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.
Accept Credit Cards With Your Computer
Virtual terminals are excellent options for merchants who wish to accept credit cards but who don’t want to invest in new equipment or extensive training. Virtual terminals function in a very similar way to conventional credit card swipers, except for the fact that they run on personal computers or laptops by connecting with a secure online payment gateway. This means that any office or front desk with a desktop computer can be converted into a point of sale with just a USB card swiper and a software installation, which eliminates the need for a dedicated phone line. Virtual terminals are just as secure as traditional card swipers, but they often come with additional benefits like sales reporting, multiple user support, third-party software integration, and the ability to recharge cards without the customer present.
Find the Best
Finding the right virtual terminal for your business can be tricky, so we’ve put together a list of the top virtual terminals that we have reviewed. The merchant account providers who sell these virtual terminals are known to offer fair, transparent pricing in addition to excellent customer support, so the odds are good that you can find a solid deal within this group. In addition, each provider will have different features, add-ons, and integrations such as online checkout pages, web hosting, receipt printers, mobile solutions, and QuickBooks integration. In order to secure the best deal and the most appropriate fit for your company, be sure to contact multiple providers on this list.
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Why These Merchant Account Providers
Host Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that offers a versatile, proprietary virtual terminal in addition to other web-based services. The company’s Transaction Central virtual terminal is capable of check imaging, ACH processing, recurring payments, wireless processing, batch processing, and multi-location networking. Host also offers point-of-sale systems, online marketing tools, mobile credit card processing, gift and loyalty programs, merchant cash advance, and offshore merchant accounts. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce businesses and provides a free website and email address 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 provides a virtual terminal that serves both e-commerce and MOTO merchants so that they can easily accept payments remotely outside of a storefront. Furthermore, PaymentCloud can integrate websites with online shopping carts to facilitate sales on any website or mobile app. For these reasons, PaymentCloud is an excellent option for any merchant seeking a virtual terminal provider.
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 offers its own virtual terminal as well as a comprehensive dashboard to all customers.
Fattmerchant’s virtual terminal offers one-time and scheduled invoices, payment links to send directly to customers, payment buttons for your website, recurring invoices, subscription billing schedules, payment automation, real-time syncing to your dashboard, secure card tokenization, QuickBooks Online integration, an online store builder, and synced hardware.
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 privately owned Chesapeake, Virginia-based merchant account provider that has offered internet processing solutions since 1998. The company’s virtual terminal is offered as part of its Quantum Gateway and includes AVS, recurring billing, tokenized payments, a hosted payment page, Authorize.net emulation, API integration, and ACH processing.
CDG Commerce offers fixed per-transaction fees with month-to-month contracts and no early termination fees. The company has a remarkably low complaint total considering the fact that it has been in business and growing since 1998 and has retained the same ownership during that time. Our review of CDG Commerce gives the company an “A+” rating, and the BBB also gives CDG Commerce an “A+.”
Payline Data is a highly rated all-purpose merchant account provider headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 2009, the company offers a virtual terminal that offers processing from any web-enabled device, QuickBooks integration, ACH payments, real-time form field validation, a USB card swiper, check scanning devices, and payment tokenization for future or recurring billing.
Payline Data offers interchange-plus pricing to all of its merchants with no long-term contracts or early termination fees, and this pricing structure has produced consistently positive merchant reviews for the company. Additionally, Payline’s sales and support teams are often singled out for praise by satisfied business owners. Our review of Payline Data gives the company an “A+” rating at this time, while the Better Business Bureau gives Payline an “A” rating.
Easy Pay Direct
Based in Austin, Texas, Easy Pay Direct is a merchant account provider that can serve both traditional and high risk business types with its proprietary virtual terminal and payment gateway. Easy Pay Direct’s virtual terminal enables processing from any internet-connected device, QuickBooks integration, USB swiping, payment tokenization, ACH processing, and automated recurring billing.
Easy Pay Direct customizes its pricing based on each merchant’s business type and only enforces an early termination fee when a merchant requires offshore processing. The company enjoys a clean complaint record across all consumer forums, which is uncommon for high risk providers. Our review of Easy Pay Direct gives the company an “A” rating at this time, while the BBB gives Easy Pay Direct an “A+.”
Helcim is a Canada-based credit card processor that is able to provide a virtual terminal for both Canadian and U.S. businesses. The company’s virtual terminal includes a secure customer credit card vault, email invoicing and receipts, hosted payment pages, recurring billing, API integration, and shopping cart compatibility.
Helcim offers interchange-plus pricing with month-to-month contracts and no early termination fees to its merchants, and the company regularly receives positive feedback from merchants regarding its sales staff and support team. Our review of Helcim gives the company an “A+” rating at this time, while the BBB also gives Helcim an “A+.”
For more information, see the Helcim Website.
If your business offers a virtual terminal for retail and e-commerce merchants, please leave a comment in the comment section below or contact us through our contact page in order to get listed in this article.