Express Merchant Accounts Review
A Wholly-owned Subsidiary of PaymentCloud
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Sherman Oaks, California, Express Merchant Accounts is a merchant account provider that specializes in solutions for retail, e-commerce, and high risk businesses. According to the company’s website, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PaymentCloud, Inc. In turn, there is some evidence that PaymentCloud is a reseller of Electronic Merchant Systems. While PaymentCloud specializes in serving high risk merchants, Express Merchant Accounts offers its services to a wider array of businesses. In addition to high risk merchants, the company provides a focus on traditional and quick service restaurants. Express Merchant’s website also advertises Apple Pay integration, terminal reprogramming, ACH and eCheck processing, as well as POS solutions through Groovv POS.
A Point of Confusion
According to the California Secretary of State, Express Merchants was dissolved as a corporation in 2017. However, the company’s website still remains active. The phone number listed on the company’s website diverts calls to PaymentCloud, and the company’s website shares the same headquartered address of 15165 Ventura Blvd #245, Sherman Oaks, California 91403. making it possible that Express Merchant Solutions operates as a DBA of its parent company.
Multiple Partner Banks
Like PaymentCloud, Express Merchant Accounts acquiring bank is not listed on its website, possibly because high risk credit card processors tend to work with multiple acquirers. It is worth noting that Electronic Merchant Systems, who PaymentCloud and thus Express Merchant Services may resell the services off, is a registered ISO/MSP of BMO Harris Bank, Chesapeake Bank, Esquire Bank, and Merrick Bank PaymentCloud’s CEO is Shawn Silver, the former vice president of high risk at iPayment. According to the California Secretary of State, Michael Allen Shay was the president of Express Merchant Services.
Express Merchant Accounts Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Express Merchant Accounts offers a contract of variable length that may or may not include an early termination fee.
- Complaints & Service: Express Merchant Accounts has received fewer than 10 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Express Merchant Accounts does not have a profile with the Better Business Bureau at this time.
- Sales & Marketing: Express Merchant Accounts does not appear to hire independent sales agents but has not received any complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Express Merchant Accounts.
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||<10|
|Live Customer Support||No|
|Most Common Complaint||N/A|
Clean Complaint Record
We are unable to locate a couple of negative Express Merchant Account reviews. Given the fact that the payment processor claims to provide its services to high risk merchants, where a variety of issues can arise, this is a good indication of the quality of its service.
Express Merchant Accounts Lawsuits
We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Express Merchant Accounts. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
Express Merchant Accounts Customer Support Options
Express Merchants Accounts provides a phone number and email address on its website. However, neither of those channels is dedicated to customer support. Merchant account providers with a great track record of customer service typically offer more comprehensive support options.
No Red Flags
Though there is no evidence to suggest that merchants are having negative experiences through the company, the lack of clear, comprehensive customer support channels is the basis for the company getting a “B” rating in this category.
Here's How They Rate Online
No Current BBB Profile
The Better Business Bureau does not maintain a profile for Express Merchant Accounts or PaymentCloud at this time. We therefore will not factor a BBB rating into this review.
Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Swiped Rate||1.00% - 4.99%+|
|Keyed-in Rate||1.00% - 4.99%+|
|Virtual Terminal Rate||1.00% - 4.99%+|
|Payment Gateway Fee||Undisclosed|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Undisclosed|
|Early Termination Fee||None|
|Equipment Lease Terms||Undisclosed|
A copy of the standard Express Merchant Accounts contract is not readily available at this time. According to the Express Merchant Accounts website, the company offers a debit rate of 0.15% plus $0.03 and a credit rate of 1.19% plus $0.03. However, figures this low are typically reserved for qualified rates and are not available for all merchants, especially the high risk clientele that the company advertises it serves. It is very likely that the company’s contract terms will fluctuate depending on each merchant’s processing history, risk level, chargeback rate, and sales volume. It is common for merchants in high risk sectors to pay higher per-transaction fees. However, Express Merchant Account’s low qualified rate implies that it offers its standard risk merchants much lower rates than those reserved for high risk businesses.
Express Merchant Accounts’ fee schedule does convey that it does not charge an early termination fee. It is unclear whether the company charges a PCI compliance fee or a monthly minimum fee, what is clear is that merchants are charged a $5 monthly service fee.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Express Merchant Accounts also dedicates a portion of its website that advertises its virtual terminal and payment gateway. Express Merchant Accounts lists a 0.19% plus $0.05 debit rate and a 1.29% plus $0.05 credit rate. However, as is the case with the company’s in-person transaction rates, these figures likely reflect a qualified rate unavailable to all merchants. The company does not disclose a gateway fee or batch fee, however it does list the same $5 monthly service fee.
For reference, Express Merchant Accounts’ parent company, PaymentCloud, lists several different gateway providers including Authorize.Net, NMI and USAePay among others. However, pricing will depend on which gateway provider a merchant utilizes. As a possible DBA of PaymentCloud, these rates and fees may be charged to merchant’s choosing Express Merchant Accounts. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates may apply to these e-commerce services.
An “A” Overall
Despite the lack of available pricing beyond apparently qualified rates, Express Merchant Accounts receives an “A” in this category. The lack of cancellation fees is a major positive for merchants, especially considering that Express Merchant Accounts serves everything from standard risk to high risk merchants.
Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Employs Independent Resellers||No|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||Yes|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
No Widespread Sales Issues
The Express Merchant Accounts website does not advertise any programs in which is employes independent sales agents. Given the company’s clean complaint record, there are no reports of any deceptive sales practices against the company.
Confusing Rate Advertisements
Currently, the company’s website lists a debit/credit rate of 0.15% plus $0.05/1.19% plus $0.05 for its services. This rate was almost certainly the lowest available qualified debit card rate for merchants who were on tiered pricing, which means that it is not likely to apply to the vast majority of mid-qualified or non-qualified transactions. Given the company’s commitment to serving high risk merchants, these rates are not indicative of what a merchant is likely to receive. However, the company does clearly outline many of its fees, including the lack of an early termination or annual fee. Though PCI compliance fees are not disclosed, the company’s monthly service fee is. Overall, the fees associated with an account through Express Merchant Accounts are clear and transparent, despite the way it depicts its pricing.
A “B” Overall
Express Merchant Accounts’ lack of complaints regarding its sales practices is a positive sign for the company. As is the fact that most of its fees are clearly outlined on its website. However, only offering its qualified rates could give prospective customers misleading insight into those that they will receive. On that basis, we give the company a “B” in this category.
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