FrontStream Payments Review

FrontStream Payments Overview

FrontStream Payments May Have Overcharged You

If you accepted credit cards through FrontStream Payments or any other credit card processing company between 2017 and 2019, recent changes to the law may entitle you to refunds of certain debit card and credit card processing errors and overcharges. See this post to find out if your were among the businesses affected and to learn how you can get your money back.

Formerly Known as “FastTransact”

Founded in 2002, FrontStream Payments is a merchant account provider that serves most standard-risk business types. FrontStream Payments originally operated as an independent e-commerce payment processor called FastTransact until it was acquired by “FrontStream” in 2010. Between 2010 and 2018, FastTransact’s products and services were sold under the FrontStream name. In May 2018, FrontStream was acquired by Marlin Equity Partners, and FastTransact was again spun off into an independent brand. Since then, however, FrontStream appears to have rebranded FastTransact as “FrontStream Payments”, and the company operates as a separate division focused on non-profit merchant accounts.

FrontStream Payments Operations

FrontStream Payments appears to be a reseller of Chase PaymentechElavon, First Data, and TSYS. The company claims to serve over 10,000 merchants and process over $2.5 billion dollars per year. FrontStream was known to have once operated under the name of Direct Technology Innovations (DTI), but FrontStream Payments does not appear to have any connection to this brand.

FrontStream Payments Location and Ownership

FrontStream Payments lists its address at 11480 Commerce Park Drive, Suite 300, Reston, Virginia 20191 and is a registered ISO/MSP of Elavon, Inc, Georgia; Chase Paymentech Solutions, LLC; First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska; Merrick Bank, N.A., Chicago, Illinois; Deutsche Bank, USA, New York, New York; and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. FrontStream Payments does not disclose the names of its executive leadership team, but William C. Wood is listed as the CEO and president of FrontStream.

FrontStream Payments Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: FrontStream Payments offers variable contract terms through multiple banking partners. The company utilizes First Daya’s Payeezy gateway for e-commerce transactions
  • Complaints & Service: FrontStream Payments has received fewer than 10 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: FrontStream Payments currently has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received three complaints in the last three years.
  • Sales & Marketing: FrontStream Payments hires independent sales agents but has not received any complaints about its sales practices.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With FrontStream Payments
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Products & Services Offered

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO

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FrontStream Payments Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Swiped Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
Keyed-in Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
Virtual Terminal Rate 1.89% + $0.23 - 2.90% + $0.30
Payment Gateway Fee $0
Payeezy Pro Plan Fee $19.95 Per Month
Early Termination Fee Variable
PCI Compliance Fee Variable
Equipment Lease Terms 48 month (locked)

Three-Year Contracts

The FrontStream Payments First Data Program Guide and the FrontStream Payments Merrick Bank Program Guide convey multiple standard contracts through different backend processors. The company’s standard contracts through First Data and Merrick Bank are both three-year agreements with an unspecified early termination fee. This fee should be listed in section 9 (“Service Fee Schedule”) of each merchant’s application. It is unclear whether these contracts renew automatically, and the available documentation does not disclose the company’s monthly minimum fees, PCI compliance fees, or rate structure.

Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing

The company relies upon First Data’s Payeezy payment gateway. Payeezy provides merchants with 2 options for service, its Basic and Pro plans. The Basic Plan assesses a transaction rate of 2.90% plus $0.30 with no setup, gateway, statement or batch fees. The Pro Plan’s rate is 1.89% plus $0.23 without any of the aforementioned fees. However, the Pro plan charges a monthly fee of $19.95

Long-Term Equipment Leases

FrontStream Payments’ First Data program guide includes a built-in equipment lease agreement through First Data Global Leasing. This is a non-cancellable lease for an unspecified length of time, which means that merchants who terminate the lease will be required to pay the entirety of the remaining months of the lease in one lump sum immediately. We strongly recommend purchasing rather than leasing equipment if possible, because equipment leases almost always end up costing far more than the retail price of the equipment itself. A table of fees associated with the lease is also included in the company’s contract:

FrontStream Payments Fee Table
FrontStream Payments Fee Table

Level 2 and Level 3 Processing Services

In addition to its traditional merchant services, Frontstream Payments also advertises that it provides level 2 and level 3 processing for b2b and b2g transactions. Level 2 and level 3 processing rely upon different interchange rates than traditional consumer credit transactions. Accommodating those rates requires different payment processing technology from a merchant account provider to transmit the amount of data required to facilitate the transactions. These services are reserved for b2b and b2g purchases that utilize corporate credit cards.

No Contract Complaints

Despite the company’s three-year contract and non-cancellable equipment lease, we are unable to locate any FrontStream Payments complaints that specifically mention the company’s pricing as a problem. We will therefore assume for now that most of the company’s merchants are satisfied with the rates and fees they are paying. If you have been charged fees that you feel were excessive or improperly disclosed, we advise you to leave a comment below this review or contact an independent third-party fee reduction analyst.

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Response from FrontStream Payments

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FrontStream Payments Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

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

Clean Complaint Record

We are currently unable to locate any specific FrontStream Payments complaints that accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. We did find two public complaints about the company from 2006 and 2011, respectively, but they are not recent enough to apply to this review. We are also able to locate more than 10 FrontStream complaints on this and other consumer protection websites. Frequently cited issues include difficulty cancelling service, unavailable customer support, undisclosed rates and fees, frequent name changes by the company, and unauthorized withholding of funds. The bulk of the available complaints have been posted by current and former employees of the company who disapprove of the management, and we do not necessarily assume that the content of these reviews applies to FrontStream Payments.

FrontStream Payments Lawsuits

We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against FrontStream Payments. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.

FrontStream Payments Support Options

FrontStream Payments does not list a dedicated phone number or email address for customer support on its website, but a company representative has stated that FrontStream Payments offers “dedicated relationship management.” It is unclear what this entails, but FrontStream Payments’ clean complaint record is along the lines of what we would expect from a top-rated merchant account provider.

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Response from FrontStream Payments

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FrontStream Payments BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 6
Billing & Collection Complaints 0
Advertising & Sales Complaints 0
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery 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.

Two Possible Profiles

At the time of this review, the Better Business Bureau maintains 2 profiles that could apply to FrontStream Payments. One profile, listed under “FrontStream Payments” in Reston, Virginia, is not accredited and is showing an “F” rating from the BBB. The second profile, listed as “FastTransact Merchant Services”, also receives an “F” with the BBB. For simplicity, we have combined these 2 profiles in this review.

Under 10 Complaints Across 2 Profiles

These pages are showing a combined total of 6 complaints, all of which are related to a product or service issue. All 6 received no response from FrontStream Payments. This failure to respond is the primary factor lowering the company’s grade to an “F”.

A “B” Performance

It appears that FrontStream Payments’ poorly documented BBB profile is more related to the BBB record-keeping rather than with any wrongdoing of FrontStream Payments itself. However, its lack of response to all complaints has inclined us to adjust its score to a “B”.

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Response from FrontStream Payments

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

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

Outside Sales Team

FrontStream Payments appears to partner with ISOs and independent sales agents to market its services. In general, this practice is often tied to high complaint volumes, as it is difficult for any company to monitor the conduct of independent sales entities. We are unable to locate any merchant complaints that accuse FrontStream Payments of unethical sales tactics, but we have found numerous negative FrontStream reviews posted online by former and current employees. These complaints may or may not apply to FrontStream Payments due to the shared locations and structural overlap between the two companies.

FrontStream Employee Complaints

Some FrontStream employees express dissatisfaction with the hiring decisions made by management and the lack of support for lower-level workers in the company. There are also multiple reviews accusing FrontStream management of posting fake positive reviews. In the opinion of this reviewer, several of the positive reviews we found did seem to describe a sudden and improbable turnaround in the company’s policies, and these reviews stood in stark contrast to the larger overall pattern of dissatisfaction expressed by other employees. We are therefore inclined to believe that the more negative takes on the company’s corporate environment are accurate.

A Tentative “A”

An unhappy work force can sometimes translate to negative experiences for merchants, which is why we have given FrontStream an average grade of “B” in this category. However, FrontStream Payments markets an entirely different set of products and may have a better office culture than its affiliated company. We will therefore give FrontStream Payments an “A” until we have more merchant feedback.

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Response from FrontStream Payments

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FrontStream Payments Logo

Our Opinion of FrontStream Payments

A Solid All-Purpose Option

FrontStream Payments rates as a good merchant services provider for most standard-risk business types. The company’s industry-average contract terms prevent it from qualifying as a budget payment processor, but its overall reputation among merchants does not raise any serious red flags. Merchants are encouraged to demand and review all relevant pricing paperwork before signing up for service.

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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.

How I Can Help You

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