Transparent Financial Services (TransFS), a leading marketplace for businesses seeking financial services, today announced that it has been awarded a grant by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) to support the company's continuing national expansion.
TransFS further announced that the customer base of its comparison-shopping site for credit card processing services has now grown into more than 12 vertical markets.
The CEC grant was awarded through the agency's Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program, which is supported by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and administered by the CEC. The program partners experienced entrepreneurs with young companies to commercialize promising technologies from the state's top universities and research institutions.
TransFS helps businesses that accept credit cards keep more of their money, through a private and secure reverse auction in which credit card processors bid to win each merchant's business. Credit card processors in the TransFS network undergo a stringent certification process, and are contractually and financially bound to rules regarding price transparency and customer service.
Historically it has been difficult or impossible to compare credit card processors on an "apples to apples" basis. Many merchants suspect their fees are too high or find they are getting poor service, but are reluctant to change because of the time and complexity of shopping for alternatives. Traditional comparison shopping websites simply sold merchants' contact information to multiple processors, resulting in sales calls and emails that compounded the problem.
TransFS has overcome these obstacles, with a process that typically reduces credit card processing fees by 30 to 40 percent, at no cost to the merchant. It takes only a few minutes for a merchant to apply on TransFS.com, the complete results of the competitive comparison are provided for review at the merchant's convenience, and the merchant is connected with a processor only by choice.
Since its founding in 2008, TransFS has helped businesses across a customer base that now spans more than a dozen industries. Examples of reductions in fees enabled via Transions in fees enabled via Transdozen industries. Examples of reductions in fees enabled via TransFS include:
Industry/Merchant Original Fee New Fee via TransFS Difference
----------------- --------- --------- ---------
Online Retailer 2.91% 2.32% -20%
Dental Practice 2.94% 2.03% -31%
Quick Serve Restaurant 5.14% 3.44% -33%
Software as a Service 3.23% 2.51% -22%
Luxury Goods/Apparel 5.07% 2.57% -49%
Bed and Breakfast 3.89% 2.59% -33%
In their prior experience as business owners, the founders of TransFS encountered the challenge of shopping for credit card processing and other business services. They collaborated to create TransFS while attending the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and incubated the company at the university's Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship.
"In our previous businesses, we couldn't accept the excessive credit card processing fees we were paying, and we were stunned at how hard it was to shop for alternatives," explained Sean Harper, CEO of TransFS. "We became passionate about finding a way to solve this problem that we shared with countless other merchants, and the market response confirms that TransFS provides a solution."
"Within one day of starting an auction, TransFS managed to save us over $72,000 a year in credit card processing fees by matching us with a more competitive provider," said Adam Schwartz, CEO of e-learning software provider Articulate. "It was like free money to our business."
TransFS also benefits credit card processors themselves. Processors that receive TransFS certification and commit to TransFS conditions of pricing and service become eligible to connect with merchants in less time and at lower cost.
Through the CEC program, Dan Hess will advise TransFS as entrepreneur in residence. Dan is founder and president of Thought Motor, an advisory firm that helps operating companies and investors create and grow new ventures. He is also founder of biggestblock.com, a network for homeowner association leaders. Previously, Dan served as vice president for Tribune Interactive, was part of the original team that built comScore, and held various management roles at Information Resources, Inc.
"TransFS came to the CEC with a grade-A team and concept, based on a real source of pain in a large market," said CEC president David Weinstein. "Our EIR program adds funding, experience and connections that will further drive what is already a great recipe for success."
TransFS services are available free of charge at transfs.com.