Direct seller Southwestern Advantage deploys ROAM mPOS system

September 17, 2013

Southwestern Advantage is a $255 million company that recruits and trains college students to sell educational products directly to consumers, door to door. With 2,500 independent contractors in the field, processing payments is an obvious challenge, particularly when customers opt to use a credit card. Without a way to process on the spot, the sellers have been left to write down card numbers and enter them online at the end of their day.

That hassle has been removed; the company this week announced it will utilize a mobile point-of-sale system from ROAM. The end-to-end solution, known as Southwestern Swipe and fully customized to sell the Southwestern Advantage Learning System, will let the contractors securely accept credit card payments on smartphones and tablets, the company said.

White-labeling the ROAM platform, including its secure mobile card readers, mPOS application and management portals, helped the launch come together in just a few months, the company said.

“As expected, with the reps who piloted the program this summer, we’ve seen a significant reduction in card declines and chargebacks, not to mention the fact that the process has become far more secure with an end-to-end encrypted transaction,” Brad Bohn, SAP development lead and senior business analyst, Southwestern Advantage, said by e-mail.

Changing credit card transactions from card-not-present to card-present typically saves users 40 to 60 basis points, ROAM Chief Sales Officer Eric Hoffman told Mobile Payments Today. “If you call in a credit card from the field, the potential for fraud or denial of purchase chargebacks is much higher,” he said. And consumers who pay by credit card tend to spend more, he said.

The deal is significant for ROAM, he said, because Southwestern Advantage is one of the nation’s most well established direct selling organizations. Southwestern Advantage is a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwestern, whose origins predate the Civil War.

“We see direct selling as one of the most ideal use-cases for mobile payments,” Hoffman said.

Southwestern Advantage said it plans to eventually deploy the solution to all of its representatives who have a smartphone or tablet.

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