SalonSwipe Overall Rating
Review Updated: 9/19/2013
SalonSwipe (salonswipe.com) is a mobile payments processing service designed specifically for individuals and businesses in the salon industry. The company is not a direct processor, and it appears to be partnered with multiple credit card processing networks, including North American Bancard, First Data, and Vantiv . Launched in 2006, SalonSwipe offers two forms of electronic payment processing. The first is a traditional, wired card terminal with a PIN pad and printer capabilities. The second is a mobile processing solution wherein a free card-reading device is plugged into the headphone jack of a user’s mobile device, similar to Square’s hardware. SalonSwipe charges on a per-transaction basis and does not require any contracts or monthly minimums.
SalonSwipe Sales & Marketing Tactics | A
SalonSwipe appears to market itself primarily through its website. There is no indication at this time that the company partners with ISOs or independent agents, which are often loosely regulated and poorly trained entities. We are also unable to locate any negative SalonSwipe reviews that mention unethical practices by the company’s sales force. The company’s website lists specific rates and pricing for swiped and keyed transactions, but there is no evidence that these rates are misleading or false.
SalonSwipe Costs & Contract Terms | B-
SalonSwipe appears to offer fairly transparent pricing. The company’s contract (available here) does not include a long-term service agreement, early termination fee, or monthly minimum, just as the company advertises. In addition, there are no complaints online that dispute the company’s advertised swipe rates of 1.95% plus $0.20 (terminal) and 2.69% (mobile), or its keyed mobile rate of 3.49% plus $0.15. These pricing structures do not appear to vary from merchant to merchant.
What does appear to vary is the company’s reserve policy from merchant to merchant. Similar to Square, SalonSwipe claims the right to establish a reserve account at any time, in any amount, and at its own discretion in order to protect itself in the case of fraudulent transactions. Additionally, in the case that a merchant processes over $1,000 in card-not-present amounts in a given week, SalonSwipe reserves the right to defer payout of the amount exceeding $1,000 for 30 days. The establishment of a cash reserve is a common practice within the industry, but in the case of SalonSwipe, it appears that multiple merchants are experiencing frustration with this policy. Specifically, it seems that SalonSwipe does not openly disclose this policy or offer available customer support staff to assist merchants with unexpected holds. This factor has lowered the company’s grade in this category somewhat.
SalonSwipe Complaints & Service | C-
We are currently able to locate roughly 19 SalonSwipe complaints, some of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. The overwhelming majority of complaints mention some combination of missing funds that have yet to be deposited in a merchant’s account and an inability to reach a SalonSwipe customer service representative to resolve the issue. Other complaints include difficulty canceling service and miscommunications regarding banking info that take time to resolve. Generally speaking, it seems that SalonSwipe’s customer service phone line and email address do not provide responses to merchants in a timely fashion, which results in a great deal of frustration for merchants.
It is also worth noting that approximately half of these publicly available SalonSwipe complaints received rebuttals from company representatives. These rebuttals were sometimes unprofessional in tone and attempted to shift blame onto SalonSwipe’s processors or affiliated banks rather than resolve the merchant’s problem. In addition to the multiple complaints specifically expressing frustration with the company’s customer services, this generally antagonistic rebuttal approach has lowered the company’s overall score in this section.
SalonSwipe BBB Report | A-
Due to an ongoing review of greater Los Angeles-area businesses, a current Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile for SalonSwipe is unavailable at this time. The company’s profile does indicate that SalonSwipe is an accredited business with the BBB. As of our last review, the company had an “A-“ rating with the BBB, with three total complaints filed in the previous 36 months. Of the total complaints, one was filed regarding billing and collections issues; the remaining two stemmed from problems with SalonSwipe’s products or services. SalonSwipe had resolved all three complaints, although one complainant reported they were unhappy with the company’s response.
SalonSwipe rates as an average merchant account provider according to our standards. The company is showing a low-to-moderate amount of complaints for its size and time in business, and its reputation primarily appears to suffer from an unreliable customer service team. SalonSwipe’s overall rating is likely to change once the BBB updates its files.
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