Cliq Overview

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Formerly Known as CardFlex

Located in Costa Mesa, California, Cliq is a merchant account provider that previously operated under the name CardFlex. In addition to merchant services, Cliq also provides ACH, pay card, payroll, and prepaid payment solutions to businesses.

Cliq Location and Ownership

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 WoodForest National Bank, Evolve Bank and Trust, and Stride Bank, N.A. The company is headquartered at 2900 Bristol Street, Building F, Costa Mesa, California 92626. Andrew Phillips is the president and CEO of Cliq.

Cliq Review Table of Contents

  • 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 0 complaints in the past 3 years.
  • Sales & Marketing: Cliq appears to rely primarily on inside sales agents but has received a few complaints about its sales team.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Cliq
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Products & Services Offered

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO

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Cliq Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Swiped Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
Keyed-in Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
Virtual Terminal Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
Payment Gateway Fee Undisclosed
Early Termination Fee $495+
PCI Compliance Fee $300 Or Less
Equipment Lease Terms 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 that advertises its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. 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.

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 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.

Cliq Fund Holding Policy

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 funds as a precautionary measure. It is understandable that Cliq may want to take these steps to protect itself from fraud, but merchants should prepare to take steps to force Cliq to release their money.

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Response from Cliq

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Cliq Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

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

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 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. 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.

Cliq Lawsuits

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.

Cliq Customer Support Options

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 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.

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Response from Cliq

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Cliq BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

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

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 0 complaints in the past 36 months which was due to a product or service dispute. It was either resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant.

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 merchants should note that there are good reasons to be skeptical of BBB scores.

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Response from Cliq

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

Employs Independent Resellers Yes
Advertises Deceptive Rates 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.

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.

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Response from Cliq

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Cliq Logo

Our Opinion of Cliq

An Average Option for Most Businesses

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 settlement with the FTC has not severely impacted its rating in this review, but merchants 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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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.

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9 Reviews Leave Your Review for Cliq Below

  1. Cliq says:

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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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  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. 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!!!

  7. 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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