" />

Aggregation benefits small retailers that want to avoid the hassle or cost of signing up as merchants with the card brands, one observer says.

Many of those merchants are accepting card payments for the first time because it’s become practical with recently introduced readers on smartphones or electronic tablets.

That new reality has prompted enough members of the acquiring industry to take an interest in merchant aggregation that two well-known payments-industry consultants have joined forces to help aspiring companies get into the field–Todd Ablowitz, president of Denver-based Double Diamond Group LLC, and Deana Rich, president of Los Angeles-based Deana Rich Consulting Inc.

Ablowitz has built a reputation for expertise with new technology in the payments industry, while Rich, who’s known for risk management and underwriting, is serving as president of the Merchant Acquirers’ Committee, a trade group focused on risk management in card processing.

Merchant aggregation differs from transaction aggregation, where transactions are bundled to reduce interchange fees, Ablowitz says, noting he and Rich are working on merchant aggregation, not transactions.

“What might seem new to ISOs is monitoring merchants and controlling the funds–the things PayPal has been doing forever,” Rich says.

The market is growing, and it’s sanctioned by the card brands, Ablowitz says.

“It seems mystical, and we demystify it,” Rich adds.

ISO and Agent, April 12, 2012