Payment Alliance International (PAI) Review


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

Payment Alliance International


Last Updated: February 6, 2014

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Payment Alliance International Overview

Payment Alliance International Logo

Payment Alliance International Logo

Payment Alliance International (gopai.com) is a merchant account provider located in Louisville, Kentucky. Founded in 2005, the company focuses primarily on providing credit card processing services through partnered banks and financial institutions and is also a major supplier of ATMs and ATM services. Payment Alliance International is also a major provider of high risk merchant accounts for firearm vendors. Payment Alliance International is a registered ISO/MSP of HSBC Bank, First National Bank of Omaha, Merrick Bank, MetaBank, and Wells Fargo, and the company appears to use Global Payments as its actual credit card processor. Payment Alliance International bought Netbank Payment Systems in 2007. The company is located at One Paragon Centre, 6060 Dutchmans Lane, Suite 320, Louisville, Kentucky 40205-3277.

PAI Sales & Marketing Tactics | B

Payment Alliance International partners with ISOs and independent sales agents to market its services. Although this “hiring mill” practice is a common strategy within the credit card industry that often results in elevated complaint rates, we are currently able to locate only one negative Payment Alliance International review that mentions problems with the company’s sales team. In this case, the agent incorrectly recorded the merchant’s phone number and disappeared immediately after setting up the account. This appears to be an isolated incident and will not lower the company’s score too severely.

One issue that is indirectly related to the company’s sales team seems to be confusion among many merchants about the company’s cash reserve policies. According to multiple merchant complaints, merchants are consistently signing up for merchant accounts through Payment Alliance International without fully understanding how their “high ticket” and “average ticket” figures should be calculated, and as a result, they are seeing holds placed on large transactions. This appears to especially affect gun vendors. While it is partially the responsibility of merchants to educate themselves on the terms of their agreements, it also seems as if many of these complaints could be avoided with proper education at the point of signing.

PAI Costs & Contract Terms | D

Click to see a copy of the standard Payment Alliance International contract
Payment Alliance International Global Payments Merchant Agreement

The standard Payment Alliance International contract (available above) is a three-year agreement through Global Payments with automatic one-year renewal, a Liquidated Damages early termination fee, and a variable PCI Compliance fee, monthly minimum fee, annual fee, and statement fee. The company’s ATM processing agreement (available here) also includes a Liquidated Damages early termination fee that is to cost no less than $650.

The company’s early termination fee is calculated in an uncommon way. According to the contract, “the following amount(s) shall be immediately due and payable to Global Direct and/or PAI: the lesser of (a) the maximum amount permitted by state law, and (b) all monthly fees assessed to Merchant under this Card Services Agreement and due to Global Direct and/or PAI for the remainder of the then existing term of the Card Services Agreement, including all minimum monthly fee commitments.” So, upon early termination, merchants can expect to either pay out the remainder of their contracts with Payment Alliance International or pay the maximum fee allowable by state law, but they will only pay the smaller amount of the two. This fee appears to have the potential to be either very large or very small, but at the very least, it does not appear to be tied to any real measurement of the company’s losses as a result of merchant termination. The company’s ATM agreement includes a similar early termination fee, but it takes the larger of the two terms listed.

These terms would normally merit an “F” rating in this category, but strangely, there do not appear to be any Payment Alliance International complaints online that mention the company’s early termination fees as a major issue. It may be that many of the complaints reporting large amounts withheld after cancellation are the result of the company pulling this early termination fee from the merchants’ reserve accounts, but it’s unclear at this time whether this is occurring. We cannot determine at this time why these fees have yet to impact merchants severely enough to prompt them to file a public complaint, but we will factor the lack of complaints into the company’s score. If you have any knowledge of how this liquidated damages clause is enforced, please share that information in the comment section of this review.

PAI Complaints & Service | B

We are currently able to locate approximately 25 Payment Alliance International complaints on this and other consumer protection websites, and some of these complaints accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. Common complaints include unauthorized or unexpected withholding of funds, difficulty cancelling the account, and poor customer service. Additionally, a handful of the company’s complaints appear to be the result of a mail scam in which a foreign entity was using the Payment Alliance International name without the company’s knowledge. The company has taken steps to alert merchants to this scam and appears to be blameless in the situation.

Overall, the most common issue among Payment Alliance International clients appears to be confusion over the company’s fraud prevention policies. Since Payment Alliance International offers high risk merchant accounts to businesses that otherwise might not qualify for merchant services, these complaints are to be expected to a certain degree. Still, it seems as if the company could prevent some of these complaints by explaining its reserve account policies to new merchants in greater detail. It should be noted that some complaints about Payment Alliance International may be redirected to Global Payments, which provides payment processing for the company.

PAI BBB Report | A (CPO Adjusted)

As of this review, Payment Alliance International has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with nine complaints filed in the last 36 months (up from seven complaints as of our last update). Of the complaints, four are due to problems with products or services, four with billing and collection and one for advertising or sales issues. All but two complaints were solved to the merchant’s satisfaction. There is also a second profile for an Elmhurst, Illinois office that has an “A+” BBB rating with one complaint. In light of these figures, we have slightly adjusted the BBB’s rating to an “A” for the purposes of this review.

Bottom Line

Payment Alliance International rates as an average merchant account provider according to all available information. The company’s early termination fee is a major cause for concern, yet it does not appear to impact merchants as severely as it should. Similarly, the company’s hiring practices have a high potential for merchant complaints, but they appear to be yielding very few. The company’s overall rating is buoyed by its low complaint volume and high BBB score.

Leave your review of Payment Alliance International in the comment section below:


Payment Alliance International (PAI) Review

Rated 3.125 Out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2014-03-07 13:41:48

UPDATED: Feb 6, 2014 – We are currently able to locate over 30 Payment Alliance International negative reviews on this and other consumer protection websites, and some of these complaints accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff… Payment Alliance International (gopai.com) rates as an average merchant account provider according to all available information… Learn more in this Payment Alliance International 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.



 
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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.
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