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

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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…
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Cliq Reviews and Complaints

Here's What Their Clients Say

Complaint Summary

Total Online Complaints
Live Customer Support
Most Common Complaint
Termination Fees
Recent Lawsuits

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

BBB Summary

BBB Reports

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.

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Cliq Fees and Rates

A Closer Look at the Contract

Don't Fall Into An Expensive Trap. See Who The Worst Processors Are.

Cost Summary

Cancellation Penalties
Monthly & Annual Fees
Processing Rates
1.00% - 4.99%
Equipment Leasing

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 Jobs and Employment

Hiring Standards and Ethical Marketing Assessment

Audit Your Current Statement To Find Its Hidden Fees

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Key Points

Uses Independent Resellers
Misleading Marketing
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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Cliq Competitors

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Customer & Employee Reviews

What Others Are Saying About Cliq

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14 Responses

  • 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.

    • Phillip CPO

      We offered Cliq the opportunity to participate in our Complaint Mediation Program, wherein they can work with us to resolve customer complaints. To date, they have refused to participate in this our program.

      • 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…

    • Raofi

      This company is dirty! Everything is shady!

    • 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.

  • Tomasz Wlodyka

    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.

  • 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.

    • CPO

      Hi Luisa,

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


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About The Author

Phillip Parker is the creator and author behind this website. He has over 15 years of experience in the credit card processing industry as a journalist, consultant, and former merchant account sales professional. He started this project as a blog to expose merchant services providers that engage in predatory business practices, such as deceptive marketing, misleading pricing, and high-pressure sales tactics. His goal is to help business owners find merchant account providers who serve their industry well while offering fair rates with no junk fees and no long-term commitments.

Phillip has researched over 1,000 payment processors and been quoted in numerous high-profile publications, including the Los Angeles Time, INC Magazine, The Atlantic, and the Miami Herald among others.

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Please note that our rating system was overhauled on April 26th, 2023. Reviews dated before this date may not score in accordance with the following.

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At the start of our research, all processors are awarded five stars. We deduct stars if the processor engages in any of the following:

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