Using QuickBooks Payments (formerly Intuit Merchant Services) is a fine way to accept credit card payments inside QuickBooks. You can accept payments directly inside QuickBooks from any of four stages inside the program – Sales Order, Sales Receipt, Invoice, and Received Payments – so you don’t have to make time each day after closing time to go through a stack of invoices and enter all of your payment information once again. The QuickBooks credit card processing module does it all for you! It’s an ideal solution for MOTO credit card processing businesses, eCommerce businesses, and even retail businesses that see many customers per day. But, using Intuit merchant services comes with strings attached, and many merchants struggle in vain to find viable alternatives to Intuit Merchant Services. Some merchants even elect to process credit card transactions outside QuickBooks so they don’t have to pay for the services. Yikes.
Why’s it so Expensive? It’s the Tiers and the Markups
Alternatives to Intuit Merchant Services exist, but they aren’t heavily advertised – lots of merchants think Intuit is the only option they have for credit card processing. For that reason, Intuit Merchant Services primarily uses a three-tiered pricing structure for its customers. Essentially, a three-tiered plan lumps all 350+ types of credit cards available into just three categories, each of which are assigned a fixed price. (Credit cards are assigned actual prices from Visa and MasterCard, but processors are free to mark those prices up as they wish.)
The price is usually nowhere near an average cost, however; it’s always marked up, so the processor employing that fee structure (whether Intuit or someone else – it’s not just Intuit Merchant Services doing this) stands to make a good chunk of change. But, it’s simple, so it’s perceived to be better – especially with something as normally complex as payment processing. The Intuit Merchant Services tiers look like this:
QUAL – Qualified transactions
This tier is reserved for debit cards, which have a set cost of just 0.05%. Intuit Merchant Services typically marks this up to around 1.5%, and sometimes as high as 1.69%. That means if you accept a $5,000 QUAL transaction, Intuit pays Visa or MasterCard $2.50 and in turn charges you between $75 and $84.50.
MQUAL – Mid-qualified transactions
This tier is reserved for other consumer-type credit cards and rewards cards, which have set costs of between 1% to about 1.5%. Intuit Merchant Services typically charges somewhere between 2.5% to as high as 2.69%. That means when you accept a $5,000 MQUAL transaction, Intuit pays Visa or MasterCard between $50 and $75, and they then charge you between $125 and $134.50.
NQUAL – Non-qualified transactions
This tier is reserved for business-type rewards cards, corporate cards, and government purchasing cards, which have set costs of anywhere from 1.9% to 2.6%, for which Intuit Merchant Services charges between 3.4% to 3.96%. This means when you accept a $5,000 NQUAL transaction, Intuit must pay Visa or MasterCard between $95 and $130, but they charge you between $170 and $198.
To conclude: Intuit (or any other company using a three-tiered pricing plan) has a price they must pay Visa and MasterCard to process a given credit card. They charge you that price and mark it up substantially – but, you’d never know it was marked up so much unless you knew the fixed prices of all sorts of different credit cards. With prices marked up as much as they are, it’s no wonder so many merchants look for alternatives to Intuit Merchant Services.
Looking for Alternatives to Intuit Merchant Services
Cost is a huge issue for merchants looking for alternatives to Intuit Merchant Services. Century counteracts that issue by offering a QuickBooks credit card processing module that provides the same processing functionality that Intuit Merchant Services users are used to. With Century’s module (as with Intuit’s own), users can accept electronic payments at any (or all) of these four sales stages:
Century’s credit card processing engine then marks your chosen invoice(s) as paid and balances Accounts Receivable (AR) and the General Ledger (GL) for you, so there’s no extra work to do at the end of the day. But, if you aren’t familiar with how QuickBooks credit card processing works, you’ll be happy to know it makes life easier before the end of the day, too.
Alternatives to Intuit Merchant Services Save Time
Your current processing procedure may be like this:
Walk to your credit card terminal (which might be on the other side of the office).
Key in your customer’s information; keep the receipt the printer spits out.
Print out your customer’s invoice and staple the receipt to the invoice. Form a pile of these invoice-receipt combos on your desk.
When you have time (or at the end of the day), go back into QuickBooks and manually mark all of the invoices as paid.
As you can see, there’s a lot of running around and double-entry work happening here. With Century’s QuickBooks payment processing solution, your daily procedures would look like this instead: Key in a customer’s payment information directly into QuickBooks – Century’s integrated module processes the transaction immediately and marks the invoice as paid and balances the GL.
But, is There a Catch?
It’s a good question, but there really is none.
We provide a cheaper QuickBooks payment processing module than Intuit does because we’re able to optimize the interchange levels on business-type credit cards and government spending cards, letting us offer lower base costs than Intuit can (to say nothing of the markups).
The Century Processing Package
Benefits of processing credit cards with Century Business Solutions include:
A complimentary QuickBooks payment processing module.
Lower prices on business-type credit cards, corporate cards, and GSA cards.
Complimentary installation, maintenance, and support over the life of your account.
A Customer Support Team located in Irvine, CA and available 24/7.
A Chargeback Management Team that will call and advise you within 24-28 hours of a chargeback.
Fees are only debited once per month. (Intuit sometimes deducts small fees from each daily batch, which make numbers uneven and add up to a lot over the course of a month.)
Our back-end virtual gateway, which packs over 45 different search options and pre-filled reporting options.
Mobile app availability, perfect for trade shows and other on-the-go purchases.