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What is Authorize.net?
Authorize.net is a payment gateway provider that is owned by Visa and helps businesses accept credit cards and electronic payments. Authorize.net offers an all-in-one plan — a merchant account plus a payment gateway — as well as a gateway-only option. Both have a $25 monthly fee, and transaction fees with the combined plan are on par with competitors.
Businesses that use Authorize.net can accept all major credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal and electronic checks. The company offers 24/7 customer support.
Authorize.net has two plans: all-in-one and payment gateway only.
Electronic checks (ACH payments) are billed separately at 0.75% per transaction.
Payment gateway only
10 cents per transaction plus 10 cents per day (batch fee).
2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.
All Authorize.net accounts include the following features at no additional cost:
Advanced fraud detection: Built-in fraud detection tool that automatically identifies suspicious transactions and sketchy IP addresses. It can be configured based on your business needs.
Customer information manager: Allows customers to save payment and shipping information so they don’t need to reenter it for future orders.
Recurring payments: Enables installment payments and automatic monthly billing for subscription-based services.
Invoicing: Send custom digital invoices to customers through email and view reports to see invoices drafted, sent, paid and canceled.
Benefits of Authorize.net
24/7 customer support
Support is available around the clock, with one notable exception: The company’s support center is closed on major holidays. Authorize.net customers can also get help through online chat or use the eTicket system.
Opportunity to streamline
The all-in-one plan comes with a merchant account, which could help keep things organized, less spread out and take less time to set up. However, the merchant account is through a third party, so you may have another relationship to manage.
Transparent rates, no hidden fees
Authorize.net is upfront with its pricing, which is uncommon among gateway providers. That price transparency is a huge plus for small businesses that want some idea of what things will cost without having to endure a sales pitch or time on hold.
Drawbacks of Authorize.net
Outdated user interface
While Authorize.net is easy to use and implement, the backend leaves much to be desired. Multiple users note that the administrative website (the one merchants interact with) is cluttered, outdated and nonintuitive.
More expensive to sign up through Authorize.net
You can acquire Authorize.net’s gateway service directly or go through a third-party reseller, like Dharma Merchant Services, Total Merchant Services or PaymentCloud. And it turns out, working through the go-between may be the less expensive option.
Dharma Merchant Services charges $10 per month and 5 cents per transaction for Authorize.net’s gateway, compared with $25 per month and 10 cents per transaction if you sign up directly with Authorize.net.
How to set up an Authorize.net account
There are three ways to sign up for Authorize.net’s payment gateway:
Over the phone.
Through the company’s online form.
Through a reseller.
Gateways are just one piece of the payment-processing puzzle, though. You’ll need a merchant services account to accept payments.
If you already have a merchant account, consider Authorize.net’s gateway-only plan.
You’ll need to provide details about yourself and your business, including your Social Security number and date of birth, as well as your company’s name, address and website. You can also sign up through your merchant account provider, which may be less expensive.
If you don’t have a merchant account, Authorize.net offers an all-in-one plan that combines its gateway services with a third-party merchant services provider.
Signing up for the all-in-one plan requires a bit more detail, including business checking account information and personal details (name, address, date of birth and Social Security number) for all business owners with at least a 25% stake in the business.
Alternatives to Authorize.net
Stripe is an all-in-one solution with rates comparable with Authorize.net, minus the monthly service fee. Plus, Stripe handles everything — the gateway, processing and merchant account — in-house.
Online card and wallet payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.
In-person card payments: 2.7% plus 5 cents per transaction.
No monthly service fee.
Fully customizable, so you can build your own payment experience.
Ability to sell through an app, email or social media.
You may need a developer to take full advantage of Stripe’s features.
Braintree supports more payment options than its competitors — in part because it’s owned by PayPal — so companies can accept PayPal and Venmo, plus all major credit cards and digital wallets. Braintree is another full-service option, with gateway, processing and merchant account functions under one roof.
Cards and digital wallets: 2.59% plus 49 cents per transaction (3.5% and no additional fixed fee for American Express).
Venmo: 3.49% plus 49 cents per transaction.
ACH: 0.75% per transaction, maximum fee of $5.
Gateway only: $49 per month and 10 cents per transaction.
Full-service option, with gateway, processing and merchant account functions.
Accepts credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay), PayPal, Venmo and ACH payments.
No setup fees or monthly service fees, unless you opt for gateway only.
Not set up to support traditional brick-and-mortar operations.