Agree with our rating?
Leave a comment below
Heartland Merchant Services 2023: Reviews & Complaints
Agree with our rating?
Heartland (formerly Heartland Payment Systems) is a very large merchant account provider previously headquartered in Edmond, Oklahoma, now in Oklahoma City. The company was founded in 1997 and, according to several reports, it ranks as the fifth-largest payment processor in the United States and processes over $80 billion in credit card transactions annually. Heartland was acquired for $4.3 billion by Global Payments in December 2015, which was in turn followed by Global Payments acquiring TSYS in 2019. It is unclear whether the merged companies intend to absorb the Heartland brand into Global Payments Inc. over time, but for now, Heartland still appears to operate under the Heartland name.
Before we dive in, here’s a short summary of what we’ll cover:
- Heartland’s various payment processing services.
- Heartland generates a consistent number of complaints, often related to unexpected charges.
- The company’s contract offers interchange-plus, which is industry-best pricing. However, there are a number of undesirable fees built into the contract. Reviews state that these can be waived by a salesperson.
- Heartland has a history of being sued over a variety of issues.
Data Security Breach
The company made national headlines in 2008 when Heartland’s computer systems were infiltrated by a computer hacker named Albert Gonzalez, who subsequently stole the data of more than 130 million credit cards. While this could have spelled doom for such a prominent company, Heartland responded very quickly to repair the damages and prevent future security breaches. Heartland now regularly updates its security systems and, understandably, takes data security very seriously. Additionally, Heartland seems to have a strongly embedded philosophy of educating merchants about payment processing, even going so far as to dedicate an entire website dubbed the “Merchant Bill of Rights” which is more than your average merchant service provider.
Heartland Payment Processing
Heartland Payment Systems is a payment processing company that offers a variety of services for small business owners. The company processes all major debit and credit cards for most business types, including enterprise-level businesses. Here are some of its most popular services:
Point of Sale Systems
Heartland offers cloud-based point of sale (POS) software that can be paired with various hardware options. The system is designed to grow with the business and offers features like sales tracking and inventory management.
Payroll and HR Solutions
Heartland offers services that handle payroll and human resource tasks. They provide solutions from recruitment to retirement, aiming to simplify employee management duties.
Heartland offers additional financial services like surcharging, instant deposits, and billing and invoicing. They also provide gift and loyalty programs as part of their payment processing solutions.
The company offers customer management solutions that include features for tracking customer data and managing interactions. This is part of their broader payment processing services.
Location & Ownership
Heartland Payment Systems Inc. is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, CA, and The Bancorp Bank, Philadelphia, PA. The company’s headquarters are located at 616 N Broadway Ave, Oklahoma City, OK. However, the BBB lists 3932 S Boulevard Edmond, OK 73013. Marcus Dean is the CEO of Heartland and Cameron Bready is the president and COO of Global Payments. However, some sites list Vincent Lombardo as CEO.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Offers a three-year contract through Global Payments with…
- Complaints & Service: Has received more than 150 public complaints regarding…
- BBB Rating: Has a “B-” rating with the Better Business Bureau but has…
- Sales & Marketing: Does not appear to hire independent sales representatives but has…
Heartland Payment Systems Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||150+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Hidden Fees|
Low-to-Moderate Complaint Volume
For a processor of Heartland’s size, there are a low-to-moderate number of negative Heartland Payment Systems reviews posted in the normal channels and forums, and only a handful of these complaints accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. Nearly all of the negative Heartland reviews mention fees that were not properly disclosed before signup. The individual sales agent a client communicates with appears to be a major factor in determining a business’ future satisfaction with Heartland, so owners are encouraged to work with someone they trust. Heartland even has specific relationship managers to improve this aspect of communication. The remaining negative user reviews generally mention poor customer service and withheld funds, although these are varied in their details and severity.
Specific Heartland Payment Systems Reviews from Customers
Aside from complaints about agents, there are a handful of reports (and at least one lawsuit) from businesses indicating that their fees were suddenly raised without notification. In one particular case, the merchant “told [the sales agent] I would try his company but I would not sign a 3 year contract. [The agent] said no problem.” Later, however, “they told me I signed a 3 year non cancellable contract and I would be charged $295. I asked them to send me a copy of the contract and it was a obvious forgery.”
Heartland Payment Systems Lawsuits and Fines
As part of the above-mentioned data breaches, Heartland was ordered to pay $2.4 million in a class-action settlement in 2012.
In October 2017, a judge preliminarily approved a settlement of $2.5 million in a proposed class-action lawsuit against Heartland. The plaintiffs in the case alleged that Heartland initially told clients in June 2014 that it would charge them the same rates for American Express that it charges for Visa and MasterCard. They further alleged that Heartland proceeded to bill them in October 2014 for an “American Express Fee Adjustment” that contradicted the company’s earlier statement as well as the terms of its contract.
In July 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against ex-Heartland CEO Robert Carr and his romantic partner, Katherine M. Hanratty, alleging that the pair engaged in insider trading at the time of Heartland Payment Systems’ sale to Global Payments. In October 2018, the lawsuit reached a settlement, requiring Hanratty to disgorge funds and pay a civil penalty. The SEC case against Robert Carr is ongoing.
2018 also saw a Heartland employee sue the company over alleged unjust enrichment. This appears to be ongoing.
In 2020, Heartland was sued for allegedly pocketing fees from parents at a large number of US schools. The fees were thought to be going to the schools themselves.
A further class-action suit was filed against Heartland in 2021 from a group of restaurants that were allegedly charged new and excessive fees during the 2020-21 global pandemic.
Heartland Payment Systems Customer Support Options
Generally speaking, Heartland appears to offer above-average customer service that is somewhat undercut by its billing practices. Heartland offers a variety of support contact options on its website, which is what we expect of top-rated payment processors for customer service.
Heartland Payment Systems Customer Service Numbers
- (800) 285-0005 – Toll-Free Support and Sales
- (866) 402-8056 – Heartland Gift
- (888) 332-4835 – School Solutions
Other Support Options
- Live chat
- Support form
Heartland Payment Systems Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
|Average Online Rating||2.8/5|
|Software Advice Rating||3.8/5|
BBB Rating Analysis for Heartland Payment Systems
Heartland Payment Systems, LLC has a total of 104 complaints in the last 3 years, with 53 complaints closed in the last 12 months on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. The company is not BBB accredited and has a “B-” rating. The complaints primarily focus on issues related to billing/collection, problems with products/services, and customer service challenges.
I used Heartland for credit card processing until 9/11/23. I cancelled services with them, and I continue to be billed for fees from them. I called in October and then again this month. I confirmed that I cancelled my services and asked them to stop billing me.
– Complaint from November 2, 2023
My heartland payment system and app did not work properly, reached out to heartland 3 times about the issue and nothing was resolved. Never was even given the option to even troubleshoot anything, no tech recommendation or anything, I lost all of my credit card transactions because of their app glitch so I made no money my very first time using the system that I paid $100 for so I lost that money too. I’m highly disappointed they didn’t even try to keep me as a customer.
– Complaint from October 22, 2023
“There are no positive reviews published about Heartland Payment Systems with the Better Business Bureau.”
Source: Better Business Bureau
GetApp Rating Analysis
Heartland Payment Processing has an average customer review rating of 3.8 stars on GetApp, based on 52 customer reviews. Common themes in the reviews include appreciation for the ease of use and customer service. However, there are also complaints about issues with documentation processing, support, and unexpected fees.
“Zero follow through during the aggressive sales attempt, poor documentation processing, no support. It’s been a nightmare dealing with them. The lack of support and clarity has caused significant issues for our business.”
– Review from Chase B.
“I was extremely disappointed with the service. After being charged unexpected fees, I spoke to a client manager who said there was nothing he could do to reclaim the fees. This lack of support and transparency is unacceptable.”
– Review from Barbara A.
“The people at Heartland are so friendly and helpful. I’ve always received great support when needed. The software itself is very user-friendly, making our payment processing much smoother.”
– Review from Kris K.
“I’ve had a great experience with Heartland’s customer service. They are clear, communicative, and helpful. The system is easy to navigate, and payment processing is straightforward.”
– Review from Chase O.
Software Advice Rating Analysis
Heartland Payment Processing has an average customer review rating of 3.8 stars on Software Advice, based on 52 customer reviews. The ratings breakdown includes 27% 5-star, 10% 4-star, 2% 3-star, 2% 2-star, and 11% 1-star ratings. Common themes in the reviews include ease of integration and good customer support, with some users appreciating the platform’s ability to handle online payments and its user-friendly software. However, there are also concerns about convoluted pricing, difficulty in finding transactions, and poor client service in some cases.
Reviewed in October 2023, a user from Chase Hospitality, who used the service for less than 6 months, rated it 1 star in all categories. They described their experience as “absolutely terrible,” stating that the company error led to their business being falsely added to the TMF blacklist, severely impacting their ability to acquire merchant services. The user expressed frustration over the lack of support and communication from Heartland, claiming that the company’s actions had permanently damaged their business.
– Review from October 2023
Another negative review from a verified reviewer in the automotive industry, who used Heartland daily for more than 2 years, gave an overall rating of 4 stars but highlighted some cons. They mentioned that while the website looks beautiful, it is difficult to use and very slow. This review, dated September 2018, reflects the user’s mixed feelings about the service’s usability despite good customer support.
– Review from September 2018
Rachel, a verified reviewer who used Heartland daily for more than 2 years, gave a 5-star rating in June 2018. She praised Heartland for being one of the best in class, highlighting its low processing rates, ease of use, and excellent customer service. Rachel recommended Heartland over other processing companies, citing their reliability and the feeling of being treated like family.
– Review from June 2018
Kris, from consumer services with 2-10 employees, who used Heartland weekly for more than 2 years, also gave a 5-star rating in November 2020. Kris appreciated the transparency, lower fees, and exceptional customer service of Heartland. The ease of use and the absence of hidden fees were particularly noted, although Kris mentioned a minor issue with setting up automatic payments.
– Review from November 2020
Source: Software Advice
Heartland Payment Systems Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Monthly & Annual Fees||Yes|
Heartland Payment Systems Pricing
Pricing of Heartland merchant accounts appears to vary based on a variety of factors including business needs, sales volume, and the agent setting up the account. The company’s standard contract has a 3-year service agreement with a $295 cancellation fee, both of which appear to be negotiable. It also appears that Heartland is willing to waive cancellation and processing fees in numerous circumstances.
Heartland’s website claims that the company offers all of its clients interchange-plus pricing, which is the most transparent pricing model available. The company does not appear to charge an annual PCI Compliance fee but it does charge a $25 monthly “service and regulatory mandate fee.” A representative has stated that agents have the option to not charge this fee. Heartland also adds a few basis points to its rate for merchants who request monthly rather than daily billing.
According to the company’s merchant agreement, businesses can lease or purchase hardware from Heartland. Equipment leases lasting the term of a contract often result in fees exceeding the price of equipment, which can be purchased for under $500.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Heartland Payment Systems also offers other services like their virtual terminal and payment gateway services. However, pricing is not disclosed on either of those services. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
Recently, we’ve seen businesses and agents report fee increases and unexpected fees. One former agent claimed that Heartland was planning to raise its rates in February 2018, and a company representative later confirmed this. However, this rate increase only affects clients whose initial three-year contracts have expired and who have seen significant reductions in their sales volume. Multiple businesses also claimed that they were charged $299 without any advance notification because they had not yet upgraded their terminals to be EMV-compatible, which is a sizable fee especially for small businesses. We encourage business owners to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant services.
Slightly Better Than Average Terms
In general, Heartland’s contract terms are better than industry averages but less competitive than a month-to-month contract with no termination fees. If you can add any more details about the company’s pricing, please leave them in the comment section below.
Heartland Payment Systems Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Uses Independent Resellers||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Inside Sales Team
Heartland does not appear to use any deceptive advertising or rate quoting practices. Additionally, representatives of Heartland have stated that all of the company’s sales staff are internal W-2 employees who undergo background checks. Heartland never outsources its products and services to other companies and never uses independent contractors, sub-ISOs, or reseller organizations. This compares favorably to our list of best credit card processors.
Nondisclosure of Early Termination Fee
Although the company claims to go to great lengths to fully disclose its contract terms to clients, the most consistently reported complaint about the company is nondisclosure of its $295 early termination fee (ETF). It appears that Heartland’s standard practice is to provide businesses with two documents at the point of signing. One is a short summary of the pricing and contract length, commonly referred to as a “merchant agreement.” According to some Heartland Payment Systems reviews, this agreement does not clearly mention the early termination fee (ETF), although company representatives state that this fee is disclosed directly above the signature line. The second piece of documentation is a large handbook of user guidelines, often referred to in the industry as a “program guide.” The early termination fee is mentioned somewhere in this larger document.
Some Cause For Concern
We do not consider this disclosure method to be very transparent, although there seems to be some variation among the company’s agents when it comes to verbally disclosing the ETF. The consistency of negative Heartland Payment Systems reviews emerging about nondisclosure of the company’s ETF has prompted us to lower Heartland’s rating in this category to a “B.” If you suspect that Heartland is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to find and eliminate hidden charges.
Copyright © 2023 CardPaymentOptions.com, Inc. (Digital Fingerprint: 0d38c6720f0d78a701b74d58653af608). Getting paid to re-write this page? Click here to earn a reward.
Any unauthorized copying and reproduction of the content of this page, including all meta data and computer code, is strictly prohibited. While the information in the above article is believed to be accurate as of its publish date, the author and publisher make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents. The author and publisher shall in no event be held liable to any party for any direct, indirect, punitive, special, incidental or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of this material, which is provided “as is,” and without warranties. Any and all use of trade names and/or marks are for identification purposes only and shall not be construed as a claim of affiliation, or otherwise, with CardPaymentOptions.com, Inc. ("CPO") in any form. The sole purpose of the material presented herein is to alert, educate, and inform readers. It is not intended as legal or financial advice. We may earn revenue if you obtain services from a provider that we recommend. See this page to learn how we support our operations.