Authorize.net: A Good Credit Card Processor?

An expensive credit card processor, though worth the price for business owners worried about fraud

Editor's Rating

4.0

Good for

  • Companies worried about fraud
  • Firms that need online processing only

Bad for

  • Those who want the cheapest credit card processing possible
  • Businesses in need of both online and offline card processing

Authorize.net: A Good Credit Card Processor?

An expensive credit card processor, though worth the price for business owners worried about fraud

Good for

  • Companies worried about fraud
  • Firms that need online processing only

Bad for

  • Those who want the cheapest credit card processing possible
  • Businesses in need of both online and offline card processing

Editor's Rating

4.0

Authorize.net: A Good Credit Card Processor?

Editor's Rating

4.0

Good for

  • Companies worried about fraud
  • Firms that need online processing only

Bad for

  • Those who want the cheapest credit card processing possible
  • Businesses in need of both online and offline card processing

Authorize.net is an expensive online credit card processor targeted at people who are worried about fraudulent transactions. If you are a small shop that is just beginning to sell things online, we recommend using something like Stripe or Square instead. For mid-sized or large businesses, you need to weigh whether the extra fraud protections Authorize.net offers are worth the $25 monthly fee. If not, you should sign up with one of their cheaper competitors instead.

Review: Our Thoughts On Authorize.net Credit Card Processing

Authorize.net is a fairly expensive online-only credit card processor that we recommend only to those looking to protect themselves against chargebacks. This is a feature likely to be less relevant for small shops with very few monthly visitors, as you may be less likely to be the target of fraudulent purchases.

Good For…Bad For…
Companies worried about fraudThose who want the cheapest credit card processing possible
Firms that need online processing onlyBusinesses in need of both online and offline card processing

Authorize.net is one of the only credit card processors to charge a $25 monthly fee. Their competitors, like Stripe and Square, don’t come with these sorts of charges. Therefore, if you’re more interested in minimizing costs rather than fraud, you will be almost always better off choosing another company to handle your credit card processing.

One other important thing to note about Authroize.net is the fact that it is both a merchant services provider and payment gateway. That means it’s possible for you to have another merchant services account that uses Authrize.net to actually process your payments. If that’s the case, you should make sure to match the fees you pay against those offered by Authorize.net. Most merchant service providers should provide you with either some sort of discount or, at worst, charge the same amount. Therefore, if you notice higher prices we recommend considering signing up for Authorize.net’s payment gateway solution, instead of the full merchant services account.

Bottom Line: Authorize.net is more expensive than Square, PayPal and Stripe.

Authorize.net Fees, Features & Benefits

Authorize.net charges users 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction, which is the standard transaction cost for most leading only card processors. International transactions have an additional 1.5% added on top of each transaction. On top of this, Authorize.net will charge you a $49 setup fee and a $25 monthly gateway fee. These fees are less standard, and not something you will find with other online-only payment processors.

Note: If you already have a merchant services account and want to switch to Authorize.net to be a payment gateway only, your fees may be different. Make sure to always compare them against the base fees we display below to know whether you are getting a good deal

Authorize.net Credit Card ProcessingDetails
Transaction Cost
  • Online (regular): 2.9% + $0.30
  • American Express: 2.3% (below $75), 2.79% ($75 - $,1000), 3.19% ($1,000+)

Networks Accepted

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Discover
  • American Express
Monthly Fee$25
Monthly MinimumNone
Setup Fee$49
Chargeback/Disputes$25 (refundable if issuing bank rules in your favor)

Advanced Fraud Detection Suite™

One of the biggest selling points behind Authorize.net is their Advanced Fraud Detection Suite™ (AFDS). The service promises to improve fraud detection on your site, to cut down on the number of chargeback fees you pay. Typically, when a purchase is flagged as fraudulent, you will need to pay a fee anywhere between $15 and $25. After too many chargebacks, Visa or Mastercard can even refuse to accept payments from your business, effectively killing your online store.

If the service is able to prevent between 1 and 2 chargebacks every month, it is well worth the $25 monthly fee you pay every month. You will need to know how susceptible your business is to these types of fraudulent transactions and assess whether the extra protection is necessary.

Keep in mind we have no data as to the exact effectiveness of the AFDS. Authorize.net does not promise to stop all chargebacks and fraudulent transactions In fact, they will charge you $25 for each chargeback.

How Much Can Authorize.net Credit Card Processing Cost Your Business

To give you a better sense of what Authorize.net will cost your business, we ran their pricing through several different hypothetical businesses, that have three different monthly transaction volumes. These estimates are based on an average sale amount of $75, and we bake the monthly fee into our calculation.

Transaction Volume (Monthly)Estimated Monthly Cost
10,000$355
51,000$1,708
101,000$3,358

Authorize.net and American Express

If your customer uses an American Express credit card, the fee structure is a little different, depending on the ticket size. The table below breaks this down.

Transaction AmountTransaction Fee
Below $752.39%
$75 - $1,0002.79%
$1,000+3.19%

How Does Authorize.net Compare To Other Credit Card Processors?

The best way to get a sense of the value a credit card processor can provide is by comparing it to other options. We took a look at how Authorize.net performs against other leading competitors.

Authorize.net vs Stripe

Stipe is an online-only processor that is generally less expensive than Authorize.net. While cheaper, Stripe does not advertise any special fraud detection capabilities, so if you’re worried about chargebacks at your online store keep this in mind. When it comes to per-transaction costs for Visa and Mastercard credit cards, Stripe and Authorize.net charge the same amount.

Stripe charges the same fees for all card transactions, including American Express. This can be an advantage, if the average ticket size of items sold on your website is above $1,000. However, when dealing with cheaper items, you will be paying more when using Stripe than you would with Authorize.net.

Stripe Details

  • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (online only)
  • No monthly fees
  • No monthly minimum
  • $15 per chargeback
  • Stripe Review

Authorize.net vs PayPal

PayPal is another solution that is more affordable than Authorize.net, so long as you don’t want to build da custom website for your e-commerce site. If you do want a custom solution, you will need to pay for PayPals PaymentsPro feature that costs $30 per month. With Authroize.net, you get access to an API free of charge, which allows those with development resources to build a custom checkout experience for their customers.

PayPal’s one clear advantage over Authorize.net is the fact that it also provides solutions for retail credit card processing. You can get a mobile card reader to start accepting payments at retail locations, if you have any. This can be great for businesses that have both an online and offline presence, and don’t want to deal with multiple companies.

PayPal Highlights

  • 2.7% fee for all retail transactions, 2.9% + $0.30 per online transaction
  • $30 monthly fee for PayPal Payments Pro, for those who want a custom checkout
  • Only two card readers
  • PayPal Review

Authorize.net vs Square

Square has the same advantages as PayPal. It’s cheaper than Authorize.net, and it has both online and offline solutions available. This processor even has some extra protections built in to prevent being overwhelmed with chargeback fees. Therefore, if you want to avoid the $25 monthly fee on Authorize.net, we recommend going with Square.

Square offers something called Chargeback Protection Service that will cover you up to $250 each month for eligible charge backs. Anyone is eligible, though Square must determine that you followed all the best practices when accepting the payment for you to be eligible. You can read about Square’s best practices here. Keep in mind that excessive chargebacks, even if covered by Square, can still lead card networks to blacklist your business.

Square Highlights

  • 2.75% per swiped retail transaction
  • No monthly fees
  • Plenty of affordable card reader options
  • Square Review

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