Just like you, we run a business, and we know the importance of income. That’s why we’re making it a little easier for you to get paid. Since 1997, we’ve helped thousands of businesses of all types and sizes accept credit cards easily, while keeping it affordable, secure, and reliable.
Today, where most everyone uses automated phone systems and email, we still like the old-school way of keeping things personal - you'll talk to a smart, hardworking, and friendly person every time you call us. We do appreciate modern technology though, and bring you forward-looking payment solutions when they first become available.
From business analytics to the latest fraud control technologies, we handpick tools that help your business perform its best. After all, for us, it’s all about supporting your growth and watching you succeed.
Behind every smooth-running, successful company is a group of hard-working individuals who team up to create an outstanding product and deliver exceptional service. We are that team.
We may be one of many companies in the payments industry, but we are one of the few with nearly two decades of experience in our line of business. Many of our team members have been working in payments for a long time, giving us the upper hand when it comes to knowledge of payments and understanding of merchants’ business needs. So when you need help, we’ve got your back and you can always count on a friendly and skilled customer service representative to be there for you to guide you every step of the way.
Beyond the world of payments, we’re a very diverse group of folks- we’re fitness lovers, foodies, sports enthusiasts, actors, vegans, martial artists, bookworms, tech geeks, and adventurers. We also speak several languages including Armenian, Farsi, Hindi, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Cliff Teston, CEO & Partner
With 25 years of executive management experience in the payments industry, Cliff is responsible for the development and execution of the company’s strategy and leads the implementation of the company’s long-and-short-term plans.
Before founding Signature, Cliff was Vice President of Sales at a very prominent payment processing company. During his time there, its parent company was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in the US.
Cliff is a part of the Advisory Committee for “The Green Sheet,” which is the first publisher to focus exclusively on the payment industry's ISO and merchant level salesperson channel. He is also a regular speaker at industry events and is a contributing author to several major publications. Outside the office, Cliff is a skilled, talented, and passionate real estate developer who can turn a seemingly lost cause into an unrecognizable property. Cliff has two golden retrievers, Buddy and Casey, and – although you would never be able to guess by looking at him – is a grandfather, twice.
Kirk Allen, COO, CTO & Partner
Kirk oversees all aspects of operations, compliance, and technology at Signature. He is also in charge of running daily operations including customer service, terminal deployment, and underwriting. Kirk developed Signature’s internal system, proprietary merchant portal that allows merchants to effectively manage their credit card processing anytime, and agent portal where agents and ISO’s are given tools and reporting features such as application tracking, merchants’ sales activity, residual reporting, and service tickets.
Kirk has worked in the payments industry since 1994. Prior to creating Signature, he was Vice President of Information Systems and Chief Information Officer at one of the largest payment processors in the industry.
Kirk is passionate about fitness and teaches a popular spin class in West Hollywood. Kirk is also a comic book enthusiast and has a collection of action figures, some of which you can find in his office. He, too, has a dog – a maltipoo named Anna Mae.
Christine Bednar, CFO & Partner
Christine has been in the payments business for nearly 25 years and oversees all financial forecasting, budgeting, and asset management for Signature.
Christine previously served as Vice President at AdGroup. While at AdGroup, she handled all marketing and advertising when the company created seven new divisions. In addition to the overall strategic marketing direction of these companies, she was responsible for cost control, budget preparation, and profitability. Earlier still, Christine worked for Young & Rubicam as an Account Executive on high profile accounts such as Lincoln/Mercury and Chevron.
Outside of the office, Christine has cultivated her green thumb to a point where she’s able to produce her own wine, which she pairs with a good book on her off time. She is the mother of two teenage boys and has a German shorthaired pointer named Lucy.
Sam Avello, President
Sam is responsible for leading the continued growth and expansion of Signature Card Services as he oversees its day-to-day business operations. Sam is a veteran of the payments industry with a proven executive leadership track record as an entrepreneur leading a successful start-up as well as being an executive in large organizations. Prior to joining our team, Sam worked for First Tennessee Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and several different ISOs. In the past 15 years, he has built, redesigned, and reengineered numerous direct and indirect sales organizations domestically and each time exceeded goals and expectations. His in-depth knowledge of the payment space and career experience give us the advantage we need to continue our strong growth momentum as more merchants become aware of the value that Signature delivers. Sam’s leadership skills and in-depth experience gives him the unique advantage needed to grow our organization, develop its leaders, and focus on merchant success.
Sam enjoys sports, good food, and spending quality time with his wife and two sons.
Jordan Stewart, VP of Business Development
Originally from Liverpool, England, Jordan Stewart is a well-rounded sales professional who understands the merchant services industry from numerous perspectives. His industry experience includes everything from operations to door-to-door sales. Before joining the Signature family, he served as VP of Sales for a large Merrick Bank ISO. His in-depth knowledge, passion, and dedication make him the ideal fit to lead our ever-growing Sales Department. In his spare time, Jordan and his soccer enthused family enjoy spending time outdoors with their English Bulldog, Cali.
Anush Amiryants, EVP of Marketing
Skilled is an understatement when it comes to Anush’s marketing and branding expertise. With over 20 years of experience in her back pocket, she’s responsible for the creation and execution of innovative campaigns designed to build and maintain strong brand recognition and awareness for Signature and its products. Under her leadership, the company developed and successfully managed four independent brands.
In the past, Anush led brand development and management for an international media corporation, where she handled the company’s positioning with its Fortune 500 clients. She was also involved in high-profile projects with The White House, The Export-Import Bank of the United States, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the US Congress.
In her spare time, Anush volunteers as a crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line. She is also a talented chef who brings the best dishes to company potlucks. Anush has a love for planes and when she was a child, she could tell what type of plane was flying overhead based on how its engine sounded. Anush has two sons and is the odd one out with a cat named Fitzgerald.
Anthony Urquidez, SVP of Operations
Anthony puts 23 years of payments experience to use in the workplace, where he is responsible for the overall operations of the underwriting, customer support, deployment, risk, and compliance departments. He is also in charge of the development and maintenance of vendor relationships with banks and business partners. To top it off, Anthony provides daily personalized executive management level support to 100 high-revenue merchant accounts.
In his time before Signature, he was an Account Manager at Cardservice International and, prior to that, at Electronic Card Systems, Inc.
Anthony is a fitness enthusiast and wakes up at the crack of dawn to get his workout fix at Barry’s Boot Camp. He keeps it healthy most of the time and brings home-cooked lunches to the office, but Anthony maintains a balanced lifestyle by baking desserts and occasionally indulging in Vietnamese Pho. Anthony has a keen eye for landscaping and is responsible for keeping his own garden lush and green. He also enjoys hanging out and playing in the park with his dog, a shihpoo named Gracie, and often ends up visiting her at lunch to take her on walks. Anthony loves spending time with his family and grabbing dinner with friends.
Stacey Klein, General Counsel & Vice President
Stacey is the first woman in our twenty-year history to hold the position of General Counsel and Assistant Vice President. As our in-house counsel, Stacey oversees the legal aspects of our business and safeguards our reputation by making sure Signature complies with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
Before joining Signature, Stacey worked as a business litigator. She went to the University of California Los Angeles for her Undergraduate Degree, and pursued her Juris Doctor at Loyola Law School – where she was an editor for Loyola’s Entertainment Law Review. Stacey is a member of the State Bar of California and Washington DC Bar.
When she’s not in the office, Stacey takes trapeze classes – she’s already completed a ten-week course and plans on enrolling in another. She also enjoys photography and uses her talent when she’s traveling. In fact, Stacey has been to six of the seven continents. Stacey is also a baking enthusiast and is known for her apple pie and homemade ice cream. And, although we have yet to try the pie, we can vouch for her banana bread – it’s the best we’ve had yet.