Emergent trends in online marketing have created unique payment processing challenges for marketing firms. The ideal merchant account provider for your marketing agency will facilitate billing across multiple clients and account types, provide sales analytics to help you optimize your resources, and offer tools like accounting integration and online invoicing. There are also providers you should avoid—namely, any provider that is known to push long-term contracts, expensive equipment leases, or deceptive price quotes.
To help you in your search, we’ve put together the following list of the best merchant accounts for marketing agencies. The companies on this list offer business management tools, online invoicing, client management integration, accounting integration, virtual terminals, and other features that make it easier for you to run your marketing business. More importantly, though, they are also known to provide low-commitment contracts with transparent pricing and quality customer service. To find the right provider for your ad agency, be sure to research each processor’s products and features and compare pricing and terms.
Best Merchant Accounts for Marketing Firms
Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that is well-suited for marketing firms and ad agencies. The company’s products and services include online marketing tools, mobile credit card processing, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, custom third-party integrations, recurring billing, and merchant cash advance. Host also specializes in e-commerce businesses and provides a free website and business-class email to interested merchants. Host is an ideal option for marketing companies that would like to build a strong web presence at a reasonable cost.
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 Better Business Bureau 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. These features allow merchants to accept payments on-site using their phones as well as through online billing. For those reasons, PaymentCloud is a good option for marketing firms as it allows them to process one time payments for a single project or set up recurring billing for monthly services from SEO analytics to executing each stage of an advertisement campaign.
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 marketers 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.
Located in Chesapeake, Virginia, CDG Commerce is another reliable option for marketing agencies of all sizes and types. CDG has been privately owned since 1998 and offers a proprietary online payment gateway (as well as a discount on Authorize.Net’s payment gateway), recurring billing, a virtual terminal, QuickBooks integration, mobile phone processing, sales reporting, security breach protection, and vulnerability scanning. CDG Commerce is ideal for marketing firms that require a simple, low-cost, fully integrated processing solution across all payment channels.
CDG Commerce only charges a low, fixed fee per transaction and offers competitive contractual terms, including no annual fees, monthly minimums, or termination fees. CDG also offers next day funding to most business types. CDG has earned an “A+” rating in our review as well as an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Vantage Payments is a merchant account provider that specializes in serving high risk merchant types, including advertising firms. The company’s products and services include remote deposit capture, European direct debit, call center services, multi-currency support, web design, and SEO assistance. Vantage is the best option on this list for direct response marketers and advertisers who are unable to find processing through conventional merchant account providers.
Vantage Payments currently has a clean complaint record across all review websites, which is an impressive feat for a company that serves high risk business sectors. Our review of Vantage gives the company an “A” rating at this time, while the BBB gives Vantage an “A+.”
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Payline Data has consistently rated as one of the best merchant account providers on CPO since we first reviewed the company. Payline is capable of serving marketers of all sales volumes. The company offers mobile phone credit card processing (via Flint), an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, QuickBooks integration, recurring billing, online invoicing, and API integration for online payments. Payline Data is a good general option for any marketing firm, regardless of size or specialty.
In addition to its wide array of services, Payline Data offers interchange-plus pricing with month-to-month contracts and no early termination fees. As a result, the company enjoys a large number of positive testimonials from its clients on this website and in other consumer protection forums. The Better Business Bureau currently assigns Payline Data an “A+” rating, and CPO also gives Payline an “A+.”
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 include countertop terminals, mobile device payment processing, an online payment gateway (Authorize.Net), QuickBooks integration, small business financing, and custom fundraising pages for non-profits. The company extends special pricing to non-profit organizations and donates a percentage of its profits to non-profits of its choosing every year. Dharma is best suited to provide savings for marketing agencies that 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+.”
Headquartered in Levi, Utah, ProPay is an e-commerce merchant account provider that provides robust billing and payment options for marketing agencies. ProPay users can utilize digital invoicing to collect payments from clients via email or purchase ProPay Jak, the company’s mobile phone processing solution, to take payments in person. ProPay is also able to process recurring ACH transactions through its virtual terminal and online payment gateway. ProPay is an ideal choice for agencies that require a fully-featured digital payments option without the physical equipment offered by traditional providers.
ProPay’s pricing will vary depending on each merchant’s business type, size, time in business, and preferred method of payment acceptance. The company is a TSYS subsidiary and has a very low complaint total in the past three years for a provider of its size. Our review of ProPay currently gives the company an “A” rating, while the Better Business Bureau gives ProPay an “A+.”
For more information, see the ProPay website.