A Review Of The Best Merchant Accounts
If you are currently looking to find your first merchant account, or whether you currently have a merchant account and want to find yourself a better deal, finding the best merchant account, that offers a high level or service and low costs is a difficult process.
I get email every week from my subscribers describing to me problems they’ve had with their merchant account providers.
The issues that they come across go from much higher rates being charged than were advertised, to ‘small print’ on their contracts that included lengthy time periods and expensive get out clauses as well as lack of customer support and downtime. In fact it some cases a service that should be allowing them to make more money has ended up actually costing them money.
It comes down to the fact that many merchant account companies are not completely honest with the advertising that they do. So, because of this problem my team and I looked at 17 merchant account providers to be able to put together a comprehensive review of the merchant account marketplace, to help other people avoid these problems .
We went on to put together a recommended list of the best merchant account companies. We ranked the different merchant accounts on 3 different factors which are key to a successful business.
1) Contracts and rates
It’s normally the first question people ask when they speak to a merchant account provider, but it’s important not just to look at ‘quoted’ rates when judging the best merchant account. They can really be a very misleading way to judge a merchant account provider. Start thinking in terms of the total fees or charges that will be applied to an account, and an account provider who is completely upfront about all the fees you will be charged.
Don’t be fooled by the ‘Standard Rate’ many companies will tell you about. All transaction prices are made up of 2 different fees – ‘Interchange Fees’ and ‘Assessment Fees’. The Assessment Fee is simply a flat fee that is determined by what type of card that’s used to make a payment. The interchange fee is a little more complicated and depends on the category of the transaction.
For example the main card types – Visa and Mastercard have over 150 different interchange categories that can apply to your account that depend on what card is used, where it is used and information that is collected at that time. The companies that tell you about their ‘low discount rates’ are normally actually talking introductory rates or attempting to distract people form the fact there are other high charges to be added or long term contracts to signed.
These longer term contracts often have high ‘get out’ fees. A long term contract should normally ring alarm bells as the best merchant accounts will not require them.
Some other fees or charges that need to be taken into account include start up fees, monthly minimums, annual fees and statement fees. Again, the best merchant account providers will be completely clear about these charges, so you can make a proper decision or comparison.
2)Support and Customer Service
This is an area often overlooked by people but it’s really important. We are dealing with technology, and technology no matter how reliable, will at some point go wrong. However, if things go wrong companies cannot accept payments and lose money.
What we look for are companies that keep any ‘downtime’ to a minimum by investing in the most advanced infrastructure and maintaining it to a high level.
The best merchant accounts also need a very strong 24 hours customer support function. We specifically look for companies that have a dedicated team for each different area – sales, account services and technical support.
3) Merchant Account Services
Different businesses have different needs. The different types of merchant accounts include E-commerce or Online Merchant Accounts, Mail order merchant accounts, Lodging Merchant Accounts, Restaurant Merchant Accounts, Retail Merchant Accounts, Telephone / Mail Order Merchant accounts, or Wireless Merchant Accounts for Mobile Credit Card Processing and Home Based Business Merchant Accounts.
We look for companies that can provide specialist services for all these different types of merchant accounts to ensure that they have a level of infrastructure to provide the best system for your needs, from software and terminal integration to payment gateways and real time account access. This also has the advantage that if your business needs change you will not need to find a new account provider.
Updated:06/16/2013 (2 recommended Merchant Account Providers)
The Best Merchant Accounts #1 Choice
The big winner is The Merchant Warehouse.
- Merchant Warehouse approves 99% of the applications that is gets and it takes an average of 24 hours to get an account set up.
- They have a very strong infrastructure and offer Retail Merchant Accounts (including Restaurant and Lodging Merchants), E-commerce / Online Merchant Accounts / Internet Merchant Accounts, Mail Order / Telephone Order Merchant Accounts and Wireless / Mobile Merchant Accounts. There are also really good options for people who have small home based businesses.
- You can accept all the main cards – Visa, Mastercard and American Express etc, with their accounts.
- There contracts work on a rolling month to month basis. There are no start up fees, and the contracts can be canceled at any time with no charge.
- Merchant Warehouse differs in their approach from the rest of the companies we have encountered. They don’t advertise a fee and base their sales approach around it. They offer a no pressure consultation, where they run through how the industry works and the charges that can be applied to your account.
- This puts you in a position to make a proper decision on which account is the best for your needs. They can also help you decide on the best equipment or software for your needs.
- Having said that, from our experience and from the feedback we’ve collected from customers their overall fee structures are the Cheapest In The Industry.
- They actually go as far as to guarantee that you won’t get a cheaper overall price elsewhere! (and will pay $100 if you can). Thats for a merchant account or account terminals and software.
- This applies whether you are getting an account for the first time or whether you are looking to get a better deal on you present one.
- They have a state of the art system infrastructure, which means very few technical problems or downtime. Customers have the option of real time account access.
- They operate 24/7 customer services teams, which are separated into account support specialists and technical support specialists. It means you always get through to someone who can help you.
- Merchant Warehouse has a full range of equipment. This includes POS terminals and Wireless terminals for mobile credit card processing as well as Pin Pads for debit cards.
- You get a choice of 3 payment gateways for all Online merchant accounts. Authorize.net, VeriSign, and LinkPoint. They also have their own system which was developed in house called Merchantware. This is a great cost effective solution for lower volume users (e.g a landlord or trade show vendor). It’s also ideal for many home based businesses.
- They have earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and on top of this they’ve also just been voted the top Independent Sales Organization of the year by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA). These guys are a regulator in the industry, and the award is well deserved in our opinion.
One negative I did come across was that when I filled in the initial application online I didn’t get a call back for a day. Although, when i call the number i got straight through and got my account set up within 24 hours.
I just wanted to drop you a quick email to say thanks for putting me on to merchant warehouse. No cancellations fees!? Who’s ever heard of that before? All my previous accounts have tied me in for 2 years and the customer service teams have been great too.
Keep up the good work buddy.
Best Merchant Accounts Recommended
Charge.com approves 98% of the applications that they get. there is generally around 48 hours from the receipt of an application to getting it set up.
They have a very low fee structure and none of the hidden fees common in the industry.
You can get real time account access and they do not charge any start up fees. You can actually completely do away with the paper statements if you want and administer your account online.
There’s a FREE E-commerce shopping cart if you want an Internet Merchant Account and the accounts are set up set up to take all the major cards. You can also use a web based terminal when you are processing cards manually.
The customer service has been excellent, I had an account with them for several years and never had a problem.
Unfortunately, there’s one major drawback and that’s that they have long term contracts. Also Merchant Warehouse has a lower fee structure and more account options.
However, they are still a Best Merchant Accounts recommended provider.
At the moment we are only able to give recommendations for 2 different providers with the Merchant Warehouse at number 1. We had to exclude other companies that we tested due to high pressure from their sales teams, fees that were hidden or contract termination and start up fees, increases in rates written into the contract, lack of account features or infrastructure, as well as bad customer service reports and too much downtime.
To really understand why we have given The Merchant Warehouse such a high rating it’s important to discuss everything with one of their specialist consultant. You can do this through the website or by calling the consultation hot line on 1.866.372.1152.
The Best merchant Accounts is always being updated, so It’s always great to get any feedback that you have, especially if you have gone on to use one of our recommendations. I want to make sure that this stays as a useful resource for businesses and individuals needing merchant accounts.