Cliq Payment Services: Card Processing Reviews & Complaints

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Company Overview

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.

Mobile Payments

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.

E-commerce Integration

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.

Recurring Billing

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.

Customer Support

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.

Video Summary

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…
Pros & Cons
Pros: Cons:
Online reporting tools. Additional fees for eCommerce
No setup fee. High early termination fee.
Accepts major credit cards. Tiered pricing model.
Offers ACH processing. Lengthy contract term.
Fraud and risk management. Non-disclosed monthly fees.
Dedicated customer support. Complaints about fund holding.

Cliq Customer Reviews

Here's What Their Clients Say

Customer Reviews Summary
Total Online Complaints 10+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Termination Fees
Recent Lawsuits Yes

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 Online Ratings

Here's How They Rate Online

Online Ratings Summary
BBB Rating N/A
Our Rating 3
Average Rating 3

BBB Rating Analysis

Cliq has no customer rating and a grade of “A+” on the BBB based on 3 customer reviews. Common themes in the reviews focus on the debit card side of the company.

Negative Feedback

I was in good standing for multiple months with Cliq and had been reaching my month limit. I reached out to Cliq to increase my monthly limits on Aug 2nd 2022. I was told to submit some paperwork and they would review my account. On Aug 4th I emailed saying that I had not received my payout from Aug 1st. I was told that there was now a hold on my account to review my account. I continued using Cliq for another week which turned into $36K that Cliq owed me. I sent messages almost daily to check on the status of the review but I was always told it was “passed it to management to review.” Finally on Aug 10th I was told that my account was terminated for “The account…processed prepaid cards (and) we tried completing purchases several times and they were not successful.” I’ve reviewed the Merchant Processing Agreement and it states ” ********* Services will initially be set up to accept all debit and prepaid card types.” In regards to the purchases not working I told them I would like to work together to get that fixed. On Aug 10th I stated “After you emailed me initially I fixed it. I’ve attached proof that the processing works. I also do not control how my customers want to pay and I don’t believe that should be costing my business.” After emailing almost daily It wasn’t until *** 13th I was told they did a reevaluation and that upper management will not approve a release even though I did not break any terms. I was told “I understand that it has been a month but due to the closure reason we may have to wait until the end of ***.” Meaning the end of *** was the latest i’d have to wait. I was also told within the same email that ” (they) will keep reviewing the account to see if any CBs or rejects are coming in and if (they) dont see any in a week (they) will follow up with upper management and request a release.” I emailed again on the 27th stating that the next week would be the start of October and I was told late September at the latest. I have no heard back.
– Complaint from October 5, 2022
I recently signed up for a debit card for my son through them and they took my **** for my subscription. So today I try to change funding source since I just got the card and activated it and was trying to add money and it gave me an error. So I contacted support through chat and was told they didn’t receive the money for the subscription and I can’t unlink my bank. He also said that varo doesn’t work with their company but others are using that bank for them, seeing the lady who referred me uses her varo bank account. I asked for my money back and he simply said no. I don’t know where to turn to at this point but to u guys for help.
– Review from May 23, 2022

Positive Feedback

There are no positive reviews for Cliq on the BBB website.

Source: BBB

Cliq Fees, Rates & Costs

A Closer Look at The Contract

Cost & Fees Summary
Cancellation Penalties Yes
Monthly & Annual Fees Yes
Processing Rates 1.00% - 4.99%
Equipment Leasing Undisclosed

Three-Year Contract

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 e-commerce solutions
Cliq’s e-commerce solutions include virtual terminals and a payment gateway

Cliq Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs

Should You Work For Them?

Jobs & Marketing Summary
Uses Independent Resellers Yes
Telemarketing No
Misleading Marketing No
Discloses All Important Terms No

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.

Our Cliq Review Summary

Our Final Thoughts

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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Testimonials & Complaints

How Did Cliq Treat You?

14 User Reviews

  • Holley Hoffman

    As an attorney, I’ve represented several merchant clients regarding outrageous early termination fees, being wrongfully placed on the Terminated Merchant File, fraud, breach of contract, etc. against Cliq when it was known as CardFlex. There was a disturbing pattern of conduct on their part that resulted in many merchants being destroyed. I’m assisting with such a case in New York where my client was forced to file his lawsuit when CardFlex changed jurisdiction to avoid lawsuits in Orange County where its corporate offices are located and where I filed my lawsuits. I’m very interested in hearing from other merchants who have experienced the disgusting CardFlex/Cliq practices. Please contact me at my email address. Thank you.

  • Cliq

    Cliq has reached out to the moderator of this site and we have not been granted access to reply to the comments made above. We are not a bank or financial institution, and apologize for any grievances many of you have expressed with your financial institution. At Cliq, we strive to provide the best level of service possible and continue to make improvements year after year. We thank you all for the feedback and would love to discuss any issues further. We are always just a Cliq® or call away.

      • Andy Phillips


        Hello Phillip,

        I was directed to this site today. Frankly, I was taken aback. First, the lawyer representing herself as Holley Hoffman shall be communicated with directly. It would appear that she is attempting to use this site as a method of advertisement.

        Ms Hoffman did in fact represent a client that Cliq serviced in 2010. The case has been dismissed, with prejudice for a variety of reasons. It is public, so feel free to look it up if you so desire. She states she has sued CardFlex for defrauded merchant(s). As stated above, the represented one merchant, even after it was proven that her client had forged documents as his evidence of wrongdoing, thus being terminated by two prior attorneys.

        Ms. Hoffman then solicited information from a former disgruntled employee through your site.

        Cliq is both an Acquirer and an issuer. I was not aware of the cardholder complaints. I know that we take customer service very seriously. Out of the hundreds of thousands of cards we issue, rarely as it really is a science, but mistakes to happen. We do our best to resolve those issues, but sometimes, as the Program Manager, we don’t even know about them.

        I am happy to answer any further questions you may have.

  • Ryan

    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.

  • Peter Rossmann

    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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  • K

    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…

    • Holley Hoffman

      I would be very interested in hearing more about your employment with Cliq. I filed lawsuits against them when they were Cardflex. They defrauded and ruined my clients. I’m helping a client now who has filed in New York (CardFlex changed jurisdiction to avoid suits in Santa Ana) and would appreciate any insight you could give me. Thank you.

      • Holley Hoffman

        I was never a CardFlex employee. I’m an attorney who has sued CardFlex for defrauded merchants, and I’m assisting an attorney who is suing CardFlex in New York on behalf of a client of mine. I would be happy to speak with you, I’m interested in hearing your story. If you want to discuss your case, please call me at (619) 890-8683. I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Lorraine S Booth

    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!!!

  • Luisa Spagnoli

    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.

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