Dharma Merchant Services: Transparent & Compassionate Payment Processing
Published: January 16th, 2024
Dharma Merchant Services, founded in 2007, is a San Francisco, California-based company that serves people in a variety of industries, including retail, service, and nonprofit organizations. They specialize in providing convenient credit card processing solutions to storefront and online businesses. They strive to provide fast and easy service that covers the needs of both merchants and customers on all levels.
Are you curious about how Dharma can meet your business needs? Our experts weigh in on the pros and cons. We'll help you decide if Dharma is right for your company.
About Dharma Merchant Services
Dharma Merchant Services is a full-service company that offers complete merchant services for business owners with online and brick-and-mortar businesses. At its inception, the idea was not to create just another merchant company, but one that would encourage environmental responsibility. They strive to distinguish themselves from other merchant account providers by supporting sustainable businesses.
Dharma aims to be honest and transparent in letting businesses know if they can work together or not. They want to support sustainable businesses as well as offer good service and rates to industries such as retail stores, service industries, nonprofit organizations, lodging and hospitality, healthcare, e-commerce, and B2B. If a business doesn't meet their criteria, Dharma will help them find a merchant service provider or refer them to a partner.
They provide complete merchant services that include online payment processing, and they are known for providing next-day funding for retailers, along with month-to-month agreements. Companies aren't locked into an annual contract, and there are no early termination fees.
Dharma works with locally owned businesses that follow environmentally friendly initiatives in their business practices. Companies that use green energy and practice recycling and reusing products are on the list. Dharma is also proud to work with businesses that are run by women and minorities. An attitude of caring goes a long way, and it helps companies to grow as part of a strong community.
Features Provided by Dharma Merchant Services
Dharma’s services impart a lot of value to applicable businesses. Among the many features they offer are the following:
- Virtual terminal: Dharma provides a free virtual terminal for processing credit card payments without the need for physical equipment
- Mobile processing: Businesses can accept payments through mobile devices, offering flexibility for merchants operating in various locations
- E-commerce solutions: Dharma offers e-commerce solutions designed to facilitate online sales, including online payment links, integration with popular shopping carts, and secure payment gateway options. As well, the Etab online ordering feature makes it easier for people to order online and arrange for pickup or delivery
- Online invoicing software: Dharma provides online invoicing software for virtual businesses, streamlining the invoicing process
- MX merchant app: The free MX Merchant mobile app, available for iOS and Android devices, allows businesses to store consumer payment information, access transaction history, and manage the entire payment process from one login
- Diverse, global payment acceptance: Dharma works with a variety of credit and debit cards. Their platform accepts various forms of payment, including electronic checks and ACH payments, and allows them to take online, in-person, and phone orders. Also, businesses can sell to customers worldwide using a system that converts international currency to US dollars
- Business insights and reporting: Dharma's online reporting tools help businesses track and analyze online transactions and financial data using powerful analytics tools derived from the generated actionable insights; which can be viewed on the MX Merchant Insights app
- Mobile and contactless solutions: Dharma offers a variety of contactless payment solutions, allowing businesses to provide customers with convenient and secure payment options
- Educational resources: Dharma provides easy access to comprehensive guides and materials to help businesses understand payment processing and merchant services
- Integration capabilities: Dharma integrates with the Authorize.Net payment gateway, allowing third-party business applications to integrate with their system for a collaborative approach to business management. They also integrate with physical equipment, like Clover POS systems and devices, some of which they sell directly on their website
With Dharma, your online business can enjoy two-business-day funding for your online store. Funds for credit card transactions are dispursed the next business day. Costs per credit card transaction generally depend on three things: the type of industry, the amount that's processed, and if the card is used for the purchases. There is no penalty for a limited amount of card transactions.
The Perks of Dharma Merchant Services
- Streamlined transactions: You can count on the swift processing of payments. Your online business would benefit from its customers being able to check out quickly and without a problem. Also, Special MX Merchant Express allows companies to receive payments anywhere on any device
- Enhanced security: Their strong anti-fraud protection keeps customer information safe and guards against data breaches
- Improved cash flow: Electronic payments are processed quickly and conveniently, and instant access to funds is available
- Customer convenience: You can give customers payment options that allow them to choose their payment method. This helps increase sales and improve the reputation of your business. To that effect, your Dharma account comes with a customer database with credit card storage
- Global reach: They give you the flexibility of worldwide sales with a system that converts all currency to US dollars
- Customizable plans: You can customize your payment processing and merchant solutions to fit a specific business model or scale. When using Dharma, you only pay for the tools you need
- 24/7 support: Their support team is available 24/7 to answer questions and resolve account issues. This eliminates wait times and disruptions
- No hidden fees: Dharma’s pricing is transparent and lacks any hidden costs, making it easy to know what you're paying for
- Robust reporting & insights: They aid your business in tracking and analyzing your online transactions and financial data using powerful analytical and reporting tools
- Eco-friendly options: Dharma Merchant Services supports green initiatives using paperless options. Your customers can receive electronic receipts, get invoices through email, and complete all transactions online
- Cancelation options: You can cancel your merchant account anytime, knowing that not all cancelations are permanent. You may close your account for one season and reopen at a later date, as long as that's done within six months
The Disadvantages of Dharma Merchant Services
- Complex pricing structure: Dharma's pricing structures and models are complex and challenging to follow. They also involve various high processing fees that may impact profit margins
- Contractual obligations: The term periods and requirements of their contracts may not align with your business needs
- Chargeback and dispute handling: Some chargebacks and disputes are complex and difficult to navigate
- Hardware costs: Their hardware for card readers and terminals may be costly
- System integration issues: According to some reports, integration with other POS systems may be faulty and unreliable
- Cancelation details at their discretion: They may impose a closure fee, as assessed by them, if you decide to discontinue your merchant account
Dharma Merchant Service Plans & Pricing
Dharma has unique plans for different businesses based on their industries, all with transparent pricing laid out on their website. Their pricing includes a $15 monthly fee or $12 for nonprofits. Some advertised plans may include a recurring billing fee, chargebacks, and other additional services.
Dharma charges interchange and assessment fees, plus margin fees for Visa and Mastercard. For example, an interchange fee of 0.05% + $0.22 is charged for a Visa-regulated debit. Assessment fees for this card are 0.13% + $0.02, and the margin fees are 0.20% + $0.11. This leaves a total of $0.73 for every $100 charged.
Their various processing and additional fees are laid out transparently online on separate pages for the various industries they serve.
Level of Data Security
Most Dharma customers report a good experience with data security and suggest strong fraud protection. Dharma works with Sysnet/PCI Protection and Trustwave to bring top-notch security to provide clients with $100,000 in data breach coverage. Dharma is PCI compliant, meaning it stores all credit card data safely for companies.
They enjoy a generally positive reputation from their clients based on online customer reviews on Trustpilot, where they receive a review score of 4.7 out of 5. However, there is very little feedback about them outside of that review forum, and there are only two complaints, no reviews, about them on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where they hold an A+ rating but no accreditation.
According to customer reviews, Dharma Merchant Services garners positive feedback on several critical aspects. A prevalent sentiment among customers is the appreciation for Dharma's commitment to data security. Many customers applaud the company for maintaining the safety of personal data, receiving high marks in this regard despite occasional reports of online fraud. The ability for customers to source their equipment independently is another aspect of Dharma's service that resonates well with users, contributing to overall customer satisfaction.
In terms of technical performance, some users express concerns about occasional glitches and downtime, highlighting potential interruptions to business obligations. The software's unreliability is a notable point of criticism, with instances where it has been described as glitchy, unreliable, and causing system shutdowns during transactions. While these technical issues are acknowledged, they do not appear to overshadow the positive aspects of the service for many customers.
Customer relations emerge as a strong point for Dharma, with current reviews reflecting high satisfaction. Praise is directed towards the company's prompt response to questions and concerns, with Google reviewers specifically noting representatives' expertise in explaining credit card processing intricacies. The consensus is that Dharma delivers exemplary service, characterized by quick response times, particularly in addressing equipment and software issues.
The usability of Dharma's services receives positive remarks from customers. The user-friendly website, coupled with staff promptness, courtesy, and knowledge in addressing tech queries over the phone, contributes to a high level of customer satisfaction. Many users express ease in transitioning from other providers to Dharma, highlighting the simplicity of the switch. However, amidst these positive sentiments, some customers find Dharma's pricing structures and models complex and challenging to follow, leading to varying fees that can impact profit margins.
Customer Service at Dharma
Dharma doles out its customer support by phone, email, or via resources found on their site.
You may call them at 866-615-5157 or email them at [email protected]. You may also submit a ticket to have them contact you. If you’re having trouble with a specific gateway or service, you may directly contact them by phone for immediate support.
The Bottom Line
Dharma is a reputable company that is rapidly expanding. Their goal is to offer high-quality merchant services to small businesses worldwide, assisting them in accepting online and in-person payments. With Dharma, merchants can securely process credit card payments online through a reliable portal. This can help instill confidence in everyone involved, ensuring that transactions can be carried out efficiently.
Dharma Merchant Services offers a range of features that cater to the needs of various businesses, with a focus on data security and user-friendly interfaces. While there are some concerns regarding technical issues and pricing structures, the company's strong customer relations and usability make it an attractive option for businesses seeking a reliable credit card processing solution. By addressing these concerns and continuously improving their services, Dharma has the potential to further enhance its reputation and better serve its customers.
When you're picking a financial service provider, it's wise to do your homework. Make sure to take a look at other payment processors and merchant services providers, like Stax or Stripe, on our reviews page, and then pit your finalists against each other using our comparison tool. Also, we're constantly dropping new blog articles that might help you out. We get it, choosing a processing service is no walk in the park, so we're here to simplify things for you.
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