Jonas Reynisson at the Helm of eMerchantPay

John Stuart
In 2002, Iceland-born Jonas Reynisson was celebrating his 13th year as a banker. At that time, he was chief executive of a European bank; and for all he knew, he would have spent the rest of his career doing the same thing — but a meeting that year would change his life forever.

"One of my eMerchantPay founding partners came to me with a business idea," Reynisson remembers. "It was for an online billing company that would become eMerchantPay. I didn't know too much about the online billing business at that stage, but off we went. It was just the three of us with a laptop and a few contacts with banks and merchants. We took things slowly in the beginning, and managed to grow into a decent sized company by acquiring relationships in Asia and Europe. We have 33 employees now running our operations, and an additional eight people doing the IP/IT work, so we have more than 40 people running our business on a day-to-day basis."

"We've reached a stage where we are comfortable with our competitive position in the business," Reynisson said. "We've been fortunate to make the right decisions with a combination of some luck at certain stages."

Obviously, Reynisson's duties as Chairman of eMerchantPay have changed from those early days in 2002.

"In the beginning, I and my founding partners had to do everything," he says, "from authorizing and setting up merchant accounts, to negotiating with banks, to preparing applications for the merchants. Gradually we built an infrastructure, one that I am very comfortable with now, and so my role has changed. I'm more involved now in working out strategy with our key people and developing banking relationships."

This doesn't mean that Reynisson's workload has drastically diminished. On the contrary, his typical day features long work hours. He begins early each morning by checking emails to catch up on what's going on in the business.

"I go over issues from the previous night with merchants and process them," Reynisson said. "Then I move on to whatever issues need to be sorted out. I spend a great deal of time exploring market trends by speaking with our sales people and account managers as part of the ongoing development of our services and product offerings. I speak with different divisions within the company to see about any problems that need to be solved from a banking standpoint."

Reynisson's long hours have paid dividends. eMerchantpay now owned by him and his senior management has become one of the truly dynamic online billing providers, and earned a finalist position for the XBIZ Billing Company of the Year award. Reynisson believes the reason why eMerchantPay stands apart from its competition is very simple.

"We place a lot of importance on stable and reliable banking sources," he offered. "Without strong relationships with good banks, it would be impossible to succeed in this business. In addition to that, we have gathered a team that truly understands our business. Another important ingredient is the knowledge of our operations team. We have a good underwriting team that communicates efficiently with our merchants all day long. Of course, we also stress having excellent service in regards to paying our merchants. Our risk team has developed an excellent knowledge and competence over the years enabling us to better ensure that merchants stay in compliance with the card association rules. And last but not least, we've put together a capable IP/IT team to complete integrations with merchant websites without delays or problems. These are all important ingredients that help us to stay ahead of our competition."

The eMerchantPay business model has been so successful in Europe that recently the company has branched out into the U.S. marketplace. The firm has cemented partnerships with new U.S. acquiring banks and added an American-based team of experts to help the new venture. Now U.S. merchants can take advantage of the eMerchantPay staples — simple and fast approvals, competitive rates, a secure gateway, proven fraud detection, direct merchant accounts, and a wide range of acquirers — to increase their bottom line.

"We've been working with U.S.-based merchants for many years," Reynisson says. "And now with our new banking partners we can offer U.S. clients the ability to process payments both through European banks and also offer them the ability to take advantage of our relationships with U.S.-based banks. So far, our move into the U.S. market looks fine."

One reason for the early success eMerchantPay has enjoyed with its U.S. venture involves the firm's ability to be flexible; offering multiple processing solutions that can be customized to suit the needs of individual clients and merchants.

"We have a number of solutions," Reynisson points out. "We have a fully outsourced solution that allows us to supply merchants with hosted payment pages and manage their billing for them. We also can be flexible when it comes to merchants who want to manage payments themselves. We take pride in being able to provide merchants with several options regarding processing solutions."

Finally, and perhaps most important of all, Reynisson believes the growth and success that eMerchantPay has enjoyed for nearly eight years is directly due to the way the company has marketed itself.

"I think our marketing people have done a good job in promoting eMerchantPay through the Internet and in the trade shows," he says. "Everyone works together on this, and I think it's one of the important keys to the growth and success of any online company. If you can synchronize marketing with other facets of the operation, I think you will have a successful business."

There's no doubt that with Jonas Reynisson at the helm, this philosophy has worked wonders in achieving the strong and respected position that eMerchantPay enjoys today.