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.
Seasonal businesses are a unique case in the credit card processing industry. Most merchant account providers aren’t able to turn their accounts on or off with the click of a button, and they tend to regard seasonal merchants as an unreliable source of revenue. As a result, your seasonal business may face hefty account maintenance fees during your off months, or worse, the need to close and reopen a new merchant account every year. This problem is complicated further when it comes to obtaining processing equipment for busy seasonal locations or yearly fundraising events. How can you find a merchant account provider that can get you the processing tools you need during your active months without charging an arm and a leg for the convenience?
To help you find the right fit for your business, we’ve put together the following list of the best merchant accounts for seasonal businesses. The providers on this list offer easy account setup and closure, credit card processing software, accounting software integration, and other useful services for growing and maintaining your seasonal business. They are also known to provide low-commitment contracts with transparent pricing and quality customer service. To find the right provider for your seasonal business, be sure to research each processor’s products and features and compare pricing and terms.
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 upholstery businesses. 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, gift and loyalty programs, and merchant cash advance. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce businesses and provides a free website and email address to interested merchants. Host is a good fit for upholstery companies that would like to affordably take credit cards in person and online.
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 is a good option for seasonal merchant accounts.
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 seasonal 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.
Launched in April 2013, Spark Pay by Capital One is a mobile processing app offered as part of Capital One’s “Spark Business” suite of small business solutions. It can be acquired via a free download from the App Store or Google Play Store and comes with a free headphone jack card reader. Spark Pay also comes with live phone support and email support for all users. Spark Pay is a great option for seasonal businesses that would like to accept credit cards without any dedicated hardware or unnecessary costs.
Spark Pay offers two pricing plans for merchants. The first, the Go Plan, is intended for low-volume merchants who simply wish to accept credit cards via their mobile devices. It charges 2.7% per swiped transaction, 2.95% per swiped American Express transaction, and 3.7% per keyed-in transaction. There are no other monthly fees associated with this plan.The Pro Plan, which is intended for higher-volume merchants, charges 1.95% per swiped transaction, 2.95% per swiped American Express transaction, and 2.95% per keyed-in transaction. It includes a monthly fee of $9.95 and can be cancelled anytime without penalty.
You can learn more by visiting the Spark Pay website.
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 include countertop terminals, a tablet-based POS system (via a partnership with ShopKeep), mobile device payment processing, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal (Authorize.Net), QuickBooks integration, small business financing, and custom fundraising pages for non-profits. The company also 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 businesses that process over $10,000 per month and non-profit organizations.
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+.”
PayPal is one of the largest payment processors in the world and is a very commonly used solution for seasonal businesses. PayPal’s features include emailed invoices with “Pay Now” buttons, mobile processing via PayPal Here, online shopping cart integration, and a virtual terminal that can be paired with a USB card swiper. PayPal is generally an excellent option for seasonal businesses that don’t mind transferring funds to and from their PayPal accounts.
PayPal is an easy-to-use service with a high profile and widespread acceptance. This recognition has enabled the company to grow and develop its product and service offerings, but it has also resulted in PayPal receiving a very large number of complaints related to customer service issues and fund holds. Our review of PayPal gives the company a “B” rating overall at this time, while the BBB gives PayPal an “A+.”
For more information, visit the PayPal website.
If your business offers seasonal merchant accounts, please leave a comment in the comment section below or contact us through our contact page in order to get listed in this article.