For example: "Credit card" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_card "Bankcard 101" http://www.npc.net/merchant/bankcard101.htm "Payment Services Glossary" http://www.verisign.com/products-services/payment-processing/glossary.html "What are Interchange Fees" http://www.vantagecard.com/lessons/lesson12.html "How it Works" http://usa.visa.com/business/accepting_visa/new_acceptance/how_it_works.html?it=l2|/business/accepting_visa/new_acceptance/index%2Ehtml|How%20It%20Works
["Level II" and "Level III" processing: http://www.gotmerchant.com/payment_services/level3/ ]
This is ridiculously complex. Some of this is for legal/regulatory reasons. For example, anti-trust laws in the U.S. prevent a processor from also provinding gateway services. In practice, this means that often a processor owns a separate company that provides gateway services (for example, First Data, a processor, owns CardService International, which provides gateway services). Also there has historically been strong sentiment, if not actual law, against banks participating in various kinds of commerce (the Glass-Steagall act was aimed specifically at investment banking, and in any event it was repealled in 1999 with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act).
Start with figuring out what software you are going to use to run your web site and your accounting. Don't start with what your bank is.
With regard to comparing the sizes of gateways and processing networks, you need to be clear whether they are counting merchants, the number of transactions, the total monetary value of the transactions, and whether they count both internet and non-internet transactions.
Corey Bryant (and Russell Gottlich) http://www.merchantaccounts4less.com/ John Conde ("stymiee") co-founder of http://www.jnawebservices.com/ several articles including: http://www.sitepoint.com/article/money-where-mouse-is-gateways http://www.platinax.co.uk/about/contributors/john-conde/ Curtis Stevens http://gotmerchant.net Chris West CEO of http://cdgcommerce.comYou also want to google in http://www.webhostingtalk.com and http://www.sitepoint.com/
http://www.transactionworld.com/ often has informative articles; for example http://www.transactionworld.com/articles/2003/august/coverstory.asp has some interesting history.
http://www.greensheet.com/ also follows the industry.
http://www.merchantseek.com/merchant_account_comparison.htm big comparison table run by Jim Conley who works for ECHO. UPDATE 2007: now owned and run by thompsonmerchant.com http://www.mgoldmine.com/ cheesy looking a "maculator" automatic comparison domain owned by Ray Cruz same content at: http://www.cardsettle.com/MG_main4payment_solutions.htm http://www.comparemaps.com/ another Corey and Russell site. links to http://www.getauthorize.net/ (owned by lightbridge.com) $20/month for recurring: http://www.getauthorize.net/recurring_billing.asp see also http://www.comparegateways.com/ also owned by them http://www.cardbridge.com/ bidding site where MSPs bid for your business "CardBridge has four partners for each of our risk categories." "We keep our partners identities confidential to insure your privacy and maintained." huh?
[There is a distinction between "front-end" processors, which provide authorization and settlement to merchant banks, and "back-end" processors which actually move the money from the issuing bank, and also interface with the Fed.]
[each bank participates in only one? why is compatibility dictated by the acquiring bank, not the issuing bank?]
These are the ones that facilitate the transactions between issuing banks and acquiring banks: the "Inter Bank Exchange" (Interchange).
Some pages listing processing networks: http://www.mainstreetsoftworks.com/p/12.html http://www.911software.com/Processors.htm http://www.aircharge.com/account_comp.htm http://www.icverify.com/webauth/networks.asp http://www.radiantsystems.com/industry/hospitality/tsr/pos_edc.htm http://www.gosoftware.com/products/pccharge_certs.htm http://www.acesystems.biz/html/with_credit_card.html
These hook up directly to the processing networks, bypassing any gateway. They basically do the same thing a dedicated swiper (Verifone, Hypercom) would do. You might think that this would be fertile territory for open source, but it so far hasn't been. The payment processors want any software or device that talks to their network to be certified, which is not unreasonable. Any terminal (such as made by Verifone, etc.) also has to be certified for every network it talks to. Allegedly in some cases payment processors and won't give you specs to their protocols except under NDA; I don't know if that is true.
The protocols have names like FDR-7 (for "First Data").
"PC Charge Pro" (Verifone/GO Software) "IC Verify" (CyberCash/Verisign). Interesting docs: http://www.icverify.com/files/webauthbankguide.pdf Owned by First Data. (CyberCash split when Verisign bought it?) still alive? First Data also owns Linkpoint also: WebAuthorize (MacAuthorize and PCAuthorize are cancelled in 2001, along with unix variants of ICVerify) WebAuthorize is windows-only http://www.911software.com/CreditLine.htm software for embedding in POS systems. Monetra (previously MCVE) from http://www.mainstreetsoftworks.com they claim (probably correctly) to currently be the only such solution for unix note that they require cryptographically signed modules: http://www.mainstreetsoftworks.com/f/14.html PowerPay (http://www.powerpay.biz/solution_ecom.htm) is an ISO/MSP that offers merchant accounts specifically for Monetra Super-Charge http://www.super-charge.com/products_se_internet.htm CCVS ftp://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/ccvs/ closed source, HKS (Hell's Kitchen Systems) acquired by RedHat in 2000, who have basically killed it. no work since 2000. "Red Hat has decided to discontinue its support of the CCVS credit card payment processing software" http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/ccvs/ OpenCCVS ftp://ftp.psychosis.com/OpenCCVS/ seems as dead as CCVS http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/10/02/0049223&mode=thread FDR7 FLAPCard http://www.underflap.com/ec/creditcard.html no work since 2002? http://www.redplc.com/red145.asp software or service? http://www.protobase.com/products.htm says windows or unix http://www.cashcow.dk/ LGPL open source for one payment processor in Denmark (PBS)
CISP - validation for merchants and service providers (anyone manipulating credit cards). assessed by independent companies such as Ambiron (Cardholder Information Security Program) http://www.visa.com/cisp/ PCI - guidelines PABP - Visa voluntary validation for software vendors (Payment Application Best Practices) http://usa.visa.com/download/business/accepting_visa/ops_risk_management/cisp_Payment_Application_Best_Practices.pdf
C = CISP certification (Visa) Z = zen-cart support R = free recurring support r = pay recurring support to add: setup/cancellation/monthly/txn charges; fraud features ZR iTransact CZr Authorize.net CZr Verisign CZR eProcessingNetwork (docs for recurring support is hard to come by). authorize.net emulation. CZ? Plug n' Pay (QuickBooks integration. limited recurring support.) C ? Shift4 Z? Paradata C ? Cybersource
http://usa.visa.com/download/business/accepting_visa/ops_risk_management/cisp_List_of_CISP_Compliant_Service_Providers.pdf list of CISP-certified providers
parameters: support by OS shopping carts (zc, osc, interchange, Business::OnlinePayment, EPI) and by commercial ones (H-Sphere http://www.psoft.net/promo/merchants.html) Verified by Visa recurring billing payment from foreign cc's CISP certification size of company quality of API extra per-transaction charges
lists of gateways: http://www.wilsonweb.com/ebooks/gateway_list.htm http://support.storefront.net/mtdocs/payprocs.asp?proc=WP http://www.xauthorize.com/software/xauthorize/gateways.asp http://www.zen-cart.com/modules/mydownloads/viewcat.php?cid=25 http://famguardian.org/Subjects/MoneyBanking/Articles/ePaymentServices/EPaymentServices.htm (both 3PP and gateways)
iTransact http://www.itransact.com/merchant/prices_credit_card_processing_online.html http://www.itransact.com/merchant/rates.html $295 registration $25/month, with no charges for the first 500 transactions (then $0.10/txn) does recurring (no extra charge) and one-time does EFT requires a merchant account; works with several networks: http://www.itransact.com/support/card.html CARDNET, FIRST DATA, PAYMENTECH, NDC, NOVA, VITAL, CONCORD not CISP-certified as of 10/7/04
CISP certified has an authorize.net emulation (though not the recurring part) recurring billing (free?) free setup $15/month. 250 free, thereafter $.10/txn free recurring. offset starts recurring does not emulate auth.net fraud scrubbing Verified Bank Card resellers fraudgate EFT/ACH
Authorize.net like iTransact.net ant others it accessess your own merchant account, which they can help provide through OnlineDataCorp. They have their own per-txn fees over and beyond the gateway (though typically first 250/month are free). They charge extra ($20/month) for ARB Automated Recurring Billing. lot of anti-fraud tools, everything costs extra. has been vulnerable to denial of service attacks.
Now owned by eBay. Verisign acquired signio and CyberCash. Payflow Pro supports recurring; Payflow Link does not lots of extra ala carte fraud prevention services
CISP-compliant has its TCLink API what processing networks do they support? no public pricing used by lwn
only supports FirstData as a processing network (no NOVA support, for example) check support via VirtualCheck only sold through resellers. 110,000 merchants owned by First Data. "LinkPoint" = is really made by clearcommerce.com: http://www.clearcommerce.com/press/FDC.html some sort of partnership with Wells http://www.cardservice.com/ http://www.cardservicemerchantaccount.com/servicesmain.htm $20/month (gateway only) $2.39%, $0.25 http://www.clearcommerce.com/partners/partnerlist.html#affiliate Paymentech is 3rd largest payment processor (by merchants? by number of txns?), and also issues CCs. NPC is 2nd largest gateway processor (airlines, petroleum, etc.) First Data is largest? ClearCommerce customers include Chase, EDS, Orbit Commerce, and Cardservice International some consumer complaints CSI settlement: http://www.cardservicewiconsettlement.com/ complaints about csi cardservice international : http://www.bncomputing.com/cardserviceinternational/ http://www.hallofshame.org/cardservice.shtml http://www.consumeraffairs.com/business/cardservice.htm
http://www.plugnpay.com/ limited recurring support. has a QuickBooks integration, among other features (membership management), mostly extra.
a spin out from software.com/beyond.com allegedly better at fraud prevention than others CISP-certified largest volume of any due to Fortune 500 no NOVA support (except maybe through Vital first). no Global Payments support. http://www.cybersource.com/products_and_services/networksolutions/apply/ Set-up: $99.95 Monthly: $29.95 Discount Rate (Visa, MasterCard): 2.39% Transaction Fee: $0.35
WorldPay Will help provide a merchant account through "WorldDirect" WorldPay http://www.webhostingtalk.com/archive/thread/49560-1.html holds funds for a long time? initial/small customers can't use the api? ePDQ charges 3.65?, cheaper than WP above $2k http://www.epdq.co.uk/epdq_frameset.htm
Note that it is against Visa/MC rules for a merchant to ever process credit card transactions for another merchant, this is called "factoring". As long as credit card data is not shared (and the actual company with the merchant account is clearly identified) then things are ok. This is how 3rd party payers work: you never see your customers' credit card data. In fact, technically, they aren't your customers :) -- they are the customers of the 3PP. Note that with a 3PP you also can't directly enter credit card numbers on behalf of your customers.
Certain kinds of "high risk" businesses (dating, gambling, adult, etc.) are subject to significant up front charges. 3rd party payers that shoulder the responsibility for certain high-risk customers are considered "Internet Payment Service Providers" (IPSPs) by Visa. Visa has imposed new rules regulating their business; their customers are termed "Sponsored Merchants".
These generally have no or low monthly fees, and no termination fees, but may have higher per-txn fees.
lists at: http://www.merchantseek.com/3rdparty.htm
paypal.com The paypal rate is 2.9% + $0.30/txn, with no application or monthly fee. This is actually pretty competitive. Not exactly like the other 3PPs because they act like a bank. EPOCH / Paycom ibill.com ccbill.com http://ikobo.com/ foreign alternative to paypal. visa only among CCs http://www.shareit.com/index.html 2checkout.com
Any Merchant Account Provider (MAP) is supposed to state either: that they are an ISO (and what the sponsoring acquiring bank is), or if they are an agent/reseller, what their ISO is.
parameters: Company/URL age size monthly fees minimum term cancellation fees txn percent/fixed chargeback funds holding offers check processing Bank Gateways Processors
Curtis Stevens http://www.gotmerchant.com/ registered ISO good general info, by Curtis Stevens sells Authorize.Net, Intellipay, Verisign among others: http://www.gotmerchant.com/payment_services/internet/gateway/ %2.19 + $.25 $9.95 gateway + $10 service has $99 cancellation fee: http://www.gotmerchant.com/internet_merchant_accounts/processing_fees/#10 has minimum of $20/month of txn fees
http://www.cdgcommerce.com/ presence on webhostingtalk Chris West, ISO/MSP for Provident Bank mostly through resellers, who set their own prices affiliate https://secure.cdgcommerce.com/onlineapp/onlineapp.php qualified %2.25 , unqualified %1.60 $.25 per item AVS $.05. Amex/Discover $.35, $10/month statement. CDGGateway or Authorize setup $49, month $15. CDGGateway 0-500 free, $.10 thereafter. Authorize.net is $.10/txn. Annual Service Fee:$0.00 * Termination Fee:$0.00 Batch Header Fee:$0.25 * Chargeback Fee:$25.00 * Retrieval Fee:$25.00 http://www.cdgcommerce.com/affordablehost.php %2.25 + $.30, $10/month statement, $15/month gateway, $49 gateway setup http://www.cdgcommerce.com/ikesys.php %2.30 + $.35, $10, $15/month gateway http://www.cdgcommerce.com/whtpromo.php %2.30 + $.35, $10/month statement, $15/month gateway, no gateway setup http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:wRKu3yX-BvwJ:www.experts-exchange.com/Web/Hosting/Q_20998366.html+coreybryant+cdgcommerce&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 refers high risk customers to corey http://www.cdgcommerce.com/news.php suggests that they are using iTransact (for gateway software), and that it had a DOS problem gateway choices: http://www.cdgcommerce.com/services/payment.php sells Authorize.net, iTransact (CDGGateway), Verisign, Plugnpay, Shift4, eProcessingNetwork, paradata, CyberSource
http://merchantaccounts4less.com/ various promos such as: http://www.merchantaccounts4less.com/promo/spf.asp http://www.merchantaccounts4less.com/promo/wpw.asp http://www.merchantaccounts4less.com/promo/geek.asp $99.50 setup $10 statement $15 gateway 2.39%+$.25 $.05 avs $25 minimum Reseller for CardService International http://www.merchantaccounts4less.com/merchant_account/online.asp Corey Bryant reseller for Cardservice - not a ISO/MSP themselves list prices: http://www.merchantaccounts4less.com/merchant_account/online.asp bank says: $2.39% + $0.25 + $10/month, with $25/month minimum. plus $15/month gateway fee: Linkpoint, Authorize.net, or Verisign Payflow Pro http://www.webhostingtalk.com/archive/thread/269322-1.html offers nova gateway only? http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:qNsV3C5LUu8J:forum.weblamp.net/index.php%3Ftopic%3D1397.msg8607+%22Corey+Bryant%22+cardservice&hl=en affiliate program http://www.merchantaccounts4less.com/affiliates/default.asp %2.30 internet, 1.55% brick no setup or application http://wmhf.com/forums/showthread.php?t=755&goto=nextoldest %2.25 + $.25 internet 2003-9 http://communitybuilding.com/apps/searchengine.forums/action::thread/thread::1060448088/forum::ecommerce-tools/ 2003-9 http://www.hosthideout.com/archive/index.php/t-2944.html 2003-12 http://geekvalley.com/showthread.php?t=1103 2.25% + $0.25 GEEK promo code http://www.merchantaccounts4less.com/promo/geek.asp http://www.merchantaccounts4less.com/promo/spf.asp http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:vEDylYkOW8UJ:www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php%3Ft%3D146720++site:www.sitepoint.com+%22corey+bryant%22+2.25%25&hl=en gateway $10, service $10, %2.25 + $0.25
http://www.vantagecard.com found through googling. no online rates. Registered ISO/MSP of HSBC Bank USA no cancellation fee. sells Plug n Pay, Authorize.net, Verisign, BluePay, EC-Linx good info about actual rates.
Merchant Services Inc http://www.msihq.com/ http://merchantservices.com Merchant Services Inc. (MSI) http://www.greensheet.com/cprofiles/merchantservicesinc.html 890 Mountain Ave New Providence NJ - 07974 40,000 businesses.
Another (different?) "Merchant Services": http://www.ebaymsi.com/faq/ http://stores.ebay.com/Merchant-Services http://members.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=merchantservicesinc corporate accounts in new jersey: 08 Commerce Center, 1001 Lower Landing Road, Blackwood, NJ 08012 distribution center in texas 10,000 accounts on ebay "authorize.net": $10/month statement $15/month gateway 1.99% + $.19 /txn banks: Regions Bank, Montgomery, AL, US Bank, NA, Minneapolis, MN, Key Bank, NA, Cleveland, OH, and National City Bank of Kentucky. platforms: First Data (FDMS,Omaha and Nashville), Vital (VisaNet), Global, NDC, MAPP, Concord, Buypass and Nova no minimum term, no cancellation AVS is free
Yet another eBay seller seller merchantgm http://stores.ebay.com/Merchant-USA_Credit-Card-Terminals http://stores.ebay.com/Merchant-USA_W0QQsspagenameZl2QQtZkm another one. MerchantUSA part of Acies http://merchantusa.net -> http://www.aciesinc.com/solutions_online.asp Authorize.net ePNCart YourPay works w/Chase and First Data %1.98 + ? + $6.99/month, no minimum, no annual fees, cancellation? $50 rebate
Sigh, no published rates, and no indication of whether they are an ISO. but seem straightforward folks http://paymentlogistics.com/svcCosts.htm
http://www.cocard.net/ ISO/MSP with National Processing Co. (NPC) recommendation from a Joel on Software comment seems focused on supporting agents, not customers
ECHO http://echo-inc.com/ no monthly minimum monthly $10 ($0 if no txns) offer at http://www.merchantseek.com/echo.htm 2.69% + $0.30 (though they no longer publish rates) http://www.merchantseek.com/non_profit_merchant_account.htm says 2.25% + $.30/txn + $19.95/month for a nonprofit charge backs: 5 free/month, then $5 check services are free: XpressCheX supports recurring payments: http://www.echo-inc.com/recurring-payments.html bank: Merchant America network: ECHO they do the whole thing. application process a bit more onerous than others. maybe because they lost a consent decree in 1993 for aiding telemarketing fraud? does U-Haul. transfer between their bank and yours requires check writing, apparently. $99 setup 1.99 to 2.49% discount rate (fixed number in this area) 30 Cents Trans. $10 Support/Statement fee. no gateway fee, no monthly minimum ECHO has 60,000 customers, 15,000 is U-haul Rep Curtis Stevens likes ECHO too but see: http://echo-inc.com/echonline_rates.html $20/month Merchant America fee Jim Conley II works for them. Notes that resold accounts do not have reporting access: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=139173 http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/member.php?userid=7540 jconley2 = http://www.merchantseek.com/index.shtml
Apparently has a long contract? Uses First Data and Authorize.net? resells Authorize.Net, Verisign and Cybersource: http://www.wellsfargosecure.com/About_Payment_Gateways.htm http://www.wellsfargosecure.com/internetmerchantaccount.htm "Internet Merchant Account" they provide a merchant account for your separate processing gateway such as authorize.net http://www.wellsfargosecure.com/merchant-account-services.asp $99setup, $29/month, %2.35 + $.30 http://www.wellsfargosecure.com/acceptcreditcards.htm http://www.wellsfargosecure.com/accept-credit-card.htm $149setup, $35/month, %2.4 + $.30 "SecureSource Suite" takes checks, includes own payment gateway Wells http://wellsfargosecure.com/SSS_Summary_Pricing.htm has an application/setup fee ($149). uses Wells gateway
http://www.thompsonmerchant.com/ agent of 1st National Merchant Services (owned by iPayment Inc), a Registered ISO/MSP of JP/Morgan Chase Bank UPDATE 2007: now directly registered MAP with JP Morgan Chase Paymentech linked from http://www.merchantseek.com/merchant_accounts_rates.htm http://www.merchantseek.com/thompson-merchant-services.htm offers the "PCCharge Payment Server" on Windows active forum: http://www.thompsonmerchant.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6 offers Authorize.net, Plug'n Pay, ParaData, QuickCommerce (uses Authorize.net?): http://www.thompsonmerchant.com/services/gateway/gateway.html quickcommerce/authorize.net: $39 setup $10/month gateway, $7/month statement 2.27% + $.28 no monthly minimum
Oh, and remember that typically you pay an extra $.05/txn for an AVS check. But if you don't do the AVS check, then you get stuck with the non-qualified rate, which adds even more to the txn.
Gateway APIs generally suck for recurring management.
The alternative is your own local program to manage recurring payments.
$59.95 setup %2.44 + $.23/txn + $17.95/monthly No terminal leasing fees, no minimum fees, no cancellation feeFor Windows QuickBooks http://www.quickbooks.com/services/mas/ http://www.quickbooksmerchantservice.com/services/index.php?p_prioritycode=qbcom05
Same rate as above, but may have a monthly minimum? supports recurring billing states explicitly it isn't intended for web site sales Done by Innovative Merchant Solutions, owned by Intuit http://www.imsmerchant.com/about_us/index.php Limite to only use within QB?
Monetra Payment Connector http://www.mainstreetsoftworks.com/p/63.html plugs in to QB.
See http://www.wellsfargosecure.com/whitepaper/qualifying_criteria.doc http://www.hillsbank.com/bankfiles/MasterCard_Visa_Interchange_Rates.pdf