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Review of Pinnacle Cart

7227 N. 16th Street, Suite 270, Phoenix, AZ 85020

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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.

Detailed Review

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.

Software Compatibility:
Intuit Quickbooks Yes
Sage 50 No
Microsoft Dynamics GP No
Hardware Compatibility:
Windows / Blackberry No
iPhone / iPad Yes
Android Yes
Alternative Transaction Types:
Phone Orders Yes
Internet Orders Yes
Wireless Orders Yes
Mobile Orders 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 Yes
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) Yes
Online Menu Orders (Restaurants) Yes
Countries Served:
U.S. Yes
Other Countries Yes
International Yes

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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.

Hosted Plans

  • Start Up: $29.95 per month includes transaction fees, 1 GB storage, 2GB traffic (bandwidth), daily backups, U.S.-based support, PCI/PA-DSS compliance, free migration for existing cart, and $49 setup fee. SSL starts at $14.95 per month.
  • Small Biz: $59.95 per month includes transaction fees, 3GB storage, 8GB traffic, QuickBooks Auto Sync, and all the above.
  • Entrepreneur: $94.95 per month includes transaction fees, 10GB storage, 20GB traffic, and all the above.
  • Enterprise: $149.95 per month includes transaction fees, 50GB storage, 100GB traffic, and all the above.

Enterprise Level Solution

  • VPS1: $249 per month includes 50GB storage, 200GB traffic, domain level SSH access as well as Plesk FTP access, unlimited email accounts and databases, the ability to add additional scripts, including blogs, discussion boards, and social media, the ability to add two more stores at $29.95 per month each, and a $79 setup fee.
  • VPS2: $349 per month offers all the above with 100GB storage, 400GB traffic, and the ability to add five stores at an additional $29.95 per month each.

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.

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Contract Fine Print

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:
Termination Fee Yes
Setup / Application Fee Yes, on some products
PCI Compliance Fee None
PCI Inaction Fee None
Gateway Fee Yes
1099-K Fee Yes
Statement 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
FANF Fee None
Chargeback Fees $25
Online Reporting through either Resource Online or Paymentech Online
Phone and Email Support 24/7
Pinnacle Cart Freebies:
Free Consultation
Free Training
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.

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Pinnacle Shopping Cart Software

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 Shopping Cart: This software includes PCI/PA-DSS compliance, a website builder, SEO focus, and a claim that this software was built for 100% scalability. Although Pinnacle Cart offers web design and development at a price, they also provide free templates.
  • Hosting: Pinnacle Cart also offers hosting for their eCommerce sites. All their servers run on LAMP: Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP with a 99% uptime guarantee, email accounts, Plesk Control Panel, FTP access, PCI compliance and an additional choice of dedicated servers.
  • Mobile Commerce: Storefront available to shop on iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.
  • Other Software: Pinnacle Cart partners with third parties to offer Exactor, Endicia, Avalara, ShipWire, Doba,, and many other options. They also sell a variety of Security Certificates (SSL) from $149 to $895.

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Countries Served

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.

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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.

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.

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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: 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.

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Customer 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.


3/10/2015; TIME: 3:55 pm EST


Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

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.

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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. 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.

Too Complicated:
Customer Complaint:

Although Pinnacle Cart courts few complaints, this one definitely takes the top lead.

Our Verdict:

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.

Gateway Issues:
Customer Complaint:

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.

Our Verdict:

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.


Easy to Use:
Customer Compliment:

We learned that many folks liked Pinnacle Cart's software.

Our Verdict:

Again, we're guessing that the merchant's amount of code or technical background could account for this compliment.

Features and Add-Ons:
Customer Compliment:

Many compliments about how the cart software integrates with so many third-party operations.

Our Verdict:

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.

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Who Should / Shouldn't Use this Processor


  • Large Businesses: We especially like this shopping cart software and hosting solutions for businesses that already are comfortable with their own merchant accounts. Pinnacle Cart currently offers a free migration of existing shopping carts, too.
  • Mid-Sized Business: You may not be as large as some of Pinnacle's other clients, but if you have dreams of growing, Pinnacle Cart might prove to be your solution to online cart scalability.
  • Tech-Savvy Businesses: Although you might not need certified technicians to set up the shopping cart and integrate all services, a person who is tech- and code-savvy might save some time with some intuitive choices on the front end.


  • Small Businesses: If you plan to grow your business, take a long hard look at this shopping cart among other carts. If you're with Paypal or some other dummy-proof setup that simplifies things for you and you like that option, stay where you are for now. You're paying more per transaction, but it's darn easy.

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Pinnacle Cart
Customer Service
Customer Reviews
1.65% - 3.2%
  • Multiple Currencies
  • International Focus
  • 24/7 Phone Support
Monthly Fees Breakdown
Setup Fee$49.95
Monthly Fee$29.95
PCI Compliance Fee$0.00
Online Reporting Fee$0.00
Batch Fee$0.00
Gateway Fee$0.00
Chargeback Fee$0.00
Termination Fee$0.00
Contract LengthVaries
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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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