Q&A with Stella Fayman, founding member and Marketing and Customer Service Ninja, FeeFighters
FeeFighters is a credit card processor marketplace for small- and medium-sized businesses. It was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Chicago.
SUB: What is the value proposition FeeFighters brings to the market?
Fayman: Business owners are some of the busiest people you’ll find. When it comes to picking a credit card processor, they want to pick the provider with the best rates and customer service, quickly. Unfortunately, the credit card processing industry makes this increasingly difficult with hidden fees, unreadable contracts, and terrible customer service.
FeeFighters makes the process of choosing a merchant account provider as easy as shopping for a plane ticket. In minutes, business owners can choose the best deal on credit card processing with a reverse auction marketplace that saves the average business owner 40 percent on credit card processing.
SUB: How does the service work?
Fayman: Business owners simply enter in a few data points about their business and are presented with transparent, apples-to-apples bids from top providers who they can trust. Being listed on the FeeFighters marketplace means providers have to follow stringent rules: no hidden fees, no cancellation fees and excellent customer service.
SUB: How did the idea for the company come about?
Fayman: One of the co-founders, Sean Harper, was shopping for a credit card processor for a previous business. He found the process to be terribly confusing and ended up choosing a provider who ripped him off by $40,000 in the first year. He figured, "if this is hard for me, it must be a problem for most business owners." He was right.
SUB: What are your target markets?
Fayman: Our customers are small- to mid-sized businesses who are either wanting to switch their current credit card processor, or get set up for the first time accepting credit cards.
SUB: How are you currently marketing your service?
Fayman: We are engaging in both organic and paid search as well as social media and PR. Much of our business comes from word-of-mouth since our users find us very helpful.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Fayman: Our competition is the old way that credit card processing is shopped for: salespeople knocking on doors and then disappearing after business owners sign a contract. We are trying to establish trust in an industry where business owners have been burned time and again.
SUB: How is your service different from the competition?
Fayman: We are a service for business owners, designed by business owners. The bids from merchant account providers on FeeFighters are full of information and are totally transparent: there are no fees allowed which are not stated plainly in the bids.
SUB: How much outside funding have you raised to this point? Do you anticipate raising any more in the near future?
Fayman: We have raised an A round of $1.6 million dollars from VCs and angel investors.
SUB: Where do you see FeeFighters in roughly a year from now?
Fayman: With thousands of customers, saving more and more business owners 40 percent on their credit card processors. We will have released a ton of great content, grown the team, and made many partnerships with others who aim to help business owners.
SUB: Finally, a question I always ask: as an entrepreneur who has weathered the down economy, what advice do you have for those just starting out—especially in an economy that remains less than dynamic?
Fayman: Now is the time to start a business! The economic climate is getting more-and-more supportive of entrepreneurship. There are more government programs and tax incentives now than there were in years past in order to stimulate new business growth. The only cautionary measure is to have an actual revenue model when you’re writing your business plan or planning your launch. Though this may seem obvious, many startups go into existence thinking product first, revenue later.
FeeFighters – www.feefighters.com