ClearGate Review

Category Breakdown
Sales & Marketing rated A minus
Costs & Contract rated C plus
Complaints & Service rated A
BBB Rating rated A

Overall Rating

A minus Credit Card Processor Rating


ClearGate (, formerly known as ClearChoice Merchant Services (, is a merchant account provider headquartered in Reno, Nevada. The company appears to have changed its name in 2014, so it’s possible that it still conducts some business under the name of ClearChoice. There is some evidence that ClearGate is a reseller of First Data contracts. ClearGate is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., in Walnut Creek, California, and is located at 639 Isbell Rd., Ste 330, Reno, Nevada 89509. Pete Pistone is listed as the vice president of operations at ClearGate.

ClearGate Products and Services Industries Served
  • Retail
  • E-commerce
  • Mobile

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Sales & Marketing | A-

Key Points – Sales & Marketing
Uses independent resellers? Yes
Promotes deceptive rate quotes? No
Discloses all important terms? No

ClearGate appears to hire independently contracted sales agents to market its services. This is a common hiring practice within the credit card processing industry that often results in a sales team comprised of poorly trained or unregulated agents. We are currently able to locate two ClearGate reviews that describe nondisclosure of fees by the company’s sales agents. These complaints specifically cite a failure to explain the company’s early termination fee amount, three-year service term, and cancellation procedures. To its credit, ClearGate does not appear to list deceptive rate quotes in its official materials.

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Costs & Contract | C+

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: $250-$350
PCI compliance fee: Variable
Equipment lease: Variable

The ClearGate merchant program guide (available below) appears to be a standard First Data program guide, which includes a three-year agreement with automatic renewal for two-year terms, an early termination fee ranging from $250-$350, a variable PCI Compliance fee, a monthly minimum fee, and tiered pricing. These terms are about average for the industry, and they are typical of the standard First Data agreement. There are currently at least two complaints filed online by merchants who were not expecting to pay $350 upon cancellation, indicating that this fee may not be appropriately disclosed by some of the company’s agents. Merchants are encouraged to read all terms carefully and to check their merchant agreement against their program guide to verify all fees. See the ClearGate Program Guide.

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Complaints & Service | A

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: <10
Live customer support: Yes
Most common complaint: N/A

We are currently able to locate two ClearGate complaints, neither of which outright accuses the company of being a scam. Both complainants report nondisclosure of contract terms, specifically the company’s contract length, early termination fee amount, and cancellation policy. Since ClearGate appears to be an ISO or reseller of First Data, it is possible that some ClearGate reviews are redirected to the online profiles of the larger payment processor. In the absence of any evidence that this is occurring, however, we have disregarded this possibility for grading purposes. The ClearGate website lists a dedicated email address for customer support.

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BBB Report | A*

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 1
Billing/collection: 0
Advertising/sales: 0
Guarantee/warranty: 0
Delivery: 0

ClearGate has been an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 2006. As of this review, the company has an “A+” rating with the BBB and has had one complaint filed against it in the last 36 months. This complaint was filed regarding a product or service issue and was resolved to the dissatisfaction of the complainant. In keeping with our belief that “A+” ratings should typically be reserved for companies with zero complaints, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to an “A.”

* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score

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Bottom Line

ClearGate Review

Rated 3.9 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2015-04-20

ClearGate rates as a better-than-average credit card processor according to our standards. The company has a very low complaint rate on the BBB and other consumer protection websites, but its industry-average contract terms lower its overall grade. Merchants are advised to consult both their program guide and their merchant agreement when calculating their potential expenses through ClearGate.

This review was originally published on 3/12/13 and was last updated on 4/20/15.

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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 to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry. Schedule a Consultation with Phillip

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