Apex Merchant Group Review


Overall Rating Breakdown
Sales & Marketing Tactics
Costs & Contract Terms
Complaints & Service
BBB Rating

Apex Merchant Group

"D" Credit Card Processor Rating

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Apex Merchant Group Overview

Apex Merchant Group

Apex Merchant Group Logo

Updated 11/14/2014: On October 15, 2014, the Attorney General of Minnesota filed a lawsuit against Apex Merchant Group alleging that the company fraudulently altered contract terms and used “bait and switch” tactics to trick merchants into paying higher rates than they had initially agreed to. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, penalties, and restitution from Apex Merchant Group.

The CEO of Apex Merchant Group, Andrew Frankel, is the brother of Craig Frankel. Craig and Jonathan Frankel formerly served as officers and directors of Certified Merchant Services, which was the subject of an FTC complaint in 2002. In that complaint, Certified Merchant Services was accused of modifying customer contracts, debiting accounts without authorization, misrepresenting the goods and services offered by the company, and failing to disclose various fees. Certified Merchant Services settled that complaint for $23.5 million. According to the Attorney General of the State of Minnesota, Craig Frankel is an investor in Apex Merchant Group.

Apex Merchant Group (apexmg.net) is a merchant account provider based in Plano, Texas, and the company looks to have been established in 2008 or 2009. Apex appears to specialize in serving small to mid-sized businesses and offers several different services including credit card processing, debit card processing, gift & loyalty card programs, electronic check processing, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), merchant cash advances, and processing equipment.

Apex Merchant Group is a reseller of First American Payment Systems contracts, making it a member of the First American ISO network that appears to consist of the following companies: Appstar Financial, Eliot Management Group, Trans Tech Merchant Group, Summit Merchant Solutions, and Certified Payment Processing. Apex Merchant Group is an ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio. The company’s corporate headquarters is located at 6652 Pinecrest Dr., Suite #400, Plano, Texas 75024.

Apex Merchant Group Sales & Marketing Tactics | D

Apex appears to rely primarily on recruiting and hiring independently contracted agents to market and sell its financial services as well as “appointment setting” via telephone. Based on several reports, many of these agents engage in telemarketing and door-to-door sales. Numerous complaints suggest that agents receive poor training regarding the terms and conditions of Apex’s merchant account agreement and that commissions are tied to the cost of the merchant account. This means that the more expensive the rates and fees are set for the merchant during the setup process, the larger the commission the agent receives.

At minimum, it is apparent that the company has a lack of oversight of its agents as evidenced by the plentiful reports of deceptive sales tactics. Additionally, Apex appears to often enforce predatory agreements even when the merchant claims that an agent lied about its conditions or failed to verbally disclose them.

[Related: Get quotes from a provider with “A” rated sales practices]

Apex Merchant Group Costs & Contract Terms | D

The total cost of an Apex merchant account will likely vary based on a merchant’s business type and the agent setting up the account. Numerous merchants indicate that agents often overprice the rates and fees and that the accounts often end up more expensive than what merchants were quoted. In addition, the company charges an annual PCI Compliance fee of $125.

Apex’s standard contract (available below) includes a three-year service agreement with automatic renewal for one-year terms, an Early Termination Fee (ETF) of $495 or more, a $95 annual fee, and an unlisted monthly minimum fee. These fees are automatically debited from merchants’ attached checking accounts. Merchants who choose to lease equipment may be subject to additional fees and conditions, including non-cancellable leases.

Click here to see a copy of the standard Apex Merchant Group terms and conditions
Apex Merchant Group Terms and Conditions

Apex Merchant Group Complaints & Service | F

We are currently able to locate over 120 Apex Merchant Group complaints, many of which describe the company as a ripoff or a scam. This is a high number of complaints for a provider of its size and time in business, and these complaints come from both former agents and merchant customers. Agents mostly report misleading job opportunities that promise great pay and high-quality appointments set by the company. However, most of these complaints state that the appointments are usually of poor quality and that merchants often do not expect their arrival. Due to this, several agents reported costs in travel that were never recuperated because they were unable to complete sales at their appointments.

Merchant complaints primarily consist of reports of unauthorized debits from checking accounts, deceptive sales tactics by agents, “hidden” fees, poor customer service, difficulty closing accounts, and nondisclosure of important fees, terms, and conditions prior to an agent setting up an account.

[Related: Get quotes from a provider with “A” rated customer service]

Apex Merchant Group BBB Report | F

As of this review, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reporting an “F” rating for Apex Merchant Group based on 184 complaints filed in the last 36 months, of which the BBB considers seven to be “serious” in nature. Of the total, 126 are regarding problems with products and services, 32 with advertising and sales issues, and 26 with billing and collection disputes. Apex has resolved 123 of the complaints to the merchant’s satisfaction, while the other complaints were either not resolved, resolved to the merchant’s dissatisfaction, or unable to be substantiated. In this case, we agree with the BBB’s rating.

Bottom Line

Apex Merchant Group rates as a substandard merchant account provider by almost every available metric. The company appears to be to follow an “agent hiring mill” recruiting strategy for marketing its services. This strategy seems to lead to high turnover and a constant stream of rookie agents who appear to receive poor training, are focused on high commissions, and have insufficient oversight from Apex management. Apex can improve its score by removing undesirable terms and conditions from its merchant account agreement and eliminating complaints from its agents and merchant customers.

This review was originally published on 9/27/12 and was last updated on 11/14/14.

Leave your review of Apex Merchant Group in the comment section below:


Apex Merchant Group Review

Rated 1 Out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2014-11-14 11:33:59

We are currently able to locate over 300 Apex Merchant Group negative reviews, many of which describe the company as a ripoff or a scam… Apex Merchant Group (apexmg.net) rates as a substandard merchant account provider by almost every available metric… Learn more in this Apex Merchant Group review.

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About the author

Phillip Parker

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry.



 
Phillip can help you find an ethical and honest processor that will offer you great rates. Click here to request a free provider consultation.

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107 comments

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  1. Nicole

    I’ve been working for this company for 3 years! I knew nothing about sales going into this job, but my team leader guided me and coached me into learning the product and how to help merchants. I still remember him telling me, “It’s all about longevity. Our goal is to work together to help merchants save money and keep a long-term, positive relationship with them for the life of their business.” This has stayed in my head for 3 years and that is my motivation for helping merchants every day. Another positive aspect is how well Apex takes care of their employees. My team leader always makes it clear what my commission will be with each sale and they also pay their employees to ensure the happiness of the merchants. I love the fact that I have several qualified appointments every day and most of the merchants know my name when I arrive. I stay very busy due to the daily referrals I receive from current merchants. This is the best job I’ve ever had and as a single mother, it has allowed me to live a financially free life by simply helping merchants!

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  2. Rick

    This Company Apex Are really a bunch of Rude LIARS and thieves. They told me it was $7.00 per mo. plus 1.65%
    and the first of the month they charged $54.00 so I called them, and they said that their were additional Fees. Then they proceeded to say , well we can discount it to $40.00 per month. I go to my bank and explained I wanted to close my account, so then the bright bank Guy tells me ” Oh you don’t have to do that we can block your account so they can’t take money out of your account for a year, I say well OK. So I check my bank account and to my surprise wow
    I am $900.00 overdrawn and my $247.00 is gone Yeah I told them I wanted to send the machine back and they said I will send you a label so I didn’t want to pay to ship it. when I received the label I sent the machine back, then they tell my bank that I only had 7 days to return it.and charged me 499.00 no way did that machine cost that. now my bank closed my account and reported me to Chex system and now I can’t even open a new bank Acc. Then the guy that Sold me the Machine came by, and said he had no Idea that they did that, and told me that they never got any Commission because he waived the early termination Fee. don’t even think of giving these your business.

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  3. Tim

    Buyer BEWARE, I have a long story, but the short of it my 3 yr agreement is done on Feb 1, 2014 and my company is closed as of Dec. 31,2013. Called APEX to close my merchant account and was told that a $ 495.00 early term fee applied to pay or be turned into collections. I stated: that I did not want to close my account until Feb 1,2014 so that I would not be charged the early term fee. I was told that because I didn’t give APEX 30-90 days written notice that it didn’t matter. I stated: that that was not possible because of the company closure date and the agreement anniversary was too close together. I stated: what does it matter, my company is closing and being dissolved. APEX didn’t care so they are going to send me to collections.I have been a loyal customer with APEX for 3 years sorry to say. I was mis-lead by the salesman or the company when I signed up 3 years ago, no one wants to take blame. I was told since I was already PCI compliant that my yearly fees would be waived, well that wasn’t the case and I lost that argument. Point is, I could go on and on about the company. If you have issues file a complaint with the Dallas Texas based BBB.

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.

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