ClearGate Review: Fees, Comparisons, Complaints & Lawsuits

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New Name, Same Services

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, however, the domain once registered to ClearChoice redirects to ClearGate’s current website, meaning it likely does not operate under its other DBA any longer. There is some evidence that ClearGate is a reseller of First Data (now Fiserv) contracts. In 2022, ClearGate was purchased by a branch of Evolv.

ClearGate Payment Processing

ClearGate processes all major debit and credit cards for most business types. Their services include EMV card readers and swipers, access to virtual terminals and payment gateways, the PayUp mobile payment, and business management app, and data reporting and analytics.

ClearGate Headquarters & Ownership

ClearGate is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., in Concord, California, and is located at 9736 S Virginia St Ste A, Reno, NV 89511-5902. Robert Onesian is listed as the founder of ClearGate.

ClearGate Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: ClearGate offers a three-year contract through First Data (Fiserv) with an early termination fee of $250-$350.
  • Complaints & Service: ClearGate complaints number fewer than 10 on public complaints forums.
  • BBB Rating: ClearGate has an “A+” rating and has received 0 complaints in the past 3 years.
  • Sales & Marketing: ClearGate employs independently contracted sales agents, which has resulted in some complaints about undisclosed ClearGate fees.
ClearGate payment processing

ClearGate offers standard payment processing services

ClearGate Customer Reviews

Here's What Their Clients Say

Key Points

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

Low Complaint Total

We are currently able to locate three negative ClearGate reviews, none of which outright accuses the company of being a scam or a ripoff. One ClearGate complaint cites unauthorized charges, while the other two complainants report nondisclosure of contract terms, specifically the company’s contract length, early termination fee amount, and cancellation policy. If you have your own ClearGate review to make, please do so in the comments below.

ClearGate Lawsuits

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

ClearGate Customer Service Options

Since ClearGate appears to be an ISO or reseller of First Data (Fiserv), 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 phone number and email address for customer support, but the credit card processor does not rank as a top merchant account provider for customer service at this time.

We have located multiple ClearGate customer service numbers:

(866) 779-4787 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
(800) 998-2497 – Gateway/Virtual Terminal Support
(775) 336-6800 – New Merchant Inquiries
(866) 779-4787 – New Partnership Inquiries

ClearGate also offers a customer support form on its website. It also lists multiple customer service emails:

[email protected] – General Customer Service
[email protected] – New Merchant Inquiries
[email protected] – New Partnership Inquiries

ClearGate Online Ratings

Here's How They Rate Online

Online Ratings Summary

Total Complaints 0
Resolved Complaints 0

No BBB Complaints

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 0 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months. It also has not received any informal reviews, although it should be noted that these reviews are not subject to verification by the BBB.

An “A” Performance Overall

In keeping with our belief that “A+” ratings should typically be reserved for companies with 0 complaints, we agree with the BBB’s rating at this time. Merchants should be aware, however, that there are reasons to be skeptical of the BBB’s reviews.

ClearGate Fees, Rates & Costs

A Closer Look at The Contract

Key Points

Swiped Rate 2.69% + $0.19
Keyed-in Rate 3.69% + $0.19
Level II Visa Rate 2.05% + $0.10
Level II MasterCard Rate 2.00% + $0.10 - 2.31% + $0.10
Level III Visa Rate 1.85% + $0.10
Level III MasterCard Rate 1.75% + $0.10 - 2.06% + $0.10
Gateway Fee Undisclosed
Early Termination Fee $250-$350
PCI Compliance Fee $19.95 Per Month
Equipment Lease Terms 48 Month (locked)

Three-Year Agreement

The ClearGate Program Guide appears to be a standard First Data (Fiserv) program guide, which includes a three-year agreement with automatic renewal for two-year terms, an early termination fee ranging from $250-$350, a $19.95 monthly PCI Compliance fee, a monthly minimum fee, and tiered pricing. However, according to the company’s website, it offers pricing proposals that offer flat rate or interchange-plus pricing models in addition to the tiered pricing referenced in its program guide. While not competitive with the cheapest merchant accounts, these terms are about average for the industry, and they are typical of the standard First Data (Fiserv) agreement.

Though pricing and fees of a merchant account will vary by reseller, First Data (Fiserv) typical rates and fees are included in this review for reference. Merchants who 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. Merchants 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. First Data (Fiserv) allows resellers to choose between selling month-to-month contracts or service agreements ranging from one to five years.

Most First Data agreements involve a minimum service length of two to four years, an early termination fee of up $495, and a PCI Compliance fee of $19.95 per month. Merchants also have reported costly, non-cancellable equipment leases lasting for up to 48 months through First Data Global Leasing.

Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing

In addition to its storefront payment processing services, ClearGate also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. However, pricing is not disclosed on either of those services. Additional ClearGAte rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.

Level 2 and Level 3 Processing Services

In addition to its traditional merchant services, ClearMerchant also advertises that it provides Level 2 and Level 3 processing for B2B and B2G transactions. Level 2 and Level 3 processing rely upon different interchange rates than traditional consumer credit transactions. Accommodating those rates requires different payment processing technology from a merchant account provider to transmit the amount of data required to facilitate the transactions. These services are reserved for B2B and B2G purchases that utilize corporate credit cards. ClearMerchant advertises Level 2 rates for Visa transactions at 2.05% plus $0.10 and 2.00% plus $0.10 to 2.31% plus $0.10 for MasterCard. Level 3 rates for Visa transactions are 1.85% plus $0.10 and 1.75% plus $0.10 to 2.06% plus $0.10 for MasterCard.

ClearGate Contract Complaints

There are currently at least 2 ClearGate 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. We also encourage merchants to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.

ClearGate virtual terminal

ClearGate offers access to virtual terminals and payment gateways

ClearGate Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs

Should You Work For Them?

Key Points

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

ClearGate Sales Tactics

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 composed of poorly trained or unregulated agents. We are currently able to locate two ClearGate reviews that describe nondisclosure of ClearGate fees by the company’s sales agents. These complaints specifically cite a failure to explain the company’s early termination fee amount, 3-year service term, and cancellation procedures.

No Misleading Quotes

To its credit, ClearGate does not appear to list deceptive rate quotes in its official materials. This compares favorably to our list of best credit card processors. If you suspect that ClearGate is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to find and eliminate hidden charges.

Our ClearGate Review Summary

Our Final Thoughts

A Solid Option for Most Businesses

ClearGate rates as a better-than-average merchant services provider according to our standards. The company has a very low complaint rate across all 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. We also recommend that merchants compare the company’s pricing to top-rated merchant accounts to get the best deal.

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Your Comments & Reviews

How Did ClearGate Treat You?

2 Responses

  • Steve Donato

    This company is run by charlatans and scam artists who lock you into a fee structure, and then – without your knowledge or permission – raise the fees through the roof. The head charlatan, Pete Pistone – tried to ding me for not being “PCI Compliant.” This was utter nonsense, as I was completely within the PCI Compliant regulations and guidelines. When I cancelled this horrible service, he threatened me with collections. This guy has been trying to ding my credit for 10 years, because I refused to succumb to his bully tactics and pay his gangster fees. AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS.

    This post will help: PCI Compliance Myths and Misunderstandings


  • ClearGate charged me for a $300 machine to allow our business to use chip cards. It took them 4 months to make the machine actually take the new chip cards, all the while charging the same fees as before. Using chip cards is supposed to save businesses money in processing fees since the responsibility for fraud is now put on the business, rather than the credit companies. We did not receive any such discount in fees so we changed to a new processing service and are now in a fight with ClearGate to stop charging our bank $59.90 each month for services that they are no longer providing. Nothing has been processed through them for 2 months and yet we are still getting charged what they call access fees. I guess because they still have access to my bank account I am paying them $59.90 a month to steal from me. I would highly recommend using another service instead. We changed to Costco processing and are saving hundreds of dollars in monthly fees.

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

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