ClearGate (cleargate.com), formerly known as ClearChoice Merchant Services (myclearchoice.com), 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.
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||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.
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$250-$350|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Variable|
|Equipment Lease Terms||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
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online 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.
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||1|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||0|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||0|
|Guarantee & Warranty 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.
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.”
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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