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I've heard of the company CyberSource. I don't know if they are the cheapest, but they are popular.
Rather than focusing on cost alone, have you also considered other factors? Such as the type of cards it needs to accept - Mastercard, Visa, American Express, etc. I don't think all card processing service packages accept American Express for example. Also, consider the type of verification tools available to prevent fraud. I think that's really important to consider for an eCommerce website. Also, different services may come with different types of reporting and general account management. Good luck!
Always be careful how you define "cheapest" when it comes to merchant card processing. Look out for fees, and look out for a lot of them!
Typically, most people just focus in on the discount rate, that is the percentage that you pay on a transaction. A typical dicount rate is between 1.5% and 4.5%, depending on the type of industry you are in. HOW you accept the card is important too...via phone, fax, internet, in person swipe, etc... Each can create a surcharge for your transaction. Also, PINned transactions tend to be cheaper that straight foward card transactions, but almost always include a per transaction fee.
Get the bottom line first before signing on the dotted line!
any luck with your search? we have a similar need
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For someone who is just getting started with eCommerce, plan to make this decision at least twice -- once today, and then again in about two years.
Even with prior experience and careful planning, your expansion into on-line sales will probably hold many surprises. It will take at least a year to know your typical transaction volume and amounts, and to learn what services, features, and reports are useful to you. By that time, you will have a sales history that allows you get lower rates.
The bank offers unbeatable security for you, plus most of your customers will trust the bank (some may not trust PayPal). PayPal is by far the faster and easier way to get started, customers can use any credit card (they don't need a PayPal account), and you can literally set it up and be accepting credit cards in about thirty minutes. Yes, the fees for either option can be high (about 3 percent), but you can shop later for providers who offer the specific services you want at a lower fee.
Whatever solution you choose:
1. If you are working with an entity other than a U.S. bank, your account balance may be uninsured -- so confirm that there is a simple way to transfer funds into your insured business account, and do so periodically.
2. Verify that you can provide your customers with the same credit card security that you expect. Paying an extra half-percent is much better than learning that purchases from your business or website were the common thread in an identify theft.
dirty little secret is that all card processors are charged the same fees by Visa and MC...they simply mark it up and tack on additional fees that are connected with processing. call anyone and grind em down.1 of 1 people found this helpful
Writer is correct. All processors work on exactly the same 'cost' factor from the bankcard associations aka Visa and MC. It's called "Interchange" and it's exactly the same for ALL US processors. The processor just 'packages and presents it fo re-sale in a million different ways in hopes that one gimmic or approach will hit somebodys hot button. Same basic concept as when a cereal manuacturers put the same cereal in different types, colors, shapes etc of boxes to find out which sells the best for whatever reason(s). It's called "Marketing".
Better than calling every processor in the yellow pages and beating them down as the writer suggests, I have a better idea: Either find a professional who understands how the processing business works, or take the time to educate yourself a little bit so you are able to make a more intelligent business decision BEFORE you sign on the bottom line. Believe me, these merchant services sales folks are professionals who know what they're doing...if you don't know what YOU are doing, you have as much chance of 'beating' them as you do of beating Tiger Woods in a game of golf.
If you're looking for a free resouce to learn a little about how cc processing works, please go to
*www.*merchantservices-help.com It's a free resource website we have published, no hard sell, no obligation, just good info. You'll find out how rates work, tricks of the trade, different processing methods, etc.
You may want to check out these merchant accounts: paypal.com and samsclub.com have great low rates.
I would say that it is also extremely important to find out what works with the website you have. If you use an open source shopping cart like oscommerce or zencart, make sure you talk to other people running these php driven sites and ask them for what works. I know that gateway from authorize.net and the bank of america merchant account was a perfect fit with zencart.
Small technology. Big effect http://www.NanoSafeguard.com
I think when you start an e-commerce, you should go with Paypal. Then when your site is up and running for a while (1 or 2 years) you will have an idea of your customer preference payments.
I recently went with Authorize.net our gateway provider and Bank of America merchant account.
In the past some of our customers have paid with credit cards via Paypal. I think it was the time to give 2 options, so far people are starting to pay with our Authorize.net gateway provider.
Why authorize.net? because Authorize.net use two differents mode for our e-commerce system cart: AIM and SIM modes. The AIM mode give you the possibility to capture cards on your e-commerce, the SIM mode allow you to capture the credit cards on the Authorize.net secure site for your account.
I like very much the SIM mode because on the Authorize.net site they monitor security all the time and I think that give more confidence to customers to buy on our e-commerce.
Since we are in business on internet we take very seriously the security on our site. I had many hackers trying to get in with injection SQL code. I have many friends with online business and they experimented the same issue. This is why we secure all customers information with a 256 bits SSL on our e-commerce, so each time a customer put personal information, they are secure. By the way this is very fun to install a SSL ;-) I do that myself it cost me $27 per year, if you go with Geotrust SSL that's $200 certificat perhaps more if your hosting company install it.
Keep in mind, less money you spend high branded tools, more money you can use to advertise ;-)
I echo the comments of many on this board. While the solution you choose will depend on your particular situation, here is what I found when I had to choose a merchant account + payment gateway a while back.
Here are the questions you should answer as you get started:
a) Do you want the transaction to execute on your site? Or, are you OK with the transaction completing on a 3rd party site? If the latter is OK with you, Google Checkout may be your best bet. Fees are very low (2%) and you get credit for your AdWords account.
b) If you want the transactions to execute on your site, you definitely need a merchant account. There are many providers out there. However, you may want to look around. Ask for all fees. The fee they mention when they sign you up (say) 2.12% is for "qualified" cards. You should ask what the fees are for "mid-qualified" or "non-qualified" cards. These will be much higher: typically 2.5% to 3.5%. International cards are a completely different thing...I hear the fees can be as high as 5-6%.
When I did my research, I was initially swayed towards Nova (Costco's preferred partner). Then you read about them at epinions.com and you find that they are terrible. So I stayed away from them.
The cheapest merchant account I have been able to find (for a beginning ecommerce provider) was at Chase Paymentech. If you use Microsoft Accounting 2007, you can sign up from within the software or else call them and ask for similar rates. The rates I remember were like 1.75% for qualified up to 2.5% for non-qualified, $0.15 for transaction fee, $10 minimum per month. These are for Visa/MC.
You also need either a payment gateway or else you need software to handle to handle the payments. Authorize.net charges $20 per month, $99 setup fee and $0.10 per transaction. You can also use software to connect to the payment processor directly, if you are knowledgeable about programming.
Another alternative for those that are cost conscious: Write your ecommerce software to work with the payment processor directly using libraries from nsoftware and other providers. More work is involved, but it is simple, and you pay a one-time cost for development but save the ongoing cost of monthly fees.
Oh one more point: Read the fine print you get from your bank when you open your merchant account. You get poor rates if you do not do CVV/CVV2 (though you are not allowed to store it which means you are out of luck if you want to do recurring payments, for example), you need to submit address/zip, though there is no guarantee that your payment processor will use it.
There are following need to be kept in mind
- How many transaction you will be doing each day/month/ year?
- What will be each transaction cost?
- Is monthly payment is better then each transaction cost?
- Should long term agreement is better then short term agreement.
- Start try less expensive company like pay pal and then change as you expand business.
Somewhat related to this question is setting up "Automated Recurring Billing". Examples: collection of rent, dues for athletic clubs. etc.
The ideal in this case is to avoid credit card transaction fees, and use direct debit billing as an alternative. I would echo the advice of other commentators and start with a provider that appears stable. I have had a good experience so far with PaySimple.com. Authorize.net appears to be another candidate. Bank of America merchant services is a possible solution (electronic invoicing), but customers must respond to the invoice in order to initiate the debit.
We will be using cc processing sometime next year. Right now I am in discussions with my bank, I have all of my personal as well as business account(s) with them and prefer to keep everything financial in one basket if it's cost effective.
Fees are not written in stone and depending on the amount processed, discounts may be in order. Also your bank may process on a sliding or pro rated scale for you. Never hurts to meet with your banker and find out.
Lots of valid info in this thread. However, also a few things I have to take issue with:
First of all, anybody seeking to open a merchant account should FIRST educate themselves a little bit about how credit card processing works. Go to www.merchantservices-help.com and carefully review and understand the pages regarding how fees work, gross vs net processing, daily vs monthly processing, add-on fee pitfalls, and the dozens of mistakes uneducated merchant applicants make every day. This is a free resource.
#1: When your sole criteria for selecting a merchant services provider is 'lowest rate', you are happily diving headfirst into the trap the merchant services 'marketeers' have set for you. It's all about packaging. Do not confuse 'low rate' with 'lowest cost of accepting credit cards"--these two concepts are completely different and opposite--the low rate will almost always cost more, not less, because it's packaged to look like something it isn't.. There are actually some 125 or so different rates you will be subjected to depending on how your process, what category of credit card etc. is used, not just one 'rate'. Make sure you understand ALL of them, not just the tippy-top number somebody is trying to tease you with.
#2 The concept of going directly to your bank for the 'best' processing rates is almost always (there ARE notable exceptions) untrue.. There are actually very few processing institutions (we call them Acquirers) in the US, all of which any merchant may contract directly usually via an authorized agent. Chances are your local bank is NOT one of them; tthe bank just has a referral relationship with one processor or another in return for a 'piece of the action'. Guess who pays for that piece of the action? The merchant, that's who. So when merchants go to their local bank for processing services, 9 times out of 10 all they are doing is adding an additional 'middleman' to the sales equation which actually increases, not decreases, the cost of processing for the merchant. Again, there ARE exceptions to this rule. Proceed with caution.
As many people said, there are many option out there and you need to compare many things between the different charges for processing the CCs.
I have created several e-commerces for my clients and we always use http://www.freeauthnet.com/, they will setup access using authorize.net, one of the best (if not the best) Internet payment gateways, you will be able to proccess CCs from all over the world with them.
Be sure to use only a service who offers Internet Gateway services, since the only thing you want to do is e-commerce, you will get a better rate since you will not need to use machines at your side.
You are absolutely right about authorize.net being the best gateway, bar none.
Be aware of what "freeauthorize.net" is, however. Not a thing in the world wrong with them mind you, but they are a re-seller of authorize.net, one of many out there including ourselves.
Most if not all resellers offer free setup of authorize.net along with the corresponding necessary merchant account, HSBC in the case of freeauth.net. However, many, including ourselves, ALSO discount fees and percentages from MSRP's of both authorize.net, HSBC, and other processor banks, something I see freeauth.net does not appear to be doing.
If anyone desires free setups plus other fees discounted as well, please refer to
While I'm sure the $250 reward suggestion for switching merchant services was well intended, I must question the wisdom of selling one's patronage to the highest bidder. If anybody is in to that, there is a major Michigan-based processor out there who has a similar $500 'meet or beat' offer'. Even better....right? Not so fast.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: When a merchant is shopping for a processor,by participating in the "who has the lowest number" game, he's stepping right into the bear trap. There are tons of things a merchant needs to know about a processing plan IN ADDITION to the 'rates'--:
Rate computed net or gross (or even worse/ gross/gross)?
Daily discounting or monthly discounting?
Mid-qual and non-qual criteria?
Mid-qual and non-qual upcharges?
Length of contract?
Early termination policies and fees?
The list goes on and on. If a merchant doesn't understand and know the answer to each and every one of the above issues (in addition to lots of others) then he/she is in no position to make an intelligent comparison between processing programs, rate or no rate, which amounts to nothing more than 'packaging' which can be maniuplated any one of a thousand ways. .
Making a good decision on a merchant processor calls for the same common sense rules needed for making any other sound business decision: Do a little homework and make sure you understand the subject matter thoroughly before you attempt to negotiate with someone who knows the ropes a whole lot better than you do.
Hi dear, im do bussines with PAYPAL for 4 years and is very secur the price i dont real see big diferance with the banks, plus is very fast and sample to set-up the butons and the e-comerce check aout.
www.DTPCORP.com has no monthly fees, only time you get charged is when you actually run a credit card. their fees are competitive (minus the monthly fees other banks and services provide). they also have a virtual terminal for free. I am not sure about all their features since we don't use all of them but might want to give them a shot
Re DTP Corp.---I just looked at their website, and I think we are confusing issues here.
DTP is a provider of software that does credit card processing. They do not seem to be processors, w hich is something totally different. Their role in the credit card processing game is to provide the technical means to process a credit card transaction. I saw nothing on their site to hint that they themselves are credit card processors, what we call 'acquirers' in the industry. In other words, a merchant STILL needs to apply for and be accepted for a separate merchant account first, then if desired utilize DTP (as opposed to a credit card machine or POS system, for example) to provide the technology to perform the transactions.
Think of it this way: A computer is just a technological machine. It is capable of doing nothing without software to run. Same goes here: DTP is the computer, the merchant account is the software. DTP does nothing without a merchant account programmed into it.
I also have to add something else that is very important: It appears DTP sells a lot of add-on modules, such as accounting and so on. That being said, and I don't know for sure, this probably means their applications are proprietary. That means each of their applications ONLY works with other of their applications. This rather locks in their customers because if they change one thing, they have to either change or junk the entire system. With tons of non-proprietary accounting and credit card processing software programs out there, I would be VERY careful before I sunk a dime into anything proprietary.
As I've already said, I am not familiar with DTP and in fact have never heard of them (which is surprising given the number of years I've been in the processing industry). So I am not accusing them of anything. What I AM suggesting to anyone considering DTP or anyone else is to thoroughly do your homework and find out what you are getting into before signing the dotted line. Hopefully I've just given you some important factors that should be included on your homework list.
If you need a free terminal and the lowest rates call me