August 9, 2019

Dharma Merchant Services Review


Dharma Merchant Services is an affordable credit card processing service for mid- to large-sized businesses. Keep reading to find out if it's the right fit for your business.

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Dharma Merchant Services Pros & Cons

Dharma lets you collect credit card payments:

  • In person
  • Over the phone
  • Online
  • Using your mobile device

While they are transparent in their pricing and practices, Dharma Merchant Services isn't right for everyone. Keep reading to learn more.

Pros

  • No set contract, annual fees, or monthly minimums and PCI compliance or early termination charges

  • Interchange plus pricing with no hidden fees

  • Free built-in payment gateway (MX Merchant)

  • Integration with third-party gateways

  • 24-hour customer service with a trained Dharma representative

  • Accept payments anywhere with the free Dharma mobile app

  • Transparent pricing published on their website

Dharma offers a free cost analysis against your current credit card processor to tell you whether or not you will benefit from Dharma's services

Cons

  • Only beneficial for companies that process at least $10,000 in credit card sales per month

  • Strict batch-out deadline of 9 PM Eastern Time to receive funds in 2 business days

  • Dharma charges a $20 fee for each chargeback

Packages & Fees

There are no minimum processing levels in any of Dharma's plans. They categorize their services into three packages:

Online Store Rates

  • $20/month

  • Visa, Mastercard, and Discover charges include interchange + 0.2% + $0.10

  • American Express transactions include interchange + 0.30% + $0.10

  • Fees for transactions over $100,000 include interchange + 0.10% + $0.05

Storefront Rates

  • $20/month

  • Visa, Mastercard, and Discover charges include interchange + 0.15% + $0.07

  • American Express transactions include interchange + 0.25% + $0.07

  • Fees for transactions over $100,000 include interchange + 0.10% + $0.05

Restaurant Rates

  • $20/month

  • Visa, Mastercard, and Discover charges include interchange + 0.15% + $0.07

  • American Express transactions include interchange + 0.25% + $0.07

  • High volume transactions over $100,000 include interchange + 0.10% + $0.05 fees

Dharma designed a program for nonprofit organizations that makes it easier to accept credit cards. They help negotiate the lowest interchange rates with card providers and secure a lower upcharge rate.

MX Merchant

Dharma negotiates great rates with the top processors in the industry to save you money on credit card processing costs.

All Dharma Merchant accounts provide access to MX Merchant, which provides:

  • Virtual terminal to process online and over-the-phone transactions

  • Free storage for customer payment information

  • Mobile processing for keyed-in transactions

  • Next day funding for card-present transactions

A payment gateway with greater bandwidth is recommended if you are an ecommerce business. Choose from Authorize.Net (a basic payment gateway) or NMI, which offers more advanced features.

MX Merchant Add-ons
For additional monthly costs, you can select added benefits to your plan. Options include:

  • MX Merchant B2B App
    For $20/month, you can collect business-to-business payments at rates much lower than standard interchange rates. The MX Virtual Terminal finds the lowest possible rate for you.

  • MX Merchant Insights App
    The MX Merchant Insights App allows you to learn about your customer demographics, connect on social media, and engage with your customers for $10/month.

  • MX Account Updater
    For a monthly fee of $25, Dharma will automatically contact up to 150 banks per month to update expiring credit card information. Additional updates cost $0.15 per update.

  • ACH Check Processing
    Dharma's integration with ACH.com allows you to accept electronic check payments up to $5,000 a month. Fees include a $25 monthly fee, $0.40 transaction fee, $2 return item fee, and $5 reversal fee.

Equipment Options

In addition to the free MX Merchant payment gateway, Dharma offers a wide range of equipment solutions that can accommodate your business' needs, including:

  • Free mobile processing systems through Apple and Android devices

  • Free integration with third-party gateways

  • Standalone payment terminals such as Verifone Vx520 and First Data FD130

  • Station, Mini, and Flex Clover POS Systems

  • Poynt Smart Terminal for wireless transactions

How It Compares

Square
Dharma recommends Square to new or small businesses. They do not charge a monthly fee or chargeback fees, but have higher processing fees than Dharma's.

Their pricing model does not use interchange +. Rather, Square charges flat fees depending on the package selected.

The basic plan fees start at 2.5% + $0.10/transaction. Square also provides a free card reader and a powerful POS system, which can be beneficial for new or small businesses.

PayPal
While PayPal does offer services for in-person merchants, they are best suited for small and mid-sized ecommerce merchants that process transactions on a virtual terminal. They offer a wide range of services for online stores, including invoicing, marketing solutions, business loans, promotional financing, and payment tracking.

PayPal partners with providers such as Shopify, Woo Commerce, GoDaddy, Xero, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp to provide comprehensive packages for ecommerce businesses.

They charge a flat fee of 2.9%/transaction processed in the U.S. + a small fixed fee depending on the currency used. Transactions made outside of the U.S. are charged 4.4%.

PayPal offers discounted rates for nonprofit organizations.

Payline Data
Payline Data has higher interchange markup costs than Dharma. However, they offer discounted rates for higher volume transactions and they do not charge any percentage per transaction fees.

Markup costs can range from 0.3%–0.5% depending on the volume of transactions per month. This can potentially reduce costs for businesses that complete over $50,000 in transactions on a monthly basis. They also do not charge a monthly fee for their online shopping platform.

Bottom Line

Dharma Merchant Services offers quality payment processing services for medium to large businesses that process more than $10,000 a month.

They offer a low-cost and efficient option for many business types, including nonprofits, restaurants, ecommerce, and retail stores. Speaking with a Dharma representative can help you determine if it is the right system for you.

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