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Luminous Payments’ (surprisingly) low prices, top-notch merchant support, and variety of POS offerings make it an exciting prospect for small- to medium-sized businesses that deal primarily with card-present transactions. That said, Luminous Payments is pretty new to the world of credit card processing, and its inexperience might be off putting to some merchants.
Luminous Payments bills itself as a modern, merchant-friendly credit card processor for small and medium-sized businesses. On its website, Luminous promises to “empower local small businesses nationwide.” But with very little time in the field and little publicly available information about this processor online – both from merchants and Luminous itself – the question is, does it actually deliver?
After spending many hours researching this company and sifting through what public information is available, I can confidently say that Luminous really is a fantastic choice for brick-and-mortar businesses with a modest online presence. If you’re a small business looking for a reliable solution, you’re sure to appreciate the wide choice of pricing plans, easy-to-use service, and outstanding merchant support you’ll get with Luminous.
On the other hand, Luminous has neither the internal structure nor the broader offering of merchant services that many larger enterprises require, such as loan programs and proprietary software. The shortage of information about this processor available online might also be enough to deter some merchants, at least for now.
So, is Luminous Payments the right processor for you, or are you better off with a more established solution? Read on to find out.
Luminous Offers Quality, but Not a Whole Lot of Quantity
Luminous Payments offers all the basic features you’d expect from a credit card processor. But while these essentials are generally top-notch, Luminous could benefit from expanding its offering.
An Impressive Variety of POS Devices
If you sign up with Luminous, you’ll get a free B250 Bluetooth reader. This portable, square-shaped reader can connect to any Android or iOS phone. For a more advanced portable option, you can get a classic wireless terminal for very little cost.
Terminal options include the HotSauce POS, which is a countertop device designed for restaurants. It offers table tracking, options for table timing, check-splitting, and more.
Luminous also offers the full roster of Clover POS equipment, including their sleek-looking, multifunctional solutions for card-present transactions.
Indeed, the sheer variety of equipment for card-present tractions that Luminous offers is one of its strongest suits. Regardless of your business type, you’ll be able to find and purchase the ideal POS solution from Luminous directly. And if you already own POS equipment, Luminous can most likely reconfigure it for free, so long as it meets modern security standards.
Unfortunately, Luminous doesn’t offer as many options for e-commerce. The only solution available is an integration with the NMI gateway. Fortunately, the NMI gateway is fantastic.
NMI allows you to set up a virtual terminal for all your card-not-present transactions, and it includes over 120 shopping cart integrations for popular software and web builders like Wix, WordPress, and BigCommerce. It also comes with special features like recurring billing, QR code billing, and reporting tools.
Accepts (Almost) Every Kind of Payment
Luminous Payments really does live up to its promise to serve local businesses by accepting almost any payment method your customers might use. With Luminous, you can accept chipped and swiped payments from all major credit and debit cards.
For contactless payments, every Luminous POS device accepts NFC payments made with Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay. While the options to accept PayPal and cryptocurrency would be welcome, Luminous accepts more than enough payment options to ensure that you never miss a sale.
If you’re already using a credit card processor but you’re looking to make a switch, you’ll benefit from Luminous Payments’ Guaranteed Savings Program. With the program, Luminous promises to pay you $1000 if they can’t save you money on your processing costs.
You can’t lose out either way, so it’s definitely worth giving Luminous a chance to beat your current rates.
Ease of use
Easy To Set Up and Use, but Information Is Lacking
Luminous Payments provides an incredibly user-friendly service, which makes it all the more frustrating that there isn’t more information prominently displayed on its site. Luminous provides the hands-on assistance that can be a lifeline for new merchants, but it shouldn’t be so much of a pain to find that out.
Getting Started With Luminous Payments
To sign up with Luminous Payments, all you need to do is head over to its website and click on “Get Quote.” You’ll be redirected to a page to fill out a short form. Alternatively, you can call the sales office directly.
Either way, you’ll get to speak to a representative who will discuss the ideal plan for you before opening an account. The representative will ask you to provide an SSN, a bank statement or voided check, and your business address.
After submitting all the relevant information and your email address, the representative will send you an electronic application. Once you’ve reviewed the document, all you have to do is sign it and send it back. At the moment, Luminous Payments doesn’t seem to have any restrictions on the type of industries it serves.
Time is of the essence for many small businesses. Fortunately, you shouldn’t have to wait long to start processing credit cards with Luminous. Thanks to its efficient application process, you could be approved on the same day that you submit your application. Once approved, you can receive your equipment and start processing payments in a couple of days.
Get Important Information From the Resources Page
Though it couldn’t hurt to add some information on PCI compliance, average payout times, and the various integrations available, Luminous’ Resources page has plenty of useful information. The FAQ section in particular – where you can find detailed information on the application process – takes much of the uncertainty out of the onboarding experience.
A Pricing Plan for Every Merchant
If Luminous Payments stands out in any regard, it’s for its low monthly fees and large variety of payment plans. In fact, Luminous Payments is one of very few processors out there to offer as many as five different pricing models. Each model has its pros and cons, but more options almost always means a better deal for merchants.
The different plans are:
Cash Discount. If you mostly accept cash payments, or if your revenue would be severely affected by payout fees, the Cash Discount plan is an ideal solution. This lets you pass on a 3.9% processing fee to customers paying with a credit or debit card, which translates to a discount of about 3.7% to cash-paying customers.
Flat Rate. If you don’t want to pass costs down to customers but also want to keep things simple, you can go for the Flat Rate pricing plan. This charges a 2.95% on every transaction, regardless of card type and brand.
Tiered Rate. The Tiered Rate keeps things fairly simple, while allowing you to pay less than Luminous’ flat rate for many transactions. The Tiered Rate groups all accepted cards under three tiers: Qualified, Mid-Qualified, and Non-Qualified. The rate per card-present transaction is around 1.59% + 5¢ for Qualified cards, 2% + 5¢ for Mid-Qualified, and 2.45% + 18¢ for Non-Qualified.
Interchange+. If you want to pay exactly no more or less than you should for each transaction, then the Interchange+ plan is right for you. With Interchange+, you pay the interchange fee incurred by each card type, plus a small service fee charged by Luminous on top.
Custom. Finally, if none of the previous options suit you and you prefer to mix and match features, you can do just that. Luminous extends the option to create a plan custom-tailored to your needs.
Besides its transaction fees (which vary according to plan), Luminous Payments charges a flat monthly fee of $10, plus a $6 fee to use the NMI gateway. There are no monthly fees for the POS equipment. Instead, you can buy your equipment outright for anywhere from $55 to $1000+, depending on what you need.
Compliance & Security
Complete Security for You and Your Clients
Though you won’t find a lot of information about its security features on its website, Luminous ensures safe processing for you and your customers. Besides offering free PCI assistance, each piece of equipment that Luminous provides comes with its own additional security features.
PCI Compliance & More
In the words of one sales representative, Luminous offers “top-notch PCI.” What does that mean? Well, besides being fully PCI certified, Luminous offers PCI compliance assistance to all of its merchants free of charge.
That means that almost as soon as you sign up with Luminous Payments, you’ll have the help you need to ensure that your business follows every standard set by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. If you’re still not PCI compliant, Luminous charges a monthly $20 noncompliance fee, which is among the lowest in the industry.
Although the security protocols offered by Luminous Payments itself end with PCI compliance, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get extra security for your business. All the hardware offered by Luminous come with their own measures for added security.
For example, every POS system has end-to-end encryption. The Clover systems go even further with Clover Security Plus. While you’ll need to get in touch with Clover directly to activate this service (and it comes at a premium), it’s worth it if you’re looking for an extra layer of security. Security Plus offers fraud prevention and a security score to help you assess your risk level.
For card-not-present transactions, the NMI gateway is both PCI and GDPR compliant. NMI offers point-to-point encryption, two-factor authorization, and tokenization. NMI is also constantly testing its own service for faults to ensure that its security measures are always up to date.
Friendly and Helpful Support, but Not Always Timely
Luminous Payments offers two support channels. You can either file a ticket through the Contact Us section of the website, or call the toll-free number. The sales number is only available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (PT), but the merchant support line is available 24/7.
I filed a ticket with the following questions:
What’s the average transaction fee with the flat rate pricing option?
What are the average transaction fees with the tiered rate pricing?
Do you charge for PCI compliance assistance?
After about 20 minutes, I received an email from the Chief Sales Officer to let me know that a support representative would contact me soon. Sure enough, one day later, I received an email from a support representative… to set me up for a call.
I’d called once before to test the responsiveness of Luminous’ support, getting through to a representative in under 3 minutes. This time, I received a phone call exactly on schedule. On both occasions, the support representative was extremely friendly and answered my questions in full. I was also able to find useful answers to common questions in the FAQ section.
Overall, Luminous Payments offers excellent phone support and a useful FAQ page. The ticket system, however, can take a fair amount of time to deliver a useful response. In my experience, you can get a much quicker response by calling Luminous directly.
How does Luminous Payments match up to the competition?
Luminous Payments is a relatively new contender in the arena of credit card processing. This is reflected in its relative lack of specialized features and the short supply of publicly available information about this provider online, both from merchants and from Luminous itself.
Still, there’s no denying that Luminous’ outstanding prices, plan variety, and impressive hardware selection make it an exciting option for small and medium-sized businesses. It certainly has the potential to become a formidable competitor in the world of payment processing – one that we might see climbing the ranks soon.
What is Luminous Payments?Luminous Payments is a merchant services provider specializing in credit card processing for small businesses across the US. A credit card processor allows you to take debit and credit card payments in exchange for a small per-transaction fee.Is Luminous Payments trustworthy?At the moment, there is very little information regarding Luminous Payments in the public domain, which might give some merchants pause for thought. Still, Luminous’ transparent pricing, professional support agents, and array of security measures suggest that it’s a trustworthy option for small and medium-sized businesses.What kind of business should use Luminous Payments?Thanks to its hands-on support and wide selection of POS equipment, Luminous Payments is an ideal choice for local businesses. There are also five different pricing plans to choose from depending on your particular business and budget, including a cash discount plan that allows you to offset your processing costs by passing these on to your card-paying customers.What is the best credit card processor for small businesses?There is no exact answer to this question because every business is different. A mom-and-pop coffee shop will have different needs than a locally owned retail store.
That said, Luminous Payments was created specifically to help small businesses flourish, and it’s a great merchant services provider to consider. Still, if you want to take a deeper look at all your options, you can check out our list of the best credit card processors in 2022.
Andrés Gánem is a Colorado-born, Mexico-City-raised freelance writer and content creator. He’s been doing that for a while. When he’s not writing, he should be, but you can find him reading adventure novels, playing video games, or drinking frankly unhealthy amounts of coffee. If you see him, tell him to put down that coffee. He’s shaky enough as it is.