Located in Costa Mesa, California, Cliq (cliq.com) is a merchant account provider that previously operated under the name of “CardFlex.” In July 2014, the Federal Trade Commission brought a 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. The company also owes $3.3 million as a monetary judgment, although this payment has been partially suspended based on CardFlex’s financial circumstances.

It is unclear whether all of the restrictions applied to CardFlex 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 BMO Harris Bank N.A., Chicago, Illinois, and of Central National Bank and Trust Co. of Enid, Oklahoma. The company is headquartered at 2900 Bristol Street, Building F, Costa Mesa, California 92626. Andrew Phillips is listed as the president and CEO of Cliq.

Key Points

  • Sales & Marketing: Cliq appears to rely primarily on inside sales agents but has received a few complaints about its sales team.
  • Costs & Contract: Cliq typically offers a three-year contract through Cynergy Data with a Liquidated Damages-style early termination fee.
  • Complaints & Service: Cliq has received over 10 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Cliq has no rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received three complaints in the past three years.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Cliq

Cliq Products and Services


  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO

Response from Cliq

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Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

Employs Independent Resellers Yes
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms No

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. 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.

Response from Cliq

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Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate Variable
Keyed-in Rate Variable
Early Termination Fee $495+
PCI Compliance Fee $300 Or Less
Equipment Lease Terms Variable

The standard Cliq contract (available below) is a three-year agreement through Cynergy Data with automatic one-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.

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 merchant 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 merchant 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.

The second, smaller factor affecting the company’s grade is the large number of merchant complaints regarding its cash reserve policies. Although it is common within the industry for processors to withhold merchant 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 merchant’s multiple posts, there does appear to be a persistent issue with the company withholding very large amounts as a precautionary measure. It is understandable that Cliq may want to take these steps to protect itself from fraud, but more effective communication with high risk merchants may go a long way in preventing these complaints. See the Cliq Merchant Application.

Response from Cliq

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Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

Total Online Complaints 10+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Termination Fees

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 appear to have been posted by a single merchant who was upset about a large fund hold, but the remaining legitimate complaints do express some worrisome trends. Multiple merchants report similarly large fund holds, very high early termination fees (over $1,500 in most cases), and unexpected rate increases after signup. 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.” 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 have caused the company to correct some of the problems voiced by complainants.

Response from Cliq

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Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 3
Billing & Collection Complaints 0
Advertising & Sales Complaints 0
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

Cliq is not currently accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has no rating. The company has received three complaints in the past three years, all of which are due to product or service disputes. All three either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant. 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.

Response from Cliq

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Cliq Logo

Cliq Bottom Line

Cliq receives a decent rating as a merchant services 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 recent settlement with the FTC has not severely impacted its rating in this review, but merchants should be aware of its details and consequences.

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services sales agent who believes the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal from hard working business owners. He created this website to help you avoid the bad players, save money on fees, and to get peace of mind with your merchant account. If you would like to help support his work, learn more about our cost reduction service. We can evaluate your statement, tell you exactly how much you're overpaying, and then help you dramatically reduce your fees with your current credit card processor. Looking to switch instead? See our list of the best merchant account providers.

Schedule a Consultation with Phillip

8 Reviews Leave Your Review for Cliq Below

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  1. Ryan says:

    Complete nightmare as someone who receives pay through the system. My account has been locked and I can’t get representatives to unlock it and as someone who is now outside the US the card is useless without contactless/chip and pin. Please do not put your employees through this, pay them to their accounts.

  2. Peter Rossmann says:

    As someone being paid via a Cliq card, it has been a nightmare so far, it is not at all convinient, I don’t know at all how much I get charged to do anything with the money on the card and I really would prefer if my company just paid my wage into my bank account and skipped this mess, as that’s where the money is going anyway.

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  3. Eliminate hidden fees and mistakes without switching merchant accounts. Get a free statement audit today to see how much you are overpaying.

  4. K says:

    I worked there for 3 years. Absolutely the worst shadiest place to work for. I am surprised they are still in business. They changed nane to Cliq to be less obvious for what they used to do. Their new fraud is to use merchant ACH account and use it as their Ginny pig . When cash flow is low why not…

    1. Raofi says:

      This company is dirty! Everything is shady!

  5. Tomasz Wlodyka says:

    The worst bank ever. Horrible customer service. The money was not back at my account, even after the lady from the service told me it will be in a few hours. Never, ever try to open account there.

  6. Eliminate hidden fees and mistakes without switching merchant accounts. Get a free statement audit today to see how much you are overpaying.

  7. Lorraine S Booth says:

    Absolutely awful company, would not recommend at all. My daughter worked at a camp in America for the summer, they paid her wages on to a Cliq card, she then had 3 weeks travelling before her return to the UK. Her card was lost/stolen and despite numerous calls/emails to the company verifying who she was, they refused help, they refused to transfer money to another account, they refused any options other than to send a replacement card to the camp that she was no longer at. The staff are rude and arrogant. As parents, we cannot believe they would not help a young female in a vulnerable position in a foreign country. Their service was non existent, their staff are appalling, i fear we now face a long process to retrieve the money still on her card. Avoid this company at all costs!!!

  8. Luisa Spagnoli says:

    I highly recommend the services of this company. They helped us set up our merchant account with ease. The customer support is excellent and the care they give their clients is top notch. The fees are also very reasonable as well.

    1. CPO Admin says:

      Hi Luisa,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

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