First American Payment Systems Review


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

First American Overall Rating

D Credit Card Processor Rating

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Jump to: Sales & Marketing | Costs & Contract | Complaints & Service | BBB Complaints

First American Payment Systems Overview

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First American Payment Systems Logo

First American Payment Systems Logo

First American Payment Systems (first-american.net) is a merchant account provider based in Fort Worth, Texas, that claims to have been in business since 1990. The company markets a wide variety of business financial services including credit card processing, debit card processing, EBT card processing, electronic check services, e-commerce services, gift & loyalty card programs, ACH processing, equipment sales & leasing, ATMs, merchant cash advances, and remote deposit capture.

First American Payment Systems also operates under several other business names and trademarks including FirstAdvantage, FirstFund ACH, Merimac Capital, Secur-Chex, FirstView, and FirstPay.net. It is also suggested in numerous merchant reports that the company is under the same ownership as, or operates, the following merchant services companies: Appstar FinancialEliot Management GroupTrans Tech Merchant GroupSummit Merchant Solutions, Apex Merchant Group, Trinity Merchant Group, Heritage Payment Solutions, and Certified Payment Processing.

First American Payment Systems is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A, and MetaBank.

First American Sales & Marketing Tactics | D

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

First American Payment Systems has earned a “D” rating in this section because of its marketing strategy. The company is associated with numerous other poorly rated companies and operates under several other business names. Not only does this cause confusion for merchants, but most companies use such a strategy to spread public complaints across different business names.

Like many processors, First American Payment Systems’ strategy is to partner with ISOs and independently contracted outside sales people. This strategy would normally earn a processor a “C” rating in this section because it is a common strategy that ultimately results in a somewhat high-to-average number of complaints from merchants. The rating for First American Payment Systems drops to a “D” in this section because it appears to supply processing services to some of the poorest rated providers reviewed on CardPaymentOptions.com and may actually be under the same ownership as some of these companies.

First American Payment Systems Marketing Example

[Related: Get quotes from a provider with “A” rated sales practices]

First American Costs & Contract Terms | D

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: $300-$495
PCI compliance fee: $120 per year
Equipment lease: 48 mos./non-cancellable

The fees and contract terms for a First American Payment Systems merchant account may vary by agent, sub-ISO, and merchant. With that said, it appears that the standard contract for First American Payment Systems (available below) includes a three-year service agreement, early termination fee between $300 and $495, and $120+ annual PCI Compliance fee among other monthly fees and processing fees. Additionally, the contract renews for successive one-year terms if not cancelled within a specific time frame before the end of the term.

Expand to see a copy of the standard First American Payment Systems merchant agreement
FAPS 2010 copy

Expand to see a copy of the standard First American Payment Systems terms and conditions
FAPS terms

First American Complaints & Service | F

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: 150+
Live customer support? Yes
Most common complaint: Sales tactics

First American Payment Systems has a fairly high number of complaints filed on various websites and forums online, and most of these complaints accuse the company of being a scam or ripoff. Many of the complaints tie First American Payment Systems to the poorly rated resellers mentioned earlier in this review. Although an exact number of complaints was difficult to establish, there are at least 150+ separate complaints naming First American Payment Systems and there could be many more.

The majority of the complaints revolve around merchants reporting deceptive sales practices on behalf of independent agents and resellers, hidden and surprise fees, unauthorized debits from accounts, and nondisclosure of the service agreement length and cancellation fee. There are also numerous complaints filed by former employees and agents describing deceptive and misleading hiring practices.

Additionally, numerous merchants complain of predatory equipment lease agreements through the company’s subsidiary, Merimac Capital. In these complaints, merchants report being misled into expensive, non-cancellable 48-month leases for cheap equipment.

First American BBB Report | D (CPO Adjusted)

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 56
Billing/collection: 51
Advertising/sales: 13
Guarantee/warranty: 1
Delivery: 1

As of this update, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is awarding First American Payment Systems an “A+” rating despite 122 complaints filed within the last 36 months. Of the total, 56 are regarding product and service problems, 51 under billing and collection disputes, 13 under advertising and sales issues, one regarding a guarantee or warranty issue, and one under a delivery issue. The report states that First American Payment Systems has resolved 98 of the complaints but that 24 merchants were not satisfied with the company’s response. There are also two negative reviews posted on the BBB profile for the company. In light of these figures, we have adjusted the company’s rating to a “D” for the purposes of this review. For more information on why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our rating criteria.

Bottom Line

First American Payment Systems is a processor that mainly utilizes independent sales agents, other sales organizations, and alternate business names to market its processing services. The company could improve its rating by eliminating its cancellation fee, PCI compliance fee, auto-renewing contract, non-cancellable lease terms, and future merchant complaints regarding its services. As always, merchants are advised to carefully read and understand their merchant account agreements before signing with First American Payment Systems or any other provider.

This review was originally published on 12/14/12 and last updated on 7/8/14.

Leave your review of First American Payment Systems in the comment section below:


First American Payment Systems Review

Rated 1.25 Out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2014-07-08 13:45:47

First American Payment Systems (first-american.net) has a high number of negative reviews filed, and most of these complaints accuse the company of being a scam or ripoff… First American Payment Systems is a processor that mainly utilizes independent sales agents, other sales organizations, and alternate business names to… Learn more in this First American Payment Systems 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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48 comments

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  1. Anthony Marocco

    After doing business with FAPS for several years, I found that trier discount and fee schedule was about 40% higher than competing processors. I switched to a new processor and called to cancel my account with FAPS, I was told that my contract with them automatically renewed every year and that I had to pay them $450.00 to cancel. I told them that I was never informed about this renewal, in fact the salesman assured me that all the terms of the contract were standard terms for industry, and I need not bother to read the contract. He assured me that he could take care of the paperwork for me. Since he was married to the daughter of close friends of mine I trusted him. FAPS has a stratified fee schedule supposedly base on the extent of verifiability of transactions. But even when cards are swiped and verified the same way, the high dollar transactions are subject to subject to higher discount fees. I found over the years fees kept increasing and discount rate were always rising on top of a new $150.00 non compliance charge. I refused to pay the cancellation fee, and now FAPS is attempting to ruin my credit rating. FAPS should be avoided by all merchants.

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    2 / 2 found this review helpful.
  2. Kelly

    I wish I could rate them 0 stars. I am currently in the process of sending their contract over to a class action lawyer to try to get them shut down.
    I had a representative knock on my house door randomly and tell me we had an appointment, even though we didn’t. I wasn’t even working at the time, I was on maternity leave. They convinced me they could save more money than my current cc processor, Bank of America. I was hesitant, but their sales rep was very pushy and proceeded to fill out the “application” for me, and I thought, ok, I can always cancel the app after I read the fine print etc. if I am not happy. I signed what actually turned out to be a 16 or more page fine print contract with them that is bulletproof. I called immediately and cancelled, as I realized they were sheisty and did not want to deal with them. They informed me that the order was cancelled, yet when I came home 3 days later, there was a cc machine on my porch. I called them and demanded they take back their equipment, as I didn’t want to use their services. They then proceeded to send the sales rep to my house again, in a 5 minute window, and she convinced me to try their services. My son had a dr’s appt, I was trying to leave, and so I said fine, thinking I would simply deal with it when I got home from the doctor. She took my contract, wrote in 30 day trial instead of 15, signed her name, and left. I promptly called as soon as I returned home, asked what I needed to do, and was told to send a letter cancelling the service and send back the equipment, which I did that day. This was in December 2013.

    June 2014, I start getting calls from David with First American, and letters demanding I pay $688. and some odd change for cancelling my contract. On a machine I never even turned on, and cancelled the day I received it. I called, him, he was rude, demeaning, and refused to listen to reasoning. He kept saying I should learn how to read a contract. This went on for a couple of weeks, daily phone calls, me asking to speak to someone over him and him stating that he was the end all for my account. Their company is filled with DBA/s and affiliations and he informed me that I called the wrong company to cancel my service, and I should have sent the letter to them and if I had read the contract I would know that.
    He then proceeded to call me back and informed me he had pulled my credit, because the contract gives him permission to, which is rocky due to deaths and a divorce, and berate me for every single thing on it. He then informed me that when my Carmax car breaks down and I am homeless because my marriage will fall apart and I won’t be able to buy a house, I would wish I had taken better care of my credit. He then said to enjoy my deadbeat life living off of my husband and let him know how that works out for me and hung up.
    Needless to say, he crossed a line and I will do everything in my power to cost him his job and hopefully shut this company down.

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    3 / 3 found this review helpful.
  3. Travis

    I got a call from 1st American claiming I have a contract with them.I told them that I don’t and When I told them to stop calling David started calling not stop for 30 min until I finally had to unplug my phone.

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    1 / 2 found this review helpful.
  4. Deena

    Almost every element of my experience with First American / Elloitt Management is reflected in many of the accounts above. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but they had an elderly lady with whom my company had done business years ago get to me on the phone, then work her way into my office. She elegantly and sweetly told all of the lies they obviously teach their sales people. I told her I would look into possibly changing to her service. She finally left, but pestered me relentlessly for over a month. When she came by a second time to “seal the deal”, we were in the middle of a payroll audit and I asked her to come back another time. She insisted that she didn’t mind waiting, and that what we needed to do “would only take a few minutes”. I was unaware at the time that what she meant was, “so there won’t be time enough for you to read all of the TINY print in our contract”! I got called away, so my office manager actually signed the contract. A LOT of things transpired in the interim of a few months, but just today, a man calling himself “Kenneth” called from Commercial Services Group and threatened to put the $525.00 cancellation fee they have been alleging we owe and have been trying to steal from our bank account ever since we cancelled, on my office manager’s personal credit. I asked Kenneth if he really realized what he was doing, who he’s working for, and how he sleeps at night. He just calmly replied that he usually goes over the contract with people thoroughly so they understand why they owe the money. Then he said that the problem is usually that people don’t actually read the contract before signing it. There has GOT to be a way these crooks can be stopped. They need to be put out of business. Any suggestions?

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    2 / 2 found this review helpful.
  5. Kathy

    Is there anything that can be done about this company? They have been charging me 29.00 per month on a lease for a terminal that I already had bought and owned from another processing company.

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

    2 / 2 found this review helpful.
  6. Chuck Vosburg

    I had problems from the start with this company. The only people who would talk to me were from their loss prevention department or collections department. I got absolutely not return calls from their customer service department. I had funds which were charged to my customers credit card. These funds exceeded the “high ticket” amount of $2500 First-American had set. However, when I had originally reported my highest ticket amount, I reported $10,000. I believe that by lowering the high ticket amount, regardless of what was reported, that this gives them use of your funds without releasing them to the business. This is what happened to me, and the charge was $7185.00. First-American froze and held those funds and told me that they would be held for 1 year unless I released my bank records to them! This is extortion! I refused to release the records, and they told me I had no other recourse. I contacted my lawyer and he recommended that I process a return on the charge and have the customer write me a check instead. I asked my customer and he was agreeable. I contacted First-American to let them know what I was doing, and only then were they forthcoming and said that was another option. I also found out later that they cannot hold my funds for 1 year. They can only hold them for 180 days legally. Another lie!!!! Do not do business with these people. They are crooks!

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    2 / 2 found this review helpful.

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