The Five Best Small Company Charge Card Processing Companies

Paying with credit card

Unless of course your online business includes managing a lemonade get up on a corner of your street, eventually you&#8217re gonna need to accept debit and credit cards as payment to be able to compete in today&#8217s marketplace. Clients are more and more counting on their &#8220plastic&#8221 to create purchases, and therefore transporting less money. eCommerce – something which barely existed two decades ago – has become a significant competitor to physical stores. The greater recent creation of smartphones, and also the mobile payment features which are being put into them, promise to consider this evolution even more by permitting customers to leave both their plastic and their funds in your own home.

Basically we&#8217re still a lengthy way from a really cashless society, the variety of processing debit and credit card payments have elevated dramatically in only yesteryear couple of years, and also the set-up costs came lower to the stage that the tiniest business are able to afford to provide this method. While accepting charge cards has typically needed a substantial purchase of card-studying terminals and costly point-of purchase (POS) systems, today&#8217s options leverage smartphone technology and cloud-based data storage to supply exactly the same abilities inside a lighter, less expensive, and much more mobile package.

In ’09, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey introduced Square, the very first service that permitted retailers to simply accept charge card payments utilizing their smartphones. Square incorporated a card readers which, when mounted on a smartphone, could browse the magnetic strip info on a person&#8217s debit or credit card. The Square application provided an interface between your card readers and also the merchant&#8217s take into account tracking transactions. While Square remains the leading player in the area of mobile payments today, additionally, it offers quite a bit more competition. Today&#8217s small business operator has quite a number of providers to select from. While all provide the same core function (i.e., debit and credit card processing), each provider also provides improvements and options that differentiate it from the&#8217 competitors.

So, which fits your needs? The reply is likely to rely on the character and size your company. Would you operate from a conventional brick-and-mortar establishment? Would you sell online, either solely or along with an actual business location? Is the business a complete-time occupation having a large amount of sales, or perhaps is it simply a component-time side gig? Below, we&#8217ve put together our top chioces one of the current crop of card-processing services, and summarized what we should like (and don&#8217t like) about all of them. Regardless of whether you&#8217re managing a large store or simply selling fresh produce from the back of the truck in the local famer&#8217s market, there&#8217s a card-processing service that&#8217s best for you.

Dharma A Merchant Account

Dharma A Merchant Account got its name in the term dharma, which can be found in several Eastern religions. Although it often means a variety of things and there’s no direct translation, it roughly alludes to some &#8220right lifestyle.&#8221 Individuals at Dharma take this seriously, supplying a full spectrum of charge card processing services for any fair and reasonable cost. Their fee structures are transparent – interchange-plus prices can be used solely and you will find no annual charges. Additionally they don&#8217t charge account setup charges, early termination charges, or PCI compliance charges. Dharma is exclusive in the realm of charge card processing companies for the reason that they donate an astonishing 50% of the profits to charitable organization, living as much as their motto &#8220Commerce with Empathy.&#8221

Additionally to merchant services, Dharma offers a number of wireless and wired countertop terminals for in-store use. Their terminals are EMV-compliant as well as support Apple Pay. Dharma supports mobile swiping through Authorize.internet, as well as uses ShopKeep, our favorite iPad-based POS systems. Authorize.internet may also support on the internet and mobile payments, and integrates with QuickBooks.

Dharma easily provides the fairest and many transparent fee structure in the market. Additionally to some flat $10.00 monthly fee for store and eCommerce accounts, transactions are billed based on an interchange-plus cost model. In-person transactions are billed .25% above cost, plus $.10 per transaction, while eCommerce transactions are billed .35% above cost, plus $.10 per transaction. More complex charges (for example Address Verification Charges) are clearly typed on Dharma&#8217s website.

While there’s no minimum monthly volume requirement, Dharma freely acknowledges their full-service merchant services don’t make sense financially for low-volume companies processing under $10,000 monthly in transactions. In case your business falls into that category, they recommend either PayPal or Square.

PROS:

  • Full-range of services and equipment for storefront and eCommerce companies
  • Great customer care
  • Transparent prices without any additional charges
  • Discounted rates for non-profits

CONS:

  • A bad fit for low-volume (under $10,000 monthly) accounts

To learn more about Dharma, see our complete review here.

CDGcommerce

cdgcommerce-logo

Another our favorite providers, CDGcommerce has been available since 1998 – lengthy enough to possess determined what must be done to operate a effective processing company and keep customers happy. CDG stands out of the crowd by not charging you the nickel-and-cent hidden charges that many others in the market are well known for. Their merchant services include no account setup charges, no PCI compliance charges, no monthly minimums, and month-to-month billing without any early termination charges.

A fundamental credit card merchant account with CDGcommerce costs only $10.00 monthly, and includes free utilization of their proprietary Quantum payment gateway/virtual terminal (a totally free Authorize.Internet gateway can also be available as a substitute). Based on your requirements, you can include capabilities similar to their cdg360 security package, which supplies $100,000 in data breach/thievery protection, PCI-DSS vulnerability scans, customized security alerts, and many other features – all for $15.00 monthly.

Basically we normally recommend buying your charge card terminals outright rather of leasing them, we’ve made the best for CDG. Instead of lock you into an costly, four-year lease, CDG only charges $79 each year for terminal insurance. Wireless terminals may also need a $20.00 monthly data plan as well as an additional $.05 per transaction processing fee. This can be a far better deal than the usual standard terminal lease, which could finish up costing your 1000s of dollars within the full term from the lease.

CDG also provides very competitive processing rates. All their prices is interchange-plus and disclosed online. Listed here are their current rates:

  • Online: interchange + .30% + $.15 per transaction
  • Retail: interchange + .25% + $.10 per transaction
  • Mobile: interchange + .25% + $.10 per transaction
  • Non-profit: interchange + .20% + $.10 per transaction

With features such as this, CDGcommerce hasn’t generated a lot of complaints from dissatisfied customers through the years. They’re, however, the only company we’ve seen in which the Chief executive officer has personally walked directly into address the couple of complaints which have from time to time tricked in. Because of CDG’s things to look for and support, however, he hasn’t had to get this done very frequently.

PROS:

  • Interchange-plus prices
  • Month-to-month billing without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges
  • Free virtual terminal/payment gateway
  • Things to look for

CONS:

  • Only accessible to all of us-based retailers

For any more in depth take a look at CDGcommerce, make sure to take a look at our full review.

Helcim

&#8220Trust, transparency, and fair prices&#8221 is Helcim&#8217s motto, plus they meet it by supplying probably the most up-front, clearly-described prices structure of the charge card processing companies we&#8217ve reviewed here. A Canadian company, they likewise have a workplace in San antonio and supply full support to all of us-based retailers.

Helcim provides a full gamut of services and equipment for storefront an internet-based companies. The website features a number of EMV-compliant charge card terminals, beginning at $199. Terminals with NFC capacity for Apple Pay support start at $329. Unlike a lot of their competitors, they encourage US people to buy their terminals outright, instead of renting or leasing. Helcim will reprogram your present equipment free of charge whether it&#8217s up-to-date. Regrettably, Canadian EMV-compliant terminals are not shipped to become transferred or sold again, so Canadian customers will need to make use of the rental option or purchase a new machine. Renting on the month-to-month basis (that is totally different from leasing) is often the smartest choice for Canadian retailers.

Helcim supports eCommerce through their Helcim Virtual Terminal, one hundredPercent web-based solution that processes both on the internet and manual payments on your pc, generating receipts that may be emailed or printed. Including an internet-based virtual terminal, payment gateway with API, support for recurring billing, billing information vault storage, e-invoicing, shopping cart software integration, and located payment pages. No additional software or hardware is needed. On top of that, you receive all of these features for any flat $25.00 monthly fee.

Mobile payments are supported with the VirtualMerchant Mobile application for android and ios. This has a free universal card readers that connects to your smartphone&#8217s audio jack (additional visitors $45 each). There&#8217s additionally a flat $30.00 fee every month to have an limitless quantity of users.

Helcim utilizes a Cost+ prices model, with a monthly subscription fee and interchange-plus prices for every transaction. Retail users pay $12.00 monthly, while eCommerce users pay $25.00 monthly for that Helcim Virtual Terminal service. Support for mobile payments needs a $30.00 monthly subscription. Additionally towards the per-transaction interchange rate billed through the issuing charge card company, Helcim charges .18% + $.08 per transaction within the interchange rate for retail and mobile payments. Online transactions are billed .36% + $.25 per transaction, as well as the relevant interchange rate. Helcim doesn&#8217t charge charges for account setup or termination, and PCI compliance is incorporated within the monthly subscription fee. Helcim&#8217s website features a detailed explanation of the charges, and several truly eye-opening disclosures about how exactly their bank-owned competition is ripping you served by hidden charges and lengthy-term contracts.

PROS:

  • Very transparent fee structure
  • Excellent customer care
  • Very competitive rates for companies processing over $2,500 monthly

CONS:

  • Not suited to really small companies processing under $2,500 monthly
  • eCommerce minute rates are greater for Canadian customers

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Payline Data

Payline Data covers all of the bases for small company transactions, from mobile an internet-based payments to in-store sales. They provide easy-to-understand prices plans which are very economical, specifically for low-volume sellers. However, the organization&#8217s website fully explains all the additional features as well as their connected costs, which means you know in advance that which you&#8217ll need to pay. Payline also stands out of the crowd for his or her corporate philosophy of charitable giving and support for non-profits through discounted prices as well as their &#8220Commercial Co-Venture&#8221 program.

For traditional, in-store charge card transactions, Payline offers a number of EMV-compliant charge card terminals. Additionally they provide a virtual terminal, plus a USB-connected device that enables you to definitely process charge card transactions from the Internet-connected computer. Payline Gateway ties your physical hardware for your internet account, allowing online transactions and instantly generating detailed analytical reports. Payline also provides NFC-capable terminals that support Apple Pay (at no additional cost).

Payline’s standard merchant services cost you a flat $15.00 monthly and have interchange-plus prices. Billing is month-to-month, without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges. Retail prices is interchange % + .2% + $.10 per transaction. Online prices is interchange % + .35% + $.10 per transaction. In case your business processes greater than $80,000 monthly, enterprise prices with lower rates can be obtained.

For eCommerce retailers, Payline also provides a number of bundled prices plans which include features you’ll have to setup and run an internet business. Options incorporate a Standard plan featuring predetermined fee prices for small companies and startups, and Professional and Enterprise plans for bigger, competent companies. The second two plans feature interchange-plus prices and various features that aren’t incorporated within the Standard plan, for example website hosting and website setup.

Payline’s Standard plan costs $29.00 monthly and expenses a set 2.9% +$.30 per transaction processing rate. The program features a secure payment gateway and virtual terminal for manual order entry, in addition to online shopping cart software integration. You’ll need to provide your personal website hosting and PCI security scans are just like a choice. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent economical option for a little online business, particularly if you’re just getting began.

The Professional plan costs $79 monthly featuring interchange-plus prices, with rates beginning as little as .49% per purchase. You’ll would like to get an estimate prior to signing up, as the actual processing rates will often be greater compared to marketed “as low as” rate. Additionally to each of the features from the Standard plan, the Professional plan includes website hosting, website setup and personalization, and PCI security checking. It’s a great option for a recognised business, regardless of whether you sell only online or along with an actual retail presence.

With regard to added large companies, the Enterprise Plan includes all the same features because the Standard Plan, plus website name registration. Interchange-plus processing rates start as little as .29% per purchase. The Enterprise Plan costs $159 monthly. It’s only cost-effective for any large, established business.

Payline also provides additional optional features, just like an iPad-based POS system and support for mobile payments via smartphones. While these functions cost extra, prices is extremely competitive. See Payline&#8217s website for details.

PROS:

  • Fair prices with easy-to-understand contracts with no hidden charges.
  • Great customer support, including phone and email support.
  • Integrates with Apple Pay along with other mobile wallet services.
  • Month-to-month contracts without any early termination charges

CONS:

  • Presently only accessible in the united states and Canada.

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Square

Finally, there’s Square, the earliest and perhaps best-known company within the mobile payments industry. It’s worth noting that although Square will help you to process charge card transactions and run an eCommerce website, it doesn’t give a full-service credit card merchant account. Due to this, you won’t obtain a unique Merchant ID number or the type of 24/7 customer support that normally includes one. While it’s still a great option for startups and smaller sized companies, it’s a tad too limited for bigger, competent retailers.

Square was the very first company to provide smartphone-based mobile payments if this launched in 2009. Today, it’s lots of competitors, nevertheless its insufficient a regular monthly fee, reasonable transaction charges, and powerful features still turn it into a great choice, specifically for low-volume sellers. Square replaces the standard charge card terminal having a simple dongle that attaches for your smartphone or tablet and works along with Square&#8217s mobile application to swipe debit or credit cards. Square supports retail locations, eCommerce, and (naturally) mobile payments.

The center of Square&#8217s product is its group of charge card readers. Square’s original card readers was free, however it could only read magstripe cards. While it’s still available, most users may wish to obtain the new, EMV-compliant readers. Such as the original readers, it connects to the headphone jack of the smartphone and works with the Square application. At just $29.00, it’s one of the most affordable EMV card readers available. Square also provides a better card readers that reads EMV-enabled cards and supports uses NFC technology to aid contactless payments for example Apple Pay, Android Pay, yet others. The Square contactless readers communicates together with your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth, and charges $49.00.

Square customers may also connect to the Square Dashboard, available on the web or through the Square Dashboard mobile application. This free service features a number of effective features to handle your company, including inventory management, invoicing, and detailed analytical data.

Square&#8217s simple prices structure is among its most engaging features. Every debit or credit card swipe incurs a couple.75% fee. When the transaction needs to be joined by hand, the charge increases to three.5%, plus $.15 per transaction. Money is deposited in to the user&#8217s account within 1-2 working days, unless of course fraud is suspected.

Regrettably, among the disadvantages in using Square is the fact that fraud frequently is suspected, for a price that&#8217s well over the industry average. This frequently leads to sudden, inexplicable account terminations and account holds as high as 180 days. You will find multiple causes of this, only one major factor is the fact that Square accounts are aggregated together, instead of each account getting its very own unique Merchant ID number. In addition, Square&#8217s customer support hasn&#8217t been the very best. Initially missing any type of phone support, Square has progressively improved as a result of user complaints, and today offers both email and make contact with support. Their online understanding base for self-assistance is also excellent.

To make use of Square, you&#8217ll need to setup a totally free Square account, obtain a compatible card readers, and install the Square Readers application. The Square Readers mobile application requires either an apple iphone, iPad or ipod device touch running iOS 8. or greater, or perhaps an Android phone or tablet running Android 4..

PROS:

  • No monthly account charges.
  • Free and occasional-cost card readers available.
  • Free use of effective business management and analytical tools through the web or smartphone application.
  • No lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges.

CONS:

  • No unique Merchant ID number for merchant services.
  • Frequent account holds and account terminations.

To learn more, see our complete review here.

CONCLUSION

Regardless of whether you&#8217re attempting to juggle multiple retail locations or simply selling products online, among the five services we&#8217ve highlighted here ought to be a &#8220best match&#8221 for the business. While each service features its own standout features, all of them offer competitive rates, transparent prices, and a simple, low-cost setup. Square is really a solid contender for really small, low volume companies, while Payline, Helcim, and CDGcommerce be more effective for bigger stores. Should you&#8217re managing a non-profit, Dharma might actually be your very best choice. The point is, many of these services will, generally, supply you with a better, less expensive service than you&#8217re prone to get with the traditional, bank-owned charge card processing companies. You may also compare our top processors (aside from Square) mind-to-mind using our Credit Card Merchant Account Comparison Chart.

The publish The Five Best Small Company Charge Card Processing Companies made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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10 Explanations Why You Shouldn’t Lease Equipment

When the time comes to exchange or change your equipment, you&#8217ll rapidly observe that there are plenty of companies prepared to finance your assets with equipment leases. These businesses frequently give a very helpful service, designed for companies that should spread their costs out with time.

This information is not, however, concerning the reasons for signing a lease. Leases could be harmful territory, and many reasons exist you need to particularly give equipment leases a large berth. Listed here are 10 of them&#8230

1. Leases Tend To Be More Costly

Let&#8217s obtain the apparent taken care of first. It&#8217s cheaper to simply spend the money for ticket cost for a device rather than spread that cost out more than a couple years (with interest). If buying the equipment outright is affordable, you need to certainly consider doing this.

2. Leases Aren&#8217t Simple

There&#8217s something to become stated for simplicity. The greater &#8220moving parts&#8221 inside your existence, the greater areas you will find for problems to build up. While there&#8217s pointless to visualize something will fail, getting additional payments to keep an eye on&#8212and ensuring the relation to your lease are, used, that which you decided to in writing&#8212can open home windows for unforeseen problems to go in.

3. The Laws and regulations Governing Operating Leases Are Altering

Leases fall under two broad groups: capital leases and operating leases. Capital leases mostly are made to facilitate possession. Operating leases, however, function a lot more like rental contracts by having an choice to buy in the finish from the lease. These leases have a couple of advantages: (usually) lower monthly obligations and the opportunity to discount your monthly lease payments like a rental expense.

Beginning in December 2018, the Financial Accounting Standards Board will formally tighten the factors for which qualifies being an operating lease. It&#8217s a reasonably complicated issue, however the lacking it’s that companies be needed to acknowledge liabilities and assets for operating leases with terms more than 12 several weeks.

Should you&#8217re hoping to get a practical lease for tax purposes, see a CPA first to make certain you realize the alterations.

4. You Might Be Fully Accountable For the gear Before the Lease Has Ended

An additional advantage provided by traditional leases previously was that fixing reasonable deterioration was frequently the task from the lessor as opposed to the lessee. Such plans are less frequent now, and also the required possession are usually signed to the lessee.

Capital leases, a few of which are pretty much made to replace financing, are more inclined to function by doing this.

5. Financing May Be a Better Deal

Equipment leasing is really as popular because it is permanently reasons, but if you possess the time, credit, and enough money to pay for a lower payment (usually around 20 % from the cost), there&#8217s a high probability you&#8217ll be capable of getting better rates having a loan.

Bear in mind, however, that loans don&#8217t always cover &#8220soft costs&#8221 connected using the purchase, whereas leases sometimes do.

6. You Might Create a Renter&#8217s Mindset

We reside in a duration of subscription payments. From your entertainment for your groceries for your shaving needs may be put purchased like a subscription service.

These monthly extractions of wealth exercise very well for that companies supplying them, but aren&#8217t always the very best factor for you personally like a consumer. Small, damaged-up expenses could be simple to ignore, however they accumulate rapidly with time. It&#8217s worth considering the recurring expenses inside your existence and asking if you want much more of them.

7. You Might Not Anticipate To Handle the Financial Implications

Should you didn&#8217t curently have a cpa groing through your books, you will need one for on the lease. Working out what you could and may&#8217t subtract out of your taxes, in addition to through an accurate continue reading your roi (Return on investment) may need more math than you&#8217re comfortable doing by yourself.

8. You Could Encounter Trouble If you wish to Sell Early

When you purchase an item, despite financing, you typically be capable of market it if you’re able to&#8217t manage the instalments or decide you don&#8217t need it any longer. But because binding contracts, leases could be a little more like straightjackets with regards to getting rid of troublesome assets.

Make sure to understand as to the degree you are seen as the &#8220owner&#8221 from the equipment you&#8217re leasing and should there be any escape clauses inside your lease in the event you encounter problems lower the street.

9. Late Fees Can Also Add Unforeseen Costs

You may be a diligent individual who pays all of your bills promptly, what in case your business comes with an abnormally bad month, or perhaps a large one-time expense?

Many lessors charge significant late charges for missing a repayment date. Should you aren&#8217t relatively certain you&#8217ll cover the cost of every payment per month promptly, you might want to reconsider leasing.

10. Peace of Mind

Granted, your mileage can vary, but there&#8217s something to become stated about not getting to bother with all of the issues described above (and more). While writing a large check to purchase equipment might be painful within the short term, the strain and ramifications of this decision will most likely be shorter-resided than should you lease.

Did we convince you? Otherwise, take a look at a lot of our equipment leasing reviews and discover the offer that best works best for your organization.

The publish 10 Explanations Why You Shouldn&#8217t Lease Equipment made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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7 Methods to Finance Your Franchise

franchise financing

Possibly you like the thought of purchasing right into a attempted-and-true business design, or else you like the thought of getting built-in assistance whenever the need arises. Largest, you&#8217re studying this since you either wish to begin a franchise, or else you&#8217ve already launched into your trip of franchise possession.

Financing is really as pertinent to franchise proprietors because it is holiday to a business proprietors, but it’s not easy to understand where to start searching. Baffled regarding where one can obtain the extra capital you have to start your company or ensure that it stays running easily? Here are a few ideas.

The Franchiser

Some franchisers offer special financing deals for franchisees. A couple of offer in-house inexpensive loans, whereas others reduce and sometimes waive franchise charges. These plans could be advantageous simply because they&#8217re produced by a business that understands franchise plans. However, other areas offer better financing options.

Franchise Financial Institution

Rather of offering their very own financing, some franchisers help entrepreneurs with third-party companies. Since these lending company already link using the franchiser, application and funding normally take significantly less time than other sources might.

Franchisees benefit by getting a loan provider that knows the expense connected with beginning ready to go a franchise. Normally, these businesses might help out during any stage of managing a franchise.

Banks and Lending Institutions

Because franchises involve already attempted-and-true brands, franchisees possess a statistically simpler time getting loans or lending institutions. The applying process is lengthy and detailed, and also the lender might request personal collateral. However, you’ll be able to obtain low interest.

Small business administration Loan

Loans - Blue Ring Binder on Office Desktop with Office Supplies and Modern Laptop. Loans Business Concept on Blurred Background. Loans - Toned Illustration. 3D Render.

The Sba (Small business administration) doesn&#8217t make loans&#8212it guarantees loans produced by banks and lending institutions. These financing options tend to be more reliable in the loan provider&#8217s perspective since the Small business administration promises to get a few of the cost if you’re able to no more spend the money for loan. Just like bank or lending institution loans, franchisees possess a greater possibility of being qualified for Small business administration loans since the franchiser already comes with an established brand.

The Small business administration includes a registry of pre-approved franchises they&#8217ve already vetted. In case your franchise isn&#8217t out there, you may still apply, however the process usually takes longer.

Online Loan provider

Loan Borrowing Budget Capital Credit Accounting Concept

Since banks tightened their lending standards following the 2008 recession, many business proprietors have experienced to appear elsewhere for capital. An array of online lenders have leaped directly into fill the gaps left out. These lenders are considerably faster and simpler to be eligible for a than the usual bank or Small business administration loan, which means perfect for companies that require financing in a rush.

This method isn’t for startups, though. Online lenders normally require a minimum of a couple of several weeks running a business before they trust you sufficient to allow you capital. The more you&#8217ve been around, the greater your rates of interest and charges is going to be.

Credit line

A phrase loan is generally the greater option for franchisees who’re opening their first location or undertaking other costly tasks. For smaller sized expenses like temporary income problems or repairs, you might like to consider a credit line.

Similar to you are able to having a charge card, you are able to tap into your line of credit anytime, and also you&#8217re only billed interest on the capital you&#8217ve attracted. Credit lines can be found from a number of sources including banks, lending institutions, an internet-based lenders.

Equipment Financial Institution

rent or buy mortgage for bank loan for home ownership renting or buying a house a flat building or property road sign arrow

Does your franchise require costly equipment? If you are able to&#8217t manage to get it up-front, you will want a tool loan or lease. Loans are perfect for equipment that’ll be helpful for any lengthy time leases are perfect for equipment that goes away rapidly or becomes obsolete. Whichever you select, you&#8217ll have the ability to pay in regular installments rather of having to pay the entire cost up-front.

For additional info on equipment financing, read this article.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you&#8217re about to begin a franchise, or else you&#8217ve already accepted, there are many franchise financing possibilities. Whatever path you select, have comparisons to make sure you&#8217re getting the best offer.

Take some more help locating the perfect loan for you personally needs? Shoot us an e-mail. We&#8217re here to assist!

The publish 7 Methods to Finance Your Franchise made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Top 7 Things to Look for in a Merchant Account

online transaction

While credit cards have existed in one form or another in the United States for almost a century, it’s only been during the last few decades that their use has become commonplace. It wasn’t all that long ago that most people made just about every purchase with either cash or a personal check. Today, most consumers have a variety of credit and debit cards, and prefer to use them instead of cash whenever possible. As a business owner, it’s more important than ever that you have the ability to accept credit cards, whether you’re running a traditional retail store or selling items online. Simply put, credit card acceptance translates directly into more sales and, hopefully, more profits.

Unfortunately, accepting credit cards is anything but free. Credit card associations, issuing banks, and transaction processors will all get a cut of every credit card transaction you accept. Obviously, you’ll want to minimize the cost per transaction as much as possible, but there are other factors that are equally important. The processor with the lowest processing rates might not provide the best overall service.

In order to accept credit cards, you’ll need a merchant account. This is simply an account with your credit card processor that you can use to both deposit funds from cleared transactions and also to pay the various fees and per-transaction charges that you will incur. Merchant accounts can also include a variety of associated products and services that you’ll need to run your business, such as credit card terminals, mobile credit card readers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and more.

Selecting the merchant account provider that’s best for you and your business is not an easy task. Too many merchants fall into the trap of simply looking for the provider with the lowest processing rates. This can turn into an expensive mistake over time, as the credit card processing industry is notorious for tacking on a host of pricey – and often undisclosed – monthly and annual fees for just about every service provided as part of maintaining your merchant account. So, don’t get too focused on processing rates – it’s the overall total cost over time that really counts. This includes processing rates, account fees, and other costs (such as chargebacks) that you might have to deal with.

Not all merchant accounts provide the same level of service. Popular small-business processors such as Square, for instance, don’t actually provide a full-service merchant account. While you’ll still be able to process credit card transactions, you won’t get certain features (i.e., a unique Merchant ID number, PCI compliance services, and robust customer service) that full-service merchant accounts include. The lack of these features often create real problems for merchants, with complaints about frozen or terminated accounts and poor customer service being very common. For a very small business that’s just starting out, this might be a reasonable trade-off in exchange for the money you’ll save over a full-service account. However, once your business grows beyond a certain point, you’ll need to transition to a more stable, full-service account and the security features it provides.

We’ve identified seven different features that you need to look at very carefully in selecting a merchant account provider. They’re all equally important, and you’ll want to examine all of them in evaluating any merchant account provider that you’re thinking of signing up with. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to come up with a precise estimate of your overall costs, you should be able to get a pretty good idea by evaluating these seven features.

1. Hardware that meets the unique needs of your business

No matter what kind of business you run, you’ll need equipment to process your sales. Even a purely eCommerce venture is still going to need some hardware – even if it’s just your own personal laptop. For most other businesses, however, your hardware needs will be more extensive. Basically, you’re going to need some type of equipment to read your customer’s credit card information and send it to your processor for (hopefully) approval.

Options for reading credit cards are a lot more robust today than they were just a few years ago. In addition to the traditional wired credit card terminals commonly seen in retail establishments, there are now numerous wireless terminals and mobile processing systems that combine a smartphone with a very basic credit card reader to offer the same capabilities as a dedicated terminal.

Wired credit card terminals are still the most commonly-used card readers out there, and they offer a number of distinct advantages. Perhaps most importantly, they’re simply more reliable. You don’t have to worry about your wireless internet connection suddenly going down and leaving you unable to process a sale. Wired terminals are also generally better at supporting newer features such as EMV credit cards and contactless payments using near-field communications (NFC), such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and others.

Today, wired terminals are more affordable than ever, and we highly recommend that you buy your own terminals outright rather than leasing them from your merchant account provider. Unfortunately, the credit card processing industry figured out a long time ago that they could make a lot of money by leasing terminals to their merchants rather than selling them directly. Here’s how the scam works: You sign up for a traditional merchant account, with comes with a three-year contract. You need terminals to actually process your customer’s cards, so you lease them from your merchant account provider. What you don’t realize (and your sales agent usually won’t tell you) is that the lease agreement for the terminals is actually with a separate company – and it’s for four years, not three. Not only that, but your terminal lease is non-cancellable, meaning that you’ll still have to pay for all of the remaining months on your lease if you try to cancel early. Even if you close your account and send the terminals back, many companies will still charge you for every remaining month of your lease. The end result? You’ll wind up paying literally thousands of dollars for a piece of equipment that you can buy outright today for as little as $100.00.

Some companies will even try to tell you that it’s more cost-effective to lease your terminals rather than buy them. Don’t believe it! In almost all cases, this is simply not true. If you read the terms of your leasing agreement and most importantly, do the math, it should be pretty obvious that, in most cases, those “low” monthly leasing fees and associated charges will add up to far more money out of your pocket than simply buying your own equipment. One possible exception to this general rule is if your business needs a large number of terminals, but you don’t have the capital available to buy them all at once. Given that businesses large enough to need a lot of terminals generally aren’t short on capital, this is a pretty unlikely scenario.

Another very unique exception is if you sign up with CDGcommerce, one of our favorite processors. Rather than lock you into an expensive, four-year contract, CDG provides their terminals in exchange for a $79.00 per year insurance fee. This works out to about $6.59 per month, far less than what most other processors will charge you in leasing fees. This fee also includes any necessary re-programming and software updates, plus you can also exchange your terminal for a newer model. It’s the one exception we’ve found where you’ll get a good deal by “renting” your terminals from your merchant account provider.

When shopping around for terminals, there’s one last thing to bear in mind. With the advent of EMV terminals in the US in 2015, there are a lot of older, magstripe-only terminals still out there. Not only are these terminals essentially obsolete, they’re also potential liability traps with the EMV liability shift that occurred on October 1, 2015. Many of the true bottom-feeders in the processing industry are still trying to push these terminals onto unsuspecting merchants. Sometimes they’re advertised as being “free” (they’re really not), and other times they come with a traditional lease. Now that it’s 2016, there is simply no reason whatsoever to buy or lease a non-EMV-compliant terminal. Yes, some customers will still have magstripe-only credit or debit cards, and this will be true for some time. Nonetheless, since almost all currently available EMV-compliant terminals also include a magstripe reader, you should never accept a terminal that doesn’t include both capabilities.

In addition to EMV, you’ll also want a terminal that supports contactless payments through near-field communications (NFC). NFC-based payment systems allow customers to leave their wallets behind and use their smartphone to make a payment. Apple Watch and Android Wear users can also use the technology to make payments with their smartwatches. Currently, the world of NFC-based payments is very splintered, with Apple Pay only working on Apple devices, Android Pay only working on Android devices, and Samsung Pay being proprietary to Samsung’s Android-based smartphones. Despite the confusing choices out there, NFC payments are currently the most secure form of payment that’s available. Read more about it here.

Wireless terminals are also available, and while they’re not necessary for a traditional retail establishment, they can be very useful for any type of business where you have to go to the customer, rather than having the customer come to you. Plumbers, electricians, and others in similar trades will find them essential. If you’re in a business that needs a wireless terminal, realize that 1) the terminal itself will be more expensive than a wired terminal, and 2) wireless terminals also require a wireless data plan (typically about $20.00 per month). Depending on your needs, it might make sense to go with a mobile processing solution, such as Square, as a lower-cost alternative.

Mobile processing itself is a capability that didn’t even exist just a few years ago. Square, launched in 2009, was the first company to combine a smartphone with a plug-in credit card reader, allowing merchants to process credit card transactions anywhere they had cell phone or Wi-Fi coverage. Today, Square has a lot of competitors and many traditional processing companies are trying to get in on the action by offering their own apps and card readers. Unfortunately, none of them offer anywhere near the robust capabilities that Square offers, and many of them are actually more expensive. Square itself is certainly not perfect – complaints about frozen accounts and poor-to-nonexistent customer service are all too common. Nonetheless, it’s a respectable alternative for very small businesses, startups, and seasonal sellers who neither need nor want a full-service merchant account. It’s also a very economical way to add mobile processing to your existing merchant account.

Point-of-sale (POS) systems are also very popular with merchants today, combining transaction processing with database capabilities that allow you to track not only sales, but also inventory, customer relations, employee performance, and numerous other metrics. Modern POS systems truly bring “big data” concepts to small and not-so-small businesses. Again, your merchant account provider will usually have a POS solution that they’ll want to sell to you. Whether you truly need (or can afford) their “solution” is another matter. While a modern POS system is ultimately a software solution, the hardware required to input and display the data involved can vary from a dedicated terminal (such as Clover) to a tablet-based system that runs on your iPad or Android tablet. For most small businesses, we recommend a cloud-based POS solution rather than a far more expensive dedicated terminal. See our Best Small Business POS article for more specific recommendations.

2. Software to keep track of your business and help it grow

The days of tracking your sales in a paper ledger and collecting a shoebox full of sales receipts are, thankfully, long gone. Today’s merchant accounts harness the power of the internet to track and store your account data digitally. Cloud-based systems make that data available just about anywhere, on any internet-connected device. Physical and eCommerce businesses alike will need the appropriate software to take advantage of these capabilities.

If your business operates out of a physical location and you don’t make any sales online, your needs will be pretty simple. One useful product to consider is a virtual terminal. This is simply a software program or web service that allows you to process credit card transactions on your computer using a USB card swiper. While it won’t be quite as mobile as using Square, it will still allow you to process card-present transactions and access your sales data.

eCommerce merchants will have more extensive needs in order to run their virtual businesses. For online sales, you’ll have to have a payment gateway as part of your merchant account. Payment gateways connect customers wanting to make a payment with the bank or merchant account provider that processes the transaction. Most merchant account providers in business today will offer a payment gateway as part of their services, usually through Authorize.net. One of our highest-rated providers, CDGcommerce, will offer you either their own proprietary Quantum gateway or one through Authorize.net – for free. Most other providers, however, charge a monthly fee for payment gateways.

For eCommerce merchants, an online shopping cart that allows customers to select items and place orders is also essential. Shopping carts integrate directly into your website rather than functioning as a stand-alone feature. Shopify, one of our favorites, is perhaps the most well-known online shopping cart. For a good overview of the best shopping carts available, check out our Shopping Cart Comparison chart.

3. Reasonable, transparent fees

Merchant accounts don’t come cheap. In addition to the processing rates you’ll have to pay on each transaction, your merchant account provider will also charge you a bewildering variety of one-time, monthly, and annual fees for the privilege of maintaining your account. For a small or recently-launched business, these fees can quickly eat up your profits and threaten the growth of your business.

Just as there’s no such thing as a free lunch, you’re also never going to find a free merchant account. Merchant account providers have to make a profit in order to stay in business, and they have to charge reasonable fees in order to do so. Traditionally, merchant account providers have relied on tacking a lot of nickel-and-dime fees onto your bill to compensate for the low processing rates they offer to entice you into signing up with them. These fees allow a processor to make money from a merchant account regardless of your monthly processing volume. In fact, they often still make money even if you’re not processing any transactions at all. Fortunately, a number of newer, more technology-focused merchant account providers are disrupting this old business model by offering accounts with low, fully-disclosed fees. It’s no coincidence that many of our highest-rated providers fall into this category.

In evaluating any merchant account provider, you’ll want to look for a fee structure that is both reasonable and transparent. Fees that are in line with the industry average aren’t necessarily reasonable, as there are still a lot of “junk” fees out there. For our purposes, a reasonable fee is one where the account provider actually provides a valuable service in exchange for that fee, and the fee is reasonably related to the value of that service. Fees should also be transparent, or fully disclosed before you sign up for an account. While all of our favorite providers fully disclose their fees right on their websites, most traditional processors do not. Instead, they’re buried in pages of fine print and often not disclosed by sales agents.

So, what kinds of fees might you be charged? Here’s a brief overview of common fees associated with merchant accounts:

Account setup or application fees: While they’re gradually becoming less common, some merchant account providers will charge you a hefty, one-time fee for setting up your account. We consider this a junk fee because it only requires a few minutes of an agent’s time to set up your account, and both the agent and the account provider stand to make money off of you, not the other way around. Usually running around $150 (!), a setup or application fee is a clear red flag that you should avoid doing business with that account provider.

Monthly or annual account fees: Almost all providers – good and bad alike – charge some sort of fee to maintain your account. This might be billed monthly, or charged as an annual fee. Either way, it’s something of a catch-all charge to cover all the things your account provider isn’t charging you for directly. This can include things like PCI compliance scans, “free” credit card terminals, “free” virtual terminals, and other services that come with your merchant account. What constitutes a reasonable account fee will depend on how many services come with your account and whether or not you actually need them.

Monthly minimums: Not a fee in itself, a monthly minimum is a requirement that your business process a sufficient total amount in transactions to incur at least a specified amount (typically $25.00) in processing charges. As a hypothetical example, if all of your transactions were charged a flat 2.0% processing rate, you’d have to process $1,250.00 in total sales in order to meet the $25.00 minimum. You only have to pay if you fail to meet the minimum, and even then you only pay the difference between your actual processing charges and the amount specified as the monthly minimum. While they’re won’t affect a large, established business, they function as a penalty for very small, part-time, and seasonal businesses. If you fall into that category, you’ll want to avoid any provider that includes a monthly minimum in their contracts.

PCI compliance fees: Your merchant account must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) security standards. This protects both you and your customers who, after all, are entrusting you with their credit card information. Since an in-depth discussion of PCI compliance is beyond the scope of this article, you’ll want to read this post for a good overview of the subject.

PCI-related fees come in two flavors: 1) PCI compliance fees, which are fees for services that your processor provides in order to ensure that your account remains PCI compliant, and 2) PCI non-compliance fees, which are effectively penalties for not being PCI compliant. See our article on the subject for more in-depth information. PCI compliance fees are a reasonable cost of doing business as long as a) your provider is actually doing PCI scans and taking other steps to protect your account and your customers’ data, and b) the fee is reasonable ($99.00 per year is the current industry average). On the other hand, you should never have to pay PCI non-compliance fees. If your provider can’t keep you compliant, find another provider. Also note that some of the newer providers do not charge a discreet PCI compliance fee. In most cases, you’re still paying for this as part of your monthly or annual account fee.

Statement fees and other “junk” fees: Traditional merchant account providers are notorious for adding any number of miscellaneous fees to your monthly bill, often with little or no actual service provided to you in exchange. While most of these fees are pretty minor and won’t add much to your costs, things like statement fees can add up quickly. Although the processing industry is slowly phasing out the statement fee, there are still plenty of companies that continue to charge it. Statement fees are usually around $8.00 per month. Think about that for a minute. That’s an extra $96.00 per year – just for them to send your statement to you every month. Considering that your statement is automatically generated by software and most companies today send your statement via email, it’s a complete rip-off.

Early termination fees: Most of the traditional merchant account providers in the industry will sign you up for a long-term contract (typically three years), and will charge you an early termination fee (ETF) if you try to close your account early – for any reason. ETFs are expensive (typically around $495.00) and are designed to discourage you from switching your account to a different processor. None of our favorite processors charge an ETF, allowing you to maintain your account on a month-to-month basis with no penalty for closing it.

Chargebacks: Any time your processor has to reverse a charge and issue a credit, you’ll be hit with a chargeback. Chargebacks can occur due to technical errors, returned merchandise, or actual fraud. Even though you as the merchant probably haven’t done anything wrong, most processors will still charge you a chargeback fee (typically about $20.00) to investigation what happened and issue a refund. For more information, see our article on avoiding chargebacks.

4. Fair, understandable processing rates

The processing rate is simply the total percentage of a transaction that you’ll have to pay to your merchant account provider in exchange for their processing the transaction. Processing rates can be very complicated and confusing, especially since the processor only keeps a portion of whatever they charge you. Fees (called the interchange) have to be paid to the credit card association (i.e., Visa, MasterCard, etc.) and also to the bank that issued the card, with the remainder going to the processor. Companies have devised several different pricing models to pass these costs onto you, including the following:

Interchange-plus pricing: Like its name, this pricing model consists of an “interchange” and a “plus.” As we’ve noted, the interchange is paid to the issuing bank and also the credit card association. The “plus” is simply the amount that your processor actually keeps from each transaction. Interchange-plus rate quotes are often expressed as “interchange + X %,” with the X % being the “plus.” Some processors also charge a fixed per-transaction fee (typically $0.10 to $0.25) as part of the “plus.” Because you can easily see exactly how much your processor is keeping from each transaction, it’s considered the most fair and transparent pricing model. It’s also usually less expensive overall than tiered or flat rate pricing.

Tiered pricing: This pricing model consolidates dozens of different processing rates into three tiers: qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified transactions. Which tier a transaction will fall into depends on a number of variables, such as whether the card was swiped or manually entered, what the items purchased were, when the transaction was actually sent to the processor, and many others. Companies offering tiered pricing often only advertise their qualified rates, with phrases like “rates as low as…” In reality, most transactions will fall into the mid-qualified or non-qualified categories, where the rates are almost always much higher.

Flat-rate pricing: eCommerce-focused companies such as Square and PayPal offer flat-rate pricing as an alternative to traditional pricing models. Each transaction is charged a flat percentage rate, and often a fixed per-transaction fee as well. Rates are simple, easy to understand, and fully disclosed right on the companies’ websites. Flat rates are usually higher than what you’ll get with interchange-plus pricing, but companies that offer them also charge you a lot less in monthly and annual fees.

Which pricing model is right for you is going to depend on a number of factors, with your monthly processing volume being one of the most important ones. For small or newly-established businesses with a low processing volume, flat-rate pricing is more economical because you’ll avoid most of the nickel-and-dime fees that make maintaining a traditional merchant account so expensive. On the other hand, a larger business that isn’t as concerned about fees will save money with interchange-plus pricing. For more information about processing rates, please see our Complete Guide to Credit Card Processing Rates and Fees.

5. Honest, non-misleading marketing and advertising

“My sales agent lied to me!” It’s an all-too-common complaint we see from merchants who’ve signed up with a traditional merchant account provider – and it’s often true. Rather than hiring and properly training a staff of professional, in-house sales agents, many companies rely on independent sales agents who are only paid on a commission basis. With practically no educational or experience requirements, just about anyone can become an agent. Combine this with generally inadequate training and intense pressure to close a deal, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Independent agents have a bad reputation for failing to disclose some of the more onerous terms of the contracts they’re selling, especially early termination fees. Yes, there are some naturally talented independent agents who have done well and can provide you with quality service. However, the odds are against it. We recommend that you stick with companies that have their own dedicated, in-house sales staff. Some of the best companies will even assign you a dedicated account representative, which is about as good as it gets.

Online advertising has now become the single most important way to market any business, including merchant account providers. A website can tell you a lot about a company, both good and bad. Unfortunately, most merchant account providers have very poor websites. Filled with misleading advertising gimmicks and lacking any sort of educational information, they frequently tease you with claims of low processing rates, while failing to disclose any of the actual rates or fees you’ll be paying. You’ll know that you’re dealing with a good, ethical company if their website includes some (or all) of the following features:

  • Full disclosure of processing rates and all monthly and annual account fees
  • Educational articles that discuss the details of credit card processing
  • A detailed knowledge base for customer self-service
  • Clear options for contacting customer service (telephone, email, and chat)
  • No misleading low rate claims or “lowest rate guarantee” gimmicks
  • Positive testimonials from actual merchants, including full personal and business names

6. Month-to-month contracts

The credit card processing industry has an absolutely horrible (and well-deserved) reputation when it comes to contracts. Signing up for a merchant account typically locks you into a long-term contract, usually for three years. If that wasn’t bad enough, most contracts also include an automatic renewal clause that will extend your contract for an additional year if you don’t take very specific steps to cancel it ahead of time. Most processors will also include an early termination fee in your contract, which serves as a penalty (typically around $495.00) for terminating your contract early. Some of the worst processors will even include a liquidated damages clause in their contracts, which could potentially cost you even more money if you try to get out of your contract.

Naturally, these one-sided contract provisions have generated a huge number of complaints from merchants over the years. Fortunately, the industry is responding in a positive way, albeit very slowly. Most of our highest-rated processors will allow you to sign up for an account on a month-to-month basis. There’s no long-term contract, no early termination fee, and no liquidated damages clause. Given a choice between the two, there’s simply no reason whatsoever to sign up for anything other than a month-to-month account.

7. High-quality customer service and support

Service after the sale is just as important for merchant accounts as it is for anything else – maybe more so. Things can and will go wrong. Credit card terminals will suddenly stop working on a busy day. Mysterious, unexplained charges will show up on your statement. Chargebacks will occur, despite your best efforts to prevent them. For all of these and many other possible issues, you’ll want solid customer service and support from your merchant account provider.

For minor issues, self-service should always be an option. Good providers maintain extensive FAQs and knowledge bases on their websites, allowing you to fix a problem on your own. This is particularly handy during non-business hours.

Most processors (even the bad ones) offer support via telephone or email. Chat support through the company’s website is also becoming more common. Telephone support that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year is ideal. Realize that many companies offering 24/7 telephone support outsource that function, so you might end up talking to someone who may or may not be able to resolve your problem. Some companies will assign you a dedicated account representative, which is about the most personalized support you can hope for.

Final Thoughts

It’s 2016, and it seems like today just about everyone’s an entrepreneur in one way or another. More people are opening their own businesses than ever before, either as a side gig or a full-time occupation. The advent of eCommerce and low-cost processing options like Square make it easier than ever to start up a business. Whether you’re taking the plunge for the first time or you have many years of experience running a business, selecting the best possible merchant account provider is a critically important decision that can have a real impact on how well your business does.

If you’re just starting out, or your business is never going to be anything more than a side gig, you might not need a full-service merchant account. Low-cost providers such as Square will allow you to process credit cards without having to pay for many of the bells and whistles that come with a true merchant account. At the same time, you won’t have a unique merchant ID number for your account, increasing your risk for account freezes and terminations. Square also doesn’t provide much in the way of customer service, although they are getting better. Larger businesses will definitely need a full-service merchant account for the security features and robust customer service that come with it.

What if your business falls in the high risk category? If you’re a high-risk merchant, your options are more limited and you might not be approved for an account by some of our top-rated processors. Many of the processors that will give you an account will charge you higher rates and fees than the industry average. For a good processor that specializes in high-risk merchants and offers fairly-priced accounts, we recommend Durango Merchant Services.

Despite all the unscrupulous practices in the processing industry, there are some good companies out there that offer high-quality service at a fair, reasonable cost. For a side-by-side comparison of our top-rated processors, see our Merchant Account Comparison Chart. For a more detailed look at the features and benefits of each company, check out this article.

The post The Top 7 Things to Look for in a Merchant Account appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Exactly what is a UCC Blanket Lien?

blanket lien ucc lien

Many online lenders advertise (among other perks) their loans are simpler to obtain since you don&#8217t have to give you specific collateral to obtain financing. Rather, they then need a general lien, known as a UCC-1 blanket lien, in your business assets.

This lien does indeed give companies without compelling assets the opportunity to access financing. However, saying yes to getting a lien put on your company assets shouldn&#8217t be used gently. This kind of collateral gives lots of capacity to the loan provider, and can allow it to be difficult to get additional financing in an affordable price.

In the event you accept a UCC-1 blanket lien to obtain a business loan? Keep studying to discover!

Exactly what is a UCC Lien?

The Fundamentals

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is some laws and regulations produced to standardize commercial transactions across all of the US states. UCC laws and regulations cover many facets of transactions between companies, including collateral. Lenders along with other funders (for example firms that offer equipment leases or invoice financing) can file a UCC financing statement, which lets others know they have a claim to certain collateral in case of a default.

Financiers can file a lien on specific collateral (like a vehicle, a bit of heavy equipment, or perhaps your a / r), or they can claim general rights to all a company&#8217s assets. The second is known as a blanket lien. 

First Position, Second Position&#8230

Even though you don&#8217t default on the loan, a blanket lien may cause trouble for your company. Companies having a lien already on record could have a hard time attaining additional forms of financing.

In occasions when you will find multiple liens put on your company, the very first loan provider to file for a UCC lien claims priority. That’s, in case your business defaults on its financial obligations, the very first loan provider that filed a lien (also referred to as the very first position loan provider) will get first dibs in your stuff. Individuals lenders who filed second, third, and so forth, get second and third legal rights to whatever wasn&#8217t claimed through the first loan provider.

Lenders generally don&#8217t prefer to take second or third priority since the chances they&#8217ll obtain investment back are reduced.

How Lenders React to Existing Liens

Operating a company is not obvious cut some retailers should seek additional types of financing when they have financial obligations outstanding. For instance, within this NY Occasions piece, loan broker Ami Kassar discusses difficulties his clients have observed regarding blanket liens. This specific client was seeking factoring invoices:

[W]e were surprised to understand that the organization had joined right into a purchase-finance deal for a little device a couple of several weeks earlier, and also the equipment seller had placed a blanket lien on our client’s assets, including its receivables. Without removing this lien, the transaction couldn’t proceed since the factor, understandably, was adamant on finding yourself in the very first position around the asset these were lending against.

Within the above scenario, the loan provider needed to refinance the gear loan with funds in the factoring invoices agreement. By doing this, the very first financier removed their lien and also the brand new one could take first position.

Other lenders might accept take second position. However, in return for the elevated risk, the new loan provider will usually charge greater rates of interest and charges.

A thing of warning: while you will find legitimate situations that you may have multiple loans or other kinds of financing at the same time, be careful about dealing with an excessive amount of temporary debt simultaneously, because it endangers your company as well as your loan provider&#8217s investments.

In the event that you&#8217re seeking multiple kinds of financing simultaneously, it&#8217s better to fully communicate the problem wonderful your financiers to make sure they&#8217re all aboard using the situation.

What Goes On basically Default?

Effects for default depend upon how much cash you’ve still got outstanding, and the number of assets you’ve the loan provider could possibly lay claim that they can.

Because of their nebulously-defined terms, blanket liens take time and effort to enforce. To really lay claim that they can all of your assets, the loan provider needs to get you to the court and win a judgement against you. When there&#8217s a minimal chance they&#8217ll obtain money-back, or maybe there isn&#8217t much money to return, the loan provider might decide a vacation to court isn’t well worth the effort. However, for those who have a sizable amount of capital outstanding, or lots of valuable assets the loan provider could possibly recoup, the loan provider usually takes action.

For additional info on the default process, and the way to avoid defaulting if at all possible, read this article.

UCC Ideas to Safeguard Your Business

Let&#8217s turn these details into action this is how you can preserve your company assets safe as well as your business running as easily as you possibly can.

When applying for a financial loan, lease, or advance, rates of interest and charges are essential, but same with making certain that you simply comprehend the collateral that’s placed upon your business.

The collateral a loan provider requires isn&#8217t always immediately apparent some lenders use vague language to explain the things they require, yet others don&#8217t even file a lien unless of course they think you&#8217re at risk of defaulting. While in doubt, ask your loan provider to completely explain the problem you don&#8217t wish to be surprised afterwards.

Your projects doesn&#8217t hold on there: periodically look at your business&#8217s UCC records. Because UCC documents don&#8217t require your signature, a lot of things may go wrong without your understanding. Your funder might have filed a far more general lien than was decided to, or they might not have removed a lien once you compensated off debt. Each one of these things could be expensive for you or causes of capital lower the road.

Liens filed upon your business could be viewed online, though some states charge small charges for that service.

Blanket liens are frequently inevitable when seeking business financing. Understand what you&#8217re coping with, and also you&#8217ll have the ability to better use this kind of collateral to your benefit.

The publish Exactly what is a UCC Blanket Lien? made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Top Five Most Typical Credit Card Merchant Account Complaints

Complaint box

As it pertains lower to selecting which charge card processor to choose, retailers get their work eliminate on their behalf. Figuring out value goes past money. Choosing what appears is the cheapest cost quote you’ll find might finish up producing the cheapest value, too. Whenever a processor creates trouble for you and also occupies your energy, that decreases value. To determine value, you need to take a look at both the hazards and rewards of using a given company. To evaluate the potential risks involved, you&#8217ll need to examine some complaints.

But there&#8217s an array of complaints available. Which of them are warning flags and which of them in the event you be prepared to appear from time to time? We’ve come up with the very best five common complaints against credit card merchant account providers that will help you comprehend the common complaints against credit card merchant account providers to be able to make an educated decision.

1. Difficulty Cancelling Services

For processors that don’t have early termination charges, merchant contracts are, for those intents and purposes, month-to-month. This will make it relatively simple to cancel services. However for firms that do charge for early cancellation, getting away from your contract could be a bit trickier.

Most retailers with this particular complaint had problems getting ahold of cancellation departments, frequently being shuffled around from department to department until they either threw in the towel or experienced an elaborate cancellation process.

Remember: make certain merchant contracts are cancelled on paper. Otherwise, you could continue to become billed for services, even though you have previously switched providers.

2. Bad/Costly Leasing Contracts

Another common complaint retailers have is the fact that their contracts for leasing terminals are extremely costly. All leasing contracts can be harmful leasing contracts. Retailers will invariably pay more to book a terminal than simply to outright purchase one.

Leasing contracts are usually non-cancellable, meaning that you need to spend the money for entire lease term regardless of what, even though you close your bank account. The all inclusive costs frequently results in the 1000s of dollars for any machine only worth a couple of hundred.

3. Deceitful Sales Tactics/Representatives

The main factor to keep in mind when entering a merchant agreement is to understand that any provider’s first priority is to help make the purchase. That doesn’t mean processors are evil (not every one of them anyway). It will mean, though, that a number of them is going to do some pretty dishonest things to create a purchase.

Many providers will advertise simplified tiered prices systems. Make sure to read the small print though surprisingly couple of retailers be eligible for a marketed rates. For individuals which do qualify, there frequently hidden charges that completely negate any low marketed rates.

First of all, make sure to be skeptical of independent resellers. Many providers make use of these independent agents who get compensated on commission. These sales people might be poorly trained and under more pressure than normal to market, resulting in bad situations for unsuspecting retailers.

4. Poor Customer Support

Remember individuals independent agents? They’re also well known for supplying poor customer support when a merchant has registered. Oftentimes, after they result in the purchase, they’ve already moved to the next possible client.

In such instances, tracking lower your unique account representative can result in the hot potato pass from department to department with couple of to no results.

Need I even mention the frustration of calling a service provider and becoming an automatic answering services?

5. High Charges

This complaint comes from both deceitful sales tactics and bad customer support, but more retailers complain about high charges (particularly termination and PCI compliance charges) greater than other things.

The standard for early termination charges is about $400. However, the web is full dissatisfied retailers who’d to pay for way in addition to that. Frequently occasions, these charges could be hidden or undisclosed through the provider resulting in an awful surprise, particularly when they are available by means of liquidated damages charges.

Considering there are suppliers that don’t charge PCI or termination charges, having to pay these charges, regardless of how low, continues to be excessive a cost.

Honorable Mention: Crooks and Highway Robbery

Whenever there’s a population of individuals with complaints, there will always be individuals couple of that actually want to be heard. Some might appear at first sight so upset they’re frothing in the mouth about minor injustices. But despite these bold initial statements, the physiques of those complaints are usually the same as the other complaints right here. So don’t disregard these reviews.

Conclusion

Obviously, everyone’s knowledge about a specific processor won’t function as the same. It&#8217s vital that you weigh the complaint amount of a business against its processing volume. A processor serving 100 1000 retailers with 100 complaints is really a very different scenario from the processor serving 10, 000 retailers with 100 complaints. That being stated, a processor with many different complaints comparable issue ought to be an instantaneous warning sign. It’s best to understand the possibility problems of the provider prior to signing the dotted line so that you can prevent them throughout the settlement process otherwise bring your business elsewhere.

Still help sorting with the benefits and drawbacks of merchant services? Send us an email and we’ll be more than pleased to assist you.

The publish The Top Five Most Typical Credit Card Merchant Account Complaints made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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6 Things You should know About Leasing Equipment

Possession is a reasonably straightforward factor to know. You just exchange money to have an item, which is yours to help keep. Against that backdrop, leasing equipment is an unusual animal, having a language and logic that may be unfamiliar to a lot of.

Should you&#8217re searching at leasing equipment the very first time, listed here are six what exactly you need to think about ahead of time.

1. The Terminology

Should you&#8217re searching at leases, you&#8217re most likely likely to encounter some terms that seem weird when spoken and appear even strange written lower. For instance, a lessor may be the owner of the asset, as the lessee may be the person having to pay money for doing things. You&#8217ll should also be aware of web site Fair Market Price lease along with a buyout lease. This short article around the basics of apparatus financing explains individuals concepts well.

There are many more terms than we are able to cover here, however if you simply encounter any terms you aren&#8217t acquainted with, make certain you appear them up or at best ask the lessor the things they mean poor the lease. Some companies provide offer useful FAQs for potential customers.

2. Who accounts for the gear?

Probably the most important details you&#8217ll wish to lock lower are questions of possession. Typically, a lease entailed exchanging cash with a good thing&#8217s owner in return for the authority to apply it the size of anything. What didn&#8217t happen, however, would be a change in possession.

That resulted in the lessor was accountable for the reasonable upkeep and upkeep of their home. Consider the arrangement you may have together with your landlord.

You may still find lots of individuals types of kinds of leases, but remember that most of them are structured differently now. Leases that can facilitate possession like buyout leases and equipment financing contracts may transfer responsibility for maintaining the merchandise towards the lessee, so make sure to factor individuals potential costs to your calculation.

3. Are You Currently Searching to possess or Return the gear?

A lease is really a temporary arrangement. Once the lease&#8217s term expires, you&#8217ll need to make the key decision whether to purchase the gear in the lessor, extend your lease, or return the gear.

Whatever you decide and not realize is you should most likely choose to prior to signing the lease instead of waiting until it&#8217s up. That&#8217s since there are different types of leases. A $1 buyout lease, for instance, is made to facilitate possession by distributing the price of the gear out over the size of the word. A good market price lease, however, is nearer to accommodations agreement: your monthly obligations is going to be lower, but the price of purchasing the equipment in the finish from the term&#8211should you decide to pursue so&#8211will be greater.

4. How Rapidly Will the Equipment Depreciate in Value?

Should you aren&#8217t sure regardless of whether you ultimately wish to own or return the gear you lease, a key point to think about is when rapidly the gear will end up obsolete or lose value.

An automobile, for instance, might retain its utility for any decade or even more, while a pc is going to be showing wear and tear through the finish of the leasing term. A good thing that loses its utility and may&#8217t be easily sold again might not be worth owning lengthy-term.

5. Must you Create a Downpayment?

Among the bigger advantages leases offer over equipment loans is you don&#8217t have to generate a portion from the equipment&#8217s costs (most equipment loans won&#8217t cover 100 %).

That doesn&#8217t always mean you&#8217ll be completely staying away from upfront costs, though. You are able to securely have a much to help make the first month&#8217s payment immediately, although a lot of lessors asks during the last month&#8217s payment too.

Furthermore, some equipment lessors might also charge something fee additionally towards the actual month leasing costs.

6. The Price In accordance with Buying

Leases typically tend to be more costly (within the lengthy run) than either purchasing the product outright or purchasing it by having an equipment loan.

That stated, you will find factors which make leasing more financially prudent. If, for instance, the lessor accounts for maintenance, you’ll probably reduce your cost over the size of the word. Also, with respect to the relation to your lease, you might be able to write-off payments off your taxes.

Final Ideas

There&#8217s plenty more to see about regarding equipment leases and loans. Should you&#8217re wondering much more about lessors, take a look at a lot of our equipment funder reviews.

The publish 6 Things You should know About Leasing Equipment made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Very Best Retail Charge Card Processing Companies

Retail credit card processorRegardless of the growing recognition of eCommerce, retail companies are alive and well within the Twenty-first Century. Customers still need look for groceries, visit a cafe or restaurant for supper, and place their vehicle for their auto technician to achieve the oil altered. For almost any brick-and-mortar business in which the customer comes, you’ll need so that you can accept charge cards as a kind of payment. Payment by debit or credit card is becoming more and more popular in the last 2 decades – enough where it’s somewhat unusual to determine a person pay with cash or perhaps a personal check any longer.

Accepting charge cards means getting to obtain a credit card merchant account. Regrettably, the credit card merchant account provider industry includes a well-deserved status for top charges, lengthy-term contracts, and poor service following the purchase. They’re also well-noted for hiding individuals costly charges deep in the small print of the contracts, and employing shady sales representatives who put tremendous pressure on retailers to enroll in a free account, while easily neglecting to disclose the real price of the accounts they’re selling.

It doesn’t need to be by doing this. When a business will get a poor status such as this, it reveals an chance for fair, ethical companies in the future in and disrupt that industry by providing a much better value. Surprisingly, there are several excellent companies available who’ll treat you a lot better than the majority of the traditional credit card merchant account providers. We’ve identified six account providers who offer a mix of services and products that are perfect for brick-and-mortar retail companies. These have consistently been rated 5 from 5 stars at Merchant Maverick. No, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. There’s no such factor like a perfect credit card merchant account provider, due to the fact some information mill more appropriate to various kinds of companies than the others. Nevertheless, you actually can’t fail with the companies profiled below.

The Way We Chose:

There are lots of factors to consider in selecting a free account provider, whether or not you’re within the retail or eCommerce sector (or both). Still, retail companies have specific needs with regards to charge card processing. The most crucial require is in hardware. While an eCommerce merchant may never physically handle a customer’s charge card and may literally run their business from the laptop, a retail business needs a minumum of one charge card terminal. If your company is big enough, you will need several. A place-of-purchase (POS) system may also be very handy, whether it’s a passionate POS device or perhaps a tablet-based system. Mobile payments are another capacity that may be important, with respect to the nature of the business.

We’ve identified the next criteria in evaluating our very best retail credit card merchant account providers. All of the providers the following scored high on all these criteria. Here’s what we should checked out:

  • Hardware. At least, you’re have to a charge card terminal. Some traditional credit card merchant account providers will lock you into an costly, four-year terminal lease, the businesses we chose will either sell a terminal outright or permit you to rent one at reasonable cost. A number of them may even supply you with a free terminal as lengthy while you keep the account open. You’ll would also like a terminal that’s EMV-compliant, and perhaps with NFC capacity too so that you can accept contactless payment methods for example Apple Pay. With respect to the nature and size your company, you might or might not require a POS system or perhaps a mobile payments capacity. Should you choose, all the companies the following may have your back.
  • Sales and advertising. Traditional processors have a tendency to treat their websites exclusively being an advertisement targeted at enticing you into contacting certainly one of their sales representatives. Their sites are full of vague promises about how exactly great their professional services are, however with little if any details about prices. Once they do discuss their processing rates, they frequently make use of a sales gimmick of just quoting the cheapest possible qualified rate, and not mention that much of your transactions is going to be processed in a much greater rate. Account charges are hardly ever disclosed, even though some companies attempt to fool you by only speaking concerning the charges they don’t ask you for, but and not mention the rest of the charges you’ll still need to pay. A great credit card merchant account provider should disclose the expense connected using their services, or at best discuss the variables which go into prices. Fortunately, our top providers have excellent, informative websites that construct at length what you’ll be having to pay.
  • Prices. With any credit card merchant account, prices is available in two groups: rates and charges. Rates make reference to the processing rates you’ll pay to process each transaction. Charges would be the amounts you’ll pay on whether monthly or annual basis a account. While it’s perfectly reasonable to count on paying some charges to maintain your account up-to-date, many processors go overboard with nickel-and-diming retailers for each possible service they offer. In some instances, “junk” charges are billed in which the merchant doesn’t even get any take advantage of the provider (i.e., PCI non-compliance charges). Our online merchant account providers providers offer processing rates that derive from either an interchange-plus prices model or perhaps a subscription plan. The very best providers in the market offer low, reasonable charges. They won’t ask you for for such things as establishing your bank account or supplying a paper statement every month. Additionally they won’t penalize you by having an costly early termination fee should you close your bank account before your contract expires. For any more in-depth take a look at rates and charges, see our Complete Help guide to Charge Card Processing Rates and Charges.
  • Contracts. For several years, the conventional practice within the processing industry is to sign retailers up for any three-year contract, by having an automatic renewal clause that extends anything for further one-year periods. Contracts also incorporated an earlier termination fee, which may be enforced when the merchant closed their account prior to the contract term ended. The result of those provisions was to really make it tough to close your bank account and change to a competing provider without incurring a considerable penalty. Retailers happen to be understandably unhappy with this particular arrangement for several years, and also the market is finally beginning in the future around. Our top retail providers sets you track of per month-to-month contract, and not one of them charges you an earlier termination fee. While you’ll be liberated to close your bank account without penalty anytime, you most likely won’t cash reason to do this unless of course you shut or sell your company.
  • Customer care. This is an additional area where traditional credit card merchant account providers don’t have a very good status. Some providers claim to possess a 24/7 phone line readily available for support, the large amount of merchant complaints regarding customer support shows that it doesn’t always work perfectly. Lengthy waits on hold and the inability to achieve somebody that can really solve an issue are typical complaints. After-hrs support is a whole lot worse, with calls usually being routed for an overseas answering services company staffed by representatives who frequently don’t have the training or authority to resolve an issue. However, you won’t have these complaints with this top providers. These possess a status for supplying top-notch customer care and repair. Unlike most traditional providers, additionally they provide a knowledgebase on their own websites that will help you identify (and perhaps solve) common problems by yourself.

Using these criteria in your mind, here’s a far more in-depth take a look at the most popular credit card merchant account providers for retail companies:

Dharma A Merchant Account

Dharma Merchant Services review

Some credit card merchant account providers stick to fairly conservative, business-like names for his or her companies, Dharma A Merchant Account gets into the alternative direction, adopting a Sanskrit term present in several Eastern religions that roughly means “right lifestyle.” Not only an expensive name, it precisely describes Dharma’s unconventional method of merchant services and charge card processing. Dharma enables you to purchase your equipment outright, and just charges an affordable monthly account fee next. Interchange-plus prices can be used solely, and contracts are month-to-month.

If you simply need a fundamental charge card terminal, Dharma will sell the popular Verifone Vx 520 terminal for $299. This rugged, wired terminal accepts magstripe and EMV cards, in addition to Apple Pay. While you’ll find it for any lower cost online, Dharma’s terminal already comes programmed using the software load to utilize your Dharma credit card merchant account. If you purchase elsewhere, you’ll need to pay a $100.00 reprogramming fee to achieve the software placed on your terminal. Dharma also provides more fully-featured terminals, some with wireless capacity. If you may gain advantage from the POS system, they have the Clover Small, our favorite POS systems for small companies. Mobile payments will also be supported using Clover Go, which posseses an application and a range of whether plug-in or contactless readers.

Dharma’s rates and charges are pretty straight forward and clearly typed out online. All transactions are processed utilizing an interchange-plus prices model, with card-present transactions being billed interchange + .25% + $.10 per transaction. A set $10.00 monthly account fee is you’ll purchase a fundamental account. Some features cost extra, like the Clover Go mobile payments service (another $10.00 monthly), along with a wireless terminal data plan ($20.00 monthly). Incidental charges (for example chargebacks and Address Verification Charges) are listed online.

Sounds too good to be real, right? Well, there’s one catch: Dharma is an excellent deal for retailers processing over $10,000 monthly in charge card transactions, but it’s not cost-effective if you’re processing under that. For smaller sized retail companies, Dharma recommends Square as a less expensive alternative.

PROS:

  • Full-range of terminals, POS systems, and mobile payments solutions for retail companies
  • Simple, transparent interchange-plus-only prices
  • No additional charges or lengthy-term contracts
  • Things to look for and support

CONS:

  • And not the best fit for companies processing under $10,000 monthly

To learn more about Dharma, see our complete review here.

CDGcommerce

cdgcommerce-logo

CDGcommerce is yet another excellent option for retail companies. While a number of our favorite providers only have been around for around 10 years approximately, CDG first began up in 1998. Like Dharma, they provide a simple prices structure, with transparent processing rates and minimal charges. With month-to-month contracts and things to look for, they’re a high option for any retail business.

Ordinarily, it is recommended that you purchase your personal terminals instead of leasing them out of your credit card merchant account provider. CDGcommerce may be the exception towards the rule, although the things they offer isn’t a lease. When they don’t ask you for for the terminal, you’ll need to pay $79 per year for terminal insurance. This can be a fraction of the items most terminal leases cost, as well as helps to ensure that your terminals also have the most recent features and software upgrades. If you’d rather purchase your own terminals, they’ll re-program the right results together with your CDGcommerce credit card merchant account for free. Wireless terminals can also be found, but you’ll need to pay yet another $20.00 monthly for that wireless data plan, as well as an extra $.05 per transaction in processing charges.

CDG also provides POS and mobile payment solutions. Their Harbortouch Echo using the CDG POS+ application is really a fully-featured POS system that’s a great option for retail retailers who require some thing effective than the usual simple charge card readers. It may be rented for $49.00 monthly, as well as the $79.00 each year equipment insurance fee. For mobile payments, CDG provides the ProcessNow smartphone application along with a free plug-in card readers. While there’s no additional fee with this service, the present card readers is magstripe-only.

Like Dharma, CDG only charges $10.00 monthly for any fundamental credit card merchant account. That’s it. There aren’t any PCI compliance charges, no annual charges, no monthly minimums, etc. They don’t even charge for Address Verification. If you would like, you may also add some optional cdg360 security package. This particular service provides you with $100,000 in data breach/thievery protection, PCI-DSS vulnerability scans, customized security alerts, along with a couple of additional features. It’s a great investment.

CDG offers interchange-plus prices solely. Retail and mobile payments are billed at interchange + .25% + $.10 per transaction. If you’re a non-profit, you’ll obtain a .05% discount.

CDGcommerce provides things to look for and support via telephone, email, and live chat. When they don’t receive complaints very frequently, they’re the only real company we’ve seen in which the Chief executive officer has personally responded and provided to correct the issue.

PROS:

  • Affordable terminal and POS equipment rentals
  • Exclusive interchange-plus prices
  • Month-to-month billing without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges
  • Things to look for

CONS:

  • Mobile card readers doesn’t support EMV or NFC payments
  • Only accessible to all of us-based retailers

For any more in depth take a look at CDGcommerce, make sure to take a look at our full review.

Fattmerchant

fattmerchant-logo

Fattmerchant is really a newcomer towards the credit card merchant account industry, beginning in 2014. Concentrating on transparency minimizing costs for retailers, the organization offers several subscription-based prices plans. Under diets, you’ll pay a greater fee every month, however, you won’t pay any markup percentage in your processing costs. Having a sufficient processing volume, this may lead to significant savings in immediate and ongoing expenses over traditional interchange-plus prices plans. Your monthly subscription fee also covers such things as PCI compliance, eliminating the majority of the additional charges that traditional processors like to increase your bill.

With Fattmerchant, you’re encouraged to purchase your own terminals, and they’ll re-program the right results using their services free of charge. Additionally they offer EMV-compliant terminals and POS systems with a few of their prices plans. For mobile payments, Fattmerchant uses Vantiv’s mobile application and card readers. Regrettably, the credit card readers doesn’t have EMV capacity yet.

Fattmerchant offers a range of three subscription-based prices plans. Monthly pricing is $69, $79, and $99, correspondingly. Using the $69 plan, you’ll pay interchange + $.25 per transaction in processing charges. The $79 plan lowers your processing rates to interchange + $.15 per transaction. The $99 plan lowers them even more, lower to interchange + $.08 per transaction. As you may have suspected, the majority of your monthly subscription fee would go to since the markup that traditional interchange-plus prices plans charge. In case your processing volume is sufficient, you could lay aside a great deal in processing charges using these plans. However, it’s most likely not cost-effective for low volume or periodic companies. Fattmerchant doesn’t charge PCI compliance charges, batch charges, or statement charges, as all of these are included in your monthly subscription fee.

While Fattmerchant claims there are no contracts, the things they really mean is there are no lengthy-term contracts. Their merchant services are billed month-to-month, and there’s no early termination fee should you close your bank account.

Overall, Fattmerchant provides an intriguing option to traditional merchant services. Their processing minute rates are very low, even though this is somewhat offset through the high monthly subscription costs. You’ll wish to run the figures and compare your present processing costs as to the you’d pay together to find out if their plans seem sensible for the business.

PROS:

  • Subscription-based prices offers really low per-transaction processing costs
  • Month-to-month billing without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges
  • Things to look for

CONS:

  • Not cost-effective for low-volume companies
  • Mobile card readers doesn’t support EMV or NFC payments

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Helcim

Helcim review

Helcim has lengthy been the most popular Canadian credit card merchant account provider, plus they provide the same high-quality service and transparent prices to all of us-based retailers. The website (both US and Canadian version) is among the most informative ones we’ve seen associated with a credit card merchant account provider.

The organization provides a full-range of EMV-compliant Ingenico terminals at competitive rates. Terminals are for sale to as little as $199, while wireless and NFC-capable models are more expensive. Helcim encourages US retailers to purchase their terminals outright – something we strongly have confidence in. Because Canadian EMV-compliant terminals are not shipped to become transferred or offered, an inexpensive month-to-month rental option (not really a lease) can be obtained for Canadian retailers. If you have your personal terminal, Helcim will re-program it for you personally free of charge (see a list of compatible terminals here).

Helcim will also support mobile payments through Elavon’s VirtualMerchant Mobile application and also the MagTek aDynamo Universal Card Readers. The application can be obtained for android and ios. You’ll pay $30.00 monthly with this service, however, you obtain the same great interchange-plus rates as other retail users. Helcim estimates that you’ll cut costs over using Square should you process a minimum of $2,500 monthly. The very first card readers is free of charge, and extra readers cost $45.00 each. Regrettably, the MagTek readers is magstripe-only and connects to your smartphone’s headphone jack. There’s no EMV capacity yet. The readers also won’t use the iPhone 7 or a few of the newer Android phones.

Helcim is among the couple of credit card merchant account providers in the market to supply a complete introduction to their charges and rates online. For retail accounts, a set $12.00 monthly is you’ll pay when it comes to recurring charges. If you wish to add mobile payments (or go mobile-only), do it yourself $30.00 monthly. There aren’t any account setup charges, and PCI compliance is incorporated inside your fee every month.

Helcim also uses interchange-plus prices (they refer to it as Cost+) solely. All retail and mobile (i.e., card-present) transactions are processed in the following rate: interchange + .18% + $.08 per transaction. These minute rates are for retailers processing under $50,000 monthly. Above that, volume -based discounts can be found which will take the rates lower even lower.

Additionally to transparent, affordable prices, Helcim offers month-to-month contracts without any early termination fee. They likewise have a status for supplying excellent customer care and repair, as well as their website-based understanding-base is among the best and many thorough that we’ve seen. The organization is a superb option for small and big retail companies alike.

PROS:

  • Terminals readily available for purchase at reasonable prices (no leases)
  • Very economical, transparent fee structure
  • Cost+ processing rates
  • Things to look for and support

CONS:

  • Mobile card readers doesn’t support EMV or NFC payments
  • Mobile prices not cost-effective for companies processing under $2,500 monthly

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Payment Depot

Payment Depot merchant services review

Another newcomer around the charge card processing scene, Payment Depot only has been around since 2013. Like Fattmerchant, they provide an innovative subscription-based prices structure that eliminates the markup normally billed for processing transactions and consolidates all of the extra charges for maintaining a free account right into a simple fee every month.

Payment Depot uses First Data his or her backend processor, an agreement which has its pros and cons. Being able to view the sources and equipment of these a sizable processor without having to be bound by their lengthy-term contracts is really a definite plus. Simultaneously, First Data sometimes restricts which companies may use their professional services, from time to time requiring a free account reserve that Payment Depot can’t enable you to get from.

Payment Depot doesn’t lease any terminals or POS systems. If you have your personal terminal, they’ll reprogram results using their system free of charge. Additionally they will sell the Verifone Vx 520, a rugged and popular terminal that supports EMV and NFC payments. Should you prefer a POS system, they offer a number of First Data’s Clover products, such as the Clover Mobile, Clover Small, and Clover Station POS.

When they don’t provide many details about this online, Payment Depot will also support mobile payments via a partnership with SwipeSimple. The organization has lately announced new Bluetooth-based terminals which are both EMV-compliant as well as support NFC payments. Which should help you stay protected from obsolete equipment for some time!

Payment Depot fully discloses their prices right online, so that you can crunch the figures and find out if they’re best for you. All prices plans are subscription-based, with four tiers available. Monthly subscription charges vary from $29.00 for that Fundamental plan as much as $99.00 for that Premier plan. This single fee includes all of the extras that you simply normally purchase individually, including PCI compliance, IRS reporting, monthly statements, etc. While there aren’t any additional charges, you’ll be billed for per-occurrence products for example chargebacks.

Your fee every month includes the markup that you’d normally pay on the per-transaction basis within traditional interchange-plus prices plan. Thus, Payment Depot’s minute rates are really low and straightforward to know. For that Fundamental membership plan, you’ll pay interchange + $.25 per transaction. The greater tiers offer even lower rates, using the Premiere plan only charging interchange + $.05 per transaction.

This sounds great – which is – but you may still find some limitations. Just the Premiere plan enables an limitless monthly processing volume. Another plans have monthly caps that vary from $20,000 for that Fundamental intend to $100,000 to find the best Value plan. Fortunately, Payment Depot will instantly bump you to the next greatest plan should you review these limits.

Although this is a general good deal for a lot of companies, it’s not for everybody. Payment Depot is presently only accessible within the U . s . States. Also, there is a lengthy listing of prohibited companies that basically repel any company within the high-risk category. Lastly, they often won’t be cost-effective for really small or periodic companies.

PROS:

  • Subscription-based prices offers really low per-transaction processing costs
  • Month-to-month billing without any lengthy-term contracts or early termination charges
  • Provides a substantial discount for annual instead of monthly billing

CONS:

  • Only accessible in america
  • Doesn’t accept high-risk retailers
  • Not cost-effective for really small companies

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Pay Junction

PayJunction-logo-square

Pay Junction has been available since 2000, and they’ve created a great status since that time for low overall prices and ideal service. Their primary claim that they can fame is supplying a paperless means to fix transaction processing, using both an online terminal as well as their proprietary Smart Terminal card readers to transmit customers their receipts via email. For that merchant, this eliminates the requirement for paper copies of receipts, as all transaction information is kept in the cloud.

Pay Junction uses TSYS his or her backend processor, however their terms tend to be better. All contracts are month-to-month, and there’s no early termination fee should you close your bank account.

The center of Pay Junction’s payment product is an exclusive, web-based virtual terminal that connects to some payment gateway to process transactions and track sales. Even though many virtual terminals make use of a simple, magstripe-only card swiper that connects for your computer via USB, Pay Junction utilizes a proprietary Smart Terminal. This terminal can accept magstripe, EMV, and NFC-based payments. It’s even suitable for the Apple Watch. It’s readily available for liberated to qualified companies should you provide two months’ price of processing statements to ensure your processing volume.

Pay Junction utilizes a modified interchange-plus prices system. All charge card transactions are processed at interchange + .75%. There’s no per-transaction markup fee as there’s with many interchange-plus plans. As the .75% is a touch high, the possible lack of a per-transaction fee can lead to substantial savings in case your business processes a higher quantity of sales tickets monthly.

Account charges will also be very simplified. As lengthy as you’re processing over $10,000 monthly, there aren’t any. There’s no monthly account fee, no PCI compliance fee, with no payment gateway fee. For companies processing under $10,000 monthly, there’s a $35 monthly account fee that consolidates the suggestions above charges.

Pay Junction includes a status for things to look for and support, and you will find remarkably couple of complaints against them found on the web. Their service works well with companies that process over $10,000 monthly and just require a single terminal.

PROS:

  • Free terminal for qualified companies
  • Simple, transparent interchange-plus prices
  • No account charges for companies processing over $10,000 monthly
  • Things to look for and support

CONS:

  • Less cost-effective as other options for companies processing under $10,000 monthly
  • No smartphone-based mobile payments option

To learn more, see our complete review here.

Conclusion

Retail companies are available in all sizes and shapes, and each business has their own needs. What works well with a car parts store may not be so great for any book shop. All six from the credit card merchant account providers we’ve profiled here offer far better service than traditional, bank-owned providers.

With all of six in our top providers for retail, you’ll have affordable accessibility charge card terminals and POS systems you have to run your company. You’ll also relish transparent interchange-plus prices (aside from Fattmerchant and Payment Depot, designed to use subscription prices). Account charges are extremely low and clearly typed on each provider’s website. On top of that, contracts are month-to-month without any early termination fee, so you’re liberated to switch providers if you discover a much better deal elsewhere.

The majority of our top retail credit card merchant account providers focus on medium-sized or bigger companies, typically individuals processing over $10,000 monthly. If your company is smaller sized than that, a fundamental account with CDGcommerce continues to be a possible option. With regard to added small or periodic companies, you might like to consider Square like a low-cost alternative. Make sure to read our overview of Square first, though, because there are some definite trade-offs between Square’s aggregated accounts along with a full-service credit card merchant account.

If you’ve had any knowledge about any one of our top credit card merchant account providers for retail, don’t hesitate to leave a remark below. You may also compare the majority of our top processors mind-to-mind using our Credit Card Merchant Account Comparison Chart.

The publish The Very Best Retail Charge Card Processing Companies made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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5 Methods for getting a tool Loan

Regardless of whether you&#8217re paving a road or writing software, eventually you&#8217re gonna need to buy, upgrade, or replace your company-related equipment. Unless of course you&#8217re fortunate enough to have lots of cash on hands, the expense of doing this up front may prove prohibitive. Should you don&#8217t possess the luxury of waiting, you&#8217ll have to seek some type of equipment financing.

Where in the event you start searching?

1. See what your bank or lending institution provides

Whenever you&#8217re searching for financing, you initially stop should usually function as the institutions you cope with regularly. When they create a practice of dealing with small companies, they might offer specialized financial services for certain kinds of equipment.

The benefit of coping with the local lender is you&#8217ve most likely already created a working relationship together, even when all you’ve got are fundamental savings and checking accounts. Since finance is basically about managing risk, because you&#8217re a known quantity towards the bank can mean better rates.

Obviously, should you&#8217re frequently overdrafting and have income issues, being known can backfire for you.

2. Investigate independent equipment funders

Banks might or might not offer equipment financing, but you will find funders who focus on equipment financing.

These businesses frequently cultivate relationships with vendors and manufacturers, letting them&#8211in theory&#8211offer competitive rates on used and new equipment. Just remember that many don&#8217t offer traditional equipment loans, though they are doing offer something much the same.

3. Find out if the maker offers financing

Following the financial crash, credit was tricky to find for some and small companies. While banks are able to afford to become conservative using their lending, equipment manufacturers don&#8217t obtain that luxury. When they don&#8217t make sales, they don&#8217t earn money.

In fact, a number of these manufacturers directly offer financing. Companies like Vehicle have dedicated financing divisions that provide leases and loans through their dealers.

4. Consider a tool financing agreement (EFA)

If you want equipment fast, traditional equipment loans aren&#8217t your main option. With respect to the conditions, they might not really be the best choice. If your traditional equipment loan proves elusive, you will find alternatives.

One of the most common ones may be the EFA. An EFA is a hybrid loan-lease. The word what from the agreement is much like what lease: you&#8217ll be making monthly obligations, your downpayment will most likely be the foremost and recently&#8217s payment, with no collateral is going to be necessary. The agreement, however, is from a loan provider along with a customer as opposed to a lessor along with a lessee. What this signifies, used, is you&#8217re obtaining a $1 buyout lease that absolves the loan provider associated with a liability they’ve for maintaining and repairing the gear.

In the customer&#8217s perspective, there’s also some advantages. As pointed out above, you&#8217ll have the ability to avoid the liens that have a tendency to accompany loans, and also you&#8217ll likely be capable of getting the financial lending faster. Lease payments may also sometimes be eligible for a tax deductions.

5. Think about a $1 (or $10) buyout lease

Whenever we consider leases, we have a tendency to consider fair market price (FMV) leases. These contracts are suitable for customers who wish to temporarily rent a depreciating asset from the lessor after which have the choice of either purchasing it or coming back it in the finish from the term.

But leases tend to be more versatile products nowadays. A well known method to finance devices are through buyout leases. These leases think that the lessee really wants to own the gear in the finish from the term instead of return the gear, although that could be a choice. Used, which means greater monthly obligations, but in the finish from the term you&#8217ll can purchase the equipment for $1.

Final Ideas

Should you&#8217re prepared to think creatively and investigate a few of the avenues discussed above, you will be able to find financing that meets your requirements and conditions. If you prefer a jump, take a look at our equipment financing reviews.

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The Worst Credit Card Terminal Leasing Companies

Upset man holding credit card with laptop on background

Unless you’re running a purely eCommerce business, you’re going to need a credit card terminal to accept credit cards. If your business is large enough, or if you operate out of multiple locations, you might need more than one. Credit card terminals come in many shapes and sizes, from simple wired terminals that aren’t much bigger than a smartphone up to fancy POS terminals that can do much more than just process credit card transactions.

Procuring terminals for your business can be an expensive proposition for a first-time small business owner. Because of this, many traditional merchant account providers have used leasing arrangements to supply their merchants with the hardware they need. If you get anything out of this article, above all remember this: Don’t do it! While that low monthly leasing fee might seem like a bargain compared to the cost of buying a terminal, it’s anything but.

How Leasing Works

Almost all terminal leasing contracts contain the same two provisions: (1) a 48-month (four-year) term, and (2) a clause that makes the lease completely non-cancelable. The standard four-year term deliberately takes advantage of the fact that most merchant accounts start with a three-year term, and automatically renew for one-year periods after that. In other words, even if you successfully close your merchant account after the three-year period is up, you’re still on the hook for your terminal lease for another year. You’ll be paying for equipment that you don’t actually own and won’t even be able to use at that point.

The non-cancelable provision in leasing contracts is far and away the most onerous thing about them. Once the leasing company has your bank account information, they’ll keep deducting monthly leasing fees from your account until the contract expires, regardless of the state of your business. Even if you’ve closed your business and shipped the terminals back, they’ll keep charging you under the terms of your lease. Deliberately breaking your lease before it expires puts you on the hook for an immediate payment of all remaining months of your contract.

Those monthly lease payments can seem tempting, especially if you’re trying to start a new business on a shoestring budget. What the sales representatives pushing these leases don’t tell you, however, is that in addition to a monthly leasing fee, you’ll also pay sales tax and a monthly equipment insurance fee. Here’s a hypothetical example: Let’s say you can lease a terminal for “only” $30.00 per month. Add in $5.00 per month for insurance and 8% sales tax, and you’re actually paying $37.80 per month. Multiply that by 48 months, and the true cost of the contract comes out to $1,814.40. Yikes! Considering that a terminal that leases for that amount can usually be purchased outright for under $300, it’s clear that you’re being ripped off.

Myths About Terminal Leases

If terminal leases are such an obvious rip-off, why do merchants sign up for them? There are several reasons for this. For one thing, the leasing companies have a number of arguments in favor of leasing that can be very persuasive if you don’t do your homework. Here’s what they’ll tell you:

Your upfront costs will be lower. Yes, that first month’s payment will be lower than buying a terminal outright. If you need multiple terminals, you’ll save even more – for a few weeks. After that, the costs just keep adding up until they’ve exceeded the cost of buying a terminal by several hundred percent.

Your leased terminal will be compatible with your merchant account. Again, this is true on its face. What they aren’t telling you is that you can buy your own terminal and have it re-programmed by your merchant account provider to work with their system. While some providers will charge you a re-programming fee, many of the better providers will re-program your existing equipment for free. Even if you have to pay a re-programming fee, you’ll still save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over leasing.

Your leased terminal is insured in case it gets damaged or stops working. It’s true that if you buy your terminal outright, you’ll have to find either a way to insure it or go without the insurance. If you buy your terminal directly from your merchant account provider, they might be able to cover this. If you buy your terminal online through a third party, it won’t come with any insurance protection. Here’s the thing, though: credit card terminals aren’t nearly as delicate as many of the other electronic gadgets we rely on every day. They’re rugged, and absent deliberate abuse they’ll last for years – possibly even decades – without needing repairs. Obsolescence is a bigger threat to your terminals than physical damage. Given the horrible reputation that terminal leasing companies have for customer service and support, I wouldn’t expect much help if you actually had to make a claim. Overall, terminal insurance is both expensive and unnecessary.

Leasing costs are tax-deductible. Like any legitimate business expense, you can deduct the cost of your terminal lease on your taxes. Of course, you can also deduct the cost of buying your terminals outright just as easily. Don’t let a sales representative convince you that paying 6-10 times the retail price for a terminal is a good deal because you can write it off on your taxes. You’ll still come out way ahead overall by buying your own terminals.

What Happens at the End of Your Lease?

Here’s the worst part about leasing: At the end of your lease, you still won’t own your terminals. They remain the property of the leasing company. Your options at this point vary depending on which leasing company you’re working with. Here are the more common possibilities.

  • You can terminate your lease and return your terminals. You’ll be out from under your lease, but now you won’t have any way to process credit card transactions.
  • You can buy the terminals from the leasing company. Some companies will let you buy your terminals at the end of your lease, but they’ll usually charge you much more than they’re really They won’t give you any credit for all those lease payments, either.
  • You can continue leasing your equipment. Leasing companies will usually allow you to continue leasing your terminals after your initial four-year lease expires. While some companies will allow you to continue leasing on a month-to-month basis, others will put you on another four-year contract. In either case, it’s just not worth it.

How Do They Get Away with This?

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably asking yourself why anyone would agree to a terminal lease. Unfortunately, it usually comes down to merchants falling for misleading, high-pressure sales tactics from the representatives pushing the lease. Unethical sales agents will tell you that it’s more economical to lease than to buy. They might also tell you that your merchant account provider only offers leases and that if you buy your own equipment, it won’t be compatible. None of this is true.

Credit card terminals used to be a lot more expensive than they are today. Back then, it might have made at least some economic sense to lease a terminal. Today, thanks to increased competition and advances in technology, you can buy a modern, EMV-compliant, NFC-capable credit card terminal for as little as $120. You’ll still need to have the software load installed to make it compatible with your merchant account, but some of the better merchant account providers will do this for free. Even if you have to pay a re-programming fee, it’s still far less expensive than leasing a terminal.

Some of the more unethical sales agents will deliberately obscure the fact that your merchant account provider and your terminal leasing company are two different entities. This mostly comes down to the fact that they don’t want you to see your leasing contract before you sign it. As we’ll see later, there’s evidence that some of the most unethical leasing companies have gone so far as to deliberately forge merchant’s signatures on their leasing contracts. The best way for you as a merchant to avoid this kind of blatantly illegal conduct is to avoid terminal leases completely.

While there really aren’t any ethical, honest terminal leasing companies that we can recommend to you, we have assembled a rogue’s gallery of the worst companies that you should stay away from. You’re quite likely to run into one or more of these companies in your search for a merchant account, so it’s important that you understand how they operate and how to protect yourself. Here are the companies that you never want to do business with:

First Data Global Leasing (FDGL)

First Data logo

First Data Global Leasing is a subsidiary of mammoth First Data, which is probably the largest merchant account provider in the United States. Although we’ve reviewed First Data favorably, we can’t say the same thing about First Data Global Leasing. With expensive, non-cancelable leases ranging from 24 to 48 months in length, FDGL has generated a huge number of complaints from merchants for its business practices.

FDGL primarily leases proprietary First Data-branded credit card terminals and POS systems, including the very popular Clover Station POS. While First Data’s hardware offerings are all solid products, it’s much more affordable in the long run to buy them rather than leasing them. The Clover Station POS, for example, can be bought for around $1,000.00. While this is a big investment for a small startup business, it’s a lot less than what you’d pay overall for a four-year lease. You’ll also own your equipment outright from the beginning, rather than having to either send it back to FDGL or pay a second time to buy it after your lease expires.

FDGL’s website is remarkably basic, and doesn’t provide much information about either the terms of their leases or the leasing fees associated with their products. They do, however, include a brief FAQ that should be enough to convince you that leasing through them is a terrible deal. Hey, at least they’re honest.

You should also check out First Data’s Merchant Services Terms and Conditions, which includes a copy of the leasing contract. It’s on pages 31-32, and I’ve highlighted some of the most egregious provisions. Because FDGL is part of First Data, you won’t have two separate contracts for your merchant account and your equipment lease. At the same time, it’s easy for merchants to skip reviewing this section when they sign their contract since it’s buried in the middle of 48 pages of fine print.

FDGL doesn’t have a separate profile with the BBB, so you’ll have to look under the main First Data profile. Here, you’ll find that First Data has an A+ rating – despite being unaccredited by the BBB and having over 1,000 complaints on file. Looking through those complaints, it’s apparent that a significant number of them involve issues with FDGL’s leasing terms. Unfortunately, responses from First Data make it very clear that they will strictly enforce the terms of the lease in almost all cases.

Ripoff Report has an additional 72 complaints filed against FDGL, including several merchants alleging that FDGL’s sales agents forged their signatures on leasing contract documents. At ConsumerAffairs.com, you’ll find another 56 1-star reviews from merchants who have been abused by this company. There’s even a Facebook group called First Data Global Leasing Victims, where merchants have posted complaints about FDGL and its leasing contracts.

When shopping around for a merchant account, you need to be aware that First Data has a very extensive network of resellers, some of whom use FDGL to lease their equipment. Merchant account providers such as Elite Pay Global, TransFirst, and many, many others use First Data as their backend processor and offer First Data terminals and Clover POS systems. If you’d like to use First Data’s equipment or take advantage of the services such a large processor can provide, take a look at Dharma Merchant Services. One of our favorite providers, Dharma utilizes First Data (and other processors) but doesn’t partner with FDGL. In fact, they don’t lease terminals at all. They’ll either sell you a terminal at a fair price or re-program your own equipment for a reasonable fee.

Northern Leasing Systems, Inc.

Northern Leasing Systems logo

If you think FDGL is a terrible company, I have bad news: there are even worse leasing companies out there that you need to avoid at all costs. Based in New York City, New York, Northern Leasing Systems, Inc. has been in business since 1991. In that time, the company has managed to build such a terrible reputation with merchants that it’s resorted to doing business under numerous DBAs and through various subsidiaries, including Golden Eagle Leasing LLC, Lease Finance Group LLC, MBF Leasing LLC, Lease Source-LSI, LLC, and others.

Like most terminal leasing companies, Northern Leasing uses a standard contract that runs for four years and is utterly non-cancelable. If you’d like, you can review their Lease Agreement right here. It’s pretty clear from even a brief overview that the contract can’t be canceled and you can’t break it early without having to pay off the remaining months of the contract. So why do merchants ever agree to this? The truth is they often don’t know what they’re getting themselves into when they sign up for a merchant account. Northern Leasing usually doesn’t sell or market their terminal leases directly. Instead, they partner with many different merchant account providers, who package their “services” as part of setting up a new merchant account. Merchants often don’t understand that their lease is through a separate company and not their merchant account provider. Northern Leasing’s contract is buried inside the fine print of a merchant’s contract with their merchant account provider, and many merchants don’t read everything in their contracts before signing them. Also, sales representatives – particularly independent agents – often do a poor job of explaining the terms of the equipment lease when trying to sell a merchant account.

Northern Leasing is not accredited by the BBB and currently has an F rating. There have been an unbelievable 631 complaints filed against the company within the last three years, with 260 complaints being filed within the last twelve months. Even more complaints can be found on the BBB profiles of several of Northern Leasing’s subsidiaries.

On the company’s BBB page, you’ll also find details about a lawsuit filed against Northern Leasing and several of its subsidiaries in April 2016 by the New York Attorney General. The company is accused of fraudulently forging merchant’s signatures on contracts and illegally obtaining default judgments against merchants who have stopped making payments on their leases. The lawsuit seeks compensation for merchants who have been harmed by Northern Leasing’s predatory and illegal practices, and the complete dissolution of the company. If you’ve been victimized by Northern Leasing or one of their subsidiaries, by all means go to the Attorney General’s press release about the lawsuit. It contains websites and phone numbers where you can find out more about the suit and get your claim added to it.

Northern Leasing also has 282 complaints on Ripoff Reports, with the same allegations being raised. You can also find many other complaints on the web. In fact, a search for “Northern Leasing” mostly leads to consumer protection websites where merchants have complained about the company’s business practices.

Unfortunately, many merchant account providers continue to use Northern Leasing to provide leased terminals to their merchants. These providers include Central Payments (CPAY), Elite Pay Global, TransFirst, Velocity Merchant Services, and many others. While many of these providers are solid, reputable companies themselves, you’ll definitely want to avoid leasing your equipment from Northern Leasing.

Lease Finance Group (LFG)

Lease Finance Group logo

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Lease Finance Group (LFG) has been happily ripping off unsuspecting merchants since 1992. The company is actually a subsidiary of Northern Leasing Systems, Inc., and pretty much everything we’ve said about Northern Leasing applies to LFG as well.

LFG claims on their website to be the “#1 Point of Sale (POS) equipment lessor in the country.” Whether it’s actually true or not, this is a dubious distinction at best. LFG utilizes the same absurd non-cancelable four-year leases to charge merchants as much as ten times the actual retail value of their terminals over the life of the lease. It’s clear from LFG’s primitive, bare-bones website that they’re not directly marketing their “services” to merchants. Instead, they’re looking to partner with merchant account providers so they can sneak their awful lease contracts into the overall contract between the merchant account provider and the merchant. This way, merchants often overlook the onerous terms of the lease contract, and in many cases don’t even know that they have a separate contract with LFG at all.

This sort of unethical behavior is compounded by independent sales agents, who often fail to disclose any of the terms of the lease when signing merchants up for an account. Even the most inexperienced merchant would refuse to agree to one of these leasing contracts if they knew and understood what the terms of the lease entailed.

Lease Finance Group is not accredited by the BBB and currently has an F rating. The company currently has 379 complaints, almost all of which involve the absurd terms of their leases and the company’s tendency to continue charging merchants after their leases have expired. There is also an alert for the lawsuit brought in April 2016 by the New York Attorney General against LFG, Northern Leasing, and several of their other DBAs. While this action is still making its way through the courts, it’s encouraging to see that state governments are finally cracking down on this kind of unethical and illegal behavior.

Like its parent company, the internet is littered with complaints against LFG, including 598 complaints on Ripoff Report alone. Unfortunately, LFG is still being used by TransFirst and many other merchant account providers to supply leased equipment to their customers. If you’re looking into a merchant account provider, be sure to read our reviews and any other reviews you can find online. Merchant account providers rarely disclose the identity of their leasing partners on their company websites, and you certainly can’t count on a sales agent to give you an honest answer about this, either.

LADCO Global Leasing Solutions

LADCO Global Leasing Solutions logo

LADCO Global Leasing Solutions is a subsidiary of Elavon, one of the largest merchant account providers in the United States. The company is located in Knoxville, Tennessee (with a second office in Thousand Oaks, California) and appears to have been in business since 1979. While Elavon provides a decent line of products and services for merchants, the same cannot be said about LADCO. Like all our other worst-rated leasing companies, the company relies on noncancelable, four-year leases to extract far more money from their merchants than what their equipment is worth.

Elavon goes out of its way to avoid disclosing its relationship with LADCO, and for a good reason. The leasing company has a terrible reputation among merchants for high prices and unfair leasing contracts. LADCO’s reputation is so bad that it no longer maintains its own company website. The company’s former site, www.ladco.com, now re-directs to Elavon’s website. So much for keeping the relationship between the two entities a secret…

While LADCO and other leasing companies go to great lengths to keep merchants from fully reading their contracts, we’ve found copies of them on the internet. Even a brief look at LADCO’s Equipment Finance Lease Terms reveals how one-sided these contracts are. The first thing you’ll (hopefully) notice is that the word noncancelable is right in the title of the agreement. Merchants often don’t understand just how strictly this term is enforced. What this means is that you are liable for the full cost of all 48 monthly payments (and possibly more) from the moment you sign your merchant account provider contract. LADCO will not let you out of your contract under any circumstances. Did you sell your business? Too bad. Did your business fail and you are shutting down altogether? Again, too bad. I’ve even seen complaints where the business owner has died, and the executor is frantically trying to get the lease canceled and the equipment returned – to no avail.

You should also note that LADCO, like most other leasing companies, provides their equipment on an “as is” basis, with no warranties or guarantees whatsoever. In other words, if your equipment doesn’t work, it’s up to you to contact the manufacturer and get it fixed – which you have to pay for. The fact that your monthly lease payments also include charges for “insurance” that won’t do you any good just makes it that much worse.

LADCO does not have a separate profile with the BBB, but you can find plenty of complaints against them under Elavon’s profile for their Knoxville location. While the profile shows 182 complaints over the last three years, some of them refer to problems with leased equipment and many others refer to other aspects of Elavon’s merchant account services. There are also 132 reports on Ripoff Report alleging similar problems with LADCO.

Like Northern Leasing and its numerous subsidiaries, LADCO has frequently found itself in legal trouble over its business practices. In April 2012, the Ventura County District Attorney’s office settled a case against LADCO’s Thousand Oaks office after uncovering evidence that sales agents were misrepresenting just about everything in their leases, including the length of the lease, the fact that it couldn’t be canceled, and the true cost of the lease. LADCO was also apparently leasing used equipment and misrepresenting it as being new, among other practices. There was also evidence that sales agents were forging merchant’s signatures on their leases. To settle the lawsuit, LADCO agreed to pay over $418,000 in fines and restitution, and to be bound by a permanent injunction prohibiting similar violations of the law. Unfortunately, this settlement only seems to have brought relief to merchants located in Ventura County.

The Elavon BBB profile also discloses a similar legal action by the Tennessee Attorney General in 2015. Under the terms of this settlement, LADCO is providing refunds to affected merchants. Again, this settlement seems only to apply to merchants in Tennessee. Despite these legal settlements, the complaints keep coming in from angry merchants, and it’s clear that LADCO hasn’t reformed its business practices in any significant way in response to these legal setbacks.

Needless to say, if you’re considering signing up with Elavon for a merchant account, you’ll want to avoid being stuck with a terminal lease through LADCO. Be aware that many of Elavon’s re-sellers, including Costco Merchant Services, also use the company to furnish leased equipment. Helcim, one of our favorite providers, uses Elavon as a processor but sells terminals directly rather than offering leases through LADCO.

Exceptions to the Rule

While in almost all cases we recommend that you buy your terminals or POS systems outright, there are two notable exceptions to this general rule. One exception is if you’re working with CDGcommerce, one of our favorite providers. If you need a credit card terminal, CDG will provide one at no upfront cost to you. The only thing you’ll have to pay is an annual $79.00 fee for insurance and equipment upgrades. This works out to $6.58 per month – a fraction of what the leasing companies will charge you. Unlike the terminal leasing companies, your contract with CDG is month-to-month, so you’re free to close your account and return your terminal without having to pay anything extra.

The other exception applies only to Canadian merchants. In Canada, EMV-compliant terminals are not designed to be re-sold, so you’ll have to rent them instead of buying your own. Helcim, our favorite Canadian merchant account provider (and one of the best choices for US-based merchants as well), will rent you a terminal for a reasonable fee. Helcim’s contracts are also month-to-month, so you can return the terminal at any time with no penalty.

Conclusion

It’s not hard to see how the leasing companies make their money. With credit card terminals being more affordable than ever, it’s easy for a company to buy a huge number of terminals at wholesale prices and then lease them out to unsuspecting merchants. The initial cost of buying the terminals is recouped within the first few months of the lease, and from there it’s pure profit. By providing the equipment on an “as is” basis, the company avoids the additional cost of servicing terminals once they’ve been leased. In fact, it’s apparent that none of these companies have an actual customer service department to speak of. The incredibly one-sided nature of the leasing contracts makes them a literal “license to steal.”

How can you protect yourself? First and foremost – buy your own equipment. If you don’t have the money to pay for your terminals, put it on your business credit card or consider a merchant cash advance. Even with the additional interest, you’ll save a lot of money over getting stuck in a lease. Don’t ever let a sales agent tell you that you have to use their leased terminals. As long as you use a terminal that your provider supports, you can have it re-programmed to work with their service. While some providers will re-program your equipment for free, others will charge a fee for this. Re-programming fees can run as high as $150, but they’re usually much less. In any event, you’ll still save money over leasing.

Also, beware of “free” terminal offers. While some of these offers are legitimate, many are not. Yes, there are a few providers out there that will let you use a terminal for free as long as you maintain your merchant account with them. Other providers will include the fee for the terminal in your monthly account fee, so the terminal isn’t really free. In the worst cases, a sales agent will deliberately lie to you and tell you you’re getting a free terminal, when they’ve actually signed you up for one of these leases without your knowledge or consent. Don’t accept a “free” terminal offer without checking it out first.

The unscrupulous business practices of the leasing companies we’ve profiled here represent sociopathic capitalism at its worst. While many of the more reputable merchant account providers have abandoned terminal leases altogether in favor of selling the terminals directly (or allowing you to bring your existing equipment), there are still plenty of other providers who are still pushing terminal leases. It’s reassuring that a few state and local government agencies are finally beginning to crack down on these shady companies, but their actions so far don’t seem to have put much of a dent in their business activities. Until a more comprehensive legal remedy becomes available that puts these companies out of business, the best way to protect yourself is simply to avoid doing business with them completely. If you’ve had any experience with any of the companies we’ve profiled in this article, please feel free to tell us about it in the comment section below.

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