We are often asked which credit card payment processors we recommend. The short answer is: the one that gives you the best deal! Everyone's business is different, and we have clients happily using all of the many processors we support.
That said, if you don't already have a payment processor and aren't friends with a banker who can hook you up, here are some suggestions based purely on our general experience. All of them our solely our opinion, exceptions are always possible, and the policies and procedures of these independent companies can and do change over time.
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ASCENT is an independently-owned, trusted partner providing payment expertise through modern and innovative technology and programs, with customized chargeback and support services, and security measures designed specifically for Vacation Rentals.
ASCENT sets your company up as Merchant of Record so that your funds are FDIC-insured every step of the way from the guest’s card to your bank account. They are detailed in assuring your account is properly vetted in advance and set up to assure you the best rates possible. These proactive steps also prevent surprises like deactivated accounts or funding delays/holds with no warning. To accomplish this, ASCENT generally requires additional documentation, such as financials and bank statements in order to create a clear financial picture of your business. Once a completed application is received, typically an account can be set up within 14 business days or less.
ASCENT is dedicated to saving money for their clients, which they do in many ways, including by offering interchange pass-thru pricing. They have always utilized this pricing program because it is the most transparent model for merchants to know exactly what they are paying for each card type, along with the service fees, dues, and assessments that are passed along by the banks. Independent sources agree that this pricing program allows merchants to achieve optimal interchange rates, better than other pricing programs like flat rate or tiered.
Here's a custom application form for getting a free competitive analysis or an ASCENT account. You can also call 888-721-9301 or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ascent is currently limited to providing accounts for companies based in the United States.
Bambora, also known as BeanStream, tends to be considerably faster at granting accounts, though somewhat more expensive. They also offer accounts for Canadians as well as Americans. The documentation required is not too bad - a copy of your photo ID (eg. Drivers Licence), and a copy of a recent bank statement or void check from your business account.
Their account manager for OwnerRez users is:
Sales Coordinator & Account Manager, North America
Work (direct): 250-483-1291
Sales Line: 1-888-472-2072
Feel free to contact her directly with questions. Here are some common ones:
Why does Bambora request a bank statement?
The main reason processors need to check your bank statement is “asset verification”. Bambora needs to ensure there is enough money in your account to cover returns and fees, and certify that you are financially healthy with the passage of legal transactions.
There are set up and monthly admin fees, where other companies do not charge for those.
Bambora charges a one-time set up fee and monthly fee – In return, Bambora has no contracts, no termination fees, no monthly minimums, no statement fees, no storage fees, and no access fees. Fraud prevention tools are free, and you get free and unlimited settlement reporting.
Bambora takes days to get me started, other companies have same day activation.
Bambora practices industry-leading risk assessment upon signup. Other competitors can establish your account right away, but if they choose to audit your account a few weeks or months down the road, they are fully entitled to hold your funds until they complete their own risk assessment. Bambora chooses to underwrite each account during set up, to eliminate these impactful speed bumps.
Don't be confused by the name. MerchantAccounts.ca serves Canada, the UK and EU. They are a Visa and Mastercard registered ISO, and have a network of processing banks and partners that they work with. They specialize in finding the best credit card processing options for your international business from among the many, many banks that offer such services, working to document your risk profile to reach the lowest possible rate.
If you are not based in the United States and process, on average, more than USD$10,000 or the equivalent per month, a talk with David Goodale will be time well spent. He can be reached at email@example.com , or call him at 888.414.7111 ext. 5.
Think of them like an independent insurance or mortgage broker. If you decide you don't like the options they find for you, you are under no obligation to sign up for them.
Probably more OwnerRez clients use Stripe than anything else. That's because they'll give almost anyone an account, in almost any country, no matter how small, and usually overnight or within a couple of days. We are not aware of any other processor that is able to set up new accounts as quickly as Stripe can.
This is particularly useful if your business is set up to require a separate account for each property - each individual account will necessarily be fairly small, and most processors won't do that for you. Stripe doesn't care.
Don't forget that you have to make special configuration settings in their control panel to get their accounts to work with OwnerRez. Also, their rates are generally not the lowest available. But they're fast!
We also recommend using Stripe to get the ball rolling while you are waiting for an account from one of our other options. It's easy to change processor accounts in OwnerRez at any time without affecting your guests.
Stripe accounts will not work with OwnerRez until you follow these configuration instructions. Then they'll work fine.
If you are able to get an account with Lynnbrook, you won't regret it. However, currently their application process is highly selective, only available for very large accounts, and quite slow.
Lynnbrook is currently limited to providing accounts for companies based in the United States.