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Credit Card clearing: who's good (and low fees)?

During the Beta, we are working on adding some commerce elements to Proformative.com. Don't worry, none of it will come from the Finance and Accounting professionals :) (it is for things like recruiters paying for job postings). There are no lack of providers out there, such as Paypal, Authorize.net, WellFargo and many other banks. We are looking for someone with high quality customer care, high uptime, support for all major credit cards, and good pricing. Any recommendations or leads would be appreciated. Thank you.

Answers

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

I have used Payflow Pro at past companies. Payflow is Paypal's online payment system. The UI for managing the account was not great, but the engineering guys seemed to like it for ease of setup and integration and the pricing, while not the cheapest, was not so out of line that we didn't use it. Another advantage of using Payflow is that it gets you Paypal at the same time as credit cards. Obviously this only matters if your users use Paypal.

Janice Mills
Title: National Cash Manager
Company:
(National Cash Manager, ) |

Check with your main operating bank; often if you use the same bank for ddas and credit card processing you will pick up a day of availability on the deposits. Depending on your average ticket size this may overcome some price differential. If you have a fairly substantial relationship with the bank you can probably negotiate the fees, too.

Edwin Scholte
Title: CFO
Company:
(CFO, ) |

Currently using Paymentech for our US business. Maybe outside scope of the question, but in Europe still quite a defragmented approach with high dependency on local banks, however have been exploring Bibit as payment service provider. Key problem for an international business remains that there are not many providers that provide a true global service at a reasonable fee structure. In addition, for a multi-currency business most providers also structure their business model around taking a piece of the currency arbitrage pie.

David Hoffman
Title:
Company:
(, ) |

You have not stated what the average dollar amount of the transaction is and your volume. Call Louis Borrreli at Comdata 914-939-8120, mention my name - great rates

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

I greatly appreciate the input and leads as I too need some options for online CC processing . David, I will take you up and call your guy at Comdata.

If anyone else cares to chime in, feel free.

Lisa Wu
Title: VP of Finance
Company: Mirantis Inc.
LinkedIn Profile
(VP of Finance, Mirantis Inc.) |

I have recently looked at different processors for online payment and specifically compared Payflow pro with a major bank. For internet payment processing, you will need a payment gateway and a merchant account. You may have them with two different vendors. Having both services with one vendor may save you money. Credit card payment processing fee of 3%-7% is considered reasonable depending on your average ticket size and monthly volume. The fee structure is pretty fixed with Payflow and the bank seems more flexible and can be negotiated. In the end, the fee of both vendors are comparable. Only pricing structure varies. Payflow charges larger fixed cost per transaction and fixed discount rate on all types of credit cards including AMEX. The bank charges smaller fees on gateway, authorization and processing. All add up to an amount slightly less than Payflow. The bank does not fix discount rate and passes discount and fees of credit card companies to you.

My impression is the bank provides better support than Payflow.

Other things to look at is set-up fees, monthly fees, chargeback fees and ease of reporting.

Paypal also provides Micro account, which you may benefit from if your average ticket size is less than $9.

Jeff Taylor
Title: CFO
Company: Communications Co.
(CFO, Communications Co.) |

Lisa:

First off, great comment above - thank you. I am curious, were you also able to get better terms on your other (perhaps existing) banking business when negotiating processing with your bank? I would think you could drive down their other fees and get preferable treatment. Thank you.

Tom Pai
Title: CFO consultant
Company: Sunstone Group
(CFO consultant, Sunstone Group) |

The banks tend to have higher fees than the independents in my experience and I don't find their service better. If you're using it for online, stick with one of the online specialist like authorize.net. Also check out cybersource.com, ccnow.com.

Be careful of the cost of integration. Paypal is expensive, but it is very easy to setup. You may want to start with something easy, and as volume grows shift to one that cheaper but will need upfront integration and cost.

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