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Dharma saw its beginning back in 2007 when Jeff Marcous, the former regional manager for Cardservice International, then SVP of Sales and Marketing at Authorize.Net—along with his daughter Alexia Marcous, Dharma Merchant Services brings together a perfect storm of services to create a solution to fit the small business owner’s needs. The Marcous family created DMS in order to render their business minded ethos as a perfect go-to solution with small businesses in mind.
This service is top of the line, and you will see why within our extensive review of the in’s and out’s of the company as a whole. Dharma begins its success with a really potent advertising and sales transparency strategy, unlike any other in the industry. A main contribution to their success is their interchange-plus pricing model, instead of annoying termination fees, annual fees, and monthly/application fees. It’s one of those situations where you look at the fantastic policy the company dictates—with the customer’s interest in mind, and you wonder how they turn a profit at all. In addition to their fantastic infrastructure, they also manage to donate $100k in profit every year to charity. Can you believe that? It may seem like this company is too good to be true, and I thought the same thing too at first, trust me. The fact of the matter is that Dharma isn’t a desperate, money-grabbing company hell-bent on leaving merchants penniless. Huh, that does seem odd, doesn’t it? If that wasn’t enough, Dharma is also considered a certified green business and B-corp.
At a company like Dharma, you don’t have to play the guessing game when it comes to pricing. There is a clear indication of what you will pay pasted right on their main homepage, with the standard rate and fee info easily at your disposal. Wow what a wild and crazy concept, offering your customers the truth in pricing up-front. You might be asking yourself, “so what, they advertise their prices on their website, big whoop?” Well, let me tell you firsthand, there is no absolute certainty this will be the case with every merchant account service. This service comes highly regarded, and we put it at a 9.5/10, it’s that good.
Let’s start with what has been touted as Dharma’s saving grace: their pricing model. Dharma Merchant Service provides the perfect fee and rate model, offering customers interchange-plus and only interchange-plus. Many of the processors we’ve come across refuse to disclose that cost-plus pricing is even a thing. In addition, many companies will attempt to set you up with a tiered pricing model before they suggest anything else, an easy money grab and typical tactic. Dharma, for one reason or another, does not fall into this tired practice. They give you the goods, from start to finish. Beyond that, instead of setting you up with a multiple thousand dollar third-party lease for your credit machine, Dharma asks you to buy one outright for approximately $300 and makes no fees unknown at any point. This machine accepts EMV chip cards, and is NFC-ready, available for accepting mobile payments like Apple Pay, of course.
If you have for some reason already set up one, they’ll reprogram your existing for a $100 fee, but alternatively, you may want to opt for a new EMV-capable terminal, which will be necessary by the end of 2015 anyway.
Here are the rates and fees involved for this glorious service in its shining splendor:
|Transaction Fee||0.25% + $0.10 above actual cost|
|AVS Fee||$0.05 AVS fee applies only to keyed-in transactions|
|Transaction Fee||0.35% + $0.15 per transaction above actual cost|
|AVS Fee||The AVS fee is included in the per transaction fee|
(only applies if you require the service)
0.35% + $0.20
(includes AVS fee, gateway transaction fee, and standard authorization fee)
Dharma, for all its goodness, does disclose a few pesky incidental fees, all of which would always be the case regardless of the provider you choose.
(charged per batch of transactions submitted, usually once per day)
(charged only when a customer disputes a transaction)
(charged only when a chargeback occurs)
|Account Closure Fee||$25
(cover the expense continual record keeping, not the same as an early termination fee)
Dharma retains a very “what you see is what you get” philosophy when it comes to what you get with their service. This is truly a one-stop shop for merchants. Everything you’d possibly need is provided to you in droves when you enlist Dharma’s service.
Some of the main features worth mentioning when it comes to Dharma has to be:
- Merchant accounts: Dharma is one of the companies that use a slightly different backend processor to run transactions depending on what your particular needs are as a merchant. Dharma boasts excellent deals when it comes to
Dharma’s suite of features make accessing the solution fairly easy, with little headaches involved. The pricing model is also fairly easy to gain a grasp of, therefore making it to decide which package is most appropriate for your business. If for any reason you are not satisfied with the service, there is a bit of a hoop to jump through in order to pull yourself out. There is a mandatory $25 account closure fee. $25 gets you out free and clear though, so I have to add this to the list of seamless features to the service. After all, the company needs to turn a profit somewhere, so $25 is really no big deterrent in all fairness.