Vantiv Overall Rating
Last Updated: June 18, 2014
Vantiv (vantiv.com) is the merchant services and credit card processing division of Fifth Third Bank. The company is one of the largest payment processors in the United States and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under “VNTV” as the stock ticker. Vantiv entered the merchant services industry in 1991 under the name of Midwest Payment Systems, changed its name to Fifth Third Processing Solutions in 2003 and then again changed its name in 2011 to Vantiv. Since its founding, the company has acquired several other credit card processors and ISOs, including ACI Merchant Services, Card Management Corporation (CMC), TNB Card Services, National Processing Company (NPC), and, most recently, Mercury Payment Systems. Vantiv is a direct processor sponsored by Fifth Third Bank. The company’s corporate headquarters is located at 8500 Governors Hill Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio 54249, but Vantiv also has offices in Illinois, Indiana, and Texas.
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||No|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
Vantiv appears to market its services through several different methods, including directly within its own sales channels as well as indirectly through partnerships with sub-ISOs and independent resellers. The company also markets heavily through National Processing Company, its largest subsidiary, and Fifth Third Bank. Although Vantiv does not appear to use any deceptive rate advertising or quoting tactics, its grade is negatively affected by the use of sub-ISOs, independent resellers, and subsidiaries. This marketing tactic makes it difficult for the company to control the sales tactics used to sell its services and spreads merchant complaints across several different company names, instead of concentrating them on one source.
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|Termination fee:||$250-$295 or none|
|PCI compliance fee:||Variable|
Vantiv merchant account agreements appear to vary from merchant to merchant based on several factors including who set up the merchant account as well as a merchant’s business type and processing volume. The standard contract is reported to have a three-year service agreement with an early termination fee that ranges from $250 to $295. Additionally, the contract may automatically renew for successive one-year terms if not cancelled within a small window of opportunity. Based on reviews left by a few merchants, some Vantiv agreements may contain a Liquidated Damages clause; however, this reviewer was unable to verify these claims prior to the publishing of this review. The company also appears to charge a PCI Compliance fee which may be assessed either on a monthly or annual basis and may vary in cost from one account to the next. Vantiv is earning a below average score in this section primarily due to its automatically renewing contract in combination with an early termination fee.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support?||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Hidden fees|
The name “Vantiv” reveals approximately 15 complaints outside of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a few of which use the terms “rip off” and “scam.” When researching its former name, “Fifth Third Processing Solutions,” this reviewer also found a low complaint count for a company of its size and time in business. The complaints fall into two common types, in which merchants either report surprise over the early termination fee or complain of poor customer service. You can see actual merchant reviews at the bottom of this article and by visiting our Fifth Third Processing review. It should also be noted that some of Vantiv’s sub-ISOs and subsidiaries have a substantial amount of complaints. We have not factored these complaints into this rating because it is unclear who is ultimately responsible in these cases. Merchants are strongly encouraged to fully read and understand the terms of any merchant account agreement before signing any documents.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
As of this review, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reporting that Vantiv is not BBB accredited and is awarding the company an “A+” rating. The report shows a total of 42 complaints (up from 34 as of our last update) filed in the last 36 months, with 26 regarding problems with products and services. Of the remaining complaints, 12 are due to billing and collection and four to an advertising or sales issue. The majority of the complaints have been resolved to the merchants’ satisfaction while seven have reported an undesirable outcome despite the BBB believing a good faith effort was made by Vantiv. We have adjusted the rating to an “A-” for the purposes of this review because is it is our philosophy that “A+” ratings should be reserved for reports with no complaints.
For Vantiv’s size and time in business, the company appears to be performing at an above-average level in terms of overall merchant satisfaction. The factors that lower the company’s rating are extensive use of sub-ISOs, resellers, and subsidiaries (a tactic which makes measurement of merchant satisfaction difficult to quantify), reports of poor customer service, and reports of nondisclosure of the early termination fee prior to setting up accounts. Additionally, a few of Vantiv’s sub-ISOs and subsidiaries have numerous complaints, for which Vantiv may or may not bear some responsibility (a fact we hope to better understand in future updates of this review).
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