iGeneration Banking Solutions

Getting Authorize.net for Free

“Free” is said to be one of the most powerful words in the English dictionary. Advertisers and PR firms have been cleverly using the word to attract customers for decades. It’s no different in the world of financial technology. Merchant account executives are a crafty bunch and some can be as slick as the stereotypical used car salesman.

Authorize.net is a gateway product that involves layers upon layers of security and massive amounts of computing hardware in server farms all over the globe to work properly. Most people don’t want to think about that or simply don’t need to understand it, and that’s OK. It’s my job as a Financial Technology Specialist to handle the strategy, detail and guidance. In fact, the only reason I bothered to mention what’s behind the curtain is to get you thinking about the realistic possibility of getting an Authorize.net account for free. There are expenses involved in keeping your payment transaction secure. We’ve all seen and heard what can happen when security is not managed well.

However, sales reps know that customers don’t focus on the details. They want it for free if they can get it and that’s what matters most. If the customer is focused on a free Authorize.net account, then that’s what the sales rep will get them. Keep in mind that the business of processing credit transactions is immensely complex. Most salespeople spend at least a week in training before they’re allowed to talk to customers. Even then, they are usually shadowed by a senior professional for several months after the initial training. If you think for one minute that you can pull a fast one, trick the salesperson into a “better than you should get” deal or otherwise outsmart them, you’re naive. There’s just no way you can learn the months and months of details by reading up on the subject in a few days or weeks. In fact, the joke is almost always on you. You just don’t know it.

I mentioned earlier that merchant sales reps can be crafty. In the case of “free” accounts they usually adjust numbers elsewhere to cover the costs. You may get a “free” Authorize.net account but you’ll pay for it in your Visa rate, or your settlement fees, or your non-qual rate or somewhere else you haven’t looked. I know what you’re thinking. You think you’ve checked all these and your “Visa” rate is great. Did you know there are usually between 3 and 8 different rates for a typical Visa transaction? There are different rates for rewards cards, corporate cards, debit cards, prepaid cards and of course card rates for the times when you left out a few details when capturing customer information, to name a few. Did you get all those? This is just one example of how the shells are moved around on the table in front of you. There are many, MANY more ways to do it.

I’ve been a Financial Technology Specialist in the industry for several decades. I’ve seen a lot. Just about every week I get a call from a customer who signed up for a “free” account and now they’re desperate to make a change. Many times the salesperson will bundle an Authorize.net gateway account with another product, such as a merchant account to offset their expense and increase their margin. In those instances the accounts usually cannot be separated. Meaning that if you change your merchant credit card processor, you’ll lose your “free” Authorize.net account. It’s only after having months or years of transactional data, stored customer information, or hundreds of recurring billing transactions saved up that customers realize this. At that point the gravity of having to manually recreate those records usually hits. In most cases it’s a complete loss and the merchant must start over. Sometimes that means an interruption to the sales pipeline. Imagine not being able to get paid while you work through the changes.

My advice for selecting a credit card processor and a gateway product will help you avoid these issues. It’s really only three steps:
  • Forget about “free.” You’re asking for trouble. Instead, go for fair or reasonable. Throw out the high and low bids and go with the reasonable one in the middle.
  • Work to keep accounts separate. Make sure one can be terminated without the other getting cancelled. Get it in writing. Email confirmation is usually good enough.
  • Do business with someone that has been doing business in the industry for a while. There is a high turnover rate in the credit card processing sales industry. Usually it’s because the salespeople that pull fast ones can only do it for so long before the well runs dry and the truth catches up to them. If your contact has been in the business for a while there should be some reviews following them. If there are no major negatives, it’s a good sign. Not all people in the banking industry are bad. In fact, there are some really great ones out there, which leads us to a bonus step -
  • Ask for a referral. Go in to you local bank branch or give your contact at the branch a call and ask them to refer you to someone that sells what you need. Then, ask them how long they’ve know the referred party. If they are following a sales referral sheet they won’t personally know the person but if they have some experience in dealing with the person their referring you to, they will likely tell you or the details will come on with very little prodding.

If you have questions or need a credit card processing or Authorize.net gateway account, drop us a note here or complete an application here.

-Keith Twitchel
blog comments powered by Disqus
© 2017 The Alan Group Contact Us