What to Know Before Getting Started
Selling Online Is No Longer Optional
In order for your business to remain competitive in the modern marketplace, you’ll need to maintain some kind of web presence. Whether it’s a complete website, an online directory listing, or a social media profile, your company’s online identity allows customers to research your product and contact you over the Internet. You may even choose to build a fully functional e-commerce website that enables visitors to conveniently shop for your products online, rave about your products publicly, and share their positive experiences with other customers.
E-Commerce Can Be Intimidating
But setting up an online merchant account can seem like a complex and risky affair, especially when it comes to security and maintenance costs. If you already run a successful brick-and-mortar operation with a limited online presence, you may wonder whether it’s worth the risk to switch processors just to set up an internet storefront.
Find the Best
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of reliable, full-service, all-in-one e-commerce providers for traditional merchants. The payment processors in this list are best known for providing quality merchant services to large, established brick-and-mortar merchants through their traditional processing options, but they also offer e-commerce solutions that have been favorably reviewed. If you currently operate (or will soon be launching) a business that requires a robust service suite for both face-to-face and online transactions, this list should be useful to you.
Please note that while all of these companies offer all-in-one credit card processing, they each have different strengths and weaknesses that may or may not match your business’s needs. You should be sure to research each provider carefully in order to determine which one is the most suitable for you.
Why We Chose These Merchant Account Providers
Best Overall Option
Active since early 2014, Fattmerchant is a merchant account provider leading the industry’s move toward flat-rate, subscription-style pricing. The company’s products and services include EMV-compatible countertop terminals, a virtual terminal, an online payment gateway, an online shopping cart, mobile phone processing, QuickBooks integration, online invoicing, and recurring billing. Fattmerchant is capable of serving all standard-risk e-commerce business types whether they maintain a brick-and-mortar location or not.
Top Stripe Alternative
Did Stripe burn you with fund holds or bad customer service? We recommend Fattmerchant as the top alternative to Stripe. While both services offer an API for developers, a month-to-month contract, and integrated mobile payment options, only Fattmerchant provides a lower per-transaction fee, a customer support phone line, next-day funding, and QuickBooks integration.
Fattmerchant offers multiple pricing plans with different rates, but all of its plans charge a fixed monthly fee and a fixed per-transaction dollar amount above interchange. In other words, none of Fattmerchant’s plans charge a percentage-based fee on each transaction, meaning that merchants will not pay more to process a large transaction than they will a small transaction. Fattmerchant currently has an “A” rating on CPO and an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Host Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that specializes in payment solutions for e-commerce businesses. The company’s products and services include web hosting, online marketing tools, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, online shopping cart integration, gift and loyalty programs, and mobile payment solutions. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce businesses but is able to serve retail businesses just as well.
Host Merchant Services Reviews
Host Merchant Services has received only positive feedback on public forums, with most reviewers singling out the company’s customer service for praise. The company offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees to all of its merchants, meaning that users will enjoy the most transparent pricing model and can cancel service without penalty. The BBB gives Host an “A+” rating, and CPO also gives the company an “A+.”
Accepts All Business Types
Based in Woodland Hills, California, PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider that specializes in serving e-commerce businesses of nearly any type. This includes “high-risk” online industries such as CBD and Kratom businesses. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions, mobile phone swipers, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, EMV-compatible terminals, and merchant cash advances. PaymentCloud provides a dedicated account rep to all new merchants for the life of the account.
Custom Pricing Plans
The company has not received any negative complaints on consumer forums, and it customizes its pricing according to each merchant’s business type and processing history. The BBB does not maintain a profile for PaymentCloud at this time, but CPO gives the company an “A.”
Secondary Merchant Account Options
Based in Chesapeake, Virginia, CDG Commerce is a general merchant account provider with a strong background in online payment processing. The company was founded in 1998 and has offered a payment gateway and virtual terminal called the “Quantum Gateway” since 2007. CDG Commerce’s e-commerce solutions include AVS, CVV verification, IP filtering, recurring billing, tokenized payments, hosted payment pages, Authorize.net emulation, developer APIs, and ACH processing.
CDG Commerce Reviews
In addition to its wide array of e-commerce features, CDG Commerce carries an overwhelmingly positive online reputation. The company has consistently received public testimonials during its more than 15 years of operation and maintains low complaint totals across all consumer protection websites. CDG offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees or monthly minimums, and all of its merchants receive live support.
Payline Data is a rapidly growing merchant account provider that services businesses of most sizes and types. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Payline provides traditional credit card processing equipment, iPad POS systems, virtual terminals with USB card readers, mobile processing through either Payline or Flint Mobile, and an online payment gateway and shopping cart that integrate easily into a merchant’s existing website. These services are all reliable, low-cost solutions for any processing need that a merchant should have, and they all share two attractive features: Payline Data’s pricing and customer service.
First, the pricing: Payline Data offers Interchange-plus pricing, the most transparent pricing plan available. For a low monthly fee, merchants can obtain the “simple” or “pro” plan for each processing type and enjoy a flat markup above interchange for transactions processed through these services. Additionally, Payline’s customer service and sales team have both received overwhelmingly positive reviews on this site and elsewhere, with almost no consumer complaints to be found about the company.
Dharma Merchant Services
Dharma Merchant Services is a San Francisco-based merchant account provider that places a corporate emphasis on social consciousness and community outreach. The company’s e-commerce products and services include an online payment gateway and virtual terminal (via Authorize.Net), QuickBooks integration, automated recurring billing, small business financing, and custom fundraising pages for non-profits. Of additional interest is the fact that the company donates a percentage of its profits to non-profits of its choosing every year. Dharma is best suited to provide savings for e-commerce merchants who process over $10,000 per month.
Dharma scores highly on CPO and elsewhere due to its positively reviewed customer service, transparent rate and fee quotes, competitive interchange-plus rates, and fair service agreements. The BBB currently assigns a rating of “A+” for Dharma Merchant Services, while CardPaymentOptions.com also gives the company an “A+.”
Founded in 2007, SalesVu is an Austin, Texas-based software provider that has partnered with Mercury Payment Systems and Century Payments to offer a full POS system for iPad and iPhone. SalesVu’s free POS app comes with a free card reader and allows for Quickbooks integration, end-of-shift reports, labor tracking, recurring billing, mobile optimization, online shopping cart integration, tip adjusting, split checks, and digital invoicing. The company’s service comes with a free, customizable e-commerce website and telephone support. Merchants can either open a new merchant account with unique pricing through Mercury or Century or receive a match with their existing rates through SalesVu.
SalesVu currently receives an “A+” from CardPaymentOptions.com, and although the company does not have a Better Business Bureau profile at this time, the BBB profile for Mercury Payment Systems is showing an “A+” rating.
For more information, see the SalesVu Website.
As the merchant services subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase Bank, Chase Paymentech has the organizational size and product base to cater to the needs of any merchant. Paymentech offers a number of different credit card terminals, including its “future proof” terminal, which is designed to accept different in-person payment methods including EMV, RFID, and mobile wallets payments. The company also provides a payment gateway, virtual terminal, self-hosted payment page, and mobile processing through Chase Mobile Checkout.
Chase Paymentech has slightly less favorable contract terms than the processors above due to its standard use of tiered pricing, but the company offers month-to-month agreements in most cases with no cancellation fees or PCI Compliance fees. A merchant may face a variable termination penalty from the company if he or she accepts free equipment at the start of a 24-month agreement, but this is a standard practice in the credit card processing industry. Chase Paymentech is showing a very low number of online complaints for its massive size, and the complaints that are available do not cite a specific, glaring issue with the company’s service.
TSYS Merchant Solutions
TSYS Merchant Solutions is a very large merchant services provider that has been in operation since the 1970s. With numerous resellers and ISOs scattered across the country, the company provides both backend processing for sales organizations and direct payment processing for merchants. Because TSYS utilizes resellers, the contract terms it can offer are variable, so merchants need to be cautious when signing up for service through a TSYS reseller. Merchants who can secure a good deal with TSYS will have access to a wide array of payment acceptance options, including traditional retail equipment, mobile processing options, online payment gateways and shopping carts, and NFC acceptance.
TSYS’s standard contract terms do not compare favorably with other companies on this list, but these terms may be subject to variation and negotiation. The basic TSYS agreement is a three-year contract with one-year renewal and a variable early termination fee as well as transaction rates that may change depending on a merchant’s size, business type, and time in business. What sets TSYS apart from other processors with similar pricing, however, is its low complaint rate. Given the fact that relatively few merchants have filed complaints against a company as massive as TSYS, the company appears to be a reliable if imperfect processing option for brick-and-mortar retailers.
If your company primarily services traditional retailers but also offers a robust e-commerce option, please leave a comment below or get in touch with us directly.