A New Way to Pay with USAG

Photo by Sara Shier Photography.

Fadi Cheikha is building relationships with the equine community to ease payment processing

From the magazine

BY April Bilodeau

As equestrians, we are constantly looking for ways to maximize our time at the barn and with our horses. But equine pursuits comes with many challenges, both in the tack andon the business end.

US Alliance Group Inc. (USAG) is working to ease challenges for all companies using their payment processing systems so that merchants can close their books and get back in the barn.

Collecting payments for all businesses, equine-related or not, can be a difficult process behind the scenes. Using certain payment processing companies could mean costly fees, a lack of account protection, held payments, and more. USAG is seeking to change all that.

Named one of Inc.’s 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America for multiple years, USAG is committed to providing quality merchant services and maintaining ongoing relationships and equitable partnerships with their clients. Their mission is to be a “one-stop-shop” for all payment and product needs. The company puts its focus on facilitating diverse payment processing for each unique merchant, making prioritizing the client their goal.

USAG has a personal understanding of the equine community as many of their employees are riders, volunteers, or investors in the industry.

What They Do

USAG is a payment processing company that facilitates the relationship that businesses need with banks and credit card networks in order to accept digital forms of payment (debit cards, credit cards, and ACH transactions).

The company offers solutions such as physical terminals, point-of-sale systems, and online gateways for secure in-person and online transactions.

They also provide individual merchant accounts, high-risk processing, customized contracts, U.S.-based customer service, and pricing structures to meet the specific needs of each business.

USAG’s Chief Executive Officer, Fadi Cheikha, prides himself on doing things by the book. Cheikha makes it a point to get to know his clients on an individual level, so USAG is able to provide everything the merchant needs and nothing that they don’t.

“I am fairly new to the payment processing industry and to USAG, but what I can tell you from working for Fadi for the past 8 months is that he prides himself on helping business owners thrive,” Mario Quintana, Director of Marketing at USAG, tells The Plaid Horse. “Fadi runs a company with high ethical standards and family values.”

Photo courtesy of USAG.

Bringing Passion to Business

While working in finance is his profession, Cheikha is passionate about the equine world. All of his children ride horses, including his daughter Jacquie Cheikha who has been making a name for herself in the show jumping arena and appeared on the April 2023 cover of The Plaid Horse.

“As a successful business owner and passionate equestrian, I understand the complexities of the equine industry and the importance of having a reliable payment processing company. USAG has catered specifically to equine industry merchants’ unique needs for over 7 years,” says Cheikha.

As Cheika focuses on moving his company towards helping more businesses, the integration into the equine world only seemed natural.

“When the conversation came up about who would use our system in the equine world, we did a full analysis of business types and industries,” says Quintana.

Their analysis resulted in an overwhelming amount of potential for business owners in the equine world, such as trainers, veterinarians, barn owners, and equine insurance agencies, to name a few.

Cheikha’s mission is to streamline operations and provide peace of mind processes for equine merchants, resulting in more time for these merchants to grow their businesses and enjoy their horses.

For Their Merchants

With competitors such as Square, Stripe, or PayPal, USAG is a greater choice for theequine community due to its consideration for the merchant.

“Many of our competitors have a flat fee for payment processing, regardless if a customer is paying by swiping, taping, or making an online payment,” says Quintana. “We don’t have a flat fee as we customize all our rates to match the business needs and payment type.”

The result is that USAG merchants do not overpay for processing fees. This allowsmerchants to put money back into their businesses.

USAG offers a wide variety of payment portals, ranging from in-person terminals, to Wi-Fi equipped products, to online payment platforms. Contrasting larger vendors, USAG’s fully in-house operation and dedicated merchant service teams offer equine businesses more secure payments, risk monitoring, and convenient access to knowledgeable and friendly customer support.

“Many businesses experience a loss of cash flow as their funds are tied up with large payment providers for anywhere from four to nine months,” says Mark Davis, Chief Revenue Officer of US Alliance Group. “With a smaller company like USAG, we monitor our individual merchant accounts closely, assess any risky transactions, form personalized relationships, and make it easy for our merchants to receive their settlements on time. Holding funds from our merchants like that is just not an option.”

Supporting the Horse World

Currently, US Alliance Group works with Nilforushan Equisport Events and Equilife StyleBoutique and hopes to expand to more equine-focused companies in the coming year.

“When you join the USAG family, we help you streamline your payment processing, providing you with peace of mind, so that you can focus on growing your business while supporting the equestrian community,” says Cheikha.

For more information on USAG and how they can be a benefit to your business, visit www.ecspayments.com/equestrian-payment-processing/.