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Authorize.net Review: Great Software, But That’s It [2024]

Emma Ayres Emma Ayres Finance Specialist

Authorize.net’s payment gateway is one of the best. With fantastic security features and plenty of integrations, you’ll get everything you need to power your e-commerce business. That said, there’s very little support for in-person payments. If you want to use Authorize.net, I recommend using a certified reseller like Leaders Merchant Services to get a complete payment processing package.

Overview

POS equipment One card reader available for purchase
Payment methods accepted Credit and debit cards, digital wallets, ACH
Payout times Within 24 hours
Contract length Monthly (no cancellation fees)
Customer support 24/7 phone, email, knowledge base
Security PCI-compliant, advanced fraud detection and prevention, end-to-end encryption, tokenization, multi-factor authentication

A Mixed Bag of Great Software and Not Much Else

Authorize.net summary
Authorize.net promises to help your business with everything it needs – but it doesn’t always deliver

If you’ve been comparing payment processors, then you’ll likely recognize Authorize.net. It’s one of the most popular payment gateway and virtual terminal solutions for US-based businesses. However, it offers far more than just payment software – you can also use it as your payment processor.

Its strengths clearly lie in e-commerce support: you’ll get fantastic and easy-to-use (if dated) software. The downside is that Authorize.net only works with one specific card reader model, so it’s not a good choice if you need to take more than the occasional card-present transaction. In combination with its monthly fee and flat rate pricing, I’d only recommend getting an Authorize.net merchant account if you’re a small, low-volume e-commerce business.

Fortunately, you’re not limited to using Authorize.net as your payment processor. Thanks to its certified reseller program, you can purchase Authorize.net’s software through another payment processor. This means that you can get the payment processing features (and customer support!) your business needs while using a more affordable payment processor. Our top recommendation, Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) is a great choice for almost all mid-volume merchants.

I’ve spent dozens of hours researching Authorize.net to see whether it’s worth your time and money. Keep on reading to see if it’s a good fit for your business.

4.0

Features

Great for E-Commerce, But In-Person Payments Are an Afterthought

Authorize.net’s feature set is odd, to say the least. Its software is fantastic and can easily power almost any kind of e-commerce business. However, businesses that accept payments in person will find themselves limited – Authorize.net only supports one specific card reader. Businesses that need to process card-present transactions should use a reseller like LMS to provide this service and get a better deal on payment processing.

Limited In-Person POS Support

If you take anything more than the occasional in-person payment, then Authorize.net isn’t for you. Authorize.net’s card reader only accepts EMV and swiped payments. Given that contactless payments (and particularly mobile wallets) are the most popular way to pay, you’ll likely lose sales if you can’t accommodate these payment methods. You’ll only be able to use the card reader alongside Authorize.net’s virtual POS (or VPOS) software, too.

Authorize.net's card reader
You’ll also need to purchase a separate cable if you’re connecting the Authorize.net reader to a Mac computer

At just over $100, and with payment plans available, it’s certainly not a terrible option. However, thanks to payment processors that partner with Authorize.net, you don’t have to be limited to this lackluster POS offering. Flagship Merchant Services offers free equipment in addition to Authorize.net’s software, allowing you to get the best of both worlds.

Industry-Leading Software

Authorize.net’s biggest strength, by far, lies in its payment gateway and virtual terminal. You can seamlessly integrate Authorize.net with most popular e-commerce platforms, making it even easier to get paid online. In addition, it also offers “buy now” buttons that allow customers to purchase (or donate) in just a few clicks.

Authorize.net’s virtual terminal
The UI is a little dated, but Authorize.net’s virtual terminal is one of the best around

Authorize.net’s virtual terminal also gives you plenty of options. Not only can you process card payments, but you can also choose to capture card details to store in the Customer Information Manager (CIM) tool for invoicing and subscription payments. You’ll also be able to process ACH transactions (or eChecks) using the virtual terminal, which is a great option to have for businesses that handle large transactions.

Enough Payment Options – But You’ll Have to Configure Digital Wallets Yourself

Authorize.net states that it accepts all popular credit and debit cards, digital wallets, and ACH transactions. But there’s a key omission here – if you want to accept Google Pay and Apple Pay, you’ll have to set these up manually. This won’t be too tricky to do if you’ve got any software development experience, as Authorize.net’s developer kit has great documentation to help you. However, it’s far from ideal.

The good news is that Authorize.net offers a 24-hour payout time as standard. You’ll get this payout time regardless of whether you’re using Authorize.net’s merchant account or payment gateway.

Built-in CRM Tool

Authorize.net’s software includes a fantastic built-in CRM named the Customer Information Manager (CIM), which allows you to create and store customer data like payment information and billing and shipping addresses. You can also set up and manage recurring billing and subscription payments with just a few clicks.

If your business relies on ongoing billing, it’s also worth using Authorize.net’s account updater. For a small extra fee, Authorize.net will automatically update expired cards held in customer accounts so your cash flow (and the service you provide to customers) won’t be interrupted.

4.0

Ease of use

A Little Dated, but Relatively Easy to Set Up and Use

If you need to get a payment software solution set up quickly and with no fuss, then Authorize.net is a good choice. You can apply online with a short form and, in some cases, you’ll receive a same-day notification as to whether your application was successful. However, with little to no onboarding to speak of, you’ll be better served by setting up Authorize.net through a reseller like Leaders Merchant Services if you need extra support.

Getting Started With Authorize.net

To apply for an Authorize.net account, head to the Authorize.net homepage. Hover over Pricing and click Get started. From there, click the Sign up now button underneath the solution your business needs – the application process is the same whether you need the all-in-one solution or just the payment gateway.

Authorize.net's application form
You can also call Authorize.net for help during the process

From there, you’ll need to fill out a short application form. It’s considerably shorter than most application forms I’ve seen, so it should take around 5 minutes to complete if you’ve got the information on hand. Once you’ve filled this out, check the box to agree to the service agreement and fees, then click I Agree and Submit.

Merchant account approval can take up to five business days. If you’re applying to use the payment gateway, Authorize.net has an auto-approval process and you can start processing e-commerce payments within minutes.

Power Your Online Business With 140+ Integrations

Authorize.net helps you to run your e-commerce business efficiently with its range of 140+ integrations. On top of integrating with most popular e-commerce platforms, it even offers integrations with some more niche services like CyptolVR (a cloud-based telephone payments tool) and 4aGoodCause (an online fundraising platform).

The search tool also lets you filter integrations based on which tools it works with. So, if you have a WooCommerce site, you can narrow your search down to integrations that help you to connect Authorize.net and WooCommerce with that tool.

Powerful Developer Kit

Authorize.net’s developer kit
If you need to build a custom integration or payment feature, Authorize.net’s developer kit will help

Authorize.net’s developer kit is one of the best I’ve come across. Not only does it have the API library and documentation you’d expect, but you’ll also get guides for different use cases, testing, and upgrading. There’s also a sandbox for testing and GitHub repositories with even more documentation.

The developer kit also offers plenty of support through a community forum, FAQs, and a developer blog. And, if you’re still struggling, you can hire a certified developer to build the solution you need.

3.0

Pricing

Decent Pricing, but You Can Get Better Elsewhere

Authorize.net has two main pricing options. You can either choose the all-in-one option to get a merchant account and a payment gateway, or you can pay for the payment gateway on its own. Neither of these options comes with any setup fee or cancellation fees, and you won’t be locked into a contract.

If you need the merchant account, then you’ll pay a flat rate of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. On top of that, you’ll pay $25.00 per month for the payment gateway, as well as a small additional fee for international payments or over-the-phone payments.

Flat rate pricing is good for small, low-volume businesses, but you’ll probably find that, as your business grows, you can find a better deal elsewhere. Mid-size businesses and above, or high-volume businesses, will likely save a lot of money with CreditCardProcessing.com. Thanks to this processor’s subscription-style pricing, you can use Authorize.net’s great software while conserving your business’s budget.

If you’ve already got a merchant account with another processor, then you can choose the payment gateway-only option. You’ll pay the same monthly fee, plus a 10¢ transaction fee and batch processing fee. This option gives you the flexibility to find a better payment processing deal elsewhere, but it’s not always the best avenue to purchase the payment gateway yourself.

That’s because Authorize.net resellers typically set their own pricing, which means you’ll usually get a better deal elsewhere. Leaders Merchant Services, for example, doesn’t charge the additional transaction and batch processing fee, which is a great deal for mid-volume e-commerce businesses.

Is the price worth it? It’s an overwhelming no for the all-in-one option, given the fact that in-person payments feel like an afterthought. While the payment gateway-only option isn’t bad, you can do a lot better by purchasing its software through a certified reseller.

5.0

Compliance & Security

Authorize.net Keeps Your Money and Data Safe

Authorize.net is well-known for offering industry-leading security and powerful fraud controls. As a subsidiary of Visa, you can be sure that data you send through Authorize.net is protected by Visa’s enhanced security practices. You’ll also get help with PCI compliance via a third-party service.

PCI Compliance & More

In addition to being PCI Level 1 compliant, Authorize.net is compliant with HIPAA, California SB1386 (which provides extra data protection for California businesses and users), and more.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS, or PCI for short) is a vital data security standard that both merchants and payment processors must adhere to. Fortunately, Authorize.net will guide you through the compliance process, which is particularly helpful for new businesses that are unfamiliar with PCI.

You’ll get access to SecurityMetrics, which is a third-party service that helps merchants with PCI compliance. Once you’ve set up a SecurityMetrics account, one of its PCI experts will guide you through the appropriate Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) for your business.

Bear in mind that if you’re using the payment gateway-only option, you may need a different PCI compliance support option. This is why I recommend working with Leaders Merchant Services, as this payment processor’s support team will help you to achieve and maintain compliance.

Additional Security Features

Authorize.net's fraud detection suite
Authorize.net’s customizable fraud filters are the best way to avoid becoming a statistic

Perhaps the biggest thing Authorize.net is known for is its fraud detection suite. This tool has 10+ transaction filters covering things like address mismatches, transaction amount caps, and more. You can customize these to suit your business.

Each filter allows you to customize its criteria – including whether you want to use it. So, you’ll be able to define an upper limit of transactions per hour to prevent high-volume fraud attacks, but you can turn the filter off temporarily if needed. Once you’ve set the criteria, you can choose whether transactions that meet that filter’s criteria are automatically blocked, held for manual review, or authorized and placed into a review list.

Authorize.net will also purge customer payment information from its systems a year after you discontinue using its CIM tool. So, if you decide to move your customer’s payment data to a different service, you can rest assured that it isn’t held longer than necessary.

2.5

Customer Support

Mixed Messages and Limited Availability Makes for a Frustrating Experience

Authorize.net offers a 24/7 phone line, or you can contact its customer support via an email form. There’s also a fantastic knowledge base with plenty of support articles. Once you’ve set up your merchant account, you’ll also be able to use live chat. It sounds great in theory, as it means that there’s always someone available to support you if something goes wrong.

Regrettably, I cannot assert with certainty that this holds true. Getting in touch with a customer support representative over the phone consumed 30 minutes, a situation less than ideal when confronted with an urgent concern. The agent I conversed with displayed a sufficient level of friendliness, though extracting an answer necessitated reiterating my inquiry multiple times.

In particular, I asked the agent about selling in person, to which he told me that I could either use the hardware I had or purchase a device from Authorize.net. I responded that the website led me to believe that I could only use a device from Authorize.net, and he put me on hold again.

After 10 minutes, he returned and told me that I was right, but both the mobile reader and desktop reader would cover all the payment methods I needed. I asked if I could see the specifications for the mobile reader as I couldn’t find them on the website I was directed to, and after a brief silence, he responded that “it appears we don’t have a mobile device anymore, sorry.”

Overall, I got the impression that I knew what Authorize.net was offering far better than customer support, which doesn’t fill me with confidence that help would be available if I needed it.

In addition, as of the time of writing, I never received a response to the support request I submitted through the email form.

In short, I can’t recommend Authorize.net if you’re not confident diagnosing and solving issues on your own. Fortunately, by paying for Authorize.net through a payment processor, you don’t have to rely on its nearly non-existent customer support. For instance, Leaders Merchant Services provides fantastic 24/7 phone support.

Comparison

How does Authorize.net match up to the competition?

Leaders Merchant ServicesCompareOur Score4.8Compare
PAYARCCompareOur Score4.7Compare
Authorize.netCompareOur Score3.7Compare
QuickBooks PaymentsCompareOur Score3.5Compare

Authorize.net REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

Authorize.net provides industry-leading payment software tools, but the rest of its offerings leave a lot to be desired. The lack of in-person payment options isn’t great for anyone who needs to take more than the occasional card-present payment, so the all-in-one option isn’t worth the money. Not only that, but the promised 24/7 support didn’t live up to expectations – and that’s when I did receive a reply.

The only part of Authorize.net I’d recommend is its software suite, but even then, purchasing this directly from the source isn’t optimal. Instead, if you want to use Authorize.net’s software, I’d recommend purchasing it through Leaders Merchant Services. You’ll get the best of both worlds with Authorize.net’s fantastic software and LMS’s (actually helpful) 24/7 support, great pricing, and range of POS options.

These are the key things you need to know about using Authorize.net:
Pros Cons
  • Fraud detection suite with customizable features
  • Built-in Customer Information Manager tool
  • Flexible payment gateway-only plan
  • Flat rate pricing isn’t ideal for most businesses
  • Only one supported card reader
  • Outdated UI and buggy mobile app

FAQ

Is Authorize.net secure?

Authorize.net is one of the most secure payment gateway options on the market. As required by its PCI Level 1 compliance, Authorize.net uses end-to-end encryption and tokenization to protect your data. It also helps you to keep your money secure with its industry-leading fraud detection suite, which allows you to set customizable filters to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions.

What percentage does Authorize.net take?

Authorize.net charges a flat rate of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. On top of this, you’ll pay a monthly fee to use its payment gateway, plus additional fees for international transactions, payments over the phone, and chargebacks. Overall, Authorize.net’s merchant account pricing isn’t great value for the service you get – you’d be better off with a reseller like Leaders Merchant Services.

Does Authorize.net require an SSN?

Yes. To sign up for Authorize.net, you will need to be a US citizen with a social security number. This is something that almost all payment processors require. However, unlike payment processors, you won’t be asked for a lot of additional documentation, so applying for a merchant account with Authorize.net is relatively easy.

Can I accept PayPal with Authorize.net?

Yes! Authorize.net supports PayPal Express Checkout, which you can configure within your Authorize.net account settings. If you need to add any additional PayPal features, you can use Authorize.net’s API library to build them yourself or hire a certified developer to help you.
Emma Ayres Emma Ayres
Emma is a freelance content writer who specializes in thoughtful and insightful blogs and articles. Her main passion is the intersection of human behavior and modern technology, particularly in the context of marketing and cybersecurity. Outside of work, Emma loves video games, superhero movies, crochet, and cuddling her German Shepherd.
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