Intuit Merchant Services
Intuit Merchant Services Overview
Intuit Merchant Services (payments.intuit.com), also known as Innovative Merchant Solutions, is a merchant account provider based in Mountain View, California. When Intuit entered the merchant services industry in order to package credit card processing services into its Quickbooks software, it started out by establishing a partnership with Innovative Merchant Services. In 2003, Intuit acquired Innovative Merchant Solutions and continued to operate the company under the Innovative name, instead of rebranding it. Although the company’s advertising copy and products still bear the Innovative brand in some cases, Intuit no longer maintains a separate website for Innovative Merchant Solutions and appears to have absorbed most Innovative services into the Intuit brand name. For the purposes of this review, we will refer to the company as Intuit Merchant Services.
Most merchants learn about Intuit Merchant Services through using Quickbooks, a small business accounting software program developed by the company. Intuit has done a great job of packaging its credit card processing service into Quickbooks. The integration makes it very easy for merchants to seamlessly charge cards and track the sales in essentially one step. In fact, this reviewer has found that many merchants will accept higher processing rates with Intuit (rather than switch processors) to keep the easy accounting functionality. Intuit also has a popular mobile credit card processing service called GoPayment. The company uses First Data as its processor, but handles its customer service and operations in-house.
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||No|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||Yes|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
Intuit uses various methods for marketing its credit card processing services, including email, direct mail, and telemarketing. Based upon many of the company’s complaints, there is evidence to suggest that the company uses deceptive advertising when it comes to rate and fee quotes. Additionally, the Intuit website lists misleading rate quotes by only showing the “Qualified” fee tier for swiped and keyed transactions and making no mention of the more expensive “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” tiers. Only about 20% of a merchant’s transactions will fall into the Qualified tier. Intuit does not appear to hire independent outside sales agents, which helps its rating in this section.
The company markets through a single website that can be reached through several URLs, including:
Intuit Marketing Example
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|PCI compliance fee:||Up to $100 per year|
Intuit’s billing and fees are murky at best. It appears that rates, fees, and contract terms can vary widely depending upon the merchant and the services supplied. Additionally, representatives told this reviewer that Intuit has no early termination fee and offers month-to-month contracts. Intuit’s website also makes no mention of a service agreement length. However, there are numerous reports from merchants stating that they had a two- to four-year service agreement with a $295 early termination fee and a PCI Compliance fee of up to $100. It is also possible that the Intuit Merchant Services contract has been structured so that the company does not have a specified termination fee, but instead makes a large withdrawal from a merchant’s bank account at its own discretion upon cancellation, returning the funds after all outstanding debts have been settled. This page appears to list the company’s full pricing schedule, but it’s unknown whether and to what degree some of these terms may vary.
Regardless of the company’s actual policy, there is a troubling disconnect between its advertised terms and the complaints filed by merchants, which strongly suggests that the company could benefit from much greater transparency regarding its rates and fees.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support?||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Hidden fees|
We are currently able to locate over 200 Intuit Merchant Services negative reviews, many of which characterize the company as a scam or a ripoff. One thing we must keep in mind is that Intuit is a huge company and that because of this the company will have more complaints than smaller companies. That being said, Intuit Merchant Services has a moderately high amount of complaints filed against it. On a positive note, it appears that the company’s overall complaint rate has decreased or held steady for the last few years.
The majority of complaints center on issues relating to hidden and surprise fees, sudden account holds and freezes (one such complaint found here), and poor customer service. It appears that Intuit needs to do a much better job of disclosing fees and hold policies during the sales process instead of deferring to the merchant account contract, which is likely confusing to most merchants.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
Although Intuit Merchant Services used to share a Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile with Innovative Merchant Solutions independently of the company’s overall profile, it now appears as though the BBB has grouped both entities under the overall Intuit profile. As of this update, the BBB is reporting 1,739 complaints filed against Intuit within the last 36 months. The majority of the complaints mirror those filed elsewhere online and indicate a high percentage of problems with billing, advertising, and service. It should be noted that many of these complaints have been filed by end users who have experienced problems with the company’s non-merchant services.
The BBB is awarding the company an “A+“ rating and showing accreditation since 2010. The high rating may be due to the fact that nearly 90% of the complaints have been resolved to the merchants’ satisfaction. It is our stance that Intuit should be doing a better job of preventing the complaints in the first place and, therefore, the BBB’s rating will be adjusted to a “C-” for the purposes of this review. You can learn more about why we adjust BBB ratings in our rating criteria.
Intuit Merchant Services rates as a substandard merchant account provider according to our rating system. The company can improve its rating by reducing its complaint count significantly. This can be accomplished by improving its pricing and contract term transparency, reducing or eliminating its early termination fee, and improving its customer service. On the bright side, Intuit does a good job of resolving complaints through the BBB and most of its customers are satisfied when you take into account the size of the company.
This review was originally published on 12/28/10 and was last updated on 7/29/14.
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