CDG Commerce is an ideal merchant service solution for small- to mid-sized merchants who need simple payment structures, great customer service (a rarity in this industry), a ton of features, and a track-record of success. The prices are right, too. In sum, a great option for small and mid-sized businesses, except those that use Quickbooks for their accounting.
Is it possible to fall in love with a credit card processing company? No? Then I'll just say I'm very fond of CDGCommerce (CDG) and about what they offer, especially for small- to mid-sized businesses. This merchant service provides month-to-month contracts, no early termination fees, simple choices in hardware and software, and complete transparency.
The icing on this cake is that CDG has been in business since 1998, and we found only three complaints about their business. Those complaints were resolved, and they occurred only because the merchant didn't read the CDG web pages first. Don't get me wrong - there's a price to pay to use CDG's services; however, that price is small considering what you get in return as a business owner.
CDG offers their services to U.S. businesses that serve U.S. and international customers. They have a 97% retention rate for their actively processing clients, which number over 20,000+. CDG started as a husband-wife team in a studio apartment. Today, they conduct billions of dollars with of payment processing services and continue to be family owned and operated.
Below is a detailed review of CDGCommerce 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.
CDG offers a wide range of services, so be sure to ask your CDG consultant which services you may need or not require...sometimes CDG can find a simpler and less expensive way for you to travel in your payment processing path.
|Microsoft Dynamics GP||No|
|Windows / Blackberry||No|
|iPhone / iPad||Yes|
|Alternative Transaction Types:|
|Snail Mail Orders||Yes|
|American Express (AMEX)||Yes|
|Add Tips to Bills||Yes|
|eCommerce / Shopping Cart||Yes|
|EMV Chip Cards||Yes|
|Loyalty / Gift Cards||No|
|eChecks / Electronic Checks||Yes|
|Welfare Benefits (EBT/SNAP/TANF)||No|
|Security / Fraud Prevention:|
|AVS Fraud Protection||Yes|
|PCI DSS Secure Transactions||Yes|
|HIPAA Compliance (Healthcare)||No|
|Trust Account Debiting (Legal)||No|
|Fleet Cards (Petroleum)||No|
|Online Menu Orders (Restaurants)||Yes|
CDG doesn't offer a shopping cart, but does integrate with many options (including partner carts). Merchants might want to consider weighing the option of changing shopping venues just for that free Quantum Gateway if the API doesn't work in current shopping carts. That change might be less expensive than paying the Authorize.Net gateway fee.
Almost every merchant account services company uses either Interchange Plus or Tiered Pricing (to learn the differences read 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.
CDG uses tiered pricing according to the type of service used. Their "cdg360 bundle" offers a variety of security options such as vulnerability scanning, an SAQ wizard for PCI compliance, a $100k breach protection plan, and more.
Since CDG is calling that $10 per month fee a "support fee," we're not listing their 24/7 support as free in the fine print below. And, if you notice on the site that CDG doesn't charge an annual or monthly fee, some merchants do pay $79 per year if they need to use the terminal in CDG's plans (most likely for PCI compliance).
A note about that optional security bundle: Ask your CDG sales representative if you need that bundle or not...small merchants with less than 20,000 transactions per year may not need all that extra security. At $15/month, you can save a bundle by avoiding that bundle.
CDG doesn't offer a Terms of Service or a contract online, because they don't need to discuss something that doesn't exist - including hidden fees. You can find more information about CDG in their Resource Center.
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Setup / Application Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||None|
|PCI Inaction Fee||None|
|Online Reporting Fee||None|
|Monthly Minimum Volume Fee||None|
|Accept International Pymt Fee||None|
|Voice Authorization Fee||Possible|
|Monthly Min. Process Fee||None|
|Daily Batch Fee||None|
|ACH / Direct Deposit Fee||Possible|
|ACH Charge Fee||Possible|
|ACH Return Fee||Possible|
|Free Setup Consultation|
|Free Card Reader and Software|
Our Take: The PCI compliance issue is an interesting matter at CDG. If merchants proceed to that section in CDG's website , they'll find a "1-Step PCI Compliance" quiz where merchants can learn more about this issue and its cost to any given business.
For instance, if a merchant claims less than 20,000 transactions annually, that business is classified as "Tier 4," meaning that all compliance is met by using their Quantum Gateway option. Larger businesses need to pay more attention to this one-step process, and all merchants might talk about this compliance with their CDG consultant before signing up. As a business grows, so does PCI compliance.
As a side note: Merchants can learn about various other fees that are dependent upon the type of business offered. Some virtual terminals, for example, do accept electronic checks. If this is the case for your business, you might see an ACH charge based upon your merchant type. Please read all pages within the CDG site to learn more about what to ask for when you talk with your consultant.
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.
CDG provides limited options for accepting card and check payments, but this limitation can make a merchant's decision about hardware and software much easier. As a plus, CDG offers a free re-programming program for virtually all terminal equipment that you, as a merchant, may currently own. They even offer to swap out pin-pads for free.
As a side note - they offer re-programming only on non-proprietary hardware. If you own equipment from a company such as First Data, you may be out of luck for this option.
The product line is limited, but it's ideal for those merchants who don't want to spend time pondering confusing options. I feel the price is reasonable, considering the lack of gateway and other fine print fees (see our Fine Print section below). The merchant pays that $79 annual fee for the terminal somewhere between 30-60 days after signing up. CDG charges that annual fee in one lump sum, so the merchant isn't left with a charge when terminating this service.
CDG Commerce Merchant Services can handle payments from and for merchants in the United States, Canada and abroad. This company prefers, however, to cater to U.S.-based businesses doing business in the U.S.
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.
Merchants won't find a contract here. It's all month-to-month with no early termination fee. CDG provides the merchant with a one-page form to FAX or email for termination, and an address for return of the terminal if required.
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: CDGcommerce is a registered ISO/MSP of Columbus Bank & Trust, Columbus, GA and the First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, NE. They use Authorize.Net and Quantum as gateways.
Account Sales: CDG, from what we can see, remains very low key with their sales. They do offer ways for individuals and businesses to partner with them and to advertise their services, but they don't offer any sales gimmicks, which I was happy to see.
Account Service: There aren't a lot of complaints out there, which is rare for a company of this size. For the moment, all we know is that we found few complaints about this company online and a lot of quiet praise about their services. CDG offers 24/7 technical support through a service desk as well as support with live chat, phone, and email.
As part of our review process, we try to test merchant account service companies' claims by placing test calls and working through the customer service process.
2/19/2015; TIME: 9:56 am CST
Call to Customer Support
When calling CDG on the 888 number, you'll encounter an extensive phone tree. This tree, however, is worth a listen, because CDG is very detailed about how they direct their calls. We chose the sales department, since we had questions about their products and services. Wes answered after one ring, and his responses were in native English (in-house sales and support), and he was cheerful and very knowledgeable about CDG's products and services
Within 20 minutes, Wes answered about 20 questions I threw at him regarding PCI compliance, terminal costs, gateway services, and transaction fees. Although all the answers were on the website (except the billing option for the terminal), Wes was more than happy about answering my questions in layman's terms.
Our Take: Although CDG is very transparent about costs and services on their site, I'd advise any merchant to call to talk with a sales representative before signing up for any services. Merchants may find options through those consultants that could save them even more money and time than what CDG offers online. I'm very satisfied with this company's responses both online and in person.
We scoured the web to find past and current customer complaints about CDG's services. Then, we investigated those complaints that seemed legit, and provide our verdict on how well the processor handled the issues.
The one complaint we discovered was centered on the "surprise" $25 fee for signing up.
It turns out that this $25 fee was the $10 monthly fee as well as the $15 optional bundle. If a merchant doesn't read a website or call a consultant before signing up, we can imagine a surprise or two no matter the company. This one wasn't bad.
We found one complaint. One complaint since 1998.
CDG seemed to resolve that singular issue quickly. From what we learned, their termination process appears simple.
Again, we found one complaint.
Can't satisfy everyone, and just one unsatisfied person out of 20,000+ is pretty stellar in our book.
That's it for the negativity. We found some "quiet" compliments that weren't on CDG's website (which contains some stellar testimonials). These compliments were in response to individuals who were asking about CDG's services on listservs and forums:
We learned that few customers had technical difficulties. When they did, they received outstanding support and follow up.
Although merchants need to insert API code into websites or carts, that process seems simple enough and comes with instructions.
High praise went to the free gateway service and the month-to-month use with no early termination fees. Other compliments went to CDG's competitive rates per transaction.
|PCI Compliance Fee||$0.00|
|Online Reporting Fee||$0.00|
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.
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