Merchant Account Tutorial
by Peter Cooper
Best Offers and Commissions
- Merchant Account Provider / Processor
Merchant Express are based in the heart of New England
and pride themselves on their membership of their local Better Business
Bureau. They can provide merchant accounts to a variety of businesses
and offer competitive rates. There are no AVS, daily batchout, AMEX
set up or annual fees, and the application fee is low, at $75.
A rate of approximately 2% is charged on all transactions,
as well as a fixed fee of around 30 cents. They will also cater
for swiped cards, in retail situations, and charge lower rates in
these instances. Merchant Express will also give you a plethora
of "free gifts" when you sign up with them. An online pre-application
form is available, making the process simple and non time-consuming.
Processing services are provided separately.
Services - Merchant Account Provider
Advanced Merchant Services offer both merchant accounts
and on-line check acceptance. However, they don't publish their
rates directly onto their Web site but claim they offer "the most
competitive rates and fees in the industry".
They claim that over 50,000 companies use their services
to process credit cards, and the company is backed by the Imperial
Bank of California. They are compatible with nearly all the credit
cards you could hope for. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover/Novus,
Diners Club and Carte Blanche, which makes this account immensely
comprehensive. There are also no fees to pay until you're accepted
and ready to start accepting credit cards. The company Web site
is home to a simple form, which you can use to get the company's
NetBanx - Processor, Bureau
NetBanx offer a well rounded system which should appeal
to the majority of people wanting to accept credit card payments
over the net. While the service is based in the UK, it appears as
if they'll accept registrations world-wide for their merchant 'bureau'
service. You may feel, for real merchant accounts, that they may
not be an ideal choice if you're located in the USA.
NetBanx are compatible with a selection of major UK
banks, and are able to pass any transactions you receive via your
Web site straight to your merchant account provider. To apply for
a merchant account, however, you will have to get in touch with
one of NetBanx's preferred banks directly and arrange a merchant
account yourself. NetBanx will then provide secure server services,
authorise any credit card transactions, and then passes the transaction
on to your merchant account provider.
Netbanx charge between 1 and 4 per cent per transaction,
based on the value of the sales you make. If you do over 10,000
pounds (roughly $16,000) of business within a month, you'll only
be paying a 1% fee. For their Bureau service, charges of between
5 and 8 per cent are levied. There is also an upfront fee to pay,
depending on the level of service you require, and the number of
products you wish to sell.
Overall, Netbanx offer a comprehensive and professional
looking service, that would be an ideal choice for those located
in the UK. For those in the US, however, it may be advisable to
Authorize.Net - Processor
While not actually providing merchant accounts, authorize.net
do a good job of handling the authorisation and processing of credit
card transactions. Their services are used by over 60,000 Internet
merchants, which makes them appear as an immensely popular choice.
Authorize.net provide their own system which allows
you to authorise, process and manage credit card and electronic
check transactions in a real-time, online environment from any computer
with an Internet connection and a Web browser. The merchant merely
sends Authorize.net the information required using a secure encrypted
Internet connection. From here on, Authorize.net handle the details.
As well as providing regular Internet credit card
processing services, their Virtual Terminal can be used by traditional
off-line business who are looking for a faster, easier way to authorise
and manage credit card transactions. For Internet based businesses,
the Authorize.net "WebLink" system can be used.
Authorize.net is controlled by Go2Net, Inc, a long
standing member of the online community.
CVP Merchant Services - Merchant Account Provider
CVP offer a no-nonsense, simple to navigate Web site,
packed full of no-nonsense information. CVP claims a 99% approval
rate with all applicants, and they specialise in retail, mail order
and Internet businesses. CVP was founded in 1990 with the belief
that "our fair prices and customer service [are] unsurpassed in
CVP will process Visa, Mastercard, American Express
and Discover, as well as debit cards. They can provide a virtual
terminal for you to process cards or can sell terminal hardware.
Check guarantee services are also provided. At this moment, CVP
will only accept applications from US based businesses.
CVP charge a 2.29% discount rate on each transaction
as well as a fixed fee of $.20. In a retail situation, when cards
are being swiped, the charge is 1.49% and $.15 per transaction.
A monthly minimum processing fee of $20-25 is charged. There is
also no application fee required.
Electronic Transfer Inc. - Merchant Account Provider,
Electronic Transfer Inc. boast that their service
offers you a plethora of options for free. There's no application
fee, no AMEX setup fee, no credit restrictions and no processing
limits. ETI has been in the merchant account business since 1989,
predating the World Wide Web, which gives them experience in dealing
with retail situations, as well as Internet based scenarios.
As well as claiming to approve your application within
3 days, ETI offer some attractive rates. A fee of $.30 is charged
per transaction, and then a discount of rate of 1.49 to 3.5 per
cent is charged. Funds will also be credited to your bank and will
be available after 48 hours.
You can choose to purchase terminal software and process
your own credit card orders, or ETI can provide their own realtime
processing system. Setup for this facility is $195 and a fee of
$.25 is charged per transaction. Finally, ETI offer a 24 hour support
line, unlike the majority of providers.
eCardNet - Merchant Account Provider
Offering a variety of online and offline solutions,
eCardNet claims to be able to find a solution for you. Their Web
site presents the whole world of merchant accounts in a concise
and easy to understand way, which proves to be quite refreshing,
compared to many other merchant account providers.
With eCardNet, as with many other providers, you simply
enter credit card details into a special Web site, and then these
are processed and charges are credited to your account. eCardNet
don't appear to actually provide any automatic processing services
of their own, although they resell the Authorize.net system.
As background information, the company has been operating
for 16 years and, last year, processed $2 billion worth of transactions.
This company has been around a long time, and they explain everything
in enough detail to make things smooth and easy.