This reputable merchant account provider offers month-to-month billing with no account setup fees, application fees, or early termination fees.
- Processing rate plans fully disclosed
- Free payment gateway and virtual terminal
- No account setup or application fees
- Month-to-month billing with no early termination fees
- Excellent customer service and support
- Only available to US-based merchants
CDGcommerce is a merchant account provider with over 23 years of experience offering top-notch merchant account services to small and medium-sized businesses. While its services are geared more toward the eCommerce sector, it also provides a full range of offerings for retail merchants as well.
The company currently serves over 20,000 merchants, putting it in the small and mid-sized category for merchant services providers. More importantly, CDGcommerce has maintained a client retention rate of over 97% for more than a decade. Not many providers can claim this, and it’s a good indication that you’re likely going to have a positive experience with the company.
CDGcommerce offers many of the important features that we like to see – including true month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts for all of its merchants. The company also offers a variety of pricing plans that are designed to give you the best value, based on the size of your business and your average monthly processing volume. Flat-rate pricing is available for very small or seasonal businesses, while interchange-plus pricing is offered to medium-sized businesses. Larger enterprises can choose one of four membership pricing plans, depending on their monthly processing volume.
CDGcommerce earns an excellent score of 5 out of 5 stars. It’s one of the very few providers in the industry that actually focuses on meeting the needs of business owners, and it offers services and prices that are appropriate to all segments of the market. We recommend the company very highly, and when you learn about all it has to offer, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
The company’s line of products and services covers all the bases, but it’s particularly focused on eCommerce and small to mid-sized businesses. CDGcommerce’s offerings include the following:
CDGcommerce Credit Card Processing
- Merchant Accounts: Like most merchant account providers, CDGcommerce is not a direct processor. Instead, it partners with one or more back-end processors to handle processing your transactions and getting the money to you. Your back-end processor will be identified in your contract documents when you set up your account. One unique aspect of the company’s merchant accounts is its use of a hybrid risk structure, which allows it to override risk decisions made by the back-end processor and assume liability for a transaction or account. The end result for you is that your account will be more stable, and you’ll be less likely to have your funds held or your account suddenly shut down.
- High-Risk Payment Processing: If you’re a high-risk merchant, you know how hard it can be to find a provider who will approve you for an account. Don’t know if you are high risk? Read our article Which Businesses and Industries Are Considered High Risk? (& What It Means If You’re On The List). CDGcommerce offers high-risk processing to certain select industry types. Check out their High-Risk Merchant Types page on their website for details of industries they can accept – and those they can’t. Industries not accepted include adult entertainment, CBD/marijuana products, telemarketing, and many others.
- Instant Activation: For low-risk industries, CDGcommerce now uses an online application process to get you signed up for an account. After you’ve entered the appropriate information, account approval and activation can occur in as little as 15 minutes. While this might be a useful feature for low-risk businesses that need to start accepting credit cards right away, be aware that there is an increased risk of your account suddenly being shut down after you start processing. With “instant activation,” the in-depth underwriting process occurs after you’ve been approved for an account. Unless you already have a solid processing history with a previous provider, we recommend using the traditional application process, which only takes 1-3 days.
- Credit Card Terminals: CDGcommerce currently offers the Dejavoo Z11 terminal, which supports both EMV and NFC-based payment methods, as its primary countertop terminal. One terminal is included as a standard feature of your account. While this terminal isn’t quite “free,” the only thing you’ll have to pay is a $79 annual insurance fee. This is much cheaper than traditional credit card terminal leasing arrangements and might be less expensive than buying your own equipment. You also have the option to buy your own terminal and have it programmed to work with the company’s processing network.
- Mobile Payments: If you need a mobile processing solution, CDGcommerce offers the Walker C2X card reader for a flat $65.00 each. This reader connects via Bluetooth and works with either iOS or Android devices. Both EMV and NFC-based (contactless) payment methods are supported. There’s no additional monthly fee for this service. For more information on mobile card readers and mobile processing in general, check out our article, How To Accept Credit Card Payments On Your Phone: The Complete Guide To Mobile Credit Card Readers.
- Chargeback Protection Features: All merchant accounts with CDGcommerce include access to Chargeback Defender, a program that automatically notifies you immediately if a chargeback is filed against your business. Need to know more about chargebacks? Read The Small Business Guide To Preventing Chargebacks (& How To Fight Chargebacks When They Happen). The program also assists you in defending against the chargeback. If you’re not successful, the Chargeback Collector feature works with a collections agency to file for restitution to recoup the cost of the chargeback. You’ll receive 50% of any amounts collected, with the rest going to cover the program’s costs.
CDGcommerce Payment Gateways
- Payment Gateway: CDGcommerce is one of the very few providers to offer a completely free payment gateway to eCommerce merchants. Your primary choices are either the company’s proprietary Quantum Gateway or Authorize.Net. Alternatively, you can also use the Braintree, NMI, CyberSource, eProcessing Network, Shopify, Slim CD, or PayPal Payflow Pro gateways. Regardless of which one you choose, your gateway is completely free to use – there’s no setup fee, no monthly gateway fee, and no extra per-transaction processing charge.
- Virtual Terminal: All accounts come with free virtual terminal access, allowing you to process transactions from any internet-connected computer instead of a traditional credit card terminal. You can key in transactions manually or swipe them with an optional card reader. Virtual terminal features are usually built into the payment gateway of your choice.
- Recurring Billing: Another standard feature that’s included for free with your payment gateway is support for recurring billing. While almost all providers offer this service, it’s usually only included as an option and comes with an additional monthly fee. With CDG’s recurring billing feature, you can automate your billing process, manage an unlimited number of customized subscriptions, and increase customer retention.
- Security Service: Called cdg360, this $15 per month optional feature includes $100,000 in data breach insurance, PCI-DSS vulnerability scans, customized security alerts, staff awareness training, and a Merchant Trust seal for your website. For this low of a price, the $100,000 insurance alone could be well worth it.
- Fraud Loss Reimbursement Plan (FLRP): For an additional $10 per month, users of the Quantum Gateway can sign up for this program, which reimburses you 100% of the cost of a fraudulent transaction (up to a maximum of $150).
CDGcommerce Point-Of-Sale Systems & Software
- Integrated POS System: CDGcommerce also offers PastePay Cloud POS, an integrated payments and customer relationship management system that can be accessed from any smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. PastePay integrates with your countertop terminal, mobile card reader, or eCommerce website to provide a host of features for monitoring your business. PastePay’s feature list is too long to include here, but highlights include support for invoicing, scheduling, online service signups, inventory management, donations, and recurring billing. PastePay is available as an add-on for a flat $199 per year.
- Other POS Options: CDGcommerce also offers Vital POS and the Echo POS system from HarborTouch.
CDGcommerce Fees & Rates
One of the first things you’ll notice on CDGcommerce’s home page is a Pricing tab, prominently displayed in the top menu. That’s your first clue that CDGcommerce is different from most other companies in the processing industry, which usually avoid divulging any pricing information whatsoever on their websites. You’ll want to take a close look at the information presented here, as the company offers a variety of rates and pricing plans for different types of businesses. CDGcommerce offers a choice between three pricing plans, depending on your monthly processing volume.
Here’s an overview of the One Rate and the Interchange-Plus plans:
|Simple, One Rate Plan||Interchange Plus Pricing Plan|
|Processing Rate Plan Type||Flat-rate||Interchange-plus|
|Swiped Rate||2.75% + $0.30||INT + 0.25% + $0.10|
|Mobile Rate||2.75% + $0.30||INT + 0.25% + $0.10|
|Online Rate||2.90% + $0.30||INT + 0.30% + $0.15|
|Monthly Processing Volume||$1,000 – $10,000||$10,000 – $200,000|
|Monthly Account Fee||$0.00||$19-$49|
|Features||Mobile card reader ($65)||Countertop terminal ($79/yr), $100,000 Breach Protection Plan, PCI Security Tools|
The Membership Pricing Plan has four tier options:
|Processing Rate Plan Type||Membership||Membership||Membership||Membership|
|Swiped Rate||INT + $0.10||INT + $0.10||INT + $0.07||INT + $0.05|
|Mobile Rate||INT + $0.10||INT + $0.10||INT + $0.07||INT + $0.05|
|Online Rate||INT + $0.10||INT + $0.10||INT + $0.07||INT + $0.05|
|Monthly Processing Volume||Up to $25,000||$25,001 – $75,000||$75,001 – $200,000||Over $200,000|
|Monthly Account Fee||$49||$79||$99||$199|
|Features||Countertop terminal ($79/yr), $100,000 Breach Protection Plan, PCI Security Tools||Countertop terminal ($79/yr), $100,000 Breach Protection Plan, PCI Security Tools||Countertop terminal ($79/yr), $100,000 Breach Protection Plan, PCI Security Tools||Countertop terminal ($79/yr), $100,000 Breach Protection Plan, PCI Security Tools|
Simple, One-Rate Pricing Plan
This plan is very similar to what Square offers and is ideal for very small or seasonal businesses. It works best for small businesses processing between $1,000 and $10,000 per month. Your flat-rate processing rates couldn’t be easier to understand:
- 2.75% + $0.30 per transaction for swiped or EMV (card-present) transactions
- 2.75% + $0.30 per transaction for mobile (card-present) transactions (a 0.15% surcharge also applies to keyed-in transactions)
- 2.90% + $0.30 per transaction for online (card-not-present) transactions
Note that there is also an additional 0.25% surcharge for all American Express transactions. ACH debit transactions cost a flat 0.75% + $0.15 per transaction.
This pricing plan has no monthly account fee, making it very attractive to small businesses that might otherwise be tempted to sign up with Square. Unlike Square, however, with CDGcommerce, you’ll receive a true merchant account with a unique merchant ID number and robust customer service and support.
While there are no regular monthly fees with this pricing plan, there are a few incidental fees that you’ll have to pay from time to time. These fees include chargeback fees ($25 per occurrence), retrieval fees ($15 per occurrence), refund processing fees ($0.25 each), and batch fees ($0.10 each).
Interchange-Plus Pricing Plan
Most well-established businesses will be best served by the interchange-plus pricing plan, which is tailored to the needs of merchants processing between $10,000 and $200,000 per month. Interchange-plus processing rates are as follows:
- Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction for card-present (e.g., swiped or EMV) transactions
- Interchange + 0.30% + $0.15 per transaction for card-not-present (e.g., online or keyed-in) transactions
There is also a special rate of interchange + 0.20% + $0.10 per transaction available to qualified nonprofit organizations. Again, all ACH debit transactions cost a flat 0.75% + $0.15 per transaction.
While this plan does include a monthly account fee, the amount will vary according to which of the following options you choose:
- Bronze Plan: $19 per month (includes a free gateway)
- Silver Plan: $29 per month (includes a free gateway + one PastePay application)
- Gold Plan: $49 per month (includes a free gateway, all PastePay apps, and cdg360 security package)
Note that users of the Bronze or Silver plans can also add the cdg360 security package for $15 per month.
Again, there are a few incidental fees that you’ll have to pay from time to time. These fees include chargeback fees ($25 per occurrence), retrieval fees ($15 per occurrence), and batch fees ($0.25 each). There is no refund processing fee under this plan.
Wholesale Membership Pricing Plan
For large, established businesses that want to save a substantial amount of money on processing costs and get the lowest possible processing rates, CDGcommerce now offers several membership pricing plans that are very competitive with those offered by such providers as Payment Depot and Stax by Fattmerchant. Here’s an overview of your options:
- For $49 per month, businesses processing up to $25,000 monthly pay a single rate of interchange + $0.10 per transaction
- For $79 per month, businesses processing up to $75,000 monthly pay a single rate of interchange + $0.10 per transaction
- For $99 per month, businesses processing up to $200,000 monthly pay a single rate of interchange + $0.07 per transaction
- For $199 per month, businesses processing over $200,000 monthly pay a single rate of interchange + $0.05 per transaction
One important caveat is that the subscription rates quoted above only apply if you pay for your account on an annual basis, meaning you’ll have to hand over anywhere from $588 to $2,388 all at once. Like many businesses offering subscription-based services these days, CDGcommerce provides a substantial discount if you pay for twelve months all at once. Your rates will be higher if you choose to pay monthly. We recommend scrutinizing your cash flow carefully before selecting either of these two payment options (i.e., monthly or annually).
We’re very impressed with how CDGcommerce has been able to eliminate so many of the nickel-and-dime fees that most providers charge. Here’s a brief rundown of the things the company doesn’t charge you for:
- No account setup fee
- No annual fee (except the $79 per year terminal insurance fee)
- No gateway fees
- No monthly minimum (this is particularly valuable to very small or seasonal businesses)
- No PCI compliance fees
- No Address Verification Service (AVS) fees (saves $0.05 per transaction)
- No TIN/1099K IRS reporting fees
- No early termination fees
For a small business, this can add up to very significant savings over what you would pay with a more traditional merchant account provider. Account setup fees can be $100 or more. Gateway fees usually run between $15 and $25 per month, plus there’s often an additional per-transaction charge. PCI compliance fees typically run around $99 per year but can be even higher. Although only applicable if you close your account early, early termination fees can run between $300 and $500 – or even more.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
True month-to-month billing with no long-term contract and no early termination fee is the best arrangement you could ask for, and that’s exactly what CDGcommerce provides for all its merchants. In the processing industry, the typical merchant account contract runs for an initial term of two to four years, with three years being the most common length. These agreements also contain an automatic renewal clause, which will extend your contract for an additional year at a time unless you close your account within a very narrow window at the end of the term.
Most providers include these terms in their standard contracts, although some will now waive the early termination fee – but only if you negotiate aggressively to have it removed.
Even then, you’re still on the hook for three years or more, and you might continue to be billed for monthly fees after you’ve stopped using your account and thought it was closed. Always thoroughly review your contract terms before signing up with any provider, and follow the instructions for closing your account to the letter to avoid difficulties.
Note that merchants on one of CDGcommerce’s subscription plans who’ve paid for a full year of processing upfront and then decide to close their account can expect to receive a prorated refund of the subscription fees for the unused months remaining in their subscription.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
CDGcommerce’s website discloses far more details about the company’s pricing and contract terms than most of its competitors. At the same time, the variety of plans and features can be a bit confusing, particularly for a first-time business owner. If you’re not sure about something or have a question, don’t hesitate to contact one of the company’s sales representatives for clarification.
The company uses a full-time, in-house salaried sales staff and doesn’t rely on independent sales agents. The use of independent agents by many other providers has resulted in a massive volume of complaints from merchants. You won’t have to worry about this problem with CDGcommerce. With most of the pricing and contract terms already disclosed online, there’s simply no reason for your sales representative to lie to you.
The company’s website now also has an offer that, while not intentionally misleading, might easily be misinterpreted by new customers. As part of its contact form, CDGcommerce offers “two months free” if you speak with one of its sales representatives. Although details are not provided, it’s likely that only the fees charged directly to you by CDGcommerce will be waived for the first two months if you sign up. You’ll probably still have to pay all pass-through fees, particularly interchange fees.
CDGcommerce also has a social media presence, with accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn. Unfortunately, neither of these accounts has much content.
Customer Service & Technical Support
CDGcommerce offers 24/7 customer service via telephone, 365 days a year. Live chat is also available through the website during regular business hours. Additionally, you can contact the company via email and usually receive a response within 24 hours. Reports from merchants indicate that the quality of CDGcommerce’s customer support is very high.
The company used to include an eCommerce Resource Center on its website that offered useful documentation for setting up a payment gateway and several educational articles. While this feature is no longer available, we’re hopeful that it will be coming back sometime soon. We’d also like to see this section expanded into a more thorough knowledgebase.
CDGcommerce Reviews & Complaints
CDGcommerce reviews demonstrate the company has a great reputation among merchants and across the payment processing industry. Complaints are few and far between and often arise due to issues with the back-end processor, which are out of the company’s hands.
Negative CDGcommerce Reviews & Complaints
CDGcommerce’s current BBB profile indicates that it has been accredited since 2020 and has an A+ rating. Previous versions of the CDGcommerce review showed an accreditation date of 2007, so it appears that the company’s BBB profile has been reset. (This action is possibly due to the fact that CDGcommerce relocated from Virginia to Florida a few years ago.) The current profile has zero complaints within the last three years and zero customer reviews.
The majority of complaints against CDGcommerce on other review sites came from merchants who had experienced a funding hold. While it’s quite unpleasant to not receive your funds for a transaction (and they’re often very large transactions), merchants need to understand that this situation is not the fault of CDGcommerce. The company is not a direct processor, and the decision to withhold funds is solely at the discretion of the back-end processor. In fact, CDGcommerce is much more proactive than many providers in trying to resolve holds on funding. After all, the company doesn’t get its money until the funds are released, either. Our article on avoiding merchant account holds, freezes, and terminations offers tips to avoid this situation.
We’ve also found a few complaints from merchants whose accounts were terminated after the company determined that their businesses were high-risk. CDGcommerce does a good job of specifying which high-risk industries it does and does not accept, and its sales team can clarify company policies if you have any concerns. However, it’s ultimately your responsibility as a merchant to be completely honest about the nature of your business when applying for an account. There isn’t a provider in the industry that won’t shut your account down immediately if it finds out that your business isn’t really what you said it was when you applied for an account.
Positive CDGcommerce Reviews & Testimonials
CDGcommerce offers several brief testimonials on its website, but the information provided isn’t as extensive as what was available in the past. Hopefully, this aspect of the website will be expanded soon.
You’ll also find several positive reviews for CDGcommerce in our Comments section as well as on other independent review sites. It’s relatively uncommon for satisfied customers to go to the trouble of writing a review. Merchants are far more likely to complain than to praise. While this is probably true in any line of business, it’s especially true in the credit card processing industry.
For a small business looking to accept credit cards with a full-service merchant account rather than relying on Square, CDGcommerce is one of the best (and most affordable) choices you can make.
If you can do without the optional bells and whistles, you can have a true merchant account with pay-as-you-go pricing and no monthly account fee. Also, eCommerce merchants, who usually have to shell out extra just to connect their website to a payment gateway, can enjoy a free gateway and interchange-plus pricing for as little as $19 per month.
As your business grows, CDGcommerce’s services and pricing can grow with you. It’s easy to add data breach insurance and other crucial security features through the cdg360 add-on service. Because CDGcommerce doesn’t charge gateway fees, PCI compliance fees, or monthly minimums, your cost to maintain your account will always be low – and predictable. You can transition from flat-rate pricing to interchange-plus – or even membership pricing – as your monthly volume increases and these types of processing rate plans become a better fit for your business.
We’re also very impressed with the company’s unique way of supplying credit card terminals. Countertop terminals are provided for free (one per account, of course), and all you have to pay is a reasonable annual fee to insure and maintain it. This is the one instance where we would recommend renting your terminal rather than buying one outright. Remember, this is not a lease – you can cancel your account and return your terminal at any time. It’s a good way to avoid the risk of being stuck with an obsolete terminal in the future.
If there’s a catch in CDGcommerce’s service, it’s that it’s only available to US-based merchants. The company goes out of its way to remind you of this on its contract documents, but some people still occasionally try to sign up without noticing these restrictions. The company can also accept some high-risk merchants in several specific industries. If you’re a high-risk merchant in need of a merchant account and CDGcommerce can’t accommodate your industry, check out our article Need A High-Risk Merchant Account? Here are The 6 Best High-Risk Processors To Work With for some great recommendations.
Overall, CDGcommerce easily receives a score of 5 out of 5 stars. The company’s combination of high-quality service and low pricing makes it one of the best processors we’ve found, and we highly recommend that you check it out. If you’ve had any personal experience with CDGcommerce, be sure to leave a review in the Comments section below.
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see CDGcommerce for yourself.
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see CDGcommerce for yourself.