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Merchant services is a broad term meant to encompass a wide range of functions related to the ability to accept electronic forms of payment, such as credit and debit cards. In today’s business landscape, where a majority of customers prefer to pay with plastic, this type of service is a virtual requirement.
If you’re in the market for a merchant services provider, one name you might have come across is Worldpay (formerly Vantiv). Worldpay is the largest merchant acquirer in the United States by transaction volume, processing over $21 billion in payments in 2016.
Behind that success is a broad range of payment processing and point of sale (POS) options developed over 50 years in the electronic payments industry. Let’s take a look at Worldpay’s offerings and customer reviews to help determine if their services are a good fit for your business. We’ll also provide you with some alternatives to Worldpay so you can come away with a complete picture of the merchant services industry.
In 1971, Ohio-based Fifth Third Bank formed Midwest Payment Systems to provide electronic funds transfer (EFT) services to financial institutions. Midwest Payment Systems would later become Fifth Third Processing Solutions, then Vantiv Inc., and finally Worldpay Inc. in early 2018, following the acquisition of Worldpay Group PLC. Along the way, they added an array of services that can accommodate a variety of business needs.
It’s worth noting that most of these merchant services pertain to retail businesses, but Worldpay also offers payment solutions for government entities, financial institutions, and businesses in the entertainment industry.
Credit card processing is defined as using an electronic system to move money from a customer’s bank (issuing bank), into a merchant’s bank (acquiring bank) as payment for goods or services. Here is what Worldpay offers for credit card processing:
Worldpay accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express as well as business, corporate, gift, pre-paid, and other types of purchasing cards. Non-card types of payment you can accept are ACH transfer, electronic benefit transfer (EBT), and checks by mail or image capture.
Worldpay merchant accounts allow your business to receive funds from different types of payment, including debit and credit card payments. Note that a merchant account is separate from a business bank account. Worldpay can offer merchant accounts to businesses all over the world.
Worldpay offers support for different types of mobile payments, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Worldpay virtual terminals are credit card terminals without the physical terminal. They allow you to accept credit cards, debit cards, and electronic checks within any standard web browser. Virtual terminals also allow you to set recurring payments, generate refunds, and process phone transactions.
Worldpay’s suite of solutions allow merchants to accept all types of in-store payments.
Worldpay offers a variety of credit card terminals that are EMV-compliant (chip card readers). Among the ones listed on their website are the Ingenico iCT220 and the Verifone Vx520.
A point of sale or POS system is really a combination of products we have already mentioned, including a terminal, virtual terminal, and mobile payment processor. It’s important to understand that Worldpay offers all of these services individually and bundled as a POS system. In addition, Worldpay POS systems can be integrated with third-party processors. There is also a developer suite for custom POS integrations (more on that later).
In addition to a regular POS system, Worldpay offers a mobile POS system (mPOS). A mPOS system is a combination of hardware and software that allows you to accept payments from your mobile device.
The Worldpay mPOS includes a mobile credit card reader and phone application. Worldpay mobile card readers plug into your mobile device to accept magstripe, chip, and contactless payments. Using the Worldpay app you can input transactions, send receipts, issue refunds, and review past transactions.
Among the ecommerce merchant services Worldpay lists on its website are:
Worldpay sells payment gateways that plug into your ecommerce platform to authorize online payments. A payment gateway is necessary for compliance reasons to facilitate transactions in which neither party is physically present.
Worldpay offers a product called Vantiv Xcelerator to “help grow and maintain ecommerce and online payments revenue.” Essentially this is software that allows you to automatically update the information file for expired cards, thereby saving you time.
Thanks to Vantiv’s merger with Worldpay (which is based in the United Kingdom), ecommerce merchants can now sell their products in 150 different currencies and process payments in a dozen different currencies.
Worldpay offers a variety of other services to compliment their core offerings, including:
Worldpay’s analytics product, Vantiv iQ, collects and analyzes your sales history to provide insights into how to better manage your business. With Vantiv iQ you will receive adaptable reports and alerts regarding chargebacks and statements.
Worldpay’s developer suite allows those with programming skills to customize Worldpay’s merchant services to fit their businesses needs.
Worldpay’s security suite is called OmniShield Assure. It offers fraud prevention, tokenization (substituting a sensitive data element with a non-sensitive equivalent), and encryption on all credit card transactions. OmniShield Assure can also help minimize your scope for PCI compliance by pushing the entire payment process on to a Worldpay page.
Worldpay offers 24/7 support year-round, including different helplines to address issues with specific products. You can also submit questions through the Worldpay website to live chat with customer service.
In addition, Worldpay features tons of helpful articles and guides on their website that explain the particulars of the payment industry, such as how credit card processing or interchange fees work. There is also a video library.
Worldpay does not offer a lot of pricing information on their website. Instead, potential customers are encouraged to reach out to a Worldpay sales representative to receive a quote. This is not terribly surprising, as Worldpay provides a suite of payment services that likely varies depending on which options you need. However, small business owners who prefer transparent pricing structures might view this is a con. It also suggests Worldpay uses a tiered pricing plan.
There are a few payment details on the website. For credit card payments in store and online, Worldpay charges a 2.9% + $0.30 fee per transaction. It also says that higher volume merchants may qualify for a lower rate of 2.7% + $0.30 per transaction.
It’s worth nothing that up until recently, Worldpay was only charging 2.25% + $0.10 for credit card transactions using one of their terminals.
Monthly fees and mobile payment fees are not disclosed on the website. Third-party review sites have made mention of additional monthly fees for PCI compliance and chargebacks, as well as an early termination fee.
Ultimately, these fees seem to adjust depending on which Worldpay products you are using.
We know that we just hit you with a lot of information, so allow us to cut to the chase and tell you how these services can benefit your business:
What that long list of offerings means is, whatever you need to process payments, Worldpay can most likely accommodate.
If you operate a subscription service and need a way to process recurring payments, Worldpay can help.
If you need to integrate a virtual terminal with your ecommerce shopping cart, Worldpay has a solution for that, too.
That’s the benefit of working with a very large merchant service provider like Worldpay. To have everything regarding payments in one place with one provider can save you a lot of time as a small business owner.
Another benefit about working with a large payment processor is that they have scalable solutions for your business. Most all of Worldpay’s tools can accommodate enterprise grade operations, as well as smaller businesses. However, be prepared to negotiate with your sales representative about pricing.
Of the positive reviews about Worldpay that are out there, most customers say they find it to be an extremely reliable service with little disruption. When they have had issues, most say customer service has been very accessible and able to help them find a solution.
Other positive reviews noted that Worldpay deposits funds into the merchant account very quickly and that their POS systems integrate well with a variety of different business types.
Most of the negative reviews on Worldpay focus on two specific issues:
Worldpay has a three-year auto-renewing contract and an early termination fee of $295 (although some have said it is as high as $495). This is not the kind of flexibility you want in a merchant services provider, especially if you are a small business just starting out.
There have also been reviews claiming Worldpay contracts include liquidated damages of up to 15% of the total earnings the company would have made on the remainder of the contract. Other customers have complained of hidden fees.
As with any business contract, make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully before signing.
Whether the fees are hidden or not, customers seem to agree there are a lot of them. Among those mentioned are a fee for PCI compliance, a fee for PCI non-compliance, as well as chargeback, annual, card network, service, and statement fees.
Some customers said these fees increased each month, which serves as another reminder to read the terms of the contract closely.
It’s worth mentioning that many of the people who spoke negatively of Worldpay also said they had a bad experience with customer service. Take this with a grain of salt, as users reaching out to discuss hidden fees or contract terms are less likely to come away from the experience feeling satisfied.
Knowing everything we know, we feel Worldpay is probably more suitable for established businesses than it is for new businesses. We say this because the real value of Worldpay is in its range of services, most of which aren’t needed by businesses just starting out.
Furthermore, Worldpay’s contracts and fees might be a little treacherous for small business owners with limited experience. You might end up locked into something you can’t afford.
If you are looking for more simplified merchant services, here are some of your best options:
Payline has a reputation as a transparent payment processor with affordable rates. With Payline, you can process payments online, in person, and via mobile for all major credit cards. All in-person transactions are charged an interchange fee and a markup of 0.2% + $0.10. Online and keyed-in transactions are charged an interchange fee and a markup of 0.3% + $0.20.
There is also month-to-month billing, no long-term contracts and no early termination fee, all of which sets Payline far apart from Worldpay. Other offerings include merchant accounts, payment gateways, credit card terminals, and a developer kit.
Fattmerchant is a payment processor that does not charge a markup on interchange fees. Instead, you will just be charged the interchange fee plus $0.08 for terminal transactions and $0.15 for other types of transactions. In lieu of a markup fee, Fattmerchant charges a monthly fee of $99.
What all this means is that, if you sell in volume, Fattmerchant will offer you very affordable payment processing because you won’t be charged a markup fee on every transaction. Other benefits of Fattmerchant are a fairly comprehensive product set, including virtual terminals, payment gateways, data analytics tools, and shopping cart integration.
Finding a merchant services provider is tricky. Accepting electronic payments from customers is something nobody really thinks about until they need to. We hope you feel equipped now to evaluate what the market has to offer and make the best decision for your business.
But if we may just add our two cents: Worldpay is a legacy payment processor that would work well for enterprise-level businesses. Both Payline and Fattmerchant are relative newcomers with services more applicable to small business owners.
And remember, if you don’t want to use one business for all of your merchant services, you can mix-and-match your payment processor and point of sale system provider. The choice is yours!