Establishing a Credit Card Merchant Account: The Fast Guide

Payments using terminal and debit credit card

It’s a challenging task…or could it be?

Credit card merchant account setup doesn’t necessary an inconvenience. Obviously it might appear so, especially when you initially dip your toes along the way, but after some advice in the Maverick, you’ll ready to go very quickly, and hopefully, with no stress.

I’ve damaged the procedure lower into phases for simpler consumption. 🙂

Table of Contents

Phase 1: Research a service provider.

The obivous initial step is to do some investigation. There’s anything pricey and time intensive than winding up having a garbage charge card processor. Should you haven’t already done searching for “merchant account” in the search engines, It is best to achieve this now. I really want you to obtain an concept of the number of processors are really competing for the business….thousands!

Sifting through these may take an entire day by itself. Your natural inclination is to shortcut it, and merely select the first company the thing is, however i encourage you to avoid that. Believe me, your money is going to be happy you didn’t. So fire up your preferred internet search engine, and make a start.

Compile a summary of all of the firms that look legitimate enough that you should pursue further. A number of them will appear good at first glance, however the more you investigate, the greater flaws you’ll find. If you wish to know signs of a good company, then take a look at my “About Our Reviews” page. It essentially explains my process for reviewing processors, which may be necessary sometimes on your research phase. You may also check out my merchant account comparison chart to save a lot of time too.

Once you’ve narrowed your research lower to a number of providers, it’s important to come up with your company profile so that you can start trying to get a free account.

Phase 2: Setup Your Company Profile.

The company profile is really self explanatory. It provides credit card merchant account providers a concept of what sort of processing risk they’re coping with, and just how they ought to setup your bank account. There’s a couple of key questions that it’s important to answer when putting it altogether.

  1. How can you plan to accept payments?
  2. Just how much volume are you planning on processing monthly?
  3. What will probably be your average ticket cost?
  4. Is the business periodic?

How can you plan to accept payments?
Different business models require different ways of accepting payments. For those who have a brick-and-mortar location you will want to consider through an actual charge card terminal. Should you process checks, then you’re gonna need to question that service too. Same applies to e-Commerce shopping carts, wireless/mobile, restaurant and/or lodging accounts.

Just how much volume are you planning on processing?
Credit card merchant account providers need to understand just how much product sales you intend on processing monthly. If you are a brand new business, try to guess just how much you will be processing monthly, inside the first 6-several weeks of operation. If you were running a business for some time, then most likely you’ll curently have the dpi ready.

What will probably be your average ticket cost?
Another apparent question. You are able to figure the dpi by helping cover their some quick math (Total Sales Revenue/Final Amount of Sales).

Example:

Total Sales Revenue = $100,000
Final Amount of Sales = 300

100,000/300 = $333 (Average Ticket Cost)

Is the business periodic?
Taking care of of economic that many retailers ignore is seasonality. A local travel agency is generally periodic, so you will see apparent periods of everywhere volume. Some merchant providers offer periodic downtime, which will save you money during individuals slow several weeks. Remember to ask about it.

Phase 3: Apply.

After you have your busines profile together, it’s time for you to apply. Return to the number of suppliers that you selected, and affect these. It could appear like overkill, but believe me, it’ll provide you with a great bargaining nick to experience this option against one another. Which raises our next subject, Settlement.

Phase 4: Negotiating Terms and Rates.

Retailers frequently get so at a loss for the applying procedure that they forget to barter using their sales repetition. They would like to have it over and done with, to allow them to start their lives, but promise me that you simply won’t be among individuals people.

Sales people could be annoying and manipulative, but you must know they need you greater than you’ll need them. There’s a lot competition between these suppliers that they’re willing to barter along with you to get your company, but you’ll only benefit should you really try. So, I really want you to swear in my experience that you’re the one who’s manipulative and annoying, not the other way round.

There’s a lot of great books on negotiating that you could read to improve in your skills. Listed here are a couple of of these:

I’ll be publishing an extensive help guide to negotiating credit card merchant account charges here soon, so stay tuned in.

Phase 5: Setup Payment Gateway and/or Terminals.

Once you’ve negotiated the right path right into a sweet deal, it’s time for you to setup your bank account. If you need to online shop, you’re gonna need to integrate your credit card merchant account solution together with your shopping cart software via a payment gateway. Most major shopping carts like Magento Commerce, Interspire and OSCommerce have either base integration abilities and have community plug-ins that allow you to obtain setup. Each shopping cart software and payment gateway combination setup will probably be different, making this where you’ll have to utilize the support groups of each of individuals companies. It’s certainly not nuclear physics though. If you want help establishing your gateway, you can get in touch, and I’ll gladly help.

If you are managing a brick-and-mortar shop, you’ll need to setup some charge card terminals. Usually MSP’s provide you with their very own tech’s to obtain setup, particularly if they’re local. So, you might like to take into account that throughout the research phase. Getting a nearby company process your instalments isn’t just great when the time comes to put together your terminals, but they’re also nearby should you have to them rapidly.

Conclusion: See it just like a hawk.

Establishing your credit card merchant account is just area of the process. Once you’re setup, I recommend that you simply keep an eye on all of your transactions and charges. Also, find the best support repetition in the MSP you registered with, and form a detailed relationship with this person. Getting a friend within the organization is going to be of tremendous value.

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Do You Want a free account?

Rapid response is yes, but there’s more into it than that…

The Data

credit-card-usage-statisticsBased on the U.S. Census Bureau, you will see a forecasted 181 million charge card holders living in the united states this season. That’s over half the populace. I possibly could enter into much more detail concerning the figures, but it’s pretty apparent that should you not let your people to pay with charge cards, you’re most likely passing up on a substantial amount of business.

However, there is a problem…

The Dilemma

do-i-need-a-merchant-accountWhether you’re just getting began together with your first e-Commerce store, or expanding your brick-n-mortar shop into the internet, you’re likely to face exactly the same question. Will I join a free account at this time?

A much better question to inquire about on your own is “will the rise in sales which i obtain by permitting my people to pay via charge card, exceed the expense that’ll be connected with offering that option to begin with?Inches

Even though you don’t process any transactions for just about any given month, you’ve still got to pay for some kind of fee every month. You will find payment gateway charges, statement charges, monthly minimum charges etc…, so it’s entirely possible that you’ll need to covering out around $60/month only for the ability to process charge cards. As well as, some providers will need you to leave a portion of the sales revenue together as a kind of insurance plan against chargebacks, fraudulent charges or personal bankruptcy (see “rolling reserve”). Most importantly off, there’s always the potential of getting your funds withheld through the bank because of a variety of risk-related issues.

Like a bootstrapping merchant, just adding an additional $60/month in overhead may be enough to place you bankrupt, not to mention getting to pay for a moving reserve. So, you best make sure that you can handle the potential financial burden which will accompany a free account.

If you are a small company, and you’re just working on your presence online, most likely it’ll take a moment before you decide to have sufficient sales or cashflow to warrant the price for a merchant account. The main problem is, that without the opportunity to process charge cards, you’ll most likely lose out on individuals same sales that are meant to assist you to grow to that particular degree of justification. It’s an average Catch-22.

Your solution…

The 3rd-Party Payment Processor

third-party-transactionPersonally, i like taking things in steps. Third-party payment processors will help you to just do that.

Third-party payment processors like Paypal and Google Checkout riding time the Visa and Mastercard payment option aimed at your website without burdening you using the costs of the traditional business credit card merchant account. They simply ask you for a portion from the transaction, and that’s it. No recurring monthly charges.

*Note: Paypal comes with a free account option (Website Payments Pro), but I am not speaking about this, I’m speaking regarding their simple third-party platform (Website Payments Standard). The woking platform that needs you to definitely send your customer to Paypal to make a repayment, rather of enabling you to process them directly by yourself website.

When you include that functionality, after that you can monitor profits. They have elevated? The number of readers are having to pay via charge card? Are you able to afford a free account now?

Personally, I’d get setup with something similar to Paypal and turn it on for any couple of several weeks. I’d let my traffic grow, let my sales grow and stabilize, conserve some cash, then I’d start looking for a credit card merchant account. This way, you’ll have sufficient reason, and hopefully enough cashflow to consider that next thing.

FeeFighters includes a pretty awesome calculator that’ll assist you to do a price comparison between Paypal along with a traditional credit card merchant account. Certainly worth a glance.

Here are a few well-known third-party payment processors. Bear in mind which i haven’t done any research on these companies at this time, however i do intend on adding reviews its them soon:

  • Paypal
  • Google Checkout
  • 2Checkout
  • CCNow
  • Amazon . com Take A Look At

Did these details help? Have questions? Tell me.

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Review Updates and Additional Features

extra-extraWanted to provide you with a manages about newer and more effective things that are connecting on at Merchant Maverick this month.

Review Updates
I’m almost finished updating all the merchant company reviews. They ought to be updated through the finish from the month, so stay tuned in!

Live Chat and Toll-Free Number
I went ahead and added both an active chat feature along with a toll-free number, so you can get in touch most likely through funnel. You’ll spot the live chat button docked at the end right side of the page, and also the toll-free number is 888-400-4068.

New Releases
I additionally added a “Services” tab that showcases some services that I’m offering now, like payment gateway integration, merchant fee reduction talking to and credit card merchant account setup talking to. For those who have any queries about these new releases, you can get in touch.

That’s about this for the time being, more updates not far off. Have you got any recommendations for Merchant Maverick? Leave your comments below.

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Getting Began being an e-Commerce Merchant: How to setup a web-based Credit Card Merchant Account

ecommerce-payment-processingSo, you’re prepared to expand in to the eCommerce realm, however, you have no idea how to start. You’ve heard all of the hype about internet retail sales figures, and also you want in. Ok now what?

Well, probably the most apparent questions which comes up when one considers moving their online businesses is, “How can i accept payments?” Should you can’t answer that question, you very well may too quit now. 🙁

In the following paragraphs, I’ll construct the fundamental process to get setup by having an eCommerce credit card merchant account (online credit card merchant account), so that you can soon answer that question with full confidence.

Note: I am inclined to use “eCommerce,” “online” and “internet” interchangeably through the article. Hopefully doesn’t confuse you.

Have You Got an eCommerce Shopping Cart Software?

ecommerce software logosPrior to getting began, let’s acquire one more factor taken care of. Should you not have diabetes already, then you’re have to some eCommerce shopping cart software software. That method for you to display your product or service towards the world…wide web.

You will find loads of carts available varying from robust to reveal bones…both free and compensated. The treatment depends on what you need.

I’ve personally used Magento Commerce, and like it. It’s a really effective platform, and pretty intuitive to make use of. On top of that, the basic level version is free of charge. The only real caveat of Magento is it may not be the very best solution for that absolute newbie.

Should you aren’t comfortable enough to choose something as advanced as Magento, then Shopify may be the cart for you personally. It’s not free, however the plus side to choosing Shopify is you get full technical support together with your money. Essential for the beginners.

Like a side note, Magento just lately began their very own “Shopify like” program known as Magento Go. You need to compare the 2 to determine what one you want better.

Selecting the best Online Payment Gateway

payment-gatewayNow that you’ve got your shopping cart software, you’re have to a web-based payment gateway. Many people confuse the payment gateway using the credit card merchant account, but they’re really two various things.

The easiest method to comprehend the eCommerce payment gateway would be to consider it as being the “wiring” involving the shopping cart software and also the credit card merchant account or charge card processor. It’s where all of the important charge card details are transferred throughout a transaction. It’s in which the magic happens. 🙂

Similar to shopping cart software software, you will find a large number of firms that offer payment gateways. You’ve most likely already heard of the largest one known as Authorize.Internet. They’re the 800lb gorilla of the profession, but more costly correctly.

There’s a a number of credit card merchant account providers with great gateways that do not charge on their behalf, like CDGcommerce and Payleap, therefore if you’re trying to reduce monthly charges, then try them out.

One essential factor to keep in mind is you wish to make certain your payment gateway works with your shopping cart software. Usually, it’s better to choose both cart and also the gateway simultaneously in order to avoid any incompatibility issues. The great factor about popular carts like Magento and Shopify is they can integrate with an array of gateways.

Furthermore, gateway providers like CDGcommerce (Quantum Gateway) present an Authorize.Internet “emulation” mode which essentially mimics Authorize.Internet, thus which makes it suitable for any shopping cart software that may integrate with AuthNet.

Selecting the best Online Merchant Account Provider

It is really an easy one. Examine my best providers and discover the organization that provides the very best eCommerce a merchant account. When I pointed out above, CDGcommerce and Payleap are wonderful, much like GoEmerchant and Beanstream.

Of course, make certain you may well ask for interchange-plus prices. Try to choose a service provider that won’t lock you right into a hire a cancellation fee, doesn’t charge a yearly or setup fee, while offering great customer care (you’re gonna require it).

If you want more help working out ways to get a web-based credit card merchant account, tell me.

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The Reality Behind Free Charge Card Processing

Truth behind free credit card processing imageFree. Free like a bird. Free as with beer. Whatever saying you affiliate using the word “free,” the thought of getting something for free has a unique appeal. Obviously, just about everyone has learned right now that nearly nothing that’s marketed to be “free” comes with no price of some type. Whether it’s offering your individual information to Facebook or simply having to pay hidden charges on something you thought would be free, there’s always a catch.

Charge card processing services aren’t any different. You probably know this: every merchant is most likely just a little unhappy concerning the fact that they need to feel the hassle and cost of establishing a credit card merchant account so their clients may use charge cards. Getting to pay for the charge card processing charges whenever a customer utilizes a card causes it to be a whole lot worse. In a perfect world, having to pay having a charge card wouldn’t differ (or costlier) than having to pay with cash. Regrettably, within the real life, this really is not going to happen. Issuing banks basically need to loan customers the cash to pay for their charge card charges, which inevitably requires the risk they will not be compensated back. Charge card associations, likewise, only earn money by charging interchange charges whenever their cards are utilized. Because it stands today, someone has to cover charge card usage, which someone is nearly always you, the merchant.

How can this be? The primary reason is the fact that customers shouldn’t need to pay extra only for utilizing their charge cards. If you wish to take advantage of the additional sales that allowing charge cards brings, you need to accept the trade-from absorbing the price of processing individuals transactions. With charge card usage soaring and customers more and more not really transporting money with them, this compromise may even work out to your benefit. Nevertheless, it is easy to transfer the price of charge card processing on your customers, a minimum of in many states. This practice is known as surcharging, although you’ll also listen to it known as zero-fee processing or something like that.

Table of Contents

How Surcharging Works:

Surcharging is just the procedure for transferring the price of charge card processing on your customers by means of yet another fee that’s put into their bill once they develop a transaction. The very first factor you should know about surcharging is it isn’t legal in most jurisdictions. Presently, 41 states allow surcharging in a single form or any other, even though the needs you’ll need to meet to do this change from condition to condition. Nine states ban surcharging altogether. Here’s a summary of america in which you can’t surcharge:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New You are able to
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

If you are located in certainly one of individuals states, you will not have the ability to surcharge whatsoever. If you’re located elsewhere but conduct business within the affected states, you will not have the ability to surcharge any transactions via individuals jurisdictions. California has additionally banned surcharging, however the statute was discovered to be unconstitutional in 2015 with a Federal court and it is presently unenforceable.

Surcharging will also apply simply to charge card transactions. If your customer pays with debit cards, cash, or eCheck (ACH) payment, you can’t give a surcharge. You’ll need to have your charge card terminal (or POS system, virtual terminal, or payment gateway) established to only apply surcharges to transactions in which the customer is having to pay having a charge card. Any processor can perform this for you personally, although most traditional credit card merchant account providers don’t advertise the supply of surcharging. You’ll also need to provide notice for your customers that they’ll need to pay a surcharge for implementing their charge cards. Retailers can meet this requirement with signs and placards published within their business, while eCommerce retailers will need to include these details online.

When you can surcharge with any processor, as well as your current provider, nowadays there are numerous companies available on the market specializing in supplying the things they call “free” or “zero-fee” charge card processing. We’ll check out a few of the more well-known zero-fee providers later in the following paragraphs. To understand more about surcharging and also the needs for applying it, please visit our article Every One Of Your Help guide to Charge Card Surcharges.

Legalities:

Surcharging hasn’t existed for very lengthy. In 2005, several retailers filed an enormous class-action suit (known as the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation) against Visa and MasterCard, alleging the charge card associations were charging unreasonably high interchange charges and stopping them from passing this cost onto consumers. A $7.25 billion settlement was arrived at this year that decreased interchange charges and permitted surcharging. This settlement was initially authorized by the Federal District Court judge, which is when surcharging (and firms specializing in configuring it) first made an appearance in this area. However, the settlement was overturned in June 2016 through the U . s . States Court of Appeals for that Second Circuit if this was challenged on appeal.

Since that time, the situation continues to be appealed again, this time around towards the U . s . States Top Court. In March 2017, the final Court declined to listen to the situation. At this moment, the prior settlement is not valid and also the situation continues to be came back lower towards the District Court level, in which the parties will either must see trial or make an effort to achieve another settlement.

Although this may all appear really perplexing (which is), the conclusion here would be that the practice of surcharging is on very shaky legal ground although this action remains litigated. The next court ruling could invalidate the practice altogether – departing retailers to scramble to regulate the way they purchase processing charges and most likely forcing most of the processors who focus on surcharging bankrupt. If you are considering surcharging your clients, you’ll want to understand this legal cloud and an eye on the progress of the suit.

Pros and cons for Surcharging:

Whether surcharging is not going anywhere soon, there are many issues you’ll be thinking about prior to deciding to begin using it. Here are the benefits and drawbacks you have to consider:

PROS:

  • Lower costs for the business: Clearly, the main benefit of surcharging is it helps you save a lot of money, that ought to result in greater profits. At the very least, your clients is going to be having to pay your processing charges rather individuals, helping you save around 2.-3.5% on every transaction. You might, obviously, still need pay a variety of separate charges connected with preserving your credit card merchant account. Included in this are monthly account charges, annual charges, PCI compliance charges, yet others. However, some providers will help you to pass these charges on your customers too by charging a rather greater processing fee for every transaction.
  • It encourages your clients to make use of alternate payment methods: If customers know they’ll need to pay a surcharge to make use of their charge card, most of them will avoid having to pay extra by utilizing cash, debit cards, or perhaps a personal check. This benefits you too, because the surcharge isn’t likely to you anyway, which other payment methods cost little or free to process.

CONS:

  • High possibility of lost sales: It ought to go without having to say that the customers will not be at liberty about getting to pay for a surcharge. Retailers happen to be having to pay processing charges for such a long time since most consumers simply don’t realize that it is extra to utilize a charge card. They’ve been resistant to this added expense, with no one likes to need to start having to pay for something that’s been free previously. A current poll discovered that 65% of respondents would stop utilizing their charge cards and depend on other payment methods when they needed to pay a surcharge.
  • Surcharging doesn’t eliminate all your credit card merchant account costs: As we’ve noted, you’ll still may need to pay all of the charges that inevitably include getting a free account. When you could possibly pass a few of the fixed charges on your customers, you’ll still result in such things as chargebacks, Address Verification Service (AVS) charges, and terminal lease charges. Additionally you cannot charge a surcharge greater than 4.%, that is under the particular processing fee that some providers charges you. Within this situation, you’ll need to make in the difference.
  • Legalities regarding surcharging: As we’ve noted above, there’s presently a legitimate cloud hanging over the concept of surcharging. Opt for the variations in condition law concerning the practice. While only nine states have banned it outright, you may expect the dpi to develop if surcharging gets to be more prevalent and consumers demand action using their condition legislatures.
  • Competitive disadvantage: You should know whether your competition are surcharging before you think about following a practice. Clearly, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll lose a minimum of some customers permanently should you surcharge along with other competing companies don’t.

“Zero-Fee” Processing Providers:

Using the charge card associations now allowing surcharging (a minimum of for now, and just under certain conditions), there are many processors joining the marketplace specializing in it. Obviously, you are able to surcharge making use of your current credit card merchant account provider, however these companies take proper care of everything establishing your bank account and equipment that you’d otherwise need to do yourself.

Many of these companies bill their professional services as “free charge card processing” or “zero-fee processing.” The term “surcharging” is seldom used. This practice, obviously, is quite deceitful. They’re attempting to make you believe you’re in some way making your way around having to pay interchange charges, while in fact you’re really just passing them to your customers. Here are a few short profiles of the couple of from the more prominent zero-fee processors:

ChargePass:

ChargePass logo

ChargePass is really a small provider headquartered in New You are able to City, New You are able to. The organization markets their service as “free” charge card processing. They support all major charge cards (including MasterCard, Visa, Discovery, and American Express). Additionally they support NFC-based payment methods for example Apple Pay, as well as offer EMV-compliant charge card terminals.

ChargePass doesn’t disclose any one of their processing rates or charges online. Billing is month-to-month, without any lengthy-term contract with no early termination fee. You can try their Conditions and terms to see all the small print that pertains to their accounts. The organization sets your equipment to instantly use a discount for money payments. While account charges aren’t disclosed, additionally they provide a No-Fee Program. Should you join it, your clients pays a greater processing rate, that is then put on your monthly charges. Other choice is to pay for the monthly charges yourself, which enables your clients to pay for lower surcharges.

The organization also provides a radio charge card terminal, a “web portal” (really an online terminal) that is included with a USB-connected magstripe readers, a mobile payments application, along with a magstripe card readers for the smartphone or tablet. Regrettably, their service doesn’t presently use eCommerce platforms.

ChargePass mandates that retailers possess a minimum $10,000 monthly processing volume to become approved to have an account. While the organization markets to retailers and expertise, it seems that lots of their clients are taxi cabs along with other transportation providers (i.e., buses and shuttle vans).

We couldn’t locate much feedback – negative or positive – about ChargePass. The organization doesn’t actually have a BBB profile. While the lack of complaints isn’t a lot of an endorsement, it’s a minimum of a great indication that ChargePass isn’t a gimmick. One factor we noted online was they imply their service will come in all 50 states. As we’ve noted, surcharging is presently illegal in nine states.

Dynamic Payment Systems:

Dynamic Payment Systems logo

Dynamic Payment Systems is yet another “zero-fee” processing provider, situated in Traverse City, Michigan. In case your first impression of the company comes from their site, you most likely won’t want to use them. It’s quite awful, with lots of spelling and grammar errors in nearly every sentence on every page from the site. Nevertheless, they are doing disclose a bit more details about their service than many of their competitors. They list every condition where surcharging isn’t permitted, along with other limitations on the best way to use their service.

The organization can accept charge card payments from Visa, MasterCard, and Uncover. It normally won’t allow an atm card or payments made using PayPal (it is because PayPal bans surcharging). Additionally they support eCommerce along with other card-not-present transactions. Dynamic Payment Systems offers a number of charge card terminals, such as the Verifone Vx520 and wireless Vx680 models. Regrettably, it seems that terminals are just available via a lease, that you simply should absolutely avoid. The organization also provides an online terminal and POS systems, that they will sell you outright.

Dynamic Payment Systems seems to depend heavily on independent sales people to promote their professional services, and features a recruiting pitch for ISOs online. Although this practice doesn’t appear to possess generated any complaints, remember that independent agents through the processing industry possess a terrible status for misleading and dishonest sales practices.

The organization doesn’t disclose any prices info on its website, however they seem to charge a set 3.45% processing charge on every transaction. If you would like the surcharge to visit toward covering your monthly charges, the speed increases to three.65% per transaction. These minute rates are particularly greater than you’ll usually pay with a classical processor, and therefore are most likely suggestive of the rates billed by other “zero-fee” processors. When you will not be having to pay these rates yourself, they’re definitely not going to aid in having your people to accept the thought of having to pay a surcharge for implementing their charge cards.

Unless of course you go searching for the greater surcharge rate to pay for your charges, you’ll need to pay $5.00 monthly a account. You’ll also pay $6.99 monthly for PCI compliance, and perhaps equipment leasing charges too. Not quite “free,” could it be?

Dynamic Payment Systems doesn’t seem to sell to specific business types, so we couldn’t find any negative feedback about the organization online. It normally won’t disclose the size of their contracts either, so look out for a lengthy-term hire a potential early termination fee (ETF).

Shift Processing:

Shift Processing logo

Another “zero-fee” processing provider, Shift Processing offers both traditional and surcharged processing. The organization uses Pivotal Payments his or her backend processor, but seems to provide somewhat better terms overall. They don’t charge a yearly fee, and billing is month-to-month without any lengthy-term contracts. Additionally they claim that they can provide “free” equipment, but we’re very skeptical of the because it’s a typical misleading claim within the processing industry. There’s more often than not an expense mounted on equipment provided for you from your credit card merchant account provider.

Shift Processing also advertises the supply of high-risk merchant services, but it isn’t obvious from their site whether surcharged processing can be obtained of these retailers. The organization offers a number of charge card terminals, including mixers support EMV and NFC-based payment methods. Prices isn’t disclosed, so be very cautious about unintentionally registering for a terminal lease.

While the website includes a nice, professional appearance, it mostly contains marketing fluff and offers hardly any concrete information. Prices isn’t disclosed, and there isn’t any reference to prices models. You will find, obviously, lots of claims they have the “lowest rates.” They most likely don’t. This may not matter for you if you are likely to surcharge, however it could ultimately affect your main point here in case your customers choose that they’re having to pay an excessive amount of to make use of their charge cards and place their business elsewhere.

The organization seems to promote to regional junk food chains, even though they declare that their “zero-fee” prices option works for almost any kind of business. Unlike another surcharging specialists we’ve profiled in the following paragraphs, Shift Processing has a number of testimonials from verified clients online. The organization does not have a BBB profile, so we weren’t capable of finding any negative feedback about the subject online. While the lack of negative feedback can often be a great sign – designed for a bigger company – we’re still suspicious given Shift Processing’s relatively small size.

Final Ideas on “Zero-Fee” Processing:

From the merchant’s perspective, it can make sense the customer should bear the additional price of utilizing a charge card. Customers have a wide range of payment methods to select from, and when they pick one that ultimately is more expensive to make use of, they should need to pay the additional expense associated with charge card processing. Regrettably, it is not how it operates within the real life. Customers have been receiving away without having to pay extra to make use of charge cards for such a long time that it is simply expected. Convincing the general public they should need to pay for something that’s formerly been freedom be a constant struggle.

Alterations in preferred payment methods through the years allow it to be less likely that surcharging is ever going to gain prevalent public acceptance. It was not that lengthy ago that many consumers transported a checkbook along with a wallet filled with money with them wherever they went. It is not the situation today. Having to pay with cash has delivered dramatically recently, and paper checks are nearly a factor of history. Simultaneously, using debit and credit cards has soared. Since consumers could make NFC-based payments using their smartphones (as well as watches), it’s less likely that they’ll acquiesce to having to pay a surcharge or revert to classical payment methods.

Overall, we’re simply not believing that surcharging your clients may be beneficial, so we doubt that it is ever likely to be advisable. Unless of course your competition happen to be surcharging, it’s probably that you’ll lose a lot of sales should you start surcharging. You may emerge ahead when the savings in processing charges over-shadow losing business, but on the other hand, you may shed more pounds money than it will save you.

The legal uncertainty surrounding surcharging is yet another valid reason to prevent it. We actually won’t know before the class action lawsuit from the charge card associations is finally made the decision whether surcharging is not going anywhere soon. Even if it’s upheld, there’s still the chance that more states will proceed to ban the practice because of an outcry using their voters.

We weren’t very impressed with the providers we checked out specializing in offering “zero-fee” processing. All of them seem to be really small firms that only have been around for any couple of years, and not one of them appear to possess established a status – bad or good – to assist their claims of having the ability to help you save money. Insufficient prices disclosures and frequent utilization of independent sales people are further reasons to step back.

You will find, obviously, always exceptions. Certain specific business types, where surcharging has already been a typical practice, could possibly surcharge without experiencing a loss of revenue of economic. Taxi cabs along with other transportation companies, for instance, can frequently pull off surcharging because of the nature from the transaction. If you’ve just finished a cab ride and all you need to pay with is really a charge card, you will not cash choice but to pay for the surcharge too.

Our final recommendation for retailers thinking about surcharging is by using your family processor – not among the companies focusing on it. It may need a bit more focus on your finish, but you’ll most likely have lower processing rates to pass through to your customers and (hopefully) better customer support. Additionally you won’t need to bother about switching providers.

Have you ever had any knowledge about the companies profiled in the following paragraphs? Have you ever had any knowledge about surcharging generally? For those who have, please inform us about this within the comments section below. Thanks!

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The Fast Help guide to PCI DSS Compliance for Small Retailers (Level 4)

pci compliance for small businessA sizable most of companies within the U.S. are thought medium and small sized companies (SMBs). Most SMBs don’t process anymore than 20,000-1,000,000 (some significantly less) transactions each year, categorizing them as Level 4 retailers within the PCI world.

For individuals individuals which have read my article on merchant risk levels, you’ll realize that Level 4 may be the cheapest tier, thus requiring minimal work load for compliance. It is also probably the most vulnerable tier for hackers….go figure.

Within this guide, I will take you step-by-step through what you ought to do in order to become compliant and also the basics of small merchant PCI compliance. I attempted to help keep it as little as possible, although not confident that I been successful. 🙂

For Retail (Card-Present) Retailers

Scan The Body
Most charge card processors require proof that you’ve scanned the body for security threats, otherwise they’ll ask you for a regular monthly PCI non-compliance fee. So, make certain you comply with the other steps below, then get scanned when you are ready for this. I’ve partnered with Trust Guard, so I’m clearly likely to recommend that you will get the body scanned by them, but it’s your call. There are many others available that provide checking services. From what I have seen, Trust Guard is pretty legit though.

Go ahead and take Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ)
I discuss the SAQ within my other PCI article, but because a short overview, the self-assessment questionnaire provides you with a fundamental concept of what needs you have to follow in order to be PCI compliant. The SAQ will most likely reiterate exactly what I’m suggesting now, however that doesn’t mean that you could skip it. Similar to the system scan, most processors require that you simply go ahead and take questionnaire, otherwise they’ll assess a non-compliance fee.

Now, adopt these measures:

1. Only use PCI approved PIN transaction security devices (i.e. PIN pads).
By “device” I am talking about PIN pads and charge card terminals. Visit here to find out if your present system is compliant. Otherwise, it’s time for you to upgrade.

2. Only use PCI validated POS (Point-of-Purchase) & payment gateway software.
Visit here to find out if your present software programs are validated. Otherwise, it’s certainly time for you to upgrade. Here’s the right place to locate POS hardware/software, and every one of my best charge card processors offer payment gateways which are PCI compliant.

3. Don’t store any sensitive cardholder data.
As a small company, it’s very easy to ignore that. I recall writing lower charge card information on a notepad later on reference, without realizing how large of the security risk that really was. So, whether in writing or perhaps your hard disk, don’t store any cardholder data. If you are worried that perhaps your charge card terminal or PIN pad is storing card data, just bear in mind that newer equipment either doesn’t keep data, or encrypts it. So, in case your devices are PCI compliant, you will want not worry.

4. Make use of a firewall in your network and Computers.
This one’s pretty easy. Most os’s include some kind of security package with a firewall. Just make certain that you simply regularly determine if it is working, and also you update it if required. Should you not possess a firewall, Norton is fairly good.

5. Make certain your router is password-protected and uses file encryption.
Another easy one. Your router’s instructions will take you step-by-step through the entire process of password protecting and encrypting the router.

6. Use strong passwords. Make sure to change default passwords,
This can be a no-brainer. I personally use password generator to make me some fast and secure passwords. Never make use of the default password for just about any software or hardware.

7. Regularly check PIN entry devices and Computers to make certain nobody has installed rogue software or “skimming” devices.
This is when the machine network scan is useful. Your average person doesn’t really understand how to look for this sort of stuff, so using a company like Trust Guard, you can easily depend on their own expertise.

8. Educate the employees about security and protecting cardholder data.
Don’t get lazy about this one. I’ve got a couple of articles within my PCI Compliance category, so that you can refer the employees for them. You might also need lots of sources when you need it so remember to apply your favorite internet search engine.

For eCommerce (Card-Not-Present) Retailers

Follow each step within the list above (expect for #1. You clearly won’t possess a PIN pad or charge card terminal if you are strictly eCommerce.), and also the following:

Have an SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate helps to ensure that any sensitive data transmitted through your site is encrypted in order to safeguard that data. An apparent place that you’d make use of an SSL could be on the payment page during checkout. There’s a lot of SSL vendors available, but when you’re getting the body scan at Trust Guard, you very well may too get your SSL with them also. 😉

One factor that I’d like to indicate is the fact that a there’s a couple of payment gateways available that may alleviate your PCI needs almost completely. The actual way it works is they possess a feature that enables you to definitely conduct the whole transaction around the providers own servers, not yours. This way, your personal network isn’t even active in the transaction, thus absolving you against the necessity to conserve a secure network. Check out the CDGcommerce instant PCI page to determine what i’m saying. They perform a better job of explaining it than me.

In Conclusion

You may also go to the Small Retailers page around the PCI Security Standards Council website for more information on PCI compliance for small company.

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X-Cart Versus Zen Cart

xcart-vs-zencart

If you are launching or moving an ecommerce site you’ll wish to choose which group of shopping cart software best compliments your store’s scope and your height of technical understanding. Maybe you’re available on the market for any platform which includes hosting like Shopify and BigCommerce. These cloud-based carts don’t need you to know any code but offer less wiggle room to make deep customizations.

However, if developing a totally unique online shop is really a priority I suggest thinking about both downloadable and free shopping carts. X-Cart is really a downloadable platform that charges an upfront fee to make use of. It had been produced greater than a decade back by programmers in Russia and it has developed into a sizable platform having a staff well over 100 engineers through its parent firm Qualiteam. Greater than 30,000 users have obtained the licensed CMS to produce online retailers. X-Cart’s simple to use admin keeps improving and it is fully scalable. But based on your set of skills you may want to employ a pro that will help you launch, which could add cost and time for you to your roll-out. Note: X-Cart also provides a cloud-based solution known as X-Cart Next. We’ll be searching at X-Cart’s original, licensed option within the following review.

Zen Cart is free of charge to download, and 100,000 individuals have done exactly that because the cart launched in 2003 after splitting removed from predecessor osCommerce. But to make use of the PHP/MySQL free platform you’ll wish to have a minimum of mid-level coding skills or receive the aid of a developer. Zen Cart arrives with several features which are incorporated with fee-based carts free of charge, nevertheless its insufficient support means you’re subject to a forum: Fortunately, it’s accessible and active.

Do not have time for you to read a whole article? Check out our best search engine optimization for any couple of quick recommendations. Every option we present here offers excellent customer care, superb website templates, and simple-to-use software, all for any reasonable cost.

Otherwise, continue reading for for my full X-Cart and Zen Cart comparison. I’ll examine each cart’s features, user feedback, prices, and much more below.

Table of Contents

 Web-Located or Licensed:

While users receive use of complete source code, X-Cart is really a downloadable licensed software that you will purchase upfront. Zen Cart is definitely an free shopping cart software which costs absolutely nothing to download or use.

Software and hardware Needs:

Being an X-Cart or Zen Cart user you’ll result in securing hosting for the website from the provider like Rackspace. Discover more about X-Cart’s server needs here and Zen Cart’s hosting recommendations here. Additionally, X-Cart offers in-house hosting plans.

Prices:

Champion: Zen Cart

With X-Cart’s downloadable version you’ll pay an upfront fee varying from $195 to $1,795 to gain access to this program. Retailers can pick between X-Cart’s Gold, Gold Plus, Platinum and Mobile plans, although for me choosing the Mobile choice is a no-brainer since increasingly more online purchases are now being completed on tablets and smartphones. X-Cart also provides SSL certificates, hosting, development and design work, and fee-based technical support. Take a look at our complete X-Cart review for plan and prices details.

Since X-Cart is self-located you’ll should also pencil in added monthly hosting expenses in addition to additional security, integrations, and charge card processing charges. People that use the liberated to download Zen Cart will encounter exactly the same group of charges. Plus, if you are not really a coder anticipate to budget in having to pay a developer and designer. But if you can to change PHP code, then Zen Cart is the foremost value.

Simplicity of use:

Champion: X-Cart

It’s simpler to set up and personalize X-Cart than Zen Cart, the situation when evaluating almost any downloadable Versus open source. To be able to begin using X-Cart you’ll wish to be comfortable installing software with the aid of an FTP and customizing code to produce a store that both looks great and runs easily. I discovered there to become a slight learning curve with X-Cart also it required a couple of minutes that i can find my way around its admin. But after customizing templates, importing product info, adding integrations, and inputting store settings, you ought to be through nearly all work required to start selling. Other extras can invariably be added in lower the street.

It’s harder to understand where to start after Zen Cart’s installation process is finished. The setup process takes some PHP/MySQL programming skills and it is less straightforward than X-Cart. Zen Cart’s admin is a little a bear that may need a update. Some backend options that aren’t that important their very own drop lower, just like a music genre page, while some aren’t found in the most apparent place and wish some hunting and pecking to locate. But around the plus side, if you are prepared to commit some effort to understanding the areas of Zen Cart which are helpful for you (i.e. adding products and filling orders) the cart will start to become simpler to make use of.

Product Features:

Champion: X-Cart

X-Cart offers sufficient features to help you get going, including configurable URLs and meta data (“clean” URLS are produced to exchange original dynamic URLS,) order tracking, and testimonials. I love that you could sell products with several variations with relative ease through the product option module and I like that traditional, express, and ‘fast lane’ one-page checkout can be obtained. Find out about X-Cart’s features here and find out our full review for additional features details.

Zen Cart offers a few of the same wonderful features you’ll find with X-Cart, including product critiques and downloadable products. A complete list is here now. That stated, although it downloads with increased features than some free competitors like osCommerce, Zen Cart doesn’t offer a few crucial factors that you’ll enjoy with X-Cart: I missed finding one-page checkout along with a mobile version as they are. Since clients are making physical and downloadable purchases via cellular devices increasingly more, not offering an enhanced, fast buying experience might be a real hindrance to finishing sales.

Confused or at a loss for your choices? If you want help sifting through shopping cart software software we’re here to assist. Take a look at Merchant Maverick’s talking to services.

Website Design:

Champion: X-Cart

As I didn’t find X-Cart’s free or fee-based CSS-based templates to become show-stopping, several are intuitive and could be altered to complement the theme and feel of the store. Browse some skin options here. I suggest starting with a reasonably simplistic theme and customizing it with the addition of fresh fonts, colors, and product photography.

To contrast, Zen Cart’s default theme is definitely an eye sore. You could attempt to brighten it up by installing among the several template alterations where you can, for instance, give a slideshow for your homepage or perhaps a sidebar that displays social networking buttons, but for me it’s a far greater idea to employ a professional to create your store or search for any cleaner theme such as this or this. Try Googling “free Zen Cart templates” or click on the disposable template packages on Zen Cart’s plug-ins directory for additional theme examples.

While Zen Cart’s admin area is simple enough to make use of to include products and fill orders when you get used to it, it is also seriously looking for a refresh. I’d a significantly simpler time getting acclimated to X-Cart’s more elegant admin, where one can create coupons, maintain order and inventory info, and rapidly click both to and from your backend to frontend. I additionally like this integrations are housed within “goodies” tab.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

Champion: Zen Cart

X-Cart offers a number of free add-ons like f-Commerce Go: It’s an additional that integrates X-Cart together with your Facebook business page. You’ll also find several popular fee-based extras, such as eBay and Mailchimp integrations. But when compared with Zen Cart, X-Cart offers far less add-ons.

Zen Cart arrives with sufficient fundamental features to obtain your store ready to go, but it’s likely you’ll wish to integrate a number of its greater than 1,500 extras to help make your store stick out while increasing its functionality. Bear in mind that quite a few users have experienced trouble customizing plugins previously and undergo difficulties transporting add-ons over after making sporadic Zen Cart updates. On Zen Cart integrations within our full review.

Payment Processing:

Champion: Tie

Zen Cart has the capacity to be integrated with Paypal, Authorize.internet, and FirstData, in addition to worldwide charge cards like Solo/Switch/Maestro (United kingdom), and JCB (multi-country). you may also processes checks and cash orders. Select charge cards your store accepts within the admin, including virtually all of the players like Visa, Mastercard, and American stock exchange. Take a look at Zen Cart’s plug-ins to locate several additional payment gateway and credit card merchant account integrations like PAYMILL and 2Checkout.

With X-Cart it’s very easy to integrate with any one of almost 100 gateways, including PayPal and Checkout by Amazon . com. You can process orders purchased with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express in addition to accept checks and cash orders. See the whole list here.

If you want help navigating the payment processor marketplace, take a look at our Credit Card Merchant Account Comparison page or call us for any consultation.

Customer Support and Tech Support Team:

Champion: Tie

Like other free carts, Zen Cart doesn’t maintain robust support beyond an energetic forum. However I did find Zen Cart to visit beyond a number of its free peers–it offers tutorials and FAQs, a person manual, a wiki that covers installing and upgrading this program, and YouTube videos.

For me, X-Cart’s support is a little an assorted bag–some retailers are pleased with their customer support experience, while some complain that compensated support costs $99 monthly (or $99 per single non-urgent incident should you not opt right into a monthly support plan) and isn’t offered 24/7. Also observe that tickets don’t cover all issues unless of course you have to pay yet another fee, so read the small print before you purchase a ticket. Unsupported topics vary from Search engine optimization to upgrades and gratifaction issues–see the entire list at the base of the page. Make sure to check other free sources for solutions for your questions first, via forums, a understanding base, and FAQs. I suggest going the only ticket route since X-Cart’s compensated monthly support costs almost $1,200 each year.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Champion: X-Cart

We spent hrs researching and compiling user feedback about both X-Cart and Zen Cart and located more negative feedback from Zen Cart users. As pointed out above, we noted that some X-Cart retailers wish its compensated support was available 24/7. For me, X-Cart could de-stress its compensated support model, especially since i have can’t make a slew of companies are pleased to fork over $99 for monthly support when cloud-based carts offer hosting, technical support, better styles and much more features for a lot less monthly that X-Cart charges for support alone.

Zen Cart users complain about its stale styles, counterproductive admin, insufficient one-page checkout (which X-Cart offers) and behind-the-occasions Search engine optimization and marketing features. And a few retailers are convinced that the woking platform can act buggy and also have experienced rocky upgrades.

If you wish to look for other complaints about X-Cart or Zen Cart, make sure to google X-Cart/Zen Cart reviews, X-Cart/Zen Cart complaints, X-Cart/Zen Cart comments, X-Cart/Zen Cart scam, X-Cart/Zen Cart testimonials, etc.

Positive Testimonials and reviews:

Champion: X-Cart

I discovered lots of positive X-Cart comments online from longtime, loyal users. Vibrant spots for X-Cart include engineers that rapidly reconcile issues, a complete group of as they are features, along with a very customizable admin. Others like its cost, social networking integrations, and PCI-compliance.

Zen Cart users like this it’s liberated to download–no surprise there–and that it is completely customizable and keeps a lively forum. Others appreciate that it arrives with a variety of features and add-ons. But overall, our search switched up more kudos from X-Cart retailers.

Final Verdict:

Champion: X-Cart

Selecting whether licensed ecommerce shopping cart software that needs an upfront payment to download like X-Cart or perhaps an free cart that’s liberated to download but requires more coding competence to produce like Zen Cart will provide you with control of your store’s feel and look. Both X-Cart and Zen Cart require that you get a host for the store and provide you with the actual capability to make serious customizations for your shop. Plus, each comes as they are with sufficient features to begin.

Which suits your company? This will depend in your shop’s scope and values. Some retailers are energized by the opportunity to opt-in for an free user community and therefore are comfortable taking it towards the forums for help when problems appear. If that’s you, Zen Cart could be the right fit. Before committing I’d also recommend searching at competitors like Spree Commerce. If it’s important to bring a developer aboard to produce your store with Zen Cart, my conjecture would be that the liberated to download platform would be the more pricey option within the finish.

If you are lured with a licensed cart that arrives prepared to be included in an entirely unique store I suggest searching carefully at X-Cart, which will keep improving. X-Cart arrives with fresher skins as well as an simpler to navigate admin than Zen Cart. I love that X-Cart also provides one-page checkout and supports responsive styles, since within my opinion both are crucial for the store’s success.

Consider using a free demo of X-Cart’s downloadable version or download Zen Cart to have an limitless trial and find out if either shopping cart software suits your web store.

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Opening a Technical Support Credit Card Merchant Account in India

Receptionist manEstablishing a technical support company in India (or anywhere) has a host of challenges, some apparent, others less so. One obstacle you might not have taken into account may be the difficulty finding a free account provider for that business. Rather of looking for the cheapest rates possible, you most likely found yourself stuck trying to find any provider willing to setup the account and pair it by having an acceptable payment gateway. Let’s check out why establishing a technical support credit card merchant account or a free account in India can be challenging, how much when dealing with this, and you skill to get the best solution for the business.

Table of Contents

Technical Support Merchant Services in India are High-Risk

When credit card merchant account providers and payment processors hear the language technical support or India, they immediate think two words: High-risk. Payment processing providers decide if you should approve a free account mostly in line with the perceived chance of fraud or default your company carries. When fraud occurs, the credit card merchant account provider risks taking a loss. Nobody prefer to generate losses. So rather of using the risk, they decide to spread your company. For many reliable information by what this means to become high-risk, read this article.

For technical support services in India, the danger factor is 2-fold. Indian merchant services are often considered high-risk, and technical support merchant services are often considered high-risk. Place the two together, and you receive a perfect storm of risks vulnerable to discourage most credit card merchant account providers. This leaves you within the Wild West from the high-risk credit card merchant account world, coping with seedy and hard to rely on providers potentially searching to benefit from your desperation.

Technical Support Scams

These accounts are thought to possess such an advanced of risk because a lot fraud happens in this industry. One of the leading issues may be the prevalence of tech support team scams. Fraudsters will generate a technical support answering services company, frequently in India, and only make phone calls or advertise their professional services. They will use this guise to achieve remote use of pcs, after which they convince the consumer that an issue must be fixed, and can start to repair the non-existent (or recently produced) problem. These fraud issues are compounded because most if not completely from the transactions processed with a technical support business in India are overseas transactions, usually from customers in america. Card-not-present transactions between American buyers and Indian sellers are high-risk generally due to the record possibility of fraud.

While your Indian technical support business might be completely legitimate, banks have previously worked because of so many fraudulent companies much like yours that they’re too scared of taking a loss out on another want to handle the need for establishing the dangerous account.

What to anticipate When Establishing a Technical Support Credit Card Merchant Account

I’ve great news and not so good news for you personally at this time. What’s promising? There’s expect finding a free account provider for the business. Unhealthy news? You’re most likely going to need to pay a bit extra, and might have to jump through some hoops to obtain your account setup.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Rates: For the account to become well worth the expense and risk for any provider, they may wish to be compensated. Which means that your rates is going to be greater than average, and you’ll be unable to be eligible for a interchange-plus prices. You’ll have less negotiating room than other companies do.
  • Charges: Be ready to pay substantial application charges and annual charges, in addition to a monthly minimum. Generally I encourage retailers to prevent these charges. But high-risk companies like Indian technical support firms will frequently not have access to an option within the matter. Additionally, you will probably need to agree a great termination fee, which is supposed to safeguard the provider’s energy production in establishing your credit card merchant account.
  • Moving reserve account: One factor that the provider will probably insist upon is really a reserve account. Which means that a particular number of the instalments you collect is going to be withheld of your stuff for 30 to 3 months (or longer in some instances). The proportion will be different, but expect up to 25%, possibly a lot more at first. While you create a relationship using the provider and prove that you’re not fraud-prone, the company might be prepared to take it easy on the reserve account.
  • Processing volume: Unless of course you’re processing a pretty big amount of cash every month, providers might not be willing to setup your bank account due to the additional time and work they’ll have to set up to obtain your account ready to go.
  • Legal documents: Possibly most significantly, you have to be ready to enter this method while you would employment application. You would like so that you can convince the very best of what you can do that the technical support company in India is legitimate and legal.

A few other activities that, whilst not necessary, might make your existence simpler:

  • Processing history: If you have a processing history to exhibit providers, you’ll come with an simpler time establishing the account. These details helps to reduce your overall risk profile.
  • US-based offices: For those who have an american-based office and the organization is a member of an american citizen, this may also enhance your ability to setup the account which help to reduce the total cost.

The Conclusion on Indian Technical Support Payment Processing:

While it isn’t easy to obtain a technical support credit card merchant account to have an India-based business, it’s generally possible. You ought to be ready to pay a bit extra, but simultaneously its not necessary to allow yourself get scammed. If you are getting trouble locating a provider to setup your credit card merchant account, or you are involved about being scammed along the way, you may want try Instabill. They would be the only processor I understand of this need technical support companies, so they’re certainly worth a go.

Best of luck!

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What you ought to Learn About Accepting ACH Payments

Bank.With regards to payment acceptance, both companies and consumers like getting options. More payment options means more possibilities to complete commerce, and retailers especially like payment options that do not cost an excessive amount of to process. One particular payment option we haven’t gone into an excessive amount of detail about before on Merchant Maverick is ACH, or Automated Clearinghouse payments.

The great factor about ACH versus. charge card payments for retailers would be that the charges to simply accept this kind of payment are less than charge card transaction charges. Actually, more companies are accepting ACH than ever— based on NACHA, as many as $38.7 trillion was transferred via ACH in 2013, a rise of just about five percent from the year before.

If you are thinking about accepting ACH payments or e-checks, here’s what you ought to know.

What’s ACH?

  • Initially began like a system to exchange paper checks, ACH enables companies to get a digital payment from a buyer’s bank account.
  • ACH payments will also be generally referred to as e-checks.
  • This kind of electronic fund transfer is generally employed for direct deposit payments from employers, in addition to monthly obligations to providers, for example utilities.
  • ACH payments are more and more employed for online payments and point-of-purchase payments, in addition to Business to business (business-to-business) and P2P (person-to-person) payments
  • Find out more about the particular kinds of ACH payments here. PayPal also offers a great resource explaining ACH in depth.

How’s ACH not the same as debit and credit transactions?

ACH bypasses the credit card systems, and for that reason bypasses interchange and assessment charges. This generally makes ACH much less costly than card payments.

While both debit transactions and ACH draw money from the bank account, debit transactions are processed through card systems, and therefore are prone exactly the same kinds of charges as charge cards. 

Just how much will it cost to process ACH payments?

The price to process ACH payments depends upon your credit card merchant account provider, or whichever entity you utilize to process ACH payments.

Some ACH processors charge a set rate, typically varying from $.25 to $.75 per transaction. Others charge a set percentage fee, varying from .5% to at least onePercent. For retailers having a bigger transaction size, the per-transaction fee (not percentage) is usually the cheaper option. Some providers may also charge yet another fee every month, which varies.

How do i accept ACH?

You are able to process ACH payments/e-checks using a free account provider or perhaps a separate entity — for instance, a financial institution or perhaps a standalone ACH processor. Here are a few providers will process ACH payments.

  • Dwolla — This is a great method to accept ACH payments online. Dwolla is really a non-integrated option, meaning it is operational outside of normal processing transactions. (Consider it like PayPal, except way less costly for retailers also it deals just with ACH payments.) With Dwolla all transactions have the freedom! To receive payments you’ll need a Dwolla account (also is free), however your customers don’t always require a Dwolla account to transmit you cash. They are able to simply employ their internet banking credentials to sign in via “Dwolla Direct,” which creates a kind of “lite” account. It’s low-friction and doesn’t require customer to find information about their account number and routing number. 
  • PayJunction — This processor takes pride in going paperless, so it’s no shocker that PayJunction positively markets ACH processing solutions. It’ll cost you .75% per transaction, that is way under charge cards cost to process. Additionally they offer services like electronic signature capture to improve efficiency and security.
  • PaySimple — This can be a payment processor much like PayJunction, however they charge a set amount for ACH, $.55 per transaction. When they don’t use interchange-plus his or her default prices plan, I’d encourage you to definitely ask about it if you opt to utilize them for card payment processing. 
  • Forte Payments — Another ACH-intensive provider, and among the couple of which has ACH included in their mobile application. The price to process ACH with Forte varies based on your plan. If you are using no fee every month plan, it’ll cost you 2.9% + $.25 to process ACH (just like for charge cards). However if you simply use their mid-tier plan (which has a fee every month) e-checks only cost $.25 per transaction to process, that is a good deal!

How are ACH payments processed?

The 3 primary methods to your company can process bank account payments via ACH are listed below:

  • Check scanner  Even though you pay a sign in-person, use a check scanner to change the paper right into a digital ACH transaction. Just run the assess the scanner to deposit it remotely. To make use of this, you’ll have to come with an ACH processing account. 
  • Virtual terminal  For keyed-entry payments like telephone order and catalog shopping payments, you are able to enter in the username and passwords at the computer to process the ACH payment. You may also make use of this to setup recurring payments. Some customers will feel much more comfortable getting a recurring payment come from their accounts as opposed to a charge card, and also you are in position to save extra as you have just converted a lengthy-term customer to presenting a less costly payment method.
  • Website payments  It could take some encouragement to obtain your customers to find information about their account and routing figures at checkout, particularly when they’re familiar with having to pay with services like PayPal in a couple of clicks. But processing a $100 payment with PayPal costs you about $3, and processing with ACH costs less than $.25. The savings really accumulate, therefore it might repay to obtain creative to be able to influence your customer’s payment decision. Again, Dwolla does a fantastic job of reducing friction within this process, so that’s something to think about.

Conclusion

In conclusion, regardless of whether you mainly conduct business online or personally, you might like to consider accepting ACH payments, which digitally transfer funds from the customer’s bank account. ACH payments are less expensive to process than debit or credit card transactions and therefore are simpler to process than traditional paper checks, as there’s you don’t need to forward checks towards the bank and wait to find out what ones bounced. They’re also well suited for collecting recurring monthly obligations. 

If you are searching for any standalone ACH payment processor, consider Dwolla, that charges a 2-tiered predetermined fee of $ for just about any transaction under $10, and $.25 for just about any transaction over $10. Try them out here. Should you prefer a full-fledged payment processor with ACH processing, PayJunction has a very rated suite of payment services (credit card merchant account, payment gateway, virtual terminal, etc.), which includes ACH processing. 

While your thinking about how to reduce payment processing, take a look at our comparison chart to determine what the best processors are charging!

Shannon Vissers

Shannon is really a freelance author and editor located in North Park, CA. Shannon type of wants an apple iphone 7, but she’s not necessarily prepared to lose the headphone jack.

Shannon Vissers

Shannon Vissers

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The Top 5 Payment Gateways for Online Credit Card Processing

Online payment gateway

Setting up an eCommerce business involves making a lot of choices, but one important decision you might have overlooked is choosing the best payment gateway to allow your customers to actually make purchases on your site. Pick a good gateway, and you’ll be able to accept just about any payment method imaginable, interface with the online shopping cart of your choice, and, perhaps most importantly, easily be able to migrate your customer payment data to a different system if you later decide to change gateway providers. If you pick a not-so-great gateway, you may someday find yourself with a product that no longer meets the needs of your business – and no easy way to switch to a better one.

If you’re new to eCommerce, your first question might be “Just what the heck is a payment gateway, anyway?” Admittedly, payment gateways are something of a nebulous subject. Merchants are often unsure about what they do, and why they might need one in the first place. They’re also often confused with merchant accounts, which is a related (but separate) merchant service that you’ll also need to accept credit cards and other forms of payment.

We’ll try to keep it as simple as possible. A payment gateway is a software application that establishes a communication link between your eCommerce website and your merchant account provider’s payment processing system. Much like your computer’s BIOS and other operating system functions, payment gateways run in the background, and your customers won’t have to interface with them directly. The primary purpose of a payment gateway is to allow your customers to make purchases on your site using the payment method of their choice. While almost every gateway will support credit card purchases, the better ones will also allow customers to pay using eChecks, debit cards, their PayPal account, and even contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay. Most gateways also maintain a secure database of your customers’ payment method data, shipping and billing addresses, and other information. With this database, returning customers won’t have to re-enter their payment method information every time they make a purchase. This feature naturally translates to increased sales due to the convenience it offers your customers. For more details about payment gateways and how they work, see our article The Complete Guide to Online Credit Card Processing With a Payment Gateway.

Merchant accounts, on the other hand, process payment transactions and disburse the funds to you after a customer makes a purchase. Both retail and eCommerce businesses need a merchant account to accept credit card payments, although today payment service providers (PSPs) such as Square and Stripe can offer basic credit card processing without the need for a full-service merchant account. If your business is strictly retail and you don’t make any sales online, you can stop reading now. You won’t need a payment gateway. eCommerce merchants, on the other hand, will usually need both a payment gateway and a merchant account. This is because their transactions will all be in a card-not-present environment where they won’t be able to verify their customer’s identity or have access to the magstripe or EMV-chip data that helps to prevent fraud in the traditional card-present environment of a retail location.

With so many different choices of merchant account and payment gateway providers on the market, you might wonder what the best way is to set your business up with both of these services. There are two methods you can use: an integrated approach, or a non-integrated approach. Under the integrated approach, you’ll use the same provider for both services. For example, an account with a payment service provider (PSP) like Stripe includes both payment gateway functions and transaction processing services. The non-integrated approach, on the other hand, requires you to sign up for each service separately. The easiest way to do this is to use the payment gateway offered by your merchant account provider. Often this will be a proprietary product, such as the Quantum Gateway provided by CDGcommerce. While most providers will charge you additional fees for a payment gateway, CDGcommerce will let you use their gateway for free. Many providers also offer access to third-party gateways, which may be a better option if you need more advanced features than what the proprietary gateways have to offer or simply want to have more flexibility to change your merchant account provider at some point in the future. The majority of merchant account providers (including CDGcommerce) offer Authorize.Net as one of their payment gateway options. Signing up for the Authorize.Net gateway through your merchant account provider is often less expensive than going with the company directly, as providers can negotiate discounted rates and fees for their customers.

Another way to take the non-integrated approach is to sign up for your merchant account and payment gateway separately. For example, let’s say you’ve found a great merchant account provider that offers significantly lower processing rates than you’ve been able to find elsewhere. Unfortunately, they don’t offer a gateway that includes all the features you need for your business. You can always sign up for a third-party gateway and integrate it into your merchant account. While this may be the best option for some merchants, be aware that there are two disadvantages to this approach. For one thing, you’ll have to make absolutely sure that the two services are fully compatible with each other before you sign up. Also, you will almost always end up paying more money with this approach. Watch out for gateway setup fees and additional per-transaction charges for using a third-party gateway.

So, which approach is right for your business? There’s simply no clear-cut answer to this question, unfortunately. As a general rule, however, smaller businesses will usually save money by signing up with a payment service provider (PSP) that doesn’t charge monthly fees for either transaction processing or the use of their payment gateway. The trade-off, of course, is that you will pay higher per-transaction processing costs, as most PSPs only offer flat-rate pricing. Upgrading to a full-service merchant account and adding in a payment gateway will cost you more in monthly fees, but you’ll usually save money on processing charges – at least if your provider offers interchange-plus pricing. Larger businesses that have a higher monthly processing volume can more easily afford the extra fees and will save money overall because of the lower processing rates available from full-service merchant account providers. Because of the number of variables involved, there is no easy way to determine what your processing volume needs to be for a full-service merchant account plus a gateway to be more cost-effective than simply going with a PSP. We recommend that you take a close look at the total percentage of your transactions each month that goes to paying for merchant services and compare this to what you would pay under a different provider.

How We Chose:

While all payment gateways offer the basic function of processing transactions over the internet, there’s a lot of variability beyond that. The best gateways on the market offer a combination of fair pricing and a robust feature set that will meet the needs of most eCommerce merchants. In evaluating how well each gateway stood up against the competition, we used the following criteria:

  • Pricing: While everyone wants to save money, we firmly believe that pricing should be evaluated in terms of overall value rather than simply trying to find the cheapest option available. Trying to save a few dollars can easily result in being stuck with a product that doesn’t fully meet your needs. Nonetheless, there are some things to look out for. Many gateway providers, for example, charge a gateway setup fee when you first open your account. While this is a one-time charge, it’s mostly a junk fee that you should avoid paying. You’re more likely to get hit with a setup fee if you sign up directly with a gateway provider. Merchant account providers often waive this fee if you get your gateway through them. Monthly gateway fees (usually around $15.00 – $25.00 per month), on the other hand, are very hard to avoid. Unless you sign up with a company like CDGcommerce, which doesn’t charge a monthly fee for their gateway, you can expect to pay this on top of whatever monthly fee you have to pay for your merchant account. Gateway processing charges (typically $0.05 per transaction) are another thing to look out for. Some companies will charge you separately for this, while others will include it in their processing rates. You might also have to pay PCI compliance fees, particularly if you’ve signed up directly with a gateway provider. Usually, however, these fees are included in your merchant account pricing.
  • Contracts: Most payment gateway providers will bill you on a month-to-month basis, with no long-term contract and no early termination fee (ETF) if you close your account. However, your merchant account provider might include both of these provisions, so read all your contract documents very carefully before signing up. It won’t do you much good to be able to drop your payment gateway whenever you want if you’re stuck in a three-year contract for your merchant account.
  • Features: Obviously, you’ll want a gateway that includes the features you’ll need to run your business. Confirming that a gateway will meet your needs, however, isn’t always as easy as it should be. Companies naturally tend to play up the unique features of their services, but in most cases, they won’t disclose the limitations or shortcomings of those services. For starters, you’ll want to confirm that the gateway supports all the payment methods your customers use. For example, almost every gateway on the market will support Visa and MasterCard credit card purchases. Support for less-common cards isn’t as easy to find. If your customers use Diners Club (as unusual as that may be), you’ll want a gateway that supports it. Support for multiple currencies is also important for some merchants, and you’ll obviously need a gateway that supports the specific currencies your customers use. If you prefer a particular online shopping cart for your site, you’ll need a gateway that is certified to integrate with it. If you need to customize the integration between your site and your gateway, access to an API that allows you to do that will be essential. Finally, we recommend that you choose a gateway that allows for easy and convenient data portability in case you need to switch to a different gateway.
  • Security: No eCommerce merchant ever wants to have their site hacked and their customer’s sensitive payment data exposed in a data breach. Your gateway provider doesn’t want this to happen, either, which is why every gateway on the market comes with a number of security and encryption features to keep your account safe. Some of these features, however, are more effective than others. Look for point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and a gateway that meets Level 1 PCI compliance standards. Other features, such as data breach insurance, are also useful to have.
  • Customer support: Like any other software product, payment gateways are prone to occasional hiccups and glitches – often at the most inconvenient times. The eCommerce world runs around the clock and isn’t limited to just regular business hours. For this reason, you’ll want a gateway that’s backed up by 24/7 customer support. While options like email and online chat are nice to have, you really should be able to talk to a customer service representative via telephone when a problem arises.

Before we dive into our specific recommendations, let’s be clear about one thing: there really isn’t a perfect gateway out there that will meet the needs of every merchant. Even the best gateways fall short of perfection in one aspect or another. Nonetheless, there are several gateways that provide a significantly better combination of features and services than others. Here are our recommendations:

Authorize.Net

Authorize.Net logo

Originally founded in 1996, Authorize.Net is one of the oldest and most experienced payment gateway providers in the industry. Thanks to partnerships with a host of merchant account providers, they’ve also cornered the lion’s share of the market for payment gateways. There’s a good chance that your merchant account provider offers Authorize.Net as their payment gateway.

But, does being the biggest gateway provider also make them the best? Well, maybe. With over twenty years in business to perfect their product, they’ve definitely managed to add a lot of bells and whistles to their core product. Their gateway can accept all major credit cards (yes, even Diner’s Club), debit cards, eCheck payments, and even digital payment methods such as PayPal and Apple Pay. They can accept international transactions from just about any country in the world, although your business must be based in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, or Australia. Their Advanced Fraud Detection Suite (AFDS) can protect your site from card-not-present fraud – a common issue with eCommerce. Best of all, their gateway seamlessly integrates with a huge number of third-party eCommerce platforms.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, there are a few things to watch out for. Pricing can be on the high side if you sign up directly with Authorize.Net, with a $49.00 gateway setup fee, a $25.00 monthly gateway fee, and a $25.00 fee for chargebacks. If you already have a merchant account, you’ll still pay an additional $0.10 per transaction for the use of their gateway. International transactions also pay an additional 1.5% for processing. If you don’t have a merchant account, Authorize.Net will set you up with one, but it uses a flat-rate pricing plan of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. While this is the same as what you’d pay for PayPal or most other payment service providers (PSPs), you can get lower rates by signing up with a merchant account provider that offers interchange-plus pricing.

The good news is that you can usually get a better deal on the Authorize.Net gateway by signing up with a partner merchant account provider. Most providers will waive the setup fee, and they’ll often charge a lower monthly gateway fee and per-transaction processing fee (typically $0.05 per transaction). However, Authorize.Net does have one major weakness: data portability. Or, rather, the lack of it. Their Customer Information Manager (CIM) is a powerful feature that allows you to store customer data, including credit card numbers, securely. Unfortunately, it’s difficult and very expensive to download that data and take it with you if you ever decide to switch to a competing payment gateway. This is a serious limitation, especially considering that other providers (such as Braintree) offer you the freedom to take your customer data with you if you want to. You’ll want to very carefully evaluate whether Authorize.Net will be able to meet the long-term needs of your business before you sign up.

PROS:

  • Broad support for multiple payment methods and currencies
  • Strong security and fraud prevention features
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts

CONS:

  • Pricing is expensive for merchants who sign up with the company directly
  • High flat-rate pricing for optional merchant account
  • Data portability is unusually difficult and expensive

For a more in-depth look at Authorize.Net, check out our full review.

Braintree Payment Solutions:

Braintree Payment Solutions logo

Founded in 2010, Braintree Payments Solutions is now a PayPal company. They offer an integrated approach to eCommerce, with each account including both a payment gateway and a full-service merchant account. It’s available in 44 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and most of Europe. Payments can be accepted in over 130 currencies, including Bitcoin if you’re particularly adventurous.

Standard accounts at Braintree follow a pay-as-you-go pricing model, with no account setup fees, monthly fees, or even gateway fees. All transactions are processed at a flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Billing is on a month-to-month basis, with no long-term contracts or early termination fees. While the flat-rate pricing is not particularly cost-effective for larger businesses, the lack of monthly fees makes it a great deal for smaller companies. Braintree addresses this limitation by offering enterprise pricing for larger businesses (presumably with interchange-plus rates), but you’ll have to process over $80,000 per month to qualify for it.

Braintree’s gateway includes some excellent standard features, including its Drop-In UI for customer checkouts and support for recurring billing. It’s also compatible with a huge variety of third-party integrations, including shopping carts, accounting software, and analytics. Developers can further customize the gateway using Braintree’s client and server SDKs. Perhaps the best feature Braintree has to offer is that they provide complete data portability for free. If your needs change and you want to switch to a different provider, you’re free to take your customer data with you.

While Braintree offers an excellent service at a fair price, it’s not for everyone. If you already have a separate merchant account (particularly if you’re stuck in a long-term contract), their gateway-only option is quite expensive at $49.00 per month and $0.10 per transaction processed over the gateway. There’s also almost no support for card-present (i.e., retail) transactions, although they do support a handful of third-party mPOS solutions.

PROS:

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing with no monthly fees
  • Simple flat-rate pricing for standard accounts
  • Free, unrestricted data portability

CONS:

  • No support for eCheck (ACH) payments
  • Gateway-only option is expensive

Check out our full review of Braintree for more information.

PayPal:

PayPal Logo

You might not think of PayPal as a payment gateway provider, but their Payflow Payment Gateway is actually a very capable product. In fact, PayPal offers a host of merchant services for eCommerce businesses, and you can integrate most of them with the merchant account, shopping cart, or another service you’re already using.

Offering PayPal as an additional payment method is the simplest option, as it’s free to set up and there are no monthly fees or long-term contracts. Pricing is pay-as-you-go and based on a flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (4.4% + $0.30 per transaction for international transactions). While this is certainly the least expensive option, realize that as a payment service provider (PSP), PayPal is not giving you a full merchant account. Instead, your account is aggregated with those of other sellers so that you won’t have a unique merchant ID number for your business. The downsides to this arrangement, of course, are that your account won’t be nearly as stable as a merchant account, plus account freezes and holds on your funds are more common. PayPal is rather notorious for withholding seller’s funds at the slightest suspicion of fraud, so it’s better to use them as a backup payment method rather than relying on them entirely for your transaction processing needs.

If you already have a merchant account through a different provider, the Payflow Payment Gateway is designed to integrate with it and expand your payment options. There are two pricing plans for the Payflow gateway: Payflow Link and Payflow Pro. Payflow Link (the best choice for most merchants) is practically free. There are no gateway setup or monthly fees. You pay an extra $0.10 per transaction, and that’s it. You can use a PayPal-hosted payment page or a template embedded on your website. Payflow Pro, on the other hand, offers full customization and additional PCI compliance features. However, it’s rather expensive, with a $99.00 setup fee and a $25.00 monthly fee after that. You’ll also still pay $0.10 per transaction with this option.

PROS:

  • No setup or monthly fees (for Payflow Link)
  • Simple, transparent flat-rate pricing with no hidden fees
  • Easy to setup and begin accepting payments

CONS:

  • Flat-rate processing charges are higher than most merchant accounts offer
  • Elevated risk of account holds, freezes, and terminations
  • Inconsistent quality of customer support

For more detailed information about PayPal, see our complete review here.

PayTrace:

PayTrace logo

While they’re not nearly as well-known as the other heavy hitters in the payment gateway industry, PayTrace offers a solid product with lots of specialized features, particularly for merchants in the B2B sphere. Unlike other merchant services providers who offer a broad range of products and services, PayTrace is a payment gateway provider first and foremost. They don’t offer merchant accounts or any hardware, so you’ll have to go with a third-party provider for these items. Although the PayTrace gateway is their primary product, the company also offers a virtual terminal and a mobile payments app.

PayTrace offers both Basic and Pro pricing plans, with the former being suitable for small eCommerce businesses and the latter offering specialized options for larger B2B merchants. The Basic plan has no setup fee and costs only $15.00 per month after that. You’ll also pay $0.30 per transaction processed over the gateway, which is in addition to any processing charge you pay to your merchant account provider. The Pro plan requires a $75.00 setup fee, and $20.00 per month after that. However, your gateway processing fee drops to $0.10 per transaction. You’ll also be able to process Level II and Level III credit card data, which will save you up to 1.0% in processing charges due to the lower interchange rates for these transactions. Processing Level III data requires some additional data input on your part and is mostly useful for B2B transactions, but if you process a lot of these types of transactions, the savings could be significant.

The PayTrace gateway also supports additional features such as eCheck (ACH) processing and recurring billing. However, these are optional features requiring additional fees, and are only available under the Pro plan. PayTrace bills on a month-to-month basis only, so there’s no long-term contract and no early termination fee to worry about. Be aware, however, that your merchant account provider might not be so generous. As always, we highly recommend that you read all contract documents thoroughly before signing up for a merchant account. The same advice goes for payment gateways, even though gateway providers are generally much more flexible about contract terms.

Like most gateway providers, PayTrace also offers a customer information database so returning customers don’t have to re-enter their payment method data every time they make a purchase. Unfortunately, it’s only available under the Pro pricing plan. Data portability is supported, although PayTrace notes on its website that “only truncated payment information is available for export from the system.”

PROS:

  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • Integrates with most merchant account providers and shopping carts
  • Supports Level II and Level III credit card data for B2B merchants

CONS:

  • High per-transaction processing charge under Basic pricing plan

To learn more about PayTrace, check out our full review.

Stripe Payments:

Stripe logo

Much like Braintree, Stripe Payments is a tech-focused merchant services provider that specializes in serving the eCommerce community. Those services are tightly integrated into their payments system, so the company doesn’t offer a discrete Stripe-branded payment gateway. Instead, it’s built into their overall payments platform and comes with every Stripe account. For small businesses, this is a very affordable approach, as there’s no separate account setup fee, no monthly gateway fees, and no additional per-transaction processing fee. You also don’t have to worry about trying to integrate two or more third-party services into your website. Another advantage is that Stripe includes several additional features for free that most gateway providers charge extra for, including eCheck (ACH) processing and recurring billing.

Stripe’s pay-as-you-go pricing couldn’t be simpler. Credit card transactions are processed at a single flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. eChecks are 0.8%, up to a maximum of $5.00. Stripe also supports digital payment methods such as Bitcoin and Apple Pay. Qualified nonprofit corporations get a discount on these rates, and enterprise users (i.e., those processing over $80,000 per month) can also negotiate volume discounts on their processing rates. Like most of its direct competitors, Stripe bills month-to-month only and doesn’t impose long-term contracts or early termination fees.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? If you think that there must be a catch – of course there is. Stripe is a payment service provider (PSP), and so they don’t provide true full-service merchant accounts. Like other PSPs (i.e., Square or PayPal), funding holds and account freezes or terminations are distressingly common. Customer service is another weak point, with almost all communications between Stripe and its merchants being conducted via email.

The best thing about Stripe is that it’s designed specifically for eCommerce merchants. Most providers are more focused on the retail sector, and their support for eCommerce always comes at a higher cost in the form of gateway fees and additional per-transaction charges. With Stripe, new eCommerce merchants get everything they need to start accepting payments as soon as their account is approved. While a Stripe account covers all the basics, you can also add or customize features through their huge API library or supported third-party integrations. Stripe also supports data portability, so you can easily take your customer information with you if you decide to change providers later.

PROS:

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing with no setup or monthly fees
  • Simple, transparent flat-rate pricing structure
  • No long-term contracts or early termination fees
  • Huge API library for developers

CONS:

  • Flat-rate pricing is more expensive than interchange-plus for high-volume merchants
  • Frequent account holds and terminations
  • No telephone customer support

For more information, see our complete review of Stripe Payments here.

Final Thoughts:

If you’ve been reading this far, you’ve probably concluded that selecting a payment gateway provider can be a very complicated decision. While that’s sometimes true, it doesn’t have to be all that difficult. Gateway providers offer a dizzying array of options, customizations, and add-ons, but in most cases, you won’t need all of them. Take a close look at what your business needs are today, and consider how those needs might expand over time as your business grows. For example, if you don’t need recurring billing, there’s no reason to pay extra for it. If your needs change later, you can always add it to your service. Level II and III credit card data processing is another feature that a sales agent might try to upsell you on. Yes, the rates are lower, but you still pay extra to access them, and if you don’t take many B2B transactions, you’ll wind up paying extra for something you don’t use.

You’ll also want to put some thought into whether the integrated or non-integrated approach will work best for you. Payment service providers (PSPs) like PayPal or Stripe are an excellent way to add credit card processing to your business without spending any money up front. However, once your business grows large enough, the high flat-rate pricing will end up costing you more money than you’d pay with a traditional merchant account offering interchange-plus pricing. Since there’s no long-term contract to worry about, it’s relatively easy to make the switch once this happens. However, you’ll probably have to find a merchant account provider and a new gateway.

Although there are no hard and fast rules, we recommend providers such as PayPal or Stripe for new, low-volume eCommerce businesses. Braintree is also a good option, especially if you’d like to get all your merchant services from the same company. When you’re ready to step up to a full-service merchant account, Authorize.Net is a good option. However, we recommend getting their gateway through a third-party provider rather than the company itself due to the generally lower costs. PayTrace is also an excellent choice if you already have a merchant account, especially if you run a lot of B2B transactions.

Much like merchant account providers, there is no single “best” gateway provider. Even the companies we’ve profiled here have their shortcomings. Every business has different needs, and it’s up to you to decide what features your business needs the most. Fortunately, most payment gateway providers offer a similar set of standard features that cover the most common requirements of a majority of businesses. They also provide a very high degree of customization to make their service work with your business, although in many cases you’ll have to have developer skills (or hire one) to implement them. If you’ve had any experience with the providers profiled in this article or you want to highlight a gateway provider we haven’t mentioned, please feel free to tell us about it in the Comments section below.

The post The Top 5 Payment Gateways for Online Credit Card Processing appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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