The alternative people I was considering for card processing were Sagepay and Bucksnet.
I called Sagepay, they said they'd call me back the next day, and they didn't. I guess they have too many customers and don't want any more. I'm not going to nag them.
So what about Bucksnet? Well, as I explained, I already do a small amount of business with them, and every day I send a small number of transactions their way.
I tried to do my usual Bucksnet transactions tonight, and they all failed with "Invalid parameters". I've had that before with them, and I think it means their server is down, or incommunicado, or something serious like that.
So I tried to tell them. The out-of-hours number I had for them, no longer works. The number on their web site is 01296 432486 and all I get is the "All of our representatives are currently busy, you are first in line" which I could listen to for hours if I wanted to. I sent a message via their web site, and I emailed the guy who most recently emailed me.
2 1/2 hours later, it was still out of action, and I don't even know whether they know about it, and I have no way of telling them.
This is what happens when you try to run a business that needs to be open 24/7 (because at least one of their credit card processing customers is right now unable to do billings, and is unable to tell Bucksnet that they have a problem) and you don't have any way for your customers to get in touch with you except by sending an email.
Oh, and when I try to log on to their server at https://secure.bucks.net/PaymentGateway/ which (I guess) is their Payment Gateway, I get "An error occurred processing your request:
Required parameters missing or invalid". And there's no place to give a username or password, so that can't be the issue.
... later ...
It looks like the Bucksnet problem wasn't global, it was just me. Because I couldn't log on to their server to see my statistics and reports, I had asked them to give me a new password. The password they changed, was the one that I use for server-to-server transactions, and that's why they all failed.
Being unable to get to them by phone compounded the problem
I tried putting the new password into my software, but because the password includes a ( the program is deeply unhappy, and complains about a ( that doesn't have a ). So I've asked them to change the password again.