Ok, here is my experience with the gateway situation.
Title: Let that be a lesson to me! - Costco Merchant Services and their gateway.
FYI: For internet websites taking credit cards or wanting to take credit cards.
If you are a member of Costco you can take credit cards through their merchant services set up. Better than going to you bank and much cheaper too. I Highly recommend it.
HOWEVER, I must warn you that there is 2 glitches in their "gateway system " (if you use theirs) if you are going to do recurring billings and if you are going to take credit cards online / over the Internet.
By recurring billing I mean to bill someone more than 1 time using the same credit card. For instance a monthly, quarterly, annual or other billing that happens more than the first time.
The first glitch is that their customer service may tell you that you can do that. Their training department tells you that you can do that. That's what they told us.
Unfortunately ( this is the second glitch) when you try to do that, and can't find a way to do it their tech people tell you it can't be done. Usually this is after you have paid them around $200 dollars, signed their contract, and possibly spent many hours and dollars setting up your shopping cart and/or your membership program etc. We spent around $1200 doing just that.
Here is why. The Costco Nova system gateway WILL do recurring billings if you have taken the credit card number from the customer and have it handy. You simply input the card and then go back and set up a recurring billing. UNFORTUNATELY, if you primarily are an internet business, as we are, and take many transactions OVER the internet you never see the card number. It goes through you shopping cart, into the gateway, and the only thing you can hope for is the first 4 and last 4 digits of the credit card so you can identify it to the customer. Now on the Costco Nova gateway, when you go in to set up the recurring billing you simply can't do it since you don't have the number.
They have the number, they know you ran the card, they know who you are and they know how to find you, they have access to your checking account and can take money out, as well as put it in, they get information from your shopping cart that the customer authorized a recurring billing, but you have no access to that credit card # or account to set up the recurring billing. There are a lot of gateways out their where you can do just that. Our previous Costco gateway which they abandoned and replaced with this new one, could do just that without a problem because we had access to the account --- but not the credit card number of course.
In our case we were doing a membership website that takes an initial payment and then bills monthly. We take credit cards online so never see the numbers.
After getting the OK from the nova gateway customer services and their training department that we could indeed do this, and after spending countless hours setting up our membership software and shopping cart to work with the Nova gateway we found out when we ran our test that IT DOES NOT WORK THE WAY THEY SAID IF WOULD.
Their customer service department didn't see any reason why it couldn't do what we wanted it to do. They were going to get with their tech department and their coders since all that needed to be done was to create a link to the account. We never heard back from them.
Ok so then we had to either find another gateway that works with Costco merchant services (Nova) or use PayPal. After doing a bit of researcher we found a number of gateways that work with Costco Nova that would do what we needed (other than their own). They were rather expensive however but we didn't really want to use PayPal because we thought customers had to sign up for PayPal and become a member and all. We felt that people who were not already on PayPal would not want to do all of that.
Then we found out that you no longer needed to do all that. Yes, you could use your PayPal account, but you could also just use your credit card, PLUS as a bonus the customer could even pay by check. We also found out that if the customer authorized recurring billing in our shopping cart their system would bill it automatically per our shopping cart instructions. We didn't have to go in manually to set it up like with the Costco gateway - which we couldn't do anyway because their system would not allow us to do that without the credit card numbers, which we never receive, and don't have to do it with.
As it turned out we did use PayPal because of time constraints on our project. We again had to set up our membership software and our shopping cart for this. It again took a good number of hours and another $500 dollars on top of the first $1000 to set it up the first time with Costco but it got us up and running.
Then we had to decide on a gateway to use since Costco's did not do the job for us. When we looked at what PayPal offered however and realized that they take credit cards, run recurring billings automatically, take checks which Costco doesn't, and their own PayPal setup , we decided that PayPal was the way to go.
No muss no fuss no bother. They did what they said they would do and we didn't even have to pay them $200 plus $1000 for our own set up to find out if the system worked or not.
Soooo.... What I am saying is 2 thumbs up for PayPal.
As for the Costco gateway - well, I hope their people have at least learned what their system can and can not do so people don't have to spend around $1200 to find out the truth - It doesn't work under these circumstances.
Sorry Costco but PayPal is much better.
I don't have to pay the $50 per month service charge, (merchant and gateway) nor is there a $200 fee for their gateway.
The credit card percentage is a little more but we worked the number and unless we run a huge amount of credit cards through them we end up paying less than if we used Costco Merchant Services.