Certified Payment Processing (cpp-360.com) is a merchant account provider launched in 1991. Certified Payment Processing and its partner companies, TransTech Merchant Group and Summit Merchant Solutions, are owned by First American Payment Systems. Certified Payment Processing enables merchants to process debit and credit card payments, accept online payments and gift cards, and offer recurring billing. Additionally, the company also provides a variety of point-of-sale and payment processing devices through a partnership with Lease Finance Group, a DBA of Northern Leasing Systems. Certified Payment Processing is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. The company is located at 3350 Boyington Dr, Carrollton, Texas 75006.
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||No|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
Certified Payment Processing utilizes telemarketing and independent sales agents to market its services. This practice appears to be a major source of merchant frustration, as we are currently able to locate numerous negative Certified Payment Processing reviews that describe nondisclosure and misrepresentation by the company’s telephone and in-person sales agents. Additionally, there are multiple complaints filed publicly by the company’s agents in which the complainants describe incomplete training, poor or expired leads, a high-pressure work environment, and inadequate compensation for their time. These types of complaints are especially alarming, as a sales agent’s expertise and job satisfaction factor heavily into the kind of service a merchant will receive. As a slightly positive sign, the company does not appear to engage in deceptive advertising in its official materials.
Certified Payment Processing Marketing Example
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|PCI compliance fee:||$124.75|
The standard Certified Payment Processing contract appears to be a modified version of the standard First American Payment Systems contract, which is a three-year agreement with automatic renewal, an early termination fee of $495-$595, an annual fee of $95, and various other fees that may include a monthly minimum of $25, a PCI Compliance fee of $124.75, and variable other fees. Overall, the consensus among complainants is that the rates offered adhere to a tiered pricing model, and these rates are often misrepresented at the point of signing. The service length and early termination fee also appear to be a source of confusion among merchants. Overall, the company’s contract terms are less competitive than industry averages, and most complaints about Certified Payment Processing’s contract express a sentiment among merchants that they are overpaying for services.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Hidden fees|
We are currently able to locate over 50 Certified Payment Processing complaints at this time, most of which accuse the company and its related businesses (Summit Merchant Solutions and TransTech Merchant Group) of being a ripoff or a scam. A large number of these complaints are from current and former sales employees of the company, who allege a lack of training or support, bad leads, and a high-pressure, aggressive work environment. Among merchants, complaints tend to cite expensive contract terms, misrepresentation via phone or in person of rates and fees, an inability to resolve the issue through the company’s customer service, and rude or unprofessional communication on the company’s end. Numerous complainants also describe expensive equipment leases through Lease Finance Group. The Certified Payment Processing website does not appear to list dedicated support contact information.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
Certified Payment Processing is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As of this review, the company holds an “F” rating with the BBB and has had 330 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months (up from 311 at the time of our last review). Of those complaints, one stemmed from issues with guarantees or warranties, 32 involved billing or collections issues, 62 were filed in regards to problems with advertising or sales tactics, and another four were uncategorized issues. The majority of the complaints, however, stemmed from problems with the company’s products and services, with 231 such complaints filed. Out of all 330 total complaints, only 200 were successfully resolved. Seventy-eight were not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, one was unable to be substantiated, and 51 remain unresolved entirely. Taking this high complaint rate and low resolution rate into account, we agree with the BBB’s rating in this case.
Like other companies in the First American Payment Systems network of businesses, Certified Payment Processing rates as a substandard credit card processor according to our rating system. The company’s high volume of complaints, many of which have been filed by current and former employees, coupled with its pedestrian contract terms and poor complaint resolution rate, have all lowered its overall rating in this review. Business owners are advised to carefully examine all contract terms before signing an agreement with this merchant services provider.
This review was originally published on 2/14/13 and was last updated on 9/2/14.
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