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.
Best Seasonal Merchant Accounts
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.
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.