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Merchant Accounts - The Hate-Love Relationship

Posted by Paul Michael on December 11, 2011 at 6:25 AM

When you are a small business, every penny counts.  What I learned dealing with merchant accounts is don't be so focused on the interest rate that you miss the dollars leaking out the side.  I've recently been going through a painful divorce from NPC Secure / Retriever payment systems, who lured me away from Intuit Merchant Services with promises of lower transaction rates.  "Hey baby, how does 1.49% sound?  Does that make you hot?"  "Oh yeah, baby, sign me up...  swipe it, baby, swipe it!"  

Well, like every taudry affair, the thrill ended when NPC decided that they would issue a mandatory NPC Assurance Program.  Basically this is where they charge you $95 and make you fill out a questionaire with questions like, "Do you take customers credit card information and leave it laying around?"  It was further aggrevated when they charged me $25 to change bank accounts, a process that took 8 emails and 3 phone calls to accomplish.  When dealing with NPC, the distrust of their business practices left me paranoid.  

Determined not to be "had" again, I started the process of research.   The two areas of focus were Wells Fargo via Authorize.net and my ex, Intuit Merchant Accounts.  Wells Fargo sounded great, but there were things that just didn't sit well with me, especially the $28/month for 48 months equipment rental.  Do the math - that's $1344 for a piece of equipment that you can buy for $250 - NO JOKE.  Intuit won yet again.  They offered me the GoPayment plan, which had all the online interfaces I used before PLUS I can also use the iPhone to process transactions.  

Ok, this is what I'm really trying to stress.  Yes, the rate of cost is not 1.49%, it's 1.62%, but you need to finish out the equation.  For every $10 item charged, you pay 0.15 + 0.25 transaction fee with NPC.  With Intuit, there is NO TRANSACTION FEE, NO BATCH FEE, so for every $10 charge, you only pay the $0.16.  Hmmmmmm.  Listen, I don't make a commision from Intuit, I just want to share what I have learned.  In an economy like this, my philosophy is, if you can't find a job, MAKE a job.


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