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Clearent Credit Card Processing 2023: Reviews & Complaints
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Headquartered in Clayton, Missouri, Clearent is a merchant account provider that offers its own proprietary payment gateway and virtual terminal. Clearent claims to be a direct processor, but TSYS provides after-hours customer support for Clearent’s credit card processing equipment. Founded in 2005, the company offers services for ISOs, financial institutions, and merchants.
Clearent Acquisitions and Mergers
In January 2017, Clearent acquired Payment Alliance International‘s merchant services division, which was a primarily high-risk portfolio focused on firearm merchant accounts. In March 2018, a private equity firm named Advent International acquired Clearent and merged it with an independent software vendor named FieldEdge. In July 2018, Clearent acquired a POS provider for the dry cleaning industry named Compassmax. The Compassmax acquisition shored up Clearent’s offerings for dry cleaning merchants by pairing Compassmax’s software with previously acquired assets from SPOT Business Systems. 2020 brought the acquisition of Wintac, and 2021 saw Clearent merge with Advent’s TSG to create a new brand called Xplor, though they are currently still running Clearent under its own name.
Before we dive in, here’s a short summary of what we’ll cover:
- Clearent’s various payment processing services.
- Clearent has received a consistent number of complaints, including many recent complaints. A common complaint is that businesses face issues and fees when canceling an account.
- Clearent makes a point to address many of its complaints directly.
- Clearent’s contract contains a number of expensive fees.
Clearent Payment Processing
Clearent is a payment processor that offers processing for most major forms of payments, including credit and debit cards and touchless payments to most business types. They boast such features as DataGuardian data-breach protection, OptBlue for American Express processing, PayTrace to reduce B2B processing fees, Compass online reporting, next-day funding, the “Empower” program to share processing costs with customers, cash advances, small business loans, loyalty programs for customers, and ACH and check processing.
Payment Onboarding and Underwriting
Clearent offers automated onboarding and underwriting for SaaS platforms. They provide boarding APIs that allow for a seamless experience for users and flexibility for the platform.
The company goes beyond just payment technology and focuses on building relationships with partners. They aim to provide effective payment solutions that drive results for small businesses.
Transparency and Collaboration
Clearent emphasizes transparency and collaboration with their partners. They offer detailed residual reports and easy access to various support teams.
Sales and Marketing Support
Clearent provides sales and marketing support to help meet business goals. They act as an extension of your team to drive adoption and usage of the product.
The company aims to build consistent annual recurring revenue streams for their partners while lowering churn and cost of acquisition.
Location & Ownership
Clearent LLC is a registered agent for Central Bank of St. Louis, MO, and Wells Fargo Bank, Concord, CA. The company is headquartered at 11330 Olive Blvd Ste 200 Creve Coeur, MO 63141. Pamela Joseph is the CEO of Clearent.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Offers a three-year contract with an early termination fee of $395 and…
- Complaints & Service: Has received more than 15 public complaints regarding…
- BBB Rating: Has an “A+” rating and has received 29 complaints and 7 reviews in the last 3 years in regards to…
- Sales & Marketing: Appears to hire independent sales representatives and has received some merchant complaints about its…
Clearent Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||15+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Fund-Holds|
Rising Complaint Total
We are currently able to locate more than 20 negative Clearent reviews outside of the BBB, some of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Most older Clearent reviews report nondisclosure of the company’s early termination fee and cancellation policy. More recent complaints describe withheld funds and denied applications, likely related to Clearent’s acquisition of Payment Alliance International. As a counterpoint, Clearent is also showing a large number of unverified positive testimonials. These clients appear to praise the company’s transparent pricing and inexpensive contract terms. Several reviews also contain a misspelling of the Clearent name, instead spelling it “Clearant” with an “a.” If you have your own Clearent review to make, please do so in the comments below.
In 2015, Clearent was sued in Federal District Court by Eastward Capital Partners for breach of contract. The case was remanded to state court in September of 2015.
Mr. JJ, LLC v. Clearent, LLC was a 2022 lawsuit filed against Clearent, a payment processing company. The plaintiff, Mr. JJ, LLC, alleged that Clearent breached its contract and engaged in deceptive trade practices by misrepresenting its fees and failing to disclose additional charges. The plaintiff claimed that Clearent violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Texas Business and Commerce Code. The lawsuit sought damages and injunctive relief on behalf of the class of businesses affected. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount, with Clearent denying any wrongdoing but agreeing to refund fees to the affected businesses and improve its disclosures and billing practices.
Clearent Customer Support Options
Clearent offers its own live phone and email support during business hours, but TSYS provides customer support for payment terminals after hours. This is the bare minimum that we expect of top-rated payment processors for great customer service.
Clearent Customer Service Numbers
- (866) 435-0666 – Sales and Support
- (866) 617-6079 – Activations Support
- (314) 732-0515 – Headquarters Office
- (314) 721-7300 – Fax
Other Support Options
Clearent Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
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.
Over 30 Complaints
Clearent has been an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 2010. As of this review, the company has an “A+” rating and has had 37 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months. 21 of these 37 complaints were resolved by the company to the satisfaction of the merchant. The remaining 16 were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no final response.
What Merchants Say
Clearent has also received 5 negative informal reviews posted to its BBB profile. The most recent review cites frustration with a chargeback:
Did not provide our mailing address to the charge back department instead provided our physical address where we don’t receive mail. A charge back was sent and we received notice of if postmarked 2 months later and lost $481.50 Clearent told ** to go fly a kite, too bad. Arrogant companies like this stay that way until enough people, like myself, leave to do business with a different company.
Understanding how to cancel an account without paying a fee can save businesses its cost.
A “B” Performance
Given the company’s complaint total and resolution record, we have slightly adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “B.”
Clearent Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Monthly & Annual Fees||Yes|
The standard Clearent contract is a 3-year term through TSYS with an early termination fee of $395 per location or the maximum amount allowed by state law, a PCI non-compliance fee of $24.99 per month, an annual fee of $29.95 in the first year and $59.95 thereafter, and an interchange-plus pricing structure.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Clearent also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway. However, pricing is not disclosed for these services. The company’s terms and conditions reflect that merchants can utilize a third-party service for an online payment gateway. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
Clearent Cancellation Policy
We have located multiple reports from reliable sources claiming that the Clearent early termination fee is actually $295 if not terminated with 30 days’ notice, but it seems that these terms are the exception rather than the rule. We’ve received more recent reports from company representatives stating that Clearent’s contract can be canceled for free at any time as long as the business provides 30 days’ notice. Some reps also state that the company’s annual fee is actually a $49.95 regulatory fee.
Clearent Regulatory Fee
Far from being standard within the industry, “regulatory fees” are only charged when a processor wishes to make its clients foot the bill for the processor’s mandatory IRS reporting. In almost all cases, the costs of “regulation” for a processor won’t approach $49.95 per account, so businesses should be wary of an “IRS reporting” or “regulatory” fee of any kind. A company rep has stated that Clearent’s regulatory fee can be waived by the company’s agents. Business owners should request the removal of this fee when possible.
The company’s three-year contract with automatic renewal and a $49.99 regulatory fee is not competitive with terms offered by the cheapest merchant accounts. If you have any up-to-date knowledge of the standard Clearent contract, please leave that information in the comment section of this review.
Clearent Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Uses Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Inside/Outside Sales Team
Clearent appears to employ both in-house and independently contracted sales agents to market its services. As a general rule, the use of independent sales agents is usually tied to high complaint rates for a company because these agents tend to receive less training and oversight than W2-employed reps. Clearent appears to be no exception, as we are currently able to locate a handful of client complaints alleging nondisclosure or misrepresentation of rates and fees by the company’s agents. If you suspect that Clearent is overcharging you, you can get an in-depth analysis of your rates and fees with a third-party statement audit.
Positive Response to Criticism
One area where Clearent distinguishes itself is in its response to these complaints. Rather than holding clients accountable for contract terms that they didn’t fully understand at the point of signing, Clearent consistently apologizes for agents’ failure to fully explain contract terms. The company usually attempts to resolve issues to the satisfaction of the client. This practice indicates that any negative experiences with Clearent agents are not consistent with the company’s official policy, which has raised the company’s grade in this section.
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