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.
Hotels, motels, vacation rentals, hostels, and bed and breakfasts are very popular businesses for credit card users. This is largely because travelers often book flights and lodging at the same time, and they usually accrue airline miles (and future travel plans) as part of their credit card rewards programs. Simply put, most lodging merchants will need to accept credit card payments in order to serve their customers. But in order to accept card payments, hotel operators need to navigate a tricky minefield of reservations, deposits, refunds, and credit card security, all while keeping costs as low as possible.
To assist you in your search for a provider, we’ve created the following list of the best merchant account providers for lodging. These credit card processors offer secure payment solutions that enable merchants to accept card payments online, over the phone, and in person and can be integrated into most major online reservation systems. They also have received positive reviews from merchants and third-party reviewers alike. It is important to note that these providers are not all-in-one booking and payment solutions, so it is important to find an online booking or reservation system that can partner with a third-party payment processor to accept payment. As always, the best way to secure the lowest rates for your lodging business is to contact multiple providers from the list below 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 is well-suited for most general business types including hotels. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions, online marketing tools, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, mobile credit card processing, and merchant cash advance. Host Merchant Services is able to provide specialized e-commerce solutions for merchants who wish to maintain a strong web presence.
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. The Authorize.Net backed virtual terminal that PaymentCloud utilizes allows hotels to keep confidential payment information from its guests secure. Furthermore, PaymentCloud’s comprehensive POS solutions allow hotels to keep track of bookings, vacancies, charges accumulated during a stay, as well as to serve restaurants, spas, and other services offered on their property. For those reasons, PaymentCloud is a good option for hotels.
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 hotels 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 a Chesapeake, Virginia-based merchant account provider that offers retail, mobile, and e-commerce solutions for hotels. The company’s products include an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, recurring billing, fraud protection, a chargeback dispute resolution system, tokenized payments, Authorize.Net emulation, QuickBooks integration, and ACH processing.
CDG Commerce was founded in 1998 and has consistently maintained a positive reputation among merchants and third-party reviewers since then. It typically offers month-to-month agreements with no early termination fees to its merchants, but pricing and terms will vary depending on each business’s time in business and processing history. CDG currently has an “A+” rating from CardPaymentOptions.com and an “A+” from the BBB.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Payline Data is a great merchant account option for lodging merchants. The company’s products and features include a QuickBooks-integrated online payment gateway and virtual terminal, payment tokenization, online checkout, mobile processing, and customizable sales analytics. Payline’s virtual terminal securely transmits customers’ encrypted payment information to Payline’s secure servers, eliminating the merchant’s liability while still allowing the merchant to initiate future payments without direct access to card data.
Payline Data consistently receives positive feedback from merchants for its transparent sales policies, helpful customer support, and affordable pricing model, which typically offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees. Our review of Payline Data gives the company an “A+” rating, while the Better Business Bureau gives Payline an “A” at this time.
Dharma Merchant Services
Based in San Francisco, California, Dharma Merchant Services is a highly rated merchant account provider that places a corporate emphasis on social consciousness and community outreach. The company’s products and services for hotels include countertop terminals, mobile device payment processing, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal (Authorize.Net), QuickBooks integration, and small business financing. The company donates a percentage of its profits to non-profits of its choosing every year, which some merchants may find appealing. Dharma is best suited to provide savings for merchants who process over $10,000 per month.
Dharma scores highly in our review and elsewhere due to its positively reviewed customer service, transparent marketing practices, 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+.”
Cayan is a large merchant account provider based in Boston, Massachusetts. The company offers a wide range of services that are great for lodging businesses, including an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, mobile processing, API- and IP-based software integration,transaction histories and reporting, offline processing, and payment tokenization. Cayan also offers a cloud-based customer engagement platform called “Genius” that includes digital signature capture, custom branding, and check processing.
Cayan customizes its pricing based on each merchant’s business type and size, but it typically offers a month-to-month agreement with no early termination fees. The company currently has an “A” rating with CardPaymentOptions.com and an “A+” rating with the BBB.
Based in Alberta, Canada, Helcim is an all-purpose processor that supplies in-person, phone, and online payment solutions to businesses in both the U.S. and Canada. Helcim’s products and services include a virtual terminal, support for multiple currencies, 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.
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 reviews 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.
If your business offers merchant accounts and payment solutions to lodging businesses, please leave a comment in the comment section below or contact us through our contact page in order to get listed in this article.