Commerce Payment Systems
Last Updated: January 31, 2014
Commerce Payment Systems Overview
Commerce Payment Systems (commercepaymentsystems.com, commercepaymentgroup.com) is a merchant account provider serving small merchants in most industries. Launched in 2006, the company offers e-commerce payment gateways, POS terminals, electronic check conversions, and credit card processing for retailers, restaurants, hotels, and gas stations. There is some evidence that Commerce Payment Systems is an ISO of North American Bancard. According to multiple complaints, the company also does business as Evolution Bankcard, but the Evolution Bankcard website claims that it is a subsidiary of EVO Merchant Services. It is therefore possible that Commerce Payment Systems is somehow linked to EVO Merchant Services, but this relationship is unconfirmed at this time. Commerce Payment Systems also offers wireless and mail/phone merchant accounts. Commerce Payment Systems, is a registered ISO/MSP of Deutsche Bank AG in New York. The company is located at 1465 Broadway, Hewlett, New York 11557.
Commerce Payment Sales & Marketing Tactics | D
Commerce Payment Systems appears to utilize telemarketing, online advertisement, and independent sales entities to market its services. Many negative Commerce Payment Systems reviews accuse the company’s telemarketers and field agents of misrepresentation of rates and nondisclosure of fees. Additionally, Commerce Payment Systems appears to have spammed other consumer websites with fabricated positive reviews in an attempt to bury negative reviews. We are currently unable to locate a single verified review of this company that reports a positive experience with its sales staff.
The Commerce Payment Systems website advertises debit card rates of 0.35% and credit swipe rates of 1.59%. These rates are likely the company’s “Qualified” rates for these transactions, and the website makes no mention of the higher “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” rates that merchants will pay for the majority of their transactions. We consider this type of rate quoting to be deceptive, since it may give merchants an unrealistic expectation of the rates they will pay. We have also seen Commerce Payment Systems advertisements on various websites that promote these misleading rates. Below is a screenshot of such an advertisement:
The terms enclosed in red are textbook examples of misleading advertising in the credit card processing industry. It is unclear what the company means by “Unbeatable rates-.25%.” Is this the company’s only rate? Which transaction types will receive this rate? The answer, in all probability, is none of them, since it’s an absurdly low rate for any processor to offer. Merchants should not expect to pay a rate that low anywhere.
The “Free Credit Card Terminal” claim is a common one among merchant services providers. The terminal may be initially free on a monthly basis, but there are always strings attached. Usually, the free terminal is included as part of a merchant account contract, meaning that a merchant is required to keep and use the terminal for the entire duration of the service term. In addition, the monthly cost of the terminal may simply be included as part of the merchant’s overall processing fees rather than be totally free. Upon cancelling service, a merchant may be required to ship the terminal back at his or her own expense or to pay a termination fee of some kind–again, not exactly free.
“No locked-in contracts,” like the rate quote above, is a vague term that leaves a lot of wiggle room for the advertiser. Does this mean that there are still contracts, but that they just aren’t “locked-in”? How is “locked-in” defined? Are there termination fees associated? Or are there other penalties for cancellation that basically function as an early termination fee? Merchants should not trust a claim like this one without carefully reading the actual terms of service provided by the company.
Commerce Payment Costs & Contract Terms | C-
Numerous merchant complaints have described the standard Commerce Payment Systems contract as a three-year agreement with a high annual fee, a PCI compliance fee at or in excess of $99, monthly minimums as high as $34.95, and other various fees. The company does not appear to charge an early termination fee (ETF), but merchants have reported total annual expenses that far exceed the one-time expense of a standard ETF. In addition, the company’s fraud prevention policies appear to be generating many merchant complaints, as complainants report receiving their funds only after an excessive delay and many complaints. Commerce Payment System’s apparent affiliation with North American Bancard is likely responsible for some of these complaints about its contract terms. If you have any knowledge of the standard Commerce Payment Systems contract, please leave that information in the comment section of this review.
Commerce Payment Complaints & Service | D
We are currently able to locate approximately 40 Commerce Payment Systems complaints that accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam, and the bulk of these complaints have been posted to the comment section of this review within the last eight months. Common themes among complainants include unexpected fees and rate increases, difficulty cancelling the service despite being charged for it, unavailable or unhelpful customer service representatives, misleading advertising, and expensive equipment leases. Many merchants report an average hold time in excess of 30 minutes when attempting to call Commerce Payment Systems customer support, and there are also reports of disconnected customer service lines. Some merchants report receiving letters in the mail from the company, selling a mystery shopper program. Once customers followed directions on the letter, they had lost anywhere from $1100 to $2700 of their own money.
The overwhelming consensus appears to be that Commerce Payment Systems does not have capable customer service to manage the many complaints stemming from its sales practices and contract terms. Additionally, as noted above, the company appears to have loaded some consumer protection sites with false testimonials in an attempt to manipulate its reputation among merchants. These factors have lowered its grade in this section to a “D.”
Commerce Payment BBB Report | D
Commerce Payment Systems is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As of this review, the company holds a “D” rating with the BBB and has 289 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months (up from 265 as of our last update). Of the total complaints, one was filed in regards to a guarantee or warranty issue, eight involved problems with delivery, 34 stemmed from advertising or sales issues, and 63 stated problems with the company’s products or services. The bulk of the complaints (183 of them) were filed in regards to billing or collections disputes. While 233 complaints have been resolved, 56 were either unsubstantiated, not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, or received no response from the company. In this case, we agree with the BBB’s rating of “D.”
Commerce Payment Systems rates as a substandard merchant account provider according to our rating system. The company is showing complaints about deceptive sales tactics, expensive contract terms, and poor customer service. Additionally, the BBB has issued a warning accusing the company of improperly representing itself as BBB accredited. Commerce Payment Systems will need to improve in all of these categories in order to raise its overall rating.
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