How to Start a Payment Processing Business at 16 – Jared Isaacman’s Start Up Story

Jared Isaacman was only 16 when he decided to start his own business. He was so obsessed by the idea that he quit high-school and passed the GED exam instead, so he could focus on this entirely. In a few years, he ended up founding a  payment processing company named United Bank Card Inc. The first office of his business was not the traditional for many great entrepreneurs garage, but the basement of his home.

Here is how all happened. After leaving school at 16, Jared went to work for a credit card company, where he spent around 6 months. This was the place, where he got all of his starting experience. There he also met Mario Parisi (one of the managers there), who was his mentor. While working, he could examine the business model and spot a relatively unoccupied niche. The procedure allowing merchants to be able to be paid by credit cards (card-acquiring) was not a desirable business for banks. During that time, they focused on issuing cards and managing them and invested a little in processing transactions. This is where Jared stepped in. Most of the big banks used third parties for card-acquiring, so in 1999, the young entrepreneur set up an office in his basement and founded United Bank Card Inc. In the beginning, he did all the work by himself – technical support, customer care, marketing and all the other stuff. A few months later, he involved his father and a friend of his to work in the company. This is how Jared created a small, super efficient and profitable family business, which was rapidly gaining momentum.

ATM Terminal

ATM Terminal

Today United Bank Card Inc. is named Harbortouch. The company is a big and reliable payment processor, responsible for around $13 billion in payments every year. The merchant accounts under management are around 100 000. Harbortouch also offers POS (point of sale) products and services. One of the most successful products is their free POS – the customer can obtain a free POS device paying only a monthly fee for software support.

“It has been a very successful strategy,” Jared says. “In our 14 years in business, we have never launched a program that changed the face and direction of the company more significantly than our free POS initiative.”

This is not the only success of the young entrepreneur. Jared started another company – Draken International. It’s an aviation business that offers simulated problems during flights for training aviators. the biggest client of the company is the US Department of Defense.

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