Processing $1,000 per month or less in card payments?
- Date Established
- Orlando, Florida
- Transparent cost-plus pricing
- 0% markup rate with subscription
- Next-day funding
- Free high-quality invoicing included
- Free analytics dashboard and tools
- No early termination fee
- Integrates with QuickBooks
- US-based merchants only
- Best value for mid-volume or higher
I love a cute cartoon piglet as much as anyone, but I refuse to be manipulated by adorable logos and marketing. A piggy bank is, after all, just as cute when it’s empty as it is when full. My goal then, when reviewing Fattmerchant, was to determine just how much substance was hidden behind its promising claims and clever marketing. I was prepared — as always — to find little of value when I cracked open the ceramic shell. But, as you can probably guess by the company’s rating here, I found more than just IOUs and arcade tokens in there.
This one of the few providers in the industry to offer subscription-based pricing, which eliminates the percentage markup over interchange in exchange for a higher monthly subscription fee. With Fattmerchant, account fees are also consolidated into a single monthly fee, making your costs more stable and predictable. This is a type of cost-plus pricing, except the percentage markup is 0.00%. If you’re like us, the prospect of a zero percent markup should certainly pique your interest. And maybe trigger your “too good to be true” senses as well.
After running the numbers and talking to business owners, I can say with confidence that Fattmerchant offers an extremely good value for many merchants. For instance, almost all merchant account providers — even very competitive good ones — charge a highly inflated rate for ecommerce and phone order accounts. Fattmerchant does not. You’ll get access to a virtual terminal with no added cost and won’t pay a high markup premium for these “card-not-present” transactions. It will cost just a few cents more per transaction. This is almost unheard of in the credit card processing industry.
Since the part of your markup that would usually be assessed as a percentage of your overall volume is just a single flat fee with Fattmerchant, what you pay is both predictable and has volume discounts built-in. The more you process, the less you pay in terms of the percentage of your overall card payment volume. Check out the fees and rates section of this review for more information on this.
There’s no doubt that this company is part of an exciting and growing trend in payment processing pricing. While it’s not the oldest subscription-based payments processing company, Fattmerchant provides competitive value and service. In many cases, Fattmerchant can provide more value at a lower cost than any of their competitors. This is thanks not only to its 0% markup, but also to the company’s high-quality backend dashboard. This web-based software includes advanced invoicing and billing alongside financial reports, inventory management, point of sale, and more. You’ll also get access to a growing list of add-ons and integrations through the company’s app marketplace.
So it turns out that Fattmerchant delivers the fat wallet they promise, offering both a low cost and a high value. This, along with excellent support and sales practices, earns the company a perfect 5 out of 5 stars overall. It’s not an inherently great value for low-volume merchants, but that’s really its only flaw. The company claims to save their merchants an average of 40% on their overall processing costs, and we’ve seen examples of businesses that saved even more.
So give Fattmerchant a shot! There’s no penalty for terminating your account early if you don’t like it. But we think you’ll enjoy the extra heft of your piggy bank.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
Fattmerchant supports just about any business type through a combination of in-house and third-party products. All of Fattmerchant’s subscription-based pricing plans come with a full-service merchant account, including 24/7 customer support. However, you’ll have to pick which products you intend to use when you sign up. (You can always add more later!)
Let’s start by breaking down FM’s core services, and then we’ll explore some of the perks of Fattmerchant’s integrated platform (called Omni).
- Countertop Terminals: For brick-and-mortar merchants, Fattmerchant offers several choices of terminals for merchants who need a countertop payment device. That includes the Verifone Carbon, the Verifone Engage, and a choice of Dejavoo terminals. If you already have your own terminal, Fattmerchant will also reprogram it to work with its system for free. You can add a protection plan to get more comprehensive support for your terminals. This is the ideal option if you don’t care about having your terminal integrated with your POS system.
- Integrations: Fattmerchant doesn’t have an extensive list of third-party integrations proudly displayed on its site the way some payment processors do. But you can integrate Fattmerchant’s payment processing into other solutions, including POS systems, and use FM terminals to accept in-person payments.
- Virtual Terminal: If you mostly key-in your payments through a computer (such as in an office environment, or by taking phone orders), Fattmerchant’s virtual terminal can be a great deal.
You’ll also get access to a customer database and invoicing and inventory management, features we’ll talk about shortly. Plus, the virtual terminal can connect to FM’s credit card readers so you can take advantage of in-person rates. And if you don’t want a full shopping cart but need an easy way to accept payments online, the virtual terminal plan allows for a very basic website payments feature, hosted by Fattmerchant.
- Mobile Processing: Fattmerchant Mobile has been available on iOS for a while now, but it recently just launched an Android version of its mPOS. (The iOS version is more robust, but it’s nice to see Fattmerchant is investing in both iOS and Android.) The mobile plan includes access to other aspects of the FM platform at no additional cost, specifically invoicing and inventory. Check out our Fattmerchant Mobile review for a more detailed look at the mobile platform.
- Shopping Cart: Want to sell online with a no-fuss payments processor? Fattmerchant offers a customizable shopping cart for ecommerce businesses. You’ll keep customers on your site during the entire process and you have control over the look and feel of your shopping cart. This is more advanced than the website payments feature included with the Fattmerchant virtual terminal.
One of the highlights of Fattmerchant is its “Omni” platform, which centralizes all of your transactional information and provides several other features as well. I’ve already mentioned the customer database, invoicing, and inventory, but there are also some reporting features. Since these are included at no additional charge and they’ll certainly be valuable for some businesses, let’s take a look at them:
- Centralized Web Portal: Logging into the Omni platform will give you all of the information about any and all of the Fattmerchant services you’re using.
Overall, the Omni portal is fairly easy to use and surprisingly intuitive, but Fattmerchant also offers a relatively basic but explanatory tutorial. I think the tutorials could be fleshed out with more detail for those who are a little more hesitant to go poking around the dashboard. However, it genuinely seems like most of Fattmerchant’s customers have no trouble finding their way around.
- Customer Database: The customer database lets you keep track of important details such as preferred payment methods, purchase history, and any other data. You can also store cards on file so that you don’t need to ask for your customers’ card information every time they make a purchase.
- Inventory: Fattmerchant’s inventory system is surprisingly functional, though it’ll never rival a full-scale POS. Still, if you’re using invoicing or website payments, the virtual terminal, or the mobile app, it can be a handy tool.
While you won’t see barcode or SKU support, the inventory tracking and centralized catalog is still nice. Inventory features include:
- Mark item as service
- Low-stock alerts
- Set discounts
- Manage tax rates
- Item categories
- Attach image files
- Invoicing: You can send invoices from the mobile app or the virtual terminal. Unsurprisingly, the invoicing feature syncs with your customer database and item catalog to fill in key details. I like that you can even set recurring invoices and see your scheduled invoices at a glance. It’s not as advanced as PayPal or Square, which admittedly are entry-level compared to full-fledged invoicing solutions, but Fattmerchant will get the job done. However, if you want the ability to require down payments, set up installments, or anything more advanced, you might be better served by an alternative service.
- Reporting: The reporting features (included at no extra charge for merchants processing less than $500,000/year) are admittedly basic, but they’re not the worst tools I’ve seen. In addition to all your financial data, you do get item sales and item category reports, and even a projected inventory report. Plus, you can view all the data from multiple sales channels with the “Omni” report. If you want more advanced reporting, you’ll need to get on one of Fattmerchant’s enterprise plans or pay an additional $20/month add-on. If I’m honest, I’m always a little disappointed to see this practice of charging more for advanced reporting. However, it’s not an uncommon practice — just one that I don’t like.
Fattmerchant’s approach to an integrated, all-in-one platform for payment processing isn’t without its flaws (specifically regarding pricing, which I’ll discuss in the next section). But as far as execution, Fattmerchant has done really well. The centralized platform works, even if it’s not as robust as what you would get with stand-alone software in each category. If I’m honest, I don’t think Fattmerchant is even as robust as Square (those are some mighty big shoes to fill, after all.)
But there’s one significant difference between Fattmerchant and Square: Fattmerchant sets its customers up with their own merchant accounts, which translates to greater account stability. For larger businesses that don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles, Fattmerchant is a great solution. And even for smaller businesses that want stability and an integrated platform, FM makes sense — it just comes at a cost.
Which means it’s time we talk about the piggy bank-shaped elephant in the room: Pricing.
Fees & Rates
As a merchant, you need to understand three important pieces of information concerning Fattmerchant’s pricing:
- First of all, wholesale pricing doesn’t mean that you pay only $0.08 or $0.15 per transaction. You still pay the interchange fees, which are non-negotiable costs that are routed to the card networks. Assuming an average interchange of 1.54% + $0.12 for an in-person transaction, your processing costs would actually be 1.54% + $0.20 per transaction, plus Fattmerchant’s monthly fees.
- Second, Fattmerchant offers its core services (terminals, the virtual terminal, the mobile POS, the shopping cart, integrations, and the API) on an à la carte basis, rather than as an all-in-one platform. (Secondary features, such as invoicing and inventory, do overlap because they’re included as part of the Omni platform.) If you want to use a Fattmerchant terminal for in-person payment processing as well as the virtual terminal for invoicing and manual entry of transactions, you’ll pay $99/month for each service, bringing your costs up to $198/month plus transactions fees for merchants processing less than $500,00 annually.
- Fattmerchant’s plans actually scale with volume. The Starter Platform is only for merchants processing less than $500,000/year. Above that, and the price for each service increases by $100/month for every $500,000 in volume. Businesses processing $500k-$1 million/year would pay $199/month, and those processing $1 million to $1.5 million would pay $299/month, and so on and so forth.
What does this mean for you? First, it means that if you are shopping around for payment processors, it’s not easy to make a direct, apples-to-apples comparison of processing costs with flat-rate, pay-as-you-go processors such as Square. Instead, if you have an idea of your monthly processing volume and average transaction size, you can calculate the effective markup with Fattmerchant and other merchants offering interchange-plus or subscription pricing. That will give you a better idea of whether Fattmerchant will really save you money compared to other processing plans.
It also means that Fattmerchant isn’t very cost-effective for small businesses that want an all-in-one payment platform. Without the large volume to deliver cost savings, the monthly fees do add quite a bit to that overall markup, and it’s more pronounced the more services you plan to use. If you’re processing less than $10,000/month in credit cards (or $120,000/year), you will probably be better served by finding another platform that offers more affordable pricing for multiple payment channels. Even processing $20,000/month or less in credit cards, you should do the math and double check that Fattmerchant’s numbers do work for your business.
The good news is that monthly subscription fee covers just about everything beyond the payment processing: statements, PCI compliance, customer support, batch fees, and so on. Fattmerchant will even throw in a QuickBooks Online integration for free (note: at the time of writing, this feature is still in beta and therefore expected to be a bit buggy.)
Let’s take a look at the pricing for Fattmerchant’s services on both the Starter and Enterprise plans.
Starter Platform (<$500k annually)
| Fattmerchant Enterprise Platform|
|Transaction fee (Terminal and Integration Plans)||$0.08||$0.06|
(Virtual Terminal Plan)
(Shopping Cart, Mobile, and API Plans)
|Gateway fee (if needed)||$0||$0|
|PCI compliance fee||$0||$0|
|Early termination fee||$0||$0|
First, please notice that you do see some volume savings on the Enterprise plans, despite the increased monthly costs, and at the volumes required for the Enterprise plans, you’re certain to see the cost savings.
Second, note that for the most part, there aren’t any additional fees with Fattmerchant — the only one that might apply is for merchants who wind up needing to use an Authorize.net gateway, which is passed on by Auth.net. I’m told you can sometimes get around this fee with the Fattmerchant API.
Fattmerchant Add-On Services
There are just a few features that you can’t access until you reach the second volume tier: specifically a dedicated account manager, data breach protection, and an automatic account updater for cards on file. Any additional services are available as monthly-add ons:
- Advanced Reporting: If you’d like more detailed reporting, but you don’t have the volume for Fattmerchant’s Enterprise plan, you can still access the advanced data for a $20 monthly fee. I don’t love the idea of charging more for data, but I like that it’s an option if you need the information.
- Same-Day Transfers: If you want your money almost as soon as humanly possible, you’ll be happy to know that Fattmerchant offers same-day funding as an add-on. The cost isn’t disclosed, but let’s assume that yes, you will pay more for getting your money sooner. You can also assume that not every merchant will qualify for this — especially brand new businesses.
- Advanced Customization: If you want more control over the look and feel of receipts, invoices, and even your website payments, Fattmerchant’s Advanced Customization service is just $10/month, which removes the “Omni” branding and allows you to choose your own colors, as well as creating custom fields for website payments.
- Terminal Protection: For $10/month per device, you can add expanded hardware protection and technical support beyond what Fattmerchant offers normally, including unlimited replacements in the event of defects, accidents, or the normal wear and tear.
- ACH Payments: Fattmerchant will allow you to accept bank transfers as payment for a $49 monthly fee and $0.25 fee per transfer. ACH is popular with merchants because of the reduced processing costs, but you need customers who will take advantage of this payment option to justify the cost, so it might be best suited to B2B-type businesses.
I do think Fattmerchant can be a great value for some merchants — I’d even go so far as to say it’s a great value for many merchants. It’s just not a great deal for all merchants, which is true of any processor. So it’s important that you, as the business owner, do your math and make sure that Fattmerchant’s pricing is right for you. Low payment processing is a major part of the equation, but it also includes the intangible value-adds, too — excellent customer support, the quality of the Omni platform, the overall ease of use.
Convinced that subscription pricing is worth a shot? Send Fattmerchant a message to get started.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
Don’t be confused by the “no contracts” claim on Fattmerchant’s website. Like any other business relationship, your merchant account with Fattmerchant will be covered by a contract. In fact, the company even publishes Terms and Conditions right on their website — something very few providers will do for you.
I need to point out that the contract in question is actually the contract posted by National Processing Company, one of Fattmerchant’s back-end processors. This is a pretty common arrangement — smaller processing companies using larger ones as back-end processors. In this case, the contract includes a three-year processing term and an early termination fee. However, neither of these will apply to your Fattmerchant agreement. Fattmerchant actually attaches a separate document, the Merchant Processing Agreement/Application, which lists its own specific terms. It doesn’t share a blank version of this document publicly but you will have to review it when you finalize your processing agreement. (As always, we encourage you to be very thorough in reviewing every bit of your processing agreement.)
All Fattmerchant accounts feature month-to-month billing with no early termination fee. You’ll need to provide thirty days’ notice when you close your account, but that’s it. At the end of the day, the “contract” allows FM to submit your information for approval with the underwriting department, but in no way holds you to any monetary obligations. This is exactly what we like to see, and it’s what you should be looking for in a payment processor. There’s no reason to go with any company that locks you into a multi-year contract when there are so many great processors, such as Fattmerchant, that offer month-to-month agreements.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Your first (or at least second) exposure to Fattmerchant will probably be through the company’s website. As you would expect from a young, tech-focused company, the site is professional looking and easy to navigate. There’s a lot of useful, easy-to-understand information for prospective merchants and clear descriptions of the company’s standardized pricing plans. I could complain about some of the things that do bother me — for example, the fact that pricing is only listed on the pricing pages and not on the feature description pages — and I don’t feel that would be too out of line. And it’s not immediately made clear that each service is offered for a separate monthly fee (you’ll find that out when you talk to a sales rep.) But little quibbles are just that — little. Fattmerchant does much better than many of its competitors when it comes to clear disclosures about its processing terms.
Fattmerchant relies on an in-house sales team and an online sign-up process to bring on new merchants. The online setup process is a good choice if you’re in a hurry to get your account activated as soon as possible and you’re confident the pricing is a perfect fit for your needs. We recommend talking to a sales representative rather than signing up online if you have any doubt about how well Fattmerchant will work for your business. It’s always nice to see that a company has an in-house sales team, because using third parties tends to present all sorts of troubles. Fortunately, our information indicates that Fattmerchant’s salespeople are helpful, informative, and truthful — which makes sense when you consider that all of FM’s policies are clearly stated on the website. The sales team is there to answer questions, alleviate concerns, and show you how to get the most out of the FM platform.
Like any technology-focused merchant services company, Fattmerchant has a very active social media presence. Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are frequently updated with new content, along with an active YouTube channel. And as a writer, personally, I am thrilled to see the Fattmerchant blog full of helpful, recent content.
Finally, you can also check out some of Fattmerchant’s existing customers and even testimonials on the Customer page. While I don’t necessarily think that you should make a decision about whether to use a processing company based solely on their client list, it’s always nice to see some big names on the list.
Customer Service & Technical Support
As a merchant, I think it’s important that you look at the self-support resources a payment processor offers. Is there a help center? Is it functional? Can you search for topics, or are you limited to a set navigation? Ideally, you should be able to handle some of the basic questions with the knowledgebase. Fattmerchant delivers in this regard, and I am happy to see a functioning search bar. (You would not believe how rare a functioning search feature is!)
If you do need to reach out to a customer support representative, Fattmerchant offers free 24/7 technical support via telephone and email. You can also submit a request via the ticketing system. All of this is good. Round-the-clock support is always great to see.
In the merchant accounts industry, customer support is an area where companies frequently fall short. And when the service is poor, merchants aren’t afraid to speak up about it, even if they like everything else about a company. Most providers – even some of the really good ones – receive a lot of negative feedback about customer support from frustrated merchants. So, it’s quite a good sign that Fattmerchant is apparently doing well above “average” in this area. We specifically see quite a few comments that call out FM for being responsive and helpful, and for having great customer service. That’s about as clear and obvious praise as you can get.
Have you had any experience with Fattmerchant’s customer service? If so, please leave your impressions in the Comments section below. Thanks!
I do think it’s a challenge to fairly evaluate companies that have very little chatter from merchants, because the user experience is such a major component in the review process. Fattmerchant isn’t a household name like Square or PayPal, and even with a decade of experience searching for all kinds of obscure information (and finding it!), it’s still hard to find something that strikes me as the “mother lode” of reviews about Fattmerchant. But I will say there’s a growing number of reviews from Fattmerchant users — if you know where to look. It’s not a giant cache, but it’s definitely enough comments that I can point out some trends.
When it comes to complaints, Fattmerchant has had just five made to the BBB in the past three years, two of which were placed in the past 12 months. We have a handful of complaints on our own site as well. It’s still a very small number of complaints for any kind of company (and for a processing company, it’s nearly unheard of). Better yet, these complaints focus on different issues, which reinforces the idea that a poor customer experience is far from the norm and is more of a total fluke.
The majority of the reviews concerning Fattmerchant are positive. As I said before, quite a few comments call out FM for having excellent customer support. In addition, many of the merchants mention that they are saving money with Fattmerchant. An odd, but fairly common comment is that many of these merchants think the concept behind Fattmerchant is great. I see phrases such as “tech-savvy” and “user-friendly,” as well as “forward thinking.” Other merchants have said the “concept is smart and timely” and that Fattmerchant is “ahead of the game.”
It’s really rare to see those kinds of comments, and what that says to us is that Fattmerchant communicates its value well and stands out as different to merchants. I think that alone is a powerful endorsement in an industry where all too often there’s not much to distinguish one company from another apart from pricing and contract terms.
If you want to see more praise, you can check out Fattmerchant’s “Our Customers” page on the website. The testimonials – mostly from local businesses in the Orlando area – come across as unscripted and genuine.
As you might have guessed, we really like Fattmerchant. In addition to the company’s unique take on the subscription pricing model, the open, honest business style is a refreshing change of pace. Far too many companies in the merchant services industry rely on deception to lure in customers, so it’s a genuine relief to find a provider that treats their customers with respect and offers such a flexible and affordable service. We would love to see the success of Fattmerchant and similar providers lead to long-lasting changes throughout the entire processing industry. Will that happen? It’s hard to say for sure, but I’d certainly like to think things have already begun changing.
At the same time, no provider is perfect, even a 5-star one like Fattmerchant. You do need to to do some math and compare features to make sure that Fattmerchant is a good match for your business. For one thing, the company does not provide high-risk merchant accounts. Beyond that, Fattmerchant may not be a great value for low-volume merchants, especially ones with small ticket values. Plus, if you plan to combine multiple aspects of the Fattmerchant service, you could end up with quite a costly monthly fee — again, this could make Fattmerchant less than ideal, especially for low-volume merchants.
That said, you may find that the total value provided by Fattmerchant’s platform — including centralized invoicing, credit card terminal sales, inventory, and other features — makes the service worthwhile, especially combined with the stability of a merchant account. But the more you process, the more you’ll save, which means that larger merchants will get the greatest value.
Even with those caveats, Fattmerchant easily deserves 5 stars and our highest recommendation. If you think that the service could be beneficial to your business, by all means, give Fattmerchant a try. Your bank account may gain a bit of “fat” as a result.
Sign up for Fattmerchant via Merchant Maverick and get a $150 Amazon gift card!
No early termination fee. No long-term commitment.
Offer expires 2/28/2019
As always, we encourage readers who have had personal experience with Fattmerchant — good or bad — to leave a review in the comments section below. Thanks for your help and feedback!