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Appstar Financial Merchant Services 2023: Reviews & Complaints
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Appstar Financial is a U.S.-based merchant account provider that primarily targets its credit card processing services to small and mid-sized businesses. Although we have not been able to verify it independently, numerous Appstar Financial reviews indicate that the company may be under the same ownership or affiliated with the following merchant services providers (as indicated by third-party reviews and information): Apex Merchant Group, Eliot Management Group, Trans Tech Merchant Group, Summit Merchant Solutions, First American Payment Systems, Merimac Capital, and Certified Payment Processing.
Appstar Financial Merchant Services & Products
Appstar Financial payment acceptance services include credit and debit card payments, EBT, check services, and gift cards to small to medium-sized retail, home, and e-commerce merchants. They offer a cash advance program, discounts for cash payments, EBT processing, e-commerce solutions, online reporting, and ACH processing. They also offer a host of processing equipment, including card readers, terminals, and mobile payment solutions. Previously they offered a “$100,000 breach” program to counteract payment fraud, but we can no longer find this mentioned anywhere. These services are available for small to medium-sized businesses that operate in retail, home-based, and internet commerce.
Appstar Financial provides e-commerce solutions to assist businesses in expanding their online presence. This includes the installation of a virtual terminal on a computer or mobile device, which allows businesses to accept, securely store, and manage payments from a single dashboard. They offer a range of e-commerce solutions such as Authorize.net, Firstpay.net, and Shopify, or the option to integrate directly into your POS system.
Appstar Financial offers mobile solutions, allowing businesses to bring their point of sale (POS) system wherever they go. This includes mobile terminals and smartphone hardware attachments that can be used to process payments, monitor inventory, and interact with customers. Their mobile solutions also allow businesses to process payments on the go, organize and maintain inventory data in real-time, and target new customers with simple-to-use marketing features.
Gift and Loyalty Card Programs
Appstar offers customizable gift cards and loyalty cards that can be branded with the merchant’s logo and design. Merchants can track card usage and offer promotions and discounts to customers.
Appstar provides various POS systems, including countertop terminals, mobile POS devices, and integrated POS solutions. According to their website, these solutions include the Clover family of products and the Samsung self-serving kiosk, and they can integrate with tracking and reporting, business management, and customer engagement tools.
Location & Ownership
Appstar Financial is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, CA, with corporate headquarters located at 4619 Viewridge Ave, Ste. C, San Diego, California 92123. Appstar Financial shares this address and ownership with the now-defunct Amazon Processing LLC. Mark Leibowitz is listed as the founder and CEO of Appstar Financial. Mr. Leibowitz founded Amazon Processing in 2002, which became Appstar Financial according to their management team page.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Appears to offer a three-year contract with a $495 early termination fee and…
- Complaints & Service: Has received more than 100 public complaints regarding…
- BBB Rating: Has an “A+” rating and has received 25 complaints and 24 reviews in the past 3 years about…
- Sales & Marketing: Appears to hire independently contracted agents and has received a high volume of complaints due to…
Appstar Financial Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||100+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Hidden Fees|
High Complaint Total
We are currently able to locate over 100 negative Appstar Financial reviews and complaints, many of which accuse the company of predatory business practices. The most common types of complaints that business owners have reported are the use of deceptive sales tactics by agents, constant telemarketing calls, nondisclosure of important fees prior to account setup (such as the ETF and PCI compliance fee), and holding of client funds. There are also complaints from former agents claiming mistreatment and being sent to bogus appointments with business owners. If you have your own Appstar Financial review to make, please do so in the comments below.
Appstar Financial Lawsuits
On December 30, 2016, Amazon Processing LLC DBA Appstar Financial was named as a defendant in a class-action suit accusing the defendant of multiple violations of The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 in California’s Southern District Court. On March 13, 2017, case 3:16-cv-03122 was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff, which can be indicative of a possible settlement, but we are unable to find specific details.
In March 2017, a lawsuit was brought against Amazon Processing LLC concerning the alleged classification of former workers as independent contractors when they were, in fact, employees. The plaintiffs claimed that this was done in order to not allow breaks or pay overtime. Our research seems to show that Amazon Processing was ordered to make payments to the plaintiff, but we can not determine whether the suit became a class-action suit, as was sought.
Dissatisfied clients who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
Appstar Financial Customer Support Options
Appstar Financial provides a contact phone number on its website, but it’s unclear whether this is a sales or support line.
Appstar Financial Customer Service Number
- (866) 754-5368 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
In any case, the company’s customer service department capabilities fall way short of what we expect from top-rated credit card processors for customer service.
Appstar Financial Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
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.
Nearly 30 Complaints
As of this review, Appstar Financial has maintained Better Business Bureau accreditation since 2002 and has an “A+” rating despite having 25 complaints filed within the last 36 months. Only 7 of these 25 complaints were resolved by the company to the satisfaction of the client. The remaining 18 were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the client or received no final response.
What Merchants Say
In addition to the 25 complaints filed with the BBB, Appstar has also received 24 informal reviews on its profile. 15 of the reviews were positive in tone while the remaining 9 were negative. This recent customer review describes the company apparently going back on an agreement about equipment that resulted in much distress for the client:
A representative name called ***** called me. He introduced to me that , their company is partner with clover to process credit cards payment. And they can give me a better deal then my current company I’m with. I told him the equipment I’m using now I own it I’m not leasing it from any company. He said to me if you agree to work with us appstar, we will restock your old equipment and give a lower processing fee. So I agree to it if they are taking the old one and give a new one that is fine. And I have all this communication documents in writing from. So after they shipped their equipment to me. Is time for him to send me the return label for me to ship the old for restock. When i call him don’t answer my calls no more. I sent him messages if I don’t receive the return label to ship the equipment. I will disconnect the they sent me and go back to my old one. The next day he called and said he is working on it. Then it pass three weeks and they started taking money from me . I sent him messages again and he call back and said to me. *************** we are sorry we can’t restock the old equipment. And I said then I can’t work with you because there’s no way, I will disconnect the equipment I paid for and work to pay for same thing. So I disconnect the equipment they sent me. When they saw is not working that is when they call me back to discuss the options. And he call to discuss opoint, i said to him they should take the old equipment. And i keep the new one like the agreement was. He said to we can’t do that. why don’t i do Garage sales with it. And I said no that was not the agreement. He said to again do you know we can mess up personal credit. So told he should try it I will suit them and he said what can I do to make you work with us and pay your bills. I said go by the agreement. So he told he will call me back. I didn’t hear from him after three weeks. They went ahead to charge my account $2,350.00 without my consent. I mailed their equipment back to them.
Customers stuck in similar situations would benefit from knowing what options they have for recourse regarding fraudulent account activity.
A “C” Performance Overall
We have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C” for the purposes of this review based on how our criteria would score the number and content of complaints.
Appstar Financial Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Monthly & Annual Fees||Yes|
Variable Contract Terms
Appstar Financial merchant account costs and fees will likely vary from one business customer to the next based on the owner’s business type and the sales agent setting up the account. Credit card processing fees appear to be a swipe rate of 1.59% plus $0.10 and 2.19% plus $0.10 for keyed-in credit card transactions. Despite these relatively low rates, there are many complaints from business owners who state being charged higher processing rates than they were initially quoted. Numerous business owners are reporting that they were charged high fees and were misled to believe that Appstar would be less expensive than their current merchant account provider only to experience much higher costs once activated. We encourage business owners to check out our list of the best merchant accounts.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Appstar Financial also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. However, pricing is not disclosed on either of those services. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
Appstar Financial’s Additional Fees
The company’s standard merchant account agreement appears to include a three-year service agreement with a $495 Early Termination Fee (ETF) and an annual PCI compliance fee of $125, both of which are automatically deducted from a business owner’s checking account. Additionally, the merchant account contract appears to automatically renew for successive one-year terms and is only cancellable within a small window of time before it renews. Business owners who choose to lease equipment may be subject to additional conditions and fees, including long-term, non-cancellable contracts. Clients are advised to opt for a cheap merchant account provider, instead.
Appstar Financial Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Uses Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Independent Sales Agents
Based on customer reviews, it’s apparent that Appstar Financial relies heavily on telemarketing and independently contracted outside sales agents to market and sell its credit card processing services. Like most merchant service providers that use these tactics, the company appears to incentivize agents by linking higher commissions with higher rates and fees for its customers, including lease terms on credit card processing equipment. Due to this practice, agents are often focused on setting up expensive merchant accounts and long credit card processing service agreements in exchange for higher payouts. These business practices do not compare favorably to those in our list of best credit card processors.
Deceptive Sales Practices
It is unclear if Appstar Financial management condones aggressive sales tactics or encourages high merchant account pricing, but some complaints from former and current employees express sales strategies so aggressive and misleading that the reviewers are in disbelief . It appears that, at a minimum, there is a lack of oversight and education of many of its agents. Additionally, it looks as if Appstar Financial enforces agreements even when clients describe the use of deceptive sales tactics by an agent. Other than problems regarding Appstar’s telemarketing and sales agents, we found no other obvious examples of deceptive marketing, but if you suspect that the company is charging you undisclosed merchant account fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit.
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