Company Profile: No Stopping Alto Global
Attention online payment processors: there’s a new kid on the adult block. Alto Global Processing recently launched what promises to be a unique and specialized approach to private merchant accounts through its revolutionary “Payment Gateway.”
“Alto Global Processing is made up of three entities aligned under our investing company,” explains Albert Lazarito, the firm’s chief operating officer.
“Like many of the billing companies in today’s market, there are two different avenues for affiliate programs and merchant processing services. One is the IPSP model and the other is the issuing of private merchant accounts. We are on the private account side. We work with numerous banks around the world and we provide affiliate programs or any merchant that works in the high-risk area.
“We evaluate their processing needs and fit them with the right banks. This allows the customers to get their own merchant account with Visa, MasterCard and other major cards rather than working through the IPSP model. This is what our group specializes in.”
The second business entity under the Alto Global umbrella is a large mainstream non-adult company which works through the proprietary “Payment Gateway” owned by the firm, using the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. This system passes credit card data, authorization requests and authorization responses over the Internet using encryption. This transaction information goes to a bank of choice via the Payment Gateway and the status of the card is reviewed for available credit and funds. After numerous fraud checks, the transaction is verified and an authorization code goes back to the Payment Gateway. At the same time, the encrypted information goes to the merchant’s origin of payment, where the transaction is either authorized or declined.
‘With the investment money,” Lazarito says, “we looked at how we could take this great piece of code in that gateway and use it in the adult arena.”
The success in doing this has made Alto Global Processing the third successful partner in the team. The company also boasts of its own affiliate program.
“By having three groups it allows us to specialize on the merchant side,” Lazarito says. “We’ve been doing this for years, so we have a good understanding of what banking needs merchants have and we can build a strong network of merchants that we’ve worked with for years. The relationships that already existed now translate to potential customers for Alto Global Processing. The three entities really give us an opportunity to understand the market with very specialized managers. This was no accident. It was done in a very strategic manner, recruiting the right partners and managers to run the operation.”
Lazarito definitely is a major part of the strategy, having spent 12 years working in the adult space and running four of the largest online affiliate programs there. Lazarito also managed membership pay sites, so he brought a solid background in webmaster needs to Alto Global.
Perhaps the chief advantage Lazarito and his new company offer lies in the understanding of banks and the quality and quantity of banking partners. Lazarito claims that Alto Global spent two years securing the right kind of banking partners while developing the technology for the gateway.
“It only takes a couple of bad apples to put a bank heavily saturated with high-risk clients out of business,” Lazarito cautions. “In the last year, the trend has been for really strong foreign banks to shut down due to high-risk adult clients who commit fraud. So the private merchant today has become much more selective, and we as registered agents have to be much more diligent. If not, the banks will come down hard on us.
‘We’ve made sure that we’ve been cooperative with the bureaucracy of the Visa-type companies. We’ve developed close ties with their risk managers, which is something many processors can’t do because they don’t have existing relationships.
“Another advantage we have is our relationship with a wide variety of banking options outside of the EU. The EU banks have taken on a lot of high-risk adult clients and some of them have defaulted due to their faulty business models. By getting away from the EU banks, we discovered there’s a lot less volatility in finding banks that don’t have a large number of high-risk merchants. It’s unique that we have a very good cross section of banks from places like Latin America, Tunisia, South America and Russia. Most processors can’t offer these banks to their clients.
“This is what our competitive market demands that we do now. It takes a lot of time to establish relationships with banks around the world. It certainly won’t happen overnight, because the toughest decisions banks have to make involves processing. And that goes for the merchants, too. If a merchant has a good relationship with a certain bank, we’d have to do something very significantly valuable for the merchant to make him agree to change to one of our banks. This requires a lot of strong relationships with banks as well as providing great customer service.”
Lazarito stresses that the wide number of banks partnering with Alto Global is the single greatest advantage the firm offers webmasters and the most important aspect that sets the company apart from the fierce competition in online payment processing.
“Having been on the merchant side for years, we understand the needs of merchants completely,” says Lazarito. “We’ve customized the experience of managing your own private merchant account for the adult webmaster. It’s become impossible, with all the changes in the economy, to run a status quo situation where everyone has the same type of business. As a banking partner, you need to adapt to the changing needs of the merchants, and we do that very well. The new site owners may have VOD, or a dating site, or live cams, and those are massive undertakings that require a different banking strategy for each. You have to be well versed to understand the needs of each company because they have so many different divisions under one roof. You have to be flexible, because every set of needs is different.”
Based on the time and trouble that Alto Global took to insure meeting the varied needs of webmasters and banks, the firm’s business model looks like a winner.