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US Alliance Group is a merchant account provider serving both small businesses and large institutions. The company formerly operated this service as a division of itself called Electronic Cash Systems, Inc., but it appears that they are now operating under their parent company’s name. However, the name Electronic Cash Systems is still in use on at least some of the USAG website, and it is likely that the company is still using the name in some instances. According to its website, Electronic Cash Systems is an MSP of both Global Payments and First Data (now Fiserv). The company also advertises Clover for POS solutions.
US Alliance Group Payment Processing
US Alliance Group appears to process most major debit and credit cards for “low to moderate risk” businesses. They offer EMV terminals, the Clover family of POS products, ATM machines, and mobile payment solutions. Their services also include virtual terminals, access to payment gateways, PCI compliance, ACH processing, online security features like tokenization, e-commerce solutions, remote deposit capture, cash advances, Bitcoin machines, gift and loyalty programs, and data reporting and analysis. They appear to openly offer all of these services under three different names: Electronic Cash Systems, Alternative Payments International, and Precision Payments International, and it is unclear what the exact differences are between the three.
US Alliance Group also provides businesses with point-of-sale (POS) systems that are designed to streamline the checkout process and enhance the overall customer experience. Their systems are equipped with features such as inventory management, employee management, and reporting and analytics tools, allowing businesses to gain valuable insights into their operations.
In today’s fast-paced business world, mobility is key. US Alliance Group recognizes this and offers mobile payment solutions that allow businesses to accept payments on-the-go, whether at a trade show, outdoor event, or customer’s location. Their mobile payment solutions are easy to use and secure, making them an ideal option for businesses that need to be flexible.
For businesses that operate primarily online, US Alliance Group offers virtual terminals that allow customers to make payments via the internet. Their virtual terminals are easy to set up and integrate seamlessly with a variety of eCommerce platforms, making it easy for businesses to get started with online sales.
E-commerce Payment Gateways
US Alliance Group’s eCommerce payment gateway solutions provide businesses with a secure and reliable way to accept online payments. Their payment gateway integrates with a variety of popular shopping cart platforms, and features such as fraud detection and prevention, chargeback management, and more, help businesses to minimize risks associated with online sales.
Location & Ownership
US Alliance Group, Inc., doing business as Electronic Cash Systems, is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, California; The Fifth Third Bank, N.A. Cincinnati, Ohio; Evolve Bank & Trust, Memphis, Tennessee; and Cal West Bank, Irvine, California. Electronic Cash Systems is headquartered at 29883 Santa Margarita Pkwy, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 and claims to have been founded in 1997. Multiple sources list Fadi Cheikha as the company’s CEO.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Offers a 48-month contract with a liquidated damages early termination fee and…
- Complaints & Service: Has received more than 35 public complaints regarding…
- BBB Rating: Has an “A+” and has received 0 complaints in the past 3 years. The company has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since…
- Sales & Marketing: Appears to hire independent sales agents and has received a low-to-moderate number of complaints in regards to its…
US Alliance Group Reviews and Complaints
Here's What Their Clients Say
Total Online Complaints
Live Customer Support
Most Common Complaint
Moderate Complaint Volume
As of our previous update, we were able to locate over 35 negative USAG/Electronic Cash Systems reviews on other consumer protection websites, many of which accused ECS of being a scam or ripoff while expressing confusion over the company’s liquidated damages clause. In addition, it seems multiple business owners were only able to get USAG/ECS to pay their end of an ATM placement agreement after complaining on consumer protection websites. If you have your own US Alliance Group review to make, please do so in the comments below.
Business Consumer Alliance Complaints
It should be noted that a large number of the negative US Alliance Group reviews we’ve found were on Business Consumer Alliance, which is the former Los Angeles branch of the Better Business Bureau. These complaints have since been entirely purged from the Business Consumer Alliance’s profile for Electronic Cash Systems, but they are available via direct links. It is unclear why these complaints have been hidden if they are still stored by the Business Consumer Alliance, but we will note that the Business Consumer Alliance is an entity of controversial origin.
At the time of our last US Alliance Group review, we found one particular complaint with the BCA that was especially serious, as the client stated that “[t]he sales agent initially informed me that the service would be $9.50/mo. Turns out I was charged $4229.70 for their services.” Surprisingly, this figure is accurate, as confirmed by a company representative’s response to the complaint:
The customer was assessed an early termination fee because, under the terms of the Merchant Agreement the customer signed, a breach of the agreement results in termination and assessment of an early termination fee. More specifically, the customer terminated the agreement by failing to process transactions and/or switching processing to another provider. The terms of the agreement provide that “in the event that Client terminates this Agreement within (5) years from the date of approval by ECS or this Agreement is terminated by the servicers within (5) years from the date of approval, Client will be charged a fee for such early termination in the amount of one ($100.00) multiplied by the number of months remaining in the existing term”. Company calculated the number of months remaining in term of the agreement and assessed termination fee accordingly.
This complaint indicates that it is standard practice for the company to enforce early termination fees of multiple thousands of dollars. The company’s overall complaint rate is moderate for a business of USAG’s size, but it seems to indicate a customer service department that is neither responsive nor available.
USAG/Electronic Cash Systems Lawsuits and FInes
USAG appears to be embroiled in two lengthy lawsuits at the time of this review. One lawsuit appears to concern a client who allegedly had a large amount of payments held and a loss of profits. Information about the second suit is not publicly available. Dissatisfied business owners who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
USAG/Electronic Cash Systems Customer Support Options
USAG/Electronic Cash Systems offers a dedicated support line on its website, but it is possible that the company outsources its support to either Global Payments or First Data (Fiserv). If this is the case, then there could be even more USAG/ECS complaints scattered across the online profiles of its two processors. Either way, the company’s support options do not earn it a place among top payment processors for great customer service.
USAG/Electronic Cash Systems Customer Service Numbers
- (866) 651-8724 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
- (888) 327-2860 – Support
- (949) 888-8580 – Sales
- (949) 888-8024 – Fax
Other Support Options
- Customer support form on its website
- General support email- [email protected]
- Sales email – [email protected] – Sales
US Alliance Group BBB Rating and Report
Our Better Business Bureau Profile Assessment
See Which Processors Offer No Monthly Fees And No Contracts.
Former BBB Rating
Due to the shuttering of the Better Business Bureau’s Los Angeles branch, the BBB‘s records for ECS are unavailable from before March 10, 2013. These complaint files have instead been moved to the Business Consumer Alliance (see above). Before this branch was closed, Electronic Cash Systems was not an accredited business of the BBB and maintained a “B-” grade. The key factor lowering the company’s overall BBB score was a total of 28 complaints registered by merchants. While 13 of the complaints had been fully resolved with BBB assistance, the remaining 15 left the customers dissatisfied with the business response.
An “A” Rating
Currently, the BBB maintains a profile for ECS under the name “US Alliance Group.” This profile is showing an “A+” rating. It has received 0 complaints over the past 36 months. The company has also been accredited as of May, 2019. Despite the BBB’s inconsistent coverage of this company and the figures formerly available on its profile, we agree with the BBB’s rating at this time. Merchants should note, however, that there are good reasons to be skeptical of the BBB’s rating system.
US Alliance Group Fees and Rates
A Closer Look at the Contract
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Monthly & Annual Fees
Undesirable Liquidated Damages Clause
According to numerous Electronic Cash Systems reviews online, the standard USAG/ECS contract appears to be a 36-48 month agreement with a liquidated damages clause in place of an early termination fee. This liquidated damages clause holds the business owner accountable either for the average monthly processing costs for each remaining month of the contract or for $100 for each remaining month of the contract. As a result, businesses have reported being charged multiple thousands of dollars upon cancellation, with some figures exceeding $4,000. We regard this as an extreme cancellation penalty that has clearly cost clients excessive amounts of money. In all of the complaints we were able to locate, USAG/ECS enforced these costs without compromise. This policy is worthy of a “D” in our assessment, so merchants will be better off opting for a cheaper merchant account provider.
USAG Rates and Fees
The company’s website does not disclose the rates or other fees like PCI compliance fees. As a reseller of First Data (Fiserv) and Global Payments, it is likely that the company’s fee and rate structure is some variance of either of those two processors. Clients should refer to reviews on those two companies to familiarize themselves with what to expect. It should also be noted that each company allows its resellers to alter the terms and conditions of their contracts. This discretion is all the more reason for business owners to research those terms and conditions so they can effectively negotiate a merchant agreement that works for their business. We also encourage businesses to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, USAG 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. However, the company does list BridgePay, First Data (Fiserv), Authorize.Net, VeriFone, Global Payments, npc, Vantiv, NMI, apriva, and creditcall as its gateway providers. Therefore, pricing will vary depending on which provider a merchant utilizes their gateway from. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
US Alliance Group Jobs and Employment
Hiring Standards and Ethical Marketing Assessment
Audit Your Current Statement To Find Its Hidden Fees
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Uses Independent Resellers
Discloses All Important Terms
USAG/Electronic Cash Systems appears to utilize sub-ISOs and independent sales agents to market its services. The use of independent resellers can often result in an elevated complaint rate for a company, as it is difficult for any business to monitor and regulate outside sales entities. At the time of past reviews, we located over 20 Electronic Cash Systems complaints online describing nondisclosure or misrepresentation of contract terms by ECS agents, and in all of these cases, Electronic Cash Systems enforced its agents’ terms.
Some Red Flags
Most complainants stated that they were told by their agents that there was no early termination fee, only to learn upon canceling that there is instead a liquidated damages clause that will cost them far more. This is a common policy among companies in the credit card processing industry, but that doesn’t make it any more palatable for clients. A large number of these complaints have disappeared as a result of poor archiving by third-party review sites, but we retain a record of the grievances they described. These complaints do not compare favorably to our list of best credit card processors. We therefore give USAG a “C” in this category. If you suspect that USAG or ECS is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to find and eliminate hidden charges.
US Alliance Group Review Summary
Our Final Thoughts and Opinions
US Alliance Group as Electronic Cash Systems rates as below-average credit card processing provider according to our rating criteria. The company’s standard contract appears to include a liquidated damages clause that can leave clients on the hook for over $4000 in some cases. Other factors lowering USAG/ECS’s overall rating include a high complaint rate and numerous complaints about its sales practices. It is likely that USAG/ECS’s overall rating will change as the BBB updates its files on the company. For now, business owners are urged to compare US Alliance Group and Electronic Cash Systems’ contract terms to those of top-rated processors to get the best deal.
Customer & Employee ReviewsWhat Others Are Saying About US Alliance Group