The Best Merchant Account Services Reviewed
Whether you are looking for your first merchant account, or you already have a merchant account and want to see if you can find a better deal, getting an account that suits you and one where you fully understand all the potential costs involved is a very difficult process.
It should be simple, you need to accept cards because in todays marketplace 80% of retail or face to face customers and almost 100% of Online or telephone customers pay with a credit or debit card. If you don’t accept cards, then your customers will find one of your competitors that does.
I receive mail from my regular subscribers every week telling me that they are having big problems with their merchant account.
The problems range from higher rates than they were expecting to pay, to problems with contracts they did not understand they were in, as well as timed rate rises, termination fees and a lack of customer support and downtime. The list goes on and a service that should be making businesses more money can actually end up costing them money.
To put it bluntly, many credit card merchant account providers are not 100% straight about exactly what they will be providing to their customers. So with this in mind my team and I looked at 17 merchant account providers to be able to put together a comprehensive review of the merchant account marketplace and to try to stop others from having the same expensive problems.
We went on to put together a list of recommended companies. The list is based on 3 vital factors to consider when choosing a merchant account.
1) Fees and contracts
The most important thing is not to just look at the Rates when choosing a merchant account or looking for a cheap merchant account. Rates are one of the most misleading ways to judge a merchant account. It’s most important that a merchant account provider clearly explains their fees so that customers know exactly what their charges will be.
There is also no ‘Standard Rate’ despite what companies may tell you. The price for transactions are made up of ‘Interchange Fees’ and ‘Assessment Fees’. The Assessment Fee is a flat fee determined by the Type of card that’s accepted. The interchange fee is much more complicated and relates to the category the transaction falls under.
Visa and Mastercard have over 150 different interchange categories that your account can be put into depending on the type of card used, the environment and information that is collected. So companies who advertise a ‘low’ discount rate normally do so to get people to sign up and distract them from later rate increases, other ‘hidden’ charges or lengthy contracts.
A longer term contract may also have hefty termination fees and if this is the case there is less need for the provider to give a high level of customer service.
Others fees you may be charged include start up fees, monthly minimums, annual fees and statement fees. Some companies also try to persuade customers to lease equipment from them which always works out to be an expensive option.
2)Support and Customer Service
A high level of customer support is vital. If a problem happen and you can’t take sales for any length of time it could have a significant effect on your business. Merchant Account Providers need to have a 24 hour a day dedicated team for each individual area of their customer accounts which are sales, account services and technical support. Many companies actually have the same staff looking after all areas which is just not good enough.
3) Merchant Account Services
Customers need many different types of merchant credit card processing services. E-commerce or Online Merchant Accounts, Mail order merchant accounts, Lodging Merchant Accounts, Restaurant Merchant Accounts, Retail Merchant Accounts, Telephone / Mail Order Merchant accounts, or Wireless Merchant Accounts for Mobile Credit Card Processing and Home Based Business Merchant Accounts.
It’s important to find a merchant account that can specialize in the area that you want but also one that has the level of infrastructure to provide the best system for your needs, from software and terminal integration to payment gateways and real time account access.
Updated:05/21/2013 (2 recommended Merchant Account Providers)
Find Your Merchant Account #1 Choice
The clear winner is the Merchant Warehouse.
- Merchant Warehouse has a 99% approval rate, with an average approval time of 24 hours.
- They specialize in Retail Merchant Accounts (including Restaurant and Lodging Merchants), E-commerce / Online Merchant Accounts / Internet Merchant Accounts, Mail Order / Telephone Order Merchant Accounts and Wireless / Mobile Merchant Accounts, as well as providing excellent merchant account options for smaller home based businesses.
- They offer accounts for all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
- They do not charge a start up fee or a cancellation fee and all their contacts are on a month to month basis!
- Merchant Warehouse doesn’t advertise fees or percentages on their website because they believe customers can only really understand the fees and other account details by discussing them with an account consultant.
- They will also help you to make the decision on what equipment and set up will be most effective for your business needs.
- However, from my experience and the feedback we’ve collected their overall prices are the Lowest In The Industry.
- They actually go as far as to guarantee that you won’t find a cheaper price anywhere else for either your merchant account or your merchant account terminals and software and they’re so confident of that that they’re prepared to give you $100 if you can.
- This guarantee applies for people looking for new merchant accounts and people with existing or previous merchant accounts who are looking to change and find a better deal.
- They use a completely state of the art system that means virtually no downtime. It also allows customers real time account access which means you can get transaction details or reports at any time without having to wait for your statement.
- Merchant Warehouse has a 24/7 customer service team with specialists for account support and technical support to make sure you are always speaking to somebody who knows how to help you.
- They offer a complete range of equipment including many models of Point-Of-Sale terminals for brick and mortar stores, as well as Pin pads for debit cards and wireless terminals.
- They also have 3 payment gateways available to choose from for Online merchant accounts. They are Authorize.net, VeriSign, and LinkPoint as well as their own in house system Merchantware which is an extremely cost effective alternative for people who do not need an e-commerce solution or POS / wireless terminals, (such as a landlord or trade show vendor). Merchantware is also ideal as a home based business merchant account.
- They also offer a free terminal program.
- Merchant Warehouse have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and they have just been voted Independent Sales Organization of the year by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), a regulator of the merchant account industry.
On the downside I did have a problem at first after I filled out the information form on their website when they didn’t contact me back for a day, but when I called the number I got straight through to a consultant and got started right away.
I just wanted to drop you a quick email to say thanks for putting me on to merchant warehouse. No cancellations fees!? Who’s ever heard of that before? All my previous accounts have tied me in for 2 years and the customer service teams have been great too.
Keep up the good work buddy.
Charge.com has a real 98% approval rating and will set accounts up in an average of 48 hours from receiving your application.
Charge.com has some of the lowest fees in the industry and they do not charge any of the hidden fees so common with most merchant account providers.
There are no set up or application fees and you get real time access to the reporting and management of your transactions. Accounts can also be completed online without the need for paperwork.
They also offer a FREE E-commerce shopping cart for people looking for an Internet Merchant Account, accept all major credit cards and offer a web based terminal for manual card processing.
The customer service has been excellent, I had an account with them for several years and never had a problem.
However, unlike Merchant warehouse they require a long term contract to be signed and the fees are not as low as merchant warehouse or the range of account options as flexible.
Still as a Merchant Account Provider they are recommended.
I’m only able to currently recommend 2 Merchant Account Providers with Merchant Warehouse being my top choice. The reasons for excluding other providers where hidden fees, lack of account features, high pressure sales tactics, rate increases, poor customer service, significant down time and high termination fees on contracts or start up fees.
To really understand what Merchant Warehouse can do for you It’s important to first discuss with a consultant via their special advice number 1.866.372.1152 and you can visit the website by Clicking Here for more information.
This website is constantly being updated so I ask if possible you send me any feedback from your personal experiences and especially so if you decide to use one of the recommended merchants to make sure this site will continue to be a valuable resource for the community.