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- Phone Number
- Date Established
- Chesapeake, VA
- Interchange-plus pricing offered
- Great customer service and support
- Great for eCommerce businesses
- Free virtual terminal/payment gateway
- No early termination fees
- No monthly minimum
- No account setup or application fees
- No PCI compliance fees
We don’t give out perfect scores lightly. Only a truly exceptional provider can hope to get a five-star review, and even those who make it to that elite level have to keep up the good work, since we constantly reevaluate our ratings to make sure last year’s perfect providers are still the best of the best today. As a reviewer, I’m always looking for things to complain about and will downgrade ratings without any hesitation when I can no longer stand behind an earlier rating (lest they make me look bad!). So let me tell you, CDGcommerce is the real deal. They’ve been among our favorite payment processors for a while now, and have never faltered.
Formed in 1998, CDGcommerce has had plenty of time to cultivate a reputation – and they have. Across the board, independent reviewers have praised this company for years. Customer complaints are almost non-existent, and absolutely never habitual. The internet has a very good memory; so even good companies tend to rack up a bunch of reviews on popular complaint sites. CDGcommerce, on the other hand, has a fairly spotless reputation, with absolutely no damning complaints to be found in 15 years!
This is no accident. CDGcommerce simply provides excellent service and clear, honest marketing. To that end, they have:
- No account set-up fee
- No monthly minimum
- No early termination fee
- No PCI compliance fee
- Free use of Quantum or Authorize.Net virtual terminal/payment gateway
Finding all of these features in one place for as little as $10 per month in base fees is exceptionally rare. Beyond that initial $10, you can pick and choose additional services to pay for. This way you aren’t paying for things you don’t want or need. Want to use an Authorize.Net gateway instead of CDG’s Quantum gateway? It’s now free, too, and includes all of Authorize.Net’s major features, such as automated recurring billing and QuickBooks integration. Want $100K in data breach insurance and other security upgrades? It’s $15 per month extra (and $15 very well spent, in my opinion). Want a terminal? Well, you only have to pay $79 annually for insurance, nothing more. Don’t want any of those things? That’s fine too. You won’t be charged for them.
CDGcommerce might not have the name recognition of a big processor, but that doesn’t stop them from providing some of the best, most flexible service around. They make a great option for those who just want to process sporadically, or even those interested in mobile processing (they’ll even give you a free card reader). On top of their low fees, they also offer very competitive interchange-plus rates for online, retail and mobile merchants.
All said, I’m glad to recommend CDGcommerce to any and all businesses, especially eCommerce businesses. Whether you’re looking for barebones service or a fully-equipped account, CDG will set you up with an affordable plan and honest, high-quality service. They’ve earned their 5-star rating, and I have a feeling they’ll be holding on to it for many more years.
Check out the full review below for more details on this stand-out processor.
Products and Services:
CDG’s line of products and services covers all the bases, but they’re particularly focused on eCommerce and small to mid-sized businesses. Their one-step PCI compliance program and robust optional cdg360 security features come in handy for eCommerce and beyond, and their free additional account tools will help you get the most out of your processing experience. CDG offerings include:
- Merchant accounts
- Virtual terminal/payment gateway: You can use either a Quantum or an Authorize. Net payment gateway for free. The virtual terminal feature is also free, allowing you to process from any internet-connected computer instead of a traditional credit card terminal.
- Terminal leases: Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of terminal leases, and in most cases I recommend that you buy your own terminals. CDG is a rare exception, mainly because their terms and conditions are so affordable. While most other companies will gladly set you up with a non-cancellable third-party lease that will end up costing you thousands of dollars in fees or cancellation penalties, CDG offers truly free terminal leases. You’ll just have to pay a $79 annual insurance fee and, of course, return the machine when you wish to cancel service. Wireless terminals (not the same as mobile) carry additional data fees, however. Both their wired and wireless terminals are EMV-compliant and NFC-capable, so they’ll support Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and other NFC-based payment methods.
- Mobile readers and USB readers: These terminal alternatives allow you to process swiped transactions from any computer or smartphone, and are available for free with your account – you won’t even have to pay the insurance fee. Unfortunately, their mobile reader is not currently EMV-capable, so if you are worried about fraudulent charges, you could either key in the credit card numbers (thereby processing them as card-not-present) or try looking elsewhere for that service.
- Online reporting and tools: I usually consider online reporting and some additional tools a given, but CDG really goes above and beyond the industry standard here. Features include detailed account information, chargeback/fraud warnings, automated alerts, real-time reporting, historic trends and graphs, QuickBooks integration, and a number of other useful tools.
- Security service: Called cdg360, this $15/month optional add-on includes $100,000 data breach/theft protection, PCI-DSS vulnerability scans, customized security alerts, staff awareness training, and a Merchant Trust seal for your website. For $15 a month, the $100K insurance alone could be worth it.
Fees and Rates:
One of the first things you’ll notice on CDG’s home page is a Pricing tab, prominently displayed in the top menu. This is your first clue that CDGcommerce is different from most other companies in the processing industry, who usually avoid divulging any pricing information whatsoever on their websites. For starters, let’s look at the things they won’t charge you for at all, including the following:
- No application or account set-up fees
- No monthly minimum (this is a real positive for micro-sized or seasonal businesses)
- No early termination fee
- No PCI compliance fee
- No fees for payment gateway/virtual terminal
BAM! That’s all great news. Generally, you would expect to pay around $99 per year for PCI compliance, up to $25 for a monthly minimum, $100+ in account set-up fees, and $300 or more (often much more) in early termination fees. Gateway fees are usually around $10-15 per month, and many companies charge for virtual terminal use on top of that. Great job, CDGcommerce!
Okay, so what will you have to pay then?
- $10 per month account support fee (this includes your monthly statement fee)
And… that’s it. You are not obligated to pay any more than that for your baseline cost. Of course you’ll also pay processing fees, but even those rates are competitive. If you want their cdg360 security package (including $100,000 of data breach insurance), then you’ll have to add on an additional $15 per month. This service is entirely optional, though.
Ten bucks for base fees is about as low as it gets in this industry. Even mobile processors like Inner Fence are charging $25 monthly or more just to maintain your account.
You can also get free use of a wired credit card terminal, provided you pay a $79 insurance fee annually. Smartphone-based card readers come completely free of charge. For merchants interested in wireless terminals (NOT mobile card readers), you’ll have to pay:
- $20.00 monthly wireless data fee + $0.05 per transaction
- $79 annual terminal insurance fee
But you will get to lease the wireless terminal at no additional cost, which is nice.
Unlike most processors, CDG actually advertises specific processing rates on their website. While this kind of transparency is very commendable, realize that the actual rate quote they offer you might not be exactly the same as what you see on their site. However, unlike other processors who tease you with their lowest, qualified rate and then charge you much higher non-qualified rates, CDG will actually offer you lower rates in order to match the rates from your current processor. CDG’s current advertised rates are as follow:
- Online: interchange + 0.30% + $0.15 per transaction
- Retail: interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction
- Mobile: interchange + 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction
- Non-profit: interchange + 0.20% + $0.10 per transaction
If you want a quick quote without calling them up, you can use their online application process to get a no-commitment rate quote.
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:
CDGcommerce offers a genuine month-to-month contract with no early termination fee whatsoever. Note, however, that you will need to complete the necessary steps for cancellation outlined in your merchant agreement in order to stop your monthly fees from being billed.
Sales and Advertising Transparency:
CDGcommerce does an outstanding job disclosing all account fees and major contract provisions to potential customers. You will see a couple of offers that I might call “gimmicks,” but none are deceptive. For instance, they advertise “free” terminal leases, but fully disclose the mandatory $79 annual insurance fee.
I also like that they don’t depend on sales-driven independent agents, a practice that can lead to a poorly trained and inconsistent salesforce encouraged to sell expensive accounts for higher commissions. The CDG salespeople I spoke with on the phone and via chat were very helpful, honest, intelligent, and offered me very fair and consistent pricing information.
Their E-Commerce Resource Center page offers a few useful documents. It’s nothing too impressive, but nice to see nonetheless. I would like to see more in-depth information about interchange-plus pricing, but I’m glad that they at least offer it. They also maintain a presence on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
We’ve personally experienced CDG’s customer service, in addition to the responses that we’ve heard from references and other friends. Their staff is very helpful, knowledgeable, and operates with a great deal of integrity. They offer live chat, e-mail, and 24/7 phone support.
As a reviewer, it’s difficult for me to ascertain the quality of customer service when it comes to complex, account-specific issues. But that’s where you come in! Have you worked with CDGcommerce? Please leave us your comments! Don’t forget to read the user review and comment policy.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
While CDG has almost no complaints on the web after 18 years in business, you can find a few if you try. Of these, however, I’ve actually seen the company CEO, Chris West, personally respond on occasion and offer to help the complainant directly. That’s pretty awesome in my book. Try getting the CEO of First Data to respond to your complaint…
CDGcommerce has been accredited by the BBB since 2007, and they currently carry an A+ rating. Unlike many other A+-rated processors, they currently have only five complaints within the past three years, and zero complaints in the past twelve months. This is essentially unchanged since our last review update, when they also had five complaints within three years, and one complaint in the previous twelve months. For a business dealing with so many merchants over such a long period of time, this kind of web reputation is almost unheard of in the processing industry.
While a few complaints have come up, none have with any real regularity. Any processor might have isolated problems. As long as no patterns of poor service emerge and the processor addresses complaints, I can’t hold it against them. Here are some things you should know, though:
- You need to be a US-based merchant doing business mostly in the US. While CDG puts this info all over their account applications, it still catches a few merchants by surprise. CDG has taken these complaints to heart, though, and now even direct such merchants elsewhere:
Our services require a U.S. business, U.S. bank account and a U.S. signer with a valid SSN #. If your business does not meet these criteria, please consider our international & high risk affiliate option.
- Account freezes and cancellations: Since a processor is essentially extending you a line of credit with your merchant account, they have to cover their own butts. This sometimes means holding funds or freezing your account if suspicious activity comes up. From what I’ve seen, CDG does a good job of avoiding these practices as much as possible. They do happen, though, and can occur with literally any account provider. Check out our article to learn how you can prevent freezes and holds.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
On their site, you’ll find a long list of customer testimonials. We have personally contacted a number of them, and found these merchants were extremely happy with their accounts. They also assured us that they weren’t paid or incentivized in any way by CDGcommerce to write their testimonials.
You’ll find a number of positive reviews in our comments section, as well as on other independent review sites. It’s fairly uncommon for satisfied customers to go through the trouble of writing a review. In my experience, customers are exactly 1,000,000 times more likely to complain than to praise, especially in this industry. Given this, even a few positive customer experiences can mean a lot!
In the end, we still love CDGcommerce. They are about as close to an all-around perfect payment processor as you’re likely to find anywhere. They have fully-disclosed base fees as low as $10 per month, making CDG a great option for low-volume or sporadic processing. On the other hand, they also have all the resources a larger business would need, including optional data breach insurance and security upgrades for an extra $15 per month. With no PCI compliance fees, no early termination fees, a free payment gateway/virtual terminal, and no monthly minimums alongside fair rates and abundant features, I couldn’t ask for more.
Since our last review update, they’ve actually gotten even better. You can now choose between CDG’s own Quantum gateway, or one through Authorize.Net – both are free. Interchange-plus pricing is now advertised on their website, although they could do a better job of explaining it. They also continue to have a remarkably low complaint volume with the BBB, especially for a company that’s provided services to over 20,000 merchants and been in business for almost two decades.
Overall, I’m more than happy to recommend CDGcommerce to any and all businesses, friends and family included. Whether you’re looking for bare-bones service or an account with all the bells and whistles, CDG will set you up with an affordable plan and honest, high-quality service. They’ve earned every point in their 5-star rating!