Founded in 2015, Clearwater Payments (clearwaterpayments.com) is a payment services provider that is owned and operated by former executives of Crescent Processing Company, Park Central Company, Future Payment Technologies, and Talus Payments. In fact, “Clearwater Payments” is a registered trademark of Future Payment Technologies, which could mean that the company is technically structured as a DBA of Future Payment Technologies. There is also a possibility that Clearwater Payments is associated with Merchant Processing Company, a revived version of the Crescent Processing Company website.
The executive management team of Clearwater Payments includes David Kesler (owner), Jon Frankel (owner), Chad Smith (CEO), Bob Stevens (COO), and Sunnye Goldston (VP of product), all of whom held the same positions at Future Payment Technologies and Talus Payments prior to December 2016. The owners also were executives at Crescent Processing Company and Park Central Company prior to operating Future Payment Technologies. Talus was purchased by a private equity firm prior to 2017, and Talus is now operated by a different ownership group separately from Clearwater Payments. This history has been included in Clearwater Payments’s review because the aforementioned businesses are some of the lowest-rated processors on CPO.
Following this review’s initial publication, a Clearwater Payments representative contacted us to state that Clearwater Payments is not a merchant services company and does not engage in that industry in any way. Rather, the representative stated that Clearwater Payments is focused on providing third-party bill payment services to the utility, insurance, and consumer finance markets. Although billing software may be the company’s primary focus, the Clearwater Payments website currently features the following language:
- “Support for all Payments – Accept credit cards, debit cards, and echeck payments made over the phone, through our online interface, via mobile devices/smartphones, or by way of a live agent.”
- “Instant Payments and eReceipts – Your customers can make their payments in real-time and instantly receive payment/confirmation receipts via email or text messaging.”
- “Simplified Reconciliation – All prior days’ payments are delivered in ONE daily settlement report – no more reconciling from multiple sources.”
- “our convenient online portal gives your customers a choice of making one-time, scheduled or recurring payments”
- “Multiple Payment Options – Your customers can pay their bills via credit card, debit card or ACH/echeck.”
- “With Clearwater POS, accepting walk-in payments is both simple and convenient. Our robust terminal is secure, easy to use and packed with numerous features to help support the needs of your business.”
- “Flexible Pricing – Convenience fee, flat rate, cost-plus, or hybrid model“
These are payment processing services, and a merchant account will be required to accept credit cards through these services. Whether Clearwater Payments provides that merchant account, refers merchants to a Clearwater Payments partner, or requires merchants to obtain their own merchant account separately is not explained on the Clearwater Payments website. Given the fact that Clearwater Payments offers billing tools and its executive leadership team has an extensive background in merchant services, we feel it is in the interest of merchants to review this company on CPO.
- Sales & Marketing: Clearwater Payments does not appear to hire independent resellers and has not received any complaints related to its sales practices.
- Costs & Contract: Clearwater Payments appears to offer variable contract terms that will depend on each merchant’s business type and processing history.
- Complaints & Service: Clearwater Payments has received fewer than 10 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Clearwater Payments does not have a profile with the Better Business Bureau at this time.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Clearwater Payments