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45 User Reviews

3.5

Overall Score

LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019

Founded in 2007, Dharma Merchant Services is a San Francisco-based merchant service provider that offers credit card payment solutions on a fair pricing scale. The company currently serves thousands of small businesses in retail and other service industries, as well as nonprofits.

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The Good

  • Low Terminal Pricing
  • Rate Transparency
  • Lack of Certain Fees
  • Representation Across Numerous Industries

Low Terminal Pricing

Dharma Merchant Services strives to provide a fair platform that incorporates low terminal pricing. For storefront and point-of-sale transactions, businesses can expect to pay 0.25 percent plus $0.10 per transaction above interchange. Restaurants receive discounted pricing of 0.20 percent plus $0.07 per transaction above interchange. These rates and costs are reasonable compared to industry averages.

B2B merchants will do especially well with Dharma if they choose to use MX, the company's internal payment gateway. While utilizing the MX gateway, B2B merchants can auto-qualify for additional interchange reductions that can add up to thousands of dollars in savings. 

Rate Transparency

Dharma Merchant Services is extremely transparent with its pricing and fees; a full disclosure of these charges is available on the company's website. Dharma's pricing structure breakdown is as follows:

  • Monthly Fee: $10/month
  • Interchange + Margins: Dependant on business
    • Retail: 0.25% + $0.10/authorization
    • Restaurant: 0.20% + $0.07/authorization
    • Virtual/Online: 0.35% + $0.10/authorization
    • High-Volume: 0.10% + $0.07/authorization
  • Interchange Fee: Passed through at cost
  • Card Assessment Fee: Passed through at cost
  • AVS Fee (for keyed sales): $0.05/transaction
    • High-volume merchants pay no AVS Fee
  • Batch Fee: $0.10/batch
    • High-volume merchants pay no Batch Fee
  • Wireless Service Fee (if using a wireless terminal): $20/month
  • Retrieval Fee: $5/instance
  • Chargeback Fee: $20/instance
    • High-volume merchants pay $15/instance
  • Voice Authorization Fee: $1.50/authorization
  • PCI Compliance Fee: $7.95
    • High-volume merchants pay no PCI Compliance Fee
  • Closure Fee: $25
  • PIN Debit Fee (if applicable): Passed through at cost ($46/year)
  • ACH Reject Fee: $30/instance

Lack of Certain Fees

There are a number of common fees that Dharma does not charge its clients. For example, there are no fees or costs associated with any of the following:

  1. Annual fees
  2. Monthly minimum fees
  3. Leasing/rental fees
  4. Early termination fees
  5. Long term contract costs

Representation Across Numerous Industries

Dharma works with businesses spread across several industries and channels, from nonprofits to B2B merchants, small mom-and-pop stores to large multi-location entities. Most of the merchants supported by Dharma fall into one of the following categories:

  • Retail establishments selling physical goods and services, such as clothing shops, salons, spas, auto services, markets, books, furniture, and other common consumer items
  • Restaurants and quick-service merchants such as sit-down restaurants, juice bars, yogurt shops, bakeries, coffee shops, bars, clubs, sandwich shops, etc.
  • Online businesses selling retail goods and B2B goods
  • B2B merchants processsing large, keyed transactions
  • Healthcare merchants such as doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, veterinarians, and any other medical professionals that take both in-person and virtual payments
  • Federally registered nonprofits soliciting donations, event registrations, and small product purchases in both an in-person and online environment
  • Schools, associations, and other membership-based organizations that accept dues and registration fees
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The Bad

  • Not Ideal for Micro-Businesses
  • Lack of Support for Risky Businesses
  • No Flat Rate Pricing

Not Ideal for Micro-Businesses

Since Dharma's services have a modest monthly fee attached, this company may not be the cheapest option for merchants who process low volumes. Dharma clearly outlines who they work best with—merchants who bring in over $5,000 in revenue per month—and regularly refers merchants to other providers. Dharma is not ideal for merchants who bring in less than the recommended $5,000 in revenue each month.

Lack of Support for Risky Businesses

Dharma typically does not represent the following merchants due to their high-risk nature, where charebacks, disputes, and fraud are more likely:

  • Business not headquartered and operating in the U.S.
  • Merchants selling in a card-not-present environment with no past processing history
  • Merchants with an active bankruptcy
  • Merchants on the MATCH or TMF list
  • Merchants selling over 10 percent to international clients
  • Merchants selling products that are fulfilled from outside the U.S.
  • Long-term memberships/subscriptions
  • Travel/tourism/vacation clubs
  • Adult services of any type
  • Sales of drug paraphernalia, spice/vaping, or any cannabis/marijuana sales
  • Online coaching/entrepreneur seminars
  • Online sales of tobacco
  • Online sales with high future delivery where payment is made today, but the service isn't received until more than a week later
  • Online sales of custom furniture, electronics, downloadable software, pharmaceuticals, supplements, and diet/weight loss goods
  • Collection agencies, debt consolidation, investment advice, get-rich-quick programs, etc.
  • Betting, gambling, casinos, sweepstakes, lotteries, sports forecasting, auctions, or eBay
  • Sales of guns/weapons/ammo, or any promotion of hate/violence

No Flat Rate Pricing

Since there are no membership packages available, some customers have experienced confusion regarding just how much Dharma will cost them in the long run, which can be potentially troublesome for budgeting. Since Dharma only offers interchange-plus pricing, merchants' rates will inherently have variability from month to month.

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The Bottom Line

Dharma Merchant Services is working to provide a processing platform that is transparent and benefits businesses as well as their customers. All of the company's fees and requirements are made public, so business owners can conduct thorough research prior to enrolling in the service. Additionally, business owners who decide to use Dharma Merchant Services to process their card transactions can expect reasonable terminal pricing.

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Star Rating

4.6

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45 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

78%

4 grade

11%

3 grade

7%

2 grade

4%

1 grade

0%

Sentiment Criteria

Value

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Quality

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Service

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Trustworthiness

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Shelley Camden, ME

I like everything about your company. This is my first time of choosing a credit card merchant company. Before I sold gasoline so I had to use my distributor. I did a lot of research before choosing and I'm very happy with my choice of dharma Merchant Services.

4 years ago

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Book Chick, Inc. d/b/a Myopic Books New Lenox, IL

In an industry of slimy Uriah Heep types, Dharma chooses to be honest, transparent and "user friendly." Human beings answer the phone when you call them. There are no rip-off equipment leases or hidden fees. They get that the best deals are the ones that are good for all parties involved. Well done!

4 years ago

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Robert Critselous Bentonville, AR

Overall, my experience has been awesome. The support assigned to our account has been very informative and we've been very pleased with it. I've been through two different providers and Dharma is always been very upfront and helpful. They are very trustworthy and we are very excited to be with them.

4 years ago

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Melinda Nevarez Salt Lake City, UT

We were switching our merchant service provider because we didn't like how little customer service we were getting. I researched online and Dharma consistently has the best reviews and they offered a benefit corporation. Custer service has been really good.

4 years ago

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Anonymous Los Angeles, CA

We're a non-profilt organization and we look out for things in the community and ways to help people. Dharma is the type of company that really fits ours because they have the same purpose, to help people. The service is good. I don't have anything but good things to say about them.

4 years ago

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Clear Choice Independent Lexus Specialists Houston, TX

They perform customer service with a heart and provide an honest service in an industry that has a reputation for lack of trustworthiness and transparency.

4 years ago

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Emerald City Comics Seminole, FL

Everyone we have interacted with at Dharma has been friendly, honest, responsive, and incredibly helpful! The rates are competitive, and the service is exemplary!

4 years ago

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Jim Spiller Austin, TX

I switched to lower my costs for Merchant Services and not only got a lower price but great service too. What more do you want?

4 years ago

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denise betesh Santa Fe, NM

embarrassing to say, i don't really know the rate comparison, but i just love the concept and the newsletters. it helps to spread the love.

4 years ago

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Richard Carpenter Hollister, MO

My experience has been excellent all the way through. They're highly recommended, their customer support is outstanding.

4 years ago

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Jordan Saldana Rice, MN

Dharma Merchant Services offer the best service. Their customer service is good and their reviews are great, that's why we decided to go with them.

4 years ago

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Doyle Gallman Mansfield, TX

We love the way that they treat their customers and what they do for non profits. We're glad we found you guys, it's been a great experience.

4 years ago

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Josh Richmond, VA

They provide great service at a very reasonable cost. Plus everyone I've ever spoken with seems to sincerely care about my (the customer) experience.

4 years ago

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Susan Bill, American Restore Los Angeles, CA

Dharma is easy to deal with and everyone, literally everyone who works there is pleasant, polite and helpful.

4 years ago

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Cynthia Wham Frederick, MD

Easy to use, easy to contact when we have any issues. A good company that always offers competitive rates.

4 years ago

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Susan Kemnuir Hollywood, FL

They are always professional and available. Best company I have ever worked with.

4 years ago

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Dharma is ethical and offers great support! Hollywood, FL

Great customer support and low costs. They have stood by our initial agreement and not increased our fees!

4 years ago

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TM Fountain Valley, CA

I love their good rates and that why I decided to go with them. My experience has been good, very good.

4 years ago

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Gerianne Chapman Wakefield, RI'

Everything about Dharma Merchant Services is good. Their price and philosophy are great.

4 years ago

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A Duke White Plains, MD

Seamless integration, responsive customer service, reliable partners

4 years ago

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DrRoss Makawao, HI

the head people are great. the outsourced customer service person I spoke with was terrible.

4 years ago

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windowanddoorstore Port Royal, PA

true honest company. everything is exactly as they say nothing hidden

4 years ago

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Top Auto Inc. Orlando, FL

excellent price open and honest - excellent customer service

4 years ago

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E. Joachim Garnerville, NY

Their mission, social consciousness, costs, customer service

4 years ago

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none San Jose, CA

can't get someone to help us inventory our systems and make sure we have all the same type to make it easier to operate and train staff

4 years ago

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Hair Salon Owner Arlington, TN

Great corporate values. Great rates. Great customer service.

4 years ago

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Ben Tucson, AZ

They are competent and have the lowest costs I know of.

4 years ago

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Play For P.I.N.K., Inc. New York, NY

questions are answered promptly, fully and courteously

4 years ago

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Thai Taste Carbondale West Frankfort, IL

Great customer service and great rates!!

4 years ago

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Marjorie S Parkersburg, WV

Excellent product and stellar customer service

4 years ago

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Sean San Antonio, TX

Great customer service,never any security trouble

4 years ago

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Barney Jones

Transparent pricing, responsive honest support, good vibe.

4 years ago

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Blanka Cincinnati, OH

Professional services with kind and supportive dimension

4 years ago

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Marc Condren MD Middlesex, NJ

Great service & information with low rates

4 years ago

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NSN Corp Las Vegas

Good rates. Good customer support. Quick response

4 years ago

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A+ Pro-Tech, LLC Henderson, NV

Ethics, integrity, quality service, and excellent rates.

4 years ago

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Lynnette Sands, for Community Projects Inc Salem, OR

Always attentive to all of your business needs

4 years ago

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kd Denver, CO

Helpful, kind, and knowledgeable customer service reps.

4 years ago

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Anonymous Salem, OR

Good service at a competitive price and company leadership seems mature and conscientious.

4 years ago

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Happy Tails State College, PA

No hidden fees. Quality service. No long term contract

4 years ago

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klee Philadelphia, PA

awesome service; very easy to work with!

4 years ago

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Anonymous Greenville, SC

I haven't had to call them but I wish they would contact me to update my system.

4 years ago

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Down to Earth Wilmington, NC

Super Nice Customer Service, Easy Statement Settlement

4 years ago

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KW Chicago, IL

lots of fees. Otherwise haven't contacted them.

4 years ago

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Okay

High pricing; website is not user friendly. Slow response for customer service.

4 years ago

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