Coastal Pay 2023: Card Processing Reviews & Complaints
Founded in 2013, Coastal Pay is a merchant account provider that serves standard and high-risk business types throughout the U.S. The company resells the products and services of First Data (now Fiserv) and Elavon.
Coastal Pay Payment Processing
Coastal Pay processes major debit and credit card payments for most business types. The company offers POS, mobile, and countertop terminal solutions using equipment from the Poynt family of products. They also offer check processing, analytics, loans, marketing solutions, API integration, anti-fraud tools, and e-commerce online payment solutions.
Coastal Pay offers a variety of point-of-sale (POS) systems, including countertop, wireless, and mobile options. Their POS systems are designed to be user-friendly and efficient, with features such as inventory management, employee management, and sales reporting.
Coastal Pay offers mobile payment solutions that allow businesses to accept payments on-the-go using their smartphone or tablet. Their mobile payment solutions are designed to be easy to use, with features such as secure payment processing and real-time reporting.
Coastal Pay offers virtual terminal solutions that allow businesses to process payments online or over the phone. Their virtual terminals are designed to be secure and user-friendly, with features such as recurring billing, fraud prevention, and customizable payment pages.
Coastal Pay offers e-commerce solutions that allow businesses to sell products and services online. Their e-commerce solutions are designed to be secure and user-friendly, with features such as customizable shopping carts, secure payment processing, and real-time reporting.
Location & Ownership
Coastal Pay is a registered ISO/MSP of Elavon, Inc. and of Wells Fargo Bank, NA, Concord, California, and is headquartered at 2445 Impala Dr, Carlsbad, California 92010. It appears that Coastal Pay also operates as Coastal Labs, a CBD producer. Kavan Thanasith is listed on the Coastal Pay website as the CEO. Travis Chrisman is listed as the president and also as the co-founder of Coastal Labs with Kavan Thanasith. We have found reports that Green Hygienics Holdings, Inc, a cannabis cultivation and branding enterprise, intended to purchase Coastal Pay and Coastal Labs in 2019.
Unprofessional CEO Conduct and Behavior
Travis Chrisman has repeatedly emailed us using unprofessional language and tone stating that Green Hygienics is unrelated to Coastal Pay, going as far as calling this reviewer a “liar.” However, he lists himself as a Board Member of Green Hygienics, CEO of Coastal Labs, and President of Coastal Pay in Travis Chrisman’s own LinkedIn profile. We consider shared leadership and ownership across companies a relevant topic for our readers.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Originally charged a $495 early termination fee (ETF) but has…
- Complaints & Service: Has received more than 80 public complaints since…
- BBB Rating: Coastal Pay has an “A+” rating and has received 3 complaints and 3 reviews in…
- Sales & Marketing: Appears to hire independent sales representatives which…
Coastal Pay Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||80+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Common Complaint||Service Quality|
Decreasing Complaint Volume
Since we began monitoring Coastal Pay, we have found approximately 100 negative Coastal Pay reviews on various websites. The vast majority of the reviews were complaints regarding fees, lease terms, and service quality. Common complaints from clients included persistent telemarketing, aggressive in-person sales conduct, nondisclosure of contract terms, misrepresentation of fees, exorbitant termination fees, difficulty canceling service, and hard-to-reach customer service. For a company that was founded in 2013, it was receiving a remarkably high volume of complaints.
As of 2019, the negative Coastal Pay review frequency has drastically decreased. This is likely due to the company’s policy changes regarding early termination fees and the collapse of Northern Leasing Systems which voided the predatory lease agreements of which numerous Coastal Pay customers had be subjected, thereby releasing them of the associated exorbitant lease fees. If you have your own Coastal Pay review to make, please do so in the comments below.
Coastal Pay Lawsuits
We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Coastal Pay. However, as mentioned previously, Coastal Pay heavily marketed Northern Leasing Systems equipment leases, a company that was sued out of existence by the New York Attorney General. Dissatisfied clients who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
Legal Firm Responses
One uncommon aspect of Coastal Pay’s customer service has contributed to its low score in both this section and the BBB section of this review. Unlike most merchant account providers, Coastal Pay had appointed an independent legal firm to respond to the client complaints that the company receives through the BBB. This approach to complaint resolution is not standard for the industry and could be interpreted as an effort to deter and shut down client complaints rather than respond to them in a satisfactory manner. Furthermore, the actual responses from this law firm to business owners are atypical for the industry, as explored further in the section below.
Coastal Pay Customer Support Options
Coastal Pay’s website boasts a 24-hour technical customer service phone number and a promise to respond to all written inquiries within 24 hours, but several client complaints (including some found at the bottom of this review) reported a completely unresponsive support team. It appears that customer support may have improved within the last couple of years. If you have experience with Coastal Pay customer support, please tell us about it in the comment section below.
Coastal Pay Customer Service Number
- (888) 266-1715 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
Other Support Options
- Dedicated email support address at [email protected]
- Customer support form on its website
Coastal Pay Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
Online Ratings Summary
BBB Rating Analysis
Coastal Pay has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is accredited since April 5, 2019. The company has been in business for 10 years. On the BBB website, Coastal Pay has an average customer review rating of 5 stars based on 3 customer reviews. There are no customer complaints filed against the business.
There are no negative reviews available about Coastal Pay on the BBB website.
Coastal Pay is awesome! We moved our online business over from Stripe and they were able to get us a better rate so we are saving thousands every month! I would highly recommend Coastal Pay to anyone in need of a payment processor for online or in store.
– Review from April 21, 2023
Coastal Pay Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Monthly & Annual Fees||Yes|
|Processing Ratres||2.5% + $0.15|
Coastal Pay Contract Terms
Coastal Pay has informed us that the company no longer charges any fees for canceling services. Previously, according to more than 20 client complaints and the company’s own website at the time, the standard Coastal Pay contract was a three-year agreement through First Data (Fiserv) with an early termination fee of $495 and a separate four-year equipment lease through Northern Leasing or First Data Global Leasing.
The company promotes on its website that it offers a flat processing rate of 2.5% and 15 cents per transaction but does not indicate if this rate applies to all transactions or business types. According to a merchant application provided to us, it remains unclear if the rate can change for any reason as the fields in the application were not filled in. The application did however list a $25 monthly minimum fee, a $5 monthly PCI Compliance fee, and a $10 monthly fee, all of which are considered “junk fees” according to our standards.
Beware Equipment Leases
The company has not indicated in its communication to us if it is still offering equipment leases. Previously, Coastal Pay had offered leases though Northern Leasing and First Data Global Leasing, which were notorious for providing long-term, non-cancellable agreements that would cost thousands over the life of the lease for equipment that could have been purchased for a few hundred dollars. In fact, the New York state Attorney General successfully shut down Northern Leasing Systems over its predatory business practices.
The majority of client complaints that we have found regarding equipment leases through Coastal Pay claim that the terms of these leases were undisclosed or misrepresented by sales agents. It’s important to note that Coastal Pay itself did not supply the equipment or manage these leases, so businesses that wished to cancel needed to do so through the third-party leasing provider.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Coastal Pay also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway services which it promotes at its flat processing rate of 2.5% and 15 cents per transaction.
The abundance of complaints from business owners who claimed to have been unwittingly locked into long-term contracts with large termination fees previously caused us to lower Coastal Pay’s rating significantly. The company appears to have adjusted its policies within the last few years to be more favorable for its customers. However, new policies do not erase past behavior that might have continued if it weren’t for reviews like this one that exposed it. We will continue to monitor and adjust our rating if Costal Pay continues to operate ethically.
Coastal Pay Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Uses Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Discloses All Important Terms||Yes|
Declining Sales Complaints
Coastal Pay appears to utilize a combination of independent sales agents and telephone appointment setters to market its services. This strategy is commonly linked to elevated complaint rates in the credit card processing industry. We have located over 30 Coastal Pay complaints that mention the company’s sales team since we began monitoring Coastal Pay’s customer complaints, but the rate of complaints has been declining since 2019. Business owners had reported persistent, irritating telephone calls, nondisclosure of contract terms (specifically the details of equipment leases), and false verbal promises from sales agents. A few businesses also describe conduct that sounds very similar to “slamming,” in which the company’s telesales representatives claim to be from “merchant services” and avoid stating the name of the company they represent. A company representative has stated that Coastal Pay’s marketing team makes approximately 150,000 sales calls per month.
As noted above, Coastal Pay’s most common response to these complaints had been to hold each client accountable for the terms of his or her contract, even when the client claims that an agent made verbal misrepresentations. For instance, we found some complaints stating that Coastal Pay agents promised to pay the cost of the business’ early termination fees with their previous processors if they switched to Coastal Pay. However, language on the company’s website stated the following: “Merchant and the guarantor who signed page one of the MUA (“Merchant”) understand that it is solely the Merchant’s responsibility to cancel all prior services and equipment contracts and accepts responsibility for any termination or cancellation fees and agrees to hold harmless CP of any obligation related to prior processing and equipment lease contracts, unless otherwise agreed to in writing.” In other words, business owners should disregard any promise made by a Coastal Pay agent that contradicts the exact language of the company’s full contract. The front page of the Coastal Pay merchant agreement (seen here) includes a line requesting the amount of the client’s ETF from their current processor, but it does not include any language that guarantees that this fee will be paid. A company representative has stated that Coastal Pay does pay merchants’ ETFs.
Travis Chrisman of Coastal Pay has contacted us stating that the company ceased enforcing ETFs in 2017 and no longer includes them in their current merchant account terms and conditions.
Employees Weigh In
One positive review of Coastal Pay from a former sales employee mentions that the company’s sales agents “mainly go off of the Straight Line Persuasion System by Jordan Belfort.” It’s worth noting that Jordan Belfort is the subject of Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street. Another employee review states “No leads or appointments with clients that really need your service. They are always already committed to a contract. Most times the client doesn’t want to see you and they are pissed off that your there, because the rep that called and set up the appointment on you behalf. badgered them into taking the appointment. I had one client threaten to shoot me when I walked in the door, because the appointment setter brow beat him into the appointment.” A company representative has disputed the accuracy of both reports.
No Misleading Rate Quotes
As a small point in the company’s favor, we are unable to find any misleading rate quotes or unrealistic guarantees on the Coastal Pay website. If fact, we were unable to find very little information regarding rates and fees, aside from a promoted flat rate of 2.5% +$0.15 per transaction. The sheer volume and consistency of complaints regarding the company’s sales force have lowered Coastal Pay’s score overall score in this review. If you have had any experience with Coastal Pay sales representatives, we encourage you to tell us about it in the comment section below.
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