Bank of America Merchant Services Review


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

Overall Rating

C Rating

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Bank of America Merchant Services Overview

Bank of America Merchant Services Logo

Bank of America Merchant Services Logo

Bank of America Merchant Services (bankofamerica.com), also called BA Merchant Services and Banc of America Merchant Services, is one of the largest merchant account providers in the United States. Surprisingly, Bank of America uses First Data (and recently added TSYS) as its backend credit card processor. It is claimed that this partnership has resulted in one out of five of all U.S. credit card sales being transacted through Bank of America Merchant Services. A main benefit of having your business checking account and merchant account through Bank of America is that your credit card sales will usually be deposited a full day sooner than if you were with a third-party merchant account provider.

Bank of America is headquartered at 100 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28255.

Bank of America Sales & Marketing Tactics | B-

Key Points – Sales & Marketing 
Uses independent resellers? No
Promotes deceptive rate quotes? No
Discloses all important terms? No

Bank of America appears to primarily market its merchant account services through its numerous banking branches and internally employed outside sales representatives (as opposed to independent contractors). Although the company uses its own sales force, merchants are reporting similar problems often found with independent agents, such as nondisclosure of fees and important contract conditions prior to account setup. Other than reports of deceptive sales tactics by sales staff, Bank of America does not appear to use any misleading advertising or rate promotions.

Bank of America Marketing Example

Bank of America Costs & Contract Terms | C

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: $495
PCI compliance fee: $95 per year
Equipment lease: 48 mos./non-cancellable

Costs and fees of a Bank of America Merchant Account appear to vary based on a merchant’s business type, processing volume, sales rep, and the merchant’s skill in negotiating pricing (See: Fee Sweep). The company’s standard contract is reported to include a 36-month service agreement with a $495 Early Termination Fee (ETF). Additionally, sales reps often promote equipment rentals that include non-cancellable lease agreements of up to 48 months. Merchants are cautioned to fully read their service agreements before signing any documents and to avoid expensive leases by purchasing equipment outright. As of this review, we did not find any reports indicating that Bank of America charges the widely despised annual PCI Compliance fee, but multiple merchants report a $95 annual fee that may simply be PCI Compliance under a different name. If you have any further information regarding the standard Bank of America Merchant Services fees or contract terms, please leave it in the comment section below.

[Related: Get quotes from a provider with “A” rated contract terms]

Bank of America Complaints & Service | C+

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: 30+
Live customer support? Yes
Most common complaint: Hidden fees

Considering Bank of America’s enormous market share in the merchant processing industry, the company has relatively few complaints accusing its merchant services division of being a scam or a ripoff. Of the complaints that merchants have reported, most are regarding nondisclosure of important fees and contract terms prior to setting up an account, “hidden” and surprise fees, and nondisclosure of the $495 ETF. Many merchants who had complaints also reported receiving poor customer service and difficulty resolving problems. A small percentage of complaints, similar to those found here, expressed frustration with the fact that Bank of America did not clarify that merchants would be receiving service through First Data.

The company’s score in this section is affected in larger part by the content of the complaints over the quantity of complaints. Since Bank of America’s merchant services division has only been around for roughly four years and is closely affiliated with First Data, it seems reasonable that the company will not have attracted many complaints by now.

Bank of America BBB Report | C (CPO Adjusted)

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 2,962
Billing/collection: 1,413
Advertising/sales: 154
Guarantee/warranty: 22
Delivery: 37

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) does not have a separate profile for Bank of America’s merchant services division. The bank itself has had BBB accreditation since 1949 and currently holds an “A-” rating based on 4,589 complaints filed within the last 36 months. Of the total complaints, 4,463 have been resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

We have adjusted this rating to a “C” for the purposes of this review according to our rating criteria.

Bottom Line

Bank of America Merchant Services is responsible for a large percentage of merchant credit card transactions in the United States, and the vast majority of business owners appear to be satisfied with the service; however, the company’s rating is suffering in this review due to reports of deceptive sales tactics, predatory policies regarding cancelling service and leasing equipment, and high Early Termination Fees.

This review was originally published on 9/11/12 and was last updated on 7/24/14.

Leave your review of Bank of America Merchant Services in the comment section below:


Bank of America Merchant Services Review

Rated 2.6875 Out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2014-07-24 11:53:18

Considering Bank of America’s (bankofamerica.com) enormous market share in the merchant processing industry, the company has relatively few reviews accusing its merchant services division of being a scam or a ripoff. Bank of America uses First Data as its credit card processor, although First Data primarily plays a backend processing role in the relationship. Learn more in this Bank of America Merchant Services 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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35 comments

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  1. Wade Soul

    I went in to bank of America on June 2014 to open up a business checking account and the manager who I was dealing with there asked me if I take credit cards and I said I do then she asked who was your provider and I said Square so she said we have Bank of America merchant services and we can beat squares pricing so I said well lets see what you have to offer, she made a phone call and put Assonta Lysius who was a representative from Bank of America merchant services. I asked her a few questions about there rates and if there was a long term contract, her exact words were we charge 1.9% for Visa & Master card and 2.75% for American express and there is no contract whatsoever and u can cancel anytime with no cancelation fees. As Assonta faxed the contract to Bank of America I noticed the rates were different on the contract, I pointed out that was not the rates I was told. So she said sorry it was a mistake on the form. Things were looking a little fishy but Assonta said have no worries we are cheaper and better then square. Long story short I ended up going with Bank of America merchant services and OMG they charged me $35 on $700 credit cards that I accepted. They have all these crazy fees that they don’t explain to you so they ended up charging me about 5%. So I decided to cancel and come to find out its $500 to cancel your contract that I should I have never been in the first place. Everything they told me was a lie and a scam. Thank god the person that I was dealing with when I went to go open my business checking account heard both of us talking on speaker and she heard the whole conversation. I called the manager at bank of America and explained my situation to her that she was there and heard the whole conversation with me and Assonta and she said you should have not had to pay that high of a percentage and that I shouldn’t have not been in a contract. So she contacted Assanta and said why did you lie to my client about the charges and contract. So she was able to cancel my contract with no fees. WHATEVER YOU DO DONT GO WITH THEM. I PRIMISS YOU YOU WILL REGRET IT. HOW IN THE WORLD DO THEY GETAWAY WITH THIS, IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. IM GOING TO TAKE THIS TO MY LOCAL NEWS AND EXPOSE THEM. STAT AWAY!!! STAY AWAY AS FAR AS YOU CAN!!!!!!

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    1. Eric McNamee

      Wade,

      From your scenario it seems that your branch of Bank Of America actually underwrites their accounts through First Data. First Data is the largest payment processor in the world and their pricing is often Tiered pricing. That 1.9% flat rate was more than likely your “Qualified Rate” and they failed to disclose the Mid and Non Qualified rate downgrades. And quoting 2.75% for AMEX is a load of crap considering AMEX wholesales at 2.89% swiped and 3.5% keyed. There is new AMEX program called American Express OptBlue which does offer much lower AMEX rates for all business types however I highly doubt the BoFA rep offered that because not all companies have access to OptBlue.

      If you want a merchant account that is affordable ask for this exactly and you’ll be setup correctly.
      Interchange Plus pricing model
      Percentage markup: 0.25% (very fair for a new business)
      Authorization fee: $0.10 (unless you’re small ticket <$25 then $0.08 authorization)
      Monthly Minimum: $0.00
      Industry compliance: MONTHLY at $7.95 (also very fair for a new business) Unless you use a signature capture pad then compliance should be waived.
      Early Termination fee: $0.00
      Setup Fee: $0.00
      Equipment: Purchase a terminal. Don't lease one, it'll eat you alive in true cost. There are terminals for a couple of hundred bucks you can buy just make sure it's EMV ready and NOT locked. Keep in mind Free Equipment = Inflated surcharges and early termination fees.
      Also make sure the fees are taken out monthly versus daily. This is called the Monthly Discount. It will make it easier for you to determine your effective cost each month.

      [Redacted section - Promotional/contact information not allowed.]

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