Authorize.net Review


Overall Rating Breakdown
Sales & Marketing Tactics
Costs & Contract Terms
Complaints & Service
BBB Rating

Overall Rating

"B+" Credit Card Processor Rating

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Jump to: Sales Tactics | Costs & Contract | Complaints & Service | BBB Complaints

Overview

Authorize.net Logo

Authorize.net Logo

Contrary to popular belief, Authorize.net is not a merchant account provider or a credit card processor. Instead, Authorize.net is what is known in the merchant services industry as a “payment gateway provider.” This means that the company provides software and applications that route credit card payments from the point of sale to the actual credit card processor. Payment gateway providers like Authorize.net are an additional but necessary service if a merchant wishes to use a virtual terminal, website shopping cart, or some mobile processing applications.

Related: Authorize.net Competitors

Authorize.net is one of the biggest and most well-known payment gateway providers in the credit card processing industry and supplies several different services. One such service is the the company’s own virtual terminal, which turns any Internet-connected computer into a credit card processing terminal. Unlike most virtual terminals, Authorize.net’s can be used in conjunction with a USB card reader which allows merchants to take advantage of lower processing rates by swiping the credit card. Along with the virtual terminal, one of the company’s most popular services is a secured, hosted, and PCI compliant shopping cart. The hosted shopping cart allows merchants to easily sell through their websites by inserting “Buy Now,” “Add to Cart,” and “Checkout” buttons without going through the hassle of setting up their own self-hosted shopping cart. Merchants that have a large product selection and need a robust shopping cart can use Authorize.net’s API to access the payment gateway service, which is compatible with nearly all well-known shopping cart packages. Along with all of this, the company partners with several third party applications to provide a variety of other electronic payment solutions.

Click to see a video introduction to Authorize.net

Authorize.net Sales & Marketing Tactics | A

Key Points – Sales & Marketing 
Uses independent resellers? Yes
Promotes deceptive rate quotes? No
Discloses all important terms? Yes

Authorize.net’s website provides the suggested retail price of its services, and it clearly states that resellers may alter the costs as they see fit. The company’s pricing breakdown is complete with explanations of each term and is easy to access from the main page. Because Authorize.net’s services are resold by a huge number of merchants, the figures provided on its actual site are subject to change, but the company is being helpful by offering a suggested cost for merchants to use in potential negotiations and is therefore awarded an “A.”

Authorize.Net Marketing Example

Authorize.net Costs & Contract Terms | A-

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: None
PCI compliance fee: None
Equipment lease: Variable

Authorize.net quotes pricing on its website of a $99 setup fee, $20 monthly gateway fee, $0.10 per transaction fee and $0.25 batch fee. However, pricing may vary widely based on the reseller because resellers can set prices as they please. Due to this, pricing is very negotiable and many of the fees can be greatly reduced or eliminated. Many of the complaints filed publicly against the company (some of which are in the comments section below) report confusion over the the fact that a third-party reseller was actually offering the services of Authorize.net even though the merchant was under the impression that the reseller itself was providing a payment gateway. While these problems are unrelated to the actual Authorize.net contract, it is worth noting that contract terms can vary, and resellers are not obligated to disclose which figures they have altered from the original suggested retail price.

Click to see a copy of the standard Authorize.net merchant services agreement
Authorize.Net Merchant Agreement

Related: Get Matched With an “A” Rated Provider

Authorize.net Complaints & Service | B-

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: 80+
Live customer support: Yes
Most common complaint: Poor service

Authorize.net offers an FAQ/troubleshooting-type customer support page on its website, and it also lists an email address and an 877 number for merchant support. It makes some mention of online chat support, but it is not clear how one might access the online chat service.

The company has a few dozen complaints on consumer protection websites like Ripoff Report, with most of these complaints due to poor customer service, feature malfunctions, billing disputes, or unexpected charges. It was also apparent that several merchants were confused about the fact that Authorize.net was not the same company as their credit card processor. These complainants were unsure which company was to blame for the problems they were having. This confusion can usually be traced back to resellers who did a poor job of explaining the relationship between the credit card processor and the Authorize.net payment gateway.

Authorize.net BBB Rating | B- (CPO Adjusted)

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 51
Billing/collection: 118
Advertising/sales: 14
Guarantee/warranty: 0
Delivery: 4

Authorize.net has a moderate amount of complaints for its size and time in business. As of this review, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is giving Authorize.net a rating of “A+” despite the company having 187 complaints filed within the last 36 months, which is slightly up from 181 complaints as of the last update of this review. Of the complaints, 118 are due to billing and collection issues, 51 are regarding problems with products and services, 14 have to do with with advertising and sales issues, and four are related to delivery issues. Almost all of the complaints have been resolved with BBB assistance, but 17 left the merchants dissatisfied with the company’s response. The moderate complaint rate is mitigated somewhat by the strong record of satisfactory responses, resulting in a CPO-adjusted rating of “B-.” To understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.

Bottom Line

Overall, Authorize.net has a decent rating as a payment gateway provider. The company provides an easy way for merchants to accept credit cards using just their computers and through their websites, and Authorize.net is widely accepted as one of the best gateway providers in the merchant services industry. Despite several complaints by unhappy merchants, the majority of the company’s customers appear to be satisfied with its services.

It is evident by the type of complaints that Authorize.net has received that the company could stand to improve upon its customer service and reseller training. Merchants are advised to negotiate rates and fees and to thoroughly read the agreement before signing.

This review was originally published on 4/8/11 and was last updated on 8/21/14.

Leave your review of Authorize.net in the comment section below:


Authorize.net Review

Rated 3.625 Out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2014-08-21 12:49:53

There are several dozen negative Authorize.net reviews outside of the BBB that are mostly due to poor customer service. The complainants accused Authorize.net of being a scam in some cases… Most of these issues can be traced back to resellers who did a poor job of explaining the merchant account-Authorize.net relationship… Learn more in this Authorize.net review.

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About the author

Phillip Parker

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry.



 
Phillip can help you find an ethical and honest processor that will offer you great rates. Click here to request a free provider consultation.

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37 comments

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  1. Gab

    DO NOT USE AUTHORIZE.NET – I have had nothing but problems with them from errors, poor transaction handling, worthless arb system, and terrible customer service – not to mention how out of date their system is. Save yourself the awful experience of authorize.net and go with some one else. I don’t know how they even became the ‘#1′ processor – don’t believe the ads its a terrible system

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  2. Aaron Coleman

    In December of 2013 Authorize.net began withholding funds owed to my company from completed transactions without notifying me. When I contacted them about this matter they did not even give me any reasoning or justification in regards to why they were withholding my funds. Ironically, they continued to charge my bank account for processing fees for funds they were withholding. This is basically theft in my mind. As a result, I contacted my bank and changed my account information. A few weeks later someone in risk management contacted me and told me that my funds would be released and my account taken off hold. However, this person also informed me that for some reason I would not receive all of the monies in total that were being previously held. When I asked to talk to someone in risk department management I was told that because I changed my bank account information that punitive fees were “eating up” my funds. When I proceeded to explain to them that I only changed my bank account information because some unauthorized fees were being taken out of my account when the only merchant service provider I was currently doing business with was on hold I was told by Authorize.net “we have nothing to do with that.” So as a result of Authorize.net unjustifiably putting our account on hold, fees in excess of $400.00 were stolen from my company by Authorize.net. This issue has never been addressed nor have these funds ever been reimbursed by Authorize.net.

    Recently, I would say about two months ago our company was experiencing an unusually high volume of charge backs (which in any business processing credit cards on-line is very bad). What I realized was that Authorize.net had our customer contact phone number and information incorrect. When I contacted them to have it changed I was initially given the runaround by Authorize.net simply to change the customer contact number on the charge back forms received by the customers when wanting to discuss their transaction with our company. Eventually I talked to someone in customer service who transferred me to someone in “Information Update” who supposedly changed our customer contact phone number. For some reason as recent as 6/19/14 our customer service contact number has not changed. This is unacceptable! When customers are not able to contact the company of whom they have done business with, their tendency is to charge back due to belief that some suspicious behavior has taken place with this particular company. This is not the first time I have attempted to change or update my company information with Authorize.net. And in their usual fashion they lied to me stating that they had addressed the issue when in actuality they never did. This incompetence has cost my small company a considerable amount of money. I have reported Authorize.net to the BBB and am still waiting for a response. I intend to follow up on that complaint this week and pursue it to the fullest extent until someone takes the initiative to contact me from Authorize.net and not only addresses the problem but also explains to me why they are so unprofessional in their practices especially with the little guy.

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    5 / 5 found this review helpful.
    1. Ken R.

      Has anyone considered a class action lawsuit against this company? I’m not in business; I just tried to pay for an item through Authorize.net last September, and it took until December for me to get my money back. It was the worst shopping experience I’ve ever had and nearly ruined Christmas. My problem with Authorize.net escalated to the point that they locked the account of the vendor I was trying to buy from, resulting in lost income for the vendor and frantic efforts on my part to save the job of the salesman who’d been trying to help me out. It was a ridiculous thing. Here I am, the wronged customer, trying to keep a guy from getting fired at Christmas because his boss uses Authorize.net, which is, to my mind, a fraudulent and criminal entity.

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      4 / 4 found this review helpful.
  3. Gordon Freeman

    Their SimpleCheckout function (nor their website) hasn’t been updated in decades. Customer Support is very poor, with most customer service reps having no clue about anything. E-mail support takes days to respond. It’s an antiquated system with no new features added in years.

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.

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