Sage Buys Verus For Credit-Card Processing

Sage acquired Verus Financial Management for about $325 million in cash and plans to build Verus' credit/debit-card and check-processing capabilities into Peachtree Accounting and then into the rest of its accounting portfolio, Verni said. For Sage's army of accounting and ERP partners, this represents an opportunity for add-on sales and an annuity stream, he told CRN on Monday.

"There is both an opportunity [for partners] to make money up front, selling credit-card readers and so on. But beyond that, they will get a cut of each transaction," Verni said.

Verus' technology handles point-of-sale authorizations and transaction settlements for Visa and MasterCard as well as check conversion.

Nashville-based Verus will form the core of Sage's North American Merchant Services Division, according to a statement from Sage Software, a unit of the U.K.-based Sage Group.

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Sage's other accounting offerings include Accpac, BusinessVision, MAS 90, MAS 500 and MAS 900, along with SalesLogix and ACT sales-force automation products.

Though most partners were unaware of Monday's Sage news, Paul Schmidt, president of Dallas-based Computer Evaluations, is intrigued by the idea. "We get intermittent requests for credit-card processing. There hasn't really been an integrated solution to offer yet," he said. Computer Evaluations sells and supports Sage's SalesLogix and Act lines, as well as Microsoft CRM.

Mark Soltis, CEO of Soltis Consulting, Topeka, Kan., also welcomed the news. "Right now, customers have to go to someone else for credit-card processing, but we end up supporting it anyway," he said.

"Our software has to interface with their transaction software, and typically we have to call them to set it up. And they never know enough about their own offerings to be of help, whereas Sage has the best tech support of any software company I've dealt with," Soltis added.

Credit-card and check-processing integration has become a battleground among accounting vendors. Two years ago, Intuit which leads the league in personal finance and tax software, bought Innovative Merchant Solutions. That company competed with Verus. And, when Microsoft launched its Small Business Accounting product last year, a key selling point was tie-ins to Chase Merchant Services for such tasks.