Challas Group Overview

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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 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.

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 has received more than 25 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Challas Group has multiple profiles with the Better Business Bureau and has received 17 complaints and 22 reviews in the past 3 years.
  • Sales & Marketing: Challas Group hires independent sales representatives and has received more than 20 complaints about its sales practices.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Challas Group
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Products & Services Offered

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO

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Challas Group Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

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 promotes a rate “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.

Long-Term Equipment Leases

We have seen a few complaints from Challas 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.

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.

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Response from Challas Group

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Challas Group Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

Total Online Complaints 25+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Sales Tactics

Moderate Complaint Total

We are currently able to locate more than 25 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. Some complaints also mention 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

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 Support 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.

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Response from Challas Group

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Challas Group BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 0
Billing & Collection Complaints 7
Advertising & Sales Complaints 10
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

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 a “B- ” rating with the BBB, and Wholesale Banc has an “A” rating. For the sake of simplicity, we have combined complaint totals across all of the company’s BBB profiles.

Over 10 Complaints

Challas Group has received 17 total complaints through the BBB, with 10 related to advertising or sales issues and 5 having to do with billing or collection. 5 complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of the merchant, while 12 were answered but have yet to receive a response from the merchant.

What Merchants Say

Challas Group has also received 22 negative informal reviews through the BBB. A recent review describes textbook slamming:

CHALLAS GROUP is a SCAM! They asked for faxed copy a NCMIC statement (who is our CC processing company). They told us to place a corrective code on the first page in order to take off a compliance fee we were being wrongfully charged for. I asked if they were from NCMIC and she said they were part of their corporate office, which isn’t true. Please be aware before before submitting your information. It switches your CC processing company!!!

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.

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Response from Challas Group

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

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 merchant complaints. Challas Group is no exception, as we have found more than 20 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.”

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 complaint filed against Challas Group 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 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.

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Response from Challas Group

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Challas Group Logo

Our Opinion of Challas Group

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.

We rely on your feedback about Challas Group to keep this review accurate and up-to-date. Please take a minute to tell us about your experience. We and the small business owners of this world thank you!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope that it has helped you with your research.

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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11 Reviews Leave Your Review for Challas Group Below

  1. 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 <<<<

  2. Gene Brantley says:

    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


  3. donna doran says:

    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


  4. LISA SKANDER says:

    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


  5. Kyle Kraven says:

    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.

    1. Phillip says:

      Hi Kyle,

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

      1. Kyle Kraven says:

        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


  6. Robert says:

    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.,

  7. Pete Nemeth says:

    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.

    1. Phillip says:

      Hi Pete,

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

  8. 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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