dharma merchant services review

Dharma Merchant Services Credit Card Processing Review 2024

Dharma Merchant Services Credit Card Processing Review 2024

Dharma Merchant Services is a socially responsible, San Francisco-based independent merchant account provider well recognized for its ethical practices, transparent pricing, and active support for nonprofits. Founded in 2007, Dharma has built a reputation as a socially responsible business that provides all types of payment processing solutions that meet the needs of small businesses and nonprofits.

This Dharma Merchant Services Credit Card Processing Review has been written to give the reader a detailed rundown of the company’s offerings, pricing, customer service, and value for money. By considering the different areas that makeup Dharma’s offer, the review will help readers decide whether the provider fits the needs and values of any potential customer.

The right merchant services provider is significant for any business because it affects transaction efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall financial health. Amidst the sea of many providers who are transitioning towards different pricing models and service offerings available today, finding a partner like Dharma that is both reliable and ethical makes a big difference in enabling businesses to cut down on costs while maintaining the best levels possible in terms of service and support. The review will consider what sets Dharma apart to help you decide whether this is the right solution for your business. 

Dharma Merchant Services Credit Card Processing Review

Dharma Merchant Services was founded in 2007 by Jeff and Alexia Marcous. With a vision to create an ethical alternative inside payment processing, it quickly became known as a trusted business around the foundation of San Francisco; such trust was forged through competitive pricing and proactive support to small businesses and NFPs alike.

Dharma Merchant Services is based on a fair, socially responsible, extremely accountable, and highly open business model. One of the principal ideals of its operations includes honesty, integrity, and responsibility towards society. How about balancing profit with purpose? Dharma does this by ensuring that business activities reverberate to benefit both clients and society.

Dharma Merchant Services enjoys substantial fame for its ethical business Conduct. Their pricing model is interchange-plus, where the organization’s transparency makes everything cost-effective for the merchant. They avoid long-term contracts and hidden fees so that clients know how much they pay.

Apart from business engagement, Dharma is highly devoted to non-profit organizations. The organization gives back to the community through reduced rates and specific services that best meet the needs of non-profits, thereby helping such organizations effectively manage their payment processing needs. Dharma donates a portion of its profits to different charitable causes, underlining its commitment to social responsibility and community support.

Through responsible business practices and high carousel service offerings, Dharma Merchant Services has gained a social position at the forefront in each industry that payment processing applies to regarding non-profits.

Services Offered

Merchant Accounts

Dharma Merchant Services offers a wide range of solutions for various diversified business applications: retail, restaurant, and eCommerce. Features include no long-term contracts, transparent interchange-plus pricing for Visa, MC, Amex, and Discover, and next-day funding for card-present merchants. Other benefits include access to online virtual terminals, mobile processing, and safe payment gateways.

Payment Gateways

Secondly, Dharma will support MX Merchant, NMI Gateway, and Authorize.net. MX Merchant provides top-notch features in its gateway, complete with solutions for integrated online payments, invoicing, and recurring billing. At the same time, NMI Gateway and Authorize.net provide stringent safety and functionality with fraud prevention tools and integrate with all kinds of eCommerce platforms. Most of the fees with these gateways are competitive in nature. The options would include a monthly plan with per-transaction charges.

POS Systems

Dharma Merchant Services supports various POS systems that work well with any kind of business. This includes Clover Mini, Clover Station, and Verifone Vx520; these are excellent units designed to handle critical volumes of transactions quickly, effectively, and efficiently. Many of these point-of-sale systems default with EMV compliance for chip card processing and contactless payments to accommodate technological advancements in the forms of payment used nowadays. They feature inventory management applications, employee tracking/detracting, and detailed reporting—essential to retail and restaurant environments.

B2B and B2G Services

Apart from these, Dharma offers Level 2 and Level 3 processing for businesses involved in B2B and B2G transactions. These services are custom-made to capture detailed data that requires Minimum interchange rates for such transactions, saving much money related to interchange costs. Such customized solutions well take care of high-volume businesses, enhancing transaction efficiency and providing detailed reporting capabilities—very much needed when handling large-scale companies.

Unique to Dharma Merchant Services is its comprehensive services for providing quality, transparent, and cost-effective payment processing for all types and sizes of businesses at every level.

Pricing Structure

Interchange-Plus Pricing

Under Dharma Merchant Services, the pricing model is interchange-plus. This method is usually considered the most honest and transparent within the payment processing industry. Using this model brings transparency to the interchange fees set up by credit card networks; they are also explicitly separated from the processor markup to let the merchant know exactly what they pay for. Unlike tiered or bundled pricing, which bundles its rates into often nescient tiers, interchange-plus upfront discloses a breakdown of costs, avoiding overcharging.

Fees and Rates

Dharma provides an exact outline of their rates, which vary depending on the business type. This means storefront businesses will pay interchange plus 0.25% + $0.10 per transaction. Restaurants get a better rate—interchange plus 0.20% + $0.07 per transaction. ECommerce businesses pay a little more: interchange plus 0.35% + $0.10 per transaction. Other monthly fees include a $10 account fee and a $7.95 PCI compliance fee. Additional fees include a $0.10 daily batch fee, a $20 chargeback fee, and a $25 account closure fee.

Special Rates for Non-Profits

Special Non-Profit Pricing with Dharma Merchant Services: $15 reduced monthly fee and as low as 0.30% + $0.15 per transaction for virtual transactions. These rates are designed to help NFPs absorb less processing costs so more money can go toward missions.

Transparency in Pricing

One essential quality that distinguishes Dharma is probably the transparency of its dealings. The company lays down all its costs directly on its website at the very beginning, and there are no hidden fees or surprises in store one. With such an approach, businesses will once more be better equipped to budget much more effectively and comprehend what they pay for in payment processing.

The transparent and ethical pricing structure that Dharma Merchant Services offers has won the trust of businesses and nonprofits alike as they look for dependable and affordable payment processing solutions.

Customer Support and Satisfaction

Dharma Merchant Services is an excellent example of a business that provides outstanding customer service and a very high rate of consumer satisfaction.

Support Availability

Dharma Merchant Services offers in-house customer support during business hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST. There is no 24-hour support available for items, but a user will not have a problem contacting the informed staff over the phone, via email, or live chat. This multi-channel approach is guaranteed to allow merchants to see help performed effortlessly for their needs—to ensure precise resolution with as little lost time as possible. 

Quality of Support

Most customers who have reviewed Dharma have commented on the quality of support. Merchants praise how knowledgeable, patient, and responsive the people in their support staff are. That places Dharma way above most others in the same business—outsourcing support is usually linked to poor performance. In contrast, Dharma’s in-house team does a more personalized and efficient job at customer satisfaction.

Knowledge Base and Tutorials

Dharma Merchant Services has an extensive knowledge base, educational resources, detailed tutorials, and FAQs. This will help merchants better understand where to place everything when navigating their payment-processing systems. Quality education materials also ensure that merchants can solve most problems independently, which will add to the overall experience and minimize direct support.

Dharma Merchant Services can offer only the best customer care experience, combining reliable support availability, high-quality customer service, and vibrant educational resources. Its consumer care policies thus help uphold the reputation for being a trustworthy, ethical payment processor.

Additional Features and Tools

Dharma Merchant Services is an excellent example of a business that provides outstanding customer service and a very high rate of consumer satisfaction. For a detailed evaluation, check out the Dharma Merchant Services Credit Card Processing Review.

Online Reporting and Analytics

Dharma provides robust online reporting capabilities through the MX Merchant platform. Merchants can generate various types of reports, including deposit, transaction, and customer reports. The MX Merchant Insights App, available for an additional monthly fee, offers advanced analytics, allowing merchants to gain insights into customer demographics and transaction patterns. This tool is beneficial for making data-driven decisions to improve business operations​.

Customer Database Management

Dharma’s customer database management features enable merchants to store and manage customer information securely. This includes capturing contact details, categorizing customers, saving multiple payment methods, and maintaining historical purchase records. Merchants can also create custom fields to store additional information, such as customer preferences and spending profiles, making it easier to tailor services and marketing efforts​.

Surcharging and Payment Flexibility

Dharma offers surcharging capabilities through the MX Merchant platform, allowing merchants to pass credit card processing fees to their customers. This feature can be applied to both card-present and card-not-present transactions. However, surcharging is subject to state laws, and merchants must ensure compliance with regulations such as maximum surcharge rates and full disclosure requirements.

Online Ordering Solutions

Dharma provides the MX Merchant e|tab, an online ordering solution for restaurants and retail businesses. This platform facilitates order acceptance for pickup and delivery, offering a convenient solution for businesses looking to expand their online presence. The e|tab comes with a monthly fee. It adheres to the same interchange-plus pricing model, making it a cost-effective alternative to other online ordering services like Grubhub and ChowNow​.

Account Updater

The MX Merchant platform includes the MX Account Updater, which automatically updates the expiration dates of stored cards, reducing the need for manual updates and minimizing declined transactions. This service is available for a monthly fee, covering up to 150 updates, with additional updates charged per occurrence. The Account Updater supports Visa, Mastercard, and Discover cards, providing a valuable tool for maintaining accurate customer payment information​.

These additional features and tools Dharma Merchant Services offers enhance their overall value proposition, helping businesses streamline operations, improve customer management, and maintain compliance with payment processing regulations.

Contract Length & Early Termination Fee

Contract Terms

Dharma Merchant Services stands out in the industry with its month-to-month contract terms. These terms allow merchants the flexibility to cancel at any time without being locked into long-term agreements. This is a significant advantage compared to many industry standards, where lengthy contracts and complex terms are common​.

Early Termination Fee

One key benefit of Dharma’s contract policy is the absence of early termination fees (ETFs). Merchants can close their accounts without incurring penalties, which is a refreshing change from many providers who charge substantial fees for early cancellation. This policy reflects Dharma’s commitment to transparency and customer satisfaction. Customer feedback highlights appreciation for this flexibility, noting the ease of doing business with Dharma compared to providers with stringent cancellation policies​​.

Dharma Merchant Services’ approach to contracts and termination fees provides a hassle-free experience, reinforcing its reputation as an ethical and customer-focused payment processor.

Customer Reviews and Complaints

Positive Reviews

Dharma Merchant Services consistently receives high customer praise for its transparency and exceptional customer service. Many reviews highlight the straightforward pricing model and the helpfulness of the support staff. Specific testimonials often mention how the company’s ethical practices and clear communication make it a trustworthy business partner​.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

While most feedback is positive, some customers have reported issues such as funding holds and equipment compatibility problems. However, these complaints are relatively rare, and Dharma’s response to them is generally seen as professional and prompt. The company’s proactive handling of problems helps maintain a strong reputation for customer satisfaction​​.

Overall Customer Satisfaction

Dharma Merchant Services boasts high aggregate ratings across multiple review sites. On Trustpilot, Dharma has an impressive rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 119 reviews​​. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives Dharma an A+ rating, reflecting their excellent handling of complaints and overall business practices​​. Additionally, on platforms like Merchant Maverick, Dharma maintains high scores, often highlighted for their transparency and ethical approach​​. Overall, customer satisfaction remains strong, with many merchants appreciating Dharma’s ethical approach and responsive support​.

Environmental and Social Responsibility

Eco-Friendly Practices

Dharma Merchant Services is deeply committed to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. The company integrates environmental responsibility into its operations by minimizing waste and promoting sustainable practices among its employees and clients. Dharma is a certified B Corporation, reflecting its dedication to social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency​.

Support for Non-Profit Organizations

Dharma offers special services and discounted rates tailored for non-profit organizations, helping them reduce operational costs and allocate more resources to their missions. The company collaborates with non-profits to set up donation and crowdfunding pages, providing tools and support to maximize their fundraising efforts. Success stories from various non-profit clients highlight Dharma’s positive impact, with many organizations praising the company’s supportive and ethical approach to payment processing​​.

Dharma’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility sets it apart in the payment processing industry. It demonstrates that business success can be accompanied by positive social impact.

Pros and Cons


  • Ethical Practices and Transparency: Dharma Merchant Services is highly regarded for its commitment to ethical practices and transparency. The company employs an interchange-plus pricing model, ensuring that there are no hidden fees or unexpected charges. This approach lets merchants understand exactly what they are paying for, fostering trust and long-term relationships​​.
  • High-Quality Customer Support: Customers frequently praise Dharma’s high-quality customer support. The support team is known for being knowledgeable, responsive, and helpful, providing excellent phone, email, and live chat assistance. This high level of service helps merchants resolve issues quickly and efficiently, contributing to overall customer satisfaction.
  • Competitive Pricing for Non-Profits: Dharma offers competitive pricing tailored to non-profit organizations. These discounted rates and specialized services help non-profits manage their payment processing costs more effectively, allowing them to allocate more resources to their core missions. This focus on supporting non-profits further underscores Dharma’s commitment to social responsibility.


  • Limited Support Hours Compared to Competitors: One drawback of Dharma Merchant Services is its limited support hours. The in-house support team is only available during business hours from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST, Monday through Friday. This may be inconvenient for businesses requiring round-the-clock support, especially those operating outside these hours​​.
  • Potential Issues with Equipment Compatibility: Some customers have reported issues with equipment compatibility, particularly when integrating existing hardware with Dharma’s systems. While Dharma offers reprogramming services, these compatibility issues can sometimes cause delays and additional merchant costs​​.

Overall, Dharma Merchant Services offers a range of benefits, particularly for ethical and non-profit-focused businesses. Still, it is essential to consider these potential drawbacks based on specific business needs.


Dharma Merchant Services stands out for its ethical practices, transparent pricing, and high-quality customer support. The company offers competitive rates for non-profits and comprehensive services tailored to various business needs. Overall, Dharma is a reliable and socially responsible choice for payment processing​​.

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