First Choice Payments Review

Overview

UPDATE 7/6/2017: The First Choice Payments website is currently unavailable, and we cannot find any evidence that it has been active during 2017. The company’s partner processors, North American Processing Solutions and Smart Choice Payments, are still active brands, and the Smart Choice Payments website even describes it as “First Choice Payments, LLC doing business as Smart Choice Payments.” It therefore appears that First Choice has been shuttered in favor of a focus on Smart Choice Payments. If you have any knowledge of First Choice Payments’s current status, please share it in the comment section below this review.

Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, First Choice Payments (fcpayments.com) is a merchant account provider that primarily offers credit card processing for U.S.-based businesses. The company appears to be a DBA of Wholesale Merchant Processing, Smart Choice Payments, and North American Processing Solutions. According to a complaint on our Payment Systems Corporation review, Smart Choice Payments, First Choice Payments, and North American Processing Solutions are subsidiaries of Payment Systems Corporation; however, other information suggests that the companies’ backend processor may instead be Federated Payments.

Todd McCartney is listed as the president of Wholesale Merchant Processing, Smart Choice Payments, and American Payment Systems, and he is listed as the authorized representative for First Choice Payments. All of these companies are headquartered at 11000 SW Stratus St., Ste. 150, Beaverton, Oregon 97008, although the First Choice Payments website lists its address as 1350 E. Flamingo Rd., Suite 718, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119. First Choice Payments is indeed a registered corporation in Nevada, but its Nevada location appears to simply be a UPS Store. First Choice Payments does not list an acquiring bank on its website.

First Choice Payments Products and Services

Industries

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO
  • Restaurant
  • Lodging
d

Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

Employs Independent Resellers Yes
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms No

As a DBA of Smart Choice Payments, First Choice Payments appears to sell its products and services through a combination of telemarketing and independently contracted sales agents. We have found one First Choice Payments complaint that describes nondisclosure of contract terms, misrepresentation of rates, and difficulty contacting the sales agent after the contract was signed. However, there are a large number of public complaints filed against Wholesale Merchant Processing and Smart Choice Payments that allege similar issues. In our opinion, there is no reason to assume that First Choice Payments utilizes a significantly different sales approach from Wholesale Merchant Processing and Smart Choice Payments.

The lone First Choice Payments complaint on Ripoff Report has been altered in accordance with that website’s “Corporate Advocacy Program,” which enables Smart Choice to paste its own promotional copy above certain merchant complaints. It is our belief that this practice reflects poorly on any company, as it only makes it harder for merchants to see what other business owners have to say about the company. In addition, First Choice Payments presents itself as a Nevada-based organization and does not mention its ties to Wholesale Merchant Processing, Smart Choice Payments, and North American Processing Solutions on its website. This strategy is commonly used by some providers to spread complaints across multiple brands or to escape the negative reputation of an existing brand.

Taking into account the complaints filed against all of First Choice Payments’s affiliated companies and DBAs, we have assigned First Choice a “D” in this section.

f

Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate Variable
Keyed-in Rate Variable
Early Termination Fee $495+
PCI Compliance Fee $4.95 Per Month
Equipment Lease Terms Non-Cancellable

Unlike Wholesale Merchant Processing and Smart Choice Payments, First Choice Payments does not provide its contract terms on its website. However, First Choice Payments’s contract terms are probably identical to those offered by Smart Choice Payments. The standard Smart Choice Payments contract (available below) is a three-year agreement with an early termination fee of $495, a monthly PCI compliance fee of $4.95, a monthly minimum fee of $25, a monthly statement fee of $10, and an accompanying non-cancellable, four-year equipment lease through Northern Leasing Systems. In addition, we have found one report of an additional early termination fee of $900 that the company charges upon cancellation. This sounds a lot like a similar $893.98 fee charged by Wholesale Merchant Processing, but we are unable to determine why the company charges it under either name.

These contract terms warrant a “C-” rating on their own. However, two other factors lower the company’s score in this section to an “F.” First, Smart Choice’s agents appear to commonly package their processing agreements with long-term equipment leases through Northern Leasing Systems. Northern Leasing Systems is notorious for selling non-cancellable four-year leases that charge thousands of dollars for equipment that can be purchased for under $500. Second, the contract’s length and fee structure are especially damaging when combined with the poor disclosure cited in many merchant complaints. See the Smart Choice Payments Merchant Application and the Smart Choice Payments Program Guide.

c

Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

Total Online Complaints <10
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint N/A

We are currently able to locate only one negative First Choice Payments review, but this review does directly call the company a scam. As noted above, it describes a situation in which a sales agent misrepresented potential savings, signed the merchant up for a long-term equipment lease, and then became unreachable. We have also found more than 50 complaints filed against Wholesale Merchant Processing, Smart Choice Payments, and North American Processing Solutions. Common themes among complainants include nondisclosure of contract terms, poor customer service, expensive equipment leases, and an unprofessional work environment. Many complaints (and responses from company representatives) mention Smart Choice and Wholesale Merchant Processing as though they are the same company, and Smart Choice is a DBA of First Choice. We therefore will not differentiate between the four brands.

As also noted above, First Choice Payments has paid Ripoff Report in order to participate in that website’s “Corporate Advocacy Program.” This program makes it difficult to find the title and content of targeted complaints on Ripoff Report. Merchants are advised to scroll completely down the page to read the full details of each complaint.

First Choice has been assigned the same rating in this section as Smart Choice Payments and Wholesale Merchant Processing because there is no indication that the companies are different from each other. The company lists phone and email contact information on its website.

a

BBB

Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.

The Better Business Bureau does not maintain a profile for First Choice Payments at this time. However, Smart Choice Payments currently has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has been accredited since September 2015. In addition, Wholesale Merchant Processing has an “F” rating with the BBB. The reason for the discrepancy between these two grades is unclear, as the BBB lists both companies at the same address and names Todd McCartney as the president of both companies.

Smart Choice Payments is a DBA of First Choice Payments, and we have assigned Smart Choice Payments the same “F” rating that the BBB gave to Wholesale Merchant Processing. We will therefore apply the same rating to First Choice Payments for the purposes of this review.

First Choice Payments Logo

First Choice Payments Bottom Line

First Choice Payments rates as a substandard merchant services provider according to our rating criteria. All evidence suggests that First Choice Payments is the same organization as Smart Choice Payments and Wholesale Merchant Processing, and First Choice Payments has been rated as such. Merchants who have been contacted by Smart Choice Payments or Wholesale Merchant Processing are advised to request and review all documentation before signing up.

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

9 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

  1. It is the worst I have ever experienced. They blocked my account for no reason, and I am sending them all the information they need. Yet, they keep asking for it. I have contacted the chat support for 10 times now, and they said everything I uploaded was approved, and all the information was right. BUT I CAN’T ACCESS MY ACCOUNT. So all my money is gone. And now that I’ve read other reviews I am not surprised! Please, do some research and stay away from First Choice Payments! We’ve warned you.

  2. Stolen over $340 of my money, wiped all transaction history, to make it look as if no money was sent. I printed this anyway. Communication is poor, I’ve waited almost a month for a transaction which should take up to 5 days. Do NOT USE!!!!

  3. same to me, I read all of this and they are 90 % same what I’ve experienced. I waisted my time and tried to convince and follow those rules. But what I have now, I have convince they’re fraud & scam. You need step back from this one…

  4. they are cheater they stole all my money what i load do not trust them please if you make account and load money you ll loose
    all i waited more than 2 months for prepaidcard

  5. do u wanna contact this company? ok, click on CONTACT US….and webpage is loaded with text:
    “Log In
    Already have a Firstchoice Pay Account?
    Firstchoice Pay Account Holders receive more functionality and personal customer care. If you already have a Firstchoice Pay Account, please log in.”

    AND IF I NEED MORE INFORMATIONS BEFORE!!! SIGN UP?!?!
    Do i have need account to contact company?!
    If i am not account holder – u r going ignore me?!
    R u really kidding me?!

  6. This company has by far the worst customer service I have ever experienced. It has taken them over 6 weeks to process my payments and I still have not been paid. Their company has taken zero accountability and has no respect for their customers. If you are a business of any size I would refrain from using them as a payout company. This is one terrible organization… they would not be my “first” choice!!!!

  7. Due to our experience with the company, I highly recommend NOT using this company. ( We now use Chase)
    As an example, after finally (6-8 months of trying) they emailed that they had closed our account, the two months following this email, the did a ACH debit for $1,000 to our bank account. We have, of course, disputed the transaction.

    In any case, there have been enough other issues that I can give this company the lowest possible rating.


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