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E-Commerce, Web Businesses/Merchant Accounts and ACH batch payrolls



I want to set up an internet business to sell online gaming subscriptions but I am confused by all the possible choices in merchant account providers and ACH payment providers.

I do NOT want to use PayPal or Amazon.

Because of all the warnings about fraud, Iíd like to go with a company thatís well known like Chase Bank, but they donít post any fees online and each representative tells me something different.  (The last one told me that Chase had literally HUNDREDS of ACH payment plans for small businesses.)  This all feels very shady and secretive.

But then, Iíve never heard of most of the businesses that post fees online and have no way of knowing if theyíre legit or not.  These fees generally appear to be significantly less than PayPal or Chase.

The gaming business will start off small, but I have hope that it will quickly gain in volume, though each payment will be very low.

Since the cost per month will be very low, I need the lowest possible transaction fees per sale.  

I also hope to host many games from others and I want to pay game producers via frequent ACH batches, so I want those payments to be as low as possible as well.

The ACH part seems especially secretive.  As far as I can tell, ACH payroll should be pretty much like online bill pay, which is free at my personal bank.  But I had a quote from a major bank of $1.00 per each individual ACH payment to a producer Ė which seems unreasonable.

Can you provide me with a list of legitimate, safe, Merchant Account and ACH providers or tell me how to tell who I can trust?  Is there a list somewhere?  And what, exactly, should I be looking for in terms of security?

Can you advise me on how to get cost information with out talking to a million sales people?  Also, all the providers seem to label things a bit differently.   How can I compare apples to apples?  And what, exactly, should I be looking for?

Any advice and/or suggestions you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks very much.


Hi BJ,

Your relationship with any company is only as good as the representatives you engage at that company. That said, you can go to any processor and have a good or bad experience, a high or low cost, or significant benefits/limitations depending on who you end up working with.

It's tough to compare apples-to-apples with a merchant account because there are different pricing plans processors may offer you. There are other varying factors such as your business type, how you plan on authorizing payments etc.

It is essential to have an agent review exactly what your intentions are in order to guide you through a low cost solution. My answer may be a bit biased since I am a director at Bank Associates Merchant Services (BAMS), a full service processing firm, however, I prefer to work with the First Data network because they are big, reliable, and offer high end technology solutions at a fair rate.

Feel free to e-mail me directly so I can explain how you can assess your business in plain English. I will give you the straight dope on what fees are involved and if there are new solutions available that will help offset upfront or ongoing fees.


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Thomas Waters


I can answer questions from business owners on how to reduce risk and cost when accepting any form of electronic payments. The Credit Card Processing industry is immense and many business owners simply do not understand how they are being billed. I have contributed to the conversion, re-engineering, set-up and integration of the credit card acceptance methods for over 1,000 clients. For over 15 years I have seen the rise and fall of thousands of businesses of all shapes and sizes. I have knowledge and information on how to set up and run many different types of companies.


For over 15 years, I have helped CFO's, Accountants, and Office Managers make sense of their credit card processing programs. I currently operate a cost reduction consulting company to help businesses find and eliminate unnecessary fees in their fixed cost expenses:

Delta Sigma Pi, International Business Fraternity, Member since Fall 2004, CostFixed (CostFixed)

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State University of New York at Albany 2002-2006 Bachelor of Science, Information Technology Management and Marketing

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Certified Payments Professional

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