Suggestions - Payment Processing Service for our application

I have looked all around and did some research on various forums, but am having a hard time coming to grips as to which processing service would be the best fit for our application and was hoping the community would help me to come up with an educated decision.

I am looking for a payment processing service that is competitive in rates, and has flexible authorization and capture policies. Also, if the support is great, that is a bonus as well. In our business, our customers will make an online reservation a week or more in advance. We need an authorization to be placed when the reservation is made, and the capture to be done if that customer shows up on the date of the reservation. If the customer does not show up, the authorization will be rescinded and the customer will not be charged.

We are looking for a processor that will accept major payment methods (Visa and MC as a first priority; and Amex, Discover, and Paypal as secondary - nice to have but not required)

Does anyone have any good recommendations for this?

Thank you!

That describes virtually all merchant accounts and payment gateways. That’s how credit cards work everywhere. If you go to a restaurant and pay with a credit card, they put an authorization on the card for the amount of the bill to hold the funds (and make sure you gave them a good card), before returning the check to your table for a signature and a tip. That authorization is not captured until after you sign and they possibly change the amount to include the tip.

You don’t have any special requirements. You can get a merchant account from any bank or MSP. You just need to compare rates and gateway options for connecting your website.

One of the issues is the pre-authorization. This varies from each issuing bank and type of credit card. Usually the pre-auth is about three business days - this guarantees the funds are yours. After that limit, the pre-auth is lifted and those funds are released. The pre-authorization will cost you a transaction fee.

However, usually you can go into the virtual terminal and usually do a sale / post-authorization if the time has expired. The sale / post-authorization will also cost you a transaction fee.

With the pre-authorization, you do not have to “rescind” the money, it is done automatically. You will be out that transaction cost for the pre-authorization.

When you get a merchant account (in the United States), most providers now will set you up with Visa / MasterCard / Discover. American Express will have to be applied for separately.