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National Processing Review

Lori Fairbanks
Lori Fairbanks
Domain Editor
  • National Processing is our pick as the best credit card processor for cost-conscious small businesses that want low rates.
  • All merchants using National Processing receive interchange-plus pricing and a rate-lock guarantee.
  • It has ACH processing for B2B businesses.
  • This review is for small business owners who want to learn about National Processing's credit card processing service and why it's our best pick for low transaction rates.

We chose National Processing as the best credit card processor for low transaction rates because it has interchange-plus rates that are lower than average and a rate-lock guarantee, which ensures your rates won't increase during the life of your account. There's no monthly minimum processing requirement, and National Processing works with both new and established businesses.

National Processing

National Processing

The Best Credit Card Processors of 2021

The Verdict

National Processing is the best credit card processor for low transaction rates because of its low interchange-plus rates and rate-lock guarantee.

To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of credit card processing companies on our best picks page.

PRICING

Low Interchange-Plus Pricing With Locked-in Rates

Pricing is always a top concern for small businesses, and when it comes to credit card processing, there are three main types of pricing to keep an eye on: rates, fees and equipment costs.

When you process less than $5,000 per month, you want to consider a mobile credit card processor like Square or PayPal that charges a flat rate with no recurring account fees, as the fees can drive up the overall cost of accepting cards. Once you're processing more than $5,000 per month, though, that dynamic shifts, and the bulk of your processing bill is going to come from processing rates – and that's where you'll have an opportunity to save money. When that time comes, you want to look at processors that have interchange pricing with lower-than-average rates, like National Processing.

It's still important to look for a processor that is transparent with its rates, posting them online, as this makes it easier to compare as you shop for a processor and helps you feel confident that you're paying a fair price. When pricing is the top factor in your choice of processor, you also want to look for a rate-lock guarantee to ensure your rates won't increase over time.

National Processing offers three rate plans to small and midsize businesses:

  • Restaurant: 15% + $0.07 above interchange
  • Retail: 2% + $0.10 above interchange
  • E-commerce:3% + $0.15 above interchange

Like many processors, American Express cards cost a little extra to accept:

  • American Express: 4% + $0.10 above interchange

If you sell both online and in person, the plan you should choose depends on how you primarily accept payments (in person or online). As such, you may be able to negotiate with your sales rep to get retail rates.

The company's website advertises that it will give you $500 if it can't beat your current rates. The website says that this only applies to merchants that process more than $10,000 per month, but we verified with the sales rep that the posted rates apply to all merchants – including those that process less than this amount and even those that are new to processing.

Fees

Every full-service credit card processing company that sets you up with a merchant account charges account maintenance fees. While National Processing posts its monthly fee online, there are a few fees that it doesn't post, though none of these fees are abnormal.

When we called the company as part of our testing, the sales rep we spoke with was forthcoming about the various fees that a merchant would pay and sent us an application with rates included for us to check out.

Here are National Processing's recurring fees:

  • Monthly fee: $10. This fee covers the costs of customer support and preparing your monthly statement. The fee amount is within industry averages.

  • PCI compliance fee: $10 per month. Not every processor charges this fee, but many do. This is a little higher than the average $100 per year, but it's prorated into a monthly fee, which may make it more tolerable for some merchants.

  • PCI noncompliance fee: $99 per month. You should never have to pay this fee, because all you have to do to avoid it is complete your annual PCI compliance questionnaire and, in some cases, submit to vulnerability scanning. This is especially important if you use National Processing as your provider, because it has the highest PCI noncompliance fee that this reviewer has ever seen. Keep in mind that it is priced this way to discourage you from letting your PCI compliance lapse.

  • Monthly gateway fee (optional): Around $10, depending on the gateway you're set up with. You'll need this if you accept credit cards online or if you need to use the gateway as a virtual terminal to accept payments over the phone or by mail.

  • ACH processing fee (optional): $15 per month and $0.48 per transaction. Transactions over $5,000 cost 1.5%. Businesses with a B2B clientele may save money by accepting ACH payments instead of card payments.

There are also some incidental fees, which you only pay when a certain action occurs. Most of these fees are nominal, but it's good to know what they are and what they cost.

  • AVS fee: $0.05. Address verification is an anti-fraud tool that verifies that the billing address matches the on-file address of the cardholder.

  • Batch fee: $0.10. You pay this fee each day when you close out the day's transactions.

  • Voice authorization fee: $2.50. This anti-fraud tool is triggered when your customer's bank detects something suspicious about a transaction and wants to verify the customer is the cardholder.

  • Retrieval fee: $7. You pay this fee if you need the processor to retrieve a sales draft as proof of a transaction, such as your customer's bank might ask for as part of a chargeback dispute.

  • Chargeback fee: $19.95. You only pay this fee if a customer disputes a charge.

There are certain fees you'll never pay with National Processing:

  • No application fee
  • No setup fee
  • No gateway setup fee
  • No monthly minimum
  • No annual fee

Terms of Service

There's one more fee we need to discuss – the early termination fee.

"Wait!" I hear you saying. "You've told us to avoid processors that charge early termination fees!" And it's true that you should. This one is avoidable, though it will take some legwork on your part, so it's important to understand how this fee works and how to avoid it, so you can decide if this is something you can live with to get lower rates or if you want to look for a different provider.

  • Termination fee: $0 or $595. If you sell or close your business, you can close your account without penalty and pay nothing for it. If you want to leave the service for a competitor, however, you must provide National Processing with the competitor's pricing quote – in writing, on the competitor's contract – and give National Processing the opportunity to meet or beat that rate. If it can't do this, it will waive the termination fee. If it can, you agree to stay on with National Processing. If you don't want to go through this process, it charges you the standard termination fee. One caveat is that if you accept "free equipment," you will have to pay for it in the form of a cancellation fee when you close your account.

Hardware Costs

The Clover card readers and POS systems are available from National Processing, but the pricing isn't posted and other credit card processing hardware is available, so you'll need to speak with your sales rep about your options and what they cost.

In our research, the sales rep we spoke with recommended the SwipeSimple B250 – a mobile card reader that can accept chip and magstripe cards as well as contactless cards and mobile wallets like Apple Pay – for $80.

Key takeaway: National Processing posts its rates and some of its fees online, but you'll need to speak with a sales rep to get a full list of fees and information on hardware options and pricing.

Editor's note: Looking for information on credit card processors? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

 

FEATURES

National Processing is a full-service credit card processing company that sets you up with your own merchant account. This means it takes longer and requires more information from you to set up your account than mobile processors like Square or PayPal do, and your application must go through an approval process. National Processing has an online application, and the sales rep we spoke with said that it usually takes a couple of days for applications to be approved.

After National Processing approves your application, it ships your processing equipment to you overnight and helps you set up the gateway (if you choose to use one).

Here are some of the features National Processing offers:

  • In-person processing. You can use this processor to accept payments in person using a mobile card reader, terminal, or POS system, such as Clover.

  • Mobile processing. National Processing offers the SwipeSimple app for mobile processing. It works on Android and iOS devices.

  • Online processing. This processor can integrate with your shopping cart, pay button, or pay link, allowing you to accept payments through your website.

  • Online invoicing. You can invoice and receive payments from your customers online. National Processing supports recurring billing.

  • Virtual terminal. You can accept payments over the phone or by mail.

  • ACH processing. You can give your B2B customers the option to pay you via ACH instead of credit card.

  • QuickBooks integration. You can connect your processing account to the QuickBooks accounting software, which ensures that your processing data is accurately imported into your books.

Key takeaway: National Processing sets you up with a merchant account. You can use it to accept credit cards in person, on the go, online and over the phone.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

National Processing prides itself on the quality of its customer support. It pairs each of its merchants with a dedicated account executive whom you can call directly during business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MST. You can also reach your account rep by email. In case you need help after hours, tech support is available 24/7 through the company's back-end processor. The company also offers live chat on its website.

This processor's website has a blog, but it doesn't have much in the way of self-help resources, such as a knowledgebase, guides and tutorials.

Key takeaway: When you need help, you can call your account rep directly or email them. Tech support is available 24/7.

LIMITATIONS

National Processing has low interchange-plus pricing, making it a worthy contender for small businesses that want the lowest processing rates. There are a few things to consider, however, before choosing this company as your credit card processor.

First of all, it doesn't post its complete fee schedule, nor its hardware pricing. There are a couple fees that National Processing doesn't post on its website that many businesses will end up paying, such as the PCI compliance fee ($10 per month) and, for online merchants, its gateway fee ($10 per month). These fees aren't abnormal and are fairly competitive, but you need to know what they are and what they cost so there are no surprises when you get your processing statements.

Secondly, you need to make sure you don't let your PCI compliance lapse, because this processor charges one of the highest PCI noncompliance fees we've seen.

Finally, you have to jump through hoops to exit your account without paying a termination fee, so make sure this is the right processor for your business before you sign up for it. If you already have a website shopping cart, e-commerce platform, POS system, or other business application that you want it to integrate with, you should verify that it works ahead of time, because once you're signed up, it's not going to be easy to walk away without paying the termination fee.

Key takeaway: You need to make sure National Processing is the right processor for your business before you sign up, because it has a complicated termination process. It isn't transparent about all of its fees and charges a high PCI noncompliance fee.

Ready to choose a credit card processing company? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor's note: Looking for information on credit card processors? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

Image Credit: radifanil / Getty Images
National Processing

National Processing

The Best Credit Card Processors of 2021

The Verdict

National Processing is the best credit card processor for low transaction rates because of its low interchange-plus rates and rate-lock guarantee.

Lori Fairbanks
Lori Fairbanks
Business News Daily Staff
See Lori Fairbanks's Profile
Lori Fairbanks is a writer and editor for business.com and Business News Daily who has written about financial services for small businesses for more than seven years. Lori has spent hundreds of hours researching, analyzing and choosing the best options for critical financial-related small business services, including credit card processing services, point-of-sale (POS) systems and employee retirement plans. Lori's publishing experience is extensive, having worked as a magazine editor and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies.