Citi Merchant Services 2023: Reviews & Complaints

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Company Overview

Citi Merchant Services is the merchant account division of Citigroup. Founded in 1812 under the name City Bank of New York, the company did not assume the name Citigroup until the $140 billion merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group in 1998. Citigroup is currently the third-largest bank holding company in the U.S., and it boasts the world’s largest financial services network. Citi Merchant Services is a reseller of First Data (now Fiserv) merchant services, so the company may not directly service its merchant accounts.

Article Summary

Before we dive in, here’s a short summary of what we’ll cover:

  • Citi Merchant Services’ various payment processing services.
  • CMS has not received many complaints in recent years. Past complaints mention unexpected fees.
  • The CMS contract is likely the same as Fiserv’s and may contain some expensive terms and fees.

Citi Merchant Services Payment Processing

As part of Citigroup, Citi Merchant Services is a very large processor that processes debit and credit card transactions for most business types. It can also process checks and gift cards, and it does online payments through Clover Online and the Payeezy Gateway. For mobile and point-of-sale, it also utilizes the popular Clover family of products, including the Clover Flex, Clover Go, Clover Mini, and Clover Station.

Business Management Tools

The service includes access to customizable business management tools and point-of-sale systems. Businesses can customize their point of sale with over 400 apps designed to manage different aspects of their operations. These tools offer detailed reporting and insights to help businesses run more efficiently.

Online, Mobile, and In-Store Payment Solutions

Citi Merchant Services provides flexible payment acceptance options for different business models, including in-store, online, and mobile solutions. This flexibility allows businesses to accept payments in various contexts, such as at a physical store, online, or through mobile devices, catering to a wide range of customer preferences.

Security and Compliance

The platform emphasizes security, offering built-in payment security technologies to help protect customer cardholder data. This focus on security is crucial for businesses to maintain customer trust and comply with industry standards.

Location & Ownership

Citigroup is headquartered at 388-390 Greenwich St, New York City, New York 10013. Jane Fraser is the CEO of Citigroup.

Table of Contents

Citi Merchant Services Customer Reviews

Here's What Their Clients Say

Key Points

Total Online Complaints <10
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint N/A
Recent Lawsuits Yes

Low Complaint Total

We are currently able to locate only a handful of negative Citi Merchant Services reviews, and only 1 of these accuses the company of being a scam. This is an astonishingly low complaint rate for a company of Citigroup’s size, but it is possible that some complaints have been filed against First Data (Fiserv) rather than Citigroup. Common themes voiced by complainants include hidden fees, poor customer service, and long-term, non-cancellable agreements with hefty early termination fees. If you have your own Citi Merchant Services review to make, please do so in the comments below.

Citi Merchant Services Lawsuits and Fines

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

In September of 2020, The CFTC ordered Citibank N.A. to pay a monetary penalty of $4.5 million for deleting audio recordings previously subpoenaed by the CFTC for another investigation. In 2022, Citigroup was sued by Loomis Sayles over $70 million in lost trades. The suit is ongoing.

Citi Merchant Services Customer Support Options

Citi offers live customer support in addition to online FAQs and chat support, and these channels appear to resolve most business complaints before they are taken to public forums.

Citi Merchant Services Customer Service Number

  • (800) 430-0263 – Toll-Free Customer Support
  • (844) 741-4140 – Sales

Other Support Options

  • Customer support form

Given the company’s low overall complaint total, it’s possible that Citi’s merchant services customer support is competitive with that offered by top-rated payment processors for great customer service.

Citi Merchant Services Online Ratings

Here's How They Rate Online

Online Ratings Summary

BBB Reports 7,573

No Dedicated Profile

The Better Business Bureau does not maintain a profile for Citi’s merchant services division, but the bank itself has an “F” rating with the BBB. The company is showing 6,864 overall complaints, but since this BBB profile includes complaints from users of all of Citi’s services, it is not a useful measure of the company’s merchant services division. We will therefore disregard it for the purposes of this review.

Citi Merchant Services Fees, Rates & Costs

A Closer Look at The Contract

Key Points

Cancellation Penalties Yes
Monthly & Annual Fees Yes
Processing Rates Variable
Equipment Leasing Yes

First Data Contract Terms

Due to the company’s close affiliation with First Data (Fiserv), the terms of the standard Citi Merchant Services contract are similar to those found in the standard First Data (Fiserv) contract. Businesses that process up to $50,000 each month will receive a swiped rate of 2.69% plus $0.19 and a keyed-in rate of 3.69% plus $0.19. Clients whose monthly charges exceed $50,000 will receive a swiped rate of 2.29% plus $0.19 and a keyed-in rate of 3.29% plus $0.19. Another facet of these contracts is non-cancellable, long-term equipment leases through First Data Global Leasing. First Data (Fiserv) has the ability to offer month-to-month agreements with no hidden fees, but the company also has been known to charge an early termination fee of $495, PCI Compliance fees that can approach $179 per year, and variable monthly minimums. In addition, there is some evidence that Citi Merchant Services will enforce a Liquidated Damages fee on some of its accounts and equipment leases through First Data Global Leasing. We encourage business owners to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant services.

Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing

In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Citi Merchant Services also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway. The company utilizes Payeezy, a First Data (Fiserv) payment gateway, for its e-commerce platform. Payeezy offers two types of plans to clients, the Basic Plan and the Pro Plan. The Basic Plan charges no gateway fee but imposes a rate of 2.90% plus $0.30 per transaction. The Pro Plan charges a gateway fee of $19.95 per month but a transaction rate of 1.89% plus $0.23. However, Citi Merchant Services makes the Payeezy gateway available through Clover Online so it is uncertain how those payment gateway plans will be offered to clients through Clover. Additional Citi Merchant Services rates and fees, including technical support fees, batch fees, and set-up fees may apply to these e-commerce services.

Variable Pricing

A business’ pricing and fees will likely vary depending on the agent setting up the account and a business’ size, business type, and time in business. However, First Data’s (Fiserv) standard pricing is usually not competitive with that offered by the cheapest merchant accounts. If you have any specific knowledge of the standard Citi Merchant Services contract, please share that information in the comment section below this review.

Citi Merchant Services Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs

Should You Work For Them?

Key Points

Uses Independent Resellers Yes
Telemarketing Likely
Misleading Marketing No
Discloses All Important Terms No

Inside/Outside Sales Team

Citi appears to utilize both its standard sales channels and a team of independent resellers to market its services. This marketing strategy is usually tied to high complaint rates for a company, but in the case of Citi, there are very few Citi Merchant Services reviews that mention deceptive sales practices by the company’s sales team. The few Citi Merchant Services complaints that are available mention nondisclosure of fees and poor follow-up by agents, but the number of these negative Citi Merchant Services reviews is much lower than would be expected for a company of this size. This compares favorably to our list of best credit card processors.

No Deceptive Quotes

In addition, Citi does not appear to advertise misleading rate quotes in its official materials. The company’s online advertising is a very limited assortment of First Data (Fiserv) promotional materials. If you suspect, however, that your Citi representative misled you about your pricing, you can double-check your monthly bill with a third-party statement audit.

Our Citi Merchant Services Review Summary

Our Final Thoughts

Citi Merchant Services rates as a better-than-average credit card processing provider according to our rating system. The company primarily resells the services of First Data (Fiserv), but its complaint totals are much lower than expected for a First Data (Fiserv) reseller of its size. Business owners are encouraged to read and understand the terms of their contracts before signing up for service through Citigroup, especially the terms governing cancellation. They should also compare Citi’s pricing to top-rated credit card processors in order to obtain the best possible deal.

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Your Comments & Reviews

How Did Citi Merchant Services Treat You?

9 Responses

  • What the different between Pro plan and Basic plan?

  • Nancy Barna

    I am so frustrated. First data had the leasing company delivered my equipment 6 weeks before I opened. A few weeks after opening I hated the clover and asked to exchange it. They said it was after the 60 day trial period. After some discussion they agree to exchange it for a more simple version. Now I am paying for both with the leasing company saying I signed an agreement for both. First data acknowledges that the first exchange was approved and the equipment was sent back. My credit has been effected and my rep doesn’t return calls. When I do talk to him I am told that my issue has been resolved just be patient. It has been 7 months and no one will help. I would never work with them again.

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

  • Worst customer service in the world. Every phone call will take at least 45 minutes. Horrible service. Definitely do not recommend. Customer service is very important and their service will just ruin your day because they waste time. No interest in clients success.

  • Chaim Lebovits

    the product is decent, but the fees are a lot higher than what was agreed in writing and they basically said that they are sorry, and offered me a new agreement at a higher rate.

    Not an honest company.

  • The signed contract by our company that indicates the early termination fee cannot be produced by anyone at Citibank I have talked to. We were told by sales representative it was a 2 year period only to find out at 2 years it is now a 3 year contract! We have 20 accounts with a total cost of $10,000 to terminate, many of which were never used in addition to them taking the monthly fee without fail. No one will speak to us and negotiate the termination of services. In the end at 3 years out it will have cost us over $24,000 when we were advised to wait until the 2 years were up and in the long run pay less than the cancellation fee. Funny math and rationale any which way you look at it. I suppose our next step will be to try to contact Jud Linville!

  • Timothy Hunter

    Beware of this company and there hidden merchant fees! I stopped using there square type device 2 years ago and and have now racked up a bill 2453.00 dollars with a zero balance in that account. They will never see a penny from me as they try and create this bogus bill. Not one person could ever explain why they were charging me hi fees and what for until I received a letter today.

  • Just a warning that their cancellation process is TERRIBLE. It took us 15 months to get out of contract. We NEVER used their service, yet they charged a fee of $50 a month per account. BE CAREFUL BEFORE YOU SIGN A CONTRACT WITH THEM!

    • amanda jacobellis

      This company is a scam. I switched and was promised next day funding like I currently have. When I realized they could not do that I wanted to cancle. I did two test charges equaling $12 and have been charged over $1600 in fees. I sent back equipment 4 months ago and have not been “Approved” tpo be refunded and then sent a $35 bill to collections. Its a night mare. You will be on hold for HOURS and then hung up on . I dont know what to do. I dont want to ruin my credit but dont want to keep paying these people, they owe me so much money. I am a small business and am going ot try and file a small claims report.

      • Sounds like you were leasing equipment. Even if you return the equipment the lease buy back needs to be filled out by your agent. The agent than sends it to his manager to sign off on it. The manager than sends it over to the lease buy back department for aprroval. The chances of approval are 50/50. Do you know if you were in a lease?

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