While merchant processing and debt collecting isn’t what first-graders usually list as their dream job, Jessica Devenish has made a life and a living in the industry for 18 years.
She started in the check collection industry and also owned her own debt collection company, Checknet.
“We had many ‘check readers’ out in the retail marketplace all over the state where merchants would verify against our check database when accepting checks as a form of payment,” Jessica says. “The equipment used for the check verification system was also the same for merchant services. And we would be helping merchants with credit card processing issues while we were out there servicing the check systems. We were repeatedly asked, ‘Can’t you do my merchant account too?’”
So Jessica started merchant processing systems literally overnight. Hundreds of her check collection clients jumped on board when she offered the new merchant services.
What have you loved about merchant processing?
Two things: first was having my husband, Kelly, join our Checknet team as our merchant services division leader. Second, is the excitement and thrill from existing clients when we launched the new division. We couldn’t keep up with the demand for the first two years. The growth was expansive for me personally and professionally. I learned a lot as CEO and leader over those growth years. We made a lot of mistakes, and I learned my leadership style and operational strengths and weaknesses.
What does your industry look like now?
Payment methods, competition and the industry as a whole is a completely, different landscape now. We have gone from dozens of service
providers in our local business environment to hundreds just in Utah,
with thousands of options nationally. Another change is how confusing
all the options and solutions are to business owners. They want to make the best decision for their company, however the information can be overwhelming. We try to alleviate that for them.
What do you love about your industry now?
Payment processing is probably the least sexiest industry on the planet
— and certainly far from my dream job which was an “MTV VJ.” However, the thing I’ve always loved is still the same — meeting new people, building long-term relationships and ultimately helping my clients move money more efficiently. And I never get tired of seeing someone’s business venture create value and sales volumes increase. I love watching the “light go on” when we’ve provided a solution that up-levels a
What will the next 18 years look like?
In addition to payment processing, I am working with Ang Black on a new TV sitcom about my family, and it is loosely inspired by the humorous experiences I’ve had living in Utah as a non-LDS person. Things are moving quickly as we’ve sold the rights and are moving forward with the pilot and sizzle reels.