Central Florida Roundup
Card games: Fattmerchant chips away at credit card fees
An Orlando woman is challenging the credit card business.
Suneera Madhani is 29, a new mom and the founder of a 3-yearold Orlando company that aims to be the Netflix or Uber of the credit-card processing business.
The company is Fattmerchant, which Madhani launched in 2014 after quitting her job at one of the established companies in the merchant services industry, which makes most of its money by charging merchants an assortment of fees and locking them into long-term contracts.
Madhani’s idea was to do away with fees and contracts in favor of a simplified and transparent subscription system in which retail businesses pay Fattmerchant a flat monthly subscription fee or, for lower-volume businesses, a flat percentage fee. The company says 95% of its customers choose the subscription plan.
The first company to sign on was her husband’s electronics shop on Orlando’s International Drive tourist corridor. But the list of business members has since swelled to nearly 2,000, as subscription pricing disrupts the credit card business in the same way as ride-sharing clobbered taxis.
Fattmerchant processed roughly $5 million in credit-card transactions in its first year, Madhani says, grew to $110 million in 2015 and then to $700 million last year. It expects to top $1 billion this year.
Madhani, the CEO, says Fattmerchant, which has about 30 employees, has raised $2.4 million to date in venture funding, which the new company has invested in developing proprietary technology.
Madhani grew up in Dallas, but her family moved around a lot as she grew up; she says she attended 10 schools in 12 years. But now that she’s settled in Orlando she intends to stay. Her brother moved from California to join Fattmerchant as COO and co-founder, and she and her husband have a 1-yearold daughter at home. All of the company’s investors, she says, are from central Florida.
“We love Orlando. We’re not going anywhere,” she says. “We want to grow the company here and create jobs here.”
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