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Is Authorize.net Legit?

January 22, 2023

While setting up your store, whether on or offline, you’ll find that the need for merchant services and payment gateways can be one of the trickiest parts of the experience. No, it’s not that merchant service providers are hard to find. It’s that there are so many of them that choosing just one becomes something of a struggle.

As you scour the web for a choice, you’ll find that Authorize.net often becomes a viable option. But with mixed reviews about the provider littering the web, it’s worth asking — is Authorize.net legit? Here’s what you need to know.

Authorize.net’s Background

Established in 1996, Authorize.net is one of the oldest existing payment gateway service providers. And that’s one of the reasons why they’re so extensively patronized throughout various markets — because they’ve been around for a while.

Most people associate a provider’s longevity with their success, and rightly so. Authorize.net has worked with some 430,000 merchants as of writing, possibly making them the leading payment gateway of our time.

Today, Authorize.net is owned and operated by Visa Inc. after being acquired by a multinational financial services corporation sometime in 2010. Needless to say, being owned by such a large-scale corporation also adds to the allure of Authorize.net as a viable payment gateway provider.

image of authorize.net services

Authorize.net Services

There are two main packages that the Authorize.net provider offers. The first is their Merchant Account + Payment Gateway solution that works for businesses that might not have a merchant account set up, and the second is the Gateway Only option.

Keep in mind that Authorize.net is not a merchant account. Instead, they work with a number of backend merchant service providers that place them in touch with a variety of banking partners. Merchants that opt for the Merchant Account + Payment Gateway option will be matched with an acquirer via the Authorize.net network.

Authorize.net offers a number of tools and solutions that help to streamline and secure the payment process. Like most other payment gateway and merchant service providers, they provide virtual terminals, mobile payments, eChecks, automated recurrent billing features, customer information management, and simple checkout.

All these tools help make the payment process that much easier for both buyer and merchant. And if you were worried about fraud and chargebacks, the provider also has a number of rugged, robust protection and detection features in place to mitigate the risk.

Is Authorize.net Involved in Any Lawsuits?

One good way to determine whether a payment gateway service provider is legitimate is by checking whether they’ve been involved in any lawsuits in the past. Fortunately for Authorize.net, they’ve got a pretty clean slate. Of course, that’s not to say that they haven’t received their fair share of client complaints. But none of those issues have escalated to the point of clients taking legal action against the provider.

Other than that, Authorize.net has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2009, and they’ve garnered an A+ rating based on the BBB’s standards. However, it’s important to note that the BBB’s ratings are anything but objective.

According to one article from CNN Money, even the BBB admits that its rating process is far from perfect. Some skeptics have even suggested that the BBB is a mere protection racket, accepting bribes to give good ratings to businesses that could use the boosted ego.

That’s why despite their A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, it seems that Authorize.net has still received overwhelmingly negative responses from their previous and present clients.

image of what do merchants say about authorize.net

What Do Merchants Have to Say About Authorize.net?

A quick look at the ratings and feedback that Authorize.net gets online makes it easy to see that there’s quite a range. Some clients and websites give the provider perfect ratings, while others that rate Authorize.net based on collective responses reach an average of 1.3 stars out of 5.

On their Better Business Bureau web page, the payment gateway service provider seems to provide prompt responses to clients and customers that post negative reviews about their services. They’ve received a total of 70 complaints in the past 3 years, and 23 of those were resolved in the last 12 months.

Now, if we’re putting things into perspective, an average of 23 or 24 complaints a year is not bad for a gateway that offers services on a scale of hundreds of thousands of clients. So even though many of the negative reviews on the site might point to the severe organization and support issues, the ratio of clients that complain versus those that don’t demonstrate that the provider might be better off than the negative reviews might reflect.

Another website with collated reviews about Authorize.net came to a total rating of 1.3 out of 5 stars. This was averaged from roughly 90 reviews — again, a small fraction of the total number of clients that Authorize.net works with.

So what do these numbers say? While it’s inevitable for a few disgruntled clients (typical for any financial product provider), the negligible ratio proves that Authorize.net still satisfies an overwhelming majority of clients that work with them. So if legitimacy were the question, the small number of negative reviews online might not be sufficient to place the provider’s integrity in question.

What Don’t Clients Like About Authorize.net?

Despite being a limited number, these negative responses might give some insight into where the provider might fall short in meeting clients’ expectations. Understanding what some clients ended up disliking about the services might help you better picture how Authorize.net would work to meet your needs.

  • Undisclosed fees – Most complaints stated that the provider would try to squeeze in fees that weren’t discussed during the onboarding process. One client stated that even after confronting the provider and removing the fees, Authorize.net would resume the deductions at a future time.

In most cases, the amounts being taken from the merchants were minimal. However, these small amounts may damage small-scale businesses, especially when collated over time.

  • Poor customer service – To be fair, Authorize.net claims that they have prompt and reliable customer support that their clients can easily reach through several channels. However, that doesn’t mean that the provider isn’t prone to the occasional oversight.

Numerous clients state that although the provider might quickly respond to hiccups in transaction processing and gateway features, they might not be as fast when resolving issues concerning fees and penalties that clients dispute.

image of what dont clients like about authorize.net

  • Withholding funds – This complaint might not be too familiar. However, those that experience the issue are often most adamant about their sentiments. Needless to say, any business owner barred from accessing his own money might be disgruntled, to say the least, and that explains why these clients may talk the way they do.

Authorize.net might take the opportunity to freeze funds and prevent clients from accessing them, but they can’t do this just because. There are stipulations in the contract that give Authorize.net the authority to hold funds, especially when there’s been a potential contract violation or if fraud is suspected.

  • Continued fees after cancellation – Some customers who were unhappy with the services they received decided to close their accounts and seek payment gateway services elsewhere. Unfortunately, upon checking their records, it would seem that Authorize.net continued to take fees out of their accounts after closure.

On the upside, Authorize.net promptly refunded any funds mistakenly debited from the account after closing it. However, some clients warn that merchants might have to manually inform Authorize.net after closing their accounts to ensure the same doesn’t happen.

Should You Work with Authorize.net?

With close to half a million merchants under their belt and just roughly 160 complaints on record on the internet, Authorize.net maintains its eligibility as a viable and trustworthy payment gateway service provider. These guys have long been in the business and are operated by one of the world’s largest financial corporations.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t have a run-in with a frustrating hiccup along the way. But if you read the fine print, familiarize yourself with your contract, and don’t hesitate to reach out at the first sign of a problem, it’s more likely that you’ll have those issues resolved promptly and efficiently.

Is Authorize.net Legit?

The bottom line is yes, they are. While they’ve had their fair share of complaints, many of them are resolved. Many of the complaints posted online are rooted in merchants’ lack of knowledge and understanding regarding the contracts they signed. So if you were looking to pair up with a trusted merchant service and payment gateway provider, Authorize.net might be what you’re looking for.

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