|Sales & Marketing|
|Costs & Contract|
|Complaints & Service|
BankCard USA Merchant Services (bankcardusa.com) is a merchant account provider that specializes in credit card processing and electronic payment services. The company is a reseller of First Data that shares past ties with Maverick Bankcard, a relationship that is covered in our Maverick Bankcard review. According to a BankCard USA representative, these two companies no longer have any relationship besides being located on different floors of the same building, and each operates independently of the other.
BankCard USA claims to provide processing for 400-1000 new merchants per month and to have serviced over 100,000 merchants since its creation. The company began operating in 1997 and is located at 28720 Roadside Drive Suite 299, Agoura Hills, California 91301. BankCard USA Merchant Services is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. The president of BankCard USA is Shawn Skelton and the vice president is Scott Hardy.
BankCard USA Products and Services:
- Debit and credit card processing
- Wireless payment acceptance
- Check conversion
- Gift and loyalty programs
- POS equipment
- Merchant cash advance
- E-commerce solutions
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||Yes|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
According to BankCard USA reviews found on this site and elsewhere, the company appears to hire independent sales agents to market its services. The use of independent sales agents or resellers is a common practice within the industry that often results in elevated complaint rates among merchants. In the case of BankCard USA, numerous publicly available complaints report aggressive in-person sales tactics and nondisclosure or misrepresentation of fees at the point of signing.
The company’s home page quotes “the lowest rates in the industry at 0.23%.” Although the website never elaborates on this quote, it is most likely the “Qualified” rate for swiped debit transactions. The website makes no mention of the “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” rates that merchants are likely to pay for the majority of their transactions. We consider this type of rate quoting to be deceptive, since the 0.23% figure shown is much lower than the effective rate for almost all merchants.
BankCard USA Marketing Example
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|PCI compliance fee:||Variable|
Many public complaints about BankCard USA describe a standard agreement of three years with an early termination fee ranging from $99 to $295. Other reported fees include monthly minimum fees ranging from $10 to $25 (likely dependent on business size and type) and multiple PCI compliance fees each year, which may exceed $200 in total. According to one rebuttal offered by a company representative, BankCard USA reserves the right to place funds in risk assessment for up to 180 days. This provision appears to have caused great inconvenience for a number of high-risk merchants that the company has serviced.
A company representative has informed us that BankCard USA no longer charges a termination fee on all accounts. The company only charges merchants a $99 termination fee if they have received free equipment upon account activation, and it waives this fee if the equipment is returned or if the merchant remains with the company for over a year. This is preferable to a long-term contract with a built-in termination fee, but it appears to be a fairly recent change for the company. BankCard USA also appears to allow its independent agents to set their own lease terms and rates, so the specific terms of the standard BankCard USA contract may vary depending on the agent servicing the account as well as the merchant’s business type, size, and time in business.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support?||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Hidden fees|
On this website and other consumer protection websites, we were able to locate over 45 complaints about BankCard USA from the last three years, many of which accused BankCard USA of being a scam or ripoff. Merchant complaints generally cited undisclosed fees, unauthorized debiting, and difficulty reaching customer service representatives. A significant number of complainants expressed frustration with the company’s policy of placing holds on suspiciously large transaction amounts. This is a common policy designed to protect merchant account providers from high-risk transactions. While it isn’t especially unethical to withhold funds in this manner, it appears that BankCard USA does a poor job of communicating its policies to high-risk merchants both before and during service. BankCard USA does not appear to list a dedicated support number on its website.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
The Better Business Bureau has received 75 complaints regarding BankCard USA Merchant Services within the past three years and is awarding BankCard USA an “A-” rating. Of the complaints, 29 were related to the product or service, 27 had to do with billing and collection, 17 were due to advertising or sales issues, and two were related to guarantee or warranty issues. A total of 45 have been resolved to the merchants’ satisfaction, while the BBB believes the company made a good faith effort on 29 despite the merchants’ ultimate dissatisfaction. The BBB cites six “serious” complaints against the company as the primary factor lowering its grade. In light of these figures, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C-.”
BankCard USA Review
Rated 2.6 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2015-01-22
BankCard USA rates as an average merchant account provider according to our rating standards. The company has a moderate complaint rate for its apparent size, and merchants consistently report dissatisfaction with the company’s contract terms, sales tactics, and customer service. The company can improve its overall rating by lowering its complaint volume and revising its sales strategies. It is worth noting that BankCard USA could potentially be confused with another business named Bancard USA. These entities are unrelated.
This review was originally published on 5/17/12 and was last updated on 1/22/15.
* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score
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