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Located in Costa Mesa, California, Cliq is a merchant account provider that previously operated under the name CardFlex.
Cliq Payment Processing
Cliq processes most major debit and credit cards for standard-risk business types. Their services include chargeback management, POS solutions, mobile solutions, PCI compliance, prepaid cards, tip-management, expense cards, card-n0t-present payments, payroll, and ACH solutions.
With the growing importance of mobile commerce, Cliq provides the necessary tools for businesses to accept payments via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This feature enables companies to offer their customers a modern, convenient payment method, enhancing the overall shopping experience.
Cliq ensures easy integration with multiple e-commerce platforms, allowing businesses to create and manage their online stores with minimal hassle. The seamless integration process optimizes the online checkout experience, enabling customers to complete their transactions efficiently.
Security and Fraud Protection
Cliq places a strong emphasis on transaction security, implementing advanced fraud prevention measures and utilizing cutting-edge encryption technology. This approach safeguards both businesses and their customers against potential fraudulent activities, fostering a secure payment environment.
For businesses that provide subscription services or require ongoing payments, Cliq offers a streamlined recurring billing feature. This service simplifies the billing process, ensures timely payment collection, and contributes to effective cash flow management.
Dedicated to providing exceptional customer support, Cliq employs a team of knowledgeable professionals who are available to assist businesses with any concerns or issues they may encounter while using Cliq’s payment processing services.
Location & Ownership
It is unclear whether all of the restrictions applied to CardFlex (see below) will also apply to Cliq, but it seems likely that at least some of the injunctions against CardFlex’s principals will endure. Cliq resells Cynergy Data contracts. Cliq is a registered ISO/MSP of WoodForest National Bank of The Woodlands, Texas; and of Stride Bank, N.A. The company is headquartered at 2900 Bristol Street, Building F, Costa Mesa, California 92626. Andy Phillips is the president and CEO of Cliq.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Typically offers a three-year contract through Cynergy Data with a Liquidated Damages-style early termination fee and…
- Complaints & Service: Has received over 10 public complaints regarding…
- BBB Rating: Has no rating with the Better Business Bureau but has received 3 complaints in regards to…
- Sales & Marketing: Appears to rely primarily on inside sales agents but has received a few complaints about its…
Cliq Reviews and Complaints
Here's What Their Clients Say
Total Online Complaints
Live Customer Support
Most Common Complaint
Low Complaint Total
We are currently able to locate more than 10 Cliq negative reviews, some of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. A large portion of online complaints about the company appears to have been posted by a single client who was upset about a large fund-hold, but the remaining legitimate complaints do express some worrisome trends. Multiple businesses report similarly large fund holds, very high early termination fees (over $1,500 in most cases), and unexpected rate increases after signup. Recent complaints express frustration with the company’s new payroll system, which enables businesses to pay their employees via reloadable Visa prepaid cards rather than by direct deposit. The company has responded to some of these complaints in a professional tone and resolved a few merchant issues, but the content rather than the quantity of these reviews has dropped the company’s grade in this section to a “B.” If you have your own Cliq review to make, please do so in the comments below.
Cliq Lawsuits and Fines
In July 2014, the Federal Trade Commission brought legal action against CardFlex, alleging that the company knowingly and illegally processed “more than $26 million in unauthorized consumer charges on behalf of a company called I Works.” According to the details of the case, CardFlex enabled I Works to establish over 300 different accounts for shell corporations and split payments between 30 different business accounts in order to process fraudulent transactions without alerting the card networks. CardFlex settled the suit in March 2015. As a condition of the settlement, CardFlex is now prohibited from processing payments for certain merchant categories.
In 2019, a lawsuit was filed against CardFlex involving a skincare company whose account allegedly had misinformation on it that caused chargebacks in large amounts, and eventually caused the closing of the account and massive fees leveraged against the skincare company that were never returned. The case appears to be ongoing.
In February 2021, CardFlex was sued by a skincare product retailer for a complicated set of issues allegedly caused by CardFlex, primarily focusing on a large amount of held funds, an inability to fix the issue with CardFlex, and an equally large fee leveled at the retailer when they attempted to cancel their account. This case is still in litigation as of the writing of this review.
Cliq Customer Support Options
Cliq offers a dedicated phone number and contact form on its website, but it is unclear whether these lines are serviced by Cliq or by Cynergy Data. It remains to be seen whether Cliq’s rebranding or its FTC settlement has caused the company to correct some of the problems voiced by complainants, but the company does not rank among the best merchant account providers for great customer service at this time.
Cliq Customer Service Number
- (866) 634-3044 – Toll-Free Customer Service
Other Support Options
- Customer support form
Cliq BBB Rating and Report
Our Better Business Bureau Profile Assessment
No Rating Despite A Clean Complaint Record
Cliq is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau and currently has no rating. The company has received 3 complaints in the past 36 months.
No Rating Assigned
It appears that the BBB is refusing to assign a rating to Cliq at this time due to the FTC settlement against the company. We agree with the BBB’s rating at this time, but business owners should note that there are good reasons to be skeptical of BBB scores.
Cliq Fees and Rates
A Closer Look at the Contract
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Monthly & Annual Fees
1.00% - 4.99%
The standard Cliq contract is a 3-year agreement through Cynergy Data with automatic 1-year renewal, an early termination fee of $495 or Liquidated Damages, an annual PCI Compliance fee not to exceed $300, a monthly PCI non-compliance fee not to exceed $50, tiered pricing, and other, smaller fees. The company also provides equipment leases that may include their own terms.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Cliq 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.
Calculating Cliq’s Termination Fee
Cliq’s grade in this category is significantly lowered by two of its policies. The first is its early termination fee. According to the company’s contract, a client who cancels service before the conclusion of the initial three-year term is subject to a fee of either $495 or their average monthly processing costs multiplied by the number of remaining months in the contract, whichever amount is greater. This fee will be higher than industry averages regardless of which amount the business pays, but the liquidated damages clause could launch the cost of cancellation into the thousands of dollars. We consider this kind of early termination fee to be excessive and of no relation to the company’s actual losses upon termination.
Cliq Fund-Holding Policy
The second, smaller factor affecting the company’s grade is the large number of client complaints regarding its cash reserve policies. Although it is common within the industry for processors to withhold business funds in order to protect themselves against fraudulent charges, Cliq is showing a number of complaints that describe very large amounts placed in withholding. Some of these complaints appear to be duplicated or fabricated, but even accounting for one overzealous client’s multiple posts, there does appear to be a persistent issue with the company withholding funds as a precautionary measure. It is understandable that Cliq may want to take these steps to protect itself from fraud, but business owners should prepare to take steps to force Cliq to release their money. As of 2021, Cliq under the name CardFlex has been sued for excessive holding of funds (more on this below).
Cliq Jobs and Employment
Hiring Standards and Ethical Marketing Assessment
Audit Your Current Statement To Find Its Hidden Fees
Processing statements are intentionally complicated so that they can overcharge you. Get clarity before you switch.
Uses Independent Resellers
Discloses All Important Terms
Inside/Outside Sales Team
Cliq appears to utilize both inside and outside sales agents to market its services. It is unclear at this time whether the company employs independent contractors or W-2 employees, but we are not seeing a complaint volume consistent with the use of independent sales entities. There are currently a handful of negative Cliq reviews online that mention nondisclosure by the company’s sales agents, usually regarding the company’s early termination fee (ETF), which appears to be a very large amount in most cases. This does not compare favorably to our list of best credit card processors.
No Deceptive Rate Quotes
Cliq does not appear to engage in deceptive advertising strategies in its official materials, although it has removed its contract terms from its website since it rebranded to its current name. If you suspect that Cliq is overcharging you, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to permanently eliminate hidden fees.
Cliq Review Summary
Our Final Thoughts and Opinions
Cliq receives an average rating as a credit card processing provider according to all available information. The company’s contract terms are potentially very costly, but they have not resulted in a correspondingly high complaint volume for Cliq. The company’s settlement with the FTC has not severely impacted its rating in this review, but business owners should be aware of its details and consequences. Business owners are advised to compare Cliq’s pricing to that offered by top-rated payment processors.
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