What is your experience with Merchant Services?
Answer by Tom DeSimone:
I’m sorry, but I just can’t leaveas the best fit for this question.
As a reviewer of merchant services providers, I spend a lot of time talking to sales agents and merchant account holders, as well as reviewing sales material and detailed complaints. While the merchant services/payment processing industry has changed A LOT in the past 5-10 years in ways that hugely benefit small business and sole proprietors, the industry still has a lot of providers and salespeople who play dirty. So let me just rattle off some things my experience with merchant services has taught me, both in terms of great recent advancements and still prevalent pitfalls:
Some great changes:
- More and more providers are finding ways to remove early termination fees or at least make them more fair
- Flat rate pricing has added to the predictability of processing charges, andis now offered to even mid-low volume merchants in many cases, which overall increases cost transparency
- Aggregator/services allow even the tiniest merchants access to cost-effective payment processing.
- Tablet-basedhave revolutionized point of sale systems in great ways, both in terms of affordability and effectiveness
- Developer-intensive platforms (, , , etc.) are making formally cost-prohibitive payment solutions affordable
Some not-so-great aspects to be aware of:
- Ludicrously expensive and poorly explainedcontinue to cost unsuspecting merchants thousands of dollars
- You’ll still seeearly termination fees in the $1,000+ range
- Annual “” fees are separated out of standard monthly/annual fees, and are rarely prorated
- Independent sales agents are still tricking merchants into signing horrible contracts, then hiding behind that same contract when trouble arise
- Many expensive “value-added services” add expense without really adding value
- Poorly disclosedare still the industry mainstay in terms of pricing models
These lists are not at all exhaustive, but represent a few important considerations that I’ve seen in my time researching merchant services. If you’re interested in learning more about the merchant services industry, check out. We’ll get you up to speed.