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Mercantile Launches Industry-Specific Credit Card Platform That Supports Small Business Success

Company raises $22 million, partnering with the American Optometric Association, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, and more to provide custom-built card programs for members

Mercantile, the industry-specific credit card platform designed to meet the unique needs of small businesses, publicly launched today to help SMBs succeed in an increasingly tough environment. By creating customized credit card programs based on industry-specific needs and partnering with leading industry organizations, the company returns more relevant benefits and rewards to cardholders than any other card out there. Mercantile is starting in the healthcare sector and will soon expand to other markets. Initial partners include the American Optometric Association, the Opticians Association of America, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, and the Medical Group Management Association.

Mercantile is launching with $22 million in total funding, including a $15 million Series A led by Index Ventures, with participation from seed investors First Round Capital, General Catalyst, SV Angel, Operator Partners, Box Group, and others. With this capital, Mercantile plans to further invest in product development, as well as build out its partnership and go-to-market teams

“Mercantile is applying the latest in fintech to small business markets that have been grossly underserved,” said Mark Fiorentino, Partner at Index Ventures and new Mercantile board member. “Hundreds of billions of dollars in total payments flow through small businesses each year, but it can be very difficult to tap in if not approached correctly. Creating co-branded card programs with industry-specific players allows for scalable distribution while the SMBs benefit from amassing the purchasing power of an enterprise sized customer.”

A New Model for Industry Leaders

Mercantile partners with industry-specific software providers and associations to distribute custom-built cards as an added benefit to their members and customers. By working with these organizations, Mercantile is able to unify the purchasing power of SMBs within a given industry to negotiate with suppliers and deliver 5-20% discounts on the items most impactful to their business.

With Mercantile, distribution partners benefit from:

  • Reduced churn and increased engagement: Mercantile gives partners the ability to offer a superior credit card product built around their industry’s specific needs. Mercantile’s white-label cards become an important piece of the partner organization’s services.
  • Additional revenue: Mercantile delivers money straight to each partner’s bottom line through interchange revenue sharing opportunities.
  • Co-marketed products: The Mercantile team works with partners to develop co-marketing campaigns and acts as an extension of each partner’s team to ensure program success —developing content, sending strategic emails, participating in webinars, and more.
  • Fast and simple onboarding: It’s less than 30 days from when a Mercantile contract is signed to when branded cards reach customers’ hands, exponentially faster than other options.

“We worked closely with the Mercantile team and were delighted by the card program they designed for our members. This is the first time anything of this nature has been created that truly maps to our members’ needs,” said Bob Kehm, Managing Director of the American Optometric Association. “The response from our members so far has been incredible, as Mercantile has delivered exactly what was promised.”

Card Programs With Purpose

Small businesses have always been vital to the U.S. economy. Today, SMBs generate 44% of economic activity, yet they pay more than large corporations for the items needed to run their businesses. Large corporations have access to far greater rewards, points, and working capital float whereas small businesses have been limited to cards that are essentially dressed up consumer versions designed to treat every small business the same.

Mercantile gives small businesses the cost-saving benefits and rewards they deserve, including:

  • Vendor discounts: Mercantile negotiates with key suppliers to deliver discounts of 5-20% on top vendors.
  • Cash back: Cardholders receive 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Relevant bonuses: Sign-up bonuses of up to $1000 go directly to dues, membership fees, or other professional costs cardholders are already paying.

And just as importantly, small businesses don’t have to pay annual or hidden fees, Mercantile doesn’t impact personal credit, and the cards don’t require a personal guarantee.

“The AOA Business credit card has already been a positive in my practice,” said Dr. Matt Jones of Family Eye Care. “The initial bonus of my AOA dues rebate was a nice perk, and the subsequent cash back rewards have been really helpful to us. On top of this, supporting the AOA has always been a priority in my career. Being able to do that while my practice also benefits makes me feel great about using this card.”

With early and enthusiastic feedback like this from cardholders and distribution partners alike, it’s clear that small business owners finally have a card built for them and their industry.

“We succeed by helping small businesses better compete in an environment that’s increasingly dominated by the big guys,” said Sam Poirier, co-founder and CEO of Mercantile and recipient of the Peter Thiel Fellowship as well as the Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneur Award. “We’ve spent an incredible amount of time interviewing business owners within the industries we serve to understand exactly what their financial needs are and built a modern card platform to help them succeed.”

To learn more about how Mercantile is different from any card on the market today, please visit http://www.getmercantile.com.

About Mercantile

Mercantile builds industry-specific credit cards that help small business owners succeed. By creating customized card programs based on industry-specific needs, Mercantile allows leading industry organizations — like the American Optometric Association and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology – to offer a modern, branded credit card to their customers. Mercantile negotiates on behalf of cardholders to deliver meaningful discounts on industry essential items and cover relevant association dues or monthly subscriptions. Learn more at http://www.getmercantile.com.

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