Host Merchant Services Review

Host Merchant Services Overview

*Economic Slowdown Update: U.S. and Canadian businesses may qualify for refunds of certain credit card and debit card processing fees. Visit this page to find out if your business can benefit.

Payment Processing for a Wide Range of Business Types

Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that serves a variety of business types. The company is well-suited for most general business types and some high risk merchants. The company has become one of the top-rated merchant services providers on CPO. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions (with specific packages for the restaurant, salon, professional service, and contractor sectors), online marketing tools, an online payment gateway and virtual terminal, mobile credit card processing, gift and loyalty programs, merchant cash advance, and offshore merchant accounts. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce businesses and provides a free website and email address to new merchants who require them.

Host Merchant Services has received only positive feedback on public forums, with most reviewers singling out the company’s customer service for praise. Host offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees to all of its merchants, meaning that users will enjoy the most transparent pricing model and can cancel service without penalty.

Host Merchant Services Location and Ownership

Company founder and CEO Lou Honick got his start in the web hosting industry by launching, owning, and operating from 1997 until its acquisition by a private equity firm in 2008. Host Merchant Services is headquartered at 250 Corporate Blvd., Suite L, Newark, Delaware. The company is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, California.

Host Merchant Services Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: Host Merchant Services offers a month-to-month contract with no early termination fee.
  • Complaints & Service: Host Merchant Services has received fewer than 10 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Host Merchant Services has an “A+” rating and has received 1 complaint and 2 reviews in the past 3 years. The company has been accredited by the BBB since 2011.
  • Sales & Marketing: Host Merchant Services hires independent sales representatives and has received only one complaint about its sales practices.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Host Merchant Services
Are you a decision maker with Host Merchant Services? Claim this review.

Products & Services Offered

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • Restaurant
  • Non-profit
  • Fitness

Our unbiased reviews are supported, in part, by helping you find highly rated merchant accounts. You can learn more here.

Host Merchant Services Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Retail Rate Interchange + 0.25% + $0.10
Restaurant Rate Interchange- + 0.20% + $0.09
e-Commerce Rate Interchange + 0.35% + $0.10
Monthly Fee $14.99
Batch Fee $0.20
Gateway Fee (Optional) $5.00 Per Month
Annual Fee (1099 Reporting) $24.00
Early Termination Fee $0
PCI Compliance Fee $0
Equipment Lease Terms Variable

Month-to-Month Contract, No Termination Fee

Host Merchant Services offers interchange-plus pricing with no term length or early cancellation fee. The section of the company’s contract that describes the termination process includes a portion that has been struck through; this portion describes an early termination fee ranging from $250 to $500. Merchants are advised to ensure that this portion does not appear in any contract they sign. We also have seen one complaint that seems to describe a termination fee associated with a long-term equipment lease. Although Host does not advertise equipment leases on its website, merchants should ensure that such a deal is not embedded in or attached to their Host contract.

Retail, Restaurant, and E-Commerce Pricing

Host Merchant Services offers three per-transaction rates depending on the merchant’s business type. Retail businesses will receive a rate of interchange plus 0.25% plus $0.10, restaurants will receive a rate of interchange plus 0.20% plus $0.09, and e-commerce businesses will receive a rate of interchange plus 0.35% plus $0.10. Host also offers high risk merchant accounts that will feature variable pricing depending on each merchant’s business type and processing history.

Other Fees

Host Merchant Services offers transparent insight into its additional fees through its website. Among those fees are a batch fee of $0.20, an optional gateway fee of $5.00 per month, a monthly fee of $14.99, and an annual fee of $24.00 which covers the cost of 1099 reporting.

Few Contract Complaints

The company is showing only one online complaint about its contract terms, which indicates that most of its clients are satisfied with their agreements. Overall, Host’s terms appear to be exceptionally transparent and highly competitive, and we therefore award Host Merchant Services an “A” in this category.

Are you happy with your Host Merchant Services fees? Tell us about them before your go!

Response from Host Merchant Services

We’re here to help! Call us at (888) 727-4538 or visit!

Host Merchant Services Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

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

Low Complaint Total

We are currently unable to locate any Host Merchant Services complaints that accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff, which indicates that the company’s in-house customer support team does an excellent job of resolving issues before they are taken onto public forums. The company is showing only a handful of complaints on this and other websites, with most related to being denied a merchant account or malfunctioning hardware. A recent complaint in the comment section below this review cites misrepresentation of rates and an unexpected equipment lease, but it is the only complaint of its kind. All other reviews we have located have been positive testimonials.

Host Merchant Services Lawsuits

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

Host Merchant Services Customer Support Options

Host offers 24/7/365 customer support to all merchants. In general, Host Merchant Services appears to offer reliable customer support to complement its competitive contract terms. We therefore assign it an “A” in this section.

Do you have a complaint or testimonial about Host Merchant Services? Make your voice heard before you go!

Response from Host Merchant Services

We’re here to help! Call us at (888) 727-4538 or visit!

Host Merchant Services BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 1
Billing & Collection Complaints 0
Advertising & Sales Complaints 0
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

Low Complaint Total

Host Merchant Services has been an accredited business of the Better Business Bureau since 2011 and currently holds an “A+” rating. The company’s BBB profile is showing 1 complaint in the past 36 months. This complaint was filed in relation to a product or service issue, and, despite an extended effort by Host to fix the problem, the merchant who initially left the complaint did not respond to the company’s answer.

An “A” Performance Overall

Since it is our philosophy that “A+” ratings should be reserved for companies with zero complaints, we agree with the BBB’s rating at this time.

How has Host Merchant Services treated you? Tell us about it here!

Response from Host Merchant Services

We’re here to help! Call us at (888) 727-4538 or visit!

Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

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

No Sales Complaints

Host Merchant Services appears to employ both W2-employed sales agents and independently contracted outside salespeople. We have located only one negative Host Merchant Services review that mentions the company’s sales team. This complaint describes higher-than-expected fees and improper disclosure of the company’s termination policy. The absence of any other such complaints indicates that Host’s sales reps are generally forthright and helpful when signing merchants up for services.

Transparent Pricing

Host Merchant Services actively promotes interchange-plus pricing on its website and includes a description of this pricing structure for merchants who may not be familiar with it. Host offers interchange-plus pricing with its mobile merchant accounts and e-commerce merchant accounts in addition to its conventional retail merchant accounts. The company also does not appear to engage in any deceptive advertising strategies in its official materials.

Did you get what you expected from Host Merchant Services? Tell us why, or why not.

Response from Host Merchant Services

We’re here to help! Call us at (888) 727-4538 or visit!

Host Merchant Services Marketing Example

Host Merchant Services Logo

Our Opinion of Host Merchant Services

Great Option For Almost Any Business

Host Merchant Services rates as an exemplary merchant services provider according to our standards. The company is showing generally positive reviews across all consumer protection websites and offers interchange-plus as its preferred pricing model. Even when dealing with highly rated companies, merchants are encouraged to read their contracts carefully. For more information on the company, see the Host Merchant Services website or call (888) 727-4538.

We rely on your feedback about Host Merchant Services to keep this review accurate and up-to-date. Please take a minute to tell us about your experience. We and the small business owners of this world thank you!

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.

How I Can Help You

I specialize in helping businesses get refunds of excessive fees and have recovered $1,567,184 this year alone! Submit a recent statement below to find out if you are getting overcharged. I'll take a look at it for free. If I find fees that can be refunded, hire me on contigency. I only get compensated if I put money back into your pocket.

Submit a Statement

  • Accepted file types: jpg, png, pdf, xls, xlsx.

20 Reviews Leave Your Review for Host Merchant Services Below

  1. We have been using SquareUp for several years, with no complaints. They recently increased their rates to be more competitive. We “shopped” around to ensure we would still be getting a great deal, and found this site very helpful to confirm that! Their site is easy to use, offers reports and easy to upload, etc. They’re changing rates to 2.65% swiped plus 10cents per trans.

  2. imad says:

    I do not recommend this company to anybody. They have very bad customer service. It is the worst company I have ever dealt with.

    From The Editor
    This Post Might Help: Best Merchant Accounts for Great Customer Service

  3. Anne Hoang says:

    Stay away from this company! They tricked us into thinking they were cheaper than our previous company but ended up being the same or more expensive. And the representative told us that the equipment was given to us free for use as long as we used them. But could be returned in the future if we decided we no longer wanted to use them. Turns out that was a lie. Cancelling with them might be at no charge if they cant beat another competitor company’s fees, but you have to pay $3600 for equipment! Look over everything before signing! What they say to you does seem too good to be true, so don’t fall for it.

  4. We have have switched our Church to this Merchant Provider and have found their fees, service and courtesy to be exemplary at every level.
    Trustee & IT Manager, P.O.M.O G. Orthodox Church

  5. clint says:

    I see nothing about whether they offer virtual terminal or not. Also I don’t see anything about ‘card not present’ fees.

  6. Mike S says:

    I have worked with HMS for a few years now and they have been not only responsive, but they connect with clients on a personal level. Rates are better than any other option we can offer our clients and the application process is painless and fast! Thanks HMS!

  7. I have been using Host Merchant Services at my restaurant for 2 years. The customer support is outstanding and I would highly recommend them to any business.

  8. Chris Bath says:

    I have used host for a few years now and I have to say it is far superior to my previous hosting company. Low rates on processing and the customer service has been outstanding.

    1. CPO Admin says:

      Hi Chris,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

  9. Allison Jones says:

    Host Merchant Services has handled my restaurant’s payment processing for a few years now. I switched over because they were able to lower the rates and fees I was paying to save me quite a bit each month. After processing with them, I realized that other company’s customer service and support cannot compare to theirs. When I need help with something, I give them a call and have a real person on the phone in about 10 seconds. They are a great company to work with, and I’d recommend them to any business owner.

    1. CPO Admin says:

      Hi Allison,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

  10. Ana R says:

    I am trying to get in touch with them and no results . I sent an email and call leaving a message because i am interested to work with them but i do not have response.

  11. michael says:

    Waste of time. Their response to our application was, Unfortunately I could not get this pre approved. Your score does not qualify for further consideration”
    What is that based on? We are over a million dollar business and do not qualify. I question the ratings here.

  12. Carina Cooper says:

    Hugo helped me over the phone today.I found him very personable,and professional.He took care of the professional request that I needed in a timely manor.It is refreshing to talk to a pleasant representative who seemed happy to help.Thank you Hugo!

    1. CPO Admin says:

      Hi Carina,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

  13. Terry Gruchacz says:

    I started applying for a merchant account with Host Merchant Services on July 30, 2015. After a reminder on August 11th that I was still interested, the account manager finally sent me an application. I completed it and e-mailed on August 14th. The account manager then asked for more info on the 14th. I collected it and e-mailed it on the 19th. Today, August 28th, I had to remind the account manager I was waiting for a reply or anything saying he had received my e-mail. He got back to me and wrote Host Merchant Services could not take my account because my credit card volume was too low.
    The reason I am putting in a complaint is they dragged out the whole procedure when they could have told me on the 14th, when I e-mailed the original application, my volume was too low.

  14. shirley says:

    my credit card machine will not says ‘reversal not cleared’ I know there is a way to fix this but I can’t find it…please help me

  15. Great merchants account providers are hard to come by. Finding one that can not only suit your needs but also provide top class support is another.

    We’re proud to have partnered with Host Merchant Services. This is a company that places great emphasis on customer service and are always there to help. We recommend HMS to the people we care about the most because there’s no question they’ll deliver!

  16. Host Merchant Services are in my opinion the way to accept credit/debit cards if you want the “personal touch” Our business has been associated with many different credit card processors in our 20+ years in business, and HMS has been the only one with a local representative that is consistently available when you need her. They also provide quicker deposits of transactions with lower fees. We unequivocally recommend Host Merchant Services.

  17. Host Merchant Services has first rate unparalled customer service. Local office and direct cell phone numbers for tech support in addition to the standard 24-hr toll free. I especially like their web based processing solution to process cards not present for our phone orders and catering jobs. Rates are very competive (we have saved money processing with Host Merchant) and Host Merchant has also supplied us with wireless terninals we use to process cards at fairs, festivals, offsite and special events. Little extras (like free thermal paper) are a nice bonus.

Leave a Review for Host Merchant Services

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please do not use profanity or ALL CAPITAL LETTERS in your review. Reviews must provide a detailed account of your experience. By submitting a review or comment to CPO, you are agreeing to our Comment Policy.