With so many merchant account providers out there both big and small offering a range of services, it can be difficult to decide which is right for your requirements. Let’s take a look at one of the major UK banks that provide merchant accounts—Lloyds TSB.
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Where it began
Lloyds was established in 1765 by a Birmingham-based button maker and an iron dealer. It has since grown through booms, recessions and recoveries, leveraging the value and power of relationships and what they can do for customers. Today, it helps customers by delivering expert relationship banking.
Products on offer
Lloyds offers current accounts, savings accounts, investment products, mortgages, credit cards, loans and insurance products and travel services. It is also one of the UK’s biggest merchant account providers today, offering merchant services via Cardnet.
Merchant Services: Cardnet
Cardnet is a state-of-the-art card acceptance system that offers customers flexible ways to pay—in person, online, or when they’re not present. It’s a joint venture between the Lloyds Banking Group and First Data that combines the expertise of one of the world’s largest card processors with the resources and backup of a leading bank group.
What do they do?
Cardnet has a team that helps you set up and maintain card acceptance facilities. It gives you a simple solution if you process only a few transactions and assigns you an account manager if you have more complex needs. It charges based on your kind of business and how many card transactions you process.
Cardnet allows you to trade in person. This is ideal for brick-and-mortar establishments that wish to accept card payments along with cash. It also allows you to accept payment even if a customer doesn’t physically have their card. This option allows you to accept transactions using a written order form or over the telephone. Finally, it allows you to trade online. Apart from accepting online payments, it also helps protect against fraud by working with services like Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.
Cardnet also offers transaction options that customers from virtually anywhere may find valuable. You can, for instance, charge overseas cardholders in their own currency, which gives your business a share of the commission on transactions. Mobile phone top ups, meanwhile, offer customers more convenience and earn you extra commission. All Cardnet terminals allow your customers to add a gratuity to their transaction if they want. Finally, offer your customers with Visa Debit, Debit MasterCard, or Maestro card the option of purchasing with Cashback.
Faring with the Competition
It is impossible to generally recommend one provider over another when it comes to fees because this depends on your type of income. Cardnet looks at a minimum of approximately £1,000 of card sales per month.
As a rough guide, credit card transaction fees are taken as a percentage ranging from 1% to 3.4% while debit cards are charged at a flat rate of 20p or more. Often, a one-time setup fee for either the merchant account, the payment gateway, or both and a monthly fee for the payment gateway and any card terminals you hire are charged.
Here are some of the normal fees that Cardnet charges for merchant accounts:
- Joining fee: £175
- Minimum monthly charge: £25
- Authorisation fee: 3p per transaction
- Chargeback fee: £15
- Termination fee: £200
Cardnet offers special deals to some merchants associations, such as the British Florists Association (BFA) and the National Pharmacy Association. For instance, it waives the fees above for NPA members. It also offers them qualifying rates of 17.5p for Visa debit cards, 17.2p for Maestro/Solo cards, 15.4p for MasterCard debit cards, 1.077% for Visa credit cards, 1.096% for MasterCard credit cards, 1.754% for Visa purchasing cards, 1.75% for MasterCard purchasing cards, 1.327% for Visa premium cards, and 1.676% for MasterCard premium cards.
In comparison, Barclaycard offers a rate of 1.5% on all transactions with a £10 monthly fee. PaymentSense offers a capped service with a rate of 1.5% on credit cards and 22p on debit cards for a £10 monthly fee providing transactions are below £50,000 per annum. Nochex has no monthly fees and credit card transactions rates of 2.9% to 3.2% and 20p per debit card.
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