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.


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.cardpaymentoptions.com/credit-card-processors/electronic-merchant-systems/

25 comments

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  1. sam

    Hi, guy if you think to deal with ems, then you gone be rob not only one way they rob you all ways, first thing never trust them rate what ever they say, I deal with the sales rep his name is dave weber, he is give me the rate .03 cents per transaction and batch settlement fees .03c and only 10 monthly statement charges, and no pci compliance charges then they charge me $50.00 on everty month and after I pci compliance then they charge me monthly 100k data and breach protection for $5.00 then they charge me tech upgrade and update fees $75.00. and from first month I had the wrong rate they charge me intstaed of .03c per transaction they charge me 0.55% per dollar so how wrong charges you guys think that, they are very bad company my personal expereice they are robber, they rob me up so never trust on them guys again.

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    1 / 11 found this review helpful.
  2. Barbara Gruetzmacher

    Sorry to hear all the bad reviews on EMS. I was looking at them as they are slightly cheaper. Glad to find these reviews. I’ve had past problems with credit card processing companies and had suffered many of the same things being reported here that EMS does. I have used Square for years now with not a SINGLE issue other than I’ve had to replace the reader a couple of times. Never any fees, monies not deposited, or charges to my bank account. Not a single problem! I’ll stay right where I am and pay the slightly more rate just to avoid the hassle. Thank you to everyone that has shared their experiences so that others can avoid the same scam.

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    8 / 13 found this review helpful.
  3. CorporateUser

    We contacted this business for more information regarding their credit processing. Upon going to the website and emailing (to which they did not respond) we used their chat system. We were connected to a representative named Daniel. We asked several questions regarding volume ability for business and restriction on business types. Mr. Daniel’s response was we do not do a one size fits all on our customers like Square it depends on volume of the business and the sales however there is no restrictions. He then told us for more information we would have to submit our last 3 months of credit processing. I told the representative that being a corporation that grosses well over 250k a year we are not willing to divulge our exact numbers and statements without some sort of idea of the parameters in which Plus By EMS was thinking. We told them the amount in which we sold per month and our average sales price. Upon not being willing to divulge corporate information they said and I quote and have screenshotted, we do have restrictions on business types and that we suggest you try our competitors.

    The fact that this business will not give numbers based on the average without seeing our corporate information and they lie about having restrictions and even more so tell people to use their competitors really makes me question what kind of business this is.

    I would very much be skeptical and weary of this company!
    Something fishy or maybe just a horrible representative I dealt with.

    Being a fairly large corporation and to be blown off by this company makes me wonder how they treat small businesses.

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    2 / 5 found this review helpful.
  4. Cherie Burnham

    Les see. My name is Cherie new owner of Hair salon in Mulberry. I am really kicking myself for signing up with this company. EMS called me few times to hook me up with a credit machine. I refused and hung up few times. Second or third week they called me again. I tried to get out of it but then offer me a free website. So I agreed to talk to the sales person. They scheduled an appointment with me at 10 am in the morning. I told because I get busy in the afternoon time with walk in. The sales guy didn’t show up till 3pm, telling me that it was written on his paper that the appointment was at 3pm. I had a bad feeling about these people. You know the little voice in the back of your head telling you this is not right. I believe they came to me at that time because It would be easy for me to sign because I would be under more pressure.
    First of all the guy filled out all my paper work. I didn’t get to read any of it. I got offer a 39.00 monthly fees for free website design and credit card machine with no contract. Sounded great to me. That was March 11th 2014. Seems like an honest person. Told me he would save me lots of money. I told them that right now I am using Square and its hassle free for me with no contract. He told me I was actually paying more with Square and that I would save more money by signing up with them. I was excited about the free website.
    He filled out all the paper work and handed it to me to sign, not disclosing to me any fees nor cancellation fees. the only fees he disclosed to me was the 1.95 % + 20 cents transaction fees, $15.00 monthly access fees and $15.00 dollars monthly 100k data breached protection. Those were the only fees that were marked which led me to believe that those were the only fees I was paying. When I looked at it. I told him that these fees are the main reason I was with square. He then put a line into the $15.00 and brought both down to $10.00 each. Now I’m thinking $20.00 per month is not bad so I tried to get him to lower the terms down to 1 year. In my mind I’m thinking, they came in here with no term now I am signing a contract. (That voice were telling me.) He went outside to talk on the phone and came back with he can’t lower it because I am a new business. I told him I didn’t know them either. To make long story short: With in a week I got the machine and someone called me the next day to set it. I didn’t use my machine the first and second week because I wasn’t sure I would know how. By the second week I went into my bank account and notice they had took out 46.00 dollars plus out of my account. I called them to find out what the fees were. Guy couldn’t even tell me. all he said it was monthly minimum fees which I have no clues what it means. I called him few more times to find out how much sales do I have to make to avoid the monthly minimum fees. Still cant tell me. I looked at my contract and told him that on this contract it says average monthly sales is $2000 which is all a lie because I told him I make about 1500 per month. I told him if that was the case I will never avoid the $25 dollars fee. He told me that wasn’t the case and that it was just my average monthly sales.
    2 days later I made 2 different sales of $45 dollars and $53 dollars. They took out $4.61 cents out of my account. That doesn’t add up to 1.95% plus .20 cents transaction. Also, to this day my website has not been put up and its going on a month. This is what led me to this site. Now with everybody’s complaints, I don’t want to wait till a lot more is taken out of my account. I am trying to find out how I can cancel the contract with less then a month into it.
    I like Cathy’s idea and I just might go that route. If anybody out there knows how I can get out of it, please give me some ideas. Thanks.
    Cherie

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    7 / 11 found this review helpful.
  5. Bill McGann

    Garbage, utter garbage. They sent me a card reader for my Android phone, but it doesn’t work properly. Once I install it, the app tells me the card reader isn’t installed correctly. I remove it and insert it again and I’m STILL told the card reader is mis-installed.
    BUT, if I try to use a different app, such as Square Up, my phone no longer works and I have to do a master reset. This has happened all 3 times I tried to use EMS+ : it both refused to work AND seized up my phone.

    I refuse to do any further business with this company.

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    5 / 8 found this review helpful.
  6. Drew

    I have extensive knowledge of this company and how it operates behind the scenes. You are all correct. It bombards merchants with multiple charges that are all for profit even though many are given names to seem like industry charges like PCI non compliance, Semi Annual Tech fees…all just additional profit centers.

    All the charges are buried in less than 1 point font on the backside of a contract. Ignore whatever rate you are initially quoted…there are accelerators you will never find in the contract that jack the rates up pretty much right away. I just saw a merchant pay over 6% in his first month when he signed for a 1.95% rate.

    Only chance to get out is threaten with BBB. Company is trying desperately to increase their BBB rating…not by changing biz practices, but by satisfying only the customers that catch them in the act and file a complaint. Trust me…his company’s business model is to take whatever it can from customers before they somehow find a way to cancel.

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    9 / 11 found this review helpful.
  7. JCheng

    Avoid EMS by all cost… This company is the worst and most expensive. They you money for everything and you are committed to a longgggg term contract. This company is a Scam. I run a small business and been with EMS over 3years, but there service keep getting more expensive, they charge for everything and bad customer support. Now, that i find a better provider i wanted to cancel my service with them. They want to charge me over $1500 for early termination…. This is a life commitment once you are signed up with them, unless you want to paid the cancellation fee.

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    5 / 6 found this review helpful.
  8. Ryan Goida

    I am with Filler Up Financial who currently runs processing thru EMS. EMS truly goes above and beyond due to the level of training they provide. Tim Shank is the training agent who has been sent to our offices twice. Tim has always been willing to assist on any question, any deal, any time of the night. He and EMS are fully committed to not only our success as agents however the merchant’s success as a business. There is true care given to each merchants’ success as well as each office/agent. I would highly recommend EMS to any merchant/agent.

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    1 / 3 found this review helpful.
  9. cathy lehner

    EMS is by far THE WORST company to have process credit cards. All they do is lie and when asked to provide documentation supporting those lies, they can not. I was locked into a four year contract with them starting in 2007. When it was over, I immediately noticed a huge increase in their processing fees up to 9% per batch from the contracted 1.79% plus all the other erroneous fees that they could never explain.When I called about this matter, they informed me that the rates went up because I was out of contract. I immediately started looking for another company. When I found another company, I called to cancel services and was informed that there was a $300 cancellation fee or I would be billed $98 per month fee for not using them for processing. How can they raise the processing fees nearly to 10% because I was out of contract? Then bill me $300 for an early cancellation fee?Their contract enforcement seems to be adjustable to suit their needs. According to the complaints on the BBB website ( up to 102 with mine) this seems to be common practice. Backdooring your account for whatever they can get away with.

    Not to mention First Hudson Leasing, (which EMS states has nothing to do with them even though they have the same address and I was instructed to return the equipment to EMS), overbilling for faulty equipment for the last 6 years.

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    1 / 3 found this review helpful.
    1. Jcheng

      Hello Cathy,

      I am having the same issue. I want to cancel the contract with them but they are charging me $475 plus $795 a huge amount of non-sense money. Did you paid them? How did you solve the problem? I need help!!!

      Please,

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      1 / 2 found this review helpful.
      1. mariion

        I’m currently having this problem. I”m going to contact corporate to see if this can be fixed. If not , I’ll have to contact the news.

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        1 / 2 found this review helpful.
        1. Ryan Wall

          I too have the exact same problem. I wanted to cancel a year ago but they said I had to fulfill my 18 month. Finally my 18 months are up so I tried to cancel what they told me that I cannot because My 18 month contract just auto renewed. $595 cancelation fee.

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          1 / 2 found this review helpful.
          1. cathy

            Dear Ryan. What I did to cut EMS out was : I got another company and equipment. and started using the new company immediately. I stopped using EMS returned their equipment and put a stop payment on my bank account through my bank after the last deposit was made. End of story. I filed a complaint with the BBB and EMS answer was that they forgave all fees. After all, without access to my account, how can they deduct fees anyway?

            I have read many complaints at the BBB, all the same about EMS. Cancellation fees etc……. The resolutions were all the same. EMS will just back off. They know they are wrong for what they are doing, so they just forget about it. I never heard another word from them.

            You can absolutely get out of the self renewing contract that is a crock. Just cut them off from your bank account.Worked for me an I didn’t miss a beat with credit processing. I now use Groupon Processing. 1.8% fees and .15 a swipe. No hidden fees or tiered card fees. What a dream. All you need is an IPad and their little mobile swiper.
            Good Luck!

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            1 / 2 found this review helpful.
          2. Cherie Burnham

            Hey Ryan, Did you ever get out of contract with EMS? If so please give me some info on how you went about doing it. Thanks,
            Cherie

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            1 / 2 found this review helpful.
  10. dave

    This company is awful i’m still stuck with them after 4 years if they come knocking on your door please run very fast from them

    Example one
    I’m a small start up business that bought out another business and I was stupid to go ahead and keep Ems as my processor easy transfer when to busy trying to start the business (figured that 2% wasn’t bad (warning danger danger) and could look for new better pricing later

    The first 6 months was not bad I guess I was doing a major show at 6 months into business and I called their rep I was interested in their biz-funds program for this major show and needed to increase inventory for this show Their lying rep said that i could use this program to raise extra working capitol for business the rep said this program was short term loan to help sart up businesses the payoff was 20% a month over 5 months and 20% interest (my margins are 28% so i was investing in extra short term inventory still making 8 % and trying to build business

    They lied, lied and then lied some more they started taking the money off the top (this was ok with me) after 3 months i had already paid 80% back when they they froze my account no warning then said i wasn”t paying enough back fast enough froze 3300.00 at that time then held it for 180 days and I still havn’t got it all back 3 years later they still owe me $191.00 that they say they paid me I have repeatally given them the proof that I haven’t been paid ad they keep saying there working on it I have had enough

    Now if you borrow $5000.00 from them at 20 % simple math you should owe them $6000.00 total at end right!!!
    (simplified for everyone to understand) why did i pay them $4500 on three months and then pay the remaining 1500. by month later and then some more after that. when It was paid off a month early and then when i was finally done the real interest rate for 5 months was over 66.66% not kidding here…..

    for the next 18 months they continued to charge me a $10.00 a month Biz-funds servicing fee

    Now the real problem with them freezing the deposits no money was going into my business accounts that they Ems are still trying to ACH my batching fees and monthly fees on an as needed basis BUT!!! if there not depositing in my account then no money is going in and there continuing to try to take it out of my account (my bank was and still is more than happy to charge me $35.00 every time Ems tries to ACH money from me) Ems excuse is your supposed to keep money in your account so we can take it for our fees. It is not our fault my bank says you need to go back to Ems for fee reinbursement. We the bank charge our fees accordingly and its not our problem (bank is chase) Its all about the fees people.
    .
    Now the real final part here because of all the fees for the ACH’s chase closes my business account for fraudulant abuses and reports me to chexsystems and now Ii cant open a new business account at any other bank because chase says i abused my account.

    Thank’s Very Much Ems !!!! it’s their fault and they dont care..

    so now for the last 3 yrs i”ve been using my credit union account to run my business

    I tried to get rid of them at my annual contract and I get told that I have to give them a 90 day notice in advance
    or pay a cancellation fee of over $1000 dollars so I was stuck at this time and when I tried a year later this time in the correct window of oppurtunity they say they got cancallation notice 2 days after it was due (please send it registered people reading this)

    now it’s 2013 and they have froze my account at the end of march and here we go again only this time its my credit union account being affected and there charging me $30.00 per transaction

    so now I am contacting the office of comptroller US goverment, State of NH attourney general and the banking commission for credit unions (no money from my credit cards being deposited bank feeing me to death again
    and cash transactions not being enough to keep bank positive)

    EMS is going to succeed in bankrupting my business and me personally and the best part is the lease on the 2 credit card machines i have thru first hudson(ems) that cannot be canceled for another 2 years so when they
    finish destroying me and my business i’m still gonna owe them more money.

    They do a yearly rate increase at Ems on there percentages(they call them discount rates) (warning its automatic) d will be a small line on your monthly statement that it will take effect on xx/xx/xxxx

    PLEASE ANYONE READING THIS DON’T USE EMS (you’ll be sorry)

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    2 / 3 found this review helpful.
  11. Ted

    stay away from miles davis. he is very sweet talker he will promise the world and when you get your first montly statement you will realize all these EXTRA fees. always remember rates are always different for different cards like points card, business card. dont believe when the rep says that there is no cancellation fee. ask about all the fees and get everything in writing in email. JUST stay away from ems corporate

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    1 / 2 found this review helpful.
  12. Cody Swank

    I have been using ems for 6 months now and just realized the poor business prectices they use. first a guy comes into your place of business trying to relate to you like hes your best freind. No big deal i can see through that. But then with the promises of lowering your merchant payouts he smiles the whole time your signing that false contract. I was told my fees would be 40% less and yes the initial fee is less. But what they do not tell you is they are going to hit your bank acccount every business day with a 25-35 dollar fee. So when I was paying 475$ a month in fees im now paying 950$ a month. Total crap they can lie to you and switch things around to fool you. Oh and by the way when you try to call that smiling face that said theyll be there if you need anything they dont return calls. So you become forced to eat the high cancelation fees and move on. THANKS EMS YOU SUCK! Hope you guys get put out of business. Im a small business owner and that extra 450 would be nice to have in my pocket and not yours.
    Sincerly
    The guy you screwed over

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    1. JCheng

      Hello Cody,

      I am having the same exact issue… I cant stand this company no more for the over fee. Did you paid them the 475$ cancellation fee? and move on? We, as a small business try to survive and hate it for some stupid company screw us up…. Cant stand….

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  13. Chelsea Whitmore

    I have had many bad experiences with several different card processing companies!! Some of them have the same names which is also frustrating and confusing. I understand pci compliance fees and regulatory comp fees but many card processing companies lock you in to an agreement, hide fees or you can never reach anyone. There are a few companies called EMS Merchant Services, I have found one that has awesome customer service no monthly minimum for little guys like me. No contract and they have 24/7 tech support. I dont remember their location but I spoke to a really nice girl there, [redacted - promotion]. She seemed to really care about my issues and concerns. A lot of companies have screwed me they haven’t yet, been with them 3 months now. By now I would have noticed a raise in monthly rates but everything is as she explained. There rate is only 10 bucks a month! Google them they may be hard to find they are a small company but have been around over 20+ years. [redacted - contact information] (who i delt with may be spelling her name wrong)

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    1. Phillip Parker

      Hi Chelsea,

      In order to verify this testimonial, please reply to this comment with you business name and location.

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  14. Scott

    I had been processing for a couple of years with EMS without major issues until a few months ago when they froze all my transactions(near $30K). I was told the reason for freezing the transactions was my website was not secure. I informed EMS that we were not using our website but were using a 3rd party website that is secure for all transactions. They released almost $20K but refused to release approx $9K for 180 days. Yes, you read that correctly 180 days. The customer doing the charge had a conference call & offered send a letter to EMS authorizing the transaction. They still refused to release the funds for 180 days. I refunded the customers $9K as instructed by EMS & they took an additional $9K from my account. They also charged me for wire transfer & will tell you they are going to do something then change their agreement. I plan to file a formal complaint in VA & OH for the unethical business practice.

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  15. Vince

    I personally could not be more upset with this whole process. As a starting business the last thing you expect is that something as simple as a system designed to assist service providers with drafting and monies from clients accounts wouldn’t be such a big headache. We used them in our bankruptcy practice and over time noticed additional fees. The numbers just weren’t adding up. We had a month of inactivity on our account and were hit with an aditional $50 inactivity fee for not charging enough on the account. Then the $15 non-compiance fee. Then the $75 semi-annual technology upgrade fee. All the while I sat and looked at my account month after month watching EMS deduct $80 out of my bank account while I waited for the contract period to end so we could finally cancel. Mind you, we have other solo practictioners who are using Pay Simple and Squared without having to deal with their bank account getting raided each month.

    I know that starting a business means making mistakes and bad business decisions along the way. But signing up with them by far has been the DUMBEST thing we ever did.

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  16. Kelsey

    They actually have been in business for longer than 20 years. And If the company is such a scam then why are they still in business and getting new cliental on a daily basis? EMS has helped a large amount of businesses with saving money. I have heard nothing but good from the current merchants whom are doing business with EMS.

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  17. Rich

    EMS Electronic Merchant Systems aka Francis David Corporation is a sham. In the above review they blame it on agents/iso. That is a false statement. Corporate employees are trained the same way. They focus on getting statements and rate reviews. Then comeback showing how much money the merchant can save on the rate review. They fail to mention the $125 fee to set up. The $75.00 semi annual technology update. There are more charges than I’m going to mention. You will need to use a microscope to review the fine print on the contract. The contract auto renews. You have to notify them 90 days prior to the year. I suggest doing it certified mail with return receipt. They will say you never notified them. This company has zero ethics. As soon as you sign they will bleed you dry. Stay far away from EMS as you can.

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    1. Phillip Parker

      Hi Rich,

      Thank you for your your review. Are you are merchant that used this company, or are/were you an employee?

      Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

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