|Sales & Marketing|
|Costs & Contract|
|Complaints & Service|
Founded in 2005 in Larkspur, California, but currently based in San Rafael, Central Payment Corporation (cpay.com) is a merchant account provider that operates as a joint venture with TSYS as its card processor. TSYS is one of the biggest credit card processors in the industry. Central Payment Corporation (CPAY) is owned and operated by brothers Zachary and Matthew Hyman and is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California, and of First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska.
CPAY Products and Services
- Debit and credit card processing
- Check conversion and guarantee
- POS equipment
- Mobile processing
- Online payment gateway
- Virtual terminal
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||No|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
CPAY does not appear to use any deceptive advertising or online rate quoting in its official materials. However, the company relies heavily on independent outside sales agents which has resulted in damage to its reputation.
Based upon merchant complaints, CPAY either encourages agents to use deceptive quotes and omit contract details during the sales process, or management turns a blind eye to the practice. The complaints below this review and elsewhere also indicate that CPAY needs to improve its training program to better educate agents about the details of the contract.
CPAY could improve its rating in this section by reducing its complaint count regarding deceptive sales tactics and by removing the ability for agents to set expensive pricing plans.
CPAY Marketing Example
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|PCI compliance fee:||$45-$75 per year|
CPAY agents appear to be able to set rates and pricing within certain guidelines as set by the company, so rates and fees may vary. With that said, it appears that CPAY encourages agents to set high pricing and rates in exchange for large commissions.
CPAY’s standard merchant account contract (available below) has a three-year service agreement with automatic renewal if not cancelled within a specified time frame. Merchants that cancel within the first year of service are subject to a $550 cancellation fee that is automatically debited from a merchant’s attached checking account; this fee decreases to $375 and then $300 after each subsequent year of the contract. The contract linked below also includes a setup fee of $195, an annual PCI compliance fee of $45 that can increase to $75 under certain conditions, a monthly minimum fee of $25, a statement fee of $9.50, and a tiered pricing schedule. Merchants are encouraged to fully read and understand their contracts before signing in order to avoid unexpected costs.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Hidden fees|
When you sign up for a merchant account with Central Payment there are a few things you should understand. One, Central Payment is acting as a reseller for TSYS, and two, while your payments are actually being processed by TSYS, you will be dealing with Central Payment Corporation exclusively for customer service.
For a provider of CPAY’s size and time in business, the company has an average-to-high number of complaints in comparison to similar providers. The complaints share a common theme with reports of agents quoting misleading processing rates, actual rates that were much higher than the original rate quotes, and that agents failed to disclose other important fees and contract terms. A few also claimed that their signatures were forged on pages of the contracts that the merchant was never supplied.
Central Payment does not use any sub-ISOs or other business names, and the company claims to manage over 140,000 merchant accounts directly, which concentrates the complaints on one business name. It is common practice in this industry for providers to use other DBAs in order to spread complaints across different names, resulting the false appearance of a low complaint count among several providers. CPAY does not appear to take part in this unethical strategy, which is a positive sign for the company.
CPAY has historically done a good job of reaching out to complainants in the comment section of this review, but it is unclear how many of these attempts at complaint resolution are ultimately successful.
As a ratio, the majority of CPAY merchants are likely satisfied with the company’s service, but it seems to be greatly determined by the agent setting up the account. Central Payment can improve its rating in this section by reducing the amount of future complaints and removing policies and agents that cause complaints for the company.
Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce
|Key Points – BBB Report|
As of this update, Better Business Bureau is showing an “A-” rating for CPAY despite 143 complaints filed in the past 36 months. Of these complaints, 60 are due to product and service problems, 58 with billing and collection, and 24 with advertising and sales. The company has resolved 72% of these complaints to the merchants’ satisfaction. Based on the complaint count and resolution ratio, we adjusted the BBB‘s rating to a “C+” for the purposes of this review. You can learn more about why we adjust BBB ratings in our rating criteria.
* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score
This review was originally published on 12/30/10 and was last updated on 3/25/15.
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