Headquartered in London, Allied Wallet (alliedwallet.com) is a merchant account provider that specializes in e-commerce and has grown rapidly in the last two years. The company, which was founded in 2002, appears to utilize First Data as its processing network but may also be partnered with other international companies and banks. Allied Wallet claims to service 88 million users worldwide and expects to process $55 billion in 2013, but the company has received very little coverage in the U.S. and is not showing very many reviews online. This is likely due to the fact that Allied Wallet appears to operate most heavily in Asia (specifically Russia and China) and the UK. In fact, Allied Wallet was the first company to win the international rights to transact renminbi online, which has helped it to secure a large foothold in the growing Chinese e-commerce market. Andy Khawaja is listed as the CEO of Allied Wallet.
Allied Wallet reached a civil settlement with the FBI in 2010 for a sum of $13.3 million, which the FBI had seized in an online gambling raid. According to the FBI, Allied Wallet knowingly partnered with a Scottsdale, Arizona-based bank to process offshore wire transfers and other payments related to gambling through an Isle of Man company called Pokerstars. Allied Wallet forfeited the total amount seized by the FBI and has not been cited for similar illegal activity since the ruling.
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
At the time of our last update, Allied Wallet was engaging in two sales strategies that we considered very deceptive. The first issue we found was a large number of online articles and blogs seemingly built for the sole purpose of showing up in search results for “Allied Wallet” plus the words “scam” or “ripoff.” The problem was that most of these blogs didn’t actually make a legitimate effort to determine whether the company is a scam or a ripoff, which indicated to us that someone was attempting to absorb traffic for those searches and possibly suppress actual complaints. The second issue we found was that Allied Wallet appeared to be operating a website designed to look like that of the Colorado DMV. The website, which had a “.org” domain, contained language specifying that it was privately owned and was not affiliated with the DMV, but this text was not featured prominently, especially when compared to the large, linked text encouraging visitors to renew or replace their driver’s licenses through the website. The site charged visitors $14.95 to renew or replace their licenses and was not shy about collecting visitors’ credit card numbers. At the very least, it appeared to be at the very least an attempt to dupe unsuspecting visitors into paying Allied Wallet unnecessarily for a service that is actually provided by the government.
Since that update, Allied Wallet appears to have abandoned both strategies. The articles for “Allied Wallet scam” and “Allied Wallet ripoff” have dropped out of search results for the most part, and the fake Colorado DMV website is no longer active. We have accordingly raised the company’s grade in this section, but it will remain at a “C” until the company sustains a longer period without us finding similar problems.
Allied Wallet Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Variable|
|Equipment Lease Terms||Variable|
There is very little verifiable information about the standard Allied Wallet merchant account contract, but it is likely that the company offers a wide array of potential rates and fees to its clients. Allied Wallet appears to handle electronic transactions in multiple countries and for many different business types, so costs may vary depending on a merchant’s size, business type, country of operation, and time in business. There is a lot of evidence at this time that Allied Wallet provides high risk merchant accounts and offshore merchant accounts, which may explain why most of the available complaints about the company cite fund holding or account freezes. The Allied Wallet website quotes rates “as low as 1.95%,” which is almost certainly the company’s “Qualified” rate and is not representative of the average processing fee a merchant will pay. Overall, it is unclear at this time what kinds of contract conditions Allied Wallet offers to its merchants. If you have any specific knowledge of the company’s standard contract (including early termination fees, PCI Compliance fees, monthly minimums, etc.), please share that information in the comment section of this review.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||10+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Fund Holds|
We are currently able to locate over 10 Allied Wallet negative reviews that accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. The most common issue cited among complainants is fund withholding by Allied Wallet, and this often appears to be related to high risk merchant accounts provided by the company. In many cases, a company representative responded to complainants and explained why their funds were withheld, and there is no indication at this time that Allied Wallet was abusing its fraud prevention policies in these instances.
Another issue cited by complainants is the fact that they found themselves in an agreement with Allied Wallet without knowing that they had signed up for service through the company. Allied Wallet appears to use a number of subsidiaries and strategic partners to sell its services across the globe, and these smaller entities are likely under no obligation to transparently advertise that they are affiliated with Allied Wallet. Because of this, merchants may have some trouble determining which entity they should contact for customer service. Overall, though, we are not seeing a complaint volume that would justify a low grade, although merchants are advised to be cautious given Allied Wallet’s grade in the Sales & Marketing Tactics section of this review.
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Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||1|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||1|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||1|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||0|
Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
Allied Wallet is not an accredited business of the Better Business Bureau and currently shows an “A+” rating based on three complaints filed in the last three years. Of these complaints, one was due to problems with the product or service, one had to do with a billing or collection issue, and one was related to advertising or sales. Two were resolved with BBB assistance, while one was resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant. Allied Wallet is also showing three negative reviews in the BBB’s review section, one of which received a response from a company representative. Based on the company’s complaint total, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to an “A.”
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About 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. Schedule a Consultation with PhillipSchedule a Consultation with Phillip