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MIC, Lightspeed join forces

August 18, 2003
Filed under Features

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and Lightspeed, the powersports industry’s leading provider of dealer business management systems, of have agreed to work together on an expanded credit card processing program that provides lower costs for dealers and helps fund off-road access programs.
The BankCard program was launched in 1997 by MIC and Boaz Payment Systems. The original program had two goals:

  • To leverage the group buying power of the industry to obtain lower credit card processing rates for dealers, and
  • To get a portion of the card processing fees funded back to the industry, primarily to help pay for legislative and off-road access activities.
  • The program has worked well, says Matt Tanzy, president and managing director of Boaz, and one of the leaders of the program, during a recent interview with Powersports Business.
    More than 700 dealers are participating and more than $350,000 has been returned to the industry since the program began.
    Participating dealers typically save about $3,000 to $4,000 annually with BankCard, but savings have been as high as $86,000.
    There is no additional charge for dealers to participate in the BankCard program, says Tanzy, beyond the normal processing fees.
    Every time a card is swiped at a participating dealership, a percentage of the transaction goes back to the industry.
    “It’s truly a win-win situation,” says Tim Buche, MIC president. “Dealers save substantial amounts on bank processing fees and the industry gets (money) recycled back into enthusiast and growth programs.”
    Moving Forward
    While the program has proven successful so far, there are plans for more expansion.
    The biggest step taken recently has been the partnership with Lightspeed which has upgraded its dealer management software to automatically integrate the BankCard transactions. Now, more than 900 Lightspeed Windows customers will be able to save time and money by using the new credit card interface developed by ProQuest, Lightspeed’s owner.
    One card swipe by the dealer automatically sends a card number to Boaz for processing and into the Lightspeed dealer management system where the sale and authorization number are automatically recorded.
    “What seems like a small change,” says Laurn Rice, ProQuest Powersports vice president, “will benefit our dealers exponentially during the busy summer months; not only will they save money with the lowest rates around, but they will save minutes on each and every credit card transaction.” That includes ringing up a tee-shirt sale or collecting a down payment on a new $20,000 motorcycle.
    The Lightspeed credit card interface is available to ProQuest customers without charge. Credit card swiping hardware can be purchased for less than $100.
    If Lightspeed users do not have the upgraded version of the NXT program, it can be purchased for $470 or it can be financed for $30 per month.
    Most dealers can be up and running with the new program within 10 business days.
    The next Steps
    If all Lightspeed dealers participate in the BankCard program, says Tanzy, it will provide a base of some 2,500 dealers. That will provide leverage to expand the program to other portions of the powersports industry.
    “If we have an installed base of 2,500 dealers,” says Tanzy, “we’ll begin contacting finance (sources) to see if we can consolidate all finance operations. The easier we can make this industry, the better it will be for all of us.
    “It will increase customer satisfaction; they’ll buy more and buy more frequently since it’s not such a laborious process.”
    Including outside finance companies could require creating a common computer language that could be used by all participating companies, but Tanzy doesn’t see this as a problem.
    “We’ve written software outside of Lightspeed; we have experience in writing software for interacting with these finance companies.”
    Tanzy expects to begin contacting finance companies and writing specs for the project early next year.
    Major wholesale distributors such as Tucker Rocky and Global Motorsports (Custom Chrome and Motorcycle Stuff) also are interested in possibly participating, says Tanzy.
    “It will be cheaper for a distributor to process dealer orders and it will be easier for them to hold the line on dealer prices,” says Tanzy. “Also, a portion goes back to MIC. So, in addition to dues, the distributors will fund MIC through rebates. That could be a substantial contribution.”
    When participating, the dealer would simply use his corporate or personal credit card to pay for his purchases from the distributor. The card processing would be handled at the distributor end.
    For more information on the BankCard, contact Boaz at 866/992-2737.

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