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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/payment-alliance-international/

16 comments

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  1. James

    Avoid PAI they gave us terrible support. They lied to us about their account closure procedure and charged us anyway. Avoid Payment Alliance

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  2. max austin

    Just venting a complaint. When I changed credit card company I had a lot to choose from. I was contacted by payment alliance and went with them because they offered bill pay services for our customers. Well the bill pay didn’t work. I had to stop it because it was embarrassing to have to tell customers half the time that terminal for bill pay was down or whatever other problem was taking place with it. I am ok with the credit card part but would never have gone with you if I had of known the bill pay was never going to be right

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  3. Richard Boersma

    I don’t have the time to add paragraphs to the many dissatisfied customers of PAI. Suffice it to say my experience was as frustrating as most of those who took time to write. This company is not at all concerned with the individual merchant who uses their services. Phone calls are often handled by nice people who promise follow-up that never occurs.

    Basic problem on my end was that I set up a credit card service with PAI for myself and seven others in the office. I gave me email and mailing address for their communication with me, and promptly got on with my life. Two years later I realized they’d never communicated with me, but had systematically withdrawn funds from my bank account ranging from a minimum of $14 (even in months where I had zero transactions) up to $40 or $50 when my transactions were only $250 to $300. Yes, it was partly my fault because I hadn’t checked my bank account until recently, then discovered their error in not mailing me anything nor communicating by email, but my life is busy and the agreement originally was that they’d do so.

    Once discovered, of course I began calling. This is when the “nice people who promise follow-up that never occurs” comes into the picture. Eventually I discovered that someone on their end had mis-transcribed both my mailing address and my email address, which meant I never got any promised statements for over two years. Think they cared? Not a bit. I lost an estimated $800 this way. They lost a client, big deal.

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    2 / 2 found this review helpful.
  4. Brian B

    My dealing have been OK.. Their transaction fees are less than the other standards such as as square. It is made up by the $20.00 monthly fees they charge. For a large merchant this would be a saving. For a small one a loss. For me being average it is about the same. Customer service is easy to get on the phone if needed. The will do large charges which I need for some sales. Overall I am satisfied. They are pro gun and can easily set up charges on a website which is a necessity for me.

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  5. Tiffany Lowyns

    We are having the same problem as other people posting on this board. PAI is holding over $8000 of our money. They have had the money for more than 60 days and will not release the funds. We filed a complaint with the BBB and they were not any help. It sounds like we might have to get a class action lawsuit going. Repeated contact with PAI to get our money ends with an empty promise of “we are releasing the funds today” type of nonsense. DO NOT USE PAI.

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  6. Kristie

    I recommend never signing up for an account with Payment Alliance International. I have been trying since April 18 to cancel my account and have been completely stonewalled by them. I have called them 5 times and have been told by the Customer Service Reps that they are unable to close my account. I have to speak to someone from the “Retention Department”. The Retention Department never returns calls. One time I spoke to Yolanda in the Retention department and she said she would fax me an account closure form immediately and I have never received it. They will not give me a fax number so I can notify them in writing to close my account. They are continuing to withdraw monthly fees out of my account. I am going to be forced to cancel my checking account to stop this theft of funds. I would NEVER recommend this company to anyone.

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  7. christy

    I would not reccomend this company to anyone ever!!!!! The left doesn’t know what the right is doing and really they don’t care. They do as they please not as they say. In general they are the worst company I have ever had the misfortune of working with. I will be letting everyone I know, and then some if possible, NEVER use or trust this company. You will regret it! That I can promise you. Horrible service, horrible treatment of customers and just a flat horrible company. I have been lied to on more than one occasion now and never get the response they promise. Guess they can’t even be bothered to return calls they claim they will. Never again!

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  8. Eric Larson

    Cobra Tactical is a FFL 07 firearms manufacturer and dealer and we have been using PAI for a little over a year, maybe a little longer. Our recent experience, is very similar to above. We learned about them at SHOT Show and was advised by a couple of industry folks that they were good to go. Early on we had some funds held, reportedly due to our newbie status. This corresponded to Cobra experiencing an increase in sales which also included some larger transactions. We learned that funds were being held when our bank contacted regarding “lack of funds.” Seriously? Not good. This resulted in bank fees and us not being able to process refunds in a timely manner, also resulting in a couple of chargebacks. Insanely stupid.

    When we contacted PAI, we were told that HOLDING FUNDS was normal….and funds would be disbursed as soon as some value was accumulated so they could cover any potential chargeabacks. Are you following? Chargebacks that by my account would not occur if we could pay our vendors with the money was available to us.

    Anyway, funds were eventually released and we have not had any thing significant to report and figured we were on the fast track. OOPS. We are going through this yet once again!!! Now they want to know how my business is run, detailed reports on who my customers are, how many orders I am processing, what percentage of orders have shipped. how I am spending my money, who I am paying and how much, what we plan on doing to increase profitability, ed nausea, are many of the questions we got from them. We actually started to play their game by reciprocating with some emails and phone calls to get this resolved. After being advised of their last response, requesting an audit of all open orders, we agreed that we are done with PAI. Look, a payment gateway takes a percentage of our money as part of our business. We get that. But simply holding onto ALL of our money period is wrong. Not telling is doubly insulting and rude. Causing a business financial hardship because we MIGHT have a chargeback is criminal. So our a**orney is now reviewing this.

    Working in California and as a firearms manufacture, I can tell you that we have to deal with more crap than most should have to to earn a living. The last thing we need or will stand for is someone free loading while we are working for our money. You have many choices for payment gateways and PAI is not gun friendly. Stay away from PAI. We are researching new payment process companies. We only receive a couple of calls a week for new ones.

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    3 / 3 found this review helpful.
  9. Steve Pierce

    I set up an account with PAI and was assured it would be setup with 48 hours. It wasn’t. A week later, PAI continued to screw around and finally sent me a notice that my account application was denied unless I changed billing customers for domain name registrations to monthly from yearly. Never mind the rest of the industry bills annually for domain registration.

    I explained this in a lengthy letter and I hear nothing for over a week. So I sign up with Merchants Warehouse and they were great. Several days later I am told my account with PAI and eprocessingnetwork.com was setup. I said great, but too late, I never heard back from anyone and signed up with another provider.

    They said they understood and admitted it took too long.

    A week later, eprocessingnetwork.com took out the monthly fee for services from my checking account. Tells me I need to provide merchant number and eprocessingnetwork.com accoutn number to close the account. I tell them I don’t have that because the account was never setup, I was denied service.

    eprocessingnetwork.com says so sad too bad, nothing they can do, and no they won’t refund the money taken.

    Now PAI won’t return emails and calls.

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  10. Catherine

    This company keeps taking money out of my account, even though I’ve cancelled with them (numberous times) and this last week they took $340.00 out of my account for NO REASON. DO NOT EVER use this company EVER.

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    2 / 2 found this review helpful.
  11. Kristen

    After some research in trying to find a gun friendly credit card processor I called Payment Alliance (GoPAI). I called December 21st and spoke with Leonard Watson. We went over fees, set up costs and so on, he emailed me a quote so I could discuss it with my husband. The set up fees were pretty high and the monthly fees were ok but the per transaction cost was less than 1% and much lower than the merchant account we currently had set up, but it was decided to give them a whirl. I tried calling Leonard back later the same day but he had gone for the holiday.

    On December 26th I called Leonard so we could get the ball rolling on getting an account set up, we spoke and he assured me we’d have a merchant account up and running with them within 24-48 hours. He sent me an email asking for company name, FFL license, federal tax id, bank info, etc…I promptly sent that stuff over. He reviewed it and called me back saying he’ll need to contact our bank to verify our account and once he does that he’ll get a formal application sent over the same day. Within a few hours I received the formal application but had a few concerns in regards to what our per ticket amount was set to. I explained that a $500 average ticket amount is low for our business and that it won’t be uncommon to run amounts between $5000-$10000 regularly on credit cards. He assured me over and over again that there would be no problem, he’d put notes on the account specifying the amounts we will be running and we MAY have to call customer service to get approval on the transactions. I followed this up asking in several different ways if GoPAI was going to hold our money should we run these high amounts, he further assured me that as with all of our other transactions our money will not be held and it will be deposited into our bank account within 24-48 hours. He again assured me everything was going to be fine, he said a few times that he wanted to set the amounts low so we’d get approved and not set off any red flags. This all sounded too good to be true, however I was taking him at his word and we proceeded with the application.

    December 27th came and went. December 28th I get a call from Leonard asking if I’ve had a chance to contact our bank to get a letter from them verifying our account. I explained that he was suppose to do that, he promptly apologized and then asked me to take a screen shot of our online banking so they verify our account at the bank. I sent this over. Later in the day I call back asking if our account had been approved yet, he said he’ll check on it and give me a call back later that day. 4:30 rolls around and I haven’t heard back from him so I call him, at this time he discovers that underwriting was unable to run a credit check. He doesn’t know why but he verifies the information and eventhough all the information on the application is correct (applicants name, SSN, FEIN, etc..) Leonard decides to resubmit it. He said we should be set up by Monday at the latest.

    Monday (January 31st) comes I call Leonard first thing in the morning asking for an update, he says at this time I need to give them time because he just got all of our information over to underwriting on Friday (December 28th), it’s year end and they are really busy. At this point I ask to talk to a supervisor. He refuses to let me talk to his supervisor and emphasizes over and over again that he’s working for us, he’s here to help us, etc.. I listen to his BS and then hang up. I immediately call back and talk to the operator explaining my situation and demand to talk to a supervisor. The sales supervisor was out of the office taking personal time so I was transferred to Rebecca Johnson, Client Services Group Manager. She listened to everything I had to say and she said she would personally go over to underwriting to see where the application stands. Within an hour she called me back saying they were unable to pull the Articles of Incorporation for the business and asked ifI could supply them. I explained they should be able to get all this information from the Secretary of State in South Dakota but agreed to get a copy of the articles of inc. sent over. Within 10 minutes she called back saying they were successfully able to verify the articles of inc and also that underwriting was unable to pull credit before because their systems were down, not because something was wrong on the application. Within 90 minutes max, she calls me back saying underwriting is approving the application as we speak and I should have log in information later that day.

    Fantastic, it’s been a pain in the ass at this point, but it finally sounds like we are out of the woods and ready to continue business as usual but with a new credit card processing company.

    Wednesday January 2nd we’re finally able to run our first credit card through our new merchant account. The first order is WAY above our per ticket amount, but we didn’t hesitate because we were assured that everything would be fine. Thursday GoPAI’s risk group calls my husband saying their holding the funds and we have to supply a bunch of stuff. I was told later my husband let loose a few “harsh” words, but given the circumstances they were completely warranted. My husband calls me and has me run with the ball again to get this situation unfucked.

    I call Leonard explaining the situation to him, he immediately says we were suppose to call to get the transaction approved first. I called him a liar and explained to him that he said we MAY have to call customer service. I asked of his supervisor, he started telling me he’s here to help us, etc…I kept repeating I want your supervisor until he transferred me to his “supervisor”. I talk to Chelsea and she puts me on hold to check on a few things, then comes back saying someone from risk is talking to my husband right now. We hang up. My husband calls me shortly after asking what’s going on. I told him what I was told and turns out he wasn’t talking to someone. At this point I call Rebecca, she proceeds to tell me Chelsea isn’t a supervisor but she’s a team lead and apologizes for everything. No surprise that Leonard lied again. Anyway, Rebecca runs over to risk to see what she can do. She calls me back a short while later explaining Rick Anthony (VP of risk) is going to call me but I have to have my husband write and sign a letter saying I’m an authorized contact because at this point he can’t legally talk to me. WTF? I was suppose to be added as an authorized contact from the beginning, another fuck up by Leonard. We write up the letter and get it back to them. Within a few minutes I get a call from Rick, he explains that had Rebecca not came and talked to him he was going to shut down our account because of the profanity used. He said he won’t tolerate that kind of language, etc…I talked with him at length assuring him that won’t happen again, explained what I had talked with Leonard about. Rick explained that there were no notes on the account indicating we’d be running such high transactions and also because the first large transaction was keyed in and not swiped that is another red flag. We spent a good chunk of time going over how they rate transaction risks, etc. Throughout this conversation and past ones with Rebecca I explained over and over again how this is costing us money and time because of the screw up etc. By the time we were done it was very obvious how badly Leonard had screwed us. Rick agreed to release our money and that he’d have it put back in our accounts Friday hopefully, Monday at the latest. He said if he had to wire the money to get it to our account on time he’d do that.

    Fantastic, so the supervisor and VP have made us feel peachy and ok at this point. Later that day I talk in depth with Rebecca and we agree to modify our application to more closely fit what our needs are. We agreed on a $5000/ticket average and changed a few other things that would make it so we wouldn’t be posing such a high risk with each transaction. We also agreed that we shouldn’t do any more transactions until this has been approved. She said she’d immediately get it back to underwriting and call me once she heard something. I also asked if they would compensate us for our troubles this far but reversing some of the fees we’ve paid or discount our monthly service feeds for awhile, she said she’d talk to the sales supervisor and get back to me.

    I called on Monday (January 7th) to see if she had gotten the information, but I didn’t get a call back. So on Tuesday (January 8th) I called her first thing in the morning, left another message AND sent an email asking for an update. She replied via email at 9am:
    “I was just getting ready to call you. Yes I did receive them and I will be getting the device ordered today and I have to give the applications back to underwriting. As soon as I get the word from underwriting I will email you.” I called later that day several times looking for status, voicemail each time.

    Wednesday January 9th I call and her voicemail says she’s in a meeting all day and is expected back at 5:30pm. Great so she’s out all day. I hang up and call Rick Anthony’s number, I get voicemail. I call the operator and ask to talk to a supervisor, I get transferred to support. I ask them to talk to a supervisor and explained the situation to them, I get transferred back to the operator. I call sales and ask for a supervisor, I get transferred to risk who then transfers me back to the operator. At this point I ask the operator is Rick Anthony available or is in a meeting all day like Rebecca Johnson is. I’m put on hold and a few moments later the operator comes on saying Rick Anthony is walking to his desk to take this call.

    I talk to Rick Anthony and he’s not being very friendly at all at this point. His attitude leads me to believe I’m being more of an annoyance at this point then anything. I explain to him what Rebecca and I did and asked if he could check if underwriting had approved this yet. He proceeded to tell me that that’s not what we’re doing, we can process credit cards as usual but he can’t guarantee they won’t hold our funds if it’s a significant amount over what our per ticket amount is set up as, etc…basically repeating all the risk analysis mumble jumble. I interrupted and said Rick I understand what you’re saying, apparently you weren’t filled in that Rebecca and I came to an agreement that it would be best to set the amount to X, the documents have been signed and sent over to underwriting. I’m simply asking for an update. He went back into his risk speech, I interrupted saying thank you for your time goodbye.

    I called my husband explaining the situation and was told to cancel our account. I called Rick and explained that this is not going to work out for us and to please cancel our account. He simply said ok and did not try to retain us. I further asked about getting a full refund for all the money we’ve spent thus far and returning all equipment we’ve received. He said he’ll have to talk to Rebecca and get back to us. My husband received a call later from someone verifying we wanted to cancel our account and end of business day I had not heard back in regards to the refund.

    * I will note that we switched BOTH of my husband’s businesses over to GoPAI and they made absolutely no attempts to save us from cancelling.

    This company claims they are gun friendly, they are here to work for you, etc.. but they are really only out to take your money and make things difficult. They wasted 2 weeks of our time and left us with no choice but to cancel and start over.

    January 10th – tried calling Rebecca Johnson again but it goes to voicemail. I hung up and called the general number, spoke to the operator and asked to be transferred to retention. I spoke with Verna, she said Rebecca is out of the office at a conference again today. She did verify that both accounts were indeed closed but couldn’t help me in getting the set up fees and equipment fees refunded. She placed me on hold to see if she could find someone who could help me since Rebecca is out of the office. Verna put me on hold, she said she spoke to Rich (maybe Rick), I asked her to spell it out but I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but he’s in Rebecca’s department and he said that there isn’t anything further they can do for us. Once an account is closed there is nothing further to be done.

    BEWARE before you sign up with GOPAI/Payment Alliance!

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    1. Ellie

      This sounds pretty darn familiar. As a matter of fact, I found your review, Kristen, because we’re looking for a new provider for the same reason — the only difference being we’ve been doing business with them for years. They took it upon themselves to decide to hold funds. Good luck in your search. Mine’s just beginning. :-)

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      1. Mike

        Ellie, same thing happened to me. My company had been doing business with PAI for nearly 3 years, a then received several demands for shipping records and invoices. They said they were trying to keep chargebacks to a minimum. I was told the fact that I had no recent or pending and very few total chargebacks was “irrelevant”. My online portal was shut down with no warning, and the funds were witheld. However, the fees were all still withdrawn from my checking account. Nightmare dealing with them still, I get shuffled around, hung up on, etc. I hope we can get it resolved soon.

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    2. Kim

      To everyone that is having issues with PAI – we are currently going through the same issue and they are holding quite possibly 30K of our money – we don’t really know for sure as we don’t really know when it started as there are so many dips in our account for PAI adjustment fees, PAI deposits, PAI this and that … what I want to know is did you ever get your “money in reserve.” This is severely crippling our company and I’m afraid they will put us out of business…. any advice, lawyer expert, etc??? Thanks for the help

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      1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  12. Joan Lovelace

    This company used my merchant account number without my knowledge, never called or notified me of what was going on. Has not returned phone calls, has not emailed documents, and has not faxed documents when they said they would do so. I would stongly caution anyone to do business with this company!!!!

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.
    1. Pat Bazley

      Joan, Payment Alliance has been working with our processor as well as the card associations to resolve the problems which occured this fall with your account.
      We have reviewed our process with communication and the lack of notification to our customers. We were working to resovle the issue with all hands on deck.
      We do need to communicate to our customers in a much more timely mannor.
      We have implemented a process with our reps to ensure we communication, return calls and Solve our merchants issues.

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