Global Payments Inc. (globalpaymentsinc.com) is one of the largest credit card processors in the payment processing industry and has been in business since the 1960s. It’s also one of the few merchant account providers to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: GPN). In December 2015, the company announced its acquisition of Heartland Payment Systems, another very large credit card processor based in the U.S. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Global Payments supplies nearly every service a merchant would need, from setting up the merchant account to supplying the processing hardware. The CEO of Global Payments is Jeffrey S. Sloan, while the company’s president is David E. Mangum.
In March 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a complaint against Global Payments, Electronic Merchant Services, Frontline Processing, and Pathfinder Payment Solutions in connection with a “phantom debt” scheme that allegedly attempted to collect nonexistent debts from consumers. The CFPB’s complaint alleges that these four payment processors facilitated transactions for multiple debt collection companies owned by Marcus Brown and Mohan Bagga. According to the complaint, these debt collection companies used robocalls to target millions of consumers, who they then threatened in order to obtain debt payments that were not actually owed or that didn’t even exist. The CFPB further alleges that Global Payments “ignored numerous red flags of the debt collectors’ illegal conduct, including consumer disputes that described the scheme and communication problems with the debt collectors.” The outcome of the CFPB’s complaint is currently pending.
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||No|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
The only strike against Global Payments in this section is how the company acquires new merchant customers. Global Payments relies heavily on partnered independent sales organizations (ISOs) and independent sales agents (both are also called “resellers”) to market and sell its merchant accounts. Although this is a common marketing practice among larger processors, it can result in numerous merchant complaints because the resellers’ sales tactics are hard to control. In Global Payments’ case, it appears that most of the complaints against the company can be traced back to resellers; however, the overall number of complaints is relatively low (details covered below). Global Payments also does not promote any misleading “teaser” rates in its official marketing materials.
Global Payments Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Termination fee:||$500 or Liquidated Damages|
|PCI compliance fee:||Variable|
Pricing and fees of a Global Payments merchant account will vary based on several factors, including a merchant’s business type, processing volume, and the reseller setting up the account. A sample Global Payments agreement from April 2014 (available below) lists an early termination fee of $500 per location or Liquidated Damages, whichever is greater, which is as expensive as termination fees get. However, it appears that the service length agreement and early termination fee can also vary by reseller. Merchants are encouraged to aggressively negotiate pricing and contract terms under this type of scenario because it usually means that fees and terms are highly flexible. Learn everything you need to know about rates and fees as well as how to negotiate merchant account contracts in “Fee Sweep.” See the Global Payments Terms & Conditions.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Live customer support?||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Poor service|
Global Payments has a low-to-moderate complaint count for a processor of its size and time in business. The most common themes among the complaints are reports of fund holds and poor customer service, although hidden fees are also occasionally mentioned. There is no specific circumstance that appears to result in fund holds, but holds often happen because of suspicious transactions or transactions that exceeded a merchant’s processing limit. Since most of these complaints appear to be unique incidents, they will not count heavily against the company’s rating in this section.
It is worth mentioning, however, that as of this update there has been a recent increase in complaints posted in the comment section of this review. Most of these comments cite poor customer service or undisclosed fees, such as early termination fees. The uptick in complaints contrasts with a diminishing complaint rate found on other websites like Ripoff Report. While this trend is slightly troubling, it barely alters our grade for a large, established company like Global Payments.
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Key Points - 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.
As of this review, Global Payments is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau and is showing an “A+” rating. The company has had 59 complaints filed against it in the last three years, all but two of which cite problems with products/service and billing/collection. Global Payments has resolved 22 of these complaints to the merchants’ satisfaction. The remaining complaints either were not satisfactorily resolved or did not receive a final assessment from the merchant. In light of the company’s low complaint volume for its size, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to an “A-” for the purposes of this review.
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About Phillip Parker
Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry. Schedule a Consultation with PhillipSchedule a Consultation with Phillip