Credit Card Processing Recommendation

Mister E Mister.Ed at
Tue Jan 15 20:53:28 MST 2008

Joel Finlinson wrote:
> I value the opinion of the group's collective wisdom and since I've not
> dealt with credit card processing, I'm interested in what you use or would
> like to use if you were starting over.
> I have a friend that is thinking to change from the current credit card
> processing company to something different because of expense.  They
> currently process less than 100 transactions per month.  The company that
> they are currently leaving is taking the machine so they wonder if they
> should just go machineless and type all numbers directly into some
> Internet-based processing company.....?
> I googled and only came up with 1,400,000 suggestions, so I'm wondering
> which ones you like or recommend.
> Any experience and suggestions are appreciated.
>    Thanks.
>    JOEL


I've dealt with just about every major vendor in this for the last 10 
years, but lately there has been a significant increase in the numbers 
of vendors, but if you keep to the tried and true ones, you won't go 
wrong. Gateway wise my personal favorites are iTransact, Authorize.Net, 
USA ePay, Plug N Pay, ECHO,  and a few others.  Out of those, iTransact 
and are local(ish).  I've dealt with both of those since 
about 1997 or so, long before I moved to Utah.  Authorize.Net is a 
bigger pain to work with than I like, but they are good. iTransact is 
very easy to work with and you feel more like family when dealing with 
them (I do anyways - and they are my favorite overall.)  Todd Richardson 
is my contact over at iTransact: 801-951-8121.  Authorize.Net dropped 
the ball and didn't keep up with me when I moved to Utah, so I don't 
have a contact with them currently.

USA epay would be my third choice, if you needed a minimum of three to 

Braintree is not going to be your best choice for a vendor, they target 
large volume. I talked to them about a week ago and they seemed 
interested until I started talking about smaller merchants with annual 
sales of around a 1/2 to 1 million. So the numbers are out on them right 

There are three major pieces to this puzzle that affect you:
1. Gateway
2. CCMA (aka credit card merchant account)
3. Processing platform (indirectly but important when signing up for a CCMA)

Gateway: think of that as the swipe machine, but can be used as an 
online interface (in most cases) or an API to link into for a shopping 
cart and/or form.

CCMA: this is obtained at a banking institution willing to underwrite 
the business. The higher the monthly max in sales, the more paperwork 
needed.  $5,000-$10,000 is minimal paperwork.  $100,000 will require 
blood samples and on-site inspections, or something similar depending 
upon the bank.  A good bank is Humboldt Bank in CA (Steve Kimberling VP: 
  877-635-3339), they specialize in internet type of accounts. 
PaymentTechInc is another good one (underwritten by wells fargo), but 
you'd need to contact a rep for more information.

If you are doing swipe only or  combination, this changes the dynamics a 
lot as each CCMA is is a different discount rate (percentage off the 
total for the banks/CC companies)

Platform:  this is important to coordinate. You need to know the gateway 
you will use and make sure the bank can place your CCMA on that 
processing platform. Most Gateways will post or tell you which ones they 
can link into.

The one thing that was not mentioned is your average ticket amount and 
your desired monthly limit.  These are important, along with how long 
you've been in business, the type of business, and the products sold. 
These things affect your risk factors in underwriting your CCMA (credit 
card merchant account).  So have those ready, even your web site as they 
like to inspect that prior to underwriting the account (warranty info , 
contact info, return policies, shipping info, etc). If you are a high 
risk account, you may get a higher discount rate and/or be required to 
build up a deposit with a pre-set limit, taken from your sales at a 
common rate of around 10% until that limit is reached. However, I've 
only seen it about 10 times out of thousands of accounts I've worked with.

Hope that book/post helps.

Mister Ed
"ecommerce engineer"

PS - If you do use any of the vendors i recommended, please let them 
know Mister Ed "sent" ya. I don't really get credit in most cases, but I 
get brownie points :)

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