Pinnacle Cart offers a customizable shopping cart that can incorporate 35 different gateways and credit card processors, for a one stop online credit card processing solution. Additionally, it offers a variety of different website integration levels and pricing options, making it a good choice for all but the smallest web based businesses. Some complaints about setup complexity make us hesitant to recommend it for small merchants.
Pinnacle Cart is a "Software as a Service" company, providing a robust shopping cart that is 100% scalable.
Pinnacle Cart does provide merchant account services, but they are through third-party operations. They do offer a package that includes a gateway and merchant services through Chase Paymentech. But, many other options are available as well, including PayPal. The list of clients here is staggering - The Onion, HBO, Discovery Channel, and A&E for starters.
The best fit for this shopping cart is the larger business that may already has a merchant service to integrate with this cart. The merchant also must choose among approximately 35 gateways and pick an email service (our sales rep mentioned Google Apps). Pinnacle Cart also provides hosting, and that service - along with the software - might prove a great fit for an online store addition to a bricks-and-mortar operation.
Below is a detailed review of Pinnacle Cart 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. To learn more about any given feature, just click on it.
The following features all are dependent on the merchant's credit card processing service. Pinnacle Cart does integrate QuickBooks with all their accounts, according to our sales rep. All the features below are based upon what Chase Paymentch offers, as that's the processor of choice according to Paymentech. If you use a credit card processor other than Chase Paymentech and that merchant service doesn't offer a swiper, for instance, you may not be able to conduct mobile sales.
|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||Yes|
|eChecks / Electronic Checks||Yes|
|Welfare Benefits (EBT/SNAP/TANF)||Yes|
|Security / Fraud Prevention:|
|AVS Fraud Protection||Yes|
|PCI DSS Secure Transactions||Yes|
|HIPAA Compliance (Healthcare)||Yes|
|Trust Account Debiting (Legal)||No|
|Fleet Cards (Petroleum)||Yes|
|Online Menu Orders (Restaurants)||Yes|
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.
Pricing plans at Pinnacle Cart start at $29.95 per month for a hosted solution, and a dedicated server starts at $249 per month. Each plan carries perks that the monthly fee covers, including transaction fees. Currently, Pinnacle Cart is waiving setup fees.
Enterprise Level Solution
Our Experience: Looking just at the start-up hosted account, a merchant is facing $44.95 per month between the monthly fee and SSL fee. A start-up business might need to look long and hard at that amount to consider its worth, especially if the merchant needs to purchase development services, merchant account services, a gateway service, and an email account.
At the same time, a larger business can swallow the enterprise solutions without choking. If a larger bricks-and-mortar needs an online solution, the merchant might consider this option if already tied in with one of Pinnacle Cart's third-party merchant accounts.
Since Pinnacle Cart doesn't provide the following services, we looked again to Chase Paymentech to help understand what all is involved with this shopping cart. If a merchant decided to go with the Pinnacle Cart/Chase Paymentech package, the merchant can expect the following fees on top of the pricing listed above:
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Setup / Application Fee||Yes, on some products|
|PCI Compliance Fee||None|
|PCI Inaction Fee||None|
|Online Reporting Fee||None|
|Monthly Minimum Fee||Yes|
|Accept International Pymt Fee||Possible|
|Voice Authorization Fee||Possible|
|Monthly Min. Process Fee||Possible|
|Daily Batch Fee||Possible|
|ACH / Direct Deposit Fee||Yes|
|ACH Charge Fee||Yes|
|ACH Return Fee||Yes|
|Online Reporting through either Resource Online or Paymentech Online|
|Phone and Email Support 24/7|
|Pinnacle Cart Freebies:|
|Free Customer Support for the Shopping Cart|
Our Take: Again, if you - as the merchant - understand that Pinnacle Cart offers only the shopping cart software and hosting, then you can grapple with the fact that your other bills will include all the bells and whistles that make that online shopping cart functional.
As a side note: Pinnacle Cart software is available without Pinnacle Cart's hosting if you'd prefer to use another hosting service. However, you may not only complicate the operation for yourself regarding support and service, but you may also see a higher bill for hosting.
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.
Pinnacle Cart focuses on payments through its integrated Pinnacle Shopping Cart. If, however, merchants who want to accept payments off their website choose as their integrated merchant service provider a company that offer swipers (like PayPal), it appears that the merchant can use that swiper and have it integrate with the Pinnacle Shopping Cart.
Pinnacle Cart is set up as a software to enable international sales. The merchant must be able to acquire the merchant services that also enable that option. The Pinnacle Cart/Chase Paymentech is one solution that could work.
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.
Pinnacle Cart does offer annual and biannual contracts, but they're mostly month-to-month without termination fees. Your merchant account, on the other hand, might tell a different story. If you go for the package that includes Chase Paymentech, it would be rare that a merchant walks away without a contract or termination fee. Every merchant account is different, so be sure to check that contract detail.
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: Pinnacle Cart offers the Pinnacle Cart software and hosting for merchants to develop online stores. They offer merchant account services through third-party processors, and about 35 gateways to choose from to accept credit cards online.
Account Sales: Pinnacle Cart does pretty well for itself without offering gimmicks. They've been in business for eleven years and have built a healthy clientele. They also offer an intense reseller program that includes training.
Account Service: 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. Pinnacle Cart offers extensive instructions online, training one-on-one with merchants to set up accounts, and a support office that operates on weekdays and weekends during business hours PST. This support team, by the way, is focused solely on the shopping cart. Any troubles you might have with your merchant service has to be directed to that merchant service. Pinnacle Cart prides itself on U.S.-based sales and services.
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.
3/10/2015; TIME: 3:55 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
I encountered a brief phone tree when I called, and a receptionist answered on the second ring. She patched me through to Jen, a sales rep who answered all my questions and expanded on most of them as well. She pointed out that Pinnacle Cart did own servers in multiple locations throughout the U.S. for backup and security purposes. But, she also mentioned that Pinnacle Cart let their email solutions program go because it was too burdensome. This is when Jen recommended using Google Apps.
Jen also noted that not all the third-party options are listed on their site, so a merchant might work with Pinnacle Cart to learn whether or not a current merchant service can be integrated into the cart system.
Our Take: Again, Pinnacle Cart is ideal for the merchant who might already have a merchant service account that is serving that merchant well. Going into this maze of choices isn't for the uninitiated or for the business owner who isn't technically savvy.
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. Most of the complaints we discovered about Pinnacle Cart seemed to come from small businesses that had difficulty obtaining merchant account services, international gateways, and other services that Pinnacle Cart doesn't offer.
Although Pinnacle Cart courts few complaints, this one definitely takes the top lead.
It appears to me that the software is probably fairly easy to use for a person who has some technical experience. Before you commit to anything, try the 14-day free trial to learn whether or not you can manage the software.
Pinnacle is set up to handle international clients, but the merchant also needs to find a merchant account service and gateway that works with international sales.
We can see the issues here - smaller merchants might find it difficult to sign up with gateway services or merchant accounts that can give them the freedom to sell without some penalties. Newer merchants and small merchants often are subject to scrutiny and are considered high risk. Business owners might look to our list of high-risk merchant account services to learn if any of these account services can integrate with Pinnacle Cart.
COMMON CUSTOMER COMPLIMENTS
We learned that many folks liked Pinnacle Cart's software.
Again, we're guessing that the merchant's amount of code or technical background could account for this compliment.
Many compliments about how the cart software integrates with so many third-party operations.
This is good news. Sounds as though Pinnacle Cart is very flexible and robust - and that the company stands by their statement that this software is 100% scalable to business growth.
WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:
WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:
|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.
Thank you to all of our site visitors for a great three years!
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