Electronic Transfer Inc. is a credit card processor that not only accepts, but actually focuses its business on high-risk merchant accounts. They offer attractive pricing, and can afford to do so because they own their own gateways and because they tailor programs to fit a merchant's specific needs. A good fit for businesses needing a high-risk merchant account.
Electronic Transfer Inc. (ETI) is a merchant services company that serves high-risk merchants. A high-risk merchant is any business that operates in an industry with a history of high chargebacks, regardless of whether your individual business has such a history. There aren't many credit card processors that take on this type of client, whereas ETI specializes in these types of merchants (especially firearms). Some of those businesses typically include:
We were impressed with two very important issues that can concern any merchant's dealings with a credit card processor: First, that Electronic Transfer seems to have no complaints whatsoever about their service, despite the fact that they've been in business since 1989. The second item is that our sales rep was highly personable, very knowledgeable about the industry in general, and she even offered information about the company that we might not have asked otherwise.
Those two specific facts about this company encourage me to recommend this merchant service. In addition, this company also offers some other great features, which are discussed in detail below, such as a month-to-month contract with no early termination fees, that put the icing on the cake.
Below is a detailed review of Electronic Transfer 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.
Merchants beware - although we've responded to the positive in the list below, some options may not be available depending upon the hardware/software you choose. Always ask before you purchase.
|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)||No|
We did note on the pricing page that merchants only have the option to accept American Express, Diner's Club/Carte Blanche, and JCB with separate application and possible extra fees. Also, if you plan to conduct business overseas, ETI will listen to your proposition and let you know whether or not they'll take a risk on your risk factors with that business. We learned this bit of information from our sales rep during a call to ETI.
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.
ETI offers an interchange plus pricing model, which many merchants prefer because it results in more transparent pricing. Their per transaction pricing is divided into two groupings, PIN debit and credit. The rates are as follows:
You'll note that the markup over interchange for credit card transactions isn't listed, and that is because it varies depending on the specific business type you have. Within the high-risk merchant account category, there are various levels of "riskiness," and your rate is affected depending on the risk involved in your particular industry.
As for monthly and other charges, the company lists a $9.95 per month statement fee and $10.00 per month gateway fee. Otherwise, as far as we can tell, there are no other monthly fees.
Our Experience: I like the fact that ETI uses interchange plus pricing. In the high-risk merchant account niche, you're already going to be paying more than you want to for credit card processing. So the additional transparency you get with interchange plus pricing is helpful because it allows you to understand your individual per transaction charges, and hopefully keep them as low as possible.
As far as monthly fees, ETI seems pretty cheap and pretty straightforward. When you talk with an ETI sales rep, you might have our "Fine Print" list below in front of you so you can cover your bases. If the prices change on you during that phone conversation, you might want to get any change in costs in writing before you sign a contract.
ETI seems to have invented the world of freebies. Their offers seem too good to be true in many respects:
|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||Possible|
|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|
|No Application Fees|
|Free Customer Service|
|Free Terminal Program|
|Free eCommerce Solution|
Our Take: In terms of how their fine print fees stack up, they're pretty cheap, and I like the fact that they're very clear and transparent. You know what you'll be paying, and what you're getting for it. Remember that merchants need to submit additional applications for American Express, JCB, and Diner's Club/Carte Blanch, and those applications may require extra fees.
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.
ETI offers a ton of equipment options including POS systems, terminals, and software. Rather than go over every single option, we'll keep it short and simple:
Our heads were spinning after perusing ETI's options for hardware and software. If you're a detail-oriented person, take charge! You'll have a field day (or week or month) learning about all the possibilities here. The good news is that we can help you make that decision at MerchantNegotiators.com.
Electronic Transfer can handle payments from and for merchants in the United States, Canada and abroad.
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.
ETI offers a month-to-month contract with no early termination fees. With that said, be sure to understand how ETI wants you to terminate your contract so you're not stuck with recurring payments taken from your bank account after you think you've finished with ETI.
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: ETI is an ISO/MSP of Westamerica Bank, Santa Rosa, California. They own at least three gateway services that they can tap into depending upon merchant needs. There is no middle man here.
Account Sales: ETI appeals to independent resellers and agents to market its services. We've also read that these agents represent ETI at trade shows. Merchants need to be aware of this fact, because contract terms may vary according to agent. With that said, we haven't seen any complaints about merchant services provided by ETI or by independent resellers. None at all.
Account Service: ETI offers 24/7 support. We didn't have access to that number, but we called sales. Our experience is described below.
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.
1/9/2015; TIME: 1:45 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
I called the number on the site and my call was answered immediately by a receptionist without having to deal with a phone tree. That receptionist, Courtney, handed me over to Sarah, a sales rep, without any hesitation. Sarah was a no-pressure sales person who offered a ton of information and who didn't press me into providing too much of my own information. She offered some interesting features that we never found on the website (and we're not surprised, considering the amount of information on the site).
First, we didn't realize that ETI owned gateways, which accounts for their low prices. Next, I learned that ETI offers a free terminal program that completely annihilates the $10.00 gateway fee. In other words, if a merchant wants brick-and-mortar sales only, the monthly charge is only $9.95. However, once a merchant asks for a card reader, that gateway fee ($10.00) is automatically added in on top of the $9.95 monthly fee. Since ETI offers month-to-month service, merchants can ask for the card reader for, say, summer month outdoor art shows, and then discontinue that service once the shows have ended.
While this service seems complicated, Sarah assured me that I would be dealing with her on all my transactions and requirements. She stated she has been with ETI for a few years and came to this company because of their great track record and no complaints. How can we debate that issue?
Our Take: Since we don't maintain service with ETI, we can't vouch for what appears to be great service. But, with a month-to-month contract, we might be tempted to find out.
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.
ETI has been in business since 1989, and compared to most credit card processors has an amazing track-record of very few negative reviews. We did find one complaint on a BBB site that stated the merchant had a difficult time closing the ETI service. One complaint in 15 years means that merchant might have had some issues that didn't reflect ETI's service.
With all that said, the only praise we discovered was on ETI's site. W're not overtly concerned about lack of praise, outside the ETI site. Usually, silence is golden, right?
WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:
WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:
|PCI Compliance Fee||$0.00|
|Online Reporting Fee||$0.00|
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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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