The Independent Sales Arm of First Data
CardConnect, formerly known as Financial Transaction Services, is a rapidly growing merchant account provider that operates as an independent subsidiary of First Data. Founded in 2006 by CEO Brian P. Shanahan before changing its name and moving to Pennsylvania, CardConnect was acquired by First Data in 2017 and is now the primary independent sales network used by First Data. The company has previously partnered with FTV Capital, Bank of America, and SecureNet Payment Systems to expand its products and services. Notably, the company offers interchange-plus pricing as well as level II and III data processing through its payment gateway.
CardConnect Location and Ownership
CardConnect is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, CA. and Synovus Bank, USA, Columbus, GA. CardConnect’s headquarters are located at 1000 Continental Drive, Suite 600, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406. Jeff Shanahan is listed as the president of CardConnect.
CardConnect Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: CardConnect usually offers a multi-year contract through First Data with a variable termination fee. The company also offers interchange-plus pricing.
- Complaints & Service: CardConnect has received more than 50 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: CardConnect has an “A-” rating and has received 52 complaints and 7 reviews in the past 3 years. The company has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2019.
- Sales & Marketing: CardConnect hires independent sales agents and has received a moderate number of complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With CardConnect
Types of Businesses Served
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CardConnect Rates, Fees, and Costs
|Swiped Rate||2.32% + 0.25% + $0.07|
|Keyed-in Rate||2.32% + 0.25% + $0.07|
|Virtual Terminal Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Payment Gateway Fee||Undisclosed|
|Early Termination Fee||Up To $750|
|Monthly Minimum Fee||$25|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$8.25 Per Month|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Month (locked)|
Variable Contract Terms
CardConnect doesn’t disclose its contract terms on its website, but we have seen reports in the comments section of contracts up to 5 years, a PCI compliance fee charged each month for $8.25, high early termination fees (up to $750) and other monthly fees. Recent complaints mention an annual fee of up to $288 that is applied retroactively at the end of the relevant year. A copy of the company’s standard application also lists a monthly minimum fee of $25, a statement fee of $5, and a PCI non-compliance fee of $19.95 per month. The agreement also references an equipment lease, which is likely through First Data Global Leasing, considering the company’s affiliation with First Data.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, CardConnect also dedicates a portion of its website that advertises its virtual terminal and payment gateway service, CardPointe. However, pricing on either of those services is not disclosed. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
Level 2 and Level 3 Processing Services
In addition to its traditional merchant services, CardConnect also advertises that it provides level 2 and level 3 processing for b2b and b2g transactions. Level 2 and level 3 processing rely upon different interchange rates than traditional consumer credit transactions. Accommodating those rates requires different payment processing technology from a merchant account provider to transmit the amount of data required to facilitate the transactions.
CardConnect Transaction Fees
Some sources indicate that the company offers bucket pricing starting at 2.32% for “Qualified” transactions, although CardConnect does openly promote interchange-plus pricing on its website. A class-action suit against the company alleges that its fees are deceptive as the company attaches a second agreement to its initial contract, adding 0.25% plus $0.07 to the agreed-upon rates. Because CardConnect’s contract terms are average to below average for the industry, we do not consider it competitive with the cheapest merchant account.Are you happy with your CardConnect fees? Tell us about them before your go!
CardConnect Complaints & Customer Reviews
|Total Online Complaints||50+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Hidden Fees|
Moderate Complaint Total
We have found over 50 CardConnect complaints, some of which express the opinion that either CardConnect or Financial Transaction Services is a ripoff. The company has responded to many of the complaints found in the comments section of this website, albeit with what occasionally appears to be an automated or copied response. Many of the complaints on this website report poor customer service despite what appears to be an active effort by company representatives to contact frustrated clients. It is also worth noting that two of the complaint rebuttals issued by what appear to be FTS/CardConnect reps were less than professional and bordering on rude. It does not appear that either individual is still employed by the company, so we will favorably assume that these comments are not reflective of the company’s present culture.
CardConnect Payments Lawsuits
In 2016, CardConnect was sued through a class action lawsuit in the matter of Kao et al v. CardConnect Corp. The suit alleged that the company misled merchants with contractual language that bound the merchants to rates that differed from those within their respective contacts.
CardConnect Customer Support Options
To its credit, CardConnect offers 24/7 live phone support. This is a degree of customer support that we expect from top-rated processors for great customer service. Unfortunately, CardConnect’s complaint rate has increased over the past year, likely due in part to its accelerated growth and acquisition. This negative trend has lowered its score in this section to a “C.”
CardConnect BBB Rating Summary
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||26|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||26|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||0|
|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.
Rising Complaint Total
The BBB has awarded CardConnect a rating of an “A-” although the company’s complaint total has risen to 52, up from 47 at the time of our last review. Of these 52 complaints, 26 were related to product or service problems and another 26 were due to billing or collection issues. The company had resolved 24 of these complaints, while the remaining 28 were answered by the company but did not receive a
What Merchants Say
The company also has 7 negative reviews filed with the BBB. The informal review describes their difficulty in releasing withheld funds:
Avoid at all costs. It is currently the 18th of December, and this cardconnect is withholding all my my company’s funds without being able to specifically articulate the reason why. This is the money we use not only to pay our employees but to fulfill our clients’ needs, and yet we receive radio silence for weeks. The folks that reached out to us can’t speculate as to why the fraud team would flag us (seems like pretty pertinent information don’t you think?) But because we had a good month and some pencil pusher decided it must be fraudulent. We are a private investigation firm in Texas a few days from Christmas, and cardconnect has told us they will be keeping the funds for 6 months. Again, avoid at all costs
Merchants should understand the steps they can take to make a payment processor to release their funds to avoid situations like this.
A “B” Performance
Given the company’s complaint rate and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “B” for the purposes of this review. Merchants should note that there are good reasons to be skeptical of the BBB’s rating system.
Truth In Marketing & Advertising
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Outside Sales Team
CardConnect is itself a vast independent sales department of First Data, so its sales team is distributed across the country. CardConnect appears to be more forthright than most companies about the services it provides and its relationship to other companies. As a subsidiary of First Data, the company primarily markets its solutions for merchants and other ISOs on its website. The site doesn’t seem to advertise any specific rates or deceptive guarantees.
CardConnect Sales Complaints
The comment section below this review includes several reports of deceptive sales practices, including one direct allegation of forgery. Despite a proactive response by CardConnect’s customer service department to some of these comments, we are inclined to award the company an average grade of “C” in this category for now. If you suspect that a CardConnect representative has snuck hidden fees into your contract, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit.
CardConnect Marketing Example
About Phillip Parker
Thank you for reading my review. I hope that it has helped you with your research.
Why I'm Qualified to Write About Credit Card Processing and Merchant Account Services
I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry because I didn't like how it takes advantage of small business owners. It feeds like a leech on businesses and thrives by imposing fees that are nearly impossible to comprehend. Seeing a need for change, I left and built this website help business owners better understand the industry, research merchant services providers, and get refunds of excessive merchant account fees. My experience of working "behind the curtain" in the industry, and using that knowledge for good, has resulted in millions of dollars returned to hard-working small business owners as well as enterprise-level companies.
From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to create this website, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this "insider" knowledge to myself. To lift the fog, I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers on this website.