Payment Depot Review
Taking $5,000 per month or less in card payments?
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- Date Established
- Orange, CA
- Transparent membership pricing
- True month-to-month billing
- No application or setup fees
- Free gateway and virtual terminal
- Good customer support
- Very few public complaints
- Accepts US-based merchants only
- Does not accept high-risk merchants
- Not cost-effective for low-volume businesses
Payment Depot is a merchant services provider headquartered in Orange, California, and was established in 2013. It’s best known for pioneering the use of membership pricing (also called subscription pricing) to save merchants money on overall processing costs and reduce the number of fees they have to pay for payment processing. Payment Depot’s business model and pricing structures are very similar to Costco, only for merchant accounts rather than general retail sales.
Unlike most payment processors that charge you highly marked-up percentages on your sales, a Payment Depot membership has no percentage-based markups whatsoever. Aside from the wholesale costs that go to the credit card networks and banks (not to Payment Depot), you just pay a fixed, predictable monthly fee for access to the credit card processing networks alongside a small $0.05-$0.15 fee on each transaction. You won’t have to haggle with salespeople about processing rates or worry that you’re paying too much. Your membership fee covers it. Processing rates simply don’t get lower than the wholesale interchange and assessment fees.
Besides the value provided, Payment Depot’s reputation for open, honest sales practices and excellent customer support put it ahead of many of its competitors using this relatively new pricing model.
So how does it work? Most providers offering interchange-plus pricing will charge “interchange + markup” rates, with the markup including both a small percentage of the sale and a per-transaction fee. You’ll also incur several monthly and annual fees for individual services, such as PCI compliance and account statements. In contrast, Payment Depot’s model combines all your monthly fees into a single monthly membership ranging from $49 to $199 per month, depending on which plan you choose. You’ll also pay lower processing rates with the elimination of the percentage markup. Your rates will be the interchange rate, plus a per-transaction fee that varies between $0.15 and $0.05 per transaction, depending on your pricing plan.
Will this kind of pricing save you money? As usual, it depends on several factors. You’ll have to pay Payment Depot’s membership fee every month whether you use your account or not, so it doesn’t make sense for seasonal merchants or businesses that only occasionally process credit card transactions. For a very small business, the membership fee alone might exceed what you’d pay for processing under a more conventional pricing plan. Larger businesses, however, will, in most cases, see significant savings over traditional interchange-plus pricing.
That membership fee doesn’t just cover your run-of-the-mill account fees, though. It also includes an extra amount designed to partially make up for the lack of a percentage markup on your transactions. You’ll have to take a close look at your average ticket size and how many transactions you typically process each month to determine if this pricing model will save you money. Merchants who frequently process larger tickets will save the most money.
Payment Depot uses Fiserv (formerly First Data) and TSYS Merchant Solutions (now part of Global Payments) as back-end processors, which means you’ll have access to the powerful equipment and services of one of these larger companies. You’ll also get much lower processing rates than you would usually obtain by signing up with Fiserv or TSYS/Global Payments directly, especially for smaller businesses that don’t have a lot of negotiating power when dealing with the larger processors. Customer service for your account is also handled directly by Payment Depot, which will, in almost all cases, mean you’ll have a much more pleasant and personal experience if you need to call for help.
All Payment Depot merchant accounts are month-to-month, but you can also save money on your membership fees by paying them annually instead of monthly. Annual memberships are protected with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee. Merchants who are not satisfied with their service within the first 90 days will be refunded their membership fees (not interchange fees or transaction fees, of course). It’s a fair and reasonable offer and should give you some peace of mind.
Overall, we’re sufficiently impressed with Payment Depot to award it an excellent score of 5 out of 5 stars. The simple, affordable pricing structure is a breath of fresh air in an industry that too often features confusing rates, hidden fees, and poor customer service. Most mid- to large-sized businesses should be able to save a significant amount of money over going with a more traditional processor.
There are a few caveats, however. Payment Depot is only available in the United States, so international users won’t be able to take advantage of what it has to offer. The company also doesn’t approve high-risk merchant accounts, so if you’re in this category, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Our article on the best high-risk merchant account providers is a good place to start.
Payment Depot Review At A Glance
Payment Depot’s membership pricing is transparent and easy to understand, and many businesses will save money on credit card processing by switching. Perhaps more importantly, the user reviews from Payment Depot’s merchants indicate that they are overwhelmingly pleased with the cost, the quality of customer support, and the payment processing solutions offered. For these reasons, Payment Depot has earned our recommendation to small businesses.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
Payment Depot has all the bases covered when it comes to features your business will need to accept credit cards. Here’s an overview of the primary offerings:
- Merchant Accounts: Payment Depot is not a direct processor. Rather, it partners with Fiserv (formerly First Data) and TSYS (now part of Global Payments) — two of the largest credit card processors in the country — to provide processing services. Payment Depot will set up and manage your account, but you may need to deal directly with your back-end processor on occasion. Unless you’re using the Clover POS line (which requires a Fiserv account), you’ll most likely be placed on the TSYS platform.
- Payment Gateway: For eCommerce merchants, Payment Depot can integrate a payment gateway into your website. Authorize.Net is the most popular option, but other gateways are also available. Gateway fees appear to be included as part of your monthly membership fee, but you’ll want to confirm this when you review your agreement.
- Virtual Terminal: All of Payment Depot’s pricing plans include a free virtual terminal that allows you to use your existing computer as a credit card terminal. You can key in transactions manually or dip/swipe them using an optional card reader. The company currently offers the BBPOS Chipper 2X BT for $99 per unit.
- Point Of Sale (POS) Systems: As a Fiserv reseller, Payment Depot offers the company’s popular line of Clover POS systems. Prices range from $749 for the Clover Mini LTE to $1,699 for the Clover Station Pro.
- Credit Card Terminals: The company offers a full lineup of standard countertop terminals from Ingenico, Dejavoo, and others. All models offered can accept EMV, NFC-based, and magstripe payment methods. Prices start at $299, which includes the terminal, a software load to connect your merchant account to your processor’s transaction processing network, and a warranty. Note that some of Payment Depot’s higher-tier subscription plans come with an included terminal.
- Smart Credit Card Terminals: An emerging trend within the processing industry is the use of so-called “smart” terminals, which usually feature color touchscreens and the ability to install additional apps to provide services (such as inventory management, etc.). Payment Depot currently offers the Poynt Smart Terminal, the Smart Terminals Vital Plus, and the Clover Flex. Prices start at $449.
- Mobile Payments: Although not currently promoted on the website, Payment Depot has partnered with SwipeSimple to offer its mobile app and card readers. The app is available for both iOS and Android and works on both smartphones and tablets. Check out our Payment Depot Mobile review for more information about the app as well as exclusive rates for Merchant Maverick readers. In addition to a smartphone or tablet, you’ll also need a card reader. Payment Depot currently offers the SwipeSimple B250, which connects to your device via Bluetooth Low Energy and accepts EMV, NFC-based, and magstripe payment methods. It’s currently listed at $99 per unit. You can also use the BBPOS Chipper 2X BT mentioned above.
- Business Funding: Like most merchant services providers, Payment Depot also offers merchant cash advances for businesses that need a little extra money right away. You can receive your money in as little as 24 hours, but be sure to review the repayment terms and requirements before you consider taking advantage of this service.
Payment Depot also offers echeck (ACH) processing, online shopping cart integration, and developer tools for web designers. The company doesn’t disclose much information about these products on its website, so ask your sales representative about them if you’ll need them for your business.
The company earns an “excellent” rating for this category. While most of its products and services are provided through third-party partnerships, the quality of what it has to offer is very high. We’re particularly impressed to see that NFC-based payment methods are fully supported on all of the company’s processing hardware. Contactless payment methods are more important than ever, particularly in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Fees & Rates
Payment Depot offers four standardized membership pricing plans that are designed to meet the needs of most merchants. Standardized plans offer several advantages, including eliminating the need to negotiate the rates and terms of your contract as well as providing very clear transparency about what you’ll be paying in fees every month. Here are the current details of each plan:
This is Payment Depot’s entry-level offering and is designed to meet the needs of small or startup businesses. Here’s what you get:
- $49 monthly fee
- Interchange + 0% + $0.15 per transaction
- $25,000 monthly maximum processing volume
- Includes a virtual terminal and payment gateway
Most Popular Membership
Designed for mid-sized businesses, this plan offers lower processing rates in exchange for a higher membership fee.
- $79 monthly fee
- Interchange + 0% + $0.10 per transaction
- $75,000 monthly maximum processing volume
- Includes a virtual terminal and payment gateway
- Free basic terminal or mobile card reader included
This membership plan is ideal for a larger, more established omnichannel business. It comes with the following standard features:
- $99 monthly fee
- Interchange + 0% + $0.07 per transaction
- $150,000 monthly maximum processing volume
- Includes a virtual terminal and payment gateway
- Smart countertop terminal or mobile card reader included
- Data breach protection included
Designed for very large businesses, this pricing plan includes all the bells and whistles you could need and offers the lowest processing rates.
- $199 monthly fee
- Interchange + 0% plus $0.05 per transaction
- Unlimited maximum processing volume
- Free premium gateway
- Free Clover Mini terminal included
- Data breach protection included
- Dedicated account manager for customer service and support
If you prefer to pay your membership fees annually instead of monthly, you can save close to two months’ worth of subscription fees over a year while also taking advantage of the 90-day risk-free trial. Talk to Payment Depot about these pricing specifics since the annual payments are no longer listed on the site.
While Payment Depot’s standardized plans eliminate the need for negotiating for most merchants, you can still ask for a customized solution if none of the offered plans meet the unique needs of your business. Customized plans are a good way to go if you have hardware or software needs that aren’t covered by any of the standard plans. It’s also possible that some sort of hybrid plan would better serve your particular combination of average ticket size, number of transactions per month, and total processing volume.
Choosing The Best Plan With Payment Depot
While the best plan for your business must fall within the advertised monthly maximum processing limits, there are other considerations as well. To determine the true “best value” membership level for your business, you must also examine the interplay of the average number of transactions you typically process each month as well as your average transaction size. Basically, ignore the names of the plans (they’re just for marketing purposes) and do the math for your own business instead.
While the various membership levels and calculations may seem a little daunting at first, the good news is that if your business outgrows your current plan, Payment Depot makes it easy to upgrade to the next-highest plan. Still, bear in mind that within each membership level, the more you process, the more cost-effective the plan becomes. Of course, with a monthly membership that you pay regardless of how much you process, it’s also clear that Payment Depot’s pricing is not designed for seasonal or micro-merchants. These businesses are better served by a specialized payment service provider (PSP), such as Square. With the elimination of Payment Depot’s previous entry-level plan ($29 per month), this has become increasingly true.
However, if you just need a functional mobile processing app and a mobile card reader, check out the Payment Depot Mobile plan with the SwipeSimple app. The plan is tailored to the needs of low-volume merchants, with a small monthly fee and flat-rate processing. You’ll need to use the links on our site to be able to sign up for this special rate.
Payment Depot’s standardized subscription plans cover all the miscellaneous fees that most providers charge you separately for, making your monthly costs much more predictable. Here’s a list of fees Payment Depot won’t charge you:
- No PCI Compliance fees
- No monthly account statement fees
- No IRS reporting fees
- No application or setup fees
- No early termination fees
- No “junk” or “hidden” fees
You’ll still encounter some occasional fees that are charged by your processor and passed on to you at cost. These include chargeback fees as well as credit card network fees and assessments that are passed through along with your interchange fees. Consult your merchant agreement for details on these and other fees. You should also note that Payment Depot will charge you a monthly PCI non-compliance fee of $19.99 if you don’t keep your account in compliance. The existence of this penalty fee (but not the amount) is disclosed on the company’s website.
Payment Depot earns an “excellent” rating in this category. Not only are all fees and rates fully disclosed, but they’re also reasonable and very competitive. The company claims that merchants save an average of $400 with its pricing, and we’re inclined to believe that this is not an exaggeration.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
One of the most attractive features of Payment Depot’s service is that all accounts are set up with true month-to-month billing. Payment Depot doesn’t enforce its back-end processors’ boilerplate Terms and Conditions, which typically stipulate long-term contracts and early termination fees. You also won’t have to worry about automatic renewal clauses, which make it difficult to close your account before it’s renewed for a new term.
Your relationship with the company will still be covered by a merchant agreement, however. Be sure to thoroughly review any terms and conditions that come along with your application. Generally speaking, Payment Depot does not require advance notice to cancel an account. If you have already run transactions during the month you’d like to cancel, Payment Depot will immediately process the cancellation but then schedule the actual closure to happen at the end of the month so that the current month’s fees can be collected. Also note that because customers have up to 120 days to file a chargeback, your account will not be fully closed until after 120 days from the date of your last transaction. However, Payment Depot does not charge you any monthly fees during this period.
While providing month-to-month billing is a growing trend within the processing industry, Payment Depot does offer an option to pay annually and save on membership fees. This is also where the 90-day satisfaction guarantee comes into play. If you have paid an annual membership but aren’t satisfied and decide to cancel, simply let the company know and return any provided equipment. You’ll receive a full refund of any membership fees you’ve already paid or a prorated refund if you cancel after 90 days. Naturally, you won’t receive a refund of any processing charges you paid during this time — just membership fees. You’ll also have to pay a 20% restocking fee for any equipment you return.
Payment Depot earns an “excellent” rating in this category because it offers true month-to-month billing with no early termination fees to all merchants. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Payment Depot links to this guarantee on its homepage.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Payment Depot’s website is quite professional-looking and easy to navigate. Because the company uses standardized membership pricing plans, it’s able to disclose fully what your costs will be with each plan. Most providers don’t even include pricing information on their websites, partly because it will vary from one merchant to the next, but also because they don’t want you to know how expensive it will really be until after you’ve signed your contract. Membership pricing makes it easy to offer full pricing disclosures because everyone pays the same amount under each plan.
Transparency does suffer a little bit because this type of bundled pricing obscures how much you’re paying for individual services. For example, Payment Depot doesn’t charge a discrete PCI compliance fee, but you can bet that at least a small part of your membership fee is going toward services (such as security scans) that help keep your account compliant.
We would be happier if Payment Depot would provide a copy of its current merchant agreement on its website. While Payment Depot isn’t trying to hide anything here deliberately, this would allow prospective merchants to learn more about incidental fees (such as chargebacks) that they might be liable for, in addition to the membership fees. Your membership fee and processing charges will usually be your only expenses, but there are always going to be extra fees every once in a while.
Additionally, I’m not a huge fan of some of Payment Depot’s marketing. Charts and graphics on the website tend to be vague and over-simplified. Other marketing materials give the impression that you’ll only be charged “wholesale rates” and “no markup” and that Payment Depot somehow cuts out all the middlemen. In reality, you do pay Payment Depot (which is a middleman between you and either Fiserv or TSYS) a markup over wholesale processing rates. The markup is merely in the form of the membership fee and transaction fee, instead of the traditional percentage markup of a typical interchange-plus plan. Ultimately, I wish Payment Depot would come up with a better way to explain its inherently transparent pricing structure.
Dealing with sales representatives is often one of the most unpleasant parts of setting up a merchant account, mostly due to the need to negotiate your rates and terms, but also because many providers use independent sales agents to sell their accounts. You won’t have these problems with Payment Depot. With standardized membership plans, there’s no need to negotiate unless you need a custom plan. Your rates and terms are already spelled out. All you have to do is select the plan that’s best for your business, and the company provides enough information on the website for you to do that before you ever talk to a sales agent. Also, Payment Depot uses in-house agents exclusively, so you won’t be subjected to the high-pressure sales tactics that independent agents frequently employ.
Although there are a few minor improvements we’d like to see in Payment Depot’s marketing efforts, the company receives an “excellent” rating in this category because its pricing is standardized and fully disclosed on the website.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Payment Depot offers 24/7 customer service by both telephone and email. Note that you’re more likely to reach a full-time company employee if you call during business hours, which are 7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time, Monday-Friday. Some technical support issues will be initially covered by the processors (Fiserv or TSYS) outside of these hours. Payment Depot also designates an employee to monitor all after-hours support requests 24/7.
One improvement we’d like to see is an online knowledgebase for customers with information on how to solve common problems. Payment Depot doesn’t currently offer this option, although there is a basic FAQ on the website.
Payment Depot earns praise for its customer support from many of the merchants who offered testimonials, which is a good sign. An even better sign is the general lack of criticism on this issue among the few complaints against the company that we were able to locate. Poor customer service is a common problem among merchant account providers, and the absence of complaints about this issue is a good indication that the company is doing a good job in this area.
The company earns an “excellent” rating in this category for providing a full range of customer service options and its reputation for high-quality support among merchants who’ve commented on the issue.
Unlike most merchant services providers, Payment Depot has a significant amount of positive feedback and very few complaints from merchants. Usually, it’s the other way around. It’s good to see that so many merchants took the time to post positive comments about the company.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Payment Depot has been accredited by the BBB since 2015 and currently has an A+ rating. The company has had only one complaint within the last three years, with zero complaints filed within the previous twelve months. Customers have also filed two negative reviews (out of a total of five). There are a small handful of complaints on Trustpilot and Yelp, but most are a few years old. Overall, the total complaint volume is remarkably low.
Reading through the reviews, I don’t see any disturbing patterns or indications of systemic problems. If there is a common thread, it’s that most of the issues were ultimately the responsibility of the back-end processor (usually Fiserv). In some cases, Payment Depot’s model simply wasn’t a good fit because the business was too high-risk or too small. The great news is that Payment Depot responds in detail to every complaint, admitting mistakes when they happen and issuing refunds where appropriate. We were particularly impressed to see personal responses to some complaints from Payment Depot’s COO.
At this time, we’re satisfied that Payment Depot is providing great service to customers and taking appropriate action to help the small number of merchants who haven’t had a good experience with the company.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Payment Depot has four video testimonials posted on its website as well as on its YouTube channel. All of them are very professional-looking and compelling. The company also invites its users to leave reviews on Trustpilot and even posts some of those reviews right on its homepage. At the time of writing this, 88% of the 551 reviewers on Trustpilot have awarded the company a 5-star rating — an excellent batting average. The positive reviews mostly tout the money merchants have saved through the company’s subscription-based pricing and the excellent customer service they’ve received.
If you’ve had any personal experience with Payment Depot, please feel free to leave a comment. We’re always looking for feedback from our readers about the companies we review.
Payment Depot earns an “excellent” in this category due to the very low complaint volume and the sizable number of positive testimonials that merchants have submitted on the company’s behalf.
Payment Depot FAQs
Wondering what Payment Depot is all about? Here’s what you need to know at a glance:
There are plenty of good reasons to recommend Payment Depot. Month-to-month billing, predictable monthly costs, and excellent customer support are all positive features that make the company stand out from most of its competitors. However, it’s the membership-based pricing that’s going to be the most important factor for most merchants in deciding whether to use them or a different company. Will you save money with this type of pricing? If the answer is yes, then it’s an excellent choice. If you have a stable processing history and know how much you process each month and what your average ticket size is, you can make a reasonably accurate estimate of what your costs will be under one of the company’s membership plans. If you’re just starting out or your costs vary widely each month, it will be harder to make an accurate comparison.
Our analysis of Payment Depot’s membership plans suggests that businesses that are well-established and have a processing volume of at least $10,000 per month will save the most money. Below that amount, you might end up paying more than you would with Square or a similar provider. Be aware, however, that you won’t get a full-service merchant account with Square or any of the other payment service providers (PSPs), and your account might be frozen or terminated without notice at any time. If your business is small but seeing steady growth, Payment Depot may be a better choice in the long run. Remember that it’s very easy to upgrade to a different membership plan if your business outgrows the processing limits of your current plan.
Overall, Payment Depot continues to score a very impressive 5 out of 5 stars. We’re very happy with the company’s responsive customer service, and its membership pricing plans will lead to savings in processing costs for the majority of merchants who sign up. It’s also easy to cancel if you sign up and later realize that the company’s pricing model isn’t cost-effective for your business. If none of Payment Depot’s standardized pricing plans work for you, be sure to ask about custom pricing. You might be able to negotiate a combination of prices and features that fit better with the needs of your business than any of the company’s standard plans. Lastly, high-risk merchants are out of luck, as Payment Depot doesn’t support these types of businesses. If you’re in this category, take a look at our article, Need A High-Risk Merchant Account? Here’s The Best Payment Processors To Work With, for some suggestions.
Credit Card Processor Rating Criteria.