area who searches for “landscapers near me” will see your business pop up. Even if you do great business through word-of-mouth and have survived with a minimal presence online (or none at all), putting time and effort into building your online presence will attract new clients who wouldn’t have heard of your company otherwise. In addition, your website and social media channels present a great opportunity to build your brand. Utilize them as a place where clients can get to know not just what you do, but who you are. What are your values as a business? How can clients expect to be treated? Are there past clients who can attest to this using testimonials? Your online presence should build your brand, and vice versa.

2. Invest in Eco-Friendly Equipment & Practices

Environmental responsibility weighs heavily on the modern consumer’s mind, especially when deciding which company to hire for a big, ongoing project. Clients want to feel like they’re making the best decision for themselves and for the environment. Investing in greener practices doesn’t mean going solar overnight; simply making incremental changes over time demonstrates a clear commitment to the environment. For example, you could go paperless as a company by switching to a mobile field service management software like RazorSync; replace old vehicles with more fuel-efficient ones; or purchase office supplies made from recycled materials. There are a variety of ways, big and small, to show your client base that you care about the environment as much as they do.

3. Hire the Right People

If you’ve taken the time to build a great business, you want to ensure that field workers, who serve as the face of that business, are embodying the values and practices that make it great. You could have the most efficient and expensive equipment in the world, but one unkind field employee will still lead to bad client reviews. Seek friendly, motivated, strong-minded individuals whose vision for the business matches up with your own. Employees, too, will appreciate your efforts to create a positive company culture. You’ll enjoy a greater sense of shared commitment and comradery when you’re hiring the right people for your business.

4. Learn from Others

Smart companies know the importance of staying on top of trends and current best practices. Even if you know you’re the best of the best, never stop learning! Your training should be an ongoing process throughout the life of your business. Check out trade association meetings or manufacturer’s training events. Network with other landscapers in your area to hone your skills and see what local clients are demanding. You can learn a lot from the competition, whether it’s a new field technique or a better way to manage things at the office.

5. Enlist the Help of Field Service Management Software

Field service management software like RazorSync makes the hardest parts of running your business – like managing field workers and processing customer payments – seamless. From GPS tracking to automatic billing to QuickBooks integration, RazorSync provides everything you need to run your lawncare and landscape business like a well-oiled machine. Invoice clients in seconds, right on the job site; track field workers via GPS in real time; and cut down substantially on paperwork. Visit https://www.razorsync.com/ to request a free live demo.

1 min read

Introducing CashierLive

By Celero Commerce on Jun 10, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Ever since we started Celero in 2018, we’ve made it our mission to continuously evolve and expand—from adding new payment solutions every year to releasing our very own gateway, Celero Connect. Now, we’re thrilled to announce the latest addition to Celero’s growing portfolio: CashierLive, a cutting-edge software platform for retail and point-of-sale.

CashierLive represents everything that we love at Celero: making life easier for small business owners, selling the latest and greatest payments technologies, and providing best-in-class service to our partners. CashierLive delivers all that and more with their smart POS software, designed for businesses across virtually every industry. Features include inventory, reporting, customer relationship management, and much more. The best part is, it’s all bundled together in one easy-to-use platform, which can be accessed anywhere from multiple devices.

With this latest partnership, we continue to expand our range of solutions and empower our employees to sell even more high-tech products and services. We know that our team members, and especially those in client-facing roles, will love CashierLive just as much as we do!

To learn more about this exciting addition to the Celero family, please visit www.cashierlive.com. #PoweredByCelero

1 min read

Celero Commerce Unveils New Payment Gateway, Celero Connect

By Celero Commerce on Jun 10, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Streamlined system represents the latest in bundled solutions from Celero, reaffirming the company’s commitment to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide

This past quarter marked the launch of one of our more significant innovations for merchants nationwide. We are proud to announce the release of Celero Connect, an omni-channel payment gateway designed to help manage and grow businesses on a single platform. The move marks an exciting new chapter for our company, its 40,000 merchant partners, and its 150 financial institution partners.

“Celero Connect is the most versatile and user-friendly payment gateway on the market,” said Celero Commerce Chief Technology Officer Charlie Berard. “Our focus has always been on enabling our merchant partners to grow sustainably and with ease, and we’re thrilled to now offer an all-in-one solution to the many challenges that they face on a daily basis.”

The Celero Connect platform offers a full range of payment processing and business management capabilities. It represents the future of payments, where cards can be accepted anywhere through virtual terminals, mobile phones, E-commerce, EMV, and contactless payments. Going far beyond card processing, Connect also gives merchants easy access to real-time reports, enhanced data, a customer vault, and much more.

The release of Celero Connect follows a period of rapid growth and success since the company’s launch in 2018. “Celero was created to help small and medium-sized businesses compete and win in the marketplace, which we do by delivering highly intuitive software and payments solutions,” said company co-founder and CEO Kevin Jones. “With the launch of this software, we’re one step closer to becoming the most recognized name when it comes to all-in-one, bundled solutions for small business.”

Contact your relationship manager to learn more about what Celero Connect, now available to all of our FI partners, can do for your merchants. 

3 min read

Your Go-To Guide To Contactless Payments

By Celero Commerce on Jun 8, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Although contactless payments have been around for years, they’re just now starting to gain major traction in the United States. The hygiene concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many consumers to embrace contactless payment methods, but it’s important to remember that contactless isn’t a temporary fad. Let’s discuss the remarkable technology behind these payments!

The Basics of Near Field Communication 

Contactless payments are made possible thanks to Near Field Communication (NFC), a short-range wireless technology that enables two devices to remotely communicate with each other. Similar to Bluetooth connectivity and WiFi, NFC works by sending information via radio waves from one NFC-compatible device to another. The device transmitting data, most commonly a smartphone or credit card, is classified as “NFC active” and the device receiving data, usually a payment terminal, is “NFC passive.” In order for these devices to communicate with each other, they need to be held within 4 centimeters of each other. 

Modern-day NFC technology was born from Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which was patented in 1983. Even after RFID was introduced to the world, it took a few years for it to be picked up and tweaked into the NFC technology we know and love today. In 2004, Nokia, Philips, and Sony joined forces to create the NFC Forum, a non-profit dedicated to bringing NFC technology to people around the globe. Without these three influential companies banding together to spread the word about this technology, it’s likely that contactless payments and other NFC-enabled functions wouldn’t be as developed as they are today. 

The Future of Payments 

Before the pandemic, contactless payments were slowly gaining popularity in America. Fast forward to 2021, and this payment method is quickly becoming the preferred option for many consumers. Despite the slow adoption in the United States prior to COVID-19, countries like New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Phillippines, and many European countries have been using and loving this payment method for years! The world is going contactless for a multitude of reasons: 

  • Hygiene: Contactless payments are more hygienic. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends utilizing contactless payments whenever possible since it will help prevent the spread of disease. 
  • Security: Simply put, contactless payments are significantly safer than the outdated magnetic stripe payment method. In order to complete a contactless transaction, a unique one-time code is generated and sent to the payment terminal. The code doesn’t contain any card information so even if it’s compromised, hackers aren’t able to make any further purchases using it. 
  • Faster: While chip payments are just as secure as contactless payments, they take longer to process. To be exact, contactless transactions take about half the time of a chip transaction. 

Contact Us Today

Offering contactless payments improves your checkout experience significantly. Contact us today to learn about our contactless solutions designed for merchants!

1 min read

Culture from the Ground Up

By Alishah Novin on Jun 2, 2021 8:26:45 AM

When you’re spending 40 hours a week at work, you want that time to be as enjoyable as possible, and that’s where company culture comes in. The more positive you can make your culture, the more your employees will want to stick around and invest in your company’s mission.

I look at company culture as something that happens organically. It’s not necessarily about creating a culture, but rather creating the room for culture to create itself. Most importantly, that means finding the right people. You need employees who are going to buy in wholeheartedly to your vision and contribute to something larger than themselves.

When I first came onboard at Celero, I was looking forward to the challenge of creating a company culture from scratch. Being a new organization, and especially one that has been formed with various disparate groups through acquisitions, creating a sense of culture is much harder. In some ways, you’re adopting culture; in other ways, you’re refreshing it or creating a new one. I’ve gotten the chance to watch as different groups have come together to navigate new waters.

I gravitated toward those challenges because I knew they would also bring a tremendous amount of opportunity. Work is a huge aspect of life, and the more you can make work be a parallel stream to the life you want to live, the better. I saw the opportunity to create that environment for myself and my team at Celero, and I couldn’t pass it up.

As I settled in and started to build the team I have today, culture was one of my top priorities. I asked myself, how can we build a culture that we all want to be a part of and contribute to? How can we avoid having one voice be the loudest voice in the room?

For my team, a highly collaborative culture is what works best. We do our best work in a climate of open and honest communication. But I believe that what works for us probably wouldn’t work as well for any other group, because it wouldn’t be genuine. In order to create a genuine culture, you have to factor in the individuals on your team. I think that’s what culture ultimately means: it’s the group of people you have at the moment, and whatever values they buy into.

3 min read

The Future of the Payments Industry: 4 Exciting Innovations

By Celero Commerce on May 31, 2021 10:35:19 AM

Due to the quickly shifting needs of businesses, consumers, and regulatory agencies alike, the payments industry is constantly evolving. Let’s discuss some of the incredible innovations you should be on the lookout for! 

Changes to In-Store Purchases 

Due in large part to the pandemic, 2020 saw in-store transactions drop 3 percent. While this doesn’t equate to the permanent decline or death of brick-and-mortar shopping, in-store payment methods have been forced to adapt to increased hygiene concerns associated with the virus. There’s been a sharp decline in cash and check usage and a significant increase in debit and credit card payments. It’s unlikely that consumers will phase out cash and check payments entirely, but it is clear that the preference toward digital payment methods is increasing. Because of this, it becomes increasingly important for businesses to employ safe, reliable, and easy-to-use credit card processing devices. More often than not, customers will want to pay with their card, so having the right payment hardware is imperative to the success of a business. 

Up in the Clouds 

Cloud technology isn’t a new concept throughout much of the world, but it’s certainly making waves in the payments industry. With the increasing popularity of online shopping, businesses need a convenient and safe way to accept payments from their customers. Cloud-based payments run on a network of remote servers, offering enhanced data security, lightning-fast payment processing, and superior reliability. Due to the pandemic, many consumers are opting to swap out in-person shopping for online shopping whenever possible. Cloud technology is playing a huge part in helping businesses keep their revenues flowing during this challenging time. 

Growth of Mobile Wallets

In the past year, there’s been an explosion in the popularity of mobile wallet apps. In 2019, the mobile wallet market was valued at approximately $1,094.75 billion. By 2027, it’s estimated that this value will balloon to a staggering $7,784.90 billion! Many Asian and European countries have been embracing the cashless lifestyle for years, but adoption has been relatively slow in America. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the widespread adoption of this useful technology among American consumers. 

Increased Popularity of Super-App Operating Models

App developers are constantly working to create more convenience for their customers by integrating multiple functions into a single application. The “super-apps concept” was originally introduced in 2010 by Blackberry founder Mike Lazaridis to describe “a closed ecosystem of multiple apps that users turn to daily because of their convenience.” This concept has been adopted by many app developers within the payments industry, and it’s resulted in apps that seamlessly integrate payment processing capabilities with customer service, finance, and messaging functions. Now that mobile wallets are being adopted by Americans, many developers are searching for ways to incorporate other important features into these programs. 

Contact Us Today 

The payments industry moves at the speed of light, but we’re here to help you stay up-to-date on the latest solutions. Contact us to learn more about how we can help!

2 min read

Demystifying Technology

By Alishah Novin on May 19, 2021 9:04:59 AM

When a person starts volunteering, they quickly find out how much their community needs them, and how valuable their special skills are to those in need. 

What Is Hour of Code?

After participating in an Hour of Code event where I taught a group of students about computer coding, my interest in community service was sparked. If you’re not familiar with this organization, Hour of Code helps educators and other professionals across the world host computer science classes. Their mission is to make coding approachable, and encourage young people from all walks of life to pursue a fulfilling career in technology. Their free tutorials make arranging a session easy, even for those of us who aren’t well-versed in hosting events. Since their inception in 2013, they’ve served nearly 1.2 million people across more than 180 countries. 

Taking a Different Approach 

I’ve always prided myself on being someone who likes to problem-solve and tinker with things to gain an understanding of its inner workings. When brainstorming ideas for my event, my thinking was that I should find a way to demystify what’s inside a computer and how it works. My wife is a former 5th grade teacher, so I was lucky enough to be able to work with a group of students from the school she used to work. 

I opted to take a unique approach to introducing coding to students. Hour of Code primarily focuses on teaching others how to write code, but I wanted to help people actually feel the technology. When a student takes a coding class, they can usually grasp the way that code structures work, but the technology is still mysterious and difficult to grasp. Instead of bringing in computers and having everyone go through basic exercises, I went lo-fi and physically walked the students through a demonstration. 

I instructed the students that we were going to pretend to be a computer, and we would run a set of instructions to see what would happen. The goal was to show them how instructions are sent to a computer and how they’re interpreted if they’re not clear. As the exercise progressed, the students would see what happens to the computer, and if there are any bugs in the instructions. After encountering a bug, the group would identify the bug and think of ways to resolve the problem. 

The Future of Technology 

This techless approach to teaching code helped to break down the wall between complicated technological concepts and young students. My hope is that more people will realize how rewarding a career in technology can be, and how achievable it is if you have an appreciation for learning. 

6 min read

TransNational Payments Partners with BOLT ON Technology

By Celero Commerce on May 7, 2021 2:34:33 PM

 

Partnership provides automotive repair and maintenance shops ways to improve their vehicle owner’s payment experience 

Nashville, TN  May 6, 2021 – TransNational Payments (“TransNational”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Celero Commerce and leading provider of merchant payment solutions across the United States, today announced a partnership with BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY (“BOLT ON”) to provide auto repair and maintenance shops an integrated payments platform that allows their vehicle owners to utilize more advanced payment methods for services rendered. TransNational will improve the customer experience for shop owners by allowing them to accept any form of payment from any device anywhere, all integrated into BOLT ON’s software.   

“We are excited to partner with BOLT ON and be able to provide customers with revenue generating technology and high touch payment services. We look forward to providing BOLT ON customers with the highest levels of payment support, transparency, technology, and cost-saving rates and fees. This unique partnership, in turn, allows us to offer BOLT ON to our significant number of automotive repair merchants,” said Perry Tatooles, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at TransNational. 

Auto shops can now take advantage of significant benefits of having an integrated payment solution.  This all-in-one business management and payments solution will work seamlessly with shops already using products like Mitchell1 and AllData, software solutions that provide information on repair and maintenance procedures.  This powerful technology combination will help auto shops grow and thrive in today’s business landscape. 

“We’re thrilled to add TransNational as a payment processing partner for Text to Pay and credit card processing, as shops can benefit from their commitment to customer service and air-tight data security, while offering a service that’s growing in popularity among vehicle owners,” said Michael Risich, founder, and CEO of BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY. “This is one more reason for shops to go all-in on mobile payments.” 

 

About TransNational Payments 
 

TransNational Payments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celero Commerce, is an industry leader in payment and technology solutions serving businesses nationwide, with expertise within the auto services sector. Merchants trust TransNational Payments to manage their payments in-store, online and anywhere their business takes them.  More information on TransNational Payments can be found at https://gotnpayments.com/. 

About BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY 
 
BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY equips the automotive repair and maintenance aftermarket with award-winning technology tools to improve customer communication. The company’s technology instantly transmits photos, videos, and text messages to communicate automotive repair details, thereby increasing customer trust, boosting sales, and empowering shops to build long-term customer relationships. Along with ongoing training and support, BOLT ON’s integrated mobile, digital as well as standalone tools also reduce problems inherent in the service process, while increasing shop productivity, revenue, and customer satisfaction. Over the years, BOLT ON has worked with nearly 10,000 independent repair shops, who have used our platform to send more than 56 million repair photos to vehicle owners. For more information, visit https://www.boltontechnology.com/ or call 610-890-3240. 

Media Contact: 
 

Celero Commerce 
 

Scott Farace, Chief Marketing Officer 
 

scottf@celerocommerce.com 
 

972-533-5655 

 

2 min read

Kim Henley Named Q1 2021 Duffy Leadership Award Recipient

By Celero Commerce on May 7, 2021 1:08:04 PM

The Celero Commerce executive team created the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award as a way to honor those who exemplify our highest organizational values: respect, excellence, communication, intention, performance, user experience, and simple, disruptive solutions. It is with great pride that we announce the 2021 first quarter recipient of this award: Kim Henley, Director of Merchant Accounting.

Kim Henley joined our team following Celero’s acquisition of TransNational Payments last year. She joined TransNational in 2017 after spending the previous 10 years in finance and settlement operations at one of the nation’s largest payment processors. The technical aspects of merchant settlement are complex, but Kim has the experience and knowledge to lead our organization through this period of significant growth. What sets her apart is a rare ability to make complicated processes seem simple, even to those who lack her technical background. Kim has established herself as a valuable partner to cross-functional leaders throughout Celero, and we’re extremely thankful to have her on our team.

“To lead accounting for an ever-growing number of merchant partners would be a daunting task for many, but not Kim,” said Chief Financial Officer Troy Wilkerson. “She quickly settled into the role of team leader and set a shining example of a hardworking and performance-driven manager.”

The Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award is named in honor of the late fintech leader Michael Duffy, who served as mentor to many of Celero’s leaders early in their careers. The peer-nominated award is given to those who embody the very best that Celero can be, guided by values like selflessness and teamwork. 

“Kim Henley has all the qualities of a natural-born leader,” said CEO Kevin Jones. “I admire her ability to lead the team through times of rapid-fire growth, always doing so with a great deal of genuine care and humility.”

Kim will be invited to join past Duffy Award winners at the company’s first Leadership Summit, scheduled for summer 2021 at the Celero headquarters in Nashville. This annual event brings together leaders across the organization to talk strategy, industry trends, and our market position while celebrating all that we have accomplished together in three short years as an organization. This year’s summit will include all Duffy award recipients in 2020, as well as the top 10 percent of performers in other departments. There has even been talk of some exciting Nashville entertainment at the event.

Kim’s name will be engraved on a commemorative Duffy Award plaque to follow in the tradition of 2020 winners Nicole Becher, Abigail Lucier, Karo Torosyan, Spencer Ellis, Kristia Poppe, and Lea Telonis.

“Kim seized opportunities to improve financial and settlement operations within our finance team, and remained driven to impact our business in selfless and positive ways,” said Troy Wilkerson. “She routinely jumps in to problem-solve and teach whenever possible, and is positioning our team to support Celero’s growth in a scalable and efficient way.” 

The next Duffy Award winner will be named this summer.

2 min read

Building a Team During COVID-19

By Alishah Novin on May 5, 2021 8:58:27 AM

Building a development team from scratch during the height of the COVID-19 crisis was definitely an interesting experience. It forced me to take a different approach to hiring and teambuilding, one where all I had to go on was experience and intuition. Still, you can tell a lot about a person through virtual conversations over coffee—and today, it’s hard to imagine Celero without my team.

For me, those hiring conversations were not only about finding people who had the professional experience I needed, but also getting a feel for who the candidates were as people. What were they looking for? What would fulfill and encourage them professionally? How would they deal with the challenges that we would inevitably face during such a tough time? If you look at my team today, half of them were brought on purely through these virtual interviews.

Empowering Honest Conversations

What made this hiring process so productive, despite the constraints we were up against, was transparency and vulnerability. I made it a point to be upfront since I myself was coming from a vulnerable place, having just left a job that I loved for ten years in the middle of a global pandemic to start at Celero. I explained my reasons for making the switch—how working at Celero was an opportunity for all of us to grow, innovate, push ourselves, and create something new together. Empowering a deeply honest conversation allowed me to get a feel for what the candidates were looking for themselves, and how equipped they would be to weather challenging times.

Eventually, I found my dream team, and they’ve managed to exceed my wildest expectations of a mid-pandemic, virtually-assembled team. They’re all so different, but they fit together perfectly like different pieces of a puzzle. Some are energetic and outgoing; others are introverted and analytical; and still others are mathematical and data-driven. All contribute to a larger mosaic that we’re building, and all came to Celero through candid, transparent conversations.

Welcoming Different Perspectives

I recently read something about diversity that resonated with me (even if it is an oversimplification): If you’re always eating hamburgers and fries, you’re missing out on a whole part of the world’s cuisine. But the more diverse your menu is, the more wonderful things you get to experience—and on top of that, you create fusions of different cultures. This struck me because of the diversity among my team members, where each person brings a fresh, new perspective to our work. Having a variety of perspectives is important because it informs the larger aspect of what we’re building, how we’re growing, and what we need to do in the future.

So, what are my best tips for building a professional team in the midst of a worldwide crisis? Be open, honest, and transparent. Encourage candid conversations. Seek a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. Most of all, look for people who can grow with your company through times of hardship, because it’s through hardship that some of the most innovative ideas are created.

1 min read

Celero Commerce Unveils New Payment Gateway, Celero Connect

By Celero Commerce on Apr 27, 2021 1:16:34 PM

Streamlined platform represents the latest solution from Celero, reaffirming the company’s commitment to community banks, small and mid-sized businesses  

Nashville, TN April 27, 2021 Celero Commerce (“Celero”), a top 10 non-bank payment processor in the United States, today announced the release of Celero Connect, an omni channel payment gateway designed to help manage and grow businesses on a single platform.  This initial release is being made available to Celero’s Financial Institution (FI) partners.  Connect provides Celero’s FI partners with a solution for their merchants that improves the customer experience and unifies all their points of sale.  

“Celero Connect makes accepting payments easy, whether they are in-store, mobile, online, or self-service,” said Celero Commerce Chief Technology Officer Charlie Berard. “Our focus has  always been on enabling our merchant partners to grow sustainably and with ease, and we’re  thrilled to now offer an all-in-one solution to the many challenges that they face on a daily  basis.” 

The Celero Connect platform offers a full range of payment processing and business management capabilities and represents the future of payments, where all types of payment can be accepted from anywhere. Going far beyond card processing, Celero Connect also gives merchants easy access to real-time reports, enhanced data, a customer vault, and much more. 

The release of Celero Connect follows a period of rapid growth and success since the company’s launch in 2018. “Celero was created to help small and medium-sized businesses compete and win in the marketplace, which we do by delivering highly intuitive software and payments solutions, complete with high-touch service,” said company co-founder and CEO  Kevin Jones. “The launch of Connect is the latest innovation to make good on that promise.” 

About Celero Commerce 

Headquartered in Nashville, Celero Commerce is a full-service, integrated electronic commerce solutions provider powered by leading edge technology, strategic partnerships, and business intelligence. Celero offers payment processing services, business management software, and data intelligence to small and medium-sized businesses, empowering them to drive growth and profitability.

Media Contact:

Celero Commerce
Scott Farace, Chief Marketing Officer
scottf@celerocommerce.com
972-533-5655
 

 

2 min read

What Makes Good Technology

By Alishah Novin on Apr 21, 2021 9:46:20 AM

As the Director of Engineering for Celero Commerce, my role is to develop technology that not only solves a problem but also wows the user. Today, I’m sharing the process that my team utilizes for developing solutions that help small to mid-sized businesses thrive. 

Ask the Right Questions 

At the start of a project, it can be tempting to jump in and hit the ground running. However, this rushed approach will more than likely lead to the development of a product that fails to solve the issue at hand. When trying to build the right solution, the first step is to clarify a few key details:  who will be using the technology, how they’ll be using it, and what they’re trying to accomplish. By focusing on the end-user and exactly how they’ll be interacting with the technology, it helps to guide the development process in the right direction. Every action taken should be done with the end-user in mind. 

Direct Communication 

Directly contacting the end-user and interviewing them about their unique needs is the most effective route for answering these important questions. However, if this isn’t doable, the next best option is to speak with the business we’re assisting in creating this solution. While speaking directly to the end-user is ideal, the business should also have a good understanding of what their customers are looking for and which features are most important to them. 

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes 

Once these research questions are answered, the next step will be to put ourselves in the shoes of the customer. For example, if we’re working on developing a product for customers who are interacting with field service workers, it’s vital for us to understand the stress that they’re experiencing and how they might be feeling. Take this example from our ongoing development of RazorSync, an award-winning software suite aimed at a constellation of field services businesses. Dealing with home repairs is never fun, so the last thing customers they’ll want to do is wrestle with a non-user-friendly application that seems to compound their problems.

Make the Customer Smile 

It’s our job to develop a product that’s easy-to-use, intuitive, and effective in solving a frustrated customer’s issue. Focusing on the emotions that the end-user will be feeling at the time they’re using the product will help to guide the development process, and create something that will turn a terrible situation into a stress-free experience. At the end of the day, if we can wow these customers, we don’t even need to worry about wowing our own. If the end-user is happy, that’s going to directly benefit our merchant clients and help to grow their businesses. 

Learn More

At Celero Commerce, we pride ourselves on creating solutions that deliver on all fronts. If your business has a problem you need help solving, make sure to reach out to us. The primary goal of our organization is to develop solutions that help small businesses succeed. 

2 min read

Don't Manage, Assist

By Kristia Poppe on Apr 16, 2021 12:42:25 PM

In my role as Vice President of Bank Relationships at Celero, I spend most of my time communicating with our financial institution partners. Traditionally, people in roles like mine follow a management model—managing bank relationships to ensure that they are healthy and profitable. However, I like to take a different approach: I focus on assisting our FI partners rather than managing them. In this article, I’ll explain the assistance model, and why I believe it’s beneficial to both our partners and our organization.

Quite often, FI partners have ongoing merchant programs, but lack the training and understanding that they need to really take advantage of them. They miss out on all the capabilities that their program provides, and in turn, the value it brings to their bottom line. Having been on the other side of this dynamic when I was working at financial institutions, I understand that my most important responsibility is helping our FIs get the most out of their portfolio of products.

That’s what my conversations with FI partners are all about. It’s not about managing the relationship, but rather about making sure that the relationship is truly impactful for them. How can we grow the relationship to maximize its value to you? What assistance can my team and I offer to ensure that you’re seeing ROI on all your solutions? These are the kind of questions I like to ask when I’m speaking with our bank partners.

I’ve had a number of proud moments assisting our FIs, but a recent one comes to mind when I think of the benefits of this relationship model. In the middle of renegotiating contracts with a bank partner, a competitor reached out to them and offered a large financial incentive to move the relationship over. We were able to retain that relationship thanks to the efforts of our Celero FI referral team over the past year and a half. They had worked hard to remain in constant communication and service to this bank, and that hard work and reliable service ultimately protected the relationship.

When a bank chooses to do business with Celero, they’re not just getting a package of products and services. They’re getting a much larger package that includes white-glove service from an experienced and knowledgeable team, including many of us (like myself) who have been in their position before.

I take pride in following a “don’t manage, assist” approach to bank relationships because it produces results for our partners and our organization as a whole. In Celero’s three years in operation, we’ve managed to develop a reputation as a dedicated ally to community banks and the local businesses that they serve. Assisting our FIs rather than simply managing the relationship is a huge driving force behind that reputation.

2 min read

Being An Ally to Merchants

By Kevin Brolan on Apr 15, 2021 12:37:34 PM

Celero was created with America’s small and midsize businesses in mind. From the beginning, we’ve focused on supporting them in ways that go above and beyond payment processing. As Executive Vice President of Sales at Celero, I feel an immense responsibility to our merchants—not only to provide them with bundled, user-friendly payment systems, but also to position our company as a true ally.

As a recent example, when the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns first swept the U.S. last year, many of our merchants were thrust into survival mode. There were a lot of things we could have chosen to do, or not do, in response. Ultimately, we decided to go on the offensive for our merchants by providing COVID-friendly solutions to help keep them afloat. From contactless payments to E-commerce, we offered all the tools our merchants needed to operate safely and efficiently during the pandemic.

We began reaching out proactively to offer pivoting strategies. We built a COVID-19 Resource Center for our merchant partners and any small business owners who needed it, regardless of whether we worked with them or not. At Celero, we pride ourselves on driving profitability through a culture of high-performance—but in that moment, it wasn’t about the money. We just knew that we had to get those resources out there to those who needed them.

Although many of our partners felt stuck in survival mode, our ultimate goal was to get them back to a point of not merely surviving, but thriving. That’s a tough challenge during a global pandemic, but many of our merchants were able to bounce back quickly, and we’re happy to report that they’re doing much better across the board now.

It goes back to a feeling of personal responsibility that my teammates and I feel toward our merchants. It motivates us to do the right thing, always, even when that means working many late nights and early mornings through times of crisis. It’s easy to be an ally to merchants when the economy is booming and times are good. But true allies stand by merchants through periods of economic crisis, pandemics, and any other hardships that may come their way.

So many players in our industry act out of reactivity rather than strategy and thinking ahead. We take a different approach at Celero, where our promise to partners is that we will remain ahead of the curve and provide revenue-driving opportunities to our merchants—often opportunities that they themselves didn’t know about.

We promise a lot to our partners, and there’s a tremendous responsibility to follow through on that. Thankfully, with the power of the best team in fintech behind us, we’re able to deliver at an exceptionally high standard.

2 min read

Creating a Culture of Accountability and Innovation: Trust with Verification

By Alishah Novin on Apr 7, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Innovation doesn’t happen out of thin air; it happens when smart people are given the freedom to experiment and be creative. But in order to get that freedom—and the innovation that is borne from it—you need leaders that trust you. That’s why one of the hallmarks of our company here at Celero is trust, and specifically trust with verification.

Trust with verification means that we trust our employees to do their best work on their own, so we give them plenty of room to be creative, innovative, and experimental. The only thing we ask in return is that they verify their work. That doesn’t mean micromanaging, but rather giving people the opportunity to justify their reasoning and decisions. While innovation comes about through freedom, it must still have a direction—a method to the madness, so to speak. At Celero, if you can provide that verification and sense of direction, you’re given all the space you need to experiment.

Positive Feedback Loops

In creating a workplace built on trust and freedom, our goal is to create positive and productive feedback loops: we want our employees asking questions like, where did this idea work and where did it fail? How can we refine and improve upon it for next time? 

This kind of creative process is important in any organization, and particularly in smaller companies and startups. With so many possibilities and so much to be done, focusing everyone on one strict path can be detrimental to innovation. When everyone is swimming in the same small lane, there’s so much that can be missed. We want our employees to instead have a highly open perspective on what can be done. We want them to collaborate, to leverage the experience of others in the organization, and to repurpose knowledge across multiple areas. It’s that central aspect of trust that creates so many important byproducts: openness, honesty, collaboration, constructive criticism, and teamwork.

Trust and Accountability

As I’ve gone about building my team, I’ve made it a point to lead with trust. I can’t always be there for my employees, especially with COVID-19 keeping us from working together in person, so I’ve had no choice but to rely on trust. Since I assembled my team during the pandemic, they’ve never even met each other in person—and yet, we work together effectively. If someone says they’re working on a task, you can trust that person to get it done when they say they’ll get it done. If someone says they’ll get back to you with whatever you need, you know they will. 

That trust helps to create a culture of accountability that everyone wants to buy into. It’s a more open and transparent way of working, where people have the space they need to do their best work without feeling like they have to conform to one linear path. The key component of our success as a team? Trust with verification.

2 min read

Amazing Apps To Complement Your PAX Payment Device

By Celero Commerce on Mar 30, 2021 9:03:31 AM

If you’re looking for ways to improve your business, it’s crucial for you to incorporate one or more business management apps into your operations. PAX, the cutting-edge payment device provider for many businesses, offers countless integrated apps that will help to improve your checkout experience, increase customer loyalty, schedule appointments, and more. Here are 3 apps that you should consider utilizing in your business. 

Loyalzoo

Let’s start with Loyalzoo. With this program, creating an effective loyalty program for your business has never been simpler. In just a few minutes, Loyalzoo will assist you in creating a completely digital loyalty solution that will have your customers coming back again and again. At checkout, your customers will be prompted on your payment device to enter their email address or mobile number. As a way to re-engage customers and guide them back to your store, this app will send out 2 or more promotions per month to each customer. On average, businesses who utilize this app for increasing customer retention grow their revenues by an impressive 11 percent!  

Quantic Smart Terminal 

With the Quantic Smart Terminal app, taking payments becomes the easiest part of your job! This terminal perfectly integrates with your PAX device and allows you to easily process payments, add on tips, calculate surcharges, and print receipts. Additionally, if you need to issue a refund, this app allows you to do that quickly and without hassle. This highly functional program features a sleek and user-friendly design that your employees will absolutely love. If you’re searching for an app that will help to improve both the efficiency and overall look of your business, Quantic Smart Terminal is your solution. 

Sky Salon Scheduler

If you’re interested in simplifying your appointment-booking management, look no further. With the click of a button, the Sky Salon Scheduler app lets you schedule appointments, customize service packages, add or edit services at the last minute, and take payments. With their offline mode, you’re able to schedule and edit appointments even if your internet goes down. This incredible app also has a built-in loyalty program, full-integration with Google Calendars, and multiple language settings including English, French, and Vietnamese. By utilizing this app, you will drastically simplify your scheduling process and reduce errors. 

Learn More 

If you’re interested in learning more about apps that will help to improve your business, please reach out to us. PAX offers hundreds of incredible apps so it can be incredibly tough to sort through them and decide which ones will work best for you and your employees. Celero is here to help you with this process! We’ll take a look at your unique business needs, select the apps that will help to optimize your operations, and discuss the next steps with you. 

2 min read

A Cash Advance Program Built for the Pandemic

By Celero Commerce on Mar 23, 2021 9:04:36 AM

Due to COVID-19, countless businesses are fighting to maintain profits and keep their doors open. Despite the billions of dollars in support that the government has issued to support businesses, more than 100,000 small businesses have closed during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help businesses through this tough time, we are proud to offer merchant cash advances. Keep reading to learn how we can help you and your employees! 

The Downfalls of Traditional Funding 

Applying for a bank loan can sometimes be time-consuming and frustrating for many business owners. The worst part is that after you put in an enormous amount of effort into the application, the chances of getting approved are relatively low unless you have perfect credit. Even if you’re lucky enough to be approved for a loan, it can take months to receive the funds. During a pandemic, waiting months for a cash infusion into your business could mean the difference between survival and shutting down.

As for governmental support, a majority of the loans and grants available are part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). As their name suggests, these funds are primarily meant to cover payroll expenses. While they can be used to cover other business expenses, they are highly regulated and there are many stipulations for participating. Additionally, the amount you’ll receive from a PPP loan will likely only cover a few months of payroll expenses

The Beauty of a Merchant Cash Advance 

As opposed to regular bank loans and PPP funds, our merchant cash advance program offers speedy funding, high approval rates, and no business-use restrictions. Even if your credit is less than perfect, Celero can provide your business with a cash advance. The way this program works is simple:  we provide you with working capital against future credit card sales from your customers. When they make purchases, repayment of the funds will be collected automatically. It’s simple, easy, and straightforward! 

Most importantly, we provide quick funding which is vital during this pandemic. Many banks take weeks or even months to provide funds but you can get a cash advance within a few days. If you’re struggling to pay the bills and keep your business running, there isn’t time to waste. With these funds, you can pay for rent, payroll, taxes, business expansion plans, marketing campaigns, or any other expenses that might come up. We designed this program to be flexible because you’re the person that best knows what your business needs right now. 

Get Started Today

If you’re interested in taking advantage of our cash advance program, please reach out to us. There are so many businesses struggling to maintain profits right now and the only way we can make it through this hard time is by working together. 

1 min read

Introducing Celero’s New Portfolio Purchase Program!

By Celero Commerce on Mar 22, 2021 10:23:38 AM

At Celero, our goal is to be the payments provider of choice to community banks nationwide. In our efforts to be the leader in merchant solutions for small and mid-sized businesses, we never stop looking for ways to serve the partners who first capitalize and then sustain entrepreneurs in virtually every industry, from rural America to large metropolitan areas.

Our latest innovation in the service of community banks is here. Introducing the Portfolio Purchase Program from Celero Commerce.

With our Portfolio Purchase Program, you’re able to monetize your portfolio and receive an immediate payout. With these funds, you can powerfully reinvest in your team and merchant services program while adding meaningful revenue to offset the challenges presented in many communities by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When you partner with Celero Commerce, you’ll alleviate concerns related to merchant attrition by monetizing today’s relationships, all while continuing to build your business over time with the people who know merchant solutions best.  With our Portfolio Purchase Program, we’re offering up to 36 times the current monthly residual income from your portfolio. Celero gives you the freedom to choose your level of divestment. Sell some of your portfolio to us, or sell all of it. 

It’s a win-win for you and the small businesses that make your community a special place. We are committed to bringing the most comprehensive set of solutions, ranging from mobile and contactless payment options to integrated platforms designed to optimize financial and operations management of restaurants, medical practices, field services businesses, and a whole lot more.

Contact Celero Commerce today to learn more about our new Portfolio Purchase Program.

3 min read

How COVID-19 Changed the Payments Industry

By Celero Commerce on Mar 19, 2021 10:33:09 AM

It’s no secret that the pandemic has altered almost every aspect of our lives. Today, we’d like to discuss a few of the major changes that have occurred in the payments industry and whether or not they will remain even after the pandemic is over. 

The Decline of Cash Payments 

In the past few years, many American consumers have started to largely phase out cash payments from their lives, in favor of credit card payments. However, the pandemic has accelerated this transition like no other event in American history. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, 34% of American adults under the age of 50 say they don’t make any cash purchases throughout the week. The younger generations have definitely led the transition from cash to digital payments but from this statistic, it’s obvious that cashless payments are popular among a variety of age groups. 

The Future of Payments is Contactless

Unlike other countries, the adoption of contactless payment technology in the United States has been incredibly slow. According to a 2018 study from A.T. Kearney, America was lagging significantly behind countries like the United Kingdom and South in terms of the utilization of contactless credit cards. In the year of the study, approximately 3% of American cards were contactless, versus 64% in the United Kingdom and a staggering 96% in South Korea. 

Fast forward to 2021, contactless payments have seen a dramatic increase in popularity throughout the United States. Due to hygiene concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, contactless payments are at an all-time high and they don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Since March 2019, the number of contactless payment transactions increased by 150%, and as the pandemic drags on, this number will continue to grow. In order for businesses to stay profitable right now, it’s imperative they utilize a payment device that allows for effortless contactless payments. If you’re interested in learning which device will work best for your business, please reach out to us

Are These Changes Permanent?

Although we can only speculate at this point, we strongly believe that these changes to the payments industry will remain even after the pandemic is over. Why? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Contactless payments are more hygienic than cash payments and they can help prevent the spread of germs. 
  • In the beginning, many of us were wary of completing a transaction without swiping our card or scanning our chip, but over the past year, many consumers have grown accustomed to contactless payments. 
  • The United States was already headed in the direction of a cashless society and the pandemic has just accelerated the adoption of contactless payments. Due to the health concerns associated with cash payments, 2020 was probably experienced three to five years’ worth of progress in terms of technology adoption. 

Contact Us 

Is your business interested in learning more about payment solutions built for the pandemic? Please contact us today and one of our skilled representatives will be happy to assist you! We look forward to hearing from you. 

2 min read

Game-Changing Business Management Apps From Clover

By Celero Commerce on Mar 19, 2021 10:25:15 AM

In addition to providing high-quality payment processing hardware, Clover offers a number of cutting-edge business management apps that will help to streamline your operations. Today, I’d like to discuss a few game-changing apps that you should download today. 

Customer Upload

The Customer Upload app is guaranteed to save you time when transferring your customer database to your Clover payment device. All you have to do is download a copy of your customer database and upload it to this user-friendly program. Once uploaded, your customer data will automatically populate on your Clover hardware. If you're unsure about performing this upload process yourself, the software developer will handle it for just $39.96. This app is a must-have for anyone new to Clover. 

Shopventory 

If your business maintains inventory, it’s crucial that you have a reliable monitoring system to make sure you’re well-stocked for your customers. Shopventory makes tracking your inventory, analytics, sales, and vendors easy. However, this app is so much more than simply an inventory tracking program: It’s a comprehensive application that will ensure the health of your entire business by monitoring your cash flow, workforce, shrinkage, and more. 

Homebase

Creating schedules and managing your hourly employees can be tricky and time-consuming without the right software. Thankfully, the free app Homebase is here to help with employee time tracking, hiring, onboarding, labor costs, and scheduling. Additionally, it offers features designed for the COVID-19 pandemic such as health and safety screening questions employees will be prompted to answer as they clock-in. 

VivaSpot

This marketing app allows your business to provide free wifi to your customers while simultaneously pushing promos to them and collecting their contact information for future use. It captures and stores your customer’s mobile phone information and sends them text messages with special promotions and coupons. Additionally, VivaSpot takes down customer email addresses so that you can quickly grow your company’s email list and expand the audience you’re marketing to. The best part is that this app is completely free! 

Analytics BusinessQ

Accurate and up-to-date analytics are vital to the success of your business. There are countless apps that will help generate insights into your organization, but Analytics BusinessQ goes one step further: It helps you turn those insights into action and results! With the click of a button, you can choose to either generate a quick bird’s eye view report or a highly detailed, comprehensive one. With the help of their reports, charts, action plans, and dashboards, you can feel confident in your business decisions. 

Learn More  

Are you interested in learning more about the incredible business management apps available from Clover? Please contact us today and one of our highly skilled representatives will be happy to assist you. Your business has unique needs and we’re committed to providing you with customized solutions that will boost your profits, increase customer satisfaction, simplify analytics, and so much more. 

2 min read

Discover Portfolio Growth with BankMax

By Celero Commerce on Mar 17, 2021 10:00:00 AM

With the help of Celero’s proprietary BankMax program, your financial institution will have all the tools and hands-on assistance needed to grow your commercial deposits, loans, and recurring fee income. 

Advanced Data Mining and Sales Tools 

Through sophisticated data mining and analysis, our team will help you identify promising fee income opportunities, potential clients, and at-risk deposits. Once you’re armed with this vital data, you’ll be able to make business decisions with confidence and guide your associates straight to success. In addition to providing you with the data you need when you need it, the BankMax program offers sales tools to help track sales, revenue goals, and sales projections. To assist your associates with more complex merchant pricing, we’ll provide your organization with real-time pricing tools, pricing analysis, and detailed comparison statements. Potential merchant services clients love our transparent and no-nonsense pricing model.

Strategic Planning Made Simple

Now more than ever, bankers rely on data to make decisions about their next moves. While a mile-long database might contain insights that will improve your organization, it’s useless without the proper formatting and display. At Celero, we’re experts at making data live and breathe. We’ll provide you with streamlined and visually engaging analytics, detailed daily merchant reports, and sales reporting to help expertly guide your decision-making. What used to be a time-consuming and tedious process--or just outright undoable--is now simple and straightforward. 

Developing a Sales Culture 

It can be challenging to properly train and motivate your associates to cross-sell and refer the many services available to your commercial clients. However, our cutting-edge solutions are increasingly in demand by businesses so it’s more of a matter of properly communicating their value to your clients. We’ll direct your team through the entire sales process, all the way from training to closing their deals. Developing a sales culture doesn’t happen overnight, but with the help of our comprehensive sales training program and competitive products, your team members will be closing deals with ease in no time. 

A System That Consistently Delivers Results

Through our experienced team, our merchant sales practices have been tweaked to perfection, and they are proven to deliver results. In fact, our methods are so successful that for most of the financial institutions we work with, they are ultimately implemented into all other banking products and services. The BankMax program turns your associates into skilled sales professionals who are well equipped to help grow your portfolio of commercial clients. 

Contact Us Today

Are you interested in learning more about the BankMax program? Please contact us today! We will be happy to walk you through how this program will help your financial organization grow and thrive. 

2 min read

Maintaining Profits During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Celero Commerce on Mar 10, 2021 9:39:01 AM

When the pandemic first began, many of us thought everything would blow over in a matter of weeks or months. Fast forward to a year later, COVID-19 is an issue still very much on our minds and the world has not returned to normal in any sense of the word. In this tumultuous time, many small businesses are struggling to maintain profits and keep their doors open. Today, we’d like to share a few tips for keeping your business afloat during this worldwide crisis. 

Redesign Your Offerings 

Even as states relax their stay-at-home restrictions and allow businesses to reopen, many consumers are still wary of visiting shops in-person. In order to adapt to this new world of social distancing, it’s vital for your business to take a look at your offerings and determine how they can be changed to suit this new virtual world. For example, Delicious Wines Crew, of Napa, California, specializes in wine appreciation and education. They recently started offering virtual wine tastings. By taking advantage of video conferencing tools like Zoom and Skype, they’re able to continue hosting wine tastings and keep this stream of revenue flowing. You’d be surprised how many of your offerings can be creatively adapted with the help of technology. 

Stay Current on COVID-19 Updates 

As a response to the pandemic, Celero has compiled an extensive list of resources to help your business stay informed and profitable. Take a look at our free and regularly updated COVID-19 Survival Kit for resources ranging from state reopening guidelines to webinars with helpful business advice. Our number one priority is to help small businesses survive this incredibly confusing time, and we hope that this information will be helpful to you. 

Embrace E-Commerce 

As more customers opt to shop online, it becomes increasingly important for your business to take advantage of e-commerce payment solutions. To sell your products and services online, you’ll need to set-up a payment gateway and optimize your website for online shopping. If you’re not familiar with the term “payment gateway,” it’s a software program that securely sends a customer’s payment information to your company’s credit card processor. While there are many options available, we recommend utilizing Authorize.Net, PayTrace, or NMI. Each platform offers unique benefits and the Celero team is here to help you decide which option is right for your business. 

In addition to selecting the right gateway, you’ll need to integrate shopping cart technology into your website. This will make it easy for customers to make purchases and it will streamline their checkout experience. Additionally, it makes keeping track of inventory easier. Each time a customer makes a purchase, your shopping cart will keep a count of each item sold and communicate with your inventory tracking solution. Please contact us to learn more! 

Contact Us 

Are you interested in learning more about ways to keep your business going during the pandemic? Please reach out to us today and we’d be more than happy to assist! Everyone can use a helping hand right now. 

2 min read

Merchant Spotlight: Break Even Golf

By Celero Commerce on Mar 4, 2021 11:01:25 AM

With so many small businesses struggling to make it through the pandemic, good news can be hard to come by. But today, we’re excited to share some much-needed good news about one of our merchant partners, Break Even Golf.

From going to the movies to playing pick-up basketball, many social activities have been temporarily halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But golf—an outdoor game that is easy to play while social distancing—has fared better than most. That’s been a gift for Break Even Golf, whose signature product, the Pyramid Putter, found major success during the pandemic.

“COVID restrictions started going into effect around March 17th, and we launched the Pyramid Putter two days later on the 19th,” said Derrick Dobbin, Managing Principal at Break Even Golf. “The explosion of golf during COVID helped us immediately and we were successful out of the gate.”

With its unique and innovative design, it’s no wonder that the Pyramid Putter took off quickly. This special putter is designed to keep a putt going straight on its intended line, even with off-center strikes. Its horizontal grooves give the ball top spin, preventing it from skidding or bouncing off line, while pyramid-shaped grooves on the leading edge make it easier for players to line up with the target. The Pyramid Putter helps golfers sink an extra five to eight putts per round.

“Golf customers are very intelligent,” said Derrick. “They’re picky about new products and inventions, so it’s hard to penetrate the market. For a small company with a great idea, the best entry point into the golf business is through direct-to-consumer digital and social media marketing.”

Through a combination of email marketing campaigns, social media advertising, and a few commercial slots on the Golf Channel, the Pyramid Putter gained a lot of momentum in a short period of time. It certainly didn’t hurt that the product was endorsed by famous golf player and TV personality Blair O’Neal.

“We’ve built our credibility by partnering with PGA professionals, teaching pros, and other leaders in the golf industry,” Derrick said.

He believes there’s a reason why golf became so popular over the past year, beyond the fact that it’s safe to play in a pandemic.

“It’s mentally challenging. It takes skill, practice, and patience,” he said. “The more I play, the more I appreciate the culture of integrity that surrounds the game. It’s up to you to track your own score and play by the rules.”

Break Even Golf operates on a 100 percent E-commerce model, selling all Pyramid Putters through their website. The Celero team set them up with Authorize.net, an ultra-secure payment gateway service that enables merchants to accept credit card payments over the web. Nationwide, Celero is a top 10 reseller of Authorize.net, which is also Shopify-compatible.

If you’d like to learn more about the Pyramid Putter and stay up to date on new product launches, visit www.pyramid-putters.com. Those of you who made it to the end of the article, congratulations—we’ve got a surprise for you! The team at Break Even Golf was kind enough to create a special coupon code that you can redeem for 20 percent off. Just use the code CELERO20 at checkout.

2 min read

Lea Telonis Named the 2020 Super Duffy Award Winner

By Celero Commerce on Jan 22, 2021 10:43:00 AM

The Duffy Award is the highest accolade at Celero Commerce. Every quarter, the executive team names a winner who exemplifies Michael P. Duffy’s legacy of servant leadership, elite performance, and respect. The Super Duffy, which is awarded just once per year, is a special distinction given to someone who has exemplified the Duffy Award values throughout the entire year. This award is reserved for the best of the best, not only at Celero, but in the fintech industry as a whole.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the 2020 Super Duffy Award Winner, and the first-ever winner of this prestigious honor: Lea Telonis, Vice President of Marketing.

Lea first joined Celero in early 2019 following the acquisition of legacy company UMS Banking. She was given the major task of leading marketing efforts for a fast-growing and evolving startup, with, at the time, only a small team to help out. Many would feel overwhelmed in the face of such responsibility, but Lea rose to the challenge from day one.

“I knew from the moment I met her on our first trip to the West Coast that we had somebody really special on our team,” said CEO Kevin Jones. “She was already living the values of our culture before we ever met her.”

As Vice President of Marketing, Lea has led the charge on hundreds of projects, ranging from articles to websites to our beloved employee newsletter, The Buzz. She has built a reputation as someone who always delivers for her colleagues and clients. No matter how much is on her plate, Lea handles everything with grace and leadership. She’s the type of person you can always count on.

“She’s so passionate about helping all of our stakeholders succeed,” said Kevin, “whether it’s me and Scott in leadership, our merchants, or our financial institutions. I appreciate both her intelligence and the heart that she brings to her work.”

“Lea joined our team at the very beginning, and it was up to her to set the tone for the Celero brand,” said Chief Marketing Officer Scott Farace. “That wasn’t an easy ask, but she’s done nothing but rise to the occasion. She leads by example and continues to set new standards of excellence. People want to work with Lea because she’s so special to work with.”

Previous winners of the quarterly Duffy Award include Nicole Becher, Abigail Lucier, Karo Torosyan, Spencer Ellis, and Kristia Poppe. Lea is the first to receive the annual Super Duffy Award, and we can’t think of anyone more deserving of this highest recognition at Celero. The Duffy Award is peer-driven and recognizes those who live and breathe the Michael Duffy tradition of respect, excellence, open and honest communication, and performance.

“In many ways, Mike Duffy’s leadership style provided the blueprint for our company culture,” said Kevin. “The culture he built at Chase Paymentech acted as a leadership incubator for so many at Celero. That’s why this award means so much — it’s given to people who have that same profound impact on others, both professionally and personally.”

“Michael Duffy meant a lot to me, Kevin, Jim Harris, Jeff Brown, and so many others at Celero and beyond,” said Scott. “He helped us become who we are today. I see Lea as somebody with that same power to lead others to greatness. She leads not only through example, but through humility, selflessness, and service.”

Lea will join previous Duffy Award winners at the company’s first Leadership Summit, which is set to happen in the spring of 2021 at Celero’s Nashville headquarters. The next Duffy Award winner will be named in April of 2021.

2 min read

Kristia Poppe Named Q4 2020 Duffy Leadership Award Recipient

By Celero Commerce on Jan 22, 2021 10:38:00 AM

The Celero Commerce executive team established the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award in 2019 as a way to honor those who go above and beyond in their leadership, dedication, and teamwork. Today, we’re so proud to announce the 2020 fourth quarter recipient of this award: Vice President of Bank Relationships, Kristia Poppe.

Kristia Poppe has been with Celero for nearly two years, and in that time, she has built a reputation as a role model for everyone working in client services. She exemplifies the personal, empathetic touch upon which Celero was built — always going the extra mile to help her clients when they need her. Kristia’s approach to her work is best summed up by a simple yet powerful phrase that she coined: “Don’t manage, assist.”

“Kristia Poppe is not only a huge asset to our financial institution partners, but she’s also a huge asset to all of our colleagues,” said Jim Harris, President of Celero’s Partnership Channel. “Her skill in collaborating with others and leading by example is unmatched. We’re incredibly grateful to have her represent the Celero brand.”

Celero’s executive team created the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award in honor of fintech powerhouse Michael Duffy, who was also a mentor to many of Celero’s leaders earlier in their careers. The Duffy Award is based on peer nominations and awarded to those who exhibit both elite performance and core company values like selflessness and teamwork.

“I had high expectations for Kristia from the beginning,” said CEO Kevin Jones, “but she has surpassed every single one. Her approach to working with our bank partners is based on a genuine drive to help others, which is exactly what I envisioned when I started Celero.”

Kristia will be invited to join other Duffy Award winners at the company’s first Leadership Summit, to be held in the spring of 2021 at the Celero headquarters in Nashville. This annual event sees leaders across the organization come together to talk strategy, fintech trends, and our market position while celebrating shared accomplishments and crafting the next generation of company leaders. The 2021 summit will include the four quarterly Duffy award recipients of 2020 and the top 10 percent of performers in other departments. It won’t be all business, either — in fact, there’s some extra special Nashville entertainment in the works.

Kristia’s name will be engraved on a commemorative Duffy Award plaque to follow in the tradition of previous winners Nicole Becher, Abigail Lucier, Karo Torosyan, and Spencer Ellis at Celero’s corporate offices.

“It’s our people who make Celero what it is,” said Jim Harris, “and people like Kristia Poppe set the tone for this to be a fun, challenging, and uplifting work environment. You come across a lot of smart people in fintech, but it’s not every day that you come across someone as kind, helpful, and humble as Kristia.”

The next Duffy Award winner will be named in April of 2021.

1 min read

Celero Partners with Adesso Capital for Small Business Lending

By Celero Commerce on Dec 14, 2020 12:00:00 AM

The Celero team is proud to announce another strategic partnership aimed at providing American businesses with elite resources to help them generate fast, efficient, and sustainable growth. Our newest partner, Adesso Capital, is a full-service concierge lending desk with experienced team members trained to help small to medium sized businesses across all industries secure their best financing solutions.


“While we are committed more than ever to our community bank partners nationwide, we view our alliance with Adesso as critical to addressing gaps in our respective geographies,” said Jim Harris, President of Strategic Partnerships. “Our direct-to-merchant channel is taking off after multiple acquisitions, and Adesso gives our merchants access to critical growth capital in a streamlined, digital service model.”

Adesso is fully aligned with Celero’s mission, as the company’s goal is not just to secure clients with short-term funding needs, but also to help them envision long-term growth plans for their businesses. Since 2007, Adesso’s loan specialists have helped secure clients over $700 million in business loans. Their impressive product lineup includes term loans, SBA loans, equipment loans, lines of credit, and merchant cash advances.

“Our company is proud of our ongoing dedication to create growth and profits for our clients,” said Damon Maletta, founder and CEO of Adesso Capital. “We are very excited to enter this new partnership and will be available to serve you when needed.”

To learn more about what Adesso Capital can do for your business capital needs, contact your Celero account executive or visit www.adessocapital.com.  

2 min read

Merchant Solutions: Choosing a Virtual Terminal

By Celero Commerce on Nov 24, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Whether you own a law firm, pizza restaurant, or hair salon, it’s essential for you to utilize a virtual terminal. Especially in this age of social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many customers prefer to make payments for products and services over the phone and a virtual terminal is what allows you to do this. If you’re not familiar with the term, a virtual terminal is a software program that allows you to process payments without your customer’s card being present. When deciding which platform is right for your business, it’s important to determine your organization’s unique needs and decide which payment features are most important to you. Today, we’re going to discuss three terminals options that we recommend for our clients. 

Finding the Perfect Payment Terminal

At Celero Commerce, we recommend three different virtual terminals to our clients: Authorize.Net, NMI, and PayTrace. Here is an overview of what each terminal has to offer:

  • Authorize.Net: For a majority of merchants, including professional service providers, e-commerce shops, restaurants, health and beauty businesses, non-profits, and field service management companies, we recommend utilizing Authorize.Net as a payment terminal. This Visa-backed terminal will allow you to accept “card not present” transactions easily and efficiently. It features customizable security settings that will help keep you and your customers safe, including multiple fraud filters, shipping-billing mismatch detection, transaction limits, and flagging capabilities for suspicious activity. If you ever need assistance, this platform features a comprehensive support center, with 24/7 live support to help answer any questions you may have. Through and through, this virtual terminal is an excellent option for all types of merchants! 
  • NMI: If your business is focused on ACH transactions, we recommend utilizing NMI as your virtual terminal. NMI makes processing recurring and single-time ACH transactions easy and secure. In addition to its powerful payment processing capabilities, it features top-notch security features, including smart fraud detection, payer authentication, and automatic suspicious activity screening. Plus, it allows you to accept payments from a variety of card types, such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Diners Club and JCB, which will make it incredibly convenient for your loyal customers. 
  • PayTrace: If your organization would like to process Level 3 payments, we recommend using PayTrace. If you’re not familiar with what Level 3 payments are, they are a type of payment type designed for Business-2-Business (B2B) and Business-2-Government (B2G) purchases. This type of payment requires three items of data to describe the purchase: (1) what is being purchased, (2) how the sale takes place, and (3) who is involved in the transaction. The benefit of Level 3 payments is that they include lower processing fees. PayTrace features easy to use and customizable payment processing, comprehensive fraud protection, excellent reporting options, a dedicated customer support team, recurring billing, and a secure customer information vault to store important details. PayTrace is an excellent option if Level 3 processing is a priority for you, but you don’t want to compromise on other features like security, customizability, and customer service. 

Contact Us Today 

If you’re interested in learning more about the virtual terminals we discussed today, please contact us! One of our representatives will be happy to walk you through the different terminal platforms and help you decide which one is the best fit for your business. 

2 min read

Efficient Payment Solutions for Professional Service Providers

By Celero Commerce on Nov 22, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Professional service providers need payment solutions built for their unique business needs. Whether you run a law office, sales agency, accounting firm, or consulting business, Celero Commerce has a payment solution that will save you time, effort, and hassle. Keep reading to learn more about how we can help!

Payment Devices Designed for Professionals

For professional service providers, we recommend utilizing one of the following payment devices. Whether you need a tabletop or handheld device, we’ve got you covered! 

  • PAX A80: This sleek, touchscreen payment device allows you to process payment quickly and efficiently. It features advanced connectivity, so it is easy to process payment after payment without losing connection. Additionally, it features a high-speed printer for receipts which will make the payments process even easier!
  • FD 150: The FD 150 is First Data’s most affordable and reliable payment terminal. It features a compact design, fast connectivity, superior security settings, and a variety of payment options, including regular magnetic stripe and chip payments, in addition to contactless methods. 
  • PAX A920: This device delivers refined elegance, amazing security features, an ergonomic design, and the reliability you expect from PAX payment devices, all rolled into one easy-to-use device. It has a 5 inch, full-color touchscreen, a speedy thermal printer, a high capacity battery, and advanced payment capabilities. 
  • Clover Flex: The Clover Flex is a favorite for professional service companies, thanks to its sleek design, incredible reliability, minimal set-up time, and mobile capabilities. This device can easily be integrated with Clover’s wide variety of business management apps that can help you track sales and collect customer information.

Business Management Apps 

Clover and PAX both offer amazing point-of-sale and business management apps that will help make your life easier. Whether you’re interested in streamlining payroll, creating beautiful, custom invoices, generating sales reports, or managing your workforce, they’ve got the perfect solution for you. 

  • Gusto: This free Clover app will make your business’s payroll a breeze. In just a few clicks, you can pay your employees and contractors, in addition to filing your local, state, and federal payroll taxes. Plus, it’s got a 5-star review rating!
  • InvoiceASAP: InvoiceASAP integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks to allow for easy invoicing and payments. It also helps you manage your customers and create customized invoice designs. 
  • OTF Express: This user-friendly app allows you to track all of your sales and store them in one convenient location for easy viewing and analysis. With this app, you can easily run reports which will help you gather insights about your business. 
  • Time Clock by Homebase: In this app, you can track the hours, attendance, and happiness of your employees, which will help in employee retention. The best part is that Time Clock easily integrates with a variety of payroll providers, including Gusto, QuickBooks, ADP, and more.  

Contact Us Today

Not sure which payment solutions are perfect for your business? Contact us today and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you. We look forward to hearing from you!

1 min read

Introducing Our New Partner Support Team

By Celero Commerce on Nov 20, 2020 12:00:00 AM

As we continue to grow as a company, we’re always looking for new ways to maximize value for our bank and merchant partners. We believe one of the best ways we can do so is by providing top-notch, real-time support for our clients. That’s why we’re proud to unveil the new Celero Partner Support Team.

We’ve dedicated 14 highly trained and experienced team members to the Partner Support Team, which will handle all inquiries from new merchant accounts to maintenance to technical questions and much more. When you call Partner Support, you’ll hear many of the familiar voices at Celero that you know and trust. You’ll also hear new voices from trained professionals ready to help with any questions or concerns that you may have.

The establishment of this elite customer service force is part of an ongoing effort to integrate our operations and sales teams into one cohesive network. Additionally, it will help maximize the use of our legacy platform, increase product knowledge, and improve overall value to both existing and potential partners.

As part of this reorganization, we are also restructuring our bank and sales support teams due to COVID-19 and increasing workload in some of our most critical areas. This move will allow us to better share platform expertise and manage a larger bandwidth. Kathryn Cox will spearhead relationship management with our financial institutions as Vice President of BankMax, while Amy Arlington will handle BankMax from the operational side as Vice President of Partner Support.

“We feel confident that our FI partners and merchants will be in great hands with the Partner Support Team, and under the leadership of Kathryn and Amy,” said founder and CEO, Kevin Jones. “I can’t think of two people with more experience and expertise than these two.”

The new Partner Support Team can be reached at (615) 376-7878 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. We can now provide our clients with:

  • Experts to help with the Fiserv North and TSYS platforms
  • Product and Level II technical support resources
  • Regular webinars on industry-specific topics like Clover, Compass, cash discounting, risk/underwriting, merchant retention, and more

“We’re thrilled about these changes because we know they will lead to better outcomes for both our employees and partners,” said Kevin. “This reorganization empowers us to deliver that high-tech, high-touch experience at a larger bandwidth.”

Stay tuned for video segments introducing the new Partner Support Team!

2 min read

Merchant Spotlight: Delicious Wines Crew

By Celero Commerce on Nov 19, 2020 12:00:00 AM

At Delicious Wines Crew in Napa, California, wine is so much more than just an alcoholic beverage.

“Wine is communion,” said Jay Nunez, winemaker. “It’s sitting next to my brother and sister and creating memories. Sure, it makes you feel good and gets you tipsy, but really, it’s about the experience. Wine brings people together.”

Brendan Kam, founder and CEO, started Delicious Wines Crew with the intent to not only share fine wines, but also to make them more accessible to everyone.

“Our business is centered around education and community,” said Brendan. “We want to make wine something that feels approachable to everybody. One of our core goals is breaking myths and removing these preconceived notions about wine, like this idea that you have to be an expert.”

Delicious Wines Crew is a unique type of wine shop. They’ve created a welcoming and non-judgmental environment where anyone can participate in tastings, from newcomers to seasoned wine experts. While savoring your glass of chardonnay or Bordeaux, you’ll learn more about its complexities. It’s a place to enjoy wines and a place to educate yourself about them. You don’t need to be familiar with wine vernacular—words like “dry” or “oaky”—to enjoy a tasting here.

“The language that people use to describe wine often leads beginners astray,” Brendan explained.

“Wine can be big and confusing, but it’s also approachable if you let it be,” said Jay. “It’s those self-imposed barriers that are the biggest misconceptions in wine.”

In the midst of a global pandemic, serving and educating people about wine isn’t exactly easy. But Brendan and Jay are finding ways to adapt.

“We started doing virtual tastings,” Brendan said. “That way, we can still feel connected and still learn together.”

“Obstacles can become opportunities,” added Jay. “While our tasting group could have suffered dramatically, we’ve pivoted. We’ve utilized the modern tools at our disposal to stay connected with people, and I think that it’s been a blessing because it’s taught us that we can always adapt. We can still find comfort and connectivity with people if we really seek it out.”

One of those modern tools helping them adapt to the new COVID normal is their Celero payments system.

“The solutions we use from Celero—Authorize.net, that whole contactless payment system—they’ve become so popular all over the world,” Brendan said. “We’re even trying out-of-the-box solutions like putting QR codes on the wine bottles. All these new technologies have helped streamline our business.”

“It’s been a way to minimize having multiple avenues to gather revenue, and instead put it all in one place,” said Jay. “In the past, we were taking money from different places, and now it’s just so convenient to do it all in one shot. It’s also a lot easier to track and record everything.”

Brendan’s favorite part about their Celero payments system? The convenient size and user-friendliness. “Seeing the ease of how it works and how small it is, it’s incredibly helpful,” he said. “It’s a Bluetooth connection that you can just carry around in your hand.”

Brendan, Jay, and everyone at Delicious Wines Crew represent our favorite part of doing business: being able to serve the innovative and resilient small businesses that create community across America.

“We do wine all day, everyday,” said Jay. “On our own, we all thought we were weird with our wine obsessions. But when we found this community and started curating it, it felt like home.”

You can learn more about Delicious Wines Crew by following them on Instagram or visiting their website. If you’re looking for a way to support small businesses during COVID-19, consider signing up for their $5/month PrioritySomm club.

2 min read

Celero Commerce Acquires TransNational Payments

By Celero Commerce on Oct 28, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Combined company enters top 10 of non-bank payment processors, adds proprietary SaaS solutions to serve additional verticals, strengthens distribution channels 

Nashville, TN and Chicago, IL October 28, 2020Celero Commerce (“Celero”), a vertically-focused commerce solutions provider, today announced the acquisition of TransNational Payments, a leading provider of electronic payments technology and business management SaaS solutions. With the addition of TransNational, Celero now serves approximately 40,000 merchants, 150 financial institutions, and processes more than $14 billion of card volume annually, making it a top 10 non-bank payment processor in the United States.

“We have been building toward this moment since we formed Celero in 2018. This is an important step in Celero’s evolution, expanding the high-tech, high-touch solutions we deliver that differentiate and empower our financial institution partners and business customers across the U.S.,” said Celero Commerce founder and CEO, Kevin Jones. “Our collective offering of vertically focused solutions, advanced middleware technologies and frictionless boarding capabilities, combined with the diverse go-to-market strategy and talented team added by TransNational, optimizes Celero for continued growth.”

“It’s an exciting day for the TransNational Payments team,” said TransNational CEO, Jae Haas. “We are proud to join Celero and contribute to our collective mission to help small and mid-sized companies drive growth with the best financial technology platform in the market. This opportunity not only makes sense in terms of how our products and services fit, but also culturally, where our teams will come together and focus on smart growth for the future.” As part of this transaction, Jae Haas will take on an expanded role leading Celero Direct and Executive Vice President, Bryan Olson, will be responsible for TransNational operations.

This acquisition marks Celero’s second in 2020 and sixth since its launch in 2018, following an investment from private equity firm, LLR Partners. “Each strategic acquisition has increased Celero’s ability to deliver bundled, user-friendly software and payments solutions, empowering businesses to compete and grow,” said Ryan Goldenberg, Principal at LLR Partners and Director at Celero Commerce. “This acquisition is a significant step forward in helping Celero realize its vision to be the premier business partner for small and medium-sized businesses across the country.”

Financial Technology Partners (“FT Partners”) served as the exclusive strategic and financial advisor to TransNational Payments.

About Celero Commerce

Headquartered in Nashville, Celero Commerce is a full-service, integrated electronic commerce solutions provider powered by leading edge technology, strategic partnerships, and business intelligence. Celero offers payment processing services, business management software, and data intelligence to small and medium-sized businesses, empowering them to drive growth and profitability.

Media Contact:

Celero Commerce

Scott Farace, Chief Marketing Officer

scottf@celerocommerce.com

972-533-5655

2 min read

Acquiring New Merchant Accounts With Hardware That Pays For Itself

By Celero Commerce on Oct 27, 2020 12:00:00 AM

The success of your financial institution is aligned to the success of your small to mid-sized commercial clients, so it’s important to provide them with a payment processing solution that will save them money and help their business grow. If a merchant already has a payment solution in place, it might be a tough sell for your financial institution to get them to adopt a new payment hardware. Paying a few hundred dollars for a new Clover or PAX payment device might seem out of the question for many merchants, but when they see how much they’ll save in credit card processing fees, the conversation quickly turns to closing the deal and getting started. 

Breaking Down the Savings 

When approaching a merchant about switching from their current payment processor to Celero, it’s important to gather as much information about their current processing fees as possible. With this information, your financial institution can run the numbers to see how much money Celero could be saving them if they switched today. Many businesses invest large sums of money in processing hardware and software, so the idea of purchasing a new one from Celero can be a tough pill to swallow. This sunken cost can sometimes loom heavy on their mind and prevent them from making a switch, but after they see the numbers broken down for them, that sunken cost will become a distant memory. The amount of money they save on credit card processing fees can often recoup this sunken cost within a few months or less! 

To give a real world example, a client of ours used to bank with one of our competitors and had spent $4,000.00 on setting the payment system up. When this client revealed how much they were spending per month on credit card processing fees, we were shocked at how high their processing fee was per transaction! To give them a real-world example of their savings, we generated a report of how much they would save by utilizing Celero’s payment solutions. Within one and half months of signing with Celero, this business was able to recoup the $4,000.00 cost of their previous payment hardware, in addition to saving significantly on their monthly processing fees. Over the course of a single year, we saved this client approximately $20,000.00 in processing fees, which was a game changer for this mid-sized company. It’s important to dig into a potential client’s financial situation to determine if Celero products and services will make a difference in their annual expenses. 

Need Help Acquiring New Merchant Accounts? 

If your financial institution needs assistance acquiring new merchant accounts, please reach out to us! We offer multiple bank partner programs that are designed to provide different levels of support. Whether your institution needs minimal guidance or hands-on support and training, we’re here to help! Please contact us today to learn more. 

2 min read

RazorSync: Simplifying Field Service Management

By Celero Commerce on Oct 26, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Running a field service business can be tough and time-consuming, but RazorSync and Celero are here to help! RazorSync is an award-winning, cloud-based software and mobile app that will do wonders to simplify your business operations. Whether you run an HVAC repair, landscaping, pest control, plumbing, or pool-service business, this user-friendly program will help you immensely. 

Remotely Schedule Jobs  

Whether you’re working from your office, home, or poolside at a Hawaiian resort, RazorSync allows you to easily and quickly schedule and dispatch workers. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access your company data from anywhere in the world and from any type of device, including your smartphone. Say goodbye to lugging around your work computer whenever you’re on a business trip or vacation! This easy-to-use software displays all of your work orders, service requests, and scheduled jobs, in one convenient location and it can help you plan out employee schedules accordingly. 

Optimize Your Time With GPS 

To help you and your employees save time, gas money, and effort, RazorSync will help you assign jobs based on your GPS coordinates. For example, let’s say that you run an HVAC repair company with multiple technicians that travel across your state to service customers. One day, you receive a message saying that a customer needs their air conditioning unit replaced as soon as possible. Right after the service request comes in, RazorSync will use GPS to identify the closest available employee to this customer’s location. Not only will this save you time, but it will also impress customers with your quick response time and lightning-fast service. 

Accounting Made Easy 

RazorSync allows you to easily create, send, and track invoices. This program is incredibly user-friendly and will walk you through each step, so that you can present professional and accurate invoices to your happy customers. Once your invoice is created and your customer is ready to pay their balance, RazorSync will help you process the payment and update the invoice status. In addition to its invoicing capabilities, RazorSync effortlessly integrates with QuickBooks to help make your company’s accounting as easy as possible. As an added bonus, RazorSync will help you manage payroll and keep track of your expenses. Having all of your invoices and accounting information in one location, accessible to you wherever you have internet access, will drastically simplify your business’s accounting processes. 

Contact Us Today 

RazorSync is an amazing opportunity to streamline the operations of your field service business and take back your free time! 

If you’re interested in learning more about this program and how it can help your company, please contact us today. We look forward to chatting with you!  

2 min read

How Financial Institutions Can Acquire Clients in Niche Industries

By Celero Commerce on Oct 23, 2020 12:00:00 AM

If your financial institution is looking to become the payment processor for niche businesses like dental offices and medical practices, you already know how hard this market is to break into. While many other merchants are adaptable when it comes to their payment processing preferences, some merchants are looking for something designed specifically for their industry. Payment and practice management vendors, like Dentrix and CareCard, have popped up to cater to this niche market, but are they really the best choices for these merchants? 

Drawbacks of Specialty Payment Vendors 

At Celero, we don’t necessarily have a payment processing solution designed specially for dental offices or medical practices. However, we offer highly adaptable payment hardware options and point-of-sale apps that will help merchants in these industries process payments quickly, efficiently, and in a cost effective manner. Selling this idea to a potential customer who owns a medical practice can be tough, especially when there are organizations like CareCard that cater directly to their business. But is CareCard really the best option for this potential customer? The simple answer is that it depends and determining the answer can help you potentially land a new commercial client. 

While CareCard is a good choice for some medical practices, other practices lose thousands of dollars in credit card processing fees every year. The problem with CareCard is that when using their payment hardware to process payments with a CareCard card, the transaction rates are reasonable, but if you use their hardware to process a payment with a regular credit card, like a Visa or MasterCard, the rates are astronomical! If a medical practice only accepts CareCard for their payments, staying with their system might be a good choice for them financially. But if they often accept payments using regular credit cards, Celero’s payment solutions can save them thousands of dollars per year. They could be stuck paying a six percent credit card transaction fee every time they swipe a patient’s Visa card, while Celero can offer them a fee of less than two percent. Saving roughly four percent on every credit card transaction will save this potential customer’s medical practice a fortune every single year, so you should talk to them about making a change in their payment hardware. If they still want to accept CareCard payments, they can easily keep the two payment hardware options at their practice. This simple change will allow their practice to save money in fees that they would have otherwise been simply throwing away. 

Closing the Deal 

Discussing the hard numbers with your potential clients will often be enough to sway them towards processing payments with your financial institution. However, if they still need some convincing, you can discuss Celero’s various products and services that you think will meet their business needs.

Celero offers advanced practice and employee management software, recurring billing capabilities, over the phone payments, programs for gathering customer insights, bookkeeping, ACH solutions, contactless payments, real-time analytics, and so much more. Your potential client might come into your institution thinking they just want a new payment processing hardware, and they might decide to sign-up for a comprehensive business management system with your bank. 

2 min read

The Key to Retaining Your Merchant Accounts

By Celero Commerce on Oct 22, 2020 12:00:00 AM

The payments market has become increasingly competitive in the past few years, and many merchants receive daily solicitations from payment vendors claiming they have the lowest prices in town. How can your community bank retain your merchant accounts, even when your customers are being bombarded daily with advertisements from your competitors? 

Proactive Service and Transparent Pricing 

According to studies, it costs roughly five times more to acquire a new client than to maintain a relationship with a current account. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when every penny counts, it’s important to provide excellent customer service to your merchant accounts, so that you can keep their business even when your competitors are advertising directly to them. 

Beyond keeping in touch with your customers on a regular basis and making sure they have all the tools necessary for their businesses to succeed, it’s important to be proactive about addressing their concerns before they even voice them to you. By the time they open their mouths and say that they have decided to make a change to a different payment processor, like Square, QuickBooks, or Stripe, it’s likely already too late to save your account. Why? Because when your competitors approach your customers, they’re putting forth their best efforts to sway your customer in their direction by using advertising tricks, like offering a lower price that excludes the hidden monthly fees. Sure, the quoted price might be lower than your pricing, but that doesn’t include the $50.00 of hidden add-on and administrative charges that will show up on their first bill. 

So how do you address customer concerns before they even express them? The Celero system allows you to monitor how your merchant accounts are using your payment processing solutions. If you notice a sudden dip in the number of times they are processing with your institution, it’s a good idea to check in with them. It could be that their business has hit a snag or they’re going through a dry spell, and in this case, you can take this time to talk to them about how you can help them through their tough time. You can discuss some of Celero’s money-saving solutions and how to get started. On the other hand, a dip in transactions might mean they are processing with your competitors. In this case, you can take this time to ask them how you can better serve their needs. Reminding them about the countless advantages of processing with your bank will help to solidify your business relationship. 

If you notice that your merchant accounts are downloading financial statements, it could mean that they are shopping around for other payment processing vendors. Competitors will often ask for a financial breakdown of what they are paying their current vendor, so that they can try to undercut your pricing. If you contact your customer and they tell you that they’re considering making a change, it’s important to remind them of your transparent and straightforward pricing model. Even if a vendor offers a lower price, it doesn’t mean it’s the better deal. With Celero payment solutions, we offer simple pricing without any of the hidden fees other payment vendors sneak into their contracts. Discussing pricing concerns with your customer will help you get a feel for how your bank can better serve them, and it will give you a chance to get your customer to stay with you. 

Innovative Payment Solutions

The growth of your financial institution is dependent on the growth of your commercial accounts, so it’s important to provide them with payment solutions that will help them succeed during these tough times. If you’re not already utilizing Celero’s payment processing solutions, please contact us today. We are here to help you nurture relationships with your commercial customers and we offer 24/7 customer service support. 

4 min read

Payment Solutions for Non-Profit Organizations

By Celero Commerce on Oct 20, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Consumers are always looking for ways to give back, so it’s important for non-profits to make the donation process as easy and convenient as possible. That’s where Celero can help! We offer a variety of payment devices, payment gateways, and point-of-sale (POS) apps that will help you maximize donations to your organization. 

Payment Hardware Built for Non-Profits 

Whatever type of non-profit you run, Celero has the perfect payment hardware for you. We offer portable and countertop solutions that your supporters will love! 

  • Clover Flex: The Flex is a handheld, wireless device that allows you to accept donations wherever you go. Whether you’re at a charity ball, a race, or a networking event, you can accept payments quickly and easily using this powerful device. It features a high-resolution touchscreen, long-lasting battery life, and a built-in receipt printer. 
  • Clover Go: If you’re looking for a super light and portable payment device, the Go is for you! This tiny, but mighty, device allows you to accept payments via chip, stripe, and contactless methods. The Go is ready right out of the box, so all you need to do is charge it, connect it to your smartphone, and you’re ready to start accepting donations. 
  • Clover Mini: The Mini is a highly customizable, tabletop payment device that lets you accept donations easily and efficiently. In addition to simply processing payments, this device allows you to manage your entire organization with the help of POS apps. You can manage your donations, employee payroll, inventory, and so much more, all from this touchscreen device. 
  • PAX A920: This portable payment device is sleek, compact, and brimming over with amazing features. In addition to accepting regular chip and stripe payments, this device allows you to accept contactless payments, which are a must-have for the COVID-19 pandemic. The PAX A920 features a full-color touchscreen, incredible battery life, and reliable connectivity. 
  • PAX S920: The PAX S920 is a pocket-sized, touchscreen device that will allow you to accept donations on-the-go. It features a stunning display, a backlit keypad, lightning fast processing speeds, and a built-in receipt printer. This adaptable device will make collecting donations a breeze. 
  • PAX A80: This device can be used as both a countertop terminal and a portable payment system. It features superior connectivity and reliability, an optional battery back-up for extended usage, a durable keypad, and a printer for receipts. The PAX A80 is versatile and it will allow you to accept payments via magnetic stripe, chip, and contactless methods, like ApplePay. 

Payment Gateways For Online Donations

Choosing the right payment gateway is key to providing your supporters with an easy, hassle-free way to donate to your organization online. At Celero, we recommend utilizing the following payment gateway platforms. 

  • Authorize.Net: This Visa-backed gateway will help you easily accept online, over-the-phone, and contactless donations. Additionally, it includes anti-fraud protection, a database for storing supporter information, and recurring donation capabilities. It offers a feature called the Account Updater, which will automatically detect when a supporter’s card has expired, and then it will replace it with their new one. This makes accepting recurring donations a breeze! 
  • PayTrace: This payment gateway is adaptable, easy to use, and offers supporters an easy way to donate to the cause they care so much about. It offers anti-fraud features, including encryption, tokenization, and signature capture for an extra layer of security. Additionally, it allows you to easily email receipts to people who donate online. This is an excellent payment gateway for organizations that want something simple, without compromising the advanced functionality. 
  • NMI: Just like its short and to-the-point name, this gateway is simple and no-fuss. It offers all the features that you’ll need to give your supporters the effortless and secure donation experience they desire. NMI also offers a QuickBooks plug-in which will help simplify your accounting by automatically creating appropriate accounting entries. Like Authorize.Net, this gateway has a feature called Account Updater, that will detect when a supporter’s stored card is expired and automatically collect an updated one. 

Apps to Help Manage Your Organization 

Clover and PAX devices are designed to seamlessly integrate with POS apps that will help you save time and optimize your organization’s operations. Here are two apps that we think you’ll love!

  • Bccounting: This app integrates perfectly with Clover payment devices, and it allows your donation data to be transmitted directly to QuickBooks. The transactions will be synced daily so that all of your accounting figures are up-to-date. 
  • SwipeSimple: This app integrates with your PAX payment device and it enables you to accept payments anywhere with ease. It helps you keep track of cash donations, records donation data, create real-time reports, and so much more! 

Contact Us Today 

Not sure which solutions your non-profit organization should utilize? Feel free to reach out to us! One of our representatives will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have. 

2 min read

Spencer Ellis Named Q3 2020 Duffy Leadership Award Recipient

By Celero Commerce on Oct 20, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Last year, the Celero Commerce executive team created a special award to recognize elite performers and culture carriers who exemplify servant leadership. Today, we’re thrilled to announce the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award 2020 third quarter recipient, Spencer Ellis.


During his almost six years with Celero and legacy company Elmhurst Financial, Spencer has proven to be an exceptional customer service team leader. He currently serves as Customer Service Manager at Celero’s headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. His dedication, passion, and commitment to the wellbeing of his team are unmatched. Throughout the many challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, Spencer has “adapted extremely well and continuously taken on more responsibility, with the utmost positivity and enthusiasm at every turn,” said Celero Commerce CEO, Kevin Jones. “He ascended into his new leadership role with grace and, of course, an unwavering focus on his team.”

The leadership team at Celero created the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award in honor of fintech industry giant Michael Duffy, who was a mentor to many of Celero’s leaders earlier in their careers at industry leader Chase Paymentech. The Duffy Award, which is based on peer nominations, is given to those who not only perform, but also lead with core company values of selflessness and teamwork.

“Spencer is an invaluable asset to our team and to the company as a whole,” said Jorge Torres, Senior Vice President of Operations. “Spencer has managed to consistently keep everyone informed and trained across multiple platforms, even with the challenges of working home due to the pandemic. He did an incredible job during the Mitel installation at FlashBanc, making sure customer calls were integrated seamlessly into Relationship Services.”

As a Duffy Award recipient, Spencer will be invited to attend the company’s first Leadership Summit, to be held in the spring of 2021 at the Celero headquarters in Nashville. This annual event brings together leaders across the organization to celebrate their successes and craft future leaders at Celero by discussing strategy, fintech trends, and our market position. The 2021 summit will include the four quarterly Duffy award recipients and the top 10 percent of performers in other departments. C-suite executives will lead the event, and they have some great Nashville entertainment in the works.

Spencer’s name will be engraved on a commemorative Duffy Award plaque, joining previous winners Nicole Becher, Abigail Lucier, and Karo Torosyan at Celero’s corporate offices.

Spencer’s receipt of this award signifies an important milestone. “Celero is a big and fast-growing company, and Spencer’s selfless leadership has brought him to the top one percent of all those in the organization,” said Jones. “This is not only a great honor for him, but also for us. We’re blessed to work alongside people like Spencer, who personify the core values upon which Celero was built.”

The next Duffy Award winner will be named in January of 2021.

3 min read

Choosing the Right Payment Gateway for Your Business

By Celero Commerce on Oct 19, 2020 12:00:00 AM

By the end of 2020, it’s estimated that there will be a total of $910,396 million worth of digital transactions. As the world becomes more and more digital, it becomes increasingly important for your business to offer online payment options for your customers. At Celero, we’ll help you integrate online payment processing right into your website. 

How Are Payment Gateways Used? 

A payment gateway is a software program that transmits a customer’s payment information to your company’s credit card processor. The most common use for a payment gateway is when your customer places an order on your website and they enter in their own credit card information. To provide your customer with a seamless check-out experience, they will not directly interact with the payment gateway. The gateway will just forward their credit card information to you via your website’s shopping cart feature and a secure (SSL) connection. Once you receive their information, the payment will automatically be processed. Another way that a payment gateway is used is when you or your employee manually enters a customer’s credit card information to complete a purchase transaction. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over-the-phone payments are becoming increasingly popular, so your payment gateway will allow you to process payments without your customer’s card being present. 

Authorize.Net 

The first payment gateway we recommend using is the Visa-backed platform, Authorize.Net. This gateway offers a comprehensive feature set that will help you easily accept online, over-the-phone, and contactless payments. Additionally, it includes anti-fraud protection, invoicing, a database for securely storing customer information, and recurring payment capabilities. It also offers a feature we think you’ll love, called the Account Updater. This feature will automatically detect when a customer’s stored credit card has expired and it will replace it with their new credit card. This makes processing recurring bill payments a breeze and it will eliminate the hassle of contacting customers to collect their updated card information. Authorize.Net is an incredible payment gateway that allows you to process online orders from your website, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

PayTrace 

The next payment gateway we recommend is PayTrace. This payment gateway is incredibly adaptable, easy to use, and offers consumers an easy way to check-out. It offers advanced anti-fraud features, including encryption, tokenization, and signature capture for an extra layer of security. PayTrace fully integrates with your website’s shopping cart feature and it allows you to easily send receipts to customers via email once they place an order. It also allows you to store customer data in a secure, virtual storage vault, which will save you time and effort in getting to know your customers. This is an excellent payment gateway for businesses that want something simple, without compromising the advanced functionality. 

NMI 

The final payment gateway we recommend is from NMI. Just like its short and to-the-point name, this gateway is simple and no-fuss. It offers all the features that you’ll need to give your customers the effortless and secure check-out experience they deserve, such as integration with your website’s shopping cart feature, fraud protection, and tokenization for repeat customers. NMI also offers a QuickBooks plug-in which will help simplify your accounting by automatically creating appropriate accounting entries. Just like Authorize.Net, this payment gateway has a feature called Account Updater, that helps you deliver seamless recurring billing transactions. It will detect when a customer’s stored card is expired and automatically collect an updated one. As an added bonus, in addition to accepting regular credit and debit card payments, NMI enables you to accept electronic check payments. 

Integration With Your Shopping Cart

In this new age of online shopping, you need your payment gateway to integrate seamlessly with your website’s shopping cart. Authorize.Net, PayTrace, and NMI are already pre-integrated with most website shopping cart features, so it will ensure an easy, stress-free check-out for your customer. When your customer is ready to pay for something in their shopping cart, your payment gateway will collect their contact and credit card information and apply any shipping charges and taxes. After that, it will automatically process the credit card payment. Let one of these amazing gateways do the heavy lifting for your business when it comes to online payments, so that you can spend time on more important things, like communicating with customers! 

Contact Us Today 

If you have any questions about which payment gateway is right for your business, please reach out to us! We look forward to hearing from you. 

4 min read

Payment Solutions for Restaurants, Breweries, and Bars

By Celero Commerce on Sep 24, 2020 12:00:00 AM

If you run a restaurant, brewery, or bar, your top priority is providing your customers with the best dining and/or drinking experience possible. Beyond serving high-quality food and drinks, it’s important to offer your customers the seamless checkout experience they crave. There are tons of payment hardware and software options out there, but we’ve compiled a list of our top choices for the restaurant, brewery, and bar industries. 

Hardware Designed for Quick and Easy Checkout

Clover and PAX Technology offer amazing payment hardware options that will be a perfect fit for your business. Below, we have listed the options that are specifically designed for your industry. We have included a few of their features to help you figure out which one is right for you, but if you have any additional questions, we will be happy to help

  • Clover Station: This all-in-one smart terminal features fast, secure payment options, a touchscreen console for your customers to leave a tip or review, a cash register, and a receipt printer. This device also allows you to take orders, set-up bar tabs, accept tips, and so much more. 
  • Clover Flex: The Flex is a portable, handheld device that allows you to accept payments quickly and easily. It features a high-resolution touch screen monitor, a long-lasting battery, and a built-in receipt printer. 
  • Clover Mini: The Mini is a favorite for both full-service and counter-service restaurants, bars, and breweries. This sleek device features a 7” high-definition touchscreen, employee management programs, customer engagement apps, and a receipt printer. 
  • Clover Go: This device has the same processing power as the other Clover devices we’ve discussed, but it packs everything into a tiny, portable package. The Go allows you to accept payments on the go with ease. 
  • PAX E500: The E500 is a next-generation, point-of-sale system that will provide your customers with a seamless checkout experience. It boasts a bright, customer-facing touchscreen monitor, a high-speed thermal printer, and so much more. 
  • PAX S920: This pocket-sized, touchscreen device is a favorite for the restaurant industry. It’s portable, easy to use, reliable, and lightning fast! It also allows you to accept contactless payments, which is a must-have feature during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • PAX A80: The A80 is a highly-reliable, cost-effective device that will provide peak performance even during the busiest dinner rushes and happy hours. In addition to superior connectivity, this device features a 4” touchscreen and a speedy thermal printer. 
  • PAX S80: This countertop device includes contactless payment capabilities, a reliable processor, and a large memory capacity. Combining reliability, speed, and security, the S80 is an excellent option for restaurants, bars, and breweries.  

Point-of-Sale Apps to Optimize Customer Satisfaction 

In addition to their payment hardware options, Clover and PAX Technology offer point-of-sale apps that will help improve your customer’s experience and keep them coming back for more. Here are a few of our favorite apps that are built for use in the restaurant, brewery, and bar industries. 

  • Restaurant365: With this app, Clover offers restaurants an all-in-one restaurant management system that will allow you to streamline your daily operations, save money, and plan for the future. Whether you’d like to manage your workforce, monitor your inventory, or control your food costs, Restaurant365 has you covered. 
  • Clavo OrderPad: This app will help you take customer food orders quickly and efficiently. With just a few taps, your employees will be able to take down orders and send them to your kitchen to be prepared. This app is also fully integrated with all Clover payment solutions, so it will help streamline the payment process. 
  • Servio: Servio provides full-service, quick-service, and fast-food restaurants with effort and time-saving payment solutions designed for the COVID-19 pandemic. It will allow you to easily offer contactless, curbside, online, and mobile payment options. 
  • YUMAPOS: This app is a must-have for restaurants, bars, and cafes. It allows you to organize customer orders, manage and update your menu, do deliveries, conduct email marketing, boost customer loyalty, and so much more. 

Get Started 

Clover and PAX Technology both offer an entire universe of payment hardware and software solutions, so it can be overwhelming deciding which devices and apps you will employ at your business. Please feel free to reach out to us and we will be happy to assist! One of our highly-skilled representatives will help you find the best payment solutions for your unique business needs. 

2 min read

Mobile Payments Powered by Celero

By Celero Commerce on Sep 22, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Today’s smartphones are millions of times more powerful than the computers that guided Apollo 11. Few could have predicted that these tiny supercomputers would become essential to billions of people across the globe, but here we are! In the age of COVID-19, we’re more reliant upon them than ever when it comes to staying connected, ordering food, and even contact tracing.

One of the most important features of the modern smartphone is its ability to send payments. Mobile payments allow the smartphone user to transfer money digitally in exchange for goods and services rather than paying with cash, credit card, or check. With many people concerned about the transmission of coronavirus, mobile payments are a fantastic option to minimize sharing germs, as many of them are contactless.

Mobile Payment Solutions Offered at Celero

  • Mobile Wallets: Mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are applications that store your credit card information so you can pay for goods and services using your smartphone. This technology is becoming increasingly popular—growing by as many as 140 million users per year! Your customers will appreciate the quick and easy POS experience afforded by mobile wallets.
  • NFC: Contactless near-field communication (NFC) facilitates short-range communication between devices. Similar to technology like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, NFC works by transmitting information via radio waves. A smartphone user waves their phone near a reader module to complete the transaction. This makes for a fast, frictionless, and hygienic way to pay.
  • QR Code Payments: Quick response (QR) codes have become ubiquitous in our society, but many people still don’t realize that they can be used as an easy way to send payments. The horizontal and vertical patterns in the code direct your phone to open a browser link, confirm payment information, verify location, and more. Many stores require you to download an app before using QR codes to check out, so they’re not quite as frictionless as NFC or mobile wallets, but they’re still much easier than the traditional methods.

Take the Next Step

If you’re interested in adding mobile payments to your repertoire, contact Celero Commerce today. We offer top-of-the-line systems, such as Clover Flex and Clover Mini, that create a seamless POS experience for your customers. During a time when businesses bear a responsibility to protect their customers’ health and safety, it’s never been more important to offer clean, contactless payment options. We’re proud to provide these to our merchants in addition to special curbside, delivery, and e-commerce options.

3 min read

Clover Solutions for the Medical Industry

By Celero Commerce on Aug 20, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Clover POS is unbeatable for helping doctors and dentists with practice management, from a payments and integration perspective. The Clover platform offers payment hardware solutions that will work for any size and type of practice, in addition to business integration apps that will help streamline your operations.

Payment Hardware Built for Healthcare 

The payment hardware we recommend for use in healthcare practices is called the Clover Mini. This is a tabletop touchscreen device that takes the power of Clover payment processing, and combines it with business management tools that will help optimize your practice. You can accept payments via chip, stripe, and contactless, like Apple Pay, and there’s even a receipt printer built-in. It features a high resolution 7" touch screen, a barcode scanner, and ethernet, WiFi, and LTE connectivity. 

This tiny, but powerful device offers all the tools necessary (and then some) to manage your practice efficiently. It allows for easy integration with your patient’s electronic health records, which means easier billing management. As an added plus, it also allows you to create recurring billing for payment plans that are perfect for expensive surgical procedures and treatments. It will help simplify your accounting and billing, so that you have more time to spend caring for patients. Additionally, the Mini will integrate perfectly with Clover’s wide variety of POS apps. 

Apps to Optimize Your Practice

Clover offers an entire universe of POS apps, but we thought we’d save you some time and pick out a few that will integrate perfectly with your practice. The first app we’d like to discuss is called Express Health Systems Integration. This app boasts a user-friendly interface, the ability to post payments remotely, employee and patient tracking tools, and so much more! If you’re looking for a way to simplify your practice’s billing and staffing activities, we would recommend checking out this app to see if it’s right for you. 

SimpliSign is another app that is perfect for use in the healthcare industry. If you need to collect a patient’s signature on a liability waiver, or have them sign off on procedure details, SimpliSign makes that easy. This app is integrated with DocuSign, the leading provider of e-signature services, and allows you to collect your patient’s signatures quickly and securely. Please note that before you download this app, you’ll need to set-up an account with DocuSign which can be easily done by following this link: https://www.docusign.com

For healthcare practices that cater to children, the next app is a fun solution for keeping your patients happy and entertained! The Fun and Games app uses your Clover receipt printer to print free games and activities for your patients. You can download and print coloring sheets, word searches, and mazes that will keep children occupied and smiling during their pre-appointment wait. If you’d like to pay a little extra to get custom coloring sheets featuring your practice’s logo, that’s an option, too! 

Integrated Apps for Every Industry 

In addition to apps focused directly at the healthcare industry, Clover offers solutions for nearly every type of business. Whether you run a restaurant, spa, gym, law firm, hotel, or any number of other types of businesses, Clover has an app for you. One app that will help no matter what type of business you run, is Feedback. This app enables you to receive direct feedback from your customers about what they like and dislike about your company, and ways you can improve your service and/or product offerings. It can help keep negative customer reviews off of sites like Yelp and Google Reviews, as customer concerns will be heard immediately after they make a purchase for services. The set-up is easy and hassle-free, and Feedback will help your practice manage its online reputation, of paramount importance for all businesses in the digital age. 

How Can We Help? 

If you have any questions about the hardware and software options available from Clover, feel free to reach out to us. There are so many payment solutions to choose from, and we would be happy to assist you in selecting the ones that are right for your business. We look forward to hearing from you! 

2 min read

Torosyan Named Third Duffy Leadership Award Recipient

By Celero Commerce on Aug 11, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Inspired by a shared value of servant leadership and role models, the Celero Commerce executive team created a special award late last year to recognize elite performers who exemplify the company’s values. Now, we are pleased to announce the third quarterly recipient of the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award, Karo Torosyan.

A 16-year veteran of Celero legacy company UMS Banking, Karo currently serves as Senior Director of Infrastructure for Celero Commerce. During his time working with the unified Celero Commerce team, Karo has been a “true culture carrier since day one,” according to Celero Commerce CEO Kevin Jones. “Karo has worked tirelessly to drive material change for Celero on a number of fronts. His work isn’t easy in normal times, but to accomplish what Karo has during a period marked by a global pandemic and civil unrest is truly extraordinary.”

Celero’s leadership team created the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award in honor of fintech industry legend Michael Duffy, who mentored many of Celero’s leaders earlier in their careers as they served in various positions at payments industry leader Chase Paymentech. The Duffy Award is driven by peer nominations, as colleagues recognize each other not only for performance, but also leadership, especially in exhibiting attributes that abide by company values like selflessness and teamwork.

“I can’t say enough about Karo’s value to this company,” Charlie Berard, Chief Technology Officer, explained. “Karo and his team were instrumental in our COVID-19 response, quickly enabling the whole company to work remotely. In addition, he moved four legacy companies into multiple, unified technology systems to make our operations and communications more cohesive and efficient. Perhaps most importantly, Karo successfully led our annual PCI audit for the legacy UMS Banking Unit, even earning special recognition from the assigned Qualified Security Assessor for his preparation and responsiveness.”

As a Duffy Award recipient, Karo will be invited to attend Celero’s first Leadership Summit, to be held in the spring of 2021 at the company’s headquarters in Nashville.  This annual event will convene leaders across our organization to celebrate their successes and mold future leaders of our organization by discussing strategy, new fintech trends, and Celero’s market position. The summit will include the four quarterly Duffy award recipients, as well as the company’s top 10 percent of performers in other departments. C-suite executives will lead the session and have some great Nashville entertainment planned for the group as well.

Karo’s name will be engraved on a commemorative Duffy Award plaque, joining previous honorees Nicole Becher and Abigail Lucier, at Celero’s corporate offices.

According to Jones, quantifying Karo’s honor means that he is now part of a select group of standard-setters for an emerging world-class company. “In a company of more than 100 team members, Karo’s leadership and performance means that he represents Celero’s top one percent,” Kevin explained. “It’s a great honor for him, and it’s an honor for everyone at Celero to work alongside someone of Karo’s caliber.”

The next Duffy Award winner will be named in November.

3 min read

The PAX Advantage: More Integrated Business Applications

By Celero Commerce on Aug 3, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Beyond finding the perfect payment processing hardware for your business, it’s important to make strategic decisions about which POS apps you’ll incorporate into your customer’s payment experience. PAX offers a wide variety of payment hardware solutions that will effortlessly complement their POS apps available for every business need. Here at Celero, we’re here to advise you about the different PAX payment systems available to help optimize your business. 

Choosing the Right Payment Processing Hardware 

PAX has dozens of payment hardware options to choose from, but here at Celero, we place emphasis on these three models: PAX A920, PAX S920, and PAX A80. We’ll briefly discuss the different models available and their specifications. First, let’s discuss the PAX A920. In addition to this model accepting traditional debit and credit card payments via chip and stripe, it also accepts no-contact payments, which is an important feature during this pandemic. With the growing safety concerns associated with customers making contact with payment terminals while completing transactions, it’s important for your business to offer contactless payment options, like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay. 

The PAX A920 model features a sleek touchscreen, a thermal printer for receipts, and a rechargeable battery. The next model we’ll discuss is the PAX S920. This model features a stunning, touchscreen display, the same payment processing functionality as the PAX A920, and a keypad for customers to easily enter their card pins. This model also has super-charged battery life and speed to help your business run as smoothly as possible. 

Lastly, the PAX A80 model is the perfect countertop option for small to mid-sized businesses. It offers a touchscreen display, an optional battery back-up to allow extended usage time, and advanced internet connectivity to ensure reliable payments at all times of the day. Like the other PAX models, this device accepts chip, stripe, and contactless payment options. 

Optimizing the Payment Experience with POS Apps

If you’re not familiar with what a POS app is, they are programs that can be incorporated with your payment processing hardware to increase customer satisfaction and engagement, collect customer information, boost sales, and so much more. PAX has an entire universe of POS apps for you to choose from, so whether you need help with inventory management, CRM, sales management, operations, payment solutions, data analytics, report creation, they’ve got you covered. Since the apps aren’t divided into categories based on their functionality, we recommend browsing through their list of apps to see if anything sparks your attention. Currently, there are 348 apps for you to choose from, so there really is something out there for every size and type of business. 

Our Favorite PAXSTORE App

Since there are so many apps available through PAX, it can take some time to sort through the options and make a decision about which ones you’d like to employ for your business. We thought we’d save you some time and highlight one of our favorite apps, SwipeSimple. This app allows you to easily accept credit card payments anytime, anywhere. Additionally, it enables you to record cash transactions, keep track of your inventory and sales, offer discounts to customers, track which products and/or services are selling well, and accept tips. In order to start accepting payments through this app, all you have to do is sign up with a verified reseller, download the app, and take your first transaction. This app is fantastic for participating in tradeshows, farmers markets, live events, and so much more. 

How Can We Help? 

If you need additional guidance, feel free to reach out to us. With so many options when it comes to payment hardware and POS apps, it can be hard to determine the best choices for your business, but we’re here to assist you. 

4 min read

The Clover Advantage: Integrated Business Management Apps

By Celero Commerce on Aug 3, 2020 12:00:00 AM

The combination of a reliable payment method and carefully selected POS apps can help you run your business and provide your customers with the best buying experience possible. If your business has been searching for the holy grail of payment processing systems, look no further. We offer the entire lineup of Clover products and services for your business, with solutions we can scale to the size and complexity of your company.

The Right Payment Hardware For Your Business

Let’s take a look at the different payment processing hardware options on offer from Clover. Let’s start with the smallest, most portable option. The Clover Go is a tiny, but powerful card reader that you can bring wherever your business takes you. As long as you have WiFi, you can use this sleek, lightweight device to accept payments via chip, stripe, and contactless, like Apple Pay.

The next option is the Clover Flex. This device features a touchscreen that allows you to accept payments from the palm of your hand. In addition to accepting the same payment methods as the Clover Go, it also allows you to accept fingerprint logins as an extra security precaution.

Next is the Clover Mini, which is a tabletop touchscreen device that incorporates the power of Clover payment processing with sales and inventory management tools. It’s an all-inclusive POS system that helps to optimize your sales and streamline your business operations.

If you’re looking for a little something extra, consider choosing the Clover Station. This is Clover’s fastest POS system and it includes everything from a cash drawer, customer-facing console, customer engagement programs, and the same payment processing power as the other Clover devices. With so many options, it can be hard to choose, but we’re here to help!

Incorporating POS Apps into Your Business

Beyond choosing the right payment processing hardware, selecting the right POS apps is a vital step for the success of your business. If you’re not familiar with POS apps, they are programs that can be incorporated with your payment processing hardware to boost sales, generate donations for your favorite charity, increase customer engagement and satisfaction, collect customer contact information, and more. The POS apps are divided into the following categories for easier navigation:

  • Understand Your Business: Perform data analytics and generate business insights
  • Reach Your Customers: Offer gifts cards and increase customer loyalty
  • Manage Your Employees: Hire new employees and coordinate your workforce
  • Organize Inventory: Manage your inventory
  • Sell Online: Create websites, optimize your online presence, and sell online
  • Invoicing: Create and manage invoices
  • Cash Management: Save money on processing fees
  • Form Building and Signature Capture: Accept customer signatures
  • Fundraising: Generate donations for your favorite charities
  • Customer Management: Collect customer information and receive feedback

A Few of Our Favorite Clover Apps

Clover offers countless POS apps for you to choose from, but we’ve compiled a list of a few of our favorites. One of our favorites is the Round Up for Schools app. This app is available at no cost to your business and there’s no hassle involved with the set-up or daily usage. It allows your customers to make a donation to your company’s school of choice by rounding their purchases up to the nearest dollar. Your customers will appreciate your business’ commitment to helping local schools, and you’ll be able to provide extra funds to your favorite school for supplies, academic programs, and afterschool activities.

Another favorite of ours is the Gift Easy app. Gift cards have always been an easy way to generate revenue for your business from your future sales, but ever since COVID-19 began, consumers have started favoring contactless payment options. Instead of offering a physical gift card, many companies have started offering digital gift cards that possess a multitude of benefits to both the customer and the company. Most importantly, a digital gift card allows the balance to be added to a customer’s mobile wallet, which eliminates the need for physical contact in a payment transaction and removes the cost to the company for creating an actual gift card. Gift Easy makes creating beautiful, digital gift cards easy.

If you’re in the restaurant industry, there’s a good chance that you’re feeling the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic more than many other businesses. If you’re looking for a POS app to help streamline your business, control your food costs, and optimize your labor force, consider trying out the Restaurant 365 Integration app. This app is a complete restaurant management solution that will connect your bank, POS devices, and vendors to help optimize your business efforts. It also provides forecasting and analytics to help you predict your potential costs and revenue.

Still Have Questions?

If you have any questions about the Clover products or services mentioned above, please feel free to contact us. There’s not enough time in the day to discuss the countless competitive advantages that Clover will bring to your business, but we’re here to provide you with any additional information you’re curious about.

2 min read

PPP + BankMax: A Winning Combination for Community Banks

By Celero Commerce on Jul 6, 2020 12:00:00 AM

It’s no secret that like many small businesses, community banks have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. When this pandemic began, experts estimated that approximately 25-30 percent of small businesses would close, and the actual percentage is hovering around 17 percent. Additionally, community banks have been in a generational decline in the past few decades and have seen their market share drop from 40% to 12%. So how are community banks surviving in these unprecedented times? They’re taking measures to increase their fee income, diversify their offerings, and they are perfecting the loan  application and fulfillment process for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

In a time when every dollar matters, community banks have focused on analyzing their customer data to identify where fee income is being lost to their competitors. Many community banks are losing out on business because they do not offer a payment processing platform, which means their customers are flocking to their competitors for these services. While this might not seem like a big deal, it’s actually opening your bank up for more revenue loss because many of these payment processing companies offer the services you do like loans, bank accounts, payroll processing, and debit cards. Once merchants look elsewhere for a payments relationship, there’s often little to stop them from switching other services, too.

There’s an elegant solution to this growing problem.  BankMax from Celero Commerce offers community bankers sales analytics tools, payment processing capabilities, and customizable reporting. It assists with locating where fee income is being lost to competitors and it provides tools to increase your business growth. For banks without a program to help their customers process sales transactions, fee income is lost when they use your competitor’s services. But with BankMax, that’s a problem of the past. Now your customers can perform sales transactions using your devices and your program which equates to savings for them and revenue for you! Celero provides a variety of payment devices ranging from our countertop cash register to our smaller handheld device for on-the-go payments. Your customers will love the selection and the flexibility of the service offerings.

Additionally, COVID-19 has encouraged merchants to switch over to contactless payment options for hygiene reasons, and with BankMax, this transition is made simple. BankMax offers customizable contactless payment options like online payment portals, digital gift cards, and tap-to-pay transactions. Tap-to-pay transactions using mobile devices have become increasingly popular as merchants move to contactless payment options due to concerns about COVID-19. It’s a safer, easier way for people to make purchases, and BankMax has worked hard to make this process easy for community banks and their customers to adopt.

Another bright light for community banks is the aforementioned  PPP loans. While larger banks struggled to provide their customers with these loans, with some troublingly focusing only on larger customers with larger loans to generate larger fees, smaller community banks nimbly served millions of small and mid-sized businesses. Community banks have an advantage over large banks because they know their customers better, they understand their needs and wants, and they truly value their relationships. Their personal relationships with their customers help to streamline the loan issuance process, which helps their customers get the funding they need in a timely fashion in addition to increasing the bank’s fee income. It’s a win-win situation for the customer and the bank.

While these uncertain times can be frightening, there are so many tools out there to help your bank succeed despite the challenges facing our country and world. Let Celero Commerce  be your resource and consider signing up for BankMax today. The opportunities for growth are out there, and we’d love to help your bank and the merchants in your community grow.

2 min read

The Rise of NFC and Contactless Payments

By Celero Commerce on Jul 6, 2020 12:00:00 AM

COVID-19 has changed the way we do nearly everything. Going to the grocery store is no longer a leisurely Sunday activity; it can now be a legitimate risk to your health. While many of us are religiously wearing our face masks and practicing social distancing, there are some people who aren’t following the generally accepted COVID-19 safety guidelines. The check-out process used to be a breeze, but now, there’s a major concern that touching the card pin pad will result in the disease spreading.

The good news is that there’s a technology already out there that can solve this problem, and it’s available on virtually every piece of hardware sold for the past few decades. Europe and Asia have been taking advantage of this technology for years, but the US has been slow to adopt it. However, COVID-19 has propelled near field communication (NFC) into the limelight, and it’s finally ready for widespread adoption. You may be asking, what exactly is NFC? Well, it’s a short-range wireless communication network that uses magnetic fields to transmit data safely and securely. It has many uses, but the most relevant one to our current situation is its ability to initiate sales transactions by simply tapping your mobile device onto the payment receiver. This tap-to-pay option is available on almost every smartphone, and it’s just as secure as a chip or stripe card transaction.

When you complete a tap-to-pay transaction, your smartphone’s mobile wallet will communicate directly with your bank and deduct the appropriate amount from your account. Another piece of good news is that almost every smartphone has some version of a mobile wallet. For iPhones, there’s ApplePay, which has been gaining traction in the past few months, ever since they introduced the Apple Card, a titanium credit card that links to your virtual wallet. For Androids, there’s Google Pay and Android Pay, and for Samsung models, there’s Samsung Pay. They all essentially do the same thing; no matter what type of phone you have, you’re already equipped with all the tools necessary to utilize contactless payment transactions.

If you’re a business owner, and you’d like to set-up contactless payment transactions for your customers, Celero Commerce has got you covered. We offer a variety of contactless payment devices that will suit everyone’s individual business needs. If you’re seeking a typical cash register device, the Clover Station would be an excellent option. The Station has a customer facing display, a cash drawer, and a printer for receipts. If you’re looking for something smaller and more portable, our Clover Flex or Clover Mini would be great options. The Flex is a sophisticated handheld device that is equipped to handle all of your business’ payment processing needs. The Mini is a sleek countertop touchscreen tablet that allows you to process payments and print receipts as needed. All of these models handle contactless payments which is becoming increasingly important to business owners and consumers alike as this worldwide pandemic drags on. Additionally, these models work alongside a powerful mobile and desktop program that allows you to view your sales, run reports, and issue refunds if needed.

If you’re interested in adding contactless payments to your business, please contact the Celero Team and we’d be happy to provide you with more information and recommendations specific to your business. NFC and contactless payment options truly are the future and there’s never been a better time than now to take the leap. The technology is highly secure, adaptable to any size business, and most importantly, a safer option for the days of COVID-19.

2 min read

Celero Launches Compass for FI Merchant Service Management

By Celero Commerce on Jul 6, 2020 12:00:00 AM

The Celero Commerce technology team is thrilled to launch Compass, our brand new, all-in-one customer relationship management tool designed specifically for financial institutions and their commercial customers. Compass is packed with features that facilitate generating new business relationships with ease and convenience.

Lead Management

With the Compass lead management feature, you can notify your team as new merchant leads move through the sales process. You can streamline contracting by pre-populating agreements with information found in your leads.

The platform uses integrated text messaging for follow-up, to turn prospects into clients. With customized views by user, your team can take leads from digital campaigns and populate them into the system, send notifications to bank representatives, and even tie your own website into the platform with an API feed.

BankMax

With our built-in BankMax features, you can quickly ask VAR and equipment-related questions to educate your merchants. In addition, you’ll get analysis of your merchant portfolio, easily identifying opportunities to grow your deposits and loans.

In addition, BankMax provides in-depth merchant statement analysis.

Automated Boarding

Compass makes boarding new merchants easy, with multiple automated features like built-in pricing templates. You’ll be able to submit multiple processing applications from a single lead form, saving you valuable time.

Compass provides an all-in-one boarding document storage solution, in our secure, cloud-based environment. Eliminate duplication of merchant records to dramatically reduce your boarding time with new clients.  

E-signature

Our e-signature feature in Compass provides convenience and speed with just a few clicks to execute documents. In addition to obtaining signatures and initials, you can also have clients quickly and efficiently fill in missing information or document fields.

You can send and receive signed documents with clients and prospects alike with Compass e-signature.

Real-Time Reporting

The real-time reporting function empowers our partners in multiple ways. Access real-time batch reporting and easily acquire and understand statement histories. With easy-to-ready portfolio views and a friendly graphical interface, users can quickly get information to inform better decision-making.

With Compass, you can view on-demand profitability reporting and pull analytics with insight and data to better understand your portfolio.

 Mobile App

Compass isn’t just for desktops at the branch. You can download the Compass app for both Android and iOS devices. You and your merchants will enjoy the ease of accessing compass on-the go, so you can manage your business from anywhere.

White-Labeled Merchant Portal

Maintain consistent branding across all of your platforms with Compass, as we provide a White-labeled portal with your branding to the merchants you serve. Notify your merchants via text message or email about deposits and disputes, and automatically send enrollment invitations to your approved merchants with Compass.

Help Desk Ticket System

You can easily submit help desk tickets though the Compass system, ensuring quick issue resolution. Get notifications as help desk tickets go from opened to resolved, and provide exceptional customer service to your commercial accounts at any time of the day from your phone, tablet, or desktop.

Training Program

Compass contains our “Getting Started” guide that walks you through every step of the merchant sales funnel and boarding process. Our in-depth webinar presentation details everything from creating a new merchant lead to integrating Compass with your Gmail or Outlook-based accounts.  

Contact our Celero FI team to learn more about Compass and see your merchant portfolio achieve new heights in convenience, service, and satisfaction.

1 min read

From Survival to Comeback: Celero Is Ready to Help You!

By Celero Commerce on Jul 6, 2020 12:00:00 AM

The US market is notoriously slow to adopt new payment technologies. When we like something and see the value it brings to our business, we stick with it. And in good times, there’s nothing wrong with that!

Historically, Europe and Asia have been fast adopters of new technologies, with widespread acceptance happening years ahead of activity here at home, where many of these technologies are invented.

Now, many our small and mid-sized merchants going “back to the future,” adopting technologies faster than ever. And they are taking on as many of these technologies that make sense for their customers’ needs, whether it’s for a competitive edge, convenience, or social distancing, and of course for their own financial and operational well-being.

We originally called these technologies and tools our Celero COVID-19 Survival Kit. As the American economy rebounds across many industries and in many parts of the country, we’re finding that these survival tools are easily repurposed to help our merchants define a new normal on their own terms. Growing a business quickly, efficiently, and sustainably means having the tools and technology to control your own destiny.

Contact us to learn more about this set of tools with enduring value for your business. Meet the Celero Small Business Comeback Kit:

  • Contactless/NFC payments like ApplePay
  • Digital Gift Cards
  • Payment Gateways
  • Mobile Payments
  • Point-of-Sale Systems with integrated management applications
  • Virtual Terminals

Email our team at solutions@celerocommerce.com or call us at 1-844-4CELERO.

2 min read

RazorSync Now Available Across All Celero Channels

By Celero Commerce on Jul 6, 2020 12:00:00 AM

While many of you know Celero for electronic payments and card processing, you should know about our award-winning software for field service businesses, RazorSync, now available through both our Celero FI partnerships and through our direct-to-merchant channel, Celero Direct.

What Is RazorSync?

RazorSync is a powerful yet easy-to-use software and mobile app that streamlines field service management. This award-winning software allows you to manage customers and workers in the fields, schedule and dispatch workers, invoice, take payments, and much more — all from a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

RazorSync Features

RazorSync combines user-friendly functionality to optimize both financial and operations management for field service companies.

Features include:

  • Easy scheduling
  • QuickBooks integration
  • Self-service portal
  • Add parts to invoice
  • Online and offline connectivity
  • Free trial
  • Live support
  • Job site invoicing
  • Take payments on the go
  • Store “before and after” pictures, videos, contracts, signatures, product brochures, and virtually any digital file
  • Track payroll
  • Update customer records
  • Your brand in the most prominent position on all communications, reports, quotes, invoices, and within the customer portal
  • Easy setup
  • Low monthly fees

Which industries does RazorSync work with?                     

We designed RazorSync to work with virtually any field service business operation, from solo entrepreneurs to franchises with multiple locations. Our software serves the following industries:

  • Plumbing
  • Pool & Spa
  • Handyman Services
  • Appliance Repair
  • Carpet Cleaning
  • Facility Maintenance
  • HVAC
  • Electrical
  • Pest Control
  • Alarm & Security
  • Garage Door
  • Lawn Care
  • And many more!

Get your field service business in sync today with RazorSync. Head to www.razorsync.com to schedule a free demo or start your free trial.

1 min read

#InThisTogether: Celero Adds New COVID-19 Resource, Reopening Guidelines by State

By Celero Commerce on Jun 12, 2020 12:00:00 AM

In March, we launched a set of COVID-19 resources on our website, to help small businesses navigate the challenges of the pandemic. These resources include our own COVID-19 Survival Kit, a set of tools and technologies for diversifying payments and operations, as well as a series of educational webinars from the Celero team and its partners. In addition, we’ve pulled together a set of government and industry sources for businesses looking for financial assistance.

Now, we are pleased to launch a new resource, as many business-owners look to emerge in the new normal. Reopening guidelines can be complex, depending on your business, and each state, rather than the federal Centers for Disease Control, is in charge of setting its own regulations and associated guidance for businesses. The state-by-state jurisdiction for these matters can cause confusion, especially for business owners with multiple locations across state lines. We hope you find this guide helpful.

See the guide, with links to each state’s up-to-date plans for reopening, at https://celerocommerce.com/reopening-guidelines-by-state.

3 min read

Life in the Time of COVID-19: One Industry Was Ready

By Celero Commerce on Jun 3, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Kristia Poppe June 3, 2020 The payments industry has been central to business innovation for the last generation, one defined as the technology revolution. From the dawn of the internet, with ecommerce as the driver for payment gateways, and the advent of the smartphone, a vehicle for mobile payments, to wireless developments like near field communication as a boon for contactless acceptance, the payments industry has always been first to make those driving technologies really work and reach their potential to turn our wildest dreams into everyday reality.

What’s interesting to me about this dynamic among the payments industry and its adjacent technologies is the varying speed with which societies around the world adopt the payment methods afforded by new frontiers of innovation. And as advanced as we think we are here in the United States, we often lag—by years—adoption of new payment technologies behind our counterparts in Asia and Europe, especially.  

Adapting to Survive

Now, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, American business is responding to the crisis by adapting to survive. In March, our company launched its own COVID-19 Survival Kit, which features a set of currently available technologies that many small and mid-sized companies had simply failed to integrate. The pandemic has made fringe or “nice-to-have” technologies central and essential.

Among these technologies are advancements that we in the industry may have taken for granted and quietly acquiesced to a slow-march of adoption, instead of hustling, as we are now, to make these tools more accessible to our customers and bank partners. These tools include:

·      Contactless/NFC payments like ApplePay

·      Digital Gift Cards

·      Payment Gateways

·      Mobile Payments

·      Point-of-Sale Systems with integrated management applications

·      Virtual Terminals

If You Build It, They Will Come

The beauty of these technologies is that we’ve been building them, as an industry, all along, based on our knowledge that early adopters would fund the existence of each respective technology until the time arrived where they would be universal in application. Unlike many industries, those of us in payments were actually ready for COVID-19! What we had to adjust was our mentality, particularly with regard to each merchant and their needs.

Before COVID-19, we may have underestimated each merchant’s needs for solutions that would “weatherproof” their business for virtually any economic season, whether it was a housing-fueled downturn, cyclical cooling of the economy, or, as we’ve seen, a 100-year public health crisis. And due to the lack of urgency associated with good times, perhaps we could afford to underestimate the situation.

Changing Our Mindset

Not anymore. Now, the small town boutique not only needs a good card terminal at the counter, but also a mobile solution to do curbside transactions, a payment gateway to enable ecommerce, digital gift cards to enable easy community investment for the future, and contactless to protect the health of its employees and customers, not to mention an integrated system that keeps financial and operational performance in-sync. 

Fortunately, we were ready, and we’ve mobilized quickly. While we haven’t triaged every American small business, just as the federal and state governments haven’t gotten assistance to every individual and business affected by the pandemic, we are well on our way. Just give us time. And by the time we’re finished, looking at those comparative technology adoption rates among countries will be remarkably different. But if I can certify one thing for our partners and merchants, it’s the fact that we will never stop innovating, so that we can be ready for you and whatever you’re facing.

What I love most about our industry is how tightly aligned our survival is with that of our partners and merchants. Unlike some industries, the payments industry feasts only when our customers do, and when they starve, we do, too.  Knowing that value proposition, and living with it every day, keeps us honest and keeps us moving forward.

Together.

Topics: point-of-sale systems COVID-19 pandemic integrated management applications NFC payments Celero Commerce contactless acceptance ecommerce COVID-19 mobile payments payment gateways small business smartphones payments industry innovation virtual terminals payment technologies digital gift cards near field communication contactless payments
1 min read

Celero’s Jones Addresses State of Payments in Digital Transactions

By Celero Commerce on May 5, 2020 12:00:00 AM

In a just-published article in respected payments journal, Digital Transactions, Celero Commerce founder and CEO Kevin Jones sits down with the magazine’s Kevin Woodward to discuss the current state of the payments industry nearly two months into the COVID-19-driven economic crisis. 

In a ranging interview, Jones discusses a variety of topics, including the company’s recent launch of its COVID-19 Survival Kit to help small and mid-sized merchants protect their business from the effects of voluntary and mandated social distancing actions. Celero’s Survival Kit and other COVID-19 resources include merchant webinars, targeted products and services like virtual gift cards, mobile payments, and payment gateways, as well as helpful links to government and industry resources.

In addition, Jones explains the Celero’s “team of teams” approach of offense/defense to manage its way through the crisis, as well as the company’s recent acquisition of Boca Raton-based FlashBanc.

Read the full story, also featuring interviews with other payments industry leaders, at this link.

2 min read

#InThisTogether: Kentucky Distillery Joins COVID-19 Fight with Hand Sanitizer

By Celero Commerce on May 1, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Small businesses around the country are showing signs of resilience and innovation, as they always do in the face of adversity. When they are able to combine their strength and ideas with a community-driven mission, special things happen.

Boundary Oak Distillery is located in the heart of Kentucky, in the small town of Radcliff in the shadow of the US gold bullion repository at Fort Knox. Like other distilleries around the country Boundary Oak has joined the strategic supply chain for providing hand sanitizer to first responders and communities in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Owner Brent Goodin and the Boundary Oak team, known for their small batch bourbon, American whiskey, amber, and moonshine, have retooled production away from their beloved spirits to meet nationwide demand for hand sanitizer, which includes some of the same ingredients as their normal products.

Goodin’s recipe, taken from World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control guidelines, combines alcohol, water, hydrogen peroxide, and glycerol. The additive glycerol contains both antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Part of the family business, his youngest son, Thomas, compounds the ingredients to form the base product, as Boundary Oak is using spray bottles, donated from the surrounding community, as containers for its hand sanitizer.

After confirming that they could, indeed, produce the hand sanitizer after inquiries from local medical professionals, Goodin and the Kentucky Distillers Association reached out to Senator Mitch McConnell, along with officials in the US Department of Treasury and the Food and Drug Administration. In late March, Boundary Oak was given temporary authorization and emergency licensure to retool its operations and produce the much-needed sanitizer.

Once labeled, each bottle is shipped to first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight. In additions to EMS technicians, hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes across Kentucky should see Boundary Oak product over the next several weeks.

Celero is proud to serve Goodin and the team at Boundary Oak Distillery through a payment processing partnership between Elmhurst Financial and The Cecilian Bank, headquartered in nearby Cecilia. Founded in 1903, The Cecilian Bank is Kentucky’s 16th largest bank, with more than 200 employees providing a variety of banking services from 19 branch offices in seven counties of the commonwealth.

Please join us in saluting the Goodin family and team at Boundary Oak Distillery, a great example of the enduring spirit of American business.

2 min read

Celero Founder Kevin Jones Launches New Podcast, Because We Had To

By Celero Commerce on Apr 23, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Hosted by Celero founder Kevin Jones and longtime friend and business partner Brian Castle, Because We Had To is a podcast for the dreamers among us, explained Castle. “Kevin and I have been working together off and on and collaborating on various projects for more than 20 years,” he explained.  “Right now, we’re doing a lot together to uplift small businesses. That was important to us before the COVID-19 outbreak, and it’s even more important now. These are the folks who dare to dream, and they make a lot of what’s great about our country even possible for the rest of us.”

For the new podcast, Jones and Castle will discuss a range of topics, from entrepreneurship and leadership to creating great company cultures and developing people to their full potential in work and life.  The duo will also explore the values they hold dear, like humility and respect. “We want to have conversations with each other and guests that are funny and inspiring, thought-provoking and endearing, evocative of relationships of those who are battle-hardened yet still fresh in their passion,” Castle said.

“I’m so thrilled that Brian and I have been able to do more writing together on these subjects that drive entrepreneurship and leadership,” said Jones. “The inspiration for the name, Because We Had To, is one of our favorite Avett Brothers songs. It speaks to the essence of what drives all of us to pursue greatness in business and in life. It’s the yearning of the creative spirits, the problem-solvers, and even the entertainers among us that never abates and always abides. This podcast is for those who dream.  Sometimes we pursue our dreams just because we have to, because of that thirst to pursue our ideas and our passions.”

While the pair previously had other ideas for the kickoff episode of Because We Had To, as with many aspects of American life, things changed with the coronavirus outbreak. “Brian and I took a first things first approach with this podcast,” explained Jones. “It felt appropriate to dedicate our first episode to trying to help those businesses out there that are hurting.  

To that end, the podcast will launch with Castle and Jones hosting a number of guests from the Celero leadership team, including Kevin Brolan, Matt Moore, and Scott Farace.  Brolan, who heads up sales at the company, will discuss elements of Celero’s COVID-19 Survival Kit, a set of tools designed to help restaurants, shops, salons, and other businesses survive and eventually grow more sustainably. Moore, who leads the company’s BankMax program, will speak to tools for community bankers as they try to triage local businesses.  Finally, Chief Marketing Officer Scott Farace will share stories of small business resilience and innovation, along with advice for business owners to effectively market to their customer base and serve their communities during this time of crisis. 

Listen to Episode 1 of Because We Had To, now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Soundcloud.

2 min read

#InThisTogether: For Maximum Impact, Now More than Ever, Shop Local

By Celero Commerce on Apr 21, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Kevin Jones April 21, 2020 You often hear us in the payments and financial technology industries as we implore you to shop local, supporting your community’s small businesses that include restaurants, bars and breweries, salons, and boutique shops. Too often, this imperative is misunderstood as a feel-good marketing campaign.

But make no mistake, the shop local movement is about something very real. It’s how we build more vibrant, sustainable communities that meet our needs, economically, culturally, and by virtually any measure of quality of life, whether you’re in places the size of Los Angeles, Nashville, Greenville, South Carolina, or my tiny hometown of West Jefferson, North Carolina.

The numbers don’t lie. There are nearly 30 million small businesses in America, and they employ nearly two-thirds of the workforce. If you’re looking purely to make an economic impact directly in the lives of your friends, neighbors, and fellow church-goers, you really couldn’t have a better strategy than eating at that family-owned restaurant, having your car repaired with your hometown mechanic or dealership, or getting that spa treatment at the beauty shop around the corner. Your locally-spent dollars keep people employed and keep the economy progressing in normal times, and they are helping these folks survive in the unprecedented times since the outbreak of COVID-19.

As if that weren’t enough, shopping local, eating local, and drinking local goes way beyond helping your individual neighbors and friends. Out of every dollar you spend locally, 67 cents stay in your community. Furthermore, that same dollar is taxed at a local level up to four times, on average.  Think about everything your tax dollars pay for in your community:  schools; roads, parks and greenways; the arts; parades and community events; loans and grants for startups; programs to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless, and much, much more.

It’s been noted in study after study that promoting small businesses strengthens the middle class, reduces income inequality, creates local supply chains, achieves higher wages and benefits, bolsters civic and social well-being, and makes business simply fairer in pricing and terms. When I was forming my plan for Celero nearly two years ago, I decided to double down on my belief in the resilience and sustainability of American small business. I knew we’d face hard times again, but like many, I didn’t think it would happen so soon. 

But my belief is rooted in the knowledge that we are, in fact, all in this together—in good times and bad. For all of us who want our communities to survive now and thrive when good times are here again (and I’ll bet that survey would yield somewhere near 100 percent of us), we need to act like we do at church. Let’s have our behaviors exemplify our beliefs. Even in times of social distancing, we can support our beloved small, local businesses. Utilize curbside, takeout, and delivery services whenever you can, and buy virtual gift cards to invest in these businesses when you can’t.

Let’s get through this by focusing on the health of our families and friends and by extending a hand to those small businesses that mean so much to our way of life. Let’s work together to save our neighbors and save our communities.

Topics: small business community impact small business employment curbside small business jobs In This Together delivery services social distancing eating local shopping local COVID-19 wages and benefits shop local movement social well-being takeout sustainable communities Kevin Jones civic well-being drinking local
2 min read

Celero Cares Fund Aids Hospitality Workers in Wake of Nashville Tornadoes, COVID-19

By Celero Commerce on Apr 20, 2020 12:00:00 AM

While many across our country and world are suffering from the outbreak of COVID-19 last month, many of our loved ones, friends, and neighbors in the Nashville area are still suffering from the deadly tornadoes that ravaged central Tennessee in the early hours of March 3.

In the wake of the tornadoes and just prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Celero Commerce established its Celero Cares Fund on crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, in order to provide assistance to small business owners and their employees during times of need.

To date, the Celero Cares Fund has raised nearly $7,000, with the bulk of donations coming from Celero employees, their families, and friends of the company. On March 9, the fund made an initial donation to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund activated by the nonprofit Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.  This emergency gift from the Celero family has brought much-needed relief to those left hungry and homeless from tornado damage.

The latest gift from the Celero Cares Fund goes to our friends at East Nashville’s Urban Cowboy. The eight-room boutique hotel, housed in a historic Victorian mansion, is a favorite landing spot for visitors to our hometown, and the hotel and surrounding area took a direct hit during the tornado storm of March 3.  In the same week the hotel looked to reopen, government officials put stay at home measures in place, effectively closing many lodging establishments like Urban Cowboy for the until further notice.

We are distributing a portion of the Celero Cares Fund to the staff of Urban Cowboy, so that they can continue to pay their bills during this uncertain time.

Our mission is to help small and medium businesses achieve and sustain success.  With so many small businesses affected by these storms and then COVID-19, our Celero Cares Fund aims to raise funds to support these business owners, as well as their employees, in their time of need.  From providing food for employees, supplies to help clean up, or operating needs to help them stay afloat as they recover, we want to help as many of the individuals and families in these Nashville-area businesses as we can.

Please join us in donating to help these people in their time of need.  All funds raised will be provided to those businesses affected by the storm. Go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/celero-cares to learn more and donate!

3 min read

Lucier Named Q1 2020 Duffy Leadership Award Recipient

By Celero Commerce on Apr 15, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Inspired by a shared value of servant leadership and role models, the Celero Commerce executive team created a special award to recognize elite performers who exemplify the company’s values. Now, we are pleased to announce the second quarterly recipient of the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award, Abigail Lucier.

Just celebrating her one-year anniversary with the company, Abigail currently serves Celero Commerce as Senior Project Manager, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Kevin Jones.  During her tenure, Abigail has led foundational projects like the design and move into the company’s new Brentwood headquarters and operations center. She currently leads the company’s Pandemic Response team, formed at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Celero’s leadership team created the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award in honor of fintech industry legend Michael Duffy, who mentored many of Celero’s leaders earlier in their careers as they served in various positions at payments industry leader Chase Paymentech. The Duffy Award is driven by peer nominations, as colleagues recognize each other not only for performance, but also leadership, especially in exhibiting attributes that abide by company values like selflessness and teamwork.

Abigail received multiple nominations for Duffy Award recognition for her exemplary performance and leadership in the first quarter of 2020. Here are some of the notable nomination excerpts, straight from her peers:

“Abigail has quickly become a great resource for met to turn to with questions or almost anything in the office.”

“Abigail’s focus on company culture has motivated me to be a better team player and to be a culture carrier myself.”

Whether it is something related to her job or not, she is always willing to provide answers and guidance. . . a true team player!!!

“We all know how much work Abigail put in to create an office space that we have now transitioned into. Her leadership during this transition was so important for a smooth move with little disruption to our day to day jobs.”

“Abigail has now worked hard to help develop our Disaster Recovery Plan during this pandemic situation. I know that she has been a valuable asset to our company’s leadership during these times and will continue to do amazing things moving forward!”

“Abigail has quickly become a great resource for me to turn to with questions on almost anything in the office. Whether it is something related to her job or not, she is always willing to provide answers and guidance... a true team player!!!”

Abigail is quickly establishing herself as an emerging thought leader on the subject of company culture, with regular appearances on the company’s Celero Insights blog and Celero’s video channels on YouTube and Vimeo. 

As a Duffy Award recipient, Abigail will be invited to attend Celero’s first Leadership Summit, to be held in the spring of 2021 at the company’s headquarters in Nashville.  This annual event will convene leaders across our organization to celebrate their successes and mold future leaders of our organization by discussing strategy, new fintech trends, and Celero’s market position. The summit will include the four quarterly Duffy award recipients, as well as the company’s top 10 percent of performers in other departments. C-suite will lead the session and have some great Nashville entertainment planned for the group as well.

In addition, Abigail Lucier’s name will now grace a commemorative Duffy Award plaque at Celero’s corporate offices.

“Abigail truly sets a standard of commitment at Celero, as in commitment to our team, our customers, and our partners, “said Jones. “And she’s the kind of person you want on your side—smart, tough, and talented. Our leadership has learned to trust Abigail with virtually any critical project, since she’s one of those people built to rise to any challenge. Her combination of focus and determination are unmatched in this company.”

Other nominees for the quarterly Duffy Award were Ethan Hoffman, Karo Torosyan, and Kathryn Rodriguez.  “I’d also like to salute the other nominees,” said Jones. “Ethan, Karo, and Kathryn are true leaders in this company. When you’re dedicated to your work and the people around you, others take notice. I am thrilled to have teammates like Ethan, Karo, Kathryn, and Abigail on this journey to build the premier payments and software platform for small business.”

The next Duffy Award winner will be named in late July.

2 min read

Celero Commerce Acquires FlashBanc

By Celero Commerce on Apr 7, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Acquisition of rapidly growing payments provider strengthens Celero Commerce’s commitment to merchants nationwide

Nashville, TN and Boca Raton, FL April 7, 2020Celero Commerce (“Celero”), a vertically-focused commerce solutions provider, today announced the acquisition of FlashBanc, a leading provider of electronic payments technology and loyalty  solutions.

The acquisition builds upon Celero’s existing strategy of providing industry-leading payment processing, business management software, data insights, and customer support to SMB customers.  Following the addition of Flashbanc, Celero will serve approximately 28,000 merchants and process approximately $10 billion in annual payment volume, with more than 100 employees in seven offices across the U.S.

“We are excited to join the Celero Commerce family,” said Michael Gross, CEO and Founder of FlashBanc. “Our team is attracted to Celero’s culture and vision as a leader in payments and we are thrilled to have access to their suite of technology solutions to continue to deliver market leading service and support for our customer base. With Celero, our team members will be empowered to help our customers grow by simplifying the acceptance of electronic transactions, providing vertically focused product and technology bundles, and enabling powerful loyalty and social marketing tools.”

“Partnering with Michael and the FlashBanc team presents a great opportunity. FlashBanc has a history of providing solutions focused on helping customers grow. In this unprecedented environment, the acquisition of FlashBanc underscores Celero’s commitment to SMB merchants across the U.S.” said Kevin Jones, CEO of Celero.  As part of this transaction, Celero will maintain operations out of both FlashBanc’s Boca Raton, FL, headquarters and its San Francisco area office.

About Celero Commerce

Based in Nashville, Celero Commerce is a full-service, integrated electronic commerce solutions provider powered by leading edge technology, strategic partnerships, and business intelligence, all moving at the speed of modern business.  Celero offers payment processing services, business management software, and data intelligence to small and medium-sized businesses, empowering them to drive growth and profitability.

Media Contact:

Celero Commerce

Scott Farace, Chief Marketing Officer

scottf@celerocommerce.com

972-533-5655

2 min read

#InThisTogether: Local Salon Innovates to Serve Clients, Drive Business During Mandated Closure

By Celero Commerce on Apr 2, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Adapt, improvise, and overcome.

As a child, Mary Alice Latta, hairstylist at Glam Salon in tiny Hillsborough, NC, heard these words constantly from her father.

“Since the day I was born, my dad always told me, ‘Life is going to throw you curveballs,’” says Mary Alice, “‘and it’s up to you to adapt, improvise, and overcome.’”

Mary Alice’s upbringing instilled in her the virtues of grit, innovation, and entrepreneurship, which have helped her throughout her career and especially today amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Jessica Batts, owner of Glam Salon, and Mary Alice are longtime friends who both started their stylist careers in 2008 during one of the worst recessions in American history.

“We both know what it takes to survive even in times of economic hardship,” says Mary Alice. “We both know the hard work and determination that it takes to get here.”

Jessica and Mary Alice opened the salon together nearly seven years ago. Since then, they have built a loyal client base throughout Hillsborough and surrounding areas. There aren’t many salons that can boast a perfect 5.0 rating on Facebook with over 50 reviews … but Glam Salon is one of them.

“We have a really incredible community,” Mary Alice says.

She’s had to tap into her natural flair for entrepreneurship recently, as North Carolina has mandated that salons close for at least 30 days in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We knew we needed something,” says Mary Alice. “Clients were reaching out saying, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?’ Many of them are used to coming in every three or four weeks.”

She came up with an ingenious solution that would keep clients happy while also keeping the salon afloat: She and her fellow stylists began putting together DIY touch-up kits that include everything you need to fix hair color right at home. They come in airtight containers and include developer, color dye, gloves, a cap, a brush, a bowl, and an instructions sheet.

“We sold 55 kits in the first week,” says Mary Alice. “It’s been a great way to keep our clients away from box dye, and to drive sales that keep us going as a small business.”

Glam Salon is offering the kits on a weekly basis, via pickup or delivery, to maintain freshness and ensure that the hair color doesn’t expire by the time it reaches clients. In addition to these innovative, salon-quality color kits, they’re also selling gift cards and retail products as usual. They’re shipping products, like shampoo and styling cream, directly to clients. 

“We have amazing clients who understand the hardships of small businesses right now, and want to support us,” Mary Alice says.

Mary Alice, Jessica, and all of the talented stylists at Glam Salon prove that entrepreneurship isn’t reserved for the tech sector or big business – it’s seen all the time in small businesses across the nation, which make up the very lifeblood of our economy. We’re proud to share a country with entrepreneurs like Mary Alice, whose uncanny ability to adapt, improvise, and overcome is an inspiration to us all.

2 min read

#InThisTogether: Celero Launches COVID-19 Internal, External Resource Pages for Small Business

By Celero Commerce on Apr 1, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Celero Commerce was formed to equip small businesses with products, services, and software tools that help them grow quickly and sustainably. With the outbreak of COVID-19 over the last several weeks, our mission has changed to reflect the gravity of the situation, not only from and individual and public health perspectives, but also with regard to the survival of American small business.

Week by week, we are putting together a variety of resources, both internal and external, to help our merchants weather the storm and survive for the better times that lie ahead. 

Internal Resources:  the Celero COVID-19 Survival Kit 

At the COVID-19 link in our site’s main navigation, you’ll find our Celero COVID-19 Survival Kit, featuring educational materials for merchants on tools like gift cards, e-commerce, virtual payment terminals, and other solutions for staying in business while adhering to social distancing guidance and regulations. 

You’ll also see a variety of Celero News and Insights articles with headlines containing the hashtag, #InThisTogether. Each of these articles offers advice to merchants or shows how restaurateurs and other entrepreneurs are innovating to survive, supporting their communities, and adopting new tools for changing their business models to meet the challenges of the new COVID-19 reality.

External Resources: Government and Industry Rescue/Stimulus Programs

With stimulus and rescue efforts ongoing and from multiple sources, we know our merchants need the latest information on available programs to complement our solutions for the journey back to prosperity. We have compiled a Government and Industry Resource page that features links and information to available programs for small businesses, ranging from forgivable SBA loans for retaining employees (part of the recently-passed CARES Act) to microloans and bridge loans available at state and local levels.

In addition, we are listing industry resources from trade groups (the Electronic Transaction Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation), nonprofits (James Beard Foundation, and private companies (UberEats, GrubHub) that support small business.

Please stay tuned to our website and social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), as we continue to add and update resources for merchants across America.

2 min read

#InThisTogether: Jones Country Meats and Tandem Payment - A Match Made in Country Heaven

By Celero Commerce on Mar 31, 2020 12:00:00 AM

You can’t beat Jones meats. Since 1980, Jones Country Meats of Climax, Georgia has provided southwest Georgia and surrounding areas with the freshest, tastiest beef and pork around. Unlike many small businesses, they’ve actually seen an uptick in business since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as locals flood in to stock up on quality meats. With help from Tandem, they’ve been able to develop several ways for customers to buy and receive products while minimizing social contact.

“Our local bank approached us about using Tandem, and it was easy access for us,” says GeGe Baggett, who owns Jones Country Meats with her husband, Jerry. “Through Tandem, we were able to set up a portable credit card machine on our porch, so people can pay and pick up their order right from our freezer outside.”

They’re also encouraging customers to call in orders ahead of time and giving them the option to either pay over the phone or in-store, where they’re careful to get people in and out quickly. Customers who pay over the phone can simply grab their orders curbside, and have an employee load the meat into their cars. Between curbside and takeout options, they’ve seen an increase in business. They’re even running two phone lines to cover the increase in call-in orders.

“Whenever we need something material-wise, we can always get it through Tandem,” says GeGe. “Even as we’ve stepped up our sales, our systems haven’t slowed down or failed at all.”

GeGe also enjoys the easy access to help when they need it.

“We can always contact Jake Michaelis, our Tandem partner at First Port City Bank, when we need something, and he always gets back to us quickly,” she says. “I’ve called on a Friday night, on a Sunday, and they always respond quickly to me. I always get the help I need, when I need it.”

In such a devastating time for so many local businesses, we’re happy to see Jones Country Meats thriving. They’ve found innovative ways to drive business, thanks in part to payment processing solutions from Tandem – and, in large part, thanks to their delicious range of humanely sourced beef and pork, as well as jellies, preserves, syrups, sauces, and seasonings. If you find yourself in Southwest Georgia, be sure to stop by Jones Country Meats. Call ahead and you can pick up their premium cuts without even getting out of your car.

1 min read

#InThisTogether: Chamberlain’s Steakhouse Offers Lesson for Upscale Restaurants Adapting to COVID-19 Realities

By Celero Commerce on Mar 30, 2020 12:00:00 AM

A Dallas institution since 1993, Chamberlain’s Steak and Chophouse has set standards not only for its award-winning food, but also for its service, ambiance, and ability to host private parties for up to 100 guests. Anyone that knows the Chamberlain’s experience would forgive their team for feeling sorry for themselves during the outbreak of COVID-19 and its attendant regulations that have shuttered dining rooms nationwide, but that’s not how these Texans operate.

Richard Chamberlain and his staff, like many other small business owners and their teams around the country, are embracing a new normal with resilience and spirit. Now, the restaurant crew is fully-focused on helping its clientele take the Chamberlain’s experience home safely. The upscale restaurant has launched curbside pickup, as well as specials like “Standing Together” days, featuring multi-option, prix fixe menus for patrons to enjoy.  

In addition, Chamberlain’s is running half-price wine days with new selections each week. The restaurant also sells gift cards for those who want to help the restaurant now and enjoy fine food and drink at a later date. For a restaurant focused primarily on the in-person dining experience, with amenities like a cigar bar, Chamberlain’s is adapting to the times with real spirit.

“Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House, one of my family’s favorites from our years in Dallas, continues to set great examples for how restaurants can survive COVID-19 and continue to thrive thereafter,” said Celero Commerce Chief Marketing Officer Scott Farace. “For years, they have set an incredible standard for restaurant operations in the DFW area, and now they’re doing it again. You can see a playbook in action here, with online ordering, curbside pickup, special packaging, pricing specials and menu features, along with appeals to its loyal patrons to stand together and be safe. They could complain about social distancing regulations, and instead they offer gratitude to both their Dallas clientele and to America itself. It’s inspiring and practical stuff.”

For more information, check out the Chamberlain’s Steakhouse website at www.chamberlainsteakhouse.com.

2 min read

#InThisTogether: First Financial Northwest Bank Rises to Support Its Community during Outbreak

By Celero Commerce on Mar 27, 2020 12:00:00 AM

We’ve been sharing stories with our readers about small business leaders who are innovating to save their companies in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many of these small business owners are also turning to the community to help those who have been laid off or children who would otherwise get their meals at school.

Our financial institution partners at Celero, no strangers to philanthropy and volunteerism in good times, are also rising to the occasion. One such partner is First Financial Northwest Bank, a community bank with more than a dozen locations in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area in western Washington. FFNWB has begun a pair of initiatives that are both fun and heartwarming, as its employees support area charities and restaurants. 

The first campaign, 30 Nonprofits in 30 Days, will see bank employees dip into their own wallets to support charities across its footprint of King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties, including multiple food banks and agencies addressing homelessness and affordable housing, emergency financial assistance, crime victim support and advocacy, and suicide prevention.  Employees will pick a charity and donate in exchange for dressing down at work, a practice normally reserved for Fridays. From March 23-May 1, employees will be able to dress down for each day they donate. 

Restaurants around the country have been among the hardest-hit businesses due to dining room shutdowns for social distancing, and FFNWB is supporting these western Washington businesses as well. In a campaign known as Thankful Tuesdays, the bank will provide lunch to employees from locally-owned restaurants and feature these establishments on their Facebook page to rally community support. Nominations for Thankful Tuesday nominees will come from the public via email to the bank’s marketing team at marketing@ffnwb.com.

According to Kristia Poppe, Vice President of Bank Relationships at Celero Commerce, the community leadership on display at FFNWB is no surprise. “One of the reasons I love my job so much is getting to work with amazing people like the team at FFNWB,” she said. “They are a fun group, and they are always community-minded. We love that they are finding ways to give back. We know that we’re all in this together to support our communities and our local nonprofits and businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak, but it’s really inspiring to see partners who live that out each day.”

To follow First Financial Northwest Bank’s charitable efforts, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ffnwb or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/first-financial-northwest-bank/.

1 min read

#InThisTogether: Nashville Restaurateur Adapts for Community with COVID-19

By Celero Commerce on Mar 26, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Nashville restaurateur Andy Marshall, owner of the iconic local chain Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant with locations in and around Music City, is proving that great small business minds are leading by example during the hard, uncertain times brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Marshall’s team has set up the “AMH Cares Drive-Thru” in the parking lot of the company’s Americana Taphouse location in Franklin, adapting to the new reality of takeout and delivery-only dining, but with a community-driven twist. In the same week that a record number of Americans filed for unemployment, many of whom work in the hospitality industry, Marshall’s team is offering hot meals to go, as well as grocery items (milk, eggs, fresh produce, and more) in what Marshall describes as a drive-through pantry.  Pricing on meals and groceries, taken from surplus food supplies at his area Puckett’s, Deacon’s, and Americana locations, are suggested only.

In a Facebook post, Marshall urged those who needed a hot meal to come by and pay what they can or nothing at all. He offered a special invitation to those temporarily laid off in the hospitality industry. Marshall also pledged that as people pay what they can, he will reinvest those revenues in the new curbside, pay-what-you-can venture. Curbside service and drive-through pantry at Americana Taphouse, located at 94 East Main Street in Franklin, will run each day from 11-7 while supplies last. 

Marshall’s actions certainly provide an incredible example for small business owners who turn their eyes to serving the community in times of great crisis. Since his industry is among the hardest-hit by COVID-19, he is showing a level selflessness that leaves us humbled. We are proud to share our Nashville community with businesspeople like Andy Marshall.

2 min read

Small Business Marketing 101: Cause Marketing in the Time of COVID-19

By Celero Commerce on Mar 25, 2020 12:00:00 AM

We’re living in a strange and scary time for small businesses. While every business is feeling the effect of COVID-19, some businesses feel it more acutely than others – with small and local operations taking the biggest hit. We’ve been sharing and will continue to share resources on our social media channels, so follow Celero Commerce on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for tips on supporting small businesses safely during this difficult time.

Whether you’re a small business owner who’s had to temporarily close shop or one who’s struggling to stay open, you’ll benefit from keeping in touch with your clients and customers. Amid this national crisis, one of the best ways to do so is through cause marketing. This can be an inexpensive and effective way of maintaining visibility while also helping others in your community.

My career in marketing and sales has taught me the value of networking and building connections in your community and industry. Think about how you can get your company involved in local charitable efforts related to COVID-19, preferably ones that tie into your line of work. For example, if you’re a local restaurant, now would be a great time to start a food donation program. With public schools closed across the nation, children who rely on school for their meals are now more food insecure than ever. If there’s already a program in your community working to get meals to those kids, join in. If not, start one of your own. Many restaurants have extra ingredients that they’d otherwise throw out, which can be used to make free meals instead. The Loyalist Market, a Charlotte, NC-based restaurant, is a great role model for other local restaurants who want to get involved. They’re offering free sandwiches to kids who would normally be eating for free and reduced price at school.

Some small businesses are getting super creative with their cause marketing during the COVID-19 crisis. Several alcohol distilleries, for example, have revamped to produce hand sanitizer that they donate to people in need (i.e. hospitals, food banks). Local boutiques are sewing protective masks to donate to healthcare workers. As these crafty small businesses prove, there’s always something you can do to help out, taking advantage of the resources that you already have at your disposal.

I understand that many small businesses may have too much on their plates and too little in the bank to help out. But, if you can, I encourage you to get involved in cause marketing, even in small ways. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will also increase visibility and grow your brand at a time when that’s desperately needed for so many small and local companies. #InThisTogether #ShopLocal

2 min read

#InThisTogether: Seven Ways You Can Help Keep Small Businesses Afloat during the COVID-19 Outbreak

By Celero Commerce on Mar 25, 2020 12:00:00 AM

At Celero Commerce, our mission, our people, and our whole operations are aligned with helping small businesses grow quickly and sustainably. We are dedicated to the success of small businesses around the country, in good times and bad.

Right now, our small businesses nationwide are under serious threat of closure, and nearly two-thirds of the country’s population works for a small business, whether it’s a local store, restaurant, hair salon, or boutique. It’s obvious—we need to be doing everything we can as a people to not only stay healthy, but also keep our friends and neighbors in small business afloat until we see good times again.

Here are some ways you can help us support small business across America: 

1)  Restaurant Takeout and Delivery:  Join us in the Great American Takeout, an initiative to take advantage of takeout and delivery offerings still available at restaurants forced to shut down their dining rooms.

2)  Reschedule Your Events:  Many types of local establishments, whether it’s a restaurant, club, hotel, or other type of venue, have been force dot shut down due to regulations about gathering size. Don’t just cancel—work with these businesses to reschedule for future dates later in the year or next year.

3)  Buy Gift Cards:  This is perhaps the best way to promote small business, outside of legally-compliant purchases for the present. Gift cards get much needed cash into the hands of small business owners now, in exchange for future products and services. Think about buying multiple cards for yourself for all of your favorite local businesses, as well as cards for friends and family to celebrate their special days.

4)  Give Love on Social Media:  In the digital age, strong word-of-mouth can certainly give life to small business. If you enjoy that takeout or unique product you bought online from a local restaurant or boutique, give them a shout-out on Facebook and Twitter. Encourage your friends and family to do the same!

5)  Look for a Local Option:  Before hitting the buy button on an e-commerce site or site of a big box retailer, think about whether you have a local option for purchasing products online for delivery. Know that many businesses around the country are now delivering for the first time, in an effort to stay alive. Honor their innovation and determination.

6)  They Go Virtual, You Go Virtual:  Think about services you purchase, such as a gym membership or a yoga class, and whether that service provider now has an online offering. Just as other businesses are starting to deliver, many others are going virtual. Wouldn’t it be nice to still take that yoga class from the comfort and safety of your home?

7)  Philanthropy: Finally, as you are able, perhaps giving back to those business owners who serve your community is a way you’d like to contribute, whether it’s through a GoFundMe campaign to put operating cash in their hand to pay workers or through donating your time and expertise to help them in ways they can’t afford right now such as with strategy or marketing efforts.

Thank you for joining us in supporting small business in your area. It’s time for all hands on deck—we’re all in this together!

1 min read

Restaurants Come Together for Great American Takeout, Starting Today!

By Celero Commerce on Mar 24, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Restaurants from around the country, including national and regional chains as well as local establishments, are coming together on Tuesday, March 24 to launch the Great American Takeout.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 on US shores over the last few weeks, the restaurant industry has taken a massive hit. In addition to many Americans self-isolating in the first few weeks, about half the country is now under orders or advisement to shelter in place.  And in many states, governors have ordered restaurants, bars, and breweries to close their dining rooms.

But many in the restaurant industry believe that they can survive, and in some cases, thrive if they can stay legally compliant with dining room rules while ramping up their takeout and delivery services even more, whether it’s through their own delivery staff or services like DoorDash, Postmates, Grubhub, and others.

Yesterday, we documented how a Celero customer and Atlanta-area restaurateur managed to steady his own café’s sales through clever neighborhood takeout services.

Celero Commerce is proud to serve thousands of restaurants around the country with a variety of services, including payment processing, point-of-sale terminals, integrated business management applications, and loyalty programs. During these uncertain times, we think it’s important to tell the positive stories of innovation and collaboration in America’s business community.  It’s that remarkable American spirit that will get us through these times, no matter how long our public health crisis lasts.

Join us in the Great American Takeout today, and share your takeout stories with us on our social media channels. We encourage everyone to continue to support their local restaurants via takeout and delivery as you are able to do so. Also know that many of your national and regional chains are owned by local franchisees, so don’t forget to support these neighbors, too!

2 min read

Atlanta Restaurant Initiates Neighborhood Takeout, Steadies Sales in Wake of COVID-19

By Celero Commerce on Mar 23, 2020 12:00:00 AM

It’s important that we all continue to support America’s small businesses during the hard times brought upon us by the coronavirus outbreak. From time to time, we’ll share stories that inspire us as we continue to build a company focused on helping small businesses compete and win.

Celero Commerce and its legacy companies like UMS Banking and Tandem Innovative Payment Solutions are proud to serve thousands of restaurants across the country with payment acceptance solutions and integrated services like payroll, scheduling, loyalty programs, and much more.  In just a matter of days, restaurants have faced an apocalypse of sorts, sparked by the immediate spread of COVID-19.

In response to the outbreak and exponential growth of cases on a near-daily basis, many governments at state, county, and municipal levels have made the hard call to close places where the public gathers, with restaurants, bars, and breweries among the hardest-hit small businesses around the country. Many have been asked to close their dining rooms for a couple of weeks, while other orders have given indefinite time frames. Dine-in service is the life-blood for many American restaurants, forcing a survival mode that, as history tells us, spurs innovation.

One of our card processing clients in the Atlanta area recently shared such a success story with us at Tandem.  A café with a long history in the community with multiple locations found itself having to comply with municipal orders to move to takeout and delivery-only sales, effectively ending dine-in service for the foreseeable future.

The owner of the business obviously felt the stress of the situation quickly, as have many restaurant owners around the country. In recent touch with a Celero employee, who also happened to be a neighbor the owner took his suggestion of utilizing their neighborhood email address list to reach lots of prospective customers quickly and inexpensively.  As suggested, the owner asked his neighbors if they’d like lunch delivered and threw in his own incentive as well:  a 10 percent discount for anyone from the neighborhood who wanted lunch from his café that day.

The owner then received nearly two dozen orders in reply to his email overture, personally delivering them from the base of his driveway for safe pickup while maintaining social distancing guidelines. The owner reported that this gesture—and of course the huge response from the neighborhood—helped him achieve his normal daily sales numbers. He’s now so thrilled with the idea and the response that he’s reaching out to friends in many local neighborhoods to replicate the neighborhood takeout strategy.

2 min read

Choosing Organizational Accountability over Entitlement

By Celero Commerce on Mar 20, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Jeff Brown—March 20, 2020 We talk a lot about selfless leadership at Celero, and I hope that I live up to that aspiration as much as possible. But what does that mean, day-to-day, beyond simply giving credit where it’s due across the organization?

I believe my job as a leader at Celero, especially with regard to developing a high-performance culture defined by selfless leadership, is to develop people to their full potential. When people achieve their potential, they are more likely to be engaged with the company’s mission and goals and see how the company’s purpose aligns with their own. 

The first step on the road to developing people is ridding them of any sense of entitlement. I’ll start with myself. I’ve had a long, successful career in payments and financial technology, and that perhaps entities me to walk in the door as co-founder of this company. But after that door closes, it entitles me to nothing whatsoever. I have to earn my place and prove my worth all over again.

That mentality is the opposite of entitlement—it’s accountability.  And if I want to help others reach that mentality and run together with me toward goals with confidence and assuredness, I need to take the time to develop them as professionals within our performance framework. Not everyone will make it down this road, because some folks are not coachable or teachable. But if they are, greatness awaits us all. 

In order to develop people, you start with teaching. And by teaching I’m referring directly to the fundamental training our people receive from day one.  I love our training department, because people like Benji Allsep are passionate about taking our people down the first steps of the path and then rejoining them at later times to refresh or add to their knowledge.

Next comes coaching.  Coaching is about reinforcing that training with feedback—both positive and negative—so that people always know where they stand, where they need to improve, and of course what they’re doing correctly.  Coaching is so important here at Celero, because we demand individual and team performance. There’s no place here for the individual performer who has no regard for the team, whether it’s their department or the company itself. So whether you’re the CEO or the manager of a small department, your title may as well be “Coach.”

The final component of development is equipping. People can’t do their jobs to their fullest without the proper resources and tools. While we are now officially too big for me to do everyone’s job, what I can directly control is that my people have the technology and processes in place that put them on a platform to succeed.

When you meet people where they are and teach, coach, and equip them in ways that are powerful and profound, you position them to succeed for themselves and the company. Good people will happily be accountable to high performance standards when you invest in them with knowledge, guidance, and what they need to do their jobs. When we as leaders approach the set of tasks that add up to development with an attitude of humility and accountability, we can truly unleash the power of our entire organization.

2 min read

Celero’s Moore Named to ETA 40 Under 40 List for 2020

By Celero Commerce on Mar 12, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Celero Commerce’s Matt Moore has earned a place in the Electronic Transaction Association’s annual list of young gamechangers at the intersection of payments and technology, the 2020 ETA 40 Under 40.

The prestigious recognition is based on each individual’s impact and professional character, and the group represents all of the evolving segments of the industry. The 40 Under 40 class for 2020 highlights young executives and professionals whose actions and leadership are driving the payments industry forward.

The Electronic Transactions Association is the leading trade association for the payments industry, representing over 500 companies worldwide involved in electronic transaction processing products and services. The purpose of ETA is to influence, monitor and shape the payments industry by providing leadership through education, advocacy and the exchange of information.

ETAs membership spans the breadth of the payments industry to include independent sales organizations (ISOs), payments networks, financial institutions, transaction processors, mobile payments products and services, payments technologies, and software providers (ISV) and hardware suppliers.

Matt Moore joined Celero Commerce in 2019 through its acquisition of fellow Nashville-area fintech company Elmhurst Financial. Matt  joined Elmhurst in 2005, shortly after graduating from the University of Georgia with dual bachelor’s degrees in international business and French.

During his 15-year tenure at Elmhurst, Moore has pioneered the development of the firm’s all-inclusive BankMax platform, designed to provide large community banks and regional banks with an all-in-one platform for card processing, analytics, and developing strong, sustainable sales cultures that effectively meet commercial depositors’ merchant service needs.  President of Elmhurst’s BankMax division, Matt, is now an emerging leader in Celero’s financial institution channel for developing bank and credit union partnerships nationwide.

“Looking at the list of honorees for this year’s 40 Under 40 leaves me very humble,” Matt said. “These are some great people, many of whom I know and admire professionally, working across a spectrum of payments and fintech companies. Most of all, I think this is a recognition of what we’re doing at Celero to bring greater value to small businesses across the country.”

“Matt’s inclusion in the ETA 40 Under 40 is well-deserved,” said Celero Commerce founder and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Jones.  “He is a real star in this industry, because he’s intelligent, hard-working, and humble.  It’s an honor to work alongside people of Matt’s caliber, and he sets a real example for all of us as we develop a high-performance culture.”

For more on the ETA’s 2020 40 Under 40, visit https://www.electran.org/eta-events-awards/forty-under-40/.

1 min read

Celero's Jones Appears on Leaders In Payments Podcast

By Celero Commerce on Mar 11, 2020 12:00:00 AM


Available now on every major podcast platform, the Leaders in Payments podcast features host Greg Myers interviewing the founders, CEOs, and executive thought leaders who shape the payments industry.  In the just-released episode 8, Greg welcomes Celero Commerce founder and CEO Kevin Jones to the show. 

 

During the 20-minute interview, Kevin shares about his life and payments industry journeys, taking listeners from his time growing up on a Christmas tree farm in North Carolina to more recent memories of working with and leading high-performance teams and cultures centered on developing people to their full potential at Paymentech, First American, SignaPay, Anovia, and now Celero. The two also discuss Celero’s emerging value proposition of creating vertical bundles that help drive small business growth quickly and sustainably.

Listen wherever you enjoy your podcasts or play below on Spotify.

2 min read

Small Business Marketing 101: Marshalling Internal and External Resources

By Celero Commerce on Mar 3, 2020 12:00:00 AM

It’s a new year, and you’re trying to figure out the best route to take your marketing as a small or mid-sized business, among all the other strategic plans you’re making and implementing right now. Let me share this with you, as you consider your options:  the longer I’ve been in business, the greater value I’ve placed on having a nice blend of internal and external resources on your marketing team.

It’s really important to be able to balance and marshal your internal and external resources out appropriately to give yourself the best opportunity to be successful in the marketplace. First, you need to understand your internal resources and their capabilities. In many small businesses, this may be the owner or founder, or even someone with a different job title than marketing (I’ve seen everything from salespeople to admins who happen to have a knack for this field). No matter their role or background, if someone has a penchant for your brand and how it should be expressed, they should command your respect.

The best part about your internal resources is that they are stewards of your brand. It’s important to them, so they will consider your brand their mission. But are they perfect? Of course, not—none of us are. Sometimes, we can have a blind spot internally, or especially in this era of constantly expanding digital marketing opportunities, we may have a skill set deficit. Regardless of the reason, I find that seeking external resources to blend in with your team can be a real difference-maker, as everyone can play to their strengths and have each other’s backs.

While your internal folks will understand your product or service better than any external person ever could, your external people often bring a missing perspective to your strategic preparation. Often, that missing voice happens to be that of your customer—as a lay person, external marketers can often more closely relate to your customer than you can. They aren’t as prone to use industry vernacular or take certain pieces of knowledge for granted. In addition to adding to your skill set firepower, your external teammates help keep you grounded.

As you can see, having a good team of internal and external marketers, and balancing their skills and perspectives accordingly, can really give you a more well-rounded view of your product or service, how it’s perceived by the public, and how you can be most successful marketing it.

Regardless of medium, strategies, and tactics, having a well-rounded team of external and internal resources really will provide you the tools as a small business to be more successful.  Don’t think you have to do it all yourself, but also, don’t think that it’s best to pitch everything over the fence to an agency while you handle the rest of the business and its needs.

From our team at Celero, best wishes for great success for you and your team in the coming year.

Topics: external marketing resources internal marketing resources small business marketing 101 Scott Farace brand stewards small business marketing
2 min read

SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING 101: CAUSE MARKETING 

By Celero Commerce on Mar 3, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Scott Farace 

I’ve worked in sales and marketing for a long time, and one thing that never fails to return tremendous value to a company is building connections in your community. Every business should get involved in cause marketing or charity work in their communities. The impact on the community as well as on your organization is beyond a simple calculation. And when I say get involved, I mean truly get involved – don’t just write a check to a cause of concern, although that is always needed,  but actually get company members out of the office to help your local community. 

It might mean participating in a charity run as a company. It might mean sponsoring and attending a gala for the local homeless shelter. It might mean spending the day at a local nonprofit with employees, donating your time together. Whichever way you decide to get involved, you will see results, in your community as well as your company. Charity work brings organizations and communities closer together. It reconnects us with the human aspects of our business, and with something much larger than ourselves. 

You may decide to do charity work that aligns strategically with what your company does; for example, an apparel brand might opt to host a clothing drive for those in need, or a professional services firm might offer business leadership training to at-risk youth. You may also decide to choose something that’s simply a feel-good cause, or something of particular importance to your local community. It’s just a matter of what drives you and your organization.  

Beyond the great work that cause marketing and charity projects do in the community, they also build connections with other executives and organizations that may be helpful down the line as you build your business. Cause marketing provides a good opportunity to meet fellow business leaders and develop mutually beneficial relationships.  

I would strongly recommend that business owners look into these opportunities and take advantage of them. The nice thing about cause marketing is that it’s practical for businesses of any size, no matter how big or small. You can spend as much or as little time and/or money as you’re able; there is no minimum to the amount of help you can offer to your community. In fact, in my experience, any amount of help is deeply appreciated. The most important thing is that you and your employees are actively engaged and passionate about getting involved with the cause. 

 

2 min read

Humility and Respect: Our Foundational Values

By Celero Commerce on Feb 19, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Kevin Jones February 19, 2020 You’ll often hear me speak of a pair of values that I treasure the most in people, humility and respect.

These two values go hand-in-hand in how we hold them and act upon them. Since any word can have multiple definitions, let’s get some clarity on how I see each of these terms. I like to think of humility as the absence of bad pride or arrogance. You may be curious as to how I see good and bad pride, and the best way I’ve heard this explained is by Seth Avett’s (Avett Brothers) lyrics: “The pride your Momma had and not the kind that makes you bad.”  With respect, it’s having an admiration not for titles or socio-economic status, but what makes people special: their abilities, certain qualities represented in their character, and their achievements, both individually and with others.

One of the reasons I relate so well to these values, and their high esteem in small towns and rural America, is because of my roots in the High Country of western North Carolina. I was raised by a single mom, and she instilled these values in my siblings and me on a daily basis. But she wasn’t unique—that was our culture in Ashe County. In small places like my hometown of West Jefferson, we always knew who the wealthy folks were, who inherited what from whom, and we also knew—because it was most of us—who lived a more humble existence.

We knew who the pastors were, the bank president, the mayor, as well as who owned the big Christmas tree farms (that’s the big industry in my neck of the woods).  And yet, we didn’t confer any status or merit on any of those people, much less their kids or relatives, without them earning it—and some of them certainly did.  These lessons weren’t just said, we just breathed the air of that place, and it permeated these values of humility and respect. The thing that I love most about consistently challenging myself to live these two characteristics, and also consistently responding with these as my top advice, is that you cannot live an entitled existence while striving to be humble and respectful.  Respecting our fellow man (and woman) is the cheapest for us to give, yet most valuable gift they can receive.

As I shared recently with some incredible community leaders in my hometown, I’ve taken these Ashe County values in my travels around the country and around the world and applied them to virtually everything. Nearly every day, some kind of interaction triggers one or both of these perspectives, the dual lenses through which I see the world. When one of my colleagues comes to me for mentoring, I am immediately humbled. I find the respect I give people increasing and decreasing primarily based on my perception of their contributions and core values. 

I am far from perfect, and none of us are expected to be. But my challenge to myself and any of you reading this is to stay constant in pursuit of these virtues of humility and respect. Sometimes, it’s easy. It’s really easy to promote or reward someone, out of respect, when you see them showing initiative, and achieving crazy new levels of greatness. Other times, it’s hard. I’ve left situations that were really good for me when I felt like those around me would not honor these values and therefore failed to treat people right. I simply can’t abide by blatant arrogance and a lack of respect, especially for people who, while they may not have yet arrived in their careers, are giving everything they have and are progressing toward their goals.

But to have sustained success and joy in this journey, there are no other characteristics more critical than humility and respect.

Topics: leadership respect company culture treating people right foundational values humility
2 min read

Communication: The Conduit of Culture

By Celero Commerce on Feb 10, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Abigail Lucier February 10, 2020 I am amazed by the culture we’ve been able to create at Celero and how it’s taking hold across four companies that joined our family last year. One aspect of culture building, that I’ve noticed as especially crucial in a high-growth company that’s pulling together new acquisitions frequently, is communication.

Communication is the conduit of culture. When we’re communicating properly with each other, our culture grows. Conversely, when we aren’t communicating properly, culture withers. So, what does communicating properly look like? It starts with open dialogue, versus dictating what you want from others.

Since I’ve been at Celero, I’ve been learning to become an active listener. Being a great listener, who is not just eager to share their own thoughts, is critical for developing a healthy culture and a workspace where people are free to explore their ideas and collaborate to make them reality. Good listeners acknowledge that effective communication is about both talking and listening. Exchange is a two-way street. We must be able to send a message as well as receive them. While we might not always agree with that message, I do think that it’s important to at least be open to anything that your colleagues are trying to tell you.

To be able to sit down and actively listen to what somebody has to say, whether it’s about the project they’re working on or the difficult day they’re having, or whether it’s something going on at home or something great that’s on the horizon for them---being able to sit there and listen, not only will you gain an incredible amount of insight into their life and work, but you might be surprised to find that you’re also going to gain a significant amount of perspective into your own life and work. I believe that listening with intent is the catalyst to forming a connection with another person and ultimately a stronger bond amongst team members within your workspace.  

These conversations can be very motivating, and they encourage us to lean on each other versus going it alone. When you’re down on a particular day, your colleague can pick you up by helping you gain some perspective. As a result, things might not seem so bad after all, and they can help you find a way to recover and succeed. That project you’re complaining about might not be as difficult as you think, and you may just find yourself receiving the support you never knew you needed.

Being able to communicate your own thoughts effectively, while also actively listening to the contributions of others, is incredibly important.  I’m very thankful that this dynamic of two-way communication is yet another great aspect of our executive team’s approach to leading people. What they understand—and what I now understand as well—is that achieving big goals isn’t always about getting people to “buy in” to one general concept or theme. We are teammates here, not people to be sold on one person’s ideas or strategies. What this ethos speaks to is a willingness to trust each one of our colleagues to contribute their ingredient to Celero’s recipe for success. While creating a team of people that buy in to the program they are a part of is important, the way you go about doing so is far more important. Our executive leaders rely on the feedback of their team members to keep the business engaged and moving forward. If your team is left feeling as though they aren’t welcomed to make contributions, they will most likely feel disconnected from the program and culture.

When we trust each other, and we’re able to communicate that trust, not by trying to persuade each other but through genuine, two-way conversations that promote the best ideas and make us all better collaborators, there’s nothing we can’t achieve together.

Topics: leadership company culture Abigail Lucier communication
2 min read

Becher Named First Duffy Leadership Award Recipient

By Celero Commerce on Feb 6, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Inspired by a shared value of servant leadership and role models, the Celero Commerce executive team created a special award to recognize elite performers who exemplify the company’s values. Now, we are pleased to announce the first quarterly recipient of the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award, Nicole Becher.

A 25-year veteran of Celero legacy company UMS Banking, Nicole currently serves as an Operations Project Manager, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Brown. During her time at the new Celero Commerce team, Nicole has become a key contributor for the operations team, leading PCI Aperia compliance and integration of the company’s partnership with Womply, a platform that brings reputation management and customer loyalty programs to the company’s thousands of merchants.

Celero’s leadership team created the Michael P. Duffy Leadership Award in honor of fintech industry legend Michael Duffy, who mentored many of Celero’s leaders earlier in their careers as they served in various positions at payments industry leader Chase Paymentech. The Duffy Award is driven by peer nominations, as colleagues recognize each other not only for performance, but also leadership, especially in exhibiting attributes that abide by company values like selflessness and teamwork.

In summarizing her nominations for the Duffy Award, Brown noted that Nicole is “a true culture carrier for Celero. You might think it would be difficult for someone so embedded in another corporate culture for more than two decades to shine in a new one so quickly, but Nicole has done just that.  She genuinely cares about her co-workers, our partner banks, and our merchants. When she tells you she will do something, it’s done.”

“She is always the first to step up and take ownership of a project, and Nicole uses her knowledge of the industry, UMS, and Celero to her benefit and delivers projects on time and on budget.”

As a Duffy Award recipient, Nicole will be invited to attend Celero’s first Leadership Summit, to be held in the spring of 2021 at the company’s headquarters in Nashville.  This annual event will convene leaders across our organization to celebrate their successes and mold future leaders of our organization by discussing strategy, new fintech trends, and Celero’s market position. The summit will include the four quarterly Duffy award recipients, as well as the company’s top 10 percent of performers in other departments. C-suite will lead the session and have some great Nashville entertainment planned for the group as well.

Nicole’s name will be the first engraved on a commemorative Duffy Award plaque at Celero’s corporate offices.

According to CEO Kevin Jones, quantifying Nicole’s honor means that she is a standard-setter for an emerging world-class company. “In a company of more than 100 team members, Nicole’s leadership and performance means that she represents Celero’s top one percent,” Kevin explained. “Her infectious energy and dedication to teamwork are setting a high bar for what we expect of each other here, myself included.”

Others nominated for the inaugural Duffy Award include Vice President of Marketing Lea Telonis, Manager of Training and Development Benji Allsep, and Tony Sandberg, Customer Success Manager at RazorSync. “I am committed to building a team that represents the top 10 percent of the fintech industry, and this group of people—Lea, Benji, Tony, and Nicole—encourages me that we can realize this goal as we continue to hire and grow.”

The next Duffy Award winner will be named in late April.

3 min read

Leadership Isn’t a Philosophy—It’s Behavior

By Celero Commerce on Feb 3, 2020 12:00:00 AM

All too often, we try to distill the concept of leadership into a philosophy or a set of values. While these are certainly components of establishing a company culture where people thrive, I subscribe to the concept of leadership that’s behavior-driven. Most of all, I think those of us privileged enough to be in positions of leadership must think about everything we do—in addition to everything we think—in order to have people follow us and accomplish great goals.

The notion of “walk the talk” is an oversimplification of what I’m describing. As our company’s chief operating officer and co-founder, I can’t do every single person’s job alongside them. Rather, it’s more about how I act in my own position and how I relate to them that’s relevant to leadership.

My accountabilities in fostering a performance-driven, inspiring company culture at Celero align with how I act toward others here in three key areas:  showing integrity, creating and keeping lines of communication open, and being a good human being.

Showing Integrity

Personal integrity refers to one’ ability to live in accordance with their code of ethics, or values.  When we live by our values—when we walk the talk—we are strengthened by our own internal sense of integrity and are perceived by others as having high credibility. 

When we strive to live with integrity and are perceived by others as having high credibility, this overlapping or alignment of values is what we desire.  For me, it means being authentic, following through on my commitments, and keeping promises. It also means saying no to opportunities that compromise us, our people, or our partners in any way.

Communication, Communication, Communication

When people know they can count on you, the next step is to simply stay in touch, whether that person works next door or in a remote location relative to your own.  Often it means just being seen, present, and accessible.  When we sit down and talk to people, it’s imperative that we’re present, focused, and actively listening.

Communication in a growing company takes on a lot of forms. People need to hear from their leaders when big things like acquisitions happen. But they also need to hear from us frequently on the many projects and pieces of work that drive us forward each day.  If things are going well, they need to hear that praise and credit given appropriately. And if things aren’t going so well, they need us to keep it real and keep it direct. Folks can’t improve at what they’re doing without something real and true for holding themselves accountable.

I have to admit, communicating frequently and appropriately about our progress together is one of the larger challenges of a fast-growing company like Celero.  Better communication is a goal for me this year at work and at home.

Being a Good Human

It’s hard to remember sometimes that we’re all just people. We get wrapped up in everything we’ve got going on, as well as meeting the expectations of others and ourselves at work. Another way for us as leaders to make people feel like they are at a home away from home, a place where they can work safely to achieve their goals, is to offer them constant reminders of our humanity.

This means keeping your door open, figuratively and literally, where people can share with you anything and everything that’s troubling them and impeding their progress, both on work projects and growing as an individual. It’s also important, while you have that door open, to keep yourself open; that is, show all aspects of your personality, whether it’s your sense of humor, irreverence, or alternative ways of thinking. When we as leaders show our complete selves—as opposed to “Work Jeff” versus “Home Jeff”—our people will be more comfortable in their own skin, and our team, our customers, and our partners will see more benefit as well.

When people work in an environment facilitated by honesty, communication, and treating people in ways where we can all express our full humanity, great things happen. We don’t just talk about these things, but rather, we do them. While I’m certainly not perfect, abiding by these principles and acting upon them mindfully as much as I can leads to much of my personal success in working with others.

Topics: walk the talk leadership values company culture code of ethics performance-driven culture Celero Commerce leadership philosophy credibility inspiring culture leadership behavior being human
2 min read

Today Is Day One

By Celero Commerce on Jan 27, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Kevin Jones January 27, 2020 I recently had an opportunity, a long time in the making, to go back to my hometown in Ashe County, North Carolina and address the latest graduating class of a wonderful regional leadership development program, Leadership Ashe.

While I certainly took a few moments to reminisce about the past, I found it appropriate to think along with these impressive, selfless folks about how we shape the future by how we approach the present. While not an original concept—it’s often attributed to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and seen in faith devotionals—I love the idea that “today is day one.”

What a great idea that is for approaching the new year that’s upon us, the notion that today is day one. It’s about so many things, depending on your context. In a faith journey, for example, today is day one often means shedding the burdens of yesterday, those areas where you fell short of your best, the ways in which you hurt others, or the guilt you carry from these times of your life. Being our best selves means not being self-defeating.

I consistently think of the today is day one concept and try to apply it to my work here at Celero. And when I do so, it’s almost the opposite of that faith journey, where you’re setting yourself free of yesterday’s troubles. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for leaving failure behind, after taking your necessary lessons from that to make yourself stronger. Rather, it’s more about the concept of the value we bring, to our company, to each other, to our customers.

As we sit here in January of 2020, the beginning of year two at Celero, after a very successful first year, it’s still day one. The journey still lies ahead of us. The mistakes, beliefs, and achievements of the past certainly help dictate our starting point, but it’s all in front of us yet again. And most importantly, to stay fresh as leaders, we have to come in and look at things with the perspective that it is our first day on the job. That’s how new leaders and consultants are initially impactful. They don’t have the legacy skeletons, pride of authorship, relationships, and barriers built slowly over time. They come in with fresh eyes, identify the issues, and solve them.  I challenge myself and my generals to do the same every year:  “What would you do if you knew nothing and no one and this was your first day?”

I love how this concept applies to everyone, whether you’re a young high school student, somebody’s grandmama, or a 48-year-old fintech executive like me. Thinking about one of my favorite Avett Brothers lyrics—”Decide what to be, and go be it”—my own concept of day one means that we start all over again. We start all over in proving our value to others, fulfilling our individual purpose, providing for others in our lives, and impacting our communities.  I must do all of these things in my role as CEO at Celero, and day one means being accountable to everyone in my life and my pre-ordained purpose in this world, to use my gifts and the qualities others develop within me to shape a better future.

Yesterday’s gone, today is right in front of us, and tomorrow is coming like a rocket. What will you do today, on your day one, to shape a better future?

Topics: leadership company culture Celero Commerce today is day one Jeff Bezos leaders being our gest selves leadership Ashe leadership development program Kevin Jones
2 min read

The Four Ps of Working at Celero

By Celero Commerce on Jan 17, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Somebody recently asked me what I love about working at Celero, and I thought of an answer much as you’d expect a veteran marketer to give.  Anyone and everyone in the marketing world has accepted the basic foundation of the profession as the “Four Ps.”  The concept that balancing price, product, promotion, and placement is the secret to managing your marketing mix has been marketing canon since 1960, and it’s just as relevant today.

For anyone interested in knowing what working at Celero is like, I’d like to advance that we have our own Four Ps.  The first P for me is People.  From our CEO down to our newest employee, everybody brings something special to work every day. Everyone here is committed to building a high-performance culture, where we set new standards for customer-centered innovation and our commitment to be a high-tech, high touch company. We are a diverse group of women and men, people fresh out of school and industry veterans with decades of experience, from all sorts of socio-economic backgrounds, and as my colleague Abigail Lucier has so eloquently noted, we take that diversity and unify with our sense of purpose to make our company great.

My second P is Productivity.  Our people are driven, and I love working with people who are determined to be successful and are willing to live by daily measurements of success. Those measurements could put a bad P—pressure—on us at times, but at our company, we have a highly collaborative culture. We have big goals, but only because our customers and partners have big needs to fill. At Celero, we want to become the household name for small and midsized merchants looking to grow quickly and sustainably, which is a monumental challenge as we enter year two of our existence. But here’s the rub, and it’s good: You never feel like you’re in it alone, because this team always has your back. We succeed together, and we sometimes fail together, but in all things, we produce together.

The third P of working at Celero is Passion.  We have people who seriously love what they do. We have multiple people at every level of the company who have been working in payments and fintech for decades, and they act like it’s their first day on the job. They love making a difference in the success stories of our small and medium-sized business customers.  They love making our various partner financial institutions more effective for their merchants as well. This passion isn’t just palpable at our offices across the country, it’s also contagious, and it drives you to give your best, too.  

Perhaps most exciting is our fourth P, Possibilities. A driving ethos of our team at Celero is to never accept that we’ve “arrived.” When you’re in the business of technology and working to solve problems for customers, applications and challenges will continue to evolve. Being arrogant about our success will be the first element of our failure, so we are committed to being humble and go about our work each day creating possibilities for the future, for our partners, our merchants, and our people.

I’m sure others could come up with their own ways of expressing why they love working at Celero, but the Four Ps work for me!

Topics: leadership 4 Ps of Working at Celero diversity company culture fintech Celero Commerce Abigail Lucier Scott Farace payments 4 Ps of Marketing high-performance culture customer-centered innovation
2 min read

The Selfless Leader

By Celero Commerce on Dec 20, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Abigail Lucier December 20, 2019 In the digital era, society has created what I think of as a cult of leadership. Whether it’s somebody like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk (and I could go on and on), we’re groomed to worship these super-geniuses. As I think about culture, it dawns on me that we never hear about any of the thousands of people who work for these companies. Do you really think that Steve Jobs, or his successor, Tim Cook, had or has all of the great ideas at Apple? That’s silly, but it’s also where we are as a society.

As we are celebrating Celero’s first year, I’ve found a particular aspect of our emerging culture not only noteworthy, but also something that’s actually changed how I choose to interact with my colleagues here. I’ve witnessed this dynamic on a daily basis, so I know it’s not a fad or a fluke. What I’m talking about is selfless leadership.

Many of us are taught that in order to compete and win in corporate life, we need to be a little selfish and make sure we take credit for successful outcomes. What I witness here, from leaders like Jeff Brown, Kevin Jones, and many others, is a simple sharing of the wealth or giving credit to any and all who deserve it and doing so openly.  

My job is in project management, and at a startup like Celero, those projects can be anything from overseeing an office buildout, managing an integration, or guiding a workstream. When I think about getting in the weeds of a project, the day-to-day grind, and the overall amount of calories that we’re all spending together on a project, I often pause to also think of the amount of people, intellect, and the overall amount of blood, sweat and tears that can go into every project all the way through to completion. It’s humbling to think of all the people that are involved in everything we do. And then I think about the number of times that I have heard our leaders Jeff or Kevin, or Scott Farace or Jim Harris, call out people who played pivotal roles in a project’s success.  When they give this credit, they not only do so publicly, but also never take credit themselves. For our leaders, it’s all about the team. While they are all industry veterans and actual thought leaders in payments and fintech, you’ll never see cults of leadership developing around them, because they prefer to share the success.

To me, this selfless leadership dynamic is perhaps one of the most inspiring things that I’ve witnessed since joining Celero. To see how natural it is for these guys to sit there and publicly give credit where it’s due, and to really make it a point to not stand up and say “I did it, it was me,” and to actually do the opposite of that. To not take credit for anything, to stand back and say, “I could not have done this without you, you, you, and you,” well, that’s significant.

Furthermore, the people they recognize are often those who probably think that their names would never be recognized or brought up in conversation. For me, this kind of recognition, whether fulfilled or neglected, can be what makes or breaks an employee—I firmly believe that. So being able to win as a team and to lose as a team, but to also give credit and to pat someone on the back when they have done an incredible job is incredibly noteworthy. This culture of the selfless leader is one of the driving forces behind our culture at Celero, and as we grow, our leadership will naturally expand to include many others. I am confident that this element of our culture is something that we will continue to embed in who we are and prove foundational to our success as we move forward.

Topics: leadership cult of leadership the selfless leader Celero Commerce startups Scott Farace Jeff Brown Jim Harris selfless leadership Steve Jobs Tim Cook Apple culture Kevin Jones Elon Musk
2 min read

A Homecoming to Remember: Celero’s Jones Speaks to Graduating Class of Leadership Ashe

By Celero Commerce on Dec 12, 2019 12:00:00 AM

More than 25 years ago, Celero founder Kevin Jones left his hometown of West Jefferson, North Carolina, with a dream of becoming a CEO in the financial industry. But unlike those who leave small towns and “never look back,” Jones has kept his hometown and the surrounding High Country of western NC close to his heart, as his career has taken him across America and around the world.

Last week, Jones drove the country roads between Music City and his beloved hometown, to join Ashe County family, friends, and residents in congratulating the 2019 graduates of Leadership Ashe, the leadership development program designed to meet the county’s need for active participation of informed and educated citizens and leaders. The class enjoyed a graduation ceremony keynoted by Jones, who focused on how his hometown leaders could set themselves apart by staying true to their roots, uniquely defining success for themselves, and working with others to make great ideas become reality.

Leadership Ashe is an innovative leadership development program sponsored by the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce in coordination with the Ashe Campus of Wilkes Community College. The goal of the program is to identify potential leaders and provide them with the community information and encouragement needed to spur local action and involvement. Graduates are challenged to apply their talents throughout the community by becoming a part of community organizations, including public boards, non-profit groups, civic clubs, and the Ashe County Chamber.

Leadership Ashe participants and their employers make a major time commitment to 10 sessions, beginning with a day-long retreat in August and closing with a graduation session and ceremony in December. A series of eight half-day sessions provides information about local businesses and includes tours of area businesses, organizations, and facilities. Sessions are designed to stimulate interest and awareness and will include an opportunity to interact and facilitate discussion with the speakers.

Each class of Leadership Ashe is open to as many as 20 participants, and each class represents a diverse array of entrepreneurs, executives, professionals, and public servants.

“This was an emotional night for me, coming home to address those who give so much of themselves to make my home such a wonderful place to live and work,” said Jones. “As I shared with the group, my career has taken me all around the world, and my best characteristics and lessons are from Ashe County, North Carolina. It really is the coolest corner of NC, or anywhere else.”

“Growing up here, the son of a single mom, I learned values like humility and respect, and how to appreciate people’s individuality. It’s no surprise that a county with 27,000 people is successfully emulating leadership development programs we see in much bigger places, including here in Nashville. Mountain life gives us a competitive, hardworking edge, and we know that we when we have faith in ourselves and each other, nothing can stop us.”

Congratulations to the 2019 graduating class of Leadership Ashe, from your friends at Celero Commerce. For more information on this game-changing program, visit https://ashechamber.com/leadership-ashe.php.

4 min read

Take Risks, Make Mistakes, Be Bold

By Celero Commerce on Nov 26, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Kevin Jones November 26, 2019 Growing up in the High Country of my native North Carolina, I’ve always loved to ski. For a mountain boy like me, being on a snowy slope with friends or family is truly my happy place.

I can remember the first time I went skiing with a few good friends, included among them was Travis Mash, my best friend to this day. My first trip to the local slopes was a big one—we skied for three days straight. The first day, we all fell down A LOT, and we laughed about it together that night. The next day, Travis and I continued to fall quite a bit, while one of our friends fell a little, and two guys in our party of five didn’t fall once!

On the final day, Travis and I still fell down a ton, one guy fell a few times, and those same two guys didn’t fall at all.  You’d be accused of being reasonable if you thought that the two guys who quit falling after day one were the smart ones in our group. And maybe they were, in the eyes of some.  But only two of us were skiing the most difficult slopes—known in ski parlance as black diamonds. And while I don’t know about those other three, I’m still skiing those black diamonds.

There are a few good lessons here. First, you need to set high goals for yourself, and everyone knows this to be true. But the second lesson is just as important, if not more so:  to succeed, you have to be willing to fall down to progress. Third, it’s always easier to push yourself to take risks and succeed when you see others around you doing the same. Thanks, Travis, for inspiring me way back then and even today. 

As we continue to talk about building a high-performance culture, I’m often asked what the driving ethos of a company should be, in order to reach this aim. Many people mistakenly think that it’s simply down to setting big goals and holding people accountable to them. While pushing people to achieve big things is certainly a fundamental behavior to success, every behavior stems from a mentality or philosophical approach.

Not all of these mentalities or approaches are good. Many are as simple as giving big rewards to those who close business and firing those who don’t—think of it as the Glengarry Glen Ross philosophy (“Coffee is for closers!”). While that makes for a fun movie experience, it’s not a recipe for leading people to big, sustainable success. Neither is the “getting people to buy in” approach—leading people to achieve new heights isn’t about persuasion.

So, what’s it all about? If you think about it, building a business successfully, whether you’re performing a role here at Celero or working in a small business, is about freedom.  It’s about the freedom to think, the freedom to create, and the freedom to necessarily reinvent yourself and your strategy on a daily basis. To achieve sustained growth, you can’t just repeat what made you successful yesterday. Every business in America has competition, and those who rest on yesterday’s ideas get their lunch eaten today and tomorrow.

So how do we get this freedom we’re talking about, if we’re not the CEO or business owner. In the case of Celero, it’s about granting every person here that freedom. And it’s not just saying, “Be free and have success!”  That’s as silly as it sounds when you read it aloud. Rather, it’s the opposite—we have to free each other of fear. We can’t be afraid to take risks, make mistakes, and be bold.

I say those three things—taking risks, making mistakes, and being bold—in a certain order for a reason. My team has set some pretty high goals for themselves by which we measure our performance. In fact, like most good teams, we’re constantly raising our standards, based on where our competition lies and especially on customer needs. In order to maintain this commitment to continuous improvement, we don’t need buy-in. We need for people to take risks. It’s only when we take risks that we can better what we did yesterday.

When you take risks in business, as Travis and I did on those black diamonds, you sometimes make mistakes and fail. I happen to believe and know that we hire really intelligent people at Celero—people like Rachel Laird and Brandon Gore make sure of that. One thing I’ve observed through the years is that intelligent people aren’t submissive, and they don’t shrink from the challenges they face simply because they’ve failed or made a mistake. They come back harder and stronger—they’re emboldened by their failure to produce and what they’ve learned from it. While nobody likes failure in the moment, the kind of people I’m describing—those true high performers and leaders—begin relishing the challenge all over again even before the wounds have healed. 

The best people, who are leaders no matter where they function within an organizational chart, are what I like to call “battle-hardened,” and you can’t be battle-hardened without losing a few along the way. Losing breeds resilience, and resilience is what fuels us for the long haul in life and in business.

Every day, I approach my teams and individuals, listening to their approaches—to see if they’re thinking big enough—and watching how they go about achieving their goals—to see if they are taking those necessary risks to achieve more than they did yesterday. If they’re not thinking big enough and risking enough to sometimes make mistakes, it’s my job to give them that freedom all over again.

And while for each of them it’s about that freedom, for me, it’s simply about cashing that check that I’ve written. The way you give freedom often has less to do with encouraging risk than it does to do with punishing failure. While we can’t tolerate recklessness, we have to give grace to those who abide by these principles of taking risks, making mistakes, and being bold. I find that when you give people even just a little room to see their ideas through, their wild successes far outweigh any temporary setbacks.

Topics: leadership Glengarry Glen Ross sustainable success setting high goals Brandon Gore battle-hardened people making mistakes building a business Celero Commerce Brandon Groe being bold high-performanc culture Rachel Laird getting people to buy in Kevin Jones taking risks
2 min read

A Culture of Grace

By Celero Commerce on Nov 22, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Abigail Lucier November 22, 2019 As I continue to think about our culture and what will make it strong, I notice that many companies fall short of creating great cultures because they only focus on the positive. While positive recognition is certainly very important and completely missing in many workplaces, it’s only half of the equation.

It’s important to recognize hard work, great efforts, and outstanding performance results, but you’ll fail to optimize your culture if you neglect to recognize and accept mistakes as genuine human error. This second piece is equally, if not more, important as you give people the time to find the right answers and prevent the same mistakes in the future. To achieve this, our leaders must extend a measure of grace to each of us, and they should know our capabilities and motivations well enough to know that we’ll get things right when given the opportunity to grow and learn from a mistake.

Personally, I don’t think that all leaders are capable of this. In fact, this is probably one of the biggest factors that separates the great leaders from the mediocre ones. One thing that seems to unite all of us as humans is not our capabilities, but rather our ability to fall short of a goal. We are united in the fact that we all mess up from time to time. Nobody is perfect. We messed up yesterday, we might mess up today, and we could fall short tomorrow! I think what’s important is what you learn from these shortcomings and failures. If you have a leader that’s there to coach you through a mistake and help prevent it in the future, that’s worth its weight in gold. Instead of beating you over the head with your mistakes, a great leader will position you for success moving forward. You’re ultimately going to win in that situation, every single time.

Don’t get me wrong, while I firmly believe we should all extend a certain amount of tolerance for honest mistakes, that does not excuse poor performance on a consistent basis. The employee must display an aptitude for personal and professional development for these methods to work effectively, or you could find yourself spending calories on someone that would be better suited in another position altogether.

When leaders work with their people to create a culture of grace and equip people to do better—as good people want to do—the right culture is going to emerge. Then, you will have a cultural cornerstone of honesty, where leaders are free to say, “Hey, you made a mistake and I didn’t like it, but here’s what we’re going to have to do to make up for it as we move forward.” At the end of the day, if that same leader can stress to you how important you are to the team, and how they cannot do this without you and they don’t want do this without you, you’ll be able to forge a genuine bond and trust. Leadership that understands human error is inevitable and coaches their team through failures, will not only create a happier workplace but a more productive one as well.

Honesty and trust. Grace and equipping. These are the values upon which we are building a great culture here at Celero.

Topics: performance leadership allowing for error trust company culture honesty grace creating great cultures Abigail Lucier recognizing performers managing humans equipping coaching
2 min read

Small Business Marketing 101: Cost-Effective Tools for Building Your Brand

By Celero Commerce on Nov 20, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Scott Farace November 20, 2019 If you’re a small business owner, there are a lot of different marketing tools that are available for you that happen to be high-performance, cost-effective, and easy to execute.  Some of these methods are tried-and-true, while others are newer and already proving to deliver.

Cause Marketing

I’ve always loved cause marketing for the reasons it helps connect you to your audience in a meaningful and impactful way. There are so many ways to get involved   in the community where you do business.

For a small business that could be anything from sponsoring a local high school fundraiser, the local relay for life event, or working with the local homeless shelter. What’s great about this marketing tool is that it enables your business to meet your customers where they live and reside, touch them close to their hearts, and in many cases, involve your entire company, too. Instead of always being salesy, you’re promoting the organizations and missions they hold dear. 

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a newer option that’s available to all business owners, no matter the size of your business, due to the democratizing effect of technology. You can find options at any price point

Once you define your target segments, you can set a realistic budget, test messages and different delivery techniques like pay-per-click advertising and banner ads, and track your results to see what resonates with your target audience.

Content Marketing

Using content marketing to express your brand and value proposition is now essential for businesses of all sizes. When you’re able to have the right content, whether it’s a blog, a podcast, a white paper, or short video, you’ll be able to find out quickly what resonates with your audience.

Best of all, today’s digital world provides you with low-cost ways to distribute this wide spectrum of content, whether it’s through an optimized website, PR distribution engine, and especially social media. Social media is the optimal no-to-low cost  (by boosting posts or promoting tweets, for example) vehicle  to  deliver content to a very homed-in  target audience.

At Celero, we enjoy helping small and mid-sized businesses, the backbone of the American economy, compete and win. I’ve been there myself, running my own boutique agency for several years, and I know the pressures that small business owners face. I’m always happy to share any experience or expertise that might help relieve those pressures and foster growth!

Topics: promoting tweets digital marketing boosting posts cost effective tools for building your brand blog small business brand Scott Farace white paper small business marketing video value propositionu social media marketing cause marketing podcast pay-per-click advertising content marketing target audience
2 min read

The Meaning of Culture

By Celero Commerce on Nov 8, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Abigail Lucier November 8, 2019 A lot of companies talk about their culture, and it’s often a misapplication of the term, when they are really talking about values or drivers of their work. Values without daily action is just an empty gesture, but the way we live our values—and do so together—is when you begin to cultivate a culture. 

When I think of culture, in the world as well as in the workplace, the one word that comes to mind is unity. I think of people coming together with genuine acceptance of one another and individuals being recognized and appreciated for who they are.

Celero is a large and fast-growing company with a wealth of diversity in thought and backgrounds. It’s this unique combination of individuals coming together that makes working at Celero special. I’ve developed an appreciation for this diversity that helps me become a better project manager.

It’s important to recognize that diversity brings many life and work perspectives to the table. We see the value of diversity, in our operations at Celero, on a daily basis. Each employee has something different to offer the company, whether they have 20 years in the industry or are coming to Celero fresh from other sectors.

I think that we, not only as a society but also as a working team, must recognize that it is through our differences and our individual qualities that we can actually become united in one thing. And that one thing is that we are all different, and we all have something unique to offer.

At Celero, unity doesn’t mean we all have to think or believe the same things; it’s quite the opposite, actually. We welcome a variety of thoughts and opinions, and we believe that our differences make us a stronger team. A strong, unified sense of teamwork can be felt in both our internal communications as a company, and in what we do for our clients.

When it comes to culture, I don’t believe that one person is more impactful than the other as none of us can do this independently, without the help or assistance of other team members. The moment you try to identify the impact one can have or contribution one should make, based on something like title, is the moment you will start to limit one’s ability to make an impact. This could be counterproductive to establishing a strong culture as I believe a healthy culture is one that empowers each team member to be held to the same standard.   

The power of having a strong company culture shouldn’t be underestimated, as there is a remarkable amount of trust that transpires for this to happen successfully. We don’t just work alongside each other at Celero; we take individual ownership in what we do. Each person is expected to carry their responsibilities by owning them. We’ve found that team members are genuinely happier, as well as more productive, when they can cultivate freely. When you are trusted to do a job, you feel empowered and inspired to do more and this is a significant indicator of what our culture is like at Celero. 

Every company culture is going to be different.  Regardless of the individual characteristics that make your company special, unity is an inherent part of any strong company culture. It is through these differentiating, individual characteristics that we can come together as one team.

Topics: leadership collaboration values diversity company culture teamwork Celero Commerce Abigail Lucier cultivating culture internal communications culture
2 min read

Small Business Marketing 101: Differentiate Your Brand

By Celero Commerce on Oct 28, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Scott Farace October 28, 2019 For small business owners just beginning their marketing journey, setting your company’s brand apart should be the number-one priority. In nearly three decades of strategic marketing for businesses and nonprofits of various sizes, I’ve seen day-in and day-out the importance of developing a unique and consistent brand message to connect authentically with audiences. A strong brand can drive growth and it starts with determining your business’ point of difference.

Starting out, building your brand will take some analysis of where your company stands and its biggest strengths. It’s crucial to ask yourself, “What makes my business special or different in the market? What makes it the best of its kind?” After homing in on that factor, your next step is to expound upon it to create a brand message. Then, you can circulate that message to your entire organization from sales to customer service, and product teams. It’s vital that the message be cohesive across all corners of the organization for brand consistency. And even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, branding yourself can pay huge dividends early on. When people can tell you take yourself and your business seriously, they’ll respect you for the professional you are.

Once everyone in your organization is familiar with your brand message, you can begin conveying it across various marketing tools. Utilize digital marketing, social media marketing, and traditional marketing methods to reach the widest possible target audience on a daily basis. The more prospective customers you reach, the better. And once again, I can’t stress enough how important it is for your messaging to be consistent and fully integrated, across your sales materials, product sheets, websites, direct mail programs, and anywhere else you talk about yourself.

If you’re not sure where to allocate marketing funds early on, you can make things simple. Think about where you touch the most customers, and then work backwards from there. Whether that means your staff, your website, your store, or your team members who are out visiting people, you should always play to your strengths so you can sharpen them. Just keep it simple, and then build as you go along. 

Focus on those touchpoints where you already have strong audiences who are likely to be loyal to your brand. If your website gets the most visitors, allocate dollars toward web design. If a particular team interacts with the most customers, put in the time to train them on speaking to that brand message. That way, regardless of whether you’ve got a dollar or ten million dollars to spend, you can focus on getting the most out of it with the most effective possible use of your marketing dollars.

These steps will help set your business apart by creating a cohesive, distinctive brand to build loyalty, which will in turn boost revenue. If you follow this path, there’s no telling how far your business’ success will take you. Just focus, keep it simple, and execute. While the rewards of branding aren’t often immediate, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you do see results.

Topics: digital marketing brand message branding for small business web design building your brand Scott Farace small business marketing marketing spend social media marketing solo entrepreneur
3 min read

Celero Commerce Becomes Preferred Payments Partner of Tennessee Titans

By Celero Commerce on Oct 22, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Nashville fintech startup enters partnership with NFL team to make positive impact in hometown

Nashville, TN October 22, 2019 – Celero Commerce (“Celero”), a vertically-focused, integrated commerce solutions provider, is now the preferred payments partner of the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans. The Nashville startup will provide payment processing services to the Titans via its ongoing merchant processing relationship with the official bank of the Titans, Pinnacle Financial Partners, also based in Nashville, TN.

Launched in December 2018, fast-growing Celero is now the 16th largest non-bank credit card processor in the country through its acquisitions of Brentwood-based Elmhurst Financial, UMS Banking of Los Angeles, and Tandem Innovative Payment Solutions, based in Greenville, South Carolina. Pinnacle, an exclusive sponsor of the Titans, is Nashville’s largest bank and number three bank in the state of Tennessee by market share. Celero Commerce, through their acquisition of Elmhurst Financial, has provided merchant processing services for Pinnacle for over a decade.

“Like the Titans, we chose Nashville to be our home,” stated Celero Commerce founder and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Jones. “We are committed to being involved in our hometown community as a good corporate citizen. The Tennessee Titans are already a part of the fabric of Nashville and have set an example of how to do meaningful work in the city we call home. A major part of our partnership will be focused on working with the Titans on initiatives that benefit the people of Nashville. Given our existing relationship with Pinnacle, a bank that’s really driven a lot of economic development and opportunity in the area, this makes perfect sense.”

“The Tennessee Titans are honored to partner with Celero Commerce.”, stated Ralph Ockenfels, VP of Corporate Partnerships, “We look forward to working with them to make a meaningful impact in the Nashville community.”

For more information about Celero Commerce, visit www.celerocommerce.com

About Celero Commerce

Based in Nashville, Celero Commerce is a full-service, integrated electronic commerce solutions provider powered by leading edge technology, strategic partnerships, and business intelligence, all moving at the speed of modern business. Celero offers payment processing services, business management software, and data intelligence to small and medium-sized businesses, empowering them to drive growth and profitability.

150 4th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37219 (844) 4CELERO www.celerocommerce.com

About the Tennessee Titans

The National Football League’s Tennessee Titans enter their second season under the direction of head coach Mike Vrabel in 2019. General manager Jon Robinson is in his fourth year with the club, having constructed three consecutive winning seasons from 2016 through 2018.

Controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk has committed resources to make the Titans a perennial contender on the field and to establish the Titans as a leader off the gridiron. The franchise celebrated its 20th season as the Titans and unveiled all-new uniforms in 2018. The Titans also launched “We Stand For,” an organizational initiative to support causes and charities that are important to its players, coaches and front office members. Strunk’s efforts helped bring the NFL Draft to Nashville in April 2019, and the event set records with more than 600,000 fans in attendance and more than 45 million television viewers.

Originally founded as the Houston Oilers in 1960, the club moved to Tennessee in 1997 and changed its name to the Titans in 1999, the same year its new home, Nissan Stadium, opened in downtown Nashville on the east bank of the Cumberland River. Since then, the Titans have become a fixture in the community and provided national visibility to Tennessee and the city of Nashville.

For information and tickets, visit www.TitansOnline.com.

Media Contact:

Celero Commerce

Scott Farace, Chief Marketing Officer scottf@celerocommerce.com 972-533-5655

2 min read

Celero Takes Root with Nashville Expansion

By Celero Commerce on Oct 10, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Celero is thrilled to announce the expansion of its Nashville headquarters with the addition of an Operations Center at Harpeth on the Green IV in Brentwood, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. The space, which is set to accommodate approximately 75 people, will be home to Celero Operations starting early 2020. This represents a major expansion for Celero’s headquarters, which currently resides at WeWork in downtown Nashville.

Under the leadership of Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Brown, Project Manager Abigail Lucier has worked collectively with the CBRE Group and Celero leadership team to scout and design the company’s expanded Music City workspace.

“At the new space, we want you to walk in and feel not only a connection to the fintech industry, but to Nashville as well,” says Lucier. “This city is where our team decided to plant the Celero seed, and we can’t wait to watch it grow.”

The entire layout and design of Celero’s new HQ is geared toward collaboration. It’s open and spacious, with large wraparound windows that surround the building and make it feel even bigger, as they offer a gorgeous view of Tennessee greenery.

“Being Tennessee-born and raised, I can really appreciate how green this state is, all its different colors and seasons,” says Abigail. “It’s called Harpeth on the Green for a reason; not only are there windows wrapping around the whole office, but it’s also surrounded by large trees and beautiful foliage.”

The exposed ceiling lends an industrial, Silicon Valley-like tech atmosphere. There are multiple collaborative workstations and huddle rooms where team members can gather. Even the private offices have glass fronts, promoting better openness and cohesion. CEO Kevin Jones is known for having a strict open-door policy.

“It’s deeply important to our culture and to Kevin that we all have the mindset of working together and collaborating in a fast-paced environment,” Abigail says. “Culture is the most important thing to Kevin, and your office space is key in creating a cohesive team.” 

Abigail, Kevin, and Jeff toured several office spaces before going with “what felt right.” They searched for places with ample light, plenty of windows, and an overall feeling of openness.

“While everyone has their own personalized space, you’re able to look up from your workstation or office and still feel connected to a team member that might be in a completely different department than you,” says Abigail. “You feed off the energy you see around you. So, if I can see other people creating and getting things done, it’s going to inspire me to do the same.”

One of Celero’s main goals in this project is to create a space that not only attracts, but also retains talent; somewhere that people look forward to going every day. The natural beauty of the space, as well as its contemporary warehouse vibe, are sure to help with that. So too will the ease of working together and communicating in the new space. 

“Harpeth on the Green is directly in line with the overall theme we were going for,” Abigail says. “We want it to embody everything Celero is and will be in the future.”

One thing Celero will be in the future is a whole lot bigger. The Nashville-based company has already experienced rapid growth since its inception and is expected to increase job growth by 250 percent in 2021.

“We want to both attract talent and create a place where people can grow professionally and personally,” says Abigail.

The future of Celero is looking good – almost as good as that view from the new HQ.

4 min read

Followership Is Just as Important as Leadership

By Celero Commerce on Oct 1, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Kevin Jones October 1, 2019 I’ve been tasked with leadership for most of my career. People often ask me what it takes to be an effective leader, and I often answer that to become a good leader, you need to be a good follower first. Subscribing to this maxim is important for people at all levels of an organization. Even as a CEO, I must follow the leadership of my board of directors, which includes some of my most trusted advisors and investors.

Here are just a few of the important ways we can develop ourselves as followers, so that our leaders can help us reach our full potential.

Be Character-Driven

Being a leader or follower takes character, because having character is the foundation upon which we build trust with others. Being character-driven yields great credibility in friendships, marriage, and parent-child relationships, and it’s just as effective in professional life.

Anyone who reads my work knows that there are two character-defining values that I hold above all others:  respect and humility.  Those who respect others—not based on job titles or perception of power—but on personal merit, show that they are open to learning. When you place respect on others, you are, in fact, anointing them to share their views as equals. Respect shows honor, and you’ll get honor in return.

The other big character-driver for me, the yang to respect’s yin, is humility.  When you are humble, you are literally placing your own ego in submission to your desire to learn. In effect, it’s doubling down on the respect you place on those who merit that respect. You’re effectively saying to them, I can’t do this alone, and I know you have something valuable to contribute. When a true leader detects both respect and humility on your part, there is no limit to what you can achieve together.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

I work very hard to create cultures where my team and I can take risks in the service of our clients, stakeholders, and each other. When you’re all in it together, there should be room for everyone to take the risks necessary to raise their performance standards higher day after day. I often tell team members that you will not ever “ski the blacks” unless you are willing to fall.

To be a good follower and leader, it’s imperative that you take risks. No leader can afford to manage to the status quo, which is the enemy of growth. Rather than covering your behind, you need to put yourself forward, knowing that you’re going to fail sometimes. A true leader will recognize those who fail, learn from those failures, and achieve even bigger success along the way as the greatest assets of their organization.

Be Accountable

While it’s fine to take risks and make mistakes, it’s unacceptable to lack accountability. Accountability, like respect and humility, is a character-driver and trust-builder. When your leaders know you are accountable, they are more likely to give you plum assignments that will help you grow, because they trust you. Whenever I need to delegate leadership in an area, a person’s accountability is just as important as their performance. Just like a mutual fund disclaimer—past performance is not an indication of future returns—we know that counting on someone means that you’re able to trust them when the chips inevitably are down.

It’s also critical to helping your leadership assess where real problems lie in an organization or externally. If you’re willing to step up and own your mistakes, it’s that much easier—in this business world that often feels like it moves at the speed of light—for everyone to re-chart the course necessary to achieve the goal.   Being accountable is not only right from a moral perspective, but also from a practical point-of-view. Accountability increases efficiency. The fact of the matter is that any good business is going to make mistakes, and the higher the accountability in the organization, the more time we spend fixing problems and the less time wasted on figuring them out.  

Seek Mentorship

This world is bigger than all of us, so we need to know that we’re in it together, not just as teams, but with someone who has our back. At every level of my career—performer, manager, middle manager, executive, founder, and CEO—I’ve had at least one, if not several go-to mentors. 

Mentors can do many great things for you. They can validate your great ideas, shoot down your terrible concepts, or help you work through those that deserve more attention. They can help you trust your instincts or help you identify situations where you might need to gather more data versus making a gut move.

Perhaps most of all, mentors can help us by simply being good humans. Those of us who care about being the best we can be at home and at work can be our own worst critics. I can tell you genuinely that one of my favorite aspects of mentoring is helping someone I love to pick themselves up after a failure.  Giving that energy back to someone who works hard, is trustworthy, and is full of that humility and respect I covet is a real blessing to me.  

See a Bigger Picture than Your Own

When you decide to become a great follower, it’s also imperative that you’re able to see a bigger picture than the one that’s your routine perspective. We have to empathize with our leaders to know how they contextualize their decisions, so that we can have greater understanding and meet the needs of their organization.

There’s always a bigger picture. If you’re a sales performer, your manager may have full profit-and-loss responsibility that forces certain frameworks on their decisions, contrary to your own context that’s centered on revenue.  Even as wide and complicated of a perspective as I have in my CEO role, does my leadership at LLR, our major investor, have a bigger picture than Celero? Of course they do, and what we achieve needs to fit in the context of their entire investment portfolio.

It’s easier to see how to be a good follower when you don’t have any management or leadership responsibilities. Many of you reading these thoughts of mine, however, have those kinds of responsibilities. You must be extra diligent to not only build your leadership, but also strive to become a better follower every day. Here’s the best part—doing both adds up to being a successful professional, and more importantly, a better person.

Topics: leadership respect accountability character-drive mentorship followership the big picture humility Kevin Jones
3 min read

Celero Goes to Washington

By Celero Commerce on Sep 20, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Celero employees, including CEO Kevin Jones, COO Jeff Brown, and Project Manager Abigail Lucier enjoyed a whirlwind visit to Washington last as they accompanied the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) on its annual Payments Fly-In on Capitol Hill.

“There was so much to take in and so much enthusiasm,” Lucier said. “There’s really nothing quite like being not only in D.C., but on the Hill, at the heart of all the hustle and bustle.” 

More than 35 executives from ETA member companies like Celero participated in the Fly-In, which gives payments industry leaders the opportunity to meet with policymakers in Congress and across the government. ETA members advocated for payments technology growth and innovation, as well as a uniform national privacy standard.

“They were genuinely engaged and open to what we had to say,” said Brown, an industry veteran with more than two decades as a payments and fintech executive. “It’s great to see how hard folks on both sides of the aisle work to understand our industry’s challenges and want to work with us to create an optimal regulatory environment for the payments and fintech industries.”

The lack of a uniform privacy standard at the federal level makes it hard for businesses to operate across multiple states. Having to comply with multiple, differing standards places a heavy burden on small and mid-sized companies in particular.

“It creates a lot of confusion, having to study these laws and then comply with each and every one of them,” explained Jones, the current President and Chairman of the ETA’s Board of Directors. “It unintentionally sets these businesses up to fail in compliance. But if there’s one nationwide standard, it will not only protect businesses and consumers, but also allow for innovation – for people to go out and do business as it should be done, rather than spending all their time and money on figuring out how to be compliant.”

On the first day of the Fly-In, ETA members met with Congress members such as Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), and Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WVA). They also met with federal regulators from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Administration.

“As someone who’s fairly new to the industry, it was very heartening to meet public servants who were eager to engage with us and understand our needs,” said Lucier.

On day two, participants got to sit down and listen as several legislators and Celero’s very own Kevin Jones gave speeches. In addition to payments innovation and uniform privacy standards, they also touched on the importance of personally identifiable information, often called “PII data.” The permissible use of such data can be used as a powerful tool to fight fraud.

“People have this assumption that the less data you have out there, the less likely you are to fall victim to identity fraud,” Brown explained, “but it’s actually the opposite. PII data is crucial to preventing fraud, because it makes it a lot harder for another person to steal your identity or process a payment on your behalf.”

Abigail reported that she was impressed with the ETA as a whole, both its representation and leaders. Her “sherpa” for the visit, Jeff Patchen, Manager of Government Affairs at the ETA, was extremely helpful in facilitating introductions and productive conversations. She also praised Scott Talbott, Senior VP of Government Relations, for his enthusiasm and expert handling of the event.

“Scott is in there every single day advocating for this industry on behalf of businesses and consumers alike,” she said. “You can just tell by his enthusiasm and the way he orchestrated this event, he’s in the right place. It’s good to know he’s there every day, representing us, as we go about our day-to-day building Celero for our partners and customers.”

Thank you to the ETA for letting Celero be a part of this opportunity. Please visit https://www.electran.org/ to learn more about the ETA and its advocacy work in the electronic payments sector.

3 min read

Presidential Perspectives: The State of Payments and Financial Technology

By Celero Commerce on Sep 17, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Kevin Jones, ETA President and Chairman, and CEO, Celero Commerce September 16, 2019 It was a pleasure to spend two days in Washington, D.C. advocating on behalf of Electronic Transaction Association (ETA) members during our annual Fly-In and ETA FinTech Policy Forum.  Across the events, ETA members exchanged ideas and provided essential input on our industry to Members of Congress and policymakers across the government.

It’s exciting to serve as the President of ETA at this time of tremendous growth – in both size and importance – of the payments technology industry. ETA members, from startups to public companies, drive the future of commerce. Through innovative distribution and payment acceptance models for credit, debit, and prepaid cards, electronic payments are more important to American businesses and consumers than ever before. As we head into the final quarter of 2019, we have many reasons to be excited about the state of payments and financial technology, as well as the future of our association.

Since I joined the payments industry at the start of the new millennium, the total number of credit card transactions in the U.S. has doubled to over 33 billion per year. The payments industry now fuels annually $7 trillion in payments across North America and a staggering $21 trillion globally.

I witnessed  firsthand the enthusiasm for the products and services our industry is delivering during my two days in D.C. Our work truly speaks for itself – you can tell our government leaders are just as excited as we are about our industry’s achievements and where we are headed.

A key example is how payments technology is helping the underserved and democratizing access to financial services.  More people today own a cell phone than have a bank account. FinTech enables a simple app on your phone to make a payment, take a payment, transfer money to a friend, or even allow a small business to submit a loan application. With advances like these, fintech has the power to help Americans of all incomes and businesses of all sizes.

With the power of the internet, merchants of virtually any size can instantly operate in all 50 states and around the globe.  Part of our advocacy efforts was to encourage policymakers to provide clarity with a uniform national privacy law. Complying with a patchwork of unique state privacy laws would be confusing to customers and daunting, logistically difficult, and costly for payments businesses of all sizes to ensure compliance.

ETA’s advocacy on this issue is critical since data plays an important role in supporting our industry’s continuous effort to fight fraud.   Our long-standing commitment to fighting fraud is essential to the profitability of our businesses. One of our industry’s greatest achievements was the rollout of EMV cards.  With tokenization brought by EMV cards, counterfeit fraud was reduced by 87% in the U.S. and made that fraud less profitable.  But our industry’s fight against fraud online is far from finished.

Now, real-time monitoring allows for malicious actors to be identified even before a fraudulent transaction is executed. Tools like biometrics, geo-location, and tokenization—all recent innovations—are key to efforts in fighting fraud. These technologies are powered by the responsible use of data to create smart and sophisticated tools that prevent and detect fraud. It’s essential that we as payments advocates speak up for a policy environment that supports them.

From my seat on the ETA Board of Directors, I see how vital ETA is, both in Washington and around the country, to help our industry grow.  Under the new leadership of Jodie Kelley, we are bringing fresh energy to our work with policymakers on pro-payments legislation that helps all consumers and business move forward and strengthen the American economy.

Innovation, collaboration, and a motivation that’s built on positioning American businesses and consumers for financial success—these are the defining qualities of our industry and of ETA.

This article originally ran on TransactionTrends.com, the official news site of ETA. Click here to subscribe to Transaction Trends Weekly to receive weekly payments industry news and analysis from ETA.

Topics: ETA Fly-in leadership credit card acceptance tokenization payments industry regulation EMV cards biometrics payments technology industry fintech policy forum ETA board of directors payments industry innovation ETA geo-location Electronic Transaction Association Kevin Jones
3 min read

Celero Commerce Partners with Womply to Help Businesses Grow

By Celero Commerce on Sep 13, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Integrated payments and customer insights help more companies stay in business, earn more revenue and repeat business more efficiently.

Nashville, TN September 5, 2019 –  Celero Commerce (“Celero”), a vertically-focused, integrated commerce solutions provider, today announced it has partnered with Womply, the leader in front office software for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), to offer Celero merchants a web-based software suite that helps them attract more customers and keep them loyal.

The all-in-one software solution brings together reputation and customer relationship management, marketing automation, business intelligence, and payments processing for the SMB space.

“Historically, small businesses have been underserved by technology, tipping the balance of power in favor of larger companies,” says Cory Capoccia, President of Womply. “We’re excited to partner with Celero in an effort to bring powerful digital tools to brick-and-mortar businesses that sorely need them to get an edge and stay competitive.”

By integrating sales data from the company’s payments processing activity and Womply’s business intelligence and marketing automation, Celero’s merchants can now:

●      Attract new customers by taking control of their online reputation. Merchants can see all their reviews in one place, automate responses, and encourage happy customers to share their feedback privately and publicly on sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor.

●      Engage customers through email marketing to increase highly valuable return visits. The platform automatically creates and updates a complete customer directory, appends contact information, and sends timely, targeted marketing campaigns to prompt repeat business.

●      Monitor their business to know where they stand in relation to market trends and competitors. Merchants can see daily and historical sales trends for their business, compare against similar businesses nearby, and easily see consumer spending patterns locally.

Merchants who use Womply average 20 percent more revenue and 22 percent more repeat customer visits, all while saving an average of 10 hours of work per week.

“This partnership means more revenue in the merchant’s hands, enhanced customer retention and growth, as well as operational efficiency—all key metrics that will determine the ultimate ability of any business to survive and thrive,” said Celero Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Jones. “While minimizing processing rates is helpful and marginally lowers expenses, almost every business owner prefers a partner that has a solution designed to help them increase their revenue and thrive in a competitive environment.” 

About Womply

Womply’s mission is to help small businesses thrive in a digital world. Our AI-powered data platform enhances our comprehensive small business management software, which includes the world’s only pre-populated CRM plus small business intelligence, reputation management, marketing automation, and integrated payments. We serve more than 150,000 small businesses across 400+ verticals, in every corner of America, every day. To learn more, visit www.womply.com or email info@womply.com

About Celero Commerce

Based in Nashville, Celero Commerce is a full-service, integrated electronic commerce solutions provider powered by leading edge technology, strategic partnerships, and business intelligence, all moving at the speed of modern business. Celero offers payment processing services, business management software, and data intelligence to small and medium-sized businesses, empowering them to drive growth and profitability.

Media Contact:

Celero Commerce

Scott Farace, Chief Marketing Officer

scottf@celerocommerce.com

972-533-5655

2 min read

Celero's Farace to Speak at Western States Acquirers Association’s Annual Conference

By Celero Commerce on Sep 12, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Celero Commerce’s Scott Farace will share marketing insights during a breakout session panel at the Western States Acquirers Association’s Annual Conference on September 19 at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. The session, titled “‘Like. Comment. Share.’: Growing your footprint in today’s digital economy,” will cover all facets of digital marketing with an emphasis on the financial services industry. The panel will take deep dives into social media, branding, and tactics to differentiate brands from competitors.

In a time when reaching customers and standing out from the crowd is growing increasingly difficult, the breakout session will fulfill a vital need. It will serve as a key resource for brand-builders who are seeing their reach decline, ad costs rise, and engagement falter. Panelists at this session will discuss how to build stronger credibility, increase customer reach, and develop more creative, engaging content that drives better business results.

Lane Conner, founder and CEO of Fuzse, will moderate the discussion. Following a 15-minute presentation, the 30-minute panel will feature insights from Anis Makaren, partner at DYAD Ventures; Peggy Olson, President and CEO of Strategic Marketing; and Scott Farace, Chief Marketing Officer at Celero Commerce.

Farace brings over 30 years of expertise in brand-building, advertising, and customer experience across numerous industry sectors. He has worked with brands at every stage of the business lifecycle. Prior to Celero, he served as head of strategy and partner at various marketing and advertising agencies, including S-Squared Creative, a Dallas-based branding and creative solutions firm.

Farace has developed branding and communications strategies for myriad Fortune 1000 household names in retail (e.g. Albertson’s), technology (AT&T), auto manufacturers (General Motors), and shipping (UPS). But most noteworthy is his experience in the financial services industry: He has worked with a wide array of financial technology brands including Chase Paymentech, Bank of America, Capital One, MasterCard, Allstate, and Northwestern Mutual.

According to Farace, his extensive financial services and marketing experience will inform his insights at the WSAA panel.  "It’s always rewarding to share my perspective on the ever-changing world of marketing and advertising, especially with regard to the booming fintech sector,” Farace said. “I'm really excited to share some examples of how we’re building one of the best brands in fintech here at Celero. As we continue to craft the ultimate platform that helps small and mid-sized businesses compete and win, telling our story in the marketplace will help us reach more people who need our services, as well as the strategic partners who will help us continue to build value in the future.

The panel event is one of many hosted by the WSAA, a not-for-profit organization that produces various educational seminars and breakout sessions on the evolving needs of the financial services industry. All WSAA events are tailored for professional bankcard sales representatives, including acquirers, ISOs, and MLSs in the retail and e-commerce sectors. The WSAA funds its events through exhibitor sponsorships and attendee registration fees. For more information, visit the WSAA website at https://westernstatesacquirers.net/agenda/.

5 min read

Building a Performance-based Culture: Developing People

By Celero Commerce on Aug 28, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Much has been written and discussed on the notion of the performance-based culture. This is a concept that I bought into as a very young manager, and I’ve expanded on it through my years leading larger and larger groups of people as they accomplish great things together.

Focusing on people doesn’t just mean hiring right, nor does it stop at training. It means a commitment to their development, helping them align their own built-in purpose to the needs of your organization, so you can grow together and succeed together.

Values Alignment

I’ve always had the thrill of managing very diverse teams, people coming from all walks of life. Maybe it’s just my upbringing in the North Carolina mountains, where we all scrapped to make a living and take care of each other, but I never ascribed any kind of merit or status based on somebody’s wealth, skin color, or whose son or daughter they were.

To the contrary, it was ingrained in me, as I was raised by my single mom, to be humble and respectful, and to honor those who showed humility and respect for others.  I took this to heart in a big way—I’ve collected many friends along my journey through life, and these are the two common denominators in those I value most. To a person, the men and women in my life work hard at whatever they do, and they do so humbly, going out of their way to show respect to others. And the values they have transcend all walks of life, so you naturally find yourself surrounded by men and women, people of different races and ethnicities, rich, poor and middle class, and any of the other ways in which society is happy to differentiate us.

Challenging Mediocrity

I think with any large group of people, you’re going to have some application of the 80/20 rule, where your top 20 percent pulls the team goalward, or a bell curve, where you have some at the high-performance end, some pretty weak performers, and a fat middle who range from those who just need a little boost before they become top performers to those just another cycle away from joining the bottom-feeders. 

Whatever diagram applies to your group, it’s important for all to challenge mediocrity. When you consistently challenge your team to do more, to do better, to do things more simply, and to do those things faster, you find out where the leaders are. I’ve always prided myself on doing the work necessary at leadership level to take this ethos a step further.  If you want to know my opinion on the secret sauce to success—and more specifically, what I feel has helped to drive the success of my teams—it’s that I consistently challenge mediocrity in all its shapes and forms at individual level.

Anybody can—and should—reward top performers with raises, bonuses, and promotions. But the real reward for leaders comes from startups, and better yet from turnaround projects, and we need to think of those possibilities not just in the organizations we lead, but in the individual sense.

From Worst to First 

I’ll give you an example of employing this strategy with individuals. At 27, I found myself leading 10 branch offices of a regional bank. Each office had a manager, assistant manager, and about five entry level sales executive employees. The leader of our division, one of my earliest and best mentors, was committed to building a high-performance culture, and it was great for me to gain early exposure to this concept in a bank environment.

My own path showed just how exciting of a culture my early mentor was building. Within just over a year, I had earned three promotions after leading my division as an individual, as a branch manager, and as a regional manager in new loans generated. Our entire team was known as a group of champions.

I learned one of my bigger lessons in leadership, when I was handed a new opportunity to double the size of my region. Instinctively, since I was raised to treat people with respect as individuals, I began studying my new employees and surveying their managers and peers. This process armed me with the information I’d need to tailor a management style to each individual’s needs.  

One of the first things I did was to confront our team’s weakest links. My theory was that the team would win if these folks did better, or if they left. What I discovered, by focusing on each individual’s needs, is that sometimes when you meet people where they are, without sacrificing your standards, you’ll see people that can actually go from worst to first.

One of the more important people in my life is just such an example. He’s one of those I confronted after taking over additional branches. The word on this guy was that he was very bright, but his poor attitude reflected not only in his own performance (or lack thereof), but also in the flagging performances of those he’d befriended most.

Tough Love Works When People Need It

I chose an approach of tough love. When I confronted him, I let him know how much potential I thought he had—in fact, I let him know that he could become our best performers in the entire region (and one of the bank’s stars) based on his grasp of the business and his people skills. I also let him know that should he rise to my expectations, raises, promotions, and the thrill of every success awaited, and in short order.

But I also told him that there was another path. He could do us all a favor—especially himself—and find another job where he might be more self-motivated and ultimately happier. Needless to say, and the reason I’m obviously sharing this example with you, our bottom performer chose the harder path and stayed. And he didn’t just stay. He excelled in every aspect of his job, becoming one of the best examples and motivators to others. I ended up putting this guy—who himself came within an inch of being fired—in charge of all of my region’s hiring and training! 

It’s About Them, Not You

That level of success that we achieved together was eye-opening for me. People have different needs, and managers and leaders should uncover those needs and respond to them in kind. Our bottom performer, it turns out, needed to be challenged more creatively. In any profession, there are lots of problems that require creative minds to find solutions. I found him to be an incredible strategic partner, and my role in his success was simply to help him find ways to unleash his creativity. Now, nearly a quarter-century later, he holds a very important role here at Celero.

I believe strongly that an effective CEO should focus on facilitating great decisions, as opposed to always making decisions ourselves. That requires a lot of work and focusing on culture, so that people can perform in ways that fulfill their purpose and hit your goals, too.

A performance-based culture is a fair culture that rewards team members who create value. It challenges the top performers and keeps them engaged. I have found that in the day-to-day, some team members prefer comfort, but over time, they will leave if you aren’t cultivating them to reach their potential.

I think intentionally about those who report to me and work in my organizations. A driving thought is ensuring that if they chose me as a mentor or my organization as home, that I have high expectations for myself, as we them to reach their full potential. Through my career, my greatest joy and success is playing that role with others:  recognizing and cultivating excellence in the individuals on my team and witnessing their growth, in their careers and in life.

Topics: bell curve leadership respect performance-based culture challenging mediocrity tough love developing people high-performance culture humility top performers Kevin Jones
3 min read

Community Banks Threatened by Fintech? I See It Differently.

By Celero Commerce on Aug 22, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Kevin Jones - August 22, 2019 As I look across the banking industry, I often see trends that I find disturbing. Over the last few years, I’ve observed a widening gulf in the amount of deposits that community banks attract versus the loan dollars they generate, mostly to small businesses.

A specific statistic that illustrates this point comes from a market study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) a nonprofit dedicated to helping communities grow sustainably from several angles, including banking, broadband, energy, and waste. According to the ILSR, community banks issue a whopping 52 percent of all small business loans, while they hold only 16 percent of the nation’s assets.  

There are many contributing factors to this dynamic, which isn’t in itself sustainable, as banking is predicated on a balance of maintaining appropriate levels of deposits, both demand and time, with the issuance of loans and lines of credit to individuals and businesses.  The community banking conundrum is driven by multiple converging factors, among them competition from big banks for deposits—especially those of a commercial nature—as well as geographic limitations (many community banks have operated more consistently in less wealthy communities, going to places the big banks have avoided). The localized lending that community banks do is a cornerstone of enabling financial inclusion and energizing the American dream.

As a fintech leader, I find it disturbing that one of the larger perceived pressures of community banking comes from our sector. Technology companies in areas such as lending are threatening areas of profitability for community banks. It’s one thing to have your deposit base eroded, but it becomes difficult for community banks to survive this phenomenon in tandem with the erosion of their loan base, especially in small business lending.

I see this differently.

One person’s threat is another’s opportunity.  While I’ll let other fintechs speak to their own models and motivations, I can tell you with complete authenticity that Celero and its brands are developing leading-edge technology, in payments, software-as-a-service, analytics, business intelligence, social monitoring, and sales tools, and we are doing so to fulfill our commitment to help our community bank partners and their small business customers compete and win.

And we don’t limit ourselves to simply selling our own products and services. In our role as strategic partners and advisors, we not only help our community bankers realize a more expansive relationship with their clients, but we also help them connect the dots with regard to all of the tools at their disposal. My colleague and co-founder, Jeff Brown, exemplified this ethos recently, as he explained how our bank partners can increase fee income and deposit balances through payments and funding accounts earmarked for asset-based lending. Deposits are the launchpad for lending capability, and community bank loans provide a significantly healthier injection of capital than alternative lending options. As I stated before, these loans fuel innovative small businesses in towns all across America.

We are convinced that in order for community banks to fulfill their mission and continue to better serve rural Americans, as well as those in small towns and underserved urban neighborhoods, they need the right strategic partners, the right products, and the right tools to succeed.

Last year, when I began acquiring the strategic pieces of Celero and combining that with my dream team of executives, managers, and performers, I was grateful to find that our stakeholders completely embraced our vision to bring enterprise-level technology in terms of best-in-class payments capabilities and consumable technology tools, to small and mid-sized companies across the country. It’s obvious to me that when you give community bankers—some of the smartest people who are driven to help their business clients as much as they can—the tools to help their customers succeed, you can achieve your own bottom line goals, while helping your partners and their customers achieve theirs, too. Accelerating the growth of our partners and business customers is the core focus. Combining community bank products and services with our fintech offerings creates a formula that positions these small to mid-size businesses to not only survive and compete, but to lead and thrive in a sustainable way.

Aligning your own success to that of your partners and their customers isn’t original, nor should it be particularly noteworthy. But at this point in our history, our community banks need all of us operating on this principle, doing everything we can to work together to serve American business. According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, firms with fewer than 20 employees account for more than 89 percent of American businesses. That statistic alone tells you the magnitude of what we’re facing here, but I’m glad to know we are partnering with some of the most capable people in business, and commit that Celero will strive to hold up its end of the deal, passionately cultivating the success of our bank partners.

Topics: Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council working capital small business loans alternative lending fintech asset-based lending Celero Commerce Jeff Brown Institute for Local Self-Reliance payments financial institutions commercial deposits Partnership technology tools Kevin Jones community banks
2 min read

Integration Is Great for Partners, Too

By Celero Commerce on Jul 25, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Jeff Brown-July 25, 2019 If you read anything by or about Celero, you’ll see the word “integration” in lots of places. That’s one of the hallmarks of our company, a diligence we take into everything we do. It’s about delivering value on multiple fronts for our partners and merchants.

We normally speak of integration with regard to helping small and mid-sized merchants get a competitive edge, by merging payments with SaaS solutions, analytics, and other tools for financial management, operations management, and business-building. And while we are laser-focused on developing the ultimate one-stop commerce solutions shop for SMBs, that doesn’t mean we’re not looking for similar synergies for our partner institutions, chief among them community and regional banks.

That’s where our recent acquisition of Elmhurst Financial really makes sense.

While we really liked everything about this company—the exclusive focus on community and regional banks, the white glove service, great technology, and their ability to walk in their partners’ shoes—what I liked best about this team was their ability to bring all of that together and deliver an experience that makes doing business with Elmhurst easy.

Perhaps the best example of how Elmhurst approaches solving challenges for financial institutions is their BANKMAX program. This team seems to take nothing for granted. While I know we have competitors with good pricing and solid training programs, Elmhurst’s BANKMAX is the most comprehensive approach to partnering we’ve seen in this industry. In addition to competitive products and services and access to an elite inside sales team, what’s special about this program is how it helps regional banks create an ethical sales culture.

How do they accomplish this? Technology. When you’re able to help your merchants find real savings in the payments ecosystem, giving them real data in contrast to the smoke-and-mirrors approach they see in other quarters, that’s a commitment to doing business the right way for both merchants and the banks they trust, day-in and day-out.  

BANKMAX is all about putting our partners in position to win, since their victories are aligned to the success of their merchants. Happy merchants—those who have the payments capabilities they need at competitive prices they can understand—will see their bankers as partners who share in their success, rather than simply trying to maximize their own income at product level.  

If you’re into the numbers of this business, like we are at Celero, it’s hard to look at the tools and reporting included in BANKMAX and not geek out at the insights available to financial institution partners. The level of detail captured in sales and merchant reporting, as long as the ongoing portfolio analysis, is certainly equal to any technology that commercial bankers enjoy at large banks with in-house merchant departments.  That’s precisely our value proposition, and why we’ve felt so aligned to our teammates from Elmhurst from day one, that quest to give community banks the technology and tools to compete with much larger competitors, so that they, in turn, can equip small merchants in ways only large companies take as routine.

We welcome the Elmhurst team to Celero, and we are excited by all of the possibilities for us to all grow together.

Topics: integration BANK SMBs Celero Commerce regional banks payments ecosystem Jeff Brown payments BANKMAX financial institutions SaaS solutions Elmhurst Financial Services financial institution partners community banks business analytics
3 min read

Better Banking: Bringing Asset-Based Lending and Merchant Credit Card Proceeds Together

By Celero Commerce on Jul 19, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Jeff Brown-July 18, 2019 Practically all commercial banking financial institutions (FI) engage in some form of asset-based lending.  These loans, which take the form of revolving lines of credit or term loans, are secured by the borrower’s assets (as the name implies). How much credit a borrower can access is primarily determined by the quality and value of the collateral, which can range from accounts receivables and inventory to equipment and real estate. 

The purpose of these loans range from working capital augmentation, acquisition, and recapitalization to financing growth through marketing spends, and much more. Repayment is typically looked at as cash flow from operations through collection of accounts receivable and conversion of inventory to cash through increased sales.

Often these loans and/or lines of credit are governed by some type of formula whereby the most collectable accounts receivable and marketable inventory is used to calculate the amount a FI is willing to advance to the borrower.  For instance, the formula might be similar to:

“The FI will advance 80% of accounts receivable less than 60 days old and 20% of inventory less than 90 days old not to exceed $100,000.”

The benefits of these types of loan/lines of credit for both FI and customer are:

·       Increase your borrowing power, especially for companies with less predictable earnings and cash flow

·       Enhance discipline and efficiency around accounts receivables and production for more borrowing capacity

·       Reduce financial covenants, including restrictions around the level of debt to enterprise value or cash flow, and net worth-focused covenants

·       Potentially gain more time to address financial difficulties due to built-in collateral protection

As you consider the collateralization of these loans and lines of credit, merchant credit card deposits that are deposited in your bank each day are often overlooked.  More and more merchants are accepting business-to-business payments via credit card.  Today, the conversion of their accounts receivable is often in the form of a credit card payment and not a check.  These payments are done for convenience, your client’s customers often demand the reward perks that go with B2B charges, or your clients have realized that they can often get paid faster with less bad debt expense by accepting credit cards for payment.  Surcharges have also made it more attractive for B2B merchants to accept credit cards more than ever before.

Due to the highly competitive nature of the payments ecosystem, most merchant credit card processing relationships reside with third parties in today’s marketplace.  As a result, banks have often lost the merchant relationship to payment specialists in the industry.  Those third parties often control a very large portion of your bank’s asset based-lending collateral.  The merchant credit card deposits are often being deposited at an FI other than yours, thus they are out of your immediate control or visibility.

As your FI is establishing its lending policies it should considering making it a condition of approval for all loans secured by accounts receivables and inventory that your bank process the credit card transactions for your customers.  A policy of matching or reducing your client’s payment processing costs can be established so that your client knows they are receiving excellent service and value, your FI benefits by residual income, and your asset-based lending is better secured by having all of your customer’s deposits residing inside your FI.  Why not have complete visibility of your customer’s cash flow via checks deposited, incoming wires, ACH and now credit card deposits? You’ll be able to see increased risks based on the health of the business, as well as opportunities to do more for your clients as they strengthen.

Contact our team at UMS Banking to learn how to implement this plan, reduce your lending risks, and better serve your customers today.

Topics: credit card transactions revolving lines of credit accounts receivable term loans capital augmentation inventory Merchant Services asset-based lending marketable inventory Jeff Brown business-to-business payments ACH credit card deposits financial institutions UMS Banking
1 min read

Celero's Jones Interviewed by Payment Facilitator

By Celero Commerce on Jul 12, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Earlier this week, Celero CEO Kevin Jones sat down with Payment Facilitator’s Kim Graber to discuss the Nashville startup’s fast rise through making four key acquisitions during its first year in business.

During the interview, Kevin explains how the acquisitions of UMS Banking, RazorSync, Elmhurst Financial, and Tandem Innovative Payment Solutions gives Celero the platform and scale to compete and deliver on its promise of fast, sustainable growth for its small and mid-sized customers. As of these four transactions, Celero is now one of the country’s largest payment processors, serving more than 25,000 merchants and processing more than $8 billion in transaction volume.

Learn more about Kevin’s plan for Celero to be “nimble, smart, and genuine” in its efforts to rise through the chaos that defines the payments ecosystem by focusing on the end solution delivered to merchants rather than living up to a payments industry label. Read Graber’s article in Payment Facilitator here.

3 min read

The Power of Partnership

By Celero Commerce on Jul 11, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Jim Harris-July 11, 2019 My long-time friend and our CEO, Kevin Jones, talks often about the importance of integration when it comes to helping small and mid-sized businesses compete and win. What he’s referring to is a natural fit that occurs when great financial technology from different corners of the market—payments, SaaS, and analytics—comes together to bring a one-stop shop for SMB management, both from financial and operational perspectives.

While Kevin’s vision is unmatched in the industry in this regard, I focus my role on something that’s even more foundational, and I’m pleased to tell you that what’s behind every great integration is a great partnership, whether it’s a collection of brands like UMS Banking, Elmhurst, Tandem, and RazorSync, or you’re talking about partnerships of the external, strategic variety.

For me, there are many great partnership opportunities for a company like Celero and its subsidiaries like UMS. We’ve seen a wonderful partnership develop internally as we integrate our teams on a shared services platform that will offer incredible value to SMBs. We also see this dynamic in our work at local community banks through UMS, as well as larger community banks and regional banks through Elmhurst.

At UMS and Elmhurst, we work through commercial bankers and the many teammates who support their work, from branch managers to tellers. Partnerships work and only work when both sides can win. When a community bank brings in a payment processing partner like UMS or Elmhurst, both teams can do what they do best, share the revenue accordingly, and give their mutual customer, the SMB, the tools they need to compete. Commercial bankers are at their best when they can focus on building client relationships and leave their partners to simplify otherwise complex aspects of their clients’ businesses.

The same can be said for software providers. There are many SaaS providers out there that are focused on specific industry verticals. A great example is our own RazorSync, but there are many others out there, too. Again, the developer can stick to what they do best—writing great software, while we can come in with a frictionless integration and onboarding experience for the SMB that’s as easy as clicking on the browser icon on your new computer’s desktop. While I suppose it’s possible that you can build a great app without payments integration, having the revenue stream connected to your financial and operational management means a lot more data and a lot better decision-making along your business-building journey.  

Another great value proposition is that of associations. Again, a partnership must deliver value on both ends. When we can engage with associations, we have the opportunity to grow exponentially the number of merchants we serve. In exchange, the association—a member-driven organization that needs to think of new ways each year to deliver greater value to its member companies—has a program that offers competitive rates and terms that help its members grow.

One of the things I love most about our industry is that it’s full of people who are collaborative by nature. That doesn’t mean that we’re not competitive, but rather that we’re able to focus not only on what we need in business, but what our partners, be they financial institutions, software developers, associations, or others, need as well.  What we are building here at Celero, while it may not be unique, it’s nonetheless special. It’s special because of the integrity we have in aligning our success to that of our partners. They find out very quickly that if we are going to invest ourselves, our financial resources, and our capabilities into a partnership, it’s because we’re betting on them to win.

When you base your partnerships on being fair to your partners and positioning them to win big, you can expect great results for your own team as a result, too.

Topics: onboarding SaaS integration Tandem Innovative Payment Systems Celero Commerce regional banks SMB management Jim Harris payments software providers Elmhurst Financial UMS Banking RazorSync Partnership Kevin Jones community banks business analytics
2 min read

Celero Commerce anticipates USD 150m M&A spend over three years with LLR Partners backing, CEO says

By Celero Commerce on Jul 8, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Celero Commerce, a newly formed payments and business management software company with LLR Partners backing, could deploy around USD 150m toward M&A over the next three years, said CEO Kevin Jones.

Established in December, Nashville, Tennessee-based Celero has already completed four deals to date. The initial transaction was made that month as a strategic investment in Glendale, California-based UMS Banking, a full-service merchant acquirer, providing the core payment processing infrastructure for Celero.

The others are Minneapolis-based RazorSync in the field services vertical; Brentwood, Tennessee-based Elmhurst Financial Services, which is focused on payment processing for community and regional financial institutions; and Greenville, South Carolina-based Tandem Innovative Payment Solutions, a credit card processing company.

Going forward, ideal targets will include business management software and payment processors serving schools, non-profit organizations and government, the CEO said. Targets should be profitable and have EBITDA in the USD 2m to USD 10m range, he said. It will work to source deals later this year, and could close “a couple” of acquisitions in 2020, he added.

Jones is president of the industry trade organization, Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), and has been an executive in residence with LLR since September. He was formerly president of SignaPay and CEO of Anovia Payments.

He said Celero will serve as an acquisition platform with a goal to bundle commerce data analytics, business management tools, and rewards programs with payment processing capabilities for small businesses, so that the small businesses have an integrated and simplified user experience, and meanwhile Celero benefits from the economic advantage, Jones said.

Celero has 107 employees. Majority owned by LLR, it already does business across the US and plans to expand to Canada organically later this year, Jones said. Celero has over 25,000 merchant customers, processing USD 10bn in annual payments volume. It partners with TSYS, First Data and Global Payments for the processing capabilities.

Private equity firms have been actively rolling up in the middle-market payments space by forming vertical-focused acquisition organizations like Celero. In 2015, Aquiline Capital Partners created payments platform company Togetherworkin the membership vertical. After making nine acquisitions backed by Aquiline, it was sold to GI Partners in March 2018, and has acquired four more since then.

Celero is not rushed to contemplate an exit, Jones said. It will be focused on refining the platform, and down the road could be attractive to strategic or private equity acquirers, he added.

DLA Piper provides legal services to Celero, and Armanino provides accounting services. Pinnacle Bank is its commercial bank.

2 min read

The Importance of Empathy

By Celero Commerce on Jun 27, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Kevin Jones- June 27, 2019 I’ve reached a place in my career where I choose the people I work with, whether it’s our employees, our strategic partners, or the kinds of customers we bring in to Celero. That’s not something to be taken lightly, and while that’s an incredible place to be, it comes with a high price. That price is constant mindfulness of the needs of others, and how best to take care of their needs. The key to our success is empathy.

When I first began managing people over 20 years ago, I knew that in order to motivate people to succeed for themselves and their customers beyond their wildest dreams, there couldn’t be a “Kevin Jones Way” of leadership. Instead, I decided to make each relationship about the other person, thinking that if I gave them what they needed—confidence, encouragement, tools, and sometimes an appropriate dose of tough love—they would not only play their role on the team, but be the ultimate teammate.

Early on, I could see that this path to leadership was a formula for winning—and winning big. When people know that you believe in them, consider their well-being in an authentic way, and invest in them for the long-term, their performance, productivity, and happiness know few boundaries.

The same dynamic holds true for partners and customers. When you extend empathy and try to walk a mile in the shoes of those outside your company, great things happen. In the business-to-business world, business owners and managers are looking for someone that transcends the traditional vendor/client framework, wanting trusted partners. When you live with empathy for your partners and clients, you can even transcend the trusted partner level and become more like a teammate or even a friend or family member.

What I’m talking about here isn’t a normal approach, but I think it’s what the best companies do best—empathizing to better understand employees, partners, and customers. And this abnormal approach definitely yields abnormal responses, underpinned by a higher level of loyalty.

Here’s the best part: when you choose to lead with your values, first among them empathy, but closely behind come teamwork, accountability, respect, and positivity, success is sweeter. It’s sweeter because you share it with others, with your employees, partners, and customers. I like to think of the difference in a way that many can relate to immediately. I enjoyed my life immensely before I met my wife. My life was certainly good, but I had no idea how great it would become, first through sharing it with her, and then with her and our children.

Anybody who knows me at all hears me talk a lot about concepts like loyalty and culture. Loyalty is something we create through individual relationships, and so is culture. But culture is what happens through the exponential power of all of those individual relationships when you bind them together in the service of a single mission. And the key to all of these wonderful elements of a company is empathy.

Topics: performance leadership empathy company culture trusted partner loyalty Celero Commerce productivity Kevin Jones strategic partners leading with values
2 min read

Celero Commerce Acquires Elmhurst Financial Services and Tandem Innovative Payment Solutions

By Celero Commerce on Jun 18, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Complementary acquisitions add distribution and technology-focused organizations to enhance Celero’s commitment to its financial institution partners and merchants nationwide

Nashville, TN June 18, 2019Celero Commerce (“Celero”), a vertically-focused commerce solutions provider, announced the acquisitions of Elmhurst Financial Services (“Elmhurst”), the leading financial institution-focused payment processing provider, and Tandem Innovative Payment Solutions (“Tandem”), a technology-focused payment processing provider.

These acquisitions strengthen Celero’s expertise in providing industry-leading payment processing, business management software, technology, and customer support to its financial institution partners and SMB customers. Following the additions of Elmhurst and Tandem, Celero will serve approximately 25,000 merchants and process approximately $10 billion in annual payment volume, with more than 100 employees in five offices across the U.S.

Based in Brentwood, TN, Elmhurst partners with community and regionally-focused financial institutions, assisting them to develop and optimize their customer relationships. “Joining the Celero family enables Elmhurst to more effectively serve its customers by leveraging Celero’s technology orientation in a rapidly changing fintech environment,” said Paul England, founder of Elmhurst. “As part of Celero, we have the unique ability to provide a more robust set of business management solutions and payment processing capabilities to our bank partners.”

Based in Greenville, SC, Tandem provides technology-oriented payment processing solutions to financial institutions and SMB merchants. “We built this business to offer enterprise-level products and services for the local business,” said Larry Feniger, founder of Tandem. “With access to Celero’s resources, we will continue to effectively serve our partners and merchants by providing access to best-in-class payments, products, and technology services."

“Bringing Elmhurst and Tandem into the Celero family allows us to reinforce our ability to empower financial institutions and SMBs to compete in the dynamic, technology-forward marketplace,” said Kevin Jones, CEO of Celero. “We look forward to extending Paul and Larry’s commitment to their partners and merchants by providing access to Celero’s technology and vertically-focused business solutions.” As part of these transactions, senior leadership will join Celero’s management team.

About Celero Commerce

Based in Nashville, Celero Commerce is a full-service, integrated electronic commerce solutions provider powered by leading edge technology, strategic partnerships, and business intelligence, all moving at the speed of modern business.  Celero offers payment processing services, business management software, and data intelligence to small and medium-sized businesses, empowering them to drive growth and profitability.

 

Media Contact:

Celero Commerce

Scott Farace, Chief Marketing Officer

scottf@celerocommerce.com

972-533-5655

3 min read

Integration Drives SMB Success

By Celero Commerce on Jun 13, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Kevin Jones - June 13, 2019 - Anyone that takes a close look can see that the payments ecosystem has changed dramatically. Think about the last time you walked into a chiropractor’s office or a florist’s shop. Five years ago, you would have seen a small box terminal at the front desk or cash register. Now, you are likely to see small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) like these using tablets or other business management software integrated with a payments gateway.

Companies like ours have evolved accordingly. Instead of launching Celero Commerce as a traditional payments play, we architected ourselves as a true financial technology (FinTech) firm, where our role is to drive commerce and cultivate growth and profitability for our customers. We want to help them win. This core goal is reflected in our name, as Celero is from the Latin meaning “accelerate.”

I first witnessed the changing landscape of payments in the early 2000s, just a few years into my career. We started seeing a lot of business management software effectively drive success specifically at the enterprise level. One of the first industry sectors we saw change radically was restaurants. The advent of tablets, and mobile solutions in the last five to seven years have made the integration of payments and software much more affordable downstream in the small to mid-size business sector.

What tends to hold companies and even entire verticals back sometimes is the failure to design and develop software with a payment experience that’s fluid within the space. We’ve seen event and invoicing software companies struggle because they didn’t do payments well. And while at previous stops in my career, we tried to make the payments experience easier, with Celero we’ve turned the model on its head. We’ve taken a different approach by acquiring SAAS software that’s applicable in more than 60 verticals, and we will continue to expand that scope of influence. Our goal is to deliver differentiated and complete solutions (payments, data analytics, software) to customers that help them compete and win in a competitive market.

Integration is important at Celero, as it is for a number of companies in our industry. We believe, however that true differentiation happens when you alter merchant and consumer behavior. We like to think we can alter behaviors by being “disruptively simple” in our work.  While many of our competitors are still focused on delivering a core payments solution while trying to get merchants to secondarily add business management software and tools, we’re taking a path less traveled, that’s more customer-centric. At Celero, we are not looking for software to be our distribution. We’re looking to be their distribution. Furthermore, most merchants don’t have time, and many more don’t have the expertise to try to package all of these solutions themselves in an effective manner.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at one of our first acquisitions, RazorSync. Great software is both high-impact and user-friendly, and RazorSync has earned that designation. The team at RazorSync has built some breakthrough software targeted at field service businesses like HVAC, exterminators, landscaping, plumbing, electricians, and many more. The core software helps field service companies with both operations process management and financial management. In addition, the development team designed a user experience that optimizes payments.  Serving companies in a vertical previously dominated by cash and checks has given RazorSync the opportunity to make a real difference. Customer surveys have quantified the difference, too, as the average RazorSync user reports first-year growth of 23 percent. This is a great example of what we want to repeat moving forward, making solutions simple and cost-effective, empowering our customers to grow faster. 

That’s our sweet spot at RazorSync and at all of the teams that comprise Celero, helping businesses. At the intersection of payments, management software, and business intelligence is greater efficiency and cashflow, seamless integration with accounting software, and streamlined reporting. All of these factors contribute to better decision-making with real data at the business owner’s fingertips.

The future is bright when you see the opportunities for us to drive middleware technology in the service of SMBs. Celero will look to create automation and simplify integration and boarding for every merchant. We will focus on delivering the most actionable data to Celero customers. 

Our future acquisition outlook will be shaped by our desire to make a big impact for our users. Thus, we’ll look for software companies optimizing their products for verticals we are interested in, such as nonprofits, schools, and government. As we grow, we’ll continue to build strong distribution channels—direct, integrated, and via partnerships with financial institutions—making Celero the commerce the partner of choice in these verticals for growth-oriented customers.

3 min read

The RazorSync Difference

By Celero Commerce on Jun 5, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Jeff Brown - June 5, 2019 - I’ve spent a lifetime working in the financial technology space, with most of my career in the payments industry. Over time, I’ve worked in the largest companies in payments, as well as a few startups and in-between. For nearly three decades, I’ve seen many technological advances, and I’ve seen just as many well-intentioned efforts stymied in the marketplace. The more I see, the more I’ve come to believe that there are a few common denominators that all successful developers share.

As we were looking to integrate SaaS technology with our payments platform early on at Celero, I was struck by one team in particular, the people at RazorSync, and how they seemed to share those common denominators I’d seen in successful developers before:  their ability to empathize with their customer, their success at developing versatile software, and the fact that they were intelligent to know that you can be both simple and sophisticated.

Empathy

When people develop intuitive technologies—the ones where you almost don’t need a manual or much instruction to figure out on your own—it’s because they are empathetic; they understand the customer. They can easily slip into their user’s shoes, know their needs, and meet those needs.

You can tell when you navigate RazorSync, that while it doesn’t offer something for everybody, it’s definitely everything for the field service business.  That person generally is working in a traditionally less sophisticated space, one where too many contractors have worked as sole proprietors without their personal liability protected, and one where checks and cash—with their attendant risk—dominate. It is also an industry where its customers prefer to use credit cards in order to enjoy the rewards and benefits that come with charging larger purchases and earning points, air miles, and rebates.

RazorSync is aimed squarely at these folks, enabling them to take one-person operations to legitimate businesses, and enabling owners who may have multiple trucks in the field achieve greater growth, faster—one of our core values at Celero. The team has built RazorSync to address the three areas where field service business owners typically need the most help: managing finances, scaling operationally in the wildcard environment of travelling from home to home, business to business every day, and getting paid.  

RazorSync meets the business owner where they are, delivering a one-stop solution set right out of the box. 

Versatility

The best applications are versatile. While they don’t try to solve all of the world’s problems, elite solutions choose their targets and meet as many of their needs as possible. A good example of this dynamic is LinkedIn. Some of us use it for networking, others for sourcing sales leads, and still others for finding good hires or being found. Some use it for all of those things, but many pick and choose capabilities as they need them.

RazorSync is just such a solution, addressing disparate, yet shared pain points like accounting integration, estimating, invoicing, routing and logistics, payroll, employee tracking, and customer management. A true all-in-one solution for the HVAC company, the plumber, electrician, or landscaper, RazorSync is focused on overcoming the challenges that these types of companies face every day.

Simplicity

While we like our technology to solve a sophisticated array of challenges, we also need it to be user-friendly. I know most people, if faced with a trade-off, would choose fewer capabilities if it meant an app was easier to use. This is a quite logical conclusion, as what good are features if you don’t understand how to use them!

Customer after customer has shared with us what a great impact RazorSync has had on their field service business. Many have reported increased profitability immediately, as well as greater efficiency across all of their operations.  They chalk up this immediate success—again, we want them to grow and do it faster—to an easy-to-use and understand interface, as well as superior customer service. While many developers want to create software, seemingly few want to actually support it. The RazorSync team is comprised of people after our own heart. While they certainly create truly great business software, they are equally committed to the human side of the business, caring for customers with great compassion, knowing that customer downtime in a field service operation means loss of revenue with immediate effect.

The RazorSync team provides Celero with an opportunity to be unique among integrated commerce companies built on a payment’s platform coupled with SaaS solutions and supported with business intelligence tools. We have our own technology development team at RazorSync, studying the unique business needs of new verticals, so that we can bring software to market that helps them better accomplish their respective missions.

Stay tuned as we continue to distribute all-in-one solutions like RazorSync to our customers directly, via our financial institution partners, and integrated with other products.

3 min read

The New UMS: Why We're Here

By Celero Commerce on May 31, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Jim Harris May 31, 2019 – I’ve always loved new opportunities, and I’ve jumped at the chance to work with the right people in the right settings and know that my work will have an impact.  

A few months ago, one of my closest friends and most impressive colleagues in the payments industry, Kevin Jones, called to see if I’d be interested in his next venture, a private equity-backed startup based not in the payments mecca where I Iived—Dallas-Fort Worth—but in the emerging hub for all things fintech, Nashville.

I knew immediately at a professional level there are few opportunities equal to working with Kevin Jones and the leadership teams he builds. So without any hesitation, I agreed to become one of the first three employees of what has become Celero Commerce, a company that integrates payments and other financial technologies with business software to give small and mid-sized businesses a competitive edge.

Our first acquisition was a payments platform, UMS Banking, a company with a history of innovation in credit card processing and elite customer service. When Kevin told me about the acquisition—even before I knew I’d have a major role in the new addition to the Celero family—we could both barely contain our excitement. In our earliest days together in the payments industry as we worked to build the bank channel at industry leader Chase Paymentech, Kevin and I both developed a soft spot for community banks. In an industry that’s seen incredible consolidation and change over the last generation, with a focus on getting bigger and bigger, the small to mid-sized community banks stand for excellence in service, really getting to know their customers, and becoming trusted partners in the local community. They are active participants in their local communities, supporting local events, and looking to provide products and services in many areas that the big banks simply refuse to service.

What we saw in UMS was a service proposition that aligned perfectly to that of community banks. UMS has always emphasized people and relationships over products and technology, and that’s not an easy thing to do in our industry. It’s actually quite easy, with the continuous advancements in technology, to get lazy and try to let your offerings do your job for you. We saw in UMS a company that aligned to our own vision of how people should be treated, whether they are bank partners or their merchants. With UMS now powered by Celero, our banking partners can offer their clients top notch service with the latest technology. 

We also saw a company with the capability to be a boutique customizing the partnerships based on the goals of the Bank. UMS invented the concept of outsourced liability, and while that’s important to a lot of community banks, we have multiple revenue models based on what levels of work our partners prefer to do with regard to the merchant services program. It’s a compelling proposition for a community bank, one that’ll never go near setting up its own merchant platform, to take on all liability but be flexible to their needs in the partnership. After all, some like to have more control than others, and we respect anyone who is thinking through how to best service and expand relationships with their commercial clients.

The third aspect of UMS that we really liked was that the company’s service model and flexibility seemed ripe for integration with the Celero family’s other offerings. With the advent of Celero, we are truly transcending the traditional payments company. That’s why we called it Celero Commerce versus Celero Payments. We are integrating tools and technologies like business intelligence and software to help merchants manage their businesses financially and operationally.  Our second acquisition, RazorSync, is exemplary of this integration mindset. In due time, we’ll be rolling out RazorSync, amazing business management software for field services businesses to the UMS bank family. All community banks have HVAC, electrical, cleaning, and other field service businesses comprising sizeable chunks of their business deposit portfolios, and we are excited about putting this great tool in the hands of community bankers to integrate along with merchant services for these types of companies.

I’m thrilled to be a part of the new UMS. We’re pushing ourselves to new heights of excellence in customer service for merchants. First, merchants get a human on the phone within 15 seconds of calling us. More than 90 percent of issues reported on these calls are solved during that first outreach. We have great people here who are conscientious, committed, and passionate about seeing our community bank partners and their merchants grow and prosper. We’re taking those people and equipping them with ways to collaborate and bring new ideas to bear for the benefit of our company, its partners, and its customers.

As I write this from my office in Glendale, California, I see a company that’s been historically remarkable really coming into its own in this new era for the payments industry. We are poised for a big future by investing in our people and our technology, and we will continue to set the industry standard for our human touch on bank partnerships and merchant services.  We will remain a uniquely positioned boutique in the industry, dedicated to our community bank partners, defining our success by their success. As a boutique payments company within the integrated Celero family, we can stay creative and optimize each relationship going forward.

I’m excited for what the future holds for our team at UMS.

2 min read

Celero Commerce Acquires RazorSync

By Celero Commerce on Feb 12, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Nashville, TN February 12, 2019Celero Commerce (“Celero”), a vertically-focused, integrated commerce solutions provider, today announced the acquisition of RazorSync, LLC, a developer of desktop and mobile application-based software-as-a-service that streamlines operations for companies in the field service industry. The acquisition of RazorSync follows Celero’s recent strategic investment in payments processor UMS Banking.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, RazorSync provides a cost-effective, all-in-one software platform enabling its customers to reduce customer friction and increase productivity and profitability. The SaaS-based solution includes field worker management, scheduling and dispatch, route optimization, invoicing, and payment acceptance. RazorSync serves field-based companies across dozens of trades and professions, including home and commercial services such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical, alarm & security, and cleaning.

Celero’s mission is to provide tools — products, technology, and data — to small and mid-sized businesses that allow them to more effectively compete and win in a rapidly changing, technology-driven marketplace.  The integration of Celero’s payments processing capabilities and RazorSync’s software solution will deliver transformative business management tools to Celero’s strategic partners and a seamless customer experience to their customer base.

“It has become increasingly more complex for banks, payments providers, and other strategic partners to differentiate the manner in which they help companies grow,” stated Kevin Jones, founder and CEO of Celero Commerce. “Five years ago, our payments customers simply had credit card terminals. Now, small and mid-sized businesses from HVAC technicians to flower shops are hungry for help with scheduling, route optimization, inventory management, invoicing, and much more. We are excited to join forces with RazorSync, furthering our dedication to developing, acquiring, and integrating the tools that empower our partners to deliver outstanding differentiation, value, and growth opportunities to their customers.” 

According to RazorSync co-founder and President Chris Rywelski, teaming up with Celero was a win-win for both the company’s growth and its customer-centered development ethos. “I was impressed with Celero’s vision of empowering customer growth through integrated solutions,” he explained. “Their expertise in payments will drive even more value to our customers at the convergence of technology, data, and strategic partnerships. Together, we can eliminate headaches for small and mid-sized business that have historically pieced together payments platforms and operational software solutions.”

About RazorSync, LLC

RazorSync, LLC, headquartered in Minneapolis, is the publisher of RazorSync software for the field service industry. RazorSync’s award-winning software is a powerful yet easy-to-use desktop and mobile app that streamlines the business operations of a company in the field service industry, allowing customers to manage their customers and field workers, schedule and dispatch workers, invoice, and much more — all from a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. RazorSync helps increase productivity and efficiency, reduce errors, and shorten the billing cycle to improve cash flow and eliminate paperwork.

About Celero Commerce

Based in Nashville, Celero Commerce is a full-service, integrated electronic commerce solutions provider powered by leading edge technology, strategic partnerships, and business intelligence, all moving at the speed of modern business.  Celero offers payment processing services, business management software, and data intelligence to small and medium-sized businesses, empowering them to drive growth and profitability.

Media Contact:

Celero Commerce

Scott Farace, Chief Marketing Officer

scottf@celerocommerce.com

972-533-5655

4 min read

ETA Announces 2019 Board of Directors

By Celero Commerce on Dec 5, 2018 12:00:00 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), the global trade association for the payments technology industry, today announced the election of its 2019 Board of Directors. ETA's Board of Directors represent an array of payments technology companies from across the ecosystem that power fast, seamless and secure electronic payments solutions for merchants and consumers. As the global trade association for the payments industry, ETA represents over 500 payments and merchant service companies and advocates for the growth and success of the industry.

"It is an electrifying time for payments technology, with new innovations coming to market every day that help advance our economy," said incoming President of the ETA Board and CEO of Celero Commerce, Kevin Jones. "I am excited and honored to begin my term as President of the Board, and I look forward to serving my colleagues, the people who power this great industry, in this volunteer leadership role."

"ETA's 2019 Board of Directors comprises leaders from the world's most innovative payments technology providers and financial institutions." said Jason Oxman, CEO of ETA. "As our industry continues to grow, innovate, and deliver premium products to consumers and merchants around the world, we are honored to have their guidance as ETA leads our industry into the future."

"It was an honor to serve as President of ETA during such an exciting year of innovation in payments," said Tim Tynan, CEO, Bank of America Merchant Services. "Thank you to the 2018 Board for their service and helping me lead this dynamic trade association."

ETA Executive Committee:

  • Kevin Jones, CEO, Celero Commerce, ETA President

  • Chris Lee - President-Elect

  • Guy Harris, President North AmericaElavon – Treasurer

  • Philip McHugh, Sr. EVP & President of Merchant Solutions, TSYS, Secretary

  • Tim Tynan, CEO, Bank of America Merchant Services – Past President

ETA Board of Directors and Presidential Advisory Council:

  • Cameron Bready, Sr. EVP & CFO, Global Payments

  • Angela Brown, President & CEO, Moneris Solutions

  • Dan Charron, EVP Global Business SolutionsFirst Data

  • Royal Cole, EVP, Head of North America, Worldpay

  • Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO, BlueSnap

  • Reetika Grewal, Head of Payments Strategy and Solutions, Silicon Valley Bank

  • Eric Hoffman, Director, Head of Channel Partnerships – Apple Pay, Apple

  • Steve Klebe, Business Development, Google

  • Joe Mach, President, Verifone North America

  • Amy Porter, CEO, AffiniPay

  • Julie Pukas, Head of US Bankcard and Merchant Solutions, TD Bank

  • John Priore, President & CEOPriority Payment Systems

  • Neil Randel, CEO, First American Payment Systems

  • Tina Reese, Executive Director, Sales and Relationship Management, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

  • Elizabeth Ryan, EVP, Wells Fargo Merchant Services

  • Derek Webster, Founder & CEO, CardFlight, Inc.

ETA Board Ex-Officio:

  • Deirdre Cohen, VP Head of FI Acquirer Partner Sales, NA Merchant Sales & Solutions, Visa

  • Janet Estep, President & CEO, NACHA

  • Josh Goines, Senior Director of Choice & Partnerships, PayPal

  • Joel Henckel, SVP – Group Head for Emerging Verticals and Acceptance, Mastercard

  • Tyler Vaughey, SVP, US Small Merchants, American Express

  • Amy Parsons, SVP, Head of Global Acceptance and Customer Experience, Discover

  • Larry Wang, Vice President, UnionPay International

About ETA
The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) is the global trade association representing more than 500 payments and technology companies. ETA members make commerce possible by processing more than $7 trillion in purchases in North America and deploying payments innovations to merchants and consumers.

Contact: Laura Hubbard, 202-667-7406, lhubbard@electran.org 

2 min read

LLR Partners Backs Payments Industry Leader Kevin Jones to Form Celero Commerce

By Celero Commerce on Dec 3, 2018 12:00:00 AM

Nashville, TN December 3, 2018LLR Partners today announced the formation of Celero Commerce (“Celero”) a vertically-focused, integrated commerce solutions provider. Kevin Jones, the incoming president of the Electronic Transactions Association (“ETA”) and founder and former CEO of Anovia Payments, will serve as Celero’s Chief Executive Officer. As part of the formation of the company, Celero has made a strategic investment in UMS Banking (“UMS”), a full-service merchant acquirer, which will provide the core payment processing infrastructure for Celero. Joyce Gaines, UMS co-founder, will work alongside the Celero team to continue to provide industry leading products and service to existing UMS partners and customers.

As the $6 trillion payments market continues to grow and mature, merchants are increasingly demanding a more comprehensive business solution rather than many, disparate business tools. Celero provides an integrated solution to help meet the needs of business owners in an increasingly competitive marketplace, allowing them to focus on running their business, rather than managing multiple third party software vendors and payment service providers.

“As the payment market evolves, customers are demanding fast, frictionless, technology-integrated solutions to manage their business. With Celero, merchants will now be able to seamlessly serve their customers with technology that is integrated into their core payment processing systems,” said Kevin Jones, CEO of Celero. “Our team is excited to partner with LLR, as the firm’s deep payments experience and relationships across the financial services and technology ecosystems will help Celero become a leading commerce solutions provider.”

“Despite the magnitude of the payments market, approximately two-thirds of U.S.-based businesses still do not accept payment cards, and those that do are being driven by market demand to upgrade their technology to enable a faster, more seamless, omni-channel commerce experience. This creates a large addressable market opportunity for Celero,” said Ryan Goldenberg, Vice President at LLR Partners. “LLR, in conjunction with Kevin Jones, has formed Celero to capitalize on the growing market opportunity and invest in technology, software, distribution and people.”

“We are excited to announce our investment in Celero and UMS. In partnership with Kevin and his senior leadership team, LLR’s investment will be used to drive growth, both organically and through acquisition. We look forward to building the leading commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses,” added Mitchell Hollin, Partner at LLR Partners.

About LLR Partners

LLR Partners is a middle market private equity firm committed to creating long-term value by growing its portfolio companies. LLR invests in several industries, with a focus on technology, healthcare and services businesses. Founded in 1999 and with more than $3.5 billion raised across five funds, LLR is a flexible provider of capital for growth, recapitalizations and buyouts. For more information about LLR and advice for scaling growth companies, visit our new website at www.llrpartners.com.

About Celero Commerce

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Celero Commerce is a full-service, integrated electronic commerce solutions provider powered by leading edge technology, strategic partnerships, and business intelligence, all moving at the speed of modern business. Celero offers payment processing services, business management software, and data intelligence to small and medium-sized businesses, empowering them to drive growth and profitability. Learn more at www.celerocommerce.com.

Media Contact:

Kristy DelMuto, LLR Partners

215-344-1372, kdelmuto@llrpartners.com  

1 min read

From Survival to Comeback: Celero Is Ready to Help You! (Clone)

By Celero Commerce on Jan 1, 1970 12:00:00 AM

The US market is notoriously slow to adopt new payment technologies. When we like something and see the value it brings to our business, we stick with it. And in good times, there’s nothing wrong with that!

Historically, Europe and Asia have been fast adopters of new technologies, with widespread acceptance happening years ahead of activity here at home, where many of these technologies are invented.

Now, many our small and mid-sized merchants going “back to the future,” adopting technologies faster than ever. And they are taking on as many of these technologies that make sense for their customers’ needs, whether it’s for a competitive edge, convenience, or social distancing, and of course for their own financial and operational well-being.

We originally called these technologies and tools our Celero COVID-19 Survival Kit. As the American economy rebounds across many industries and in many parts of the country, we’re finding that these survival tools are easily repurposed to help our merchants define a new normal on their own terms. Growing a business quickly, efficiently, and sustainably means having the tools and technology to control your own destiny.

Contact us to learn more about this set of tools with enduring value for your business. Meet the Celero Small Business Comeback Kit:

  • Contactless/NFC payments like ApplePay
  • Digital Gift Cards
  • Payment Gateways
  • Mobile Payments
  • Point-of-Sale Systems with integrated management applications
  • Virtual Terminals

Email our team at solutions@celerocommerce.com or call us at 1-844-4CELERO.