A Massive Super ISO
Founded in 1984, Fiserv is one of the largest merchant account providers in the world. The company was originally created via a merger of First Data Processing and Sunshine State Systems and has steadily expanded its operations both within the U.S. and internationally over the past 35 years.
First Data Acquisition
In July 2019, Fiserv finalized its $22 billion all-stock acquisition of First Data, another massive payment processor. The combined entity will operate under the Fiserv brand, effectively sunsetting one of the most recognizable brands in payment processing in First Data. Fiserv has also signaled that it intends to utilize First Data’s existing U.S. infrastructure, which means that Fiserv’s customer experience should not depart significantly from First Data’s existing practices.
Fiserv Location and Ownership
Fiserv is headquartered at 255 Fiserv Drive, Brookfield, Wisconsin and is a direct processor. Jeffery Yabuki is the chairman and CEO of Fiserv.
Fiserv Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Fiserv offers a multi-year contract with a variable early termination fee.
- Complaints & Service: Fiserv has received more than 1,000 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Fiserv currently has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 35 complaints in the last three years.
- Sales & Marketing: Fiserv hires independent sales agents and has received a high number of complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Fiserv
Types of Businesses Served
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Fiserv Rates, Fees, and Costs
|Swiped Rate||2.69% + $0.19|
|Keyed-In Rate||3.69% + $0.19|
|Virtual Terminal Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Payment Gateway Fee||Undisclosed|
|Early Termination Fee||$495|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$19.95 Per Month|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Month (locked)|
Direct Isn’t Always Cheaper
As a direct processor, Fiserv sets its rates slightly above interchange and then allows resellers to mark up the wholesale costs in order to sell credit card processing services to merchants at a profit. It’s a popular misconception that signing up with a direct processor like Fiserv is cheaper than signing up with a Fiserv reseller. In some cases working directly with Fiserv may result in rock-bottom rates (see “Fee Sweep” to learn how to negotiate for the best rates), but often the company’s direct sales channel is just as expensive as its resellers.
Wide Range of Contract Terms
Pricing and fees of a Fiserv merchant account will vary by reseller, agent, and merchant. Merchants who process up to $50,000 each month will receive a swiped rate of 2.69% plus $0.19 and a keyed-in rate of 3.69% plus $0.19. Merchants whose monthly charges exceed $50,000 will receive a swiped rate of 2.29% plus $0.19 and a keyed-in rate of 3.29% plus $0.19. Fiserv allows resellers to choose between selling month-to-month contracts or service agreements ranging from one to five years. Cancellation fees and contract conditions can vary widely by reseller, so merchants are advised to read their contracts carefully.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Fiserv also dedicates a portion of its website that advertises its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. However, pricing on either of those services is not disclosed. Additional fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, and batch fees may apply to these e-commerce services.
Many merchants also report non-cancellable, multi-year leases for point-of-sale equipment offered by First Data Global Leasing. Generally speaking, Fiserv should be expected to enforce the contract terms set by a reseller as long as they fit within First Data’s sales policies. See the First Data Program Guide.Are you happy with your Fiserv fees? Tell us about them before your go!
Fiserv Complaints & Customer Reviews
|Total Online Complaints||1,000+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Hidden Fees|
Problems With Resellers
We have counted First Data complaints against Fiserv because the two companies have merged. First Data has a high volume of complaints across consumer protection websites, and Fiserv has its own low-to-moderate body of public complaints. Most of these complaints report deceptive sales tactics used by some resellers and agents, poor customer service, inability to resolve disputes over billing and service commitments, and omissions of important contract terms prior to account setup. Additionally, several merchants who reported signing up through resellers state that they were placed into contracts directly with First Data without proper disclosure of important terms and conditions (for instance, non-cancellable leases for point-of-sale equipment). Many smaller merchants can avoid these contractual issues by signing up for a low-commitment mobile credit card processing app.
Fiserv is currently being sued by Bessemer System Federal Credit Union for unaddressed security vulnerabilities, with the credit union alleging that Fiserv is “plagued with security vulnerabilities that affect the privacy of thousands of Bessemer’s members.” The Fiserv-First Data merger was also challenged by a minority stockholder in the company, but the merger was clearly allowed to proceed. In 2017, First Data was also sued in a separate class-action lawsuit arising out of New York, which alleged that the company charges excessive termination fees on equipment leases. A jury trial has been demanded by the plaintiffs.
Fiserv Customer Support
When it comes to customer service, Fiserv has the ability to serve its merchant account customers directly via a 24/7 customer service call center. Resellers can also provide their own customer service. As a third option, Fiserv offers customer support for resellers at an additional cost to the reseller. In a few Fiserv reviews, merchants have reported confusion about which company is responsible for servicing their account. These contact options are close to what we expect from top-rated merchant accounts for great customer service. Given the company’s high complaint total, legal issues, and problems with resellers, we are awarding First Data an “D” in this category at this time.
Fiserv BBB Rating Summary
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||24|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||11|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||0|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||0|
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.
Over 30 Complaints
Fiserv currently has an “A+” rating and is not BBB-accredited. The company has received 35 total complaints in the last 36 months, with 24 related to product or service problems and 11 due to billing or collection disputes. The company has successfully resolved 3 complaints, while the remaining 32 were answered by Fiserv but have yet to receive a response from the complainant.
What Merchants Say
Fiserv has also received 3 informal reviews through the BBB, all of which were negative and received the lowest possible rating. However, it does not appear that any of the 3 complaints have to do with the company’s merchant services.
A “D” Performance
Due to Fiserv’s high volume of complaints and negative reviews, we have adjusted the company’s rating to a “D”.
Truth In Marketing & Advertising
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
An Army of Resellers
Fiserv’s sales approach is similar (if not identical to) First Data’s. First Data primarily markets its services through an army of resellers and affiliates, most notably its wholly owned reseller CardConnect. The company has its own direct sales offices, but these make up a tiny fraction of First Data’s overall sales force. First Data has suffered considerable damage to its reputation due to many of its resellers using misleading sales tactics and deceptive marketing. With independent sales offices located across the country, it may simply be beyond First Data’s capabilities to manage the conduct of its sales agents on a local scale. First Data appears to do a poor overall job of policing its ISOs and eliminating bad partners.
Your Agent Makes the Difference
Aside from its heavy use of resellers, Fiserv does not appear to use misleading advertising or deceptive marketing through its own sales force. However, there are a considerable number of complaints that describe the use of deceptive sales practices among its agents. It appears that many agents fail to mention buried contract commitments, most commonly lease terms for point-of-sale equipment provided by First Data Global Leasing. These reports have kept Fiserv from being considered a top merchant account provider. Merchants are advised to request complete copies of their merchant application, program guide, and equipment lease terms before signing up for service.
Fiserv Marketing Example
About Phillip Parker
Thank you for reading my review. I hope that it has helped you with your research.
Why I'm Qualified to Write About Credit Card Processing and Merchant Account Services
I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry because I didn't like how it takes advantage of small business owners. It feeds like a leech on businesses and thrives by imposing fees that are nearly impossible to comprehend. Seeing a need for change, I left and built this website help business owners better understand the industry, research merchant services providers, and get refunds of excessive merchant account fees. My experience of working "behind the curtain" in the industry, and using that knowledge for good, has resulted in millions of dollars returned to hard-working small business owners as well as enterprise-level companies.
From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to create this website, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this "insider" knowledge to myself. To lift the fog, I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers on this website.