Guide to Costco Merchant Accounts

Allison Martin
Costco

Through its financial partner, Elavon, Costco offers payment processing solutions to its merchant members.

Services

Costco's payment solutions simplify the collection of funds generated from sales and allows merchants to accept payments from customers in a variety of ways.

Credit and Debit Card Processing

This service allows businesses to merge transaction processing functions from start to finish for payment made with various credit card products. These include:

  • Visa
  • Discover
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Diner's Club International
  • China Union Pay
  • JCB

Elavon also handles purchases made with a debit, EBT, fleet or corporate purchasing cards.

Electronic Check Services

Through this service, paper checks are rapidly transformed into electronic form and processed with ease. This prevents you from having to make numerous trips to the bank solely for the purpose of making deposits.

Benefits

The card processing and electronic check services boost efficiency and provide merchants with many other benefits.

Funds Quickly Accessible

Funds are available for use within 24 to 48 hours of the initial transaction. This enables merchants to be flexible with the payment options offered and avoid overdraft fees.

Card processing

All-In-One Service

Unlike many other merchant processors, Elavon handles all aspects of transaction processing, from authorization to customer support. A review from Review My Processor praised Elavon for being proactive and one of the largest international processing platforms. With an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and a track record of over two billion processed transactions for over one million merchants, they are quite seasoned in the payment processing arena and are equipped with the tools needed to handle large levels of merchant activity.

Extensive Reporting

Accountholders can easily review and analyze transactions using Merchant Connect. This function enables you to generate various management reports, including settlement and batch summaries. You can also query data by factors including payment type, credit card or check number and authorization ID. A variety of variables can also be selected for inclusion into a report that can be exported to a spreadsheet for a more detailed review.

Drawbacks

As with any payment processing program, there are drawbacks you should consider.

Complex Fee System

As noted by a review from National Processing, Costco does offer merchants a 1.38% fee to process transactions. However, few cards actually qualify. The fee structure is as follows:

Retail Storefront E-Commerce
Standard Card (without rewards) 1.38% + $0.19 per transaction 1.99% + $0.25 per transaction
Rewards Card 1.99% + $0.19 per transaction 1.99% + $0.25 per transaction
Corporate Card 2.65% + $0.29 per transaction 2.65% + $0.29 per transaction
Government or International Card 3.35% + $0.29 per transaction 3.35% + $0.29 per transaction

The fee structure can be a major drawback for those merchants who operate on a much smaller scale than many others in their industry.

Poor Customer Service

In some instances, reviewers from Credit Card Forum report being given inaccurate information from customer service representatives regarding the tiered fee system and actual account data. One business owner claims he was hung up on while attempting to seek clarification about delayed deposits.

Hidden Fees

Accountholders are responsible for paying a monthly usage fee each month for Elavon's payment processing services. In the event that the terminal becomes inoperable, merchants are also responsible for the cost of repairs necessary to get the machine back up and running.

Because fees of this sort are not largely advertised during the registration phase, reviewers from Credit Card Forum strongly suggest that those considering the service carefully review all aspects of the contract to avoid being caught off guard by these expenses.

Reviewers from Card Fellow also noted their dissatisfaction with the cancelation rate of $295, which is the industry standard, assessed to merchants if the three year contract is breached.

How to Apply

To apply for a payment processing account:

Is a Costco Merchant Account Right for You?

Prior to applying for the programs offered by Elavon, be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of each agreement. Research other payment options before making your final decision to make sure you select the option that is best for you and your business.

Guide to Costco Merchant Accounts