Charge.com is a merchant account provider based in Plantation, Florida, that has been in business since 1995. The company was bought by Pipeline Data (a subsidiary of Cynergy Data) in 2005 and resells Authorize.net for its payment gateway services. Charge.com focuses primarily on supplying on credit card processing services and equipment but can also provide e-commerce solutions for merchants who require them. The company is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. Greg Danzig is listed as the president of Charge.com.
- Professional service
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||No|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||Yes|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
It is not completely clear how Charge.com brings in new merchant accounts, but it appears that the company relies heavily on online marketing and referrals from its parent company and affiliates. Charge.com has received a low score in this section because the company promotes highly misleading pricing on its website.
For instance, the company advertises rates “as low as 0.25%” on its homepage and a transaction fee “as low as $0.15” on its pricing page. Charge.com promotes these rates in a way that fails to disclose the Downgrade Fees for Mid-Qualified and Non-Qualified transactions. Additionally, the website quotes reviews from companies like Apple, NBC Internet, America Online, and Yahoo!, but it doesn’t provide links to these sources or explain why these companies would be reviewing Charge.com. In general, Charge.com appears to rely heavily on selective disclosure and vague testimonials to build trust with merchants.
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$495|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$185-$300 Per Year|
|Equipment Lease Terms||Variable|
Charge.com’s pricing appears to vary from merchant to merchant based on business type and processing volume. As mentioned in the previous section of this review, the company promotes deceptive price quotes that could easily confuse merchants. A copy of the company’s standard contract terms (available below) includes a 36-month service agreement with an Early Termination Fee (ETF) of $495, a monthly statement fee of $25 (applied only in the event that Charge.com creates a reserve account for the merchant), a one-time fee of $35 if the merchant’s keyed-in transactions constitute more than 15% of its overall transactions in any given month, and a monthly fee of $25 for governmental compliance. The company also charges an annual PCI Compliance fee of up to $185 (but not in excess of $300), which is much higher than the industry average. See the Charge.com Terms and Conditions.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||40 Plus|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Hidden Fees|
Charge.com has a moderate amount of complaints filed online for a provider of its size and time in business; however, it should be noted that its parent company (Pipeline Data) and its processor (Cynergy Data) have very high complaint counts. Charge.com seems to have a consistent pattern of public complaints filed on Ripoff Report, although a handful of these complaints may be filed against other businesses with “-charge.com” in their names. The majority of the complaints report unexpected and hidden fees, nondisclosure of the PCI Compliance fee, high cancellation fees, and unauthorized debits from merchants’ checking accounts. As of this update, the company’s complaint volume appears to have slowed from previous years, which may be an indication of improved policies and customer service. It could also be a sign that the Charge.com’s business has slowed, or that the company is making use of a DBA.
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Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||2|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||0|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||4|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||1|
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.
As of this update, the Better Business Bureau is reporting that Charge.com is not BBB accredited. The report shows an “A+” rating for the company with only seven complaints filed in the last 36 months, which is significantly reduced from 34 complaints as of our last update. Of the total, two have to do with service problems, four are due to advertising and sales issues, and one is related to a guarantee or warranty issue. Charge.com has resolved two of the complaints to the merchant’s satisfaction, while the remaining five were either resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final assessment from the merchant. In light of the company’s dramatically reduced complaint total and resolution ratio, we have only slightly adjusted the BBB’s rating to an “A.”
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About Phillip Parker
Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry. Schedule a Consultation with PhillipSchedule a Consultation with Phillip
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