Encore Payment Systems (encoreps.com) is a merchant account provider based in Addison, Texas, that began operations in 2004. The company also does business in the U.S. under the names Prodigy Payment Systems and Momentum Payment Systems. Additionally, Encore has a Canadian sales arm called MOCA Payment Systems. At the time of this review’s original publication, two different agents claimed that Encore Payment Systems is a direct processor with HSBC Bank, which was surprising considering it was a young company. After pressing the issue, one agent admitted that Encore occasionally uses Chase Paymentech for a processor, but insisted that the company is a direct processor in all other cases. The Encore Payment Systems website now states that Encore is “a division of EVO Payments International” following its 2013 acquisition. The company is a registered ISO/MSP of Deutsche Bank AG, New York, and the CFO of Encore is Blake Pyle, while the chief sales officer is Mark Harrelson.
- Sales & Marketing: Encore Payment Systems hires independent sales agents and has received a high number of complaints about its sales practices.
- Costs & Contract: Encore Payment Systems appears to offer a three-year contract through EVO Payments International with an early termination fee of $195 or more.
- Complaints & Service: Encore Payment Systems and its DBAs have received more than 100 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Encore Payment Systems does not have a rating with the Better Business Bureau at this time.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Encore Payment Systems
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Encore Payment Systems appears to use an ethically questionable marketing strategy. First, the use of multiple DBAs suggests that the company is purposely attempting to spread its complaint count among the different business names. It also makes it possible for a merchant to cancel an account under one business name and then inadvertently sign up with the same company represented under another name. Nearly all merchant services providers that take part in this strategy have very poor reputations.
Second, the company appears to be a “hiring mill” that markets its business by continually recruiting independent outside sales agents (ISAs) who are only paid upon making a sale. Like many companies that use this hiring practice, Encore’s agents appear to be trained primarily on how to sell expensive merchant accounts and equipment leases in exchange for high commissions. They also appear to be poorly trained about the details of the merchant account agreements they are selling and the credit card processing fees associated with them. Agent turnover with this type of provider is typically very high.
Based on reports by merchants, there is evidence suggesting that Encore’s marketing strategy often results in the use of deceptive sales tactics. We cannot say if Encore encourages or endorses misleading tactics, but it seems that its pricing and underwriting policies make it possible. The company also appears to enforce contracts even when merchants claim to have been misled by an agent.
Encore Payment Systems Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$195-$450+|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$49 Per Year|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Months, Non-Cancellable|
Encore Payment Systems’s pricing and contract terms appear to vary based upon the merchant and the agent setting up the account. The company’s standard merchant account contract has a three-year service agreement with automatic renewal for one-year terms and an average Early Termination Fee (ETF) of $195; however, some merchants have reported ETFs up to $450.
An older version of the standard Encore Payment Systems contract is available below; it outlines a four-year agreement with automatic renewal for one-year terms, a $450 “deconversion” fee (which acts as an ETF), an annual fee (probably a PCI Compliance fee) of $49, a monthly “bank service fee” of $4.00, a merchant account setup fee of $125, and an expensive tiered pricing structure. Although this agreement appears to be outdated, we do not have any evidence that the company’s contract terms are any more favorable today.
Aside from the standard three-year merchant account contract, there are numerous reports stating that merchants are sometimes locked into four-year, non-cancellable equipment leases. Cancelling these leases before the termination date is reported to cost in the thousands of dollars. We do not recommend that merchants lease equipment from any company because it is often the most expensive option. Buying your equipment outright is often the best and most cost-effective solution. See the Encore Merchant Application.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||100+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Long-Term Leases|
For a provider of its size and time in business, Encore Payment Systems has a moderate-to-high number of complaints when we combine all of them together from its other DBAs. Many of these complaints are from the comment sections of our reviews. Of additional concern are the numerous complaints from former agents of the company found on jobs websites. Nearly all of these former agents complain of deceptive hiring practices and state that they were encouraged to lie to and mislead merchants.
As for merchant complaints, the most common theme they cite is the use of predatory equipment leases that cost merchants thousands of dollars for equipment that can be bought in the low hundreds. Nearly all of the reported leases are four-year terms with no ability to cancel without incurring significant financial cost. Other complaints include hidden fees, aggressive sales tactics, unavailable customer support, difficulty cancelling service, and fund holds. One merchant’s experience with misleading sales tactics, poor customer service, and unexpected equipment expenses is chronicled here.
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||51|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||32|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||18|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||0|
As of this review, Encore Payment Systems does not have a rating from the Better Business Bureau because the Better Business Bureau has folded Encore’s profile into EVO Payments International’s profile. EVO’s profile is currently under review, so there is no rating available for either company.
At the time of our last update, Encore had an “A-” rating, down from a “A” at the time of our previous review. The BBB reported 102 complaints filed within the last 36 months (up from 86 as of our previous update); however, when adding the complaint counts of Prodigy Payment Systems and Momentum Payment Systems (Encore’s other DBAs), Encore actually had received 187 BBB complaints in the previous three years. The complaints were somewhat evenly spread across issues with advertising and sales, billing and collection, and problems with products and services. Of the 102 complaints that had been filed against Encore Payment Systems, 42 were resolved to the merchant’s satisfaction. Fifty-six either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant, while four received no resolution whatsoever.
Considering the fact that the BBB does not currently rate the company, we will not factor a BBB grade into this review.
About Phillip Parker
Hi, I’m Phillip and I’m disgusted by the state of credit card processing in the U.S. and abroad. I believe that the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal money from hard working business owners. I’ve made it my mission to expose the companies and individuals who engage in predatory marketing, pricing, and contracts, or just provide terrible service. Along with uncovering the bad guys, I’ve also discovered the good guys who do stand out from the status quo. CPO is a website where you will find ratings and reviews of these companies along with advice on how to save money and which service providers consider. Together we can move the industry in a positive direction. If you would like to help support my work, please checkout “Fee Sweep” my eGuide to getting the lowest possible fees when accepting card payments. If you haven’t heard of “interchange” this advice will save you hundreds, even thousands, in processing fees.Schedule a Consultation with Phillip
Related: Phillip’s Top All-Purpose Merchant Account Picks
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