What to Know Before Getting Started
Starting a New Business?
Selecting a credit card processor is often more complicated than most people expect. How much should you be paying in fees? Should you lease or buy equipment? Should you be locked into a service agreement for anything length of time? These considerations and several others are imporant to understand before signing up with any merchant account provider. Mistakes are easily made and can be very costly to your business. Along with seeing our top choices for payment services below, be sure to checkout this post to avoid common traps in the merchant services industry.
Considerations For Current Business Owners
Changing merchant accounts can be an expensive, complicated, and time consuming process. Are you really going to save as much as promised? Do you need to buy to new equipment or sign new lease agreements? Will there be other less accountable costs such as those associated with employee retraining? Before selecting one of our choices below, you may want to consider renegotiating your fees with your current payment processing vendors using the help of a contingency-compensated consultant. It can result in a dramatic decrease in costs without the pains of switching. In some cases business owner have also obtained substantial refunds of prior overcharges along with saving thousands in future processing costs. See this post to learn more about this little-known alternative to changing merchant account provider.
High sales volume is a good thing for any business—unless, of course, we’re talking about credit card processing. Unfortunately, companies that experience regular sales surges, high average ticket amounts, or greater than $100,000 in monthly sales can find themselves dealing with fund holds, account freezes, irregular payment schedules, and data security liabilities if they sign up with the wrong merchant account provider. And since payment processors typically collect a percentage of each transaction, it doesn’t take long for costs to add up under an unfavorable contract. In fact, it’s not uncommon for large businesses to activate and implement a new company-wide payment processing solution only to discover after a few months that they’re stuck with outrageous monthly costs, poor service, and a long-term deal that is prohibitively expensive to cancel.
To help you avoid this problem, we’ve put together the following list of the top merchant account providers for high volume merchants. These processors are large and experienced enough to serve enterprise-level payment environments, and they’ve also earned reputations for fair, transparent pricing and quality customer service. Some of them offer a wide array of integrated business management solutions, while others are primarily focused on processing payments securely and cheaply. When discussing your business with these providers, you’ll want to be absolutely clear about your sales volume and payment patterns so that they can assign the correct parameters to your account. It’s also best to get in touch with more than one provider in order to compare pricing and services.
Our unbiased articles are supported in part by helping you find highly reviewed merchant accounts. You can learn more here.
Why These Merchant Account Providers
Host Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that can serve general high volume business types as well as some high risk merchants. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions (with specific packages for the restaurant, salon, professional service, and contractor sectors), online marketing tools, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, mobile credit card processing, gift and loyalty programs, and offshore merchant accounts. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce solutions and can provide a free website and email system to interested merchants.
Host Merchant Services has received only positive feedback on public forums, with most reviewers singling out the company’s customer service for praise. Host 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+.”
Based in Woodland Hills, California, PaymentCloud is a merchant account provider that specializes in serving standard to high risk business types. 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 advertises wholesale rates that are beneficial for merchants who process a high volume of transactions.
PaymentCloud provides a dedicated account rep to all new merchants for the life of the account. 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.”
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 high volume merchants and offers a comprehensive dashboard for tracking all payments and customers.
Fattmerchant offers multiple pricing plans with different rates. Merchants can select either a plan that charges a flat fee on all transactions or a plan that charges a fixed monthly fee plus a fixed per-transaction dollar amount above interchange. In other words, merchants can choose whether or not they are charged a percentage markup on each transaction. Fattmerchant currently has an “A” rating on CPO and an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Other Merchant Account Options
The providers in this section may not have been researched as thoroughly or may lack a quality that prevented them from being listed above. We have listed them here to provide a broader view of potential merchant account options. Are you a decision maker with your company and believe that you should be listed below? Tell us here.
CDG Commerce is yet another positively reviewed processor on this list that offers month-to-month contracts, no early termination fee, few complaints, and excellent customer support. Privately owned and operated since 1998, CDG Commerce can provide processing solutions for organizations of all sizes.
CDG Commerce offers mobile and in-person card acceptance for the same fixed, low per-transaction rates, and its online processing costs only slightly more. The company provides a payment gateway that enables reporting, recurring billing, and built-in QuickBooks integration, which is essential for most small non-profits that need to stay on top of their accounting.
CDG Commerce provides phone support, live chat support, and email support to all of its organizations. The company currently has an “A+” rating with the BBB and an “A+” rating on CardPaymentOptions.com.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Payline Data is an excellent all-around merchant account provider that is able to serve high volume merchants in traditional and high risk sectors. The company’s products and features include traditional and tablet-based POS solutions, a QuickBooks-integrated online payment gateway, payment tokenization, online shopping carts, mobile processing, and customizable sales analytics.
Payline Data typically offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees, which has resulted in a regular stream of positive reviews from merchants and third-party reviewers alike. Our review of Payline Data gives the company an “A+” rating, while the BBB gives Payline an “A” at this time.
Based in Alberta, Canada, Helcim is another positively reviewed all-purpose processor that supplies in-person and online payment solutions to businesses in both the U.S. and Canada. Helcim’s products and services include a virtual terminal, traditional POS equipment, recurring billing, secure data storage and access, and a payment gateway that can be directly integrated with a website, shopping cart, billing system, or other application via an API. Like Cayan, Helcim is ideal for high volume merchants in standard-risk and low-risk industries.
Helcim is known for its transparent pricing structure (interchange-plus pricing with month-to-month agreements and no early termination fees) and frequently receives positive merchant feedback related to its sales and support staff. CardPaymentOptions.com gives Helcim an “A+” rating at this time, and the BBB also assigns Helcim an “A+.”
For more information, see the Helcim Website.