Securus Payments (securuspayments.com) is a Portland, Oregon-based merchant account provider offering credit card, debit card, and EBT processing for businesses. There is some evidence that Securus is an ISO of First Data. Launched in 2009, the company also offers loyalty and gift card processing, merchant cash advances, wireless processing, POS systems, ecommerce payment gateways and more. Its primary clients include retailers, restaurants, e-commerce businesses, gas stations, supermarkets, and hotels. Securus Payments is located at 7724 SE Aspen Summit Dr., Suite 300, Portland, Oregon 97266 and is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. in Walnut Creek, California.
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||Yes|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
Securus Payments appears to utilize in-house telemarketing and independent sales agents to market its services. Although common in the credit card processing industry, the use of independent sales agents is often a cause for complaint among merchants, as it can be difficult for any company to regulate the conduct of independent sales entities. Securus appears to be no exception, as we have located numerous negative Securus Payments reviews that describe misrepresentation of rates, nondisclosure of terms, and aggressive or manipulative tactics by Securus sales agents. Additionally, some of these complaints have been filed by former employees of the company alleging a lack of support for agents, non-payment of owed residuals, and an unprofessional workplace.
The Securus Payments website also contains a table promoting rates “as low as 1.59%” for swiped, internet, and MOTO transactions. While it’s entirely possible that these quotes accurately refer to the company’s “Qualified” rates, the website makes no mention of the “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” rates that merchants would pay for the majority of their transactions. We consider this type of rate quoting to be deceptive, since it could give merchants an unrealistic expectation of the effective rate they will pay. Multiple merchant complaints confirm that there is sometimes a difference between the rates represented by agents and the rates that merchants ultimately pay to Securus.
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|PCI compliance fee:||$159 per year|
|Equipment lease:||48 mos./non-cancellable|
According to merchant complaints on this site and elsewhere, the standard Securus Payments agreement appears to be a three-year contract through First Data with an early termination fee of $495 and other miscellaneous fees, including a monthly minimum of $20, a $159 annual PCI compliance fee, and a monthly statement fee. The payment processing rates appear to follow a tiered pricing structure and may not be appropriately outlined by sales agents in all cases. Merchants also report being locked into expensive long-term equipment contracts as an undisclosed condition of their merchant agreements. These terms appear to be slightly more expensive than industry averages, resulting in a “C-” grade in this category.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Hidden fees|
We are currently able to locate at least 30 non-BBB Securus Payments complaints, many of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Common themes among complainants include deceptive or high-pressure sales tactics by sales agents, expensive contract terms including high, undisclosed termination fees, and difficulty reaching customer service representatives. Many merchants indicate that their greatest expenses while processing through Securus are related to their equipment leases, which can cost thousands of dollars to cancel. This is a rather high complaint rate for a company that has only been active since 2009. The company lists a direct phone line on its website, but it is currently unclear whether and to what degree First Data handles the customer support for Securus Payments.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
Securus Payments is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As of this review, the company has an “F” rating with the BBB and has had 120 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months (up from 96 at the time of our last update). Of the total complaints, 53 were filed in regards to advertising or sales issues, 56 stemmed from problems with the company’s products or services, nine involved billing or collections disputes, and two were related to guarantees or warranties. Securus managed to successfully resolve 18 of the complaints; the remaining 102 were either not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction or not responded to at all. The BBB has posted a notice on the company’s profile stating that Securus has informed the BBB that it will not respond to complaints filed through the BBB. This explains the high number of unaddressed complaints, but does not reflect positively on Securus in any way. In this case, we agree with the grade assigned.
Securus Payments rates as a substandard merchant services provider according to our rating system. The company’s overall rating suffers from complaints about its sales practices, its contract terms, and its complaint resolution record. The company’s refusal to respond to BBB complaints, in particular, has lowered its score dramatically. Merchants are advised to examine their contract terms carefully and only deal with agents they trust.
This review was originally published on 2/11/13 and was last updated on 9/2/14.
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