Category Archives: Credit Card Processors

Datalink Bankcard Services Review

Category Breakdown
Sales & Marketing rated D
Costs & Contract rated D
Complaints & Service rated C
BBB Rating rated C

Overall Rating

C minus rating


Overview

Datalink Logo

Datalink Bankcard Services Logo

Datalink Bankcard Services (datalinkonline.net, lowdiscountrates.com) is a merchant account provider headquartered in Richardson, Texas. Founded in 1989, the company now acts as a reseller of Merrick Bank merchant services. There is also some evidence that Datalink Bankcard does business under the names “Main Street Processing” and “Tier 1 Processing.” Datalink Bankcard Services should not be confused with another company by the name of “Datalink,” which appears to deal with data transfer and storage and is unrelated to the company described in this review.

Steve Odom is listed as the president of Datalink Bankcard Services, which is a registered ISO/MSP of Merrick Bank, South Jordan, Utah and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California.

Datalink Bankcard Products and Services Industries Served
  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce

Related: Find The Best Processor For Your Business Type

Sales & Marketing | D

Key Points – Sales & Marketing
Uses independent resellers? Yes
Promotes deceptive rate quotes? No
Discloses all important terms? No

Datalink appears to utilize telemarketing and independently contracted sales agents to market its services. This “hiring mill” practice is described in two different online complaints from former employees, who describe an unethical sales policy that intentionally misleads customers over the phone. According to these complaints, it seems that Datalink representatives (sometimes using the name “Main Street Processing”) are trained to inform merchants that they can save money on their credit card processing because of “the Durbin Amendment,” which is a ploy to get merchants to fax over their current statements for review. There is also a report stating that Datalink representatives are encouraged to pose as a merchant’s current processor, a practice known as “slamming.” Merchants should be aware that the Durbin Amendment does not require them to switch their providers or change their service, and all business owners should be wary of calls claiming only to be “with Visa” or “your processor.”

Although there are only a handful of these specific claims from former employees, they are corroborated by a moderate number of publicly available Datalink merchant reviews that accuse the company’s sales agents of misrepresenting contract terms or failing to disclose the complete costs associated with its service. To its credit, Datalink does not appear to engage in deceptive advertising strategies in its official materials, but the detailed complaints about misleading sales practices raise enough concerns at this time to lower the company’s rating to a “D.”

Related: Find The Best Providers By Processor Type

Costs & Contract | D

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: $250+
PCI compliance fee: Variable
Equipment lease: Variable

According to a copy of the Datalink merchant agreement (available below), the company offers a three-year agreement through Merrick Bank with automatic renewal for two years, an early termination fee of $250 or Liquidated Damages (whichever is greater), an undisclosed annual membership fee, and a $25 chargeback fee. The company may also charge PCI Compliance fees or monthly minimum fees that are not listed in this agreement.

Datalink receives a low score in this section because of its long-term contract with automatic renewal and its potentially very costly early termination fee. This fee is calculated by multiplying the merchant’s monthly cost by the number of months remaining in the contract, and it can easily exceed the $250 minimum that will be charged upon termination. A number of merchant complaints about Datalink mention its termination fees and claim that sales agents verbally promised that there would be no such fees. For this reason, merchants should be sure to check the actual language of the contract despite what a sales agent claims. See the Datalink Bankcard Services Terms & Conditions.

Related: Best Processors For Quickbooks Integration

Complaints & Service | C

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: 15+
Live customer support: Yes
Most common complaint: Sales tactics

There are currently over 15 Datalink negative reviews online, some of which describe the company as a scam or a ripoff. Common themes among complainants include deceptive sales tactics, unprofessional hiring policies, account holds, nondisclosure of termination fees, misleading rate quotes, and unhelpful customer support. A handful of complaints online against the company appear to be the result of a personal agenda and are therefore without merit, but these have been discounted for the purposes of this review. A company representative has responded to the apparently false allegations made against the company, but there are no instances outside of the BBB in which legitimately frustrated merchants received a public response from Datalink.

Although the content of some of these complaints is troubling, the overall complaint volume does not justify a grade lower than “C” at this time. Datalink offers extensive customer service contact information on its website, including phone number, email addresses, and a contact form.

Related: Best iPad & Tablet Point of Sale Services

BBB Report | C*

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 19
Billing/collection: 14
Advertising/sales: 13
Guarantee/warranty: 1
Delivery: 0

Datalink Bankcard Services has been an accredited business of the Better Business Bureau since 2006 and currently has an “A+” rating despite 47 complaints filed within the last three years. Of these complaints, 19 were related to problems with the product or service, 14 had to do with billing or collection disputes, 13 were due to advertising or sales issues, and one was the result of a guarantee or warranty problem. Thirty-seven of these complaints were resolved with BBB assistance, while 10 left the merchant dissatisfied despite what the BBB considers a good faith effort by Datalink.

Datalink’s alternate business name of “Main Street Processing” also has a BBB page and is currently showing an “A+” rating and accreditation since 2008. Two of the company’s three complaints were due to advertising or sales issues, while the remaining one was due to problems with the product or service. All were successfully resolved. Overall, by combining the two BBB reports, we have come to an adjusted BBB grade of “C” for the purposes of this review.

* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score

Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce

Bottom Line


Datalink Bankcard Services Review

Rated 1.8 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2015-05-20

Datalink rates as an average merchant services provider according to our rating system. The company is seeing a moderate complaint volume related to its sales practices and contract terms, and the details of its contract suggest that its service can be more expensive than industry averages. Datalink can improve its overall rating by removing the liquidated damages clause from its contract terms and by altering its apparent sales tactics.

This review was originally published on 11/18/13 and was last updated on 5/20/15.

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Heritage Payment Solutions Review

Category Breakdown
Sales & Marketing rated A
Costs & Contract rated C
Complaints & Service rated A
BBB Rating rated A minus

Overall Rating


Overview

heritage payment solutions

Heritage Payment Solutions Logo

Heritage Payment Solutions (heritageps.net) is a Wake Forest, North Carolina-based merchant account provider that appears to be part of the First American Payment Systems network of businesses. The company states that it was founded in 1998 and is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio. Kevin Hudson is listed as the president and CEO of Heritage, which is headquartered at 3207 Rogers Rd, Ste 201, Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587.

Heritage Products and Services Industries Served
  • Debit and credit card processing
  • EBT acceptance
  • Mobile processing
  • Check guarantee
  • Online payment gateway
  • POS equipment
  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce

Related: Find The Best Processor For Your Business Type

Sales & Marketing | A

Key Points – Sales & Marketing
Uses independent resellers? Yes
Promotes deceptive rate quotes? No
Discloses all important terms? No

Heritage Payment Solutions appears to utilize both in-house telemarketing and outside sales representatives to market its services. It is unclear at this time whether these outside sales representatives are fully employed or independently contracted, but either way, the company is currently showing zero complaints that accuse its sales agents of unethical conduct. This is surprising given the high number of complaints filed against other First American Payment Systems companies, but it appears that Heritage Payment Solutions provides more training and oversight for its agents than might be expected. The company also does not appear to engage in deceptive advertising strategies in its official materials.

Related: Find The Best Providers By Processor Type

Costs & Contract | C

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: $495
PCI compliance fee: $129.95/year
Equipment lease: Variable

According to multiple merchant complaints, the standard Heritage Payment Solutions contract is a three-year agreement through First American Payment Systems with automatic renewal, an early termination fee of $495, and monthly minimum fees of $20 or more. First American Payment Systems has also been known to charge a PCI Compliance fee of over $120 and generally offers industry-standard tiered pricing. These contract terms may be subject to alteration at the discretion of Heritage Payment Solutions, so merchants are encouraged to strongly negotiate terms that will work for them. If you have any specific knowledge of the standard Heritage Payment Solutions contract, please share that information in the comment section of this review.

Related: Best Processors For Quickbooks Integration

Complaints & Service | A

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: <10
Live customer support: Yes
Most common complaint: N/A

We are currently able to locate only two Heritage Payment Solutions negative reviews outside of the BBB, and neither complaint accuses the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Both complainants cite Heritage’s large early termination fee and PCI compliance fee as the primary problem, with unhelpful customer service as a secondary issue.

The fact that there are only two complaints about the company is unexpected given Heritage’s affiliation with First American Payment Systems, a company known for high complaint rates and poor service. It may be that Heritage Payment Solutions actively seeks to distinguish itself among its fellow First American Payment Systems resellers by providing adequate or possibly even good customer service, or the company may be small enough to maintain a low complaint rate, or it might be that many of its complaints are redirected to the online profiles of First American Payment Systems. Regardless of the explanation, the low complaint volume for Heritage Payment Solutions is puzzling. We will award the company an “A” at this time with the warning that other First American Payment Systems resellers have very poor scores in this category.

Related: Best iPad & Tablet Point of Sale Services

BBB Report | A-*

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 4
Billing/collection: 6
Advertising/sales: 0
Guarantee/warranty: 0
Delivery: 0

Heritage Payment Solutions has held accreditation with the Better Business Bureau since August 2010 and currently shows an “A+” rating with 10 complaints in the last 36 months. Six of these complaints were related to billing and collection, while four were due to problems with the product or service. All of these complaints have been resolved with BBB assistance. As with the other categories of this review, the company’s high score in this section is surprising when one considers the BBB profiles of its fellow First American companies. We have slightly adjusted the BBB’s rating to an “A-” given the company’s complaint total.

* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score

Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce

Bottom Line


Heritage Payment Solutions Review

Rated 3.9 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2015-05-20

Surprisingly, Heritage Payment Solutions rates as a reliable merchant services provider according to all available information. The company’s association with First American Payment Systems does not appear to have resulted in a high complaint rate or a poor BBB rating, but its contract terms do appear to be consistent with First American’s worse-than-average rates and fees. Although the company has a solid rating at this time, merchants are cautioned to read all contract terms and ensure that they are comfortable with the pricing they will receive.

This review was originally published on 10/21/13 and was last updated on 5/20/15.

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