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Review of Merchant Services

P.O. Box 947, American Fork, UT 84003-0947

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Authorize.Net is a gateway service for merchants who own online stores or take payments online. If you run an ecommerce site, they're a decent option for a gateway, but it generally makes more sense to sign up with them via a merchant account service provider that includes access as a perk of its package. In sum, use them as an included item with your Merchant Services Account, buying their service directly doesn't make much sense.

Authorize.Net, a VISA company and an offshoot of CyberSource, has been in the business of accepting online payments since 1996. serves a dual role as a merchant account services reseller, and as a gateway for other credit card processors. Confused? We'll try to clear it up.'s main business is as a gateway. A gateway is the piece of online software that allows you to accept credit card payments online and keep them secure. Think of it as a credit card terminal or swiper for online transactions. Thus, a gateway is a must-have for anybody doing lots of online transactions, like an ecommerce store. BUT, you still need a merchant account to process the transaction. All does is securely send the credit card details of your customer from your website to your merchant account. They don't also process the transaction, your merchant account does that.

This is where it starts to get really confusing. also sells merchant account services on behalf of their partners on their website. So, if you go there, you'll see logos for all sorts of other companies. At the same time, if you go to any random merchant account services company, you're likely to see that company selling (or offering it as part of their service).

So, the whole thing is really confusing to most business owners. What you need to know is that is really a gateway (that happens to try to sell Merchant Services which are provided by other companies on their website). And you can "buy" their services either directly, through their website, or, more likely, indirectly, as an add-on or freebie included in a package with your merchant service account.

As to who should consider using you have an ecommerce site, is, perhaps, the most trusted company from a consumer's perspective, so your customers will feel secure using your shopping cart. Authorize.Net provides every single product and service that a merchant might need to take online payments, including eCommerce integration and payment methods that range from checks to contactless cards. We feel their charges are reasonable, considering the services they offer. Just remember that merchant accounts are handled through resellers, and those accounts can create some headaches for business owners.

Detailed Review

Below is a detailed review of Merchant Services offering. The review is broken down into the following categories.


Depending upon the type of business you own, some of the following features may or may not be important to you. has several features that are important to merchants that take payments online.

Software Compatibility:
Intuit Quickbooks Yes
Sage 50 No
Microsoft Dynamics GP Possibly
Hardware Compatibility:
Windows / Blackberry No
iPhone / iPad Yes
Android Yes
Alternative Transaction Types:
Phone Orders Yes
Internet Orders Yes
Wireless Orders Yes
MobileOrders Yes
Snail Mail Orders Yes
American Express (AMEX) Yes
Add Tips to Bills Yes
eCommerce / Shopping Cart Yes
International Sales Yes
Recurring Payments Yes
EMV Chip Cards Yes
Contactless Cards Yes
Loyalty / Gift Cards Giftango
eChecks / Electronic Checks Yes
Welfare Benefits (EBT/SNAP/TANF) Yes
Security / Fraud Prevention:
AVS Fraud Protection Yes
PCI DSS Secure Transactions Yes
Industry Specific:
HIPAA Compliance (Healthcare) Yes
Trust Account Debiting (Legal) No
Fleet Cards (Petroleum) No
Online Menu Orders (Restaurants) Yes
Countries Served:
U.S. Yes
Other Countries Yes
International Yes

Now I need to clarify some of those "yes" comments above:

  • You can accept international transactions from customers, but your business must be located in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Europe, or Australia. For additional international locations, you'd need to work with CyberSource Advanced.
  • Authorize.Net offers AVS and other fraud protection services free. If you have a high-volume business and want more security measures, you can buy into their Advanced Fraud Detection Suite (AFDS) for $9.95 per month, according to their instructional video on this product (although they offer it free on their pricing page).
  • Merchants can utilize a Customer Information Manager (CIM) to tokenize and store customers' sensitive payment information on Authorize.Net's secure servers. This process can simplify PCIDSS compliance as well as payments processing for return customers and/or recurring transactions. You must sign up for this service as an add-on, but this additional service is free.
  • Authorize.Net is ideal for shopping carts; however, merchants must understand that Authorize.Net does not offer a shopping cart itself. That's your responsibility. Again, this is confusing, but if you want to take payments via a shopping cart you need: a) A shopping cart, b) a Gateway, and c) a merchant services account. You can get these bundled into a single company or get them all separately.
  • Finally - the most important item - the reason Authorize.Net can offer so many services is because they operate as a gateway. We cannot repeat this information enough, because merchants who don't understand this service are the ones who complain the most about Authorize.Net's payment processing.

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Almost Every merchant account services company uses either Interchange Plus or Tiered Pricing (read more about this topic here). Where companies allow us to disclose pricing information, we show the deals that our secret shoppers were able to achieve. When companies offer both Interchange Plus and Tiered Pricing, we try to get a quote on both options.

Our Experience: Authorize.Net is very upfront about their costs, but sometimes you need to look at everything a merchant account service offers to learn about the hidden costs. We'll address those "gotchas" in the Fine Print section below. The immediate costs are listed here:

Fixed Rate:
  • 2.9% + $.30 per transaction

This is obviously a very expensive rate. That's because doesn't focus on this part of their business (selling merchant services). Rather, they want to be a gateway that merchant services companies can offer in their bundle. In addition to this fixed rate, there are other fees listed below and an additional 1.5% assessment per transaction for international sales. Authorize.Net relies heavily on resellers for merchant accounts, and they're very upfront about this deal. They list their major partners, and they also have a state directory.

The reason Authorize.Net lists these resellers is mainly to provide their resellers with exposure, but Authorize.Net also wants to sell you their merchant account services. With that said, you may discover two things: 1. That a reseller can offer you a deal that may not offer, and; 2. That Authorize.Net also maintains a gateway account specifically for customers who have a merchant account with one of their resellers.

If you do decide you want to go the reseller route and that reseller provides you with a merchant account, you can then go directly to's Payment Gateway that offers different fees:

Payment Gateway Fixed Rate:
  • $.10 per transaction

That is, you pay whatever your merchant services company charges you for the transaction, and then you pay an additional $0.10 which goes to for the use of their gateway.

That's it...except for other charges that we'll show below in the Fine Print.

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Contract Fine Print

We found more documentation than we could handle in one day when perusing through Authorize.Net's site. What we'll do here is show you the fine print fees for using alone first. Then we'll provide you with the fees charges for merchant accounts through resellers.

Fine Print Fees for Authorize.Net Only

Fine Print Fees:
Termination Fee None
Setup / Application Fee $49
PCI Compliance Fee None
PCI Inaction Fee None
Gateway Fee $25/month
1099-K Fee None
Statement Fee None
Online Reporting Fee None
Monthly Minimum Volume Fee None
Accept International Pymt Fee None
Voice Authorization Fee None
Monthly Min. Process Fee None
Daily Batch Fee None
ACH / Direct Deposit Fee Yes, third party
ACH Charge Fee Yes, third party
ACH Return Fee None
FANF Fee None
Chargeback Fees $25
Free Consultation
Free Support 24/7 via Phone, Email, and chat
Free Fraud Detection Suite
Free Automated Recurring Billing

Authorize.Net also offers many other features. Some are free, some are not, and some are third-party features such as ACH (eCheck). Also, international fees usually are assessed if the merchant is international, because those fees are created with an international Cybersource (not Authorize.Net) account. Before you sign up, I suggest that you read through Authorize.Net's site and watch the videos. You can learn a lot about what you might need or might not need through these materials.

One thing I do want to point out here - Authorize.Net is a powerful system and one of the best to integrate with shopping carts. However, if you house your merchandise at an online shopping "mall" or if you're only selling one item (like a book), you have better and much less expensive options available. In fact, that online mall may offer credit card processing services for their store owners. Don't be surprised if they use Authorize.Net (Shopify or Volusion, for example).

Fine Print Fees for Merchant Account (Reseller) Only

Fine Print Fees:
Termination Fee Possible
Setup / Application Fee $49
PCI Compliance Fee None
PCI Inaction Fee None
Gateway Fee $25/month
1099-K Fee None
Statement Fee Possible
Online Reporting Fee Possible
Monthly Minimum Volume Fee Possible
Accept International Pymt Fee xxxx
Voice Authorization Fee Possible
Monthly Min. Process Fee Possible
Daily Batch Fee Possible
ACH / Direct Deposit Fee Possible
ACH Charge Fee Possible
ACH Return Fee Possible
FANF Fee None
Chargeback Fees $25
Free Consultation
Free Support 24/7 via Phone, Email, and chat

Note that the reseller may have terms to follow as well as those rendered by Authorize.Net, which is why we replied "possible" to many features. You need to read all contracts thoroughly and ask questions about those features. It's very important to note that merchant account fees are billed separately by your merchant account provider of choice.

Our Take: If you don't want to deal with the confusion of working with's gateway AND a reseller, then don't use at all. Using them directly, for anybody but the largest ecommerce sites makes no sense. We've seen horror stories about merchants who tried to change banks or to discontinue services have extreme difficulties because their new provider wasn't compatible.

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Equipment Applicable Magtek Dynamag USB HID Version

While your transactions usually take place electronically, the actual device that you use to swipe a customer's card is referred to as "the equipment." This equipment includes hardware and, often, software or apps for that hardware to function properly.

Authorize.Net offers a straightforward virtual terminal that integrates into most ecommerce websites. If you ignore our advice and decide to buy their service directly (instead of through a Merchant Account Services company) will provide you a free card reader for those merchants who want to use their mobile phones or tablets for face-to-face sales. Traditional terminals, however, are provided only by resellers, who may offer different pricing on Authorize.Net gateway service than the prices that we share in this article. So if you want to have a traditional terminal and use's gateway, you have to go through a third party Merchant Services company.


Terminal: If you'd prefer to use a traditional credit card machine, Authorize.Net provides directories of resellers who work with them. These resellers can provide you with traditional hardware on separate contracts. The gateway fees for these "merchant accounts" are different from those that offer only the virtual terminal and card reader.

Card Readers: According to Authorize.Net, VPOS-compatible swipe card readers can be purchased from a variety of POS providers for approximately $50.00 - $80.00. You can also get a free one, if you sign up directly to without going through a reseller.


Various Software Management Systems: Authorize.Net's virtual terminal provides merchants with the ability to take a wide variety of different types of payments from any Internet-connected computer. This software also accepts payments via swiping. This software, by the way, allows eCheck processing without hardware.

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Countries Served

You can accept international transactions from customers worldwide. However, your business must be located in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, or Australia. Authorize.Net provides services 24/7 to and from businesses in the U.S. For international transactions, use their parent company, Cybersource Advanced Solution.

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Contract Length / Termination

I generally don't like long-term contracts or termination fees in merchant services agreements, because the ability to cancel keeps the credit card processor on its best behavior, including the willingness to make you happy if there's a dispute. Plus, this ability to cancel gives you the ability to move on if you find a better deal.

Authorize.Net and their merchant gateway both contain month-to-month options with no early termination fees. If you go the reseller route, however, that reseller may have a contract that you need to honor, especially if you lease equipment from the reseller.

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About the Company

The merchant account services industry is multi-layered. Understanding how those layers fit together can be confusing (Read More in this Article). A good thing to know, however, is whether or not your company is a direct processor (good if yes) or, if not, then to know who they process with and whether or not that processor is reliable. The second thing to know is whether or not the service or sales staffs are in-house or outsourced. In-house staffs are preferable for you, as these staff members may have more access to sources that can resolve your issues.

Processor:Authorize.Net's parent company is CyberSource, and VISA purchased both companies in 2010. This gateway service is one of the largest in the world and, as such, is the focus of cyber attacks. One attack in 2009 left merchants without the ability to process any payments for an entire week. Beyond this issue, Authorize.Net has proven to be one of the most secure gateways around.

Account Sales: relies heavily on resellers for their marketing. In fact, you, too, can become a reseller. Authorize.Net maintains a section in their site that shows you how you can sign up and participate.

Account Service: Authorize.Net provides free customer support via toll-free telephone, email and online chat. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 5 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time. They're not open on major holidays.

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Customer Service

As part of our review process, we try to test out the claims made by the Merchant Account Services provider by placing a few test calls, and working through the customer service process.


2/12/2015; TIME: 1:00 EST


Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

I called the number on the support page and I was greeted by an automated voicemail recognizing the company as CyberSource. I tried the receptionist first, and I got entangled in a phone tree that offered a wide variety of numbers for sales and support.


2/12/2015; TIME: 1:05 EST


Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

This time I pressed the button for support, and was greeted by an voicemail that asked me to choose among various options, including merchant account support, and three options for reseller accounts.


2/12/2015; TIME: 1:06 EST


Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

This time I tried sales and was greeted by an Authorize.Net voicemail after the CyberSource initial contact. I waited just a few seconds before Karen answered the phone. She responded in native English and stated that their support team was all in-house. Even if I went through a reseller, I would work with Authorize.Net's support team to work through any issues, especially during the setup phase.

Our Take: We found it interesting that CyberSource offered a variety of language options in their phone tree, and we presume that those calls would be directed to in-house support in various countries. Karen did ask for my email to send more materials - this is a great option for merchants who want to study every aspect of this gateway service before a purchase.

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Common Customer Complaints / Our Verdicts

We scoured the web to find past and current customer complaints about this processor. Then, we investigated those complaints that seemed legit and provide our verdict on how well the processor handled the issues. Interestingly, we learned that Authorize.Net's main complaint centers on the fact that the merchant never realized the difference between a credit card processing service and a gateway service.

High Monthly Fees:
Customer Complaint:

This complaint came mainly from small business owners who didn't realize that they would need to pay for merchant account services on top of a gateway fee when working with resellers.

Our Verdict:

Learning about credit card processing services is a huge learning curve for many small business owners. We can't know how many of these business owners acquired their Authorize.Net services. I suspect, however, that many of these individuals bought Authorize.Net directly, and thus didn't have an accompanying merchant service account. We've seen many "surprises" that led me to believe that the merchant was unaware that was just a gateway.

Inability to Close Account:
Customer Complaint:

Again, this complaint comes mainly from smaller business owners who were "surprised" to learn about Authorize.Net's participation in their business. While the bank was willing to close the merchant account, it appears that some merchants' banks didn't offer to close the gateway account at the same time.

Our Verdict:

Ditto on our previous verdict...all we can say is this: If you seek merchant services from your bank or any other business that claims to offer credit card processing, be sure to check out their company history, including any company they may use for those services. You may decide to avoid that middle man and use another service instead.

Unstable Pricing:
Customer Complaint:

This is our complaint. As we plowed through Authorize.Net's site and other sites that contained reviews about this company, we learned that some services are free on one page and not free on other pages.

Our Verdict:

Sloppiness. We've learned that Authorize.Net cut their setup fees in half over the past year, and other pricing changes also have occurred. It appears that there is so much information on the Authorize.Net site that even their content developers have missed a page or two. We want you, the consumer, to be aware of this issue so that you ask questions instead of taking any price or freebie at face value.

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Who Should / Shouldn't Use this Processor


  • Large eCommerce Businesses: If you want to use a gateway service, Authorize.Net carries everything you'd need plus some. They cover every possible angle and accept all types of payments securely. Whether you go with the virtual gateway or through a merchant services reseller, you can realize some benefits for large volume sales. In addition, if your business is growing quickly or is quite large to begin with, Authorize.Net's parent company offers services at that scale through their CyberSource Advanced service.
  • Medium-Size eCommerce Businesses: Again, Authorize.Net provides ecommerce and bricks-and-clicks businesses with superb options. But even here, we'd recommend that you get via a third party merchant service. Otherwise coordinating the two can be unnecessarily confusing.


  • Small Businesses: If your sales are under $2,500 per month, you probably can't rationalize using Authorize.Net just yet, and certainly not directly. This statement is especially true if you only sell one item or if your sales are sporadic. Although Authorize.Net has what is known as "simple checkout" for donations or single items, I feel that you'd be wasting a lot of services because you may not need why pay? Check out our resources for small businesses instead.
  • High Chargeback Business: No legitimate business wants high chargebacks. You especially don't want to pay a $25 fee when Authorize.Net doesn't help you negotiate any disputes for that charge. If you need some help in that area, look at our high-risk merchant account services.
  • Businesses Without Online Sales: The only reason to use is for online sales. Otherwise, using them directly just means you get bad equipment and pay a ton for processing.

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For More Information About This Processor or To Sign Up Merchant Services
Customer Service
Customer Reviews
2.9% - 2.9%
  • Flat Fee Pricing
  • Accepts Intl. Payments
  • Free Card Reader
Monthly Fees Breakdown
Setup Fee$49.00
Monthly Fee$0.00
PCI Compliance Fee$0.00
Online Reporting Fee$0.00
Batch Fee$0.00
Gateway Fee$25.00
Chargeback Fee$25.00
Termination Fee$0.00
Contract LengthMonth-to-Month
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DISCLOSURE: Advertising, Affiliate and Conflicts of Interest: Merchant Negotiators accepts advertising via the Google Adsense platform, directly from advertisers, and has common parent ownership interests with other payments related companies leading to conflicts of interest. Read our Affiliate / Conflicts / Advertising Disclosure for a more detailed disclosure.

About the Reviews: These reviews, and for that matter any reviews, are inherently subjective, and should be regarded as our opinion, not as a statement of fact. Selecting a merchant services provider is an important decision, and we urge you to use no single source of information as the basis of that decision.

About the Pricing: This pricing is an estimate based on limited available information. In some cases, the Processors' pricing information was provided directly by the company, in others, we obtained it from public information, through calls to the company, or through past or current clients of the company. Where, despite these efforts, we were unable to obtain any information about certain fees, we used estimates based on similar providers in the industry. While we're working, in some cases, with the company directly to get more accurate pricing, even in those circumstances, we can't guarantee the pricing's accuracy. Complicating all of this, is that for some companies individual salespeople are given authority to modify terms on a deal by deal basis. In any case, if you know of an error, please let us know and we'll fix it.

About the Calculations: With respect to your estimated savings, this is based on a lot of factors and some hard math. The reason we do it, along with the "Actual Gross Rate" calculation is that every Processor prices their product differently (e.g. interchange v. 3 tier v. 4 tier v. flat v. membership, etc.) and some make it intentionally complicated or opaque. Trying to convert their pricing structure to a consistent "Overall Cost of Processing" is the only way you, the merchant, can do an apples to apples pricing comparison and know whether an offer is actually a good deal. Our system isn't perfect but we're trying.

Conclusion: In sum, these rankings, ratings, and scores are inherently subjective, and should be regarded as our opinion and not as a legal statement of fact. Moreover, use these prices and estimates at your own risk, and make sure to verify the pricing you see here in any formal contract you receive. Finally, if you do find something wrong in our pricing, terms, etc., tell us and we'll try to fix it. is now offline.

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