Host Merchant Plus Review

Bottom Line

Always low rates and excellent service

With a low rate guarantee and an impressive customer support network, Host Merchant Plus provides high quality Credit Card Processing (CCP) services for unique businesses.

Best For

Best for small to medium and independent businesses requiring a wide range of CCP solutions at the lowest cost.

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Host Merchant Plus Highlights

  • Low rate guarantee
  • Interchange Plus pricing
  • Free equipment
  • Free web hosting and email


  • Accepts all major cards, gift/loyalty cards and EBT
  • Compatible with over 100 payment gateways
  • Extensive customer support network and resources
  • Excellent for contractors and small and independent businesses
  • Works with high risk businesses


  • Would like to see greater clarity with fees and charges
  • Would like to see more information regarding equipment leasing
  • Need to clarify approval timeframe for new merchants

Ease of Setup

With a streamlined application and setup process, new merchants can find themselves approved and processing payments with Host Merchant Services (HMS) in as little as 24 hours, according to customer testimonials.

While clear information about their exact approval rate and setup timeframe is lacking via their website, they have a high-ranking approval rating as they openly declare their passion for working with small to medium and high risk businesses.

New merchants receive a choice of a free physical or virtual terminal, plus free receipt paper upon signing up with Host Merchant Services and can download the mobile-compatible app, HMSPay. Simply by installing the free app and attaching the card reader, your iPhone or Android device can be instantly converted into a mobile terminal - perfect for those who run their businesses on-the-go such as salon owners and contractors.

For businesses that need their Mac or PC transformed into a virtual terminal with up-to-date PCI compliance and encryption, Host merchant Services provides a Transaction Processor (TXP), web-based centralized Payment Per Sale (PPS) solution, setting you up quickly to accept any type of billing, including recurring payments.


Host Merchant Services provides credit card processing (CCP) services with their customers’ ultimate satisfaction in mind. They specialize in making CCP faster, easier, and less costly for small, medium, and independent businesses.

Their wide range of flexible POS options means that you can set up -

  • traditional POS and POS-enabled tablets for retail, grocery, book, or drug stores
  • virtual POS for an e-commerce shop
  • completely mobile POS for contractors and service providers

- or a combination of all of three.

Host Merchant Services also uses an Interchange Plus pricing structure, so you can be sure you will get very low - if not the lowest - industry rates possible. Its guarantee states that if, for any reason, they can’t provide you with the lowest rate, they’ll give you a $50 gift card.

Host Merchant Services also provides a variety of additional services to make setting up your business much easier, including providing free web hosting and email, arranging merchant cash advances, and setting up business financing.

Customer Support

One of the most outstanding features of Host merchant Services is its extensive 24/7/365 customer support system, which encompasses a wide range of contact methods. Not only can you engage a representative over live chat via their website, send them a quick email or speak with a real flesh-and-blood operator over the phone, but merchants can also get valuable information from the Host merchant Services Blog and Article database.

Newbie merchants can browse through their extensive archive of helpful articles that demystify complicated CCP terms and processes, while well-seasoned merchants will enjoy the regular blog updates which keep them on top of industry news and developments.


Rates & Fees

Host Merchant Services pride themselves on honesty and transparency They fully disclose any and all fees and charges with merchants before asking them to sign on the dotted line. They provide a highly competitive Interchange Plus pricing structure, with no term contracts or termination fees. In addition, Host Merchant Services will lock in your quoted fees for the lifetime of your partnership.

And while their exact rates aren’t disclosed fully on the website and may vary depending on the type of business you run, Host Merchant Services freely advertise their low rate guarantee and emphasize their transparency - so you know exactly what you will be paying each and every month, with no hidden percentage points or charges.

For service and hospitality businesses that process many transactions under $15, Host Merchant Services offers a special rate with its Small Ticket Program. Drug and bookstores, movie theaters, cab services, convenience stores and fast food joints are just some of the businesses that will benefit from this program, which brings charges down to a per item fee of 5 cents + 1.6% interchange with Visa, and 4 cents + 1.55% interchange with MasterCard.

Non-for-profits and charities that, typically, rely heavily on every dollar they receive, benefit from a unique rate designed just for them. The HMSGives rate encourages debit and credit card donations, instead of leaving these businesses to rely on PayPal. The HMSGives Interchange Plus rate (provided by Visa) is an impressive 1.4% (1.35% + 5 cents per transaction), in comparison to PayPal, which charges 2.5% (2.2% + 30 cents per transaction).

Host Merchant Services also advertise that they works with high-risk merchants as well, including time shares, debt collection and coaching businesses, though you will need to contact them directly for further information.

Processing Options

Host merchant Services boasts compatibility with over 100 different payment gateways, including and Transaction express - to provide optimum flexibility and ease of processing. If you have an existing Point of Sales (POS) system, Host Merchant Services can integrate its systems with your hardware or e-commerce site, enabling you to start processing payments quickly and smoothly.

Host Merchant Services can provide you with permanent or wireless POS terminals for a fee, though new merchants get a free physical or virtual terminal on sign-up.

Their HMSPay app can be downloaded to iPhone or Android-compatible phones to create a fully mobile POS, while tablets can also be setup to provide POS services where a traditional POS is not necessary.

Accepted Payment Types

HMS accepts swipe and chip-enabled card payments from all major credit card institutions including Visa, MasterCard, Discover and AMEX, as well as transactions completed via their Apple and Android-compatible HMSPay app. In addition they accept electronic benefit transfers (EBT), and loyalty and gift cards.


As a boutique CCP company, Host Merchant Services does well to provide great rates and excellent service for those whose businesses are service or hospitality-based. They also provide additional services to help get your business off the ground, including financing and cash advances for qualifying merchants. While it would be ideal to see more detailed descriptions of their rates on the website, the low rate guarantee and excellent customer service guarantee their clients’ satisfaction.

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