Challas Group Review: Fees, Lawsuits, Complaints, & Comparisons

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Challas Group

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PhonePhone(855) 410-5210 View Pricing

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Note: As of April 2022, the Challas Group website appears to be gutted of content. It is unclear what this means, but we are unable to find any recent activity online from the company. It is possible Challas Group is out of business. We will continue to monitor the situation and update this profile as necessary. If you have any information about the status of the company, please let us know in the comments below. 

A Provider With Many Names

Incorporated in 2012 but properly activated in mid-2014, Challas Group is a merchant account provider based in Texas and Illinois that is currently operated by former executives of Datalink Bankcard Services. Challas Group also appears to operate under the namesWholesale Banc” and “Bankcard Analytics”, although the three brands might be used interchangeably. Most of Challas Group’s employees appear to have departed Datalink Bankcard in June or July 2014, which is also when the Challas Group website first appeared. An incomplete list of these employees as well as their current and former positions can be found below:

  • Walter Ranstrom – Chief Operations Officer at Challas Group (former director of sales at Datalink)
  • Garry Garmash – President at Challas Group (former vice president of Datalink)
  • Daniel Avalos – Chief Technology Officer at Challas Group (former help desk tech at Datalink)
  • Ryan Miller – Director of Recruiting at Challas Group (former corporate recruiter for Main Street Processing and Datalink)
  • Jennifer Marcano – Escalated Audits Manager at Challas Group (former national account manager at Datalink)

Challas Group Payment Processing

Challas Group processes most major credit and debit cards for “nursing homes, doctors offices, gas stations, grocery stores and auto repair companies among others.” They offer processing equipment such as terminals, wireless devices, and POS integration, and they also offer services such as check cashing, cash advances, mail-order-telephone-order, and data analytics.

Challas Group Ownership

Dmitry Faybysh has been the CEO and founder of Bankcard Analytics since mid-2014, but we are unable to verify whether he was connected to Datalink Bankcard Services prior to 2014. We are also unable to determine at this time whether Challas Group is actively affiliated with other Datalink Bankcard Services DBAs such as Tier 1 Processing and Main Street Processing, but there is strong reason to believe that it operates in a similar fashion to these poorly rated providers on CPO.

Challas Group Location

Challas Group and Wholesale Banc are registered ISOs of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, California. Challas Group, Wholesale Banc, and Bankcard Analytics have headquarters located at 2720 Dundee Rd. Ste 200, Northbrook, Illinois 60062, and 1251 S. Sherman St. Ste 101, Richardson, Texas 75081. It should be noted that the Richardson, Texas, address is not far from Datalink Bankcard’s headquarters at 3505 Token Dr, Richardson, Texas 75082.

Challas Group Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: Challas Group appears to offer a multi-year contract with an associated long-term equipment lease for most accounts.
  • Complaints & Service: Challas Group complaints number more than 30 on public complaints forums.
  • BBB Rating: Challas Group has multiple profiles with the Better Business Bureau and has received an “A+’ rating with 5 complaints and 2 reviews in the past 3 years.
  • Sales & Marketing: Challas Group hires independent sales representatives and has received more than 30 complaints about its sales practices.
Challas Group payment processing

Challas Group offers standard payment processing services

Should You Trust Challas Group ?

Lawsuits, Reviews & Complaints

Complaint Summary

Total Online Complaints
30+
Live Customer Support
Yes
Most Common Complaint
Sales Tactics

Moderate Complaint Total

We are currently able to locate more than 30 negative Challas Group reviews, many of which outright accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Several reviews also mention Wholesale Banc, although hardly any of them mention Bankcard Analytics. Nearly all complaints are sales-related, as they describe unwanted phone calls, misrepresented fees, slamming, nondisclosure of contract terms, and aggressive or unprofessional conduct. More than one Challas Group complaint also mentions poor customer service and unsavory contract terms, and still others have been posted by employees who describe an unethical office environment. These complaints are consistent with complaints that we have found for Datalink Bankcard and its related businesses, and we see no evidence to suggest that merchants can expect a quality customer service experience from Challas Group.

Challas Group Lawsuits and Fines

We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Challas Group. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.

Challas Group Customer Service Options

Challas Group provides an email address and phone number on its website, but these appear to be channels devoted primarily to sales inquiries rather than customer support. This falls well short of the level of service offered by top-rated payment processors for great customer service.

We have located multiple Challas Group customer service numbers:

(855) 410-5210 – Toll-Free Customer Service
(866) 757-9347 – Fax

Challas Group also offers a customer support form on its website.

Is the BBB Rating for Challas Group Accurate?

Better Business Bureau Profile

See which processors will offer you the lowest pricing and best service.

BBB Summary

Product & Service Complaints
0
Billing & Collection Complaints
3
Advertising & Sales Complaints
2
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints
0
Delivery Complaints
0

Moderate Complaint Total

We are currently able to locate more than 30 negative Challas Group reviews, many of which outright accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Several reviews also mention Wholesale Banc, although hardly any of them mention Bankcard Analytics. Nearly all complaints are sales-related, as they describe unwanted phone calls, misrepresented fees, slamming, nondisclosure of contract terms, and aggressive or unprofessional conduct. More than one Challas Group complaint also mentions poor customer service and unsavory contract terms, and still others have been posted by employees who describe an unethical office environment. These complaints are consistent with complaints that we have found for Datalink Bankcard and its related businesses, and we see no evidence to suggest that merchants can expect a quality customer service experience from Challas Group.

Challas Group Lawsuits and Fines

We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Challas Group. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.

Challas Group Customer Service Options

Challas Group provides an email address and phone number on its website, but these appear to be channels devoted primarily to sales inquiries rather than customer support. This falls well short of the level of service offered by top-rated payment processors for great customer service.

We have located multiple Challas Group customer service numbers:

(855) 410-5210 – Toll-Free Customer Service
(866) 757-9347 – Fax

Challas Group also offers a customer support form on its website.

Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.

Multiple BBB Profiles

The Better Business Bureau currently maintains two separate profiles for Challas Group and one for Wholesale Banc. Challas Group Illinois has an “A+” rating with the BBB, Challas Group Texas has an “A ” rating with the BBB, and Wholesale Banc an “A+” rating as of this review. For the sake of simplicity, we have combined complaint totals across all of the company’s BBB profiles.

Fewer than 10 Complaints

Challas Group has received 5 total complaints through the BBB, with 2 related to advertising or sales issues and 3 having to do with billing or collection. None of these 5 complaints were resolved by the company to the satisfaction of the merchant. All 5 were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no final response. 

What Merchants Say

Challas Group has also received 2 negative informal reviews through the BBB. The most recent review calls Challas Group a scam:

I have canceled THREE times. 2 times i sent a letter like i was instructed and they said they did not receive it. I then contacted them again and they said to send an email, which i did. Conveniently they did not recieve that either and continued to charge me. Do NOT use them!! They clearly do not have a care about charging service for a YEAR that has not been used. They REFUSED to even give a little of my money back. Not even this last month! HORRIBLE SERVICE!

Given the company’s troubling complaint history this review may have merit. Merchants stuck in a similar situation can benefit from reporting suspicious activity to the relevant supervisory organizations.

A “C” Performance

Given the company’s complaint total and supplementary information, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C” at this time.

How Expensive is Challas Group Service?

Rates, Fees, and Contract Terms

This processor offers the lowest ricing and best service we’ve seen.

Cost Summary

Swiped Rate
1.00% - 4.99%
Keyed-in Rate
1.00% - 4.99%
Early Termination Fee
$500
Equipment Lease Cost
$95+ Per Month
Equipment Lease Terms
48 Month (locked)

“Program Fee” Pricing

Challas Group does not disclose its contract terms or pricing on any of its websites, but we can determine some details from merchant complaints. Merchants state that Challas Group rates are promoted through a “program” that guarantees rock-bottom rates on transactions in exchange for merchants signing a long-term equipment lease well in excess of the purchase price of the equipment. This pricing scheme is popular among providers that engage in slamming because it enables them to entice merchants with huge savings on rates without explaining that merchants will massively overpay for processing equipment. In addition, this plan often does not clearly explain to merchants that only debit transactions will qualify for the extremely low rates, while credit card transactions will process at a much higher rate. We also encourage merchants to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.

Long-Term Equipment Leases

We have seen a few Challas Group complaints from merchants who state that their overall costs were higher after switching to Challas than they were through their previous provider. Some complaints mention that Challas signed them up for terminal leases through Northern Leasing Systems, which is notorious for providing expensive, non-cancellable, four-year equipment leases. It should be noted that most credit card terminals can be purchased for under $500. Non-cancellable, long-term leases mean a merchant can pay thousands for that same equipment making them a contract term to avoid.

Not Competitively Priced

While we do not have specific details for Challas Group contracts besides an early termination fee of $500, it appears that the company’s pricing is nowhere near the competitive rates offered by the cheapest merchant accounts. Moreover, the methods that Challas Group uses to sell these contracts to merchants fall short of what we consider appropriate disclosure, so we do not advise any merchants to sign a contract with Challas Group at this time. If you have any knowledge of the company’s contract terms (including any early termination fees or PCI compliance fees), please share it in the comment section below this review.

Challas Group point of sale

Challas Group’s point-of-sale options

Does Challas Group Use Deceptive Marketing?

Advertising & Sales Strategy

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Key Points

Employs Independent Resellers
Yes
Advertises Deceptive Rates
No
Discloses All Important Terms
No

Independent Sales Team

Challas Group primarily markets its merchant services through a combination of telemarketing and independently contracted sales agents. This sales approach is also used by Datalink Bankcard Services, Tier 1 Processing, and Main Street Processing, and it tends to generate a high number of negative Challas Group reviews from merchants. Challas Group is no exception, as we have found more than 30 Challas Group complaints that describe unwanted phone calls, nondisclosure of fees, a negative work environment for agents, misrepresentation of rates, unprofessional conduct, and, most alarmingly, “slamming.” This does not compare favorably to our list of best credit card processors.

Slamming Allegations

“Slamming” is the practice of calling merchants and posing as their current processor in order to trick them into signing a contract or equipment lease with your company. A representative Challas Group review is detailed here:

They called to say they are a 3rd party auditing firm and saw a red flag on my merchant service account. They tricked one of my employees into sending them one of our statements. Challas ( calling themselves Wholesale Bank) said I was being overcharged and they were going to call my current provider to tell them they are in trouble for over charging me and that Wholesale Bank will be taking over my account and giving me “cost” on my processing. Marci ( probably not her real name)that I was speaking with even got off the phone with me to “call my local sales office to yell at them”. She also said I qualified for a class action law suit because I had been being over charged and she would sign me up for that as well. She had me going until she wanted me to sign a lease for a credit card terminal. NEVER LEASE A TERMINAL. She wanted me to pay $95 a month for 4 years! Terminals are about $200 all over the internet. She said the one I had was not compliant and that my current company was charging me $256 a month for non compliant. Not true.

This Challas Group complaint is typical of the complaints we have seen about Challas Group and Wholesale Banc, and it is identical to the feedback we have previously seen about Datalink Bankcard-affiliated companies. The practice of slamming is highly unethical and has resulted in legal action being taken against some processors. Challas Group not only appears to mimic Datalink Bankcard in its sales approach but also in its use of multiple DBAs to spread merchant complaints out across several brands.

No Misleading Quotes

The Challas Group, Bankcard Analytics, and Wholesale Banc websites do not display misleading rate quotes on visible or archived pages. This lone bright spot is not enough to overcome the company’s large number of consistent complaints from employees and merchants about its sales practices. If you suspect that you have been misled by a Challas Group agent, you can double-check your monthly bill with a third-party statement audit.

Does Challas Group Deserve Your Business?

Review Summary & Our Thoughts

A Subpar Payment Processing Option

Challas Group rates as a substandard merchant services provider according to all available information. The company is heavily staffed by former Datalink Bankcard Services employees, and Datalink Bankcard and its affiliated businesses have never scored well according to our rating criteria. Challas Group and its DBAs have received complaints from merchants that describe highly unethical sales conduct as well as substandard contract terms, and we do not recommend this company when compared to top-rated credit card processors.

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Customer & Employee Reviews

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12 Responses

  • Jason Pelish
    www.massiveimpressions.com

    Someone with an email address at their domain had contacted me twice. They then sent me this email implying they knew about a specific overcharge I had experienced and were going to give me the money back as a refund. It’s a scam.

    >>> Hi this is Lawrence from Top Tier, I’m providing you with the information you requested per your telephone conversation with Ofelia If you could respond to this with a faxed or emailed copy of your overbilled July or August merchant service statement verifying the fees that were applied to your account, I will give you a confirmation call back confirming we did receive the statement and we are going about getting this situation resolved. At the top of the page if you could write Attention Ofelia with corrections code at the bottom of the email I would really appreciate it.

    Fax 1 877-277-1875
    Phone 888-315-9629
    Top Tier
    CC Code: TM03298 <<<<

  • Gene Brantley

    Was told lies about what we were signing up for. What I was told we would be charged each month did not match up with our monthly statements. Took almost two months to get ahold of our rep, Josh Kohler ext: 1223, after given the run around for the two months. He told me the extra charges were because “we may have been using the machine wrong and they (the challas group) wanted us to get a hold of them. Was told they are not a third party company, I found out they are indeed a third party company. When I asked him about it he said “well technically we are a third party but we are not like other third party companies.” Was told that we were going to be put on “placement.”(free use for terminal) Josh emailed us the contract and said everything we talked about is on it, and all we have to do is sign it, and we are good to go. We decided we are not going to use them anymore and have tried to cancel the account with them but are now stuck in a 48 month lease for this machine (I was told the machine would be the newest model, it is in actuality older than the machine we had from years prior)


    This post will help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

    -Phillip

  • donna doran

    Unfortunately I was scammed by the Challas Group sales department. The sales agent “Teddy” that called our business had me believing that what was then our credit card processor had been over charging us. She also told me that her company was auditing Tsys on our behalf but in the mean time because her company over saw all credit processing companies she would place us with a new company called One Tier which turned out to be the Challas Group. She emailed me in one emailed all the forms to sign and did not mention that she was putting me with a cc machine processing company that was not affliated with Challas and she did the confirmation call with this company “Assentium Capital” instead of having them call us to confirm {illegal practice} so we are now stuck with a cc machine for $56.04 a month for 48 months with no way to get out of the contract.
    Shame on Teddy at Challas!!! Buyer be where of this lying company, everything Teddy told me to get our business was an out right lie. I have gone back to TSYS and they rerated my fees and I am now saving over $60 a month which will cover the cost of the cc machine I will be paying for from Assentium Capital for the next 48 months. Unbelievable!


    This post will help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

    -Phillip

    • LARRY HARPER

      Is Top Tier still ripping people off? You have already cost us over $7500 which will go to over $15000 before its over. You stuck us with the bogus Challas group for a $12000 lease on the $528 terminals. We only have the lies of Marcie and Dean to thank for our loss. I pity all of you when you stand before God!!!

      That’s funny (not really). Teddy tried to steal me away from Challas to TSYS saying that “Challas has closed their doors”.

  • LISA SKANDER

    This company is not legit! they call saying that you were over charged on your fees, they want you to send a copy of your bill. They will then say they can save you money! Then they will try to rent you equipment, and charge you more.


    This post will help: How to Report Bad Credit Card Processors

    -Phillip

  • Kyle Kraven

    I recently had this wholesale office correct my account that I was pretty much fed up with to the point I was just going to stop accepting credit cards. I’ve been screwed by so many of these companies I didn’t really want to bother with it but I let my wife handle it and they ended up saving me around $250 and that’s monthly. I regret ever dealing with Elavon in the first place.

    • Phillip CPO
      administrator

      Hi Kyle,

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

      • Kyle Kraven

        I can’t help but notice you don’t ask anyone with bad reviews for authentication. Is there a reason that I need to for a positive one?


        This post will help: Testimonial Policy

        -Phillip

  • Robert

    Your recruiter, Ryan Miller – Director of Recruiting seemingly hired me, on the 28th. As evidenced by the 2 accompanying emails. I showed up on time today, Monday the 4th, expecting to get trained to help the company and was told by Ryan that he did not send me the emails that I received and I was not welcomed to be there. So who sent them? This was a major shock to me as I told him I had left another company to come to work for him and Challas. You guys obviously do not operate a business well and should not be in business. As evidenced by your Merchant Account
    Trust Score
    Rated 2.3 out of 5
    “D” rating also.,

  • Pete Nemeth

    I have been with the Challas Group for a couple of years, The rates I pay are excellent, and their equipment (wireless FD410’s are offered at half the price of their merchant service competitors. No negative issues here.

    • Phillip CPO
      administrator

      Hi Pete,

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

  • Kathy Symington

    i was just a victim of their “slamming“!! wish i had thought to google them first before i signed up!! Luckily for me once i got the new equipment and was about to hook it up the lady working with me on hooking it up said “you are aware that we are in no way affiliated to your current credit card processor right?” and i put a stop to the whole thing right then and there. :-(

    From The Editor
    This Post Might Help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

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Phillip Parker
Phillip Parker
Credit Card Processors
3 min read
12 Comments
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