Be Persistent

Entrepreneur Magazine Q & A

Tom Epstein knows a thing or two about franchising success. After all, he’s a franchisee himself and owns a company that works with hundreds of franchise brands to help them manage payments. Epstein founded Franchise Payments Network in 2006. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., the 30-person team at FPN handles payment processing as well as gift and loyalty programs exclusively for franchise systems.

Named 2018 and 2019 Top Franchise Supplier by Entrepreneur Magazine FPN works with close to 180 franchise brands and thousands of their franchisees, Epstein says. Some of FPN’s biggest clients include brands like Nathan’s, OxiFresh, Mac Tools, and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. Epstein shares talks about payments and loyalty programs, and shares his best insights on what it takes to succeed in franchising.

What’s your best advice for franchise owners in regard to payment systems?

[Epstein] You want to be sure your pricing is consistent across your brand just as you would any other line item in your P and L and as a company you understand the service needs of your franchisees.

One thing to be careful of is more POS companies have a payment processor that they prefer you work with. They can process with just about anyone but push you to their partner as they will get a revenue share back from them that they rarely disclose to you. FPN does not do that—we work with all POS companies, but the franchisor is our customer not the POS company so we don’t pay the POS company giving us the ability to pass the best rates possible through to your franchisees.

Payments systems are evolving. What’s ahead?

[Epstein] Technology is moving very quickly in POS. Equipment is getting less expensive and software is now housed in the cloud for easier updates and enhancements. At this point, I wouldn’t be considering any non-tablet POS. The POS at the check-out station will likely be a thing of the past in fi ve to 10 years. You will be able to pay for things in the isles or from a simple tap on your phone as you walk out the door after your items are scanned via your mobile device.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve seen owners make with their loyalty programs?

[Epstein] I always tell people to look at loyalty as a way to get your customers to do something that they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Don’t reward them for what they are already doing. Incentivize them to do something more; to come back more often or buy more/ different items. Otherwise you are just giving away margin.

If you could tell franchisees one thing about success, what would it be?

[Epstein] Persistence! When I started FPN I had no “plan B.” It was do or die and there were times early on when other people would have just quit but we always found a way to get through it. Same with franchises and franchisors. I have been on the board with a franchisor and I own two fitness franchises. There is no issue that cannot be resolved. You cannot lose if you don’t quit


Contact for more information on payment processing or reach out to to learn about our loyalty solutions for franchise brands.


Special thank you to Entrepreneur Magazine for making this interview possible.



Results Speak More Than Size


FPN ranked TOP FRANCHISE SUPPLIER in Entrepreneur Magazine two years in a row!

Why we’re grateful for our ranking…

Think about this for a moment… FPN out-ranked companies like World Pay, Square, First Data, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Paypal.

  • World Pay is a $2.7 Billion company with 10,000 employees
  • First Data is a $6 Billion company with 25,000 employees
  • Square was founded by Jack Dorsey, who started Twitter and has taken in over $600 Million in investment money
  • PayPay was founded by Peter Theil, who is also on the board of Facebook and has Elon Musk (Space X and Tesla) as a board member and investor

FPN, on the other hand, was founded in 2006 and has about 30 employees. Our fearless CEO, Tom Epstein, started FPN from a severance package and stock option funds. Since then, FPN has never taken on an outside investor, but instead grows steadily over the years.

How did FPN rank amongst these giants? 

Simple — FPN doesn’t have 30,000 employees with a bunch of shareholders to answer to. As a company, we are nimble and can make decisions on product and procedures very quickly as our clients need them. We have a vision to service each franchisor and franchisee to extreme satisfaction — often at the detriment of our P and L — just to keep them happy.

We have a small, but passionate team who understands we are working with people. People who are entrepreneurs. People who have invested everything they have into their business. People who have also bootstrapped their own franchise and are depending on vendors like us help them run their businesses and become profitable. In a weird way, the other companies we are listed with are the very reason FPN exists.

Not to take anything away from those other guys — they all have great business models — it’s just not who we are or honestly who we want to be. FPN will never be the biggest merchant processor company, nor do we want to be. Our goal is only to be the best and to never forget that our merchant partners/clients are the reason we are here.

In closing, a very big Thank You goes out to all of our merchant partners/clients, both big and small. Over the years, you have trusted FPN to move your money safely between your account and your customers!  We are here because of you and for you, always.


New Chip on the Old Card: October Deadline Looming for EMV Payment Readers

As you go about your day-to-day routine, you may have noticed some new ways to pay; and if you received a new debit or credit card recently, you also may have noticed the new chip embedded in it.

Grocery stores,  shops, pharmacies, and large national chains all seem to be installing new customer-facing devices to enter your credit and debit card information. For instance, you can now insert your card into a slot on the front of one of these new devices and enter a PIN. The device will read the encrypted information on your card’s chip and pass that information, along with your PIN, to the card processor for decryption and authentication.

In essence, you are getting a double dose of  unlike with a traditional swipe card, whose magnetic stripe data is easily read by any swiper in the event a physical card is stolen or lost. The chip in the new cards comes encrypted, making your data much harder to obtain for any would-be thief.

As the cards you currently have begin to expire, replacement cards all will have a chip in them, beginning this year. For a time, they still will have the magnetic stripe on the back, but in a few years that will stop completely. By the end of 2015, an estimated 29 percent of cards in the U.S. will have the chip, and the numbers will grow rapidly from there. All EBT and other government cards issued since the beginning of 2015 already have them.

Why should any of this matter to franchisees?

As of October 2015, all new cards issued and all installed terminals must have this capability (one exception is petroleum merchants with automated fuel pumps, who have until October 2017). To help prevent data breach and fraud, U.S. card issuers have adopted the EMV standard (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) that has been in place in most of the rest of the world for years. For merchants who have not installed the proper  to read these cards by October, the liability for any potential breach will shift completely over to them. (Note: Installing the new hardware will replace the need to continue meeting all your current PCI requirements.)

One of the things I often see with franchise systems is that they tend to run on limited resources, and many do not have a chief technology officer to keep these issues top of mind. Many franchise systems either don’t require a specific type of payment terminal or they lean on a POS vendor to ensure everything is in place around payment technology and PCI compliance. Neither is a good approach, because there is so much more to the customer data  equation than what any single vendor looks at.

Most POS companies are scrambling to meet the October deadline. And even if you are on track to meet this deadline, questions remain. Do you have a plan in place to ensure you are installing the new hardware and/or software in time? Are there cost considerations preventing you from making the upgrades? Do you understand the reasons you need to do this? Maybe this is a good time to to review your POS system in general.

To succeed in this transition, you need a comprehensive strategy that includes not only your POS system, payment processing, and gift/loyalty vendors, but also your IT, operations, and maybe even finance. If you have not yet started this process you are already behind.

With all the new technology available today, perhaps now is a good time to move to one of the newer tablet-based systems. Most can be installed for about the same cost as upgrading your current POS.

If you have to upgrade your systems for EMV anyway, perhaps you should also look at adding NFC (near field communication). NFC is the technology that enables ApplePay, Google Wallet, and CurrentC. This technology is not really new, but Apple’s entry into the game has breathed new life and interest into these payment methods. Consumers are increasingly adopting these methods–and of course the younger your customer base, the more likely they are to want to use this option.

My bottom-line advice to you is that time is getting short and you need to move on this quickly. But don’t act rashly. Have a conversation with your department heads, trusted vendors, and FAC. Since you must make changes anyway, make the right changes–those that will carry you years into the future, not just a quick fix you will have to revisit in the not-too-distant future.

Tom Epstein is CEO and founder of Franchise Payments Network, an electronic payments processing company dedicated to helping franchisors and their franchisees improve system performance, increase revenue, and reduce expenses. Contact him at or 866-420-4613 x1103.



FPN’s eCommerce solution has all of the security and features imaginable—all in one, easy-to-use package. Beyond simple card gateway processing and comprehensive reporting, FPN offers the following:

  • Integrated web cash register software
  • ACH (Automated Clearing House) capability
  • Recurring payments
  • QuickBooks™ integration
  • Sales tax calculation
  • Sophisticated fraud protection
  • Simple API for integration into proprietary software or POS solutions
  • Fully PCI Compliant
  • Integrate the latest forms of payment like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Pay Pal

The FPN eCommerce solution provides our chargeback protection at no additional charge. This provides address verification, CVV2 and CID, IP address frequency and negative database checks to limit exposure to fraudulent transactions.

Making it easy for customers

Ever call your credit card processor and get bounced around and asked a ton of questions who you are and how you are processing before they even begin to figure how or who should be helping you? At FPN we know who you are and know how your chain is processing and in most cases know exactly the types of issues you are likely to have and how to resolve them quickly.  we know the other vendors that maybe effected by these issues and are happy to work with them until we get a total resolution to your issue. No other processor can or will do this.

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Credit Authorization & Acceptance

Low Cost Credit Authorization and Acceptance that takes advantage of the latest advancements in technology like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and CurrenCe

Backed by the largest card processors, FPN provides state-of-the-art, low-cost EMV and NFC credit and debit “check card” authorization and acceptance solutions for franchises. Supporting all major electronic cash registers, software products and card terminals, FPN can meet all of your card acceptance needs for one location or tens of thousands.