Appstar Financial Review


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

Appstar Overall Rating

"D" Credit Card Processor Rating

Last Updated: February 6, 2014

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Appstar Financial Overview

Appstar Financial Logo

Appstar Financial Logo

Appstar Financial (appstar.net) is a U.S.-based merchant account provider that primarily targets its services to small and mid-sized businesses. In addition to offering credit card processing services, the company also provides debit card processing, check processing, gift & loyalty card programs, EBT processing, merchant cash advances and processing software and hardware for both in-store and e-commerce sales.

Although we have not been able to verify it independently (primarily because the information is private or difficult to attain), Appstar Financial may be under the same ownership, or affiliated with, the following companies (as indicated by third-party reviews and information): Apex Merchant Group, Eliot Management Group, Trans Tech Merchant Group, Summit Merchant Solutions, First American Payment Systems and Certified Payment Processing.

AppStar Financial is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio, with corporate headquarters located at 4619 Viewridge Ave., Ste. C, San Diego, California 92123.

Appstar Financial Sales & Marketing Tactics | D

Based on merchant reviews, it’s apparent that Appstar Financial relies heavily on telemarketing and independently contracted outside sales agents to market and sell its credit card processing services. Like most providers that use these tactics and score poorly in merchant reviews, Appstar appears to incentivize agents by linking higher commissions with higher rates and fees for merchants, including fees and lease terms on equipment. Due to this practice, agents are often focused on setting up expensive merchant accounts and long service agreements in exchange for higher payouts.

It is unclear if Appstar management condones aggressive sales tactics or encourages high pricing, but it appears that, at minimum, there is a lack of oversight and education of many of its agents. Additionally, it looks as if Appstar enforces agreements even when merchants describe the use of deceptive sales tactics by an agent.

Other than problems regarding Appstar’s telemarketing and sales agents, we found no other obvious examples of deceptive marketing.

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

Appstar Financial Costs & Contract Terms | D

Appstar Financial merchant account costs and fees will likely vary from one merchant to the next based on the merchant’s business type and the agent setting up the account. Numerous merchants are reporting high fees and being misled to believe that Appstar will be less expensive than their current provider, only to experience much higher costs once activated. The company’s standard agreement includes a three-year service agreement with a $495 Early Termination Fee (ETF) and an annual PCI compliance fee of $125, both of which are automatically deducted from a merchant’s checking account. Additionally, the contract appears to automatically renew for successive one-year terms and is only cancellable within a small window of time before it renews. Merchants who choose to lease equipment may be subject to additional conditions and fees.

Appstar Financial Complaints & Service | D

We are currently able to locate over 70 negative reviews about Appstar Financial, many of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. The most common types of complaints that merchants have reported are uses of deceptive sales tactics by agents, constant telemarketing calls, nondisclosure of important fees prior to account setup (such as the ETF and PCI compliance fee), and holding of merchant funds. There are also complaints from former agents claiming mistreatment and being sent to bogus appointments with merchants.

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

Appstar Financial BBB Report | D (CPO Adjusted)

As of this review, Appstar Financial has maintained Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation since 2002 and an “A+” rating despite having 206 complaints filed within the last 36 months. Of the total, 109 are regarding problems with products and services, 56 with advertising and sales issues, 39 with billing and collection, and two split between delivery problems and guarantee and warranty issues. All but 19 of the complaints have been resolved to the merchant’s satisfaction, which may demonstrate Appstar’s desire to maintain a strong BBB rating. We have adjusted the BBB’s rating to “D” for the purposes of this review based on how our criteria would score the number and types of complaints.

Bottom Line

Appstar Financial rates as a substandard merchant account provider according to our rating standards. The company scores poorly in this review due to unfriendly policies regarding cancellation of services and the associated Early Termination Fee as well as a high annual PCI Compliance fee. Additionally, the company is suffering from numerous complaints regarding deceptive sales tactics and aggressive telemarketing. Appstar can improve its rating by improving upon the areas that are adversely impacting its score and by eliminating future merchant complaints.

Leave your review of Appstar Financial in the comment section below:


Appstar Financial Review

Rated 1 Out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2014-04-29 10:34:44

UPDATED: Feb 6, 2014 – We are currently able to locate over 270 reviews about Appstar Financial, many of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam… Appstar Financial (appstar.net) rates as a substandard merchant account provider according to our rating standards… Learn more in this Appstar Financial 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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65 comments

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  1. kathy dowell

    This company is a total scam. They are now harassing me with threatening constant phone calls and letters. They sent a rep to my retail store and he told me so many lies, He told me this was a trial process and if they could not save me money I would get a full refund of my set up fee. after he left my store I heard nothing from no one, I already had a merchant account but was doing this on a trial basis to see if I could save money. I heard nothing from no one after he left my store, I only had his card. He would not answer, nor return my calls. I am very very busy as I run my business by myself, and really did not take the time to figure out how much money they were taking from my account I got the two companies confused. below is a letter I wrote the company, by the way their company threats come from First American Payment Systems. I had to close my bank account to keep them from taking loads of fees out after I figured out what they were doing, and if you have a 20 year or so business you know what a hassle that could be to change all of your payment accounts. PLEASE BEWARE OF APP-STAR.
    09/13/2014

    To Whom It May Concern:
    I am a local business owner, in Galax Virginia, and have lived in the area my entire life. I have been in business for 20 years. During this time I have never had anyone to come into my store and blatantly lie to me as did your previous employee Joel S. Niten. He came in and wanted to take a look at my current merchant account. I was very busy and didn’t have the time at the moment, so he just waited and was there for probably two hours total. I let him look at it, because I didn’t want to be rude and just tell him to leave. He explained how much money he could save me compared to my current company. He ask me to sign the paper to give him permission to look into it further. After he left I tried calling him. He never would return my calls. I am very busy as I run my business alone. So I assumed there would be someone contacting me, sending me something in the mail, I never received anything, and had no idea how to contact the company. On July 14th I searched the internet and found a way to contact your company, talked with George ID 7030 at ext 2849. I explained to him how there had been no contact, and he told me to go online and view my statements. This is when I realized I had been paying all the charges that I wasn’t supposed to pay. I called George back and found out the copy of the contract I had was marked with Xs and notes that were not on the one he had. I explained everything to George and he said nothing could be done because Mr. Niten was no longer with the company. Mr. Niten also told me if your company could not save me money compared to my current one I would receive my money back. After I was able to review my statements in July I seen during the first quarter it cost me $155.19 for 32.00 in sales. Boy what a great savings.
    I needed time to consult my lawyer and show him the papers I had, He has advised me to send this certified letter in writing requesting all false charges be returned to me by check at the above address and cancel all contracts which are null and void due to misrepresentation of your company. He explained to me even though the Mr. Niten done his scheming and quit your company, or got caught and was terminated. You company would still be responsible for your employee during his employment with you. I request to have no further business with you company, and advise you to better screen your employees, and have someone to contact clients after they have left a place of business.
    Thank You
    Kathy Dowell

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