Bank of America Merchant Services Overview
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.
|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
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|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.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|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.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
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.
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:
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