Merchant Account Reviews
Web sites that offer merchant account reviews that are based on rates and fees are usually nothing more than affiliate marketers trying to earn a dollar by offering out-dated, and often grossly incorrect information to unsuspecting merchants. So called Merchant account review services, web sites, and other publications often do more harm than good to business people who are searching for a reliable source of information on merchant accounts and merchant service providers.
As soon as you begin to look for a merchant service provider you will realize that the electronic bank card industry is one of the most competitive financial industries in the world today. Since the birth of payment cards in the 1950's, the industry has become bloated with thousands of different businesses offering merchant accounts and services.
Entities that sell directly to merchants are referred to as "merchant level sales or MLS" and consist of individual agents, sales offices, and other similar business. These businesses and individuals are contracted to resell merchant services through a select number of larger institutions such as third-party processors, acquiring banks, aggregators, and some ISOs. Of course, these larger institutions also have a merchant level sales (MLS) division of their own, further adding to the already fierce competition within the industry.
The merchant services industry is like the retail industry, where larger institutions are the wholesalers, and the merchant level sales businesses are the retailers. The big difference is that in the payment card industry the wholesalers also sell directly to consumers. To remain true to our example we should refer to third-party processors, acquiring banks, and other large institutions as, "outlet stores".
With so many different players competing for the same customers, each business has no choice but to be flexible in the prices and services that they offer. Any merchant service provider is able to offer one rate and fee package to one merchant, and then offer a totally different package to another moments later. It is this very fact that makes any "merchant account review service" worth little or nothing. There is no such thing as a set rate and fee.
Most web sites and publications that offer a merchant account review service are run by individuals with little practical knowledge of the payment card industry. These web sites and publications exist solely to create advertising revenue.
Merchant account review resources that are based on comparing rates and fees are ineffective because:
- Merchant service providers can offer an infinite combination of rates and fees.
- Merchant service providers are able to offer rates and fees that are totally different from the ones they may publish in marketing pieces.
- The payment card industry changes very frequently. Most merchant account review services are obsolete within months.
Merchant Account Reviews Based on Service and Other Criteria
There are certain organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), that base reviews and measure customer satisfaction using criteria other than rates, fees, and pricing. Merchant account review services based on this model would most certainly prove to be more useful because the material being reviewed would remain consistent from one customer to the next.
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