Best Credit Card Processing Services 2020 Reviews- or not?

Don’t you love it when people write articles about subjects they clearly either don’t know about, don’t know the best resources for information or are just out to make money on what you read via affiliate, advertising or referrals, so it doesn’t matter? That’s the case with articles on “Best Credit Card Processing Services for 2020″. I’ll dissect some reasons why and how to really help you find what you need.

First, there are some critical factors which determine what is the best credit card processor for your business:

  • Volume- a couple transactions or a lot each month
  • Transaction size average- For example, under $25 or over $5,000?
  • Transaction type- phone or mail (MOTO), in-person (Retail), or ecommerce (any type of remote payment, including e-invoice, text and ecommerce shopping cart. on the road.
  • How the sale occurs: tradeshow, water, plane, home service, phone sales, invoice, physical store, shopping cart, online pay page
  • Business type- distribution, service, restaurant, fuel, travel, etc

Only with information above should anyone recommend what is the best credit card processing service because it impacts how you need to get paid and how much cost will vary depending on the solution. As you can imagine, the matrix of options gets complex. Examples:

  • During Covid, someone decides to make masks at home and sell them. In that case Paypal might be the best solution because of it’s flexibility and simplicity.
  • A window and door company has wholesale to the trade and retail consumer sales. This company needs technology to properly manage authorizations for both sales types. I recommend using an agnostic technology solution and a processor that supports level 3 data, which all the big ones do.
  • A restaurant needs to expand their pick up and delivery options due to Covid-19 and projected dining changes over the next 10 years. They need omnichannel technology that will work with different platforms, such as Uber Eats and Door Dash, plus their own online ordering, text specials, and pay at the table.

My general rule of thumb is that for under $250,000 annually it almost doesn’t matter what you pick because the difference between one and another on price will probably be inconsequential. For that reason, I don’t work with businesses that small; just do your research and pick one that you can get out of later if you don’t like it or grow too much and needs change.

Secifically addressing solutions others are touting as the top 10 best my answers are relevant for B2B merchants, and businesses that have a B2B element:

Square: This started as a mom and pop solution for service people, artists (art shows), and other small business needs. I’d dig deeper into options.

Payline Data: I never heard of them and had to look it up. Payline Data is a reseller for First Data and Fifth Third Bank. More on what that means at the end.

Intuit Quickbooks: My pet peeves are fees are taken out of transactions daily, creating extra burden for reconciliation, bundled pricing, which is higher than alternatives, and issues with how it handles customer name and cardholder name differences, since B2B the customer is usually a business.


Intuit Merchant Services vs Regular Merchant Account With Quickbooks

Intuit merchant services has pros and cons, like all credit card processing solutions. This review will help you make the best choice for a merchant account.

Intuit Merchant Services vs Regular Merchant Account

There are two main differences:

  1. Price structure. Intuit has a flat percentage and per transaction for key entered and one for swiped. For example, the Intuit keyed rate is 3.40% + $.25 + $.10 address verification service or AVS. A regular merchant account includes interchange and a bunch of other fees. Even though those ‘other’ fees could add up to .10% or more, the overall effective rate (fees divided by costs) is normally always lower than the Intuit effective rate for merchants on ‘pass through’ pricing like offered here. As shown in the image below, interchange starts at .05%.

    interchange rates

    Actual interchange rates for a business to business merchant.

  2. Cash flow. Intuit nets fees from every sale. For example, using the keyed rate of 3.40% + $.25 + $.10 avs, for a $100 key entered transaction, the Intuit merchant receives a $96.25 deposit the next day. It’s possible the amount varies due to international fee etc. With a regular merchant account, the merchant receives $100 deposit within 1- 2 business days, and at the end of the month, pays the total months fees via ACH.

Extra Intuit fees are found in INTUIT QUICKBOOKS PAYMENTS PRICING SCHEDULE. The only fee that stands out is AVS, or address verification service, at $.10 each; it’s at least 100% more than regular merchant accounts, and since merchants should supply AVS for all card not present transactions, add it in as a hard cost per transaction when comparing options. The rest of the fees are in line with costs anywhere.

How do the differences impact merchants?

A company with $1,000,000 in credit card sales might have an effective rate between 1.3% and 2.75%, depending on business type etc. A 1% drop in effective rate equals $1000 in savings for this example. More importantly, merchants can preserve cash flow by paying fees after the month is over, and keep reconciliation clean with fees applied to COGS once per month, vs every transaction.

For very small businesses, it almost doesn’t make any difference who the merchant uses for processing. The effective rate is 3.75% in the example above. If you run the numbers with fees from Costco and others, it will end up being relatively the same, and most importantly, a small difference, isn’t really going to make a bid difference in the overall fees paid; a .1% difference on $100,000 is $100 per year. I think a small business should focus more on growing revenues than fretting over fees.

Managing credit card payments within Quickbooks vs regular merchant account


  1. Intuit merchant services applies payments to invoices and sales receipts. Quickbooks mobile GoPayment. The last user report received was that QB created a new customer for any unrecognized cardholder and this was problematic, because the merchant already has the customer registered under a company name. This problem is common with both Quickbooks and some 3rd party solutions.
  2. Merchants use a regular merchant account and process transactions, such as a virtual terminal, ecommerce store, or mobile device. With 3rd party transaction importer software, the merchant downloads transactions much like downloading bank transactions. This software can be a one time fee, annual fee, or SaaS with recurring billing. Merchants with higher volume, multichannel, or needing special payment solutions can use this. Typically the software provides more control for importing, including matching to existing QB data.
  3. Process transactions within Quickbooks, using a 3rd party application. To reduce PCI Compliance burden, the merchant experience is that they’re in QB, but the payment activity is occurring via a 3rd party secure payment gateway, connected to a regular merchant account. The benefits are more control and flexibility, with the efficiency of working within Quickbooks and automatically marking invoices as paid etc.  There’s nothing that Quickbooks does that cannot continue to be completed within Quickbooks with the integration, or that cannot be enhanced with the 3rd party integration, including electronic bill presentment and payment. Some differentiators for B2B include payment types supported (check, ACH, wire, credit card, Paypal and more); delivery methods- text, email, other, automated reminders- 30 days or on your schedule, cardholder authentication-3-D Secure shifts fraud liability to issuer.  For any sizable business, efficiencies and cost savings will outweigh the costs of the gateway, solution, and merchant account fees.

Need help making the right choice? The best solution is not the same for every business. There are many factors including business type, how and where you accept payments, whether you have aging accounts receivable and more. Check processing was not covered here, but it’s the same concept.

Quick buying guides:

  • If your business processes less than $100,000 annually, stick with whatever you have and focus on growing the business.
  • If you don’t use Intuit merchant services now, and are key entering every record from your 3rd party processor, it’s worth exploring options.
  • If you process $1,000,000 or more annually, the benefits are well worth the time to make a change. Call 954-942-0483 for a FREE consultation for a regular merchant account with Quickbooks integration.  “I’ve used them all, and I’ve been a Quickbooks user for over 15 years,” says Christine Speedy, owner of 3D Merchant Services. “In about 5 minutes, I can ascertain whether it’s worth exploring alternatives, or give merchants peace of mind they have the right solution for their business.”

Sekure cost review, Sekure Card, Sekure Merchants Review

Merchant statement review

Merchant statement review, partial statement shown.

Did you get a call from for a merchant statement analysis? Read my research, which points out why I recommend merchants never give this company merchants statements or any other business information. 3D Merchant Services has no affiliation with this company but was hounded by endless phone calls from them so I decided to research them and share what I learned.

The company web site is here:, but they have more web sites with the same physical address.

Who is Sekure Cost Review? affiliated web sites:

    • Sekure Card Services –

    • Sekure Merchant Solutions

    • Sekure Careers – they hire telemarketers

The address is 1501 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, NY.  The address is not a traditional office, but one where anyone can ‘rent space’ so that they have a ‘prestigious office address’. From, “This modern, professional business center offers companies a prestigious corporate address right at the heart of Times Square on bustling Broadway, your clients won’t help to be impressed.”

US Business Affiliation?: There’s no business registered in NYS with any of the business names in the domains above. Further, past employees report that the company is actually based in Montreal Canada, even though they called exclusively on US based businesses.

“When I can’t find a business registered with the state their supposedly affiliated with, I won’t do business with them,” says Christine Speedy, 3D Merchant Services.

The Sekure Cost Review sales pitch:

The caller said that she was providing a free cost review “funded by major banks, processors” and others in the industry. That perked my ears. Who was paying for it?  I wasn’t able to get a straight answer other than the big banks etc and they may change from time to time. “Are you a processor or ISO?” “No, we’re a broker. We save you…” . I asked it they were a lead generation company for processors? “No.”  From my research and industry knowledge, in my opinion, they’re conducting lead generation which they then send to ISO’s, or independent sales organizations, and then they get paid for deals. That’s pretty common.

The pitch is that by providing merchant statements they’ll give a side by side comparison so that I could see if I was getting gouged. No obligation.

Statement reviews are a good idea when lacking technology know to reduce their usefulness. and affiliated web sites highlight four items about their business:

  1. BBB reputation: USA media has proven there’s little value in a BBB reputation since companies can BUY their reputation, and there’s no verification. (See 20/20 report among others.) All sites link to Sekure Merchant Solutions, a company potentially not even legally registered in NYS. Additionally, there are 32 complaints, and while nearly all were resolved, this number is much higher than companies in the same industry that are bigger by volume processed and number of merchants served.
  2. Low cost rates: The web cites $30M/mth and the phone called cited $40M/mth in transaction volume as the reason for their great rates. In my opinion, while it’s not insignificant, companies with $100M/mth or more are far more likely to have better options.
  3. POS: Reprogram or Free terminal. Free terminals are nearly always bad because the money has to be made up somewhere. That means possibly older but PCI compliant equipment, but more likely higher fees to cover the initial outlay, or long term contracts with heavy contract dissolution fees to get out of them.  All merchant agreements include future fee increase clause so at some point you’ll pay a lot more for free equipment.
  4. Sample Review: Looks like a pretty typical side by side review that takes the same transactions at the same interchange qualification and applies a different discount rate. Rate comparisons can be a terrible way to make merchant process choices.
    • Interchange management can reduce fees from .10% to over 1%.  That’s above and beyond any discount fee negotiation. There’s a bottom to discount fee negotiation- then what will you do to reduce fees?
    • Improved productivity can increase EBITDA significantly
    • Reduced PCI compliance burden increases productivity in other areas of business.
    • There’s other tools that reduce fees even more and shift fraud liability risk to issuer.

    Bottom line: As processor profits are narrowed, the bigger merchant savings comes from better interchange rate qualification in addition to efficiency improvements and reduced PCI Compliance burden.


Allied Memberships:  What does ‘allied’ mean? It does not mean an endorsement. For example, the NRF offers Retail, Service Provider, and University memberships. The only membership qualifies for is Service Provider.  I didn’t find their company in any of the online buying guides. That doesn’t mean they’re not a member, just not in any area I searched online.

Is a scam or legit?

They may or may not provide a valuable service to some merchants, but the negatives far outweigh the positives. Sharing highly confidential information in a world of escalating identity theft is just not worth the risk.

How can I stop Sekure Card calls? That’s a touch one because they may spoof phone numbers and or block caller ID.

  • Add your business telephone number to the National Do Not Call Registry through the federal website. After 31 days you can report them. Most phone calls to a business made with the intent to solicit sales from that business are exempt from the Do Not Call provisions, but if enough people complain, maybe they can help.
  • You could also write your Congressman and Senator that the current rules are outdated. (And why should be we subjected to 1,000’s of political calls with no opt-out method either?)
  • Anyone want to start a petition?

What’s the alternative?  Just about anyone can provide a statement review. Find someone that knows about your industry and asks questions about your business without sharing merchant statements. It takes more time and expertise to get through these steps, but it’s a lot safer. Avoid choosing any vendor that has a web site without identifying an owner or single person by name. Look up the salesperson on linkedin.

See Christine Speedy on Linkedin and see Christine Speedy on 3D Merchant Services. You can also look up 3D Merchant Services in the official Florida registered businesses. At least you’ll know it’s real.

Disclaimer: This review contains information that may become outdated. It was accurate at the time written based on publicly available information.

Update 12/10/2018. I just got a call from Sekure at 800-915-0927: 

Sekure: “Christine, I’m following up on my prior call with a Sekure colleague a couple months ago. It looks like the only thing missing from our being able to complete the analysis is your merchant statement.”

Christine: “Please remove me from your call list.

Sekure :”Well I don’t know why you wouldn’t want the free analysis.”

Christine: “It’s not up to you to decide whether I want your calls or analysis. I’m telling you to remove me.”

Sekure: ” OK, will do.”

The above is not an exact quote. Hopefully the calls will stop!

Reviewed by Christine Speedy, PCI Council QIR certified. To reduce merchant fees with new or existing merchant account call 954-942-0483, 9-5 ET. CenPOS  Global Sales authorized reseller based out of South Florida and NY. CenPOS is an integrated commerce technology platform driving innovative, omnichannel solutions tailored to meet a merchant’s market needs. Providing a single point of integration, the CenPOS platform combines payment, commerce and value-added functionality enabling merchants to transform their commerce experience, eliminate the need to manage complex integrations, reduce the burden of accepting payments and create deeper customer relationships.

Top Credit Card Processing Services Ratings Revealed by 2022

Who are the best credit card processing companies right now? I received an email from for the month of March 2022. Each month they report the best credit card processing services around the world to assist businesses in selecting the best service to meet their specific needs. But how useful are these lists?

Their list for Best 10 top credit card processing services for March 2022 are:


2- Beacon Payments -First Data ISO

3- RTP Merchant Services – Web site does not exist

4- Electronic Transfer, Inc-  ISO / MSP of Merrick Bank

5- US Alliance Group- ISO of Wells Fargo Bank and several others

6- BankCard USA- ISO of Wells Fargo Bank and others

7- S & S Bank Card Systems – MSP/ISO of Elavon

8- PayProTec Elite, LLC – Web site does not exist

9- Harbortouch- ISO / MSP of Merrick Bank; restaurant and small business POS solutions owned by Shift4

10 -Argus Merchant Processing- ISO of Wells Fargo Bank

Number one on the list is PAYARC, a registered ISO/SP of Commercial Bank of California. First Data usually ranks as one of the top 3 largest US acquirers annually by dollar volume.  Why isn’t First Data on the list? The last time I checked, it was because the “meticulous evaluation process” requires that you pay to get on the list. That was the only criteria years ago. Their list is admittedly completely subjective. The latest disclaimer terms essentially say it’s possible to get on the list without paying, but in my limited review, I still didn’t see any of the big 5, which include Elavon, First Data, and Paymentech, among others. In their algorithm for getting selected for the top credit card processors, money is not listed as an item for consideration, but it is.

Here’s my main takeaways from this list:

  1. Pay to play makes the list questionable value.
  2. The “carefully analyzed” list includes two companies with defunct web sites. Are they out of business? Functioning web site from the links they provided would seem to be pretty basic.
  3. Never choose a vendor from a “best” anything list. My clients are primarily business to business, including high dollar item dealers (cars, trucks etc) and manufacturers. The knowledge to service these markets and recommend the best solution is entirely different than a restaurant or single location retail business. Pick a vendor (or salesperson) with experience in your core type of transaction.

Disclaimer: The information herein is the personal opinion of Christine Speedy based on years in the industry, attendance at industry trade show events, industry training, and reviews of all company web sites mentioned in this blog post.