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.
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  1. "Proud Heartland Rep!"

    Mike,

    I find it hard to believe that you are a business owner with a previous relationship with Heartland. Given the fact, you have such a vested interest in this thread and have posted 3 separate posts against Heartland going back to 2012. It sounds like you are an ISO that signed a Heartland customer and this led to your ridiculous posts. As a matter of fact, your posts were sent January 2012, July 2012, September 2012 and 2 comments in November 2013. There is not one business owner in my portfoilio that would take time away from building their business to constantly follow a random credit card review site. Not only that, a $295 early termination fee is the lowest I’ve ever seen in my tenure. That’s a pretty easy out in comparison to other contracts that I’ve seen with early termination clauses ranging from $500 to $6,000. For all I know, you are throwing your invalid comments to solicite more information from Heartland Representatives that are in the trenches everyday helping business owners.

    If you are truly a former client, I welcome you to contact our support number and leave a confidential message for me personally. I will contact you personally to find resolution to your dissatisfaction.

  2. "Proud Heartland Rep!"

    I have been with Heartland for close to two years. Before my career with this company, I was an independent business owner for 5 1/2 years. I have read each of the 44 comments in response to Heartland Payment Systems. As a former Business owner, I took credit cards, I signed contracts and I knew I had to pay a fee for the service. However, not until about 6 months in to my career with Heartland, did I have a clue what “Durbin,” Interchange, ISO, PCI and in no way did I know what “basis points” were. The Small Business Owner that posted in 2011 knew way more than I did when I had my business. My point is, out of these 44 complaints and positive reviews, I have to ask myself how many of these posts are truly reliable in the terms of Due Diligence? However, I encourage every business owner to keep open communication with their Rep or Customer Support Team. Ask to see the entire contract prior to signing and demand to see the final contract that follows in the mail. Ask about the contract legnth and terms and if there are early termination fees. If the Rep tells you there are no early term fees, demand a written document guaranteeing that. For any Business Owner that has been disappointed with their relationship with Heartland, I wish you great prosperity in the future.

    If you are a business owner looking to switch to – or from ANY processor, ask for references in your local area that has processed for more than a year with the local rep. Find out what other business like and don’t like.

    To Your Prosperity,
    Texas Territory Manager
    Heartland Payment Systems

    1. Mike

      You’re preaching to the choir, Tex. The people complaining here about Heartland have already learned these lessons. Apparently you cannot deny Heartland doesn’t provide the full contract terms unless the customer demands them, and even then apparently the company’s practice is to withhold, delay, or obfuscate important information.

      When a person is starting up a business or taking over an existing business there are many things to learn and do, and there’s not always enough time to be as diligent as you recommend. People in this situation are easy prey for unethical service providers. Please let us know when Heartland decides to furnish its customers all contract terms and conditions at or before the time of signing, without the customers having to be smart enough to demand them first.

      1. Industry guy

        Mike, as someone that is no longer working for HPS but was with them almost 10 years, I can tell you ALL the terms and conditions are supplied to the merchant. It’s absolutely true that a rep can at times forget to give them to the merchant but when a merchant comes on board, they are mailed a copy of their contract AND the terms and conditions. To say “when a person is starting up a business or taking over a business there are many things to do and ot always enough time to be as diligent asTex recommends,” is garbage. If you are signing something it’s YOUR responsibility to READ IT! If you don’t read it and you just sign away, you have no one to blame but yourself. Honestly 90% of complaints I read online about not just Heartland but much companies come from merchants not reading their contracts. On the Heartland contracts there a section the merchant signs acknowledging they received and read the terms and conditions so if they are signing that and not queastioning anything, again it’s 100% their own fault.

        1. Mike

          Okay, Guy, you’ve pretty much confirmed what Tex said; Heartland’s unhappy customers are responsible for their own mistakes in signing contracts without fully reading them and demanding to receive the missing details. Further, you think Heartland is fully justified in taking advantage of such people by sneakily leaving out some stuff that people should be smart enough to ask about before they sign. We were dumb. We get that.

          I wonder where Heartland finds people like you. You know the part about the $295 fee for quitting Heartland, as well as other important terms, are not mentioned in the contract that is handed to merchants to sign. This information is in a separate document incorporated by reference only, which document you’ve stated is sent to the clients after they “come on board.” (Heartland didn’t send this document to me, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway after I signed the contract.) If this practice is not intended by Heartland to deceive and take advantage of naive and trusting clients, then please explain why everything isn’t included in the main part of the contract folks get to see before signing. I doubt you can provide any plausible explanation.

          1. Industry Guy

            Not here to argue with you Mike, just telling it like it is. Just because it might not fit with your subjective experience doesn’t mean what I’m saying is wrong. So to your question YES, merchants are responsible for their own mistakes in signing contracts without fully reading them and demanding to receive the missing details. Who the heck else would be responsible??? Even if a rep said don’t worry about it I’ll get it to you later, it would still be crazy for anyone to sign a contract that way. You then asked me if I “think Heartland is fully justified in taking advantage of such people by sneakily leaving out some stuff that people should be smart enough to ask about before they sign.” How does HPS take advantage of people by “sneakily” leaving something out??

            You are correct about one thing at least, the $295 cancellation fee is not on the contract itself, just as it’s not on most processors contracts which is why almost ALL processors have separate terms and conditions, just like when you buy a car, just like when you get a loan, just like when you get a mortgage etc etc. What other important terms are not on the contract that you you think are board? You said “This information is in a separate document incorporated by reference only, which document you’ve stated is sent to the clients after they “come on board.” Obviously reading comprehension isn’t your strong point so allow me to quote what I actually said. “It’s absolutely true that a rep can at times forget to give them to the merchant but when a merchant comes on board, they are mailed a copy of their contract AND the terms and conditions.” I acknowledged that reps can forget to give the T&C but it’s still sent to the merchant in the mail. Even if Heartland “didn’t send the document to you” it does get sent out and if you were dying to read it a call to the 800# and it would be sent to you in a matter of minutes.

            Lastly you asked ” If this practice is not intended by Heartland to deceive and take advantage of naive and trusting clients, then please explain why everything isn’t included in the main part of the contract folks get to see before signing. I doubt you can provide any plausible explanation.” I’ve said the answer a few times now but I’ll do it again for you. Heartland isn’t here holding the reps hand as the reps gets paperwork signed. It’s the responsibility of the rep to give the merchant the T&C and yes, I have no doubt reps can at times forget to do that. There’s NO incentive for a rep not to give the T&C to a merchant because there’s nothing in there that isn’t industry standard stuff. In all my years of being there i NEVER had a merchant that had an issue with the T&E to the point they wouldn’t sign up. Some would question the 3 year contract, again which is standard for a LOT of companies, but if it was that huge of an issue we’d let them do it year to year, pretty scary right? Again, I haven’t worked for Heartland for a while now but I still find it hilarious when “merchants” like you, and I use ” ” because I don’t believe you were really a merchant of theirs, have a bad experience and then you pretend like you just know everything about the company and you have it all figured out. Again, your subjective experience doesn’t mean you have it all figured out because reading your ill informed comments sure prove that.

      2. Sue Schoenfeld

        I can tell you as an employee of Heartland that these terms and conditions are mandatory and are sent to the merchant in the welcome packet with each and every account. No excuses!

        A $295.00 cancellation fee is typically BASELINE for the merchant processing industry. What we find is that a merchant will hop around from provider to provider without any commitment while we guarantee your rate for 3 years. It simply discourages them to do so, because in more cases than not, these merchants come back to us.

        If you discuss your intent to not be involved in a contract UP FRONT your salesperson CAN sign you without one in most cases.

        I am proud to work for Heartland and all it stands for. We continue to be the leader in our industry and continue to do the right thing when no one is looking. It’s simply impossible to please everyone all of the time.

  3. Al Michaud

    Do not use this merchant company…
    I had been with Heartland for 5+ years …I was leaving as a somewhat satisfied customer, but for some reason ( the fine print actually ) my family farm was charged $295.00 for early termination of an account???? 5+ years and still they think that is fair. I was told it was because a year and a half before , my rates were updated and I signed it… which extends my agreement for 3 more years! I did not go to them asking them to change my rates…and I did not complain about my old rates so it should never have been extended. I will never go back to them and I will tell as many as I can that they screwed my family farm out of $295.00

  4. Ana Molinari

    DON’T EVER USE THIS COMPANY! They are frauds!
    Peter Galleta sold me the system telling me how bad my previous company was. What a liar. He told me I wouldn’t pay a fee for the machine, I would not pay monthly payment, I would pay Credit, Debit, the same price and nothing was true. They charged me whatever they wanted for monthly payments; for credit and debit they charged me for everything. I’ve been in business for 40 years and I’ve never been lied to so blatantly. I called the company at least 24 times and they refused to call me back or do anything about my payments. Ridiulous service. It costed me more than my previous company. Terrible service.

  5. R Beyer

    Although I am now pleased with Heartland Payment’s services, getting set up was a huge hassle. You’d think for being such a large company they would know how to set up a simple system. They failed to set up the auto settlement for me, although they told me they had, and for two days my payments did not settle causing some overdraft charges for my business.

    In addition, I would NEVER recommend using the check system, Cross Check, which Heartland recommends as their preferred check processing company. Cross Check was never able to set up my system successfully, with no real reason provided, except that it had something to do with Comcast’s phone lines. ( I did have a check settlement system prior to trying to use Cross Check that worked just fine so I didn’t think this was an adequate excuse and Cross Check never tried to really figure out what was going on.) As a result I had to return their useless check reader and Cross Check charged me return shipping fees! I complained about that because it was a result of their system not working and they still made me pay the return shipping fees.

    For these reasons I give Heartland Systems a C+ and CrossCheck an F.

  6. Sharon

    We are a Heartland customer and I have found their customer service to be excellent. I was having problems accessing the program and it didn’t take very long for the representative to figure out that I was using Internet Explorer 10 and that it wasn’t compatible with Heartland’s program. I removed it and was back in business. I have had other companies say they can save me money, but in the past every time I have changed, the bill remains the same. So far they have been very upfront with the charges and I have no complaints. We have been with them for 2 1/2 years. Also…the representative made it very clear that we were signing a 3 year contract and that there would be a few to cancel early.

  7. Jay

    Lost $295 after cancelling for better rates with another processing company. The Heartland sales rep told me there was no cancellation fee/penalty. The fee/penalty is not on any document you sign. They give you a book entitled “Merchant processing Agreement” filled with definitions and terms and explanations. In the middle of this 17 page document is hidden the $295 penalty. They have you sign a document stating you have received and read all this. So because I believed Heartland’s representative, only read the pages of contracts I signed and didn’t read all the other legal mumbo-jumbo after 2 years and 3 months of taking my money they stiff me for another $295.
    I have used 4 different merchant services companies over the past 8-9 years and I have been solicited by numerous others. I always ask what is the penalty for cancelling. I tell those with a penalty, I’m not interested. If you provide a good service you don’t need to threaten customers with penalties to make them stay!!!

  8. Evlyn

    I have had my business for 3 years,and Heartland has processed my credit cards since i opened.We were offered a loan by this company with a letter sympathizing in this economy we understand bull.After filling the requirements we were told that there was a few businesses excluded from getting a lone,Strip clubs,Adult book stores Adult movie theater and consignment stores,are you joking you put me in a category with adult entertainment! I sell new and used furnishings! and have owned a business for three years!I am not going out of business,Not that impressed,and at the end of the month i will be sure to have another company processing my credit cards,Heartland has taken enough out of our account,and the service is good only when they want you to buy or add other services to it.Sorry no more!.

    1. Ex- Heartland Rep

      I’m not in the industry any longer b/c I had a new oportunity come up with my family business, but I can truthfully say Heartland is a standup company. They advovate for merchants and really try to put them first. It’s funny how every single third party independant company rates Heartland as one of the most, if not the most, ethical and transparent company in such a highly unregulated industry and then the handful of upset merchants are the ones to post bad reviews. A few nice comments start off this review and then all the ticked off people come out of the woodwork. The thing is, out of 250,000 merchants the 249,000 happy ones aren’t looking online to make a point but the few ticked off ones certainly are and thats what these online forums really are. They are a breeding ground for upset merchants (and former disgruntled ex-employees) to make a stand and voice their opinions because right before they call their local nighlty news. Come on, seriously?

      I don’t have anything against online reviews/blogs/forums but lets get real, they are often a breeding ground of negativity. Heartland is a good company.

  9. Kathy

    My experience with Heartland was amongst the worst customer service experiences of my life. At each turn I experienced misleading information, misinformation and out and out lies that costs me thousands over the course of my contract. From rate hikes to hidden fees to just plain bad service, I would NEVER recommend this service to anyone. I don’t mind paying for quality, but this was awful. To give you an example, I was forced to wait until the conclusion of my contract to get out or face a $295 fee. My contract was up on Jan. 5 and the CSR told me I had to fax in an account closing (despite the contract being over) and if it got in 1 minute before midnight, I would still be charged the early termination fee. So i waited and sent it at 1 am 1/5/2013. However, on 1/4/2013 I had used the service, since my contract was not up until 1/5. Well, guess what? That “triggered” the monthly service fee. Even though the CSR had told me any fee would be retroactively refunded, this is not the case. And so, of course, I am on the hook for $65 according to them.

    It is duplicitous and underhanded and clearly misleading tactics like this that make Heartland a bad company to work with. I can survive the $65. That is not it. It is the fact that they will stoop to this. This is just the last in a long line of horrendous practices. Don’t do it. Find another processor.

  10. deb hutchinson

    Whenever I am approached for processing I hand the sales man a copy of my most recent statement and say “how much would I have paid for the same service through you?”. I don’t want to discuss fees and other add ons, just what is my bottom line? What is the total? No one had ever done it but Mark (supposedly) did and the # came back much lower then what i was paying so I switched. I asked Mark what I needed to do to cancel my existing service. He told me not to worry, they would handle everything. This is not my first rodeo but for some reason I didn’t question this which came back to haunt me to the tune of about $900. Turns out Heartland’s idea of canceling the service does not include calling to find out the proper procedure (in my case the merchant ONLY could cancel the service) they just stuck a letter in the mail – not certified (and it was never received so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt on that). When I realized my old company was still charging me I called Mark and he said he would handle it. By the time I handled it myself a few months later, I was out $900+. Anyway, as expected I am back to paying the same through them as I had through my last processor and (as expected) when I call Mark he gives the same old tired “fees and blah, blah, blah” crap I have gotten from every processor for the last 15 years.

  11. Dave Law

    Heartland has offered more service than any other processer I have worked with in 20 years As a restaurant owner in Utah. The have reduced my fees as my number of restaurants has grown and have never passed a rate increase or charged any random fees or PCI fees like Wells Fargo would regularly charge. I use them for payroll and my gift card/loyaltty program. I had a terminal go down on friday at 3:00 pm and 1 call to our relationship manager we had a terminal 40 minutes later. I have been educated about card processing and now when approached by other processors I have no intrest in hearing Mr Save you money and his empty promises and lack of knowledge. I would strongly recommend Heartland to any business owner.
    Best
    Dave Law

    1. Phillip Parker

      Hi Dave,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location to verify this testimonial.

      1. Steve Austin

        Phillip,

        It is interesting that you have made a request for a business name and location to verify this testimonial, however, have not for other “reviews”. How many others have a business name/location?

        Regards,

        Steve Austin

        1. Phillip Parker

          Hi Steve, see this post if to understand why this is done: Why We Verify Testimonials

  12. Right Way Right Now

    As a business owner it is difficult to stay up to date and in the know of the processing industry. Just like your plumbing you trust a plumber. You call an electrician to have light! Credit card processing has become a broken industry and mostly because you have a business to run and no extra time to supervise outsourced services too. Fact is, processing is a need and you pay for the service. From years of experience working in processing I will tell you some basics that will save you time and money…
    1. Local sales rep so you can hold them accountable-W2 employee only
    2. Easy to read statement-ask to see sample
    3. Daily deposits without daily discounts-24 hour
    4. Interchange plus pricing- go to visa/mc website and print interchange cost to compare
    5. Demand NO surcharges, batch header fees, monthly service fees, compliance fees-NO hidden fees
    6. Do not LEASE equipment-No but HELL NO!
    7. Nothing is for FREE-red flag if offer Free anything
    8. Call service center prior to doing business to see call time and level of service
    9. Don’t be afraid of a commitment term in exchange for a price guarantee!
    10. Never service your own equipment-request a local service manager 24/7!

    Get the most out of what you are paying for. Ensure quality within your business and find a true professional within the processing industry you can trust and hold accountable.

    1. The truth

      I like the list of 10 things a merchant should look out for. Heartland used to abide by those things, not so much anymore. W2 rep means nothing these days. There’s just as many bad ws reapa as there are 1099. Lots of processors are doing next day funds now but the issue with heartland is if you want to be billed monthly, like most businesses, they charge you an extra 2-5 basis points which is total garbage. No business of any side wants daily billing! Heartland also charges a $25 monthly “service” fee, and a monthly regulatory fee which is often marked up. Their service center can be decent assuming you get the right person. As for heartlands price guarantee, kind of laughable. Do the research and you will see they raised their profit on MANY merchants that were just a little off of the projected volume on their contract. When the economy took a dump and a lot of businesses sales started to decrease, instead of heartland taking this into consideration, they raised hundreds of merchants fees and if you don’t believe this once again, do the research. As for their local service manager, that program is all but dead. It use to be a great program but they laid off over 70% of their service managers across the US.

  13. Another Small Business Owner

    I, too, was shopping around for better rates to also discover the hidden 3 year contract. I say hidden because I asked my rep if there was one – she said there was not and also lied when I asked then if there was a termination fee. The contract you sign says absolutely nothing about this – it is in a booklet, inside a packet given to you after you have signed.

    That said, if $295 is what it takes to get away from ridiculous monthly rates and unethical business practices, then it’s money well spent.

  14. John

    September 07, 2012

    I am in the process of terminating my contract and was notified by a Heartland Rep that there was an early termination fee. When I signed the document the rep did not mention nor did I see that there was this fee. I will be reporting this to the Attorney General in my state. I will also tell all my business associates about this practice. Its not the 295.00 fee its principal. Heartland may have mave sleazed this fee from me but they are going loose much more money from loss of potential business

  15. Jack Reiter

    I have been using heartland for a wile nowwhen i first signed with them i told my sales rep Bradley Kline that im not shure that i will be keeping the service for a long time. I was in the process of purchacing a pos system which alowes me to process over the internet but at the time the fees were too high. In november i called and talked to Bradley about that i got a better rate on my cc processing through another company and he said thats fine you can end your contract at any time. I am now led to belive that i have $245.00 in charges i called customer service NO HELP!!! She said that there company signed me to a 3 yr contract, i didnt sign no contract to that affect. I asked for a copy you cant give me one for what reason i dont know but i think this is wrong. I plan on talking to some people and finding out whats going on.I dont recomend heartland pmt systems to anyone trying to make a living becuse there crooks.And it seem funny that when i call Bradley Klines home phone he fails to return my calls leeds me to say that somethings wrong with this picture??? They also told me that Bradley no longer works there and that there was a new rep in the area??? I never saw or talked to him!!! So is this how you treat your customers??? I think that you should rethink you stradgy!! when one of my food vendors quit they always interduce me to another person taking there position. If you couldnt tell, im very pissed off right now call me in a few hours and ill still be pissed off.Im not gona stop i know as a person i have rights and im gona use them i have the welcome package and it states nothing about early termanation!!!!

    1. Mike

      Jack, the price to quit Heartland is $295. I know because I just was charged that amount last week. Don’t expect any mercy from them or waste your time complaining to them. The contract they give you to sign doesn’t mention the $295; it’s contained in a separate document called “Terms and Conditions,” or something like that. The contract you sign says you agree to the terms, which you don’t get to see. Good luck getting a copy of the terms; they wouldn’t give the terms to me despite several requests. It won’t matter if you do get them anyway; when you quit they just send you a letter saying $295 will be deducted from your bank account per the terms of the contract.

      Is it legal for Heartland to do business this way? Yes, I think it is.

      Is it ethical? No, I don’t think so. I don’t see how they can hold their heads up.

      There are companies providing the same services as Heartland, with better rates, and with no penalty for quitting if you are dissatisfied for any reason. Some of the others may even pay you for switching to their companies, which would help to offset the cost of quitting Heartland. Best wishes.

  16. Jessie M

    Heartland, you are wasting your time preaching here with Bill M and others. We do over 3 million per restaurant. We were signed slightly over in the 2nd year we dropped past what we were signed at where the first year we went over that amount. The 2nd year on one location we dropped about 15% and after the next went well over again. During year two, we figured out that during the lower period that they added fees on our account by several basis points and pennies for not meeting our volume that year. Statistically all our locations have in the Past met several millions and the bottom line is that the increase is that heartland put on is not remotely competitive with the market on our size of an account. Even if it was, the false advertising of the “Durbin” savings is insane. I’m with a provider now who provides me with the same pass through regulated and non regulated Durbin Interchange Heartland Reps and Management claim that no one else in the industry is giving. My cost has never been better – and service is 2nd to none. I have had Durbin with both, my costs were increased on other fees when Durbin went into effect at HPS. I have many friends who own businesses…all with different credit card companies. All of them with my businesses included are reaping the Durbin benefits! Sorry Heartland, you are not the only game on the block or in town anymore! The only regrets I have are not finding out where my old sales rep is who taught me this industry and the games you all now play! Shame shame!

  17. Mike

    I’ve been using Heartland since May 2011. When I tried to switch to another processor to save money I was informed of their three-year contract, which I had supposedly signed. I’ve tried to obtain a copy of the three-year contract both from my local rep and from Heartland Customer Service. Both told me they’d furnish a copy but it never came. I’ve also found out Heartland put a password on my terminal which prevents my using it with any other company and the local rep said he can’t give me the password because he’s lost it. Heartland thus has reduced the value of my property (the terminal) without compensation. It will cost me over $200 to replace the terminal if/when I’m ever able to use another company to process payments.

    I told this to one of my customers who works for a bank. He said one of his bank customers is a another local business that tried to switch from Heartland to his bank for credit card processing. This owner of this other business also found out about the three-year contract at that point and he, like me, didn’t have a copy of the contract and was unable to get it from Heartland. He decided it wasn’t worth his time to fight with Heartland, so he gave up the idea of switching to the bank.

    I could save around $500 per year by switching to another company. When I told this to my local Heartland rep he didn’t dispute it. He just bragged about Heartland’s great service and reputation for customer satisfaction.

    1. Heartland Rep

      Mike, Heartland does not “lock” their terminals so I’m not sure how yours can be locked. We have NEVER sent a terminal out that’s locked and we do not believe in that practice now of the for many years I have been with the company. The 3 year term in right on the paperwork that is signed and it’s right by where you actually sign it. Merchant love blaming processors for this but that info has to be clearly displayed and it’s not the rep or the companies fault if the merchant chose not to read what they were signing.

      1. Athens

        You have got to be kidding me. I have seen these contracts, they could not be more vague. Yes, the three year term is on the contract, however, the terms and conditions which contains their “cancellation fees” is on another portion of the contract which is never really presented to the signatory. They are like a bad cell phone company, 295 dollar cancellation fee but you don’t get a discount on your service and you don’t get the latest cell phone to show off to your friends. All you get is a big fat bill, 1 time per month. The cancellation fee is in small type on the 14th page of a 20 page addendum to the contract, one which is never signed that and where they include terms in conditions that are much more favorable to them. If at any point you fail to meet your expected annual sales, they can basically change your account percentages and costs to whatever they would like. Trust me when I say stay away from them, even if their customer service reps are friendly.

        1. mike

          Thank you Athens. Your experience was the same as mine. One other thing I forgot to mention, is when you quit Heartland be sure to notify them by registered mail, return receipt. If you use regular mail they may deny receiving the notice so they can charge you for another month of service, in addition to the cancelation fee. That happened to me, anyway.

    2. Ex Heartland Rep

      I can attest to the fact that Heartland doesn’t change the password to the terminal to “lock” you out like some other processors.

      That being said. If your local rep reprogrammed the terminal for you then he must have either intentionally or accidentally changed the factory password. If he did indeed “lose” the password then I would demand that he supply you with a replacement terminal at his cost. By his own admission: “he lost” the password. Therefore he is responsible to restore your equipment to its original accessible state or supply you with a replacement terminal.

      I’ve reprogrammed hundreds of terminals and believe me, passwords don’t change by themselves. Someone had to change it.

      Just my 2 cents.

  18. Barbara

    I signed up with Heartland because one of their reps was at a networking meeting, talking about how honest and ethical they were, and how EVERYONE will save money with them. I admit, I should have been watching my statement more closely, but trusted I was getting the best rate. At year’s end, I discovered I paid over $600 more in processing with them over the year than I would have, had I stayed with my previous provider.

    The rep told me I wouldn’t be locked into a contract and that I could cancel any time I wanted, if I was unhappy. When I canceled, because they didn’t perform as promised, he said there was a $295 cancellation fee, and waived it by giving me a choice of either signing a document saying I was closing my business, or another document stating I wasn’t going to take credit cards anymore. That’s pretty honest and ethical, now, isn’t it?

    I ran into that same rep this morning, who claimed that Heartland has “given $9Billion back to its merchants since the Durbin Act was enacted.” Since that just went into effect on October 1, that claim is false. First: They didn’t “give back” anything, they changed their fee structure as mandated; Second: the rates were mandated by Congress, which means it wasn’t voluntary, so it’s not something special they are doing – all processors are required to charge the lower debit card fee; and Third: This would mean that they processed more that $75Billion in debit card payments 18 days. A quick check on Wikipedia says Heartland processes “more than $120Billion per year”, which would include both credit and debit, so there’s no way the number he claimed is anywhere close to reality.

    I don’t believe a word this guy says, and since he speaks for the company, I don’t trust them, either.

    1. Informed

      Barbara you are very mis informed. Did you read the article? It clearly says that many processors are NOT passing on the new regulated rates in light of the Durbin Amendment. Heartland is passing on 100% of the new rates. Many processors are not passing on the new rates because it is NOT mandated for the processing company to alter the interchange rate, therefore keeping what is rightfully the merchants (yours). The statement of $9billion passon on is ridiculous. You should visit getyourdurbindollars.com. This will clear the air on durbin and your false information. Now out of all these problems did you once call into the customer service center? Did you look at your contract to see “The Term of This Agreement is 3 Years”? Did you read the Terms and Conditions of your agreement? If not then why did you sign off on the document where you agreed to read the Terms and Conditions of the Agreement? I can’t speak for the rep, but as for your comment.. it’s bashing a company that gave you all the tools and information to understand, but you chose not to utilize these tools. I’d suggest actually calling their customer service.

      1. Barbara

        As a representative of Heartland, you are naturally going to give the company line. Everything I said was true. I read the contract, and it did not include the three-year term. The $9 Billion was a direct quote from the representative. When I signed the contract, the representative told me he was my point of contact for anything I needed. When I had issues, I called him, and he passed me on to customer service. I subsequently called customer service several times, and they did not provide the level of service you claim. What you are glossing over completely is the dishonesty of the representative, who has since been rewarded by being promoted to a managerial position.

        “Getyourdurbindollars.com” is Heartland propaganda. Heartland pushed hard for Durbin because it made them look good. In reality, small businesses who process small debit transactions are actually paying more for processing than they did before. It’s only large merchants who are seeing a savings. What’s worse, NONE of the merchants who are now benefiting from the Durbin windfall are passing the savings along to their customers. They get the savings, and the consumer pays higher banking fees. After Durbin, the big companies win big, and consumers get the shaft.

        The real truth about Durbin, and its effect on consumers can be found here: http://wheresmydebitdiscount.com/ (I am not affiliated with that website)

        1. Heartland Rep

          Barbara, I’ve been with Heartland 9 years and I’ll speak as honetly as you want and will not say something just because I work for the company. Here’s some corrections you need to understand. Yes the cost of debit cards were lowered with the new legislation that went into effect Oct 1 and that reductions went to ALL processors. Where your confusion is, is that processors are NOT mandated that those reductions have to be passed down to their merchants…fact. Depending on the pricing structure you have from the processor will usually dictate if you’re getting the reductions or not. For example if you have tiered pricing, which Heartland will NOT use, you have a qualified, mid qualified and non qualified rate. The vast majority of merchants with that structure are NOT getting some or all of Durbin because that pricing structure does not allow for individual cards to qualify on their own merit. Instead it lumps all the different card type into 3 buckets which is never a good thing. I will say I have no idea where the rep you spoke to got that $9 billion from because that’s not correct. The actual number to date is $86,450,000. Other processors have said publicly that they will not be passing 100% of the cost reductions down so your assumption that processors HAVE to pass it down is just incorrect. You’re also incorrect in saying ONLY big businesses will benefit from Durbin. The savings has NOTHING to do with how big or small your business is. The determining factor if you’ll benefit is your AVERAGE TICKET and this isn’t a “Heartland” thing, this is no matter who you process with. Basically if your average ticket is at least $13 or higher, you WILL benefit from the reductions. There is no maybe about this, it’s fact. So there you have it. I haven’t given you any “company line” and everything I’ve said can be verified. Please feel free to ask any other questions and I’ll be glad to help if I can.

        2. Ex Heartland Rep

          Hi Barbara, It is unfortunate that you had a bad experience with Heartland because of the representative. I sold for Heartland for many years and I can assure you that Heartland had always treated my customers fairly and professionally.

          I’m no longer with Heartland so I don’t need to put forth any company line so I’ll just say it like it is. The Heartland representative that you dealt with was obviously untrained and probably unethical. Yes, even the most ethical companies can hire people who turn out to be unethical. In this case, you should have sent a letter of complaint directly to the corporate headquarters regarding this representative. Heartland will terminate unethical representatives.

          Now I’ll answer the question your probably wanting to ask. Why did I leave Heartland? I found a better position with another company that better fit my personal goals.

          In conclusion: Is Heartland an ethical company? I believe it is. Is Heartland the ONLY ethical company? No, there are many other ethical processors out there – you just need to do your homework.

          1. Michele

            Hi Ex Heartland Rep.

            I have been in real estate sales for several years and then in Mortgage Underwriting for the past two years. I am not considering to go back into sales but really did not want to go with a 100% commission sales. I’m needing advice from a previouse Heartland Red. Is there money to be made and are they competitive in their pricing and programs? Is there a better company out their?
            Thank you.

  19. S. Florida restaurant owner

    I’m with Christine’s and Eric. I suppose anyone can have a bad exp. but they have been fantastic to me. I finally understand interchange and what my costs are for taking credit cards. They are transparent and fully disclose their profit every month and have simple statrements to read. They also have wonderful online tools to help me see my transactions, statements, ACH’s, etc… Their call center in America is probably the best call center I’ve ever experienced. They pick up the phone immediatly and help! I dont think I’ve ever called another company that picks right up and says how can i help you. Amazing. I hate waiting and then getting transfered once I finally get through.

    I also do payroll and marketing with Heartland. I’ve only had one issue with their payroll buit it was resolved quickly and professionaly. The marketing I’m most excited about. My rep helped me pass out some preloaded promotional marketing cards and I had 7 come back in the fisrt week! One person brought a party of 8 and spent $350. The best part is that they had never been in my restaurant and now they are a new customer! In fact, most of the 7 had never been in! Awesome!

  20. small business owner

    CHECK YOUR STATEMENTS! I though they were great also and would have recommended them. When I was set up I was priced at 15 basis points above interchange rates. Without notice (not even on a statement) they raised me to 35 basis points…a 133% increase! This went unotice for some time (shame on me) as it is tucked in the middle of the statement. When I inquired with my rep as to why my monthly average discount was up he suggested it was because we began accepting Amex. As the notice in the earlier post indicates, reps are all notified of rate increases. Since discovering the pricing change and contacting my rep, I have had nothing but stories and excuses and he never follows up. I have had to continually contact him to try to get a resolution. After arguing with them for over 2 months they are willing to price me at 25 basis point even though their price sheet shows I should be at 17 basis points. They’ve overcharged me thousands of dollars and will not reimburse me for the overcharges.
    Heartland’s 3 year contract does not say they won’t raise rates, it says that if you change processors before the 3 year term is up, you have to pay a termination fee.
    There are plenty of other companies that offer cost plus pricing, and needless to say I won’t be using Heartland any longer. I’m finding much lower rates than what Heartland offers, I’m getting quotes at 6-10 basis pts with rates guarantees and no termination fees.
    Heartland’s customer service has always been good and having a local contact has value, but not that much value.

    1. Bill M.

      We had several restaurants with Heartland and we naturally had my wife run her clothing business run through them as well. Her business runs about 150,000 per year as opposed to our millions per location that we run. That said, they raised her rates from what she was signed at by not only doubling her fees but also adding a $79.00 monthly service and regulatory mandate fee. Her effective cost tripled and was over 4.50%! Our representative had left the company before this happened so it would be easy to pass blame but they claim it was due to not performing enough volume? Really, in a declining economy, when she is put with our 17 million dollars of business and after the proposed Durbin savings that you have given, you add $10.00 on to each of my businesses as well per month another $120 per year, a hefty junk fee, similar to a PCI fee if you ask me, didn’t your Merchant Bill of Rights claim to preach against this. My sales rep was so great at preaching for you and against these bad practices, I can see why she would have left your company. I have taken all of businesses, all 22 million dollars and taken it to a processor who does not charge “JUNK” fees and will value a relationship a little better and not FALSIFY “DURBIN” savings like you have done on my statements recently. My accountant just went through the last 12 months of statements to analyze the statements of savings to see if what you are claiming is Durbin is indeed accurate and you are GROSSLY inflating your numbers HPS on all of our accounts!!! Do your stockholders and does the media know how you arrive at the “Durbin Dollar” numbers you are arriving at? I was just informed by your customer service when asked that this is a “guesstimate” based on the industry we are in? I guess you didn’t factor in our rate increases.

      1. Heartland Rep

        Bill you are not correct about Durbin being false. It’s a VERY easy number to figure and it can’t be inflated. If you’re a restaurant just look at your statement with Heartland and look for regulated debit. That rate is .05% + $.21 a trans. The rate before Durbin went in effect for restaurants on debit cards was 1.19% and $.10 a trans for Visa and MC no matter who the processor was as this is true cost. This applies to debit cards that were issued from banks with more than $10billion is assets only (regulated debit). So there’s NO WAY your accountant could have accurately figured these numbers out for the past year seeing as how this just went into effect Oct 1st and there’s no way he would have known what cards were the regulated cards and what weren’t. Now it would have been easy for you to figure it out because it shows you on your statement each month how much you saved for that month because your savings it automatically calculated and again, it’s NOT inflated as you can EASILY do the math yourself to see that.

    2. Heartland Rep

      Allow me to help clear up what probably happened. Heartland will NOT just randomly increase someones pricing for no reason and if an increase has to happen you WILL be notified. You yourself said you hadn’t been paying attention to the statements so it’s very possible you missed the notice. The only time Heartland will raise their profit is if the account isn’t producing the volume they either said they were going to do or they suddenly had a large decrease in volume. Think of it this way, if you tell US Foods you’re going to be buying 200lbs of beef so they sell you beef at that price and then realize you’re only buying 100 lbs, they aren’t going to be making any money.

  21. Christine's Cakes and Pastries

    We have been with Heartland since 2009 and I love the company! We have never had any problems with customer service or our processing credit cards, our system has NEVER gone down on us. I have had to call customer service 2 times in that time and once was changing the header script, and the other was the scanner never settled itself. Both calls were handled promptly and professionally.
    I would recommend them to anyone, our company has saved several thousands of dollars compared to our previous processing company.

    1. Heartland Rep

      Go on with your bad self!! ; )

  22. Eric

    I have been with Heartland for 7 years and would not think of changing. I am never “happy” with my credit card bill, but I know I am paying a competitive rate and the few times I had to call the service center I talked to a human being from the United States. I did not wait on hold for eternity and my issue was corrected quickly ( it was not a big issue). Also, no PCI fees or fees that are not understandable.

  23. Unknown

    You need proof Heartland does not raise rates. If your business does not do well Heartland WILL INCREASE YOUR RATES!!!

    All:

    Historically, we have handled our re-pricing efforts as projects, instead of as a part of our ongoing business practices. Effective immediately, we will be reviewing and re-pricing accounts on a more regular basis. As announced on the October News & Views Call, our next pricing adjustment – for under-performing merchants – will be effective 12/1/10.

    Our pricing criteria is as follows:
    • Pricing initiatives will include merchants across our portfolio, who are processing at less than 90% of their expected volume/average ticket (as indicated on their initial merchant processing agreement).
    • Merchants will be re-priced to the average midpoint of each Gross Margin range for their actual processing activity.
    • Pricing changes will include: moving merchants under $50K in actual volume to the SMP model; adding or adjusting the merchant’s fees (i.e., transaction fee, basis points, monthly service fee, etc.); etc.
    • Merchants will receive notification of this pricing increase via a message on their processing statement.
    RM notifications:
    • Active RMs will receive their account portfolio listing via email. The email will provide the pricing specifics for each impacted account, and will provide instructions on how to request exceptions. Please note: Emails for the 12/1/10 initiative will be sent out later this week.
    • Terminated RM accounts will be forwarded to the Regional Director for review.
    • Pricing changes will be performed systematically, and notes will be added to all re-priced accounts.
    We recognize that this may not be a popular step, but it is a necessary one in order to continue to ensure that our merchants are priced fairly for their business volumes.

    Thank you –

    Executive Director — Service Quality

    1. HPS Rep

      And? Is Heartland not allowed to make a profit? If you have a special price from your vendor based on how much of that product you’re buying and then the amount you buy drops a lot, why should the vendor take the loss because YOU aren’t buying as much as you were before??? The pricing this this industry is VERY slim so if your pricing is based on numbers you said you are doing and those numbers drop, it’s unfortunate but how or why should a company give you the same pricing when you’re not doing those numbers anymore??

  24. KatWG

    Are you kidding me? Heartland does not raise any rates. Heartland is the only company that has full disclosure and full transparency of their rates and guarantee. Heartland is also the only company that passes through the wholesale rates for all the card brands. Nice try, find some proof and reply. Rates never rise because we give the 3 year rate guarantee that our fee will never be raised or hidden. All other processors have a Surcharge and Summary section to hide the extra fees they charge to increase their profit that has nothing to do with the card brands. Just the greed of unscrupulous processor cheating merchant out of their profits.

  25. Jim

    Do not deal with this company. They are not ethical. Their rep made many promises–none kept. He took two terminals and a case of thermal paper to sell for me–never received a cent. I had to pay $104 to get rid of this company. RUN if Heartland contacts you. They are crooks.

    1. KatWG

      This sounds like a competitor leaving this comment. Post the name of your company. If you called our customer service, which you did not mention you would have had your complaint resolved.

    2. HPS Rep

      That makes total sense Jim, you deal with one rep that admittedly doesn’t sound like he did the right thing so the WHOLE company must be bad? If I have one bad meal at a restaurant that means all the food is bad. I get pulled over and have a jerk of a cop then that means all cops are bad? Please use adult reasoning. Even the best of companies can have some bad apples.

  26. Small Business Owner

    BUYER BEWARE!!! Heartland Merchant services is not a reputable company. Their customer service reps (untrained or willingly lie to your face) will lie and tell you anything to get an account. I wasn’t able to use my debit card for 3 days after the initial setup because the rep didn’t know what she was doing. After the first month, I realized the wrong (higher) rates were setup on my account and it took a weekly call for 6 weeks before the rate was changed!!! Are these guys that busy or just plain clueless or scam artists?

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