NatWest Merchant Account & Payment Gateway Review
NatWest or National Westminster Bank is the UK’s largest retail and commercial bank, with roots dating back to 1833.
Natwest offers merchant accounts and payment gateways through WorldPay, one of the world’s largest acquiring banks and merchant service providers.
If you handle business banking through NatWest or otherwise trust the bank, it likely seems like an attractive option.
But as a WorldPay reseller, it’s important that you understand pricing, determine if the solution really offers anything over going to WorldPay directly, and compare your options to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.
- Transaction rates starting at 2.75% + 20p
- Debit cards processed at 0.75%
- PDQ machines available from £17.45 per month
- Payment gateway available
So let’s see the the Natwest review now:
NatWest does not specialise in merchant accounts and the company does not offer their own solutions. NatWest also no longer offers their own payment gateway, meaning that all services are contracted through WorldPay. If you’re considering using the service, there’s a lot to keep in mind, including NatWest and Worldpay’s customer service, pricing, and the pros and cons of signing up through a middleman, even a large national bank like NatWest.
Your first concern is likely pricing.
NatWest Rates and Pricing
NatWest does not negotiate on your behalf, meaning that you will have to work with WorldPay directly. When you sign up, all customer service and sales are handled directly by WorldPay representatives. This is good because it means that NatWest does not add on any fees or charges, and you save money over using a third-party service like Paymentsense or Handepay. However, if you were hoping to work with NatWest instead of WorldPay it is a definite disadvantage.
WorldPay offers simple pricing and rates, negotiated on a per customer basis depending on your business size, industry, risk, and other factors. The company also offers two basic flat-rate pricing schemes:
|Account||Pay as You Go||Fixed Monthly||Standard|
|Transaction Fees||Custom (Averaging 2.75% + 20p)||Included||Averaging 2.75% Credit and 0.75% Debit|
|Terminal Rental||Included||Included||£17.45+ per month|
|Minimum Monthly Service Charge||No||Included||£15 per month|
|PCI Management||Included||Included||£29.99 per year|
|Contract Duration||Monthly||12-36 Months||12-36 Months|
|Terminal Rental||18 Month||18 Month||18 Month|
You can also choose from multiple extra services including:
|Online Portal (My Business Dashboard)||£0 – £4.99 per month|
|Virtual Terminal||£9.95 per month|
|Pay by Link||£9.95 per month|
|WorldPay Benefits Club *||£5.99 per month|
|Online Payment Gateway**||£19.95 per month|
So, most services are £10 each, which makes it easy to calculate your fees and end-total. The flat rate pricing schemes are also advantageous in that you can see your total pricing. Because NatWest isn’t actually involved other than in linking to WorldPay, there are no other costs. However, you may pay some additional fees depending on your company, security, and PCI compliance. Worldpay is extremely transparent about rates, but some hidden fees will come up.
NatWest no longer offers any services on their own. The company previously offered its own online payment gateway, but that service is now redirected through WorldPay as well. NatWest also previously offered the Streamline payment gateway, which belongs to Worldpay.
NatWest Merchant Service Offerings
NatWest links to all WorldPay merchant services, giving you access to every solution offered by the company. However, your contract will be directly with WorldPay.
WorldPay offers three basic merchant account subscriptions, structured around either flat-rate fees or all-in-one payments.
Pay as You Go – Pay as You Go consolidates all payments into a single monthly fee based on your average monthly transactions, transaction volume, industry risk, services needed, and business type. You’ll also pay transaction fees on top of this rate. Here, WorldPay will create a custom quote based on your data and then send you a flat-rate payment. You are paying the same rate for debit and credit, which can be a disadvantage if you accept a great deal of debit cards. This contract is monthly, with no contract obligation or termination fee, but if you want a card reader, you have to sign a minimum 18-month terminal lease agreement. The Pay as You Go contract is ideal if you don’t want to see surprise fees, and don’t want to commit to a contract to save money. In most cases, you’ll pay about 2.75% + 20p per transaction. This option includes a £150 setup fee.
Fixed Monthly – The Fixed Monthly contract consolidates every cost including transaction costs into a single flat fee based on your sales volume. This can be advantageous if you make the same average sales each month and typically accept high-value payments, so that you save money over paying a percentage. However, this contract is not flexible, and you will pay the same amount even if sales drop considerably.
Standard – The standard contract allows you to pay for the services you use, starting from £10 per month, with a £15 minimum monthly charge, and terminal rental from £17.45. You will typically pay processing fees of 2.75% + 20p and 0.75% for debit card processing.
Online Payment Gateway
Worldpay’s Streamline online payment gateway costs 19.99 per month and is available as part of any WorldPay package. The gateway stands out with high security, support for up to 116 currencies, and out-of-the-box integration into nearly all shopping carts and e-commerce platforms. Streamline also integrates PayPal checkout, so you can offer multiple payment solutions to customers.
You can choose either hosted checkout or API integration:
- Hosted Checkout – A hosted checkout page is designed and branded by your company, and hosted on WorldPay. When customers hit ‘checkout’, they are redirected to a secure page hosted on Worldpay and then redirected back to your site after paying. This has numerous advantages, including that you won’t have to worry about security or PCI DSS compliance.
- API Integration – API integration allows you to develop your own checkout pages for your site, apps, or anywhere else. This offers more customisation and flexibility, but with all pages hosted on your site, you have to be able to invest in strong security and PCI DSS compliance certification.
WorldPay also offers a virtual terminal, enabling you to accept MOTO payments through call centres and help desks or via email.
WorldPay offers four card machines provided by Ingenico and rebranded for Worldpay. Models include a countertop card reader, portable terminal, mobile reader, and PoS solution.
ICT250 Countertop Card Machine – The ICT250 is a countertop card reader with pin pad, featuring a backlit keyboard, colour screen, and personalisation options. It supports all payment methods including EMV, magstripe and NFC or contactless payments like Apple and Google Pay. The ICT250 connects to broadband via Ethernet.
IWL 251 / 252 – The IWL 251 and 252 are mobile and portable versions of a very similar card reader. The models feature PCI PTS 3.x security over wireless connections (Bluetooth and WIFI for the 251, Bluetooth, WiFi, and 3G for the 252). Both support EMV, contactless, and magstripe payments, print receipts at up to 30 lines per second, and offer a full-day battery life.
IWl 259 – The IWL 259 is a mobile card reader with a SIM Card for 3G/GPRS plus WIFI and Bluetooth connectivity. The system features a built-in printer, charging base, and accepts EMV, magstripe, and NFC payments with PCI PTS 3.x security.
My Business Hub – My Business Hub is a till system and POS designed to work with a tablet (included). The system features a till, card reader, scanner, and tablet plus a printer, ideal for use in retail solutions. The POS is available for rent from £50 per month.
Each of these solutions are a best fit for different types of businesses.
How Does NatWest’s Customer Service Hold Up?
NatWest does not provide customer service for WorldPay, so you will have to contact WorldPay directly. Worldpay offers 24/7 support with separate phone lines for payment gateway, card terminal lease, and merchant accounts, so that you can get the right help and find a solution faster. The company has a very good reputation, with some instances of poorly trained customer service representatives and some problems with clear communication.
Most negative reviews surround unexpected account closure for high-risk businesses, technical issues, extra fees, and poor customer support.
WorldPay Contract Length and Early Termination
WorldPay offers multiple monthly contract options, which means that you are not obligated to stay with the company for a certain number of months. However, you can also choose to sign on for up to 36 months. While there is no early termination fee, there also isn’t any cancellation, so you will simply have to buy your way out of the contract for your online payment gateway or merchant account. Most people pay around £450 to terminate a full 36-month contract.
All terminals come with a minimum 18-month lease, and to cancel your lease, you will have to buy out the contract and pay an up to £150 refurbishment or liquidation fee.
If you’re not sure about WorldPay, you can buy your own terminals separately (most models the company offers cost £350-£700 upfront), and sign up for a monthly account before committing to a long contract.
Comparing NatWest Merchant Accounts and Payment Gateways
NatWest and WorldPay are just one of over a dozen merchant account and payment gateway solutions. It’s important to compare your options so you know you’re getting the best deal and quality services you can. The following chart includes averages from top merchant account providers. Each of these services offer custom rates for consumers, meaning that you will have to request quotes in order to make a real comparison.
|Merchant Account||NatWest/ Worldpay||Global Payments||Sage Pay||First Data||Elavon|
|Transaction Fee||From 2.75% credit cards /0.70%- 20p debit cards or custom flat rate||1.1%-3.3% + 20p (negotiable)||1.9% credit cards / 40p debit cards||2% + 20p-3.5% + 40p||2.55% – 3.5%|
|Monthly Fee||£19.95+ (+£9.95 per additional service)||£10+ (per service)||£20,90+||£10+||Bespoke|
|Payment Processing Time||7 Days||2+ Business Days||2 Business Days||3-5 business days||2+ Business Days|
|Set Up Fee||£0 – £150||£150 – £250||None||£250+||Bespoke|
|Termination Fee||£0-£495||£150 – £500||Yes (Varies)||No (contract buyout)||£0 – £295|
|Contract Length||Monthly – 36 Month||12-36 month||Monthly-36 Month||12-48 months||Monthly – 24-month|
NatWest and Worldpay stand out with low fees and no contract options, but compare poorly in cost to many competitors. However, smaller businesses will typically receive a higher rate from any company, but may benefit from reduced fees, so consider checking your total expected transaction volume as part of your cost comparison.
Who Should Use NatWest Merchant Services
Most people are drawn to NatWest because the bank is one of the most well-reviewed and regarded retail banks in the UK. Unfortunately, the bank no longer offers its own merchant services and will redirect you to WorldPay, one of the world’s largest acquiring banks.
WorldPay offers very good merchant services and payment gateways, but sometimes struggles with offering rates and services suitable for very small business. For example, with high PCI non-compliance fees, no tolerance for high-risk business or business behaviour, and unexpected fees, start-ups and very small businesses could end up facing high fees or experience unacceptable disruptions in cash flow.
Therefore, Worldpay is a best fit for established businesses, with lower business risk.
WorldPay and NatWest each have a lot to offer, but it’s still important that you compare your options, check total fees including possible cancellation and PCI non-compliance, and determine which is the best fit for your business and technical capabilities.