Group ISO’s Merchant Accounts: Best for larger operators!

For online business, having a merchant account is not just a luxury, but an essential. Many online businesses used to use Paypal, but there has been a lot of controversy caused by Paypal’s handling of merchants, including the freezing of accounts with suspicious activity.

So, having a merchant account would allow legitimate online sellers access to credit card facilities, with considerably less risk to their business from credit card fraud, mishandling by Paypal and virtual scams run by other less ‘reputable’ online payment services (cough)Stormpay(cough).

I have looked at Global Payment Services in this article, and I’ll review them from the perspective of my own website. In other words, could a blog or website that offers services like mine does find a Merchant Account like theirs of value.

Actually, the answer is an equivocal yes. Why do I equivocate on such an issue like this?

The upside:

  1. An internet based terminal will allow small bloggers and merchants like us to accept credit card transactions, until recently though the costs have been quite high. If you are likely to generate an increasing amount of sales from your website or small business, you might find their rates attractive.
  2. Many smaller merchants, especially stores, would like to offer a mixed mode for shopping, to compete with the likes of Wal-Mart (who offer online/offline shopping). This service would allow you to accept orders in a variety of ways, over the internet, through a call center, in a store, etc..
  3. The online nature of their system should allow you to manage the entire credit card transactions from anywhere in the world that connect using a standard web browser! So that’s ideal for small retailers who have no ‘fixed’ abode! Or who live in an island paradise!
  4. They offer a shopping cart system with coupons and discounts, amongst other features. I don’t know if the cart integrates with the like of Zencart or OSCommerce yet! I’ll post if I find out!
  5. For online newsletters and regular publications, you’ll need a recurring billing option to enable subscription based services: memberships, subscriptions, newsletters, etc.
  6. And, last but not least, you will need support both from anti-fraud software and systems, as well as help and advice from the help desk. Fraud is serious, much more serious in some industries than in others, so you need to make sure you’re covered in that respect!

The downside:

  1. For really small operators, websites and retailers, the regular nickel and dime charging that Group ISO use may be frustrating. If you are uncertain that your order level will reach sufficient volume, you may not wish to pay regular standing charges, in addition to the transaction fees.
  2. Given the concerns over money laundering, their registration requires a voided check, a legible driver license, a business license, and some kind of product information. Naturally, this will protect both them, their banks, your bank, and your business, in the long run. But for a really small operator, some of these may be difficult to come by if you are just starting out. Though registration is quick typically, you may wish to use this service once you are more established, and have an idea of your order catalog, your sales levels, etc..
  3. It seems targeted to physical goods, rather than electronic goods. If you are into selling software, e-books, etc. you will need to inquire if these products are acceptable. Some merchant account operators may turn their noses up at such products, because of the level of charge backs and fraud that permeate these businesses.

Overall, I would use them if my volume of sales exceeded about US$1000 per month. I wouldn’t feel comfortable letting Paypal handle that much money!

Disclosure for this Post
I’m writing this review for them, though it is not paid. I initially accepted the Review from ReviewME, but was forced to decline the review because it coincided with a major holiday weekend here, and so I couldn’t make the deadline.