Merchant One has a wide range of features, seamless integration with many popular programs and a willingness to work with all small businesses. That’s why it’s our pick for a credit card processor with a fast and easy approval process.
Although new businesses need to build good credit, sometimes that isn’t possible right off the bat. We recommend Merchant One for its fast and easy approval process, full slate of features and seamless integration with a wide range of third-party software. This means you can pull data on debit and credit card transactions automatically into your other business software to track sales, customers’ preferred payment methods and your hottest-selling items more effectively.
8 / 10
Merchant One offers top-notch credit card processing services to businesses of all sizes, but it is known for providing merchant services that cater to the specific credit card processing needs of small businesses. We particularly appreciate how easy the company makes it for merchants to be approved.
Merchant One also offers various hardware, from point-of-sale (POS) systems to debit and credit card readers. The company also has an iPhone app that we love for wireless processing. It accepts Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express. Its software also uses digital technologies to confirm IDs and process documents.
Merchant One offers multiple credit card readers. Source: Merchant One
We found the user interface on Merchant One’s virtual terminal clean and easy to navigate. Of particular note is the ability to sort and search past transactions easily by location or customer name. If, for example, a customer wishes to view data on past payments, you can recall the information easily. For less tech-savvy customers inputting their payment information, you can follow the transaction in real time to ensure successful payment.
Merchant One doesn’t offer its own proprietary hardware, but its processing software is compatible with several third-party payment terminals. Although additional equipment is required, you have some flexibility in the hardware you use.
You can accept credit and debit card payments from your Merchant One web dashboard while end-to-end encryption ensures secure and PCI-compliant transactions. Through the dashboard, you can also send invoices and receipts as well as store customers’ card information to speed up checkout in the future.
Merchant One offers a merchant account, which is necessary to process card transactions, through Fiserv.
Credit card terminals
New customers can get a free terminal (see details below) from one of several hardware vendors.
Merchant One is a Fiserv dealer, meaning that it sells and services Clover products. This saves you the hassle of dealing with a third party.
The payment gateway comes with fraud detection, e-commerce integration and other features for secure processing.
Merchant One resells several mobile readers, including Clover Go, which allow you to receive payments on the go.
Invoicing and billing
The invoicing and billing features allow businesses with recurring revenue models to collect payments from customers easily.
Businesses with multiple storefronts can categorize transactions by location, displaying useful data on what is happening and where.
Merchant One’s comprehensive features help it stand out from other credit card processors. Many of its features overlap with Clover, although the latter is more of a hardware and POS system. Merchant One also offers a variety of processing hardware and services for small businesses. Here’s an overview of the solutions and features it offers.
Merchant One uses Fiserv as its main back-end processor. A merchant account is required to process debit and credit card transactions. The company offers various Fiserv products and services, including Clover terminals and POS systems.
To process any card-based transactions, you must first set up a merchant account. Most credit card processing services will help you open one.
Merchant One offers four standard credit card terminals, a good variety of choice compared to some of the other credit card processors we reviewed. You can choose between the Pax S80, Pax S500, Verifone VX520 and Fiserv FD130. We like that all models support near-field communication payments, which include contactless transactions made using mobile wallet methods like Google Pay and Apple Pay. Merchant One terminals also support EMV technology — chip payments made with a debit card.
Like other payment processing services, Merchant One provides reliable and secure credit card terminal placement software. The company offers one free terminal when you set up a new account. This is a significant benefit to choosing this provider, but it does come at an eventual cost. Essentially, the terminal is on loan from Merchant One, so you will have to give it back if you decide to close your account.
Since Merchant One is a Fiserv reseller, it offers the entire Clover lineup of its highly rated POS systems. You can get a Clover Station and a Clover Mini. However, these POS systems are not accessible through Merchant One’s primary terminal placement software as you must purchase them upfront.
Business owners who are unfamiliar with how Clover works can take advantage of the free training Merchant One offers all customers. In case you need additional help with a technical issue, Merchant One is capable of servicing all Clover products. Check out our Clover review for more information.
Merchant One advertises the quality of its payment gateway, which is a mechanism that securely delivers transaction data to a payment processor. (Check out our explanation of how a payment gateway works.)
Merchant One offers a virtual terminal for dedicated manual transactions as well as built-in fraud detection and data security features. You will receive a proprietary gateway and a third-party, white-label gateway.
The best thing about the Merchant One payment gateway is that it offers all the basic features businesses need, such as the following:
Merchant One offers different equipment and setups for payments, but one of the main ones we found beneficial is the online portal. Here, you can run one-time card payments, ACH payments or recurring payments and store your customers’ information securely to rerun the cards.
The payment gateway can also integrate with up to 175 shopping carts online. Merchant One further offers advanced authentication and fraud prevention tools for e-commerce businesses, along with extras like a “buy now” button.
Integrating your business software improves visibility into all the data your small business generates, which can help your team make better company decisions.
Merchant One offers portable processing for businesses that want to accept credit card payments on mobile devices. For this feature, Merchant One has several different card reader options, including the Clover Go. Other available credit card readers include the Swift B250, SwipeSimple, BBPOS Chipper and MagTek aDynamo. Merchant One does not disclose pricing on these models as it evaluates each business’ needs and then prices them accordingly.
For business owners who offer services online only, Merchant One has made the process of accepting payments simple. As customers make website purchases, transaction details transfer to the Merchant One dashboard in real time. This gives you the ability to walk customers through transactions if they have questions.
Business owners who offer subscriptions or payment plans can use the Merchant One dashboard to create invoices or schedule automatic billing. Invoices can also be customized to include a payment link or a quick response (QR) code, allowing customers to make payments from a mobile device. Merchant One further provides the ability to use QR codes on flyers. We appreciate that the company’s offerings are keeping up with new technology and popular services like QR codes.
For business owners who operate one or more physical stores, Merchant One offers the option to categorize transactions by location easily. In the event you’d prefer cashiers to have limitations on which transactions they can process, the Merchant One dashboard allows you to update permissions with the check of a box. Another great benefit, although it’s not necessarily recommended, is that each sale requires just basic information: credit card number, expiration date and transaction amount. While this guarantees a quick transaction, Merchant One recommends capturing additional information to verify customers’ identities.
Any information you use to capture a transaction can later be used as a token to search your business’ transaction history if needed.
Merchant One customizes pricing based on each company’s needs, but these are the estimated rates you should expect to pay for Merchant One’s processing services:
As shown by the varying rates, Merchant One uses a tiered pricing system. For example, a low-volume or high-risk business may end up paying a larger transaction fee as a percentage of its sales than a high-volume or low-risk business. Be sure to obtain an estimate when you speak to a Merchant One sales representative.
One benefit of Merchant One is its low monthly fees. Merchant One charges $6.95 per month for its base plan. This is much lower than most providers, although several alternative payment processors do not charge any monthly fees.
All Merchant One accounts include a minimum three-year agreement. If you choose to cancel your contract early, you’ll have to pay an early termination fee of $295 for each year remaining on your contract. While Merchant One has waived early termination fees for businesses in the past, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions of your contract before signing an agreement. [Related article: What to Look for in Your Credit Card Processing Service Agreement]
Merchant One stopped requiring business owners to pay a PCI compliance fee in 2015. Business owners who were Merchant One customers before 2015, however, may still be required to pay the $129 fee annually.
Merchant One, like many credit card processors, assesses higher fees for nonqualified transactions.
Merchant One does not require you to buy or lease credit card machines; it provides all customers with a basic terminal free of charge. If you prefer, you can pay to upgrade to a more advanced terminal instead.
Setting up your Merchant One account requires you to get in touch with a sales agent for a customized quote. Contact information for Merchant One is available on its website.
One particularly positive feature of Merchant One is its leniency when it comes to signing on new customers. The company approves 98% of new applicants and is willing to work with customers who have a less-than-ideal credit score. Its processing solutions are designed to work for different kinds of businesses and this provider is known for its quick turnaround — it often has new customers up and running in just 24 hours.
With Merchant One, you’ll receive dedicated 24/7 customer support from specialized agents. While some payment processors offer support via live chat or forums, Merchant One has dedicated account managers and relays merchants who use its hardware directly in the standard support queue to get the help they need.
The company offers personalized recommendations to help you find the best plan for your business. It will then provide continual support to ensure you are satisfied with its services. However, Merchant One doesn’t offer customer support options, such as live chat or a knowledge base, which have become standard features for many competitors.
Merchant One has maintained an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau since 2010 as well as high scores on user review platforms, such as Google and Trustpilot. Many customer complaints revolve around hidden fees, contracts and slow deposit times.
Like some other credit card processing companies, Merchant One uses third-party sales agents. Carefully review the terms and conditions of your contract before signing.
You should expect most of Merchant One’s products and services to be pricey, potentially shutting out budget-conscious businesses. Merchant One also requires a three-year contract with an early termination fee. In addition to the expense, a long-term contract is less convenient than a month-to-month arrangement that you can cancel anytime.
Like many other processors, Merchant One offers “next-day” deposits, where customer payments clear and are deposited into your account within one day. In reality, customer complaints in user reviews indicate that funds often arrive two or three days later than advertised. Moreover, Merchant One assesses a fee for next-day deposits. Merchant One earns a lower score for deposit time based on the superior track records of other payment processors.
Another potential downside, depending on which accounting system your business uses, is that Merchant One integrates most easily with QuickBooks. If your business uses a different software package, you’ll have to contact customer support for a custom plugin. (If you haven’t chosen your accounting software yet, learn more about this option in our QuickBooks Online review.)
To conduct our review of Merchant One’s credit card processing service, we arranged a live demo with the Merchant One team, which gave us a walkthrough of the product and conducted a thorough Q&A session. We also analyzed Merchant One’s website, marketing materials and customer reviews. To make our decision, we zeroed in on criteria, such as affordability, ease of use and features relevant to small businesses. In the end, we chose Merchant One’s credit card processing service as the best for fast and easy approval because of its high approval rate and fast onboarding of new customers.
Merchant One costs $6.95 per month, plus a tiered processing fee ranging from 0.29% to 1.99% per transaction.
Yes, Merchant One requires a three-year contract. If you want to stop using the service before your three years are up, it charges an early termination fee of $295 for each year remaining on the contract.
Yes, Merchant One has a mobile app that you can use to accept payments on the go.
Merchant One was purchased by Fiserv, Inc., a global payments and fintech company, for an estimated $300 million in 2022.
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Elsier Otachi and Jamie Johnson also contributed to this article.