Merchant Cooperative 2023: Reviews & Complaints
Founded in 2005, Merchant Cooperative is a merchant account provider that serves most standard-risk business types. It specifically focuses on retail merchant accounts, restaurant merchant accounts, e-commerce merchant accounts, and mobile merchant accounts. The company shares executive leadership with another company called SaveOnCreditCardProcessing.com and is a reseller of EVO Payments International products and services. The company also operates as a reseller of SignaPay.
Before we dive in, here’s a short summary of what we’ll cover:
- Merchant Cooperative’s various payment processing services.
- The company has received few negative reviews.
- The Merchant Cooperative contract appears to include a number of potentially costly fees and undesirable equipment leases.
Merchant Services & Credit Card Processing
Merchant Cooperative processes most major debit and credit card payments and focuses its marketing efforts on businesses located in South Carolina. The company’s services include EBT processing, check conversion and guarantee, electronic gift certificate processing, and leasing of equipment. They support in-store traditional POS systems as well as online virtual terminals and mobile payment. Other equipment available through the company includes thermal printers, pin pads, card swipers, and check scanners.
POS Systems for Retail and Restaurants
The company offers Point-of-Sale (POS) systems specifically designed for retail and restaurant businesses. They claim to have no sign-up fees and offer VIP low rates for these services.
Internet and Web Services
Merchant Cooperative provides a free virtual terminal for internet and web-based transactions. Again, they mention that there are no sign-up fees for this service.
The company also offers services like EBT processing, check conversion and guarantee, electronic gift certificate processing, and leasing of equipment. They focus their marketing efforts mainly on businesses located in South Carolina.
Alternative Financing and Web Solutions
Merchant Cooperative offers a suite of services that include alternative financing options and web solutions, although specific details are not provided.
Location & Ownership
Merchant Cooperative is a registered ISO/MSP of Deutsche Bank Trust Company, New York, New York, and is headquartered at 115 Etiwan Drive, Goose Creek, South Carolina 29445. Christian Maurer is the president of Merchant Cooperative.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Appears to offer a three-year contract through EVO Payments International with…
- Complaints & Service: Merchant Cooperative complaints number more than 30 on…
- BBB Rating: Has an “A+” rating with the BBB and has received 1 complaint in…
- Sales & Marketing: Appears to hire independently contracted agents and has…
Merchant Cooperative Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||30+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Equipment Lease|
Moderate Complaint Total
We are currently able to locate over 30 negative Merchant Cooperative reviews, some of which accuse the company of being a ripoff. As noted above, the complaint rate drops severely after 2012, but the Merchant Cooperative complaints up to that point are consistent in their content. Common themes include nondisclosure by sales reps, hidden fees, poor customer service, and general misconduct by sales agents and management. Only a few of these complaints have received rebuttals from Merchant Cooperative representatives, and these rebuttals typically assert that the complaints are fake. If you have your own Merchant Cooperative review to make, please do so in the comments below.
Merchant Cooperative Lawsuits and Fines
We have not found any outstanding class-action Merchant Cooperative lawsuits or FTC complaints. Dissatisfied customers who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
Merchant Cooperative Customer Support Options
Even allowing for the possibility of a few fake reviews, the company’s complaint total is high enough and the content consistent enough to lower its score in this section to a “C.” Merchant Cooperative lists a contact number on its website, but it’s unclear whether this line is specifically dedicated to customer support.
Merchant Cooperative Customer Service Numbers
- (888) 287-6033 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
- (843) 884-6884 – Office
Other Support Options
- Support form
This falls short of our standards for a recommended provider for great customer service.
Merchant Cooperative Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
Online Ratings Summary
Under 5 Complaints
Merchant Cooperative currently has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has been accredited since September 2016. The company’s profile is currently showing 1 complaint in the last 36 months. The 1 complaint was resolved to the dissatisfaction of the client or did not receive a final communication.
An “A” Performance
Considering Merchant Cooperative’s complaint total and resolution ratio, we agree with the BBB‘s rating.
Merchant Cooperative Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Monthly & Annual Fees||Likely|
|Processing Rates||1.00% - 4.99%|
According to Merchant Cooperative complaints, the standard Merchant Cooperative contract is a three-year agreement through EVO Payments International with an early termination fee of $250 to $395 and a long-term, non-cancellable equipment lease through MBF Leasing or First Data Global Leasing. Given Merchant Cooperative’s relationship with EVO Payments International, it’s likely that the company also charges PCI compliance fees, annual fees, statement fees, and monthly minimum fees, but we have not found any Merchant Cooperative reviews that specifically mention these charges. If you find Merchant Cooperative fees such as these, please let us know in the comments below.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Merchant Cooperative also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its 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.
Long-Term Lease Problems
EVO’s standard contract terms are average to below average for the industry, but Merchant Cooperative’s practice of adding expensive equipment leases through MBF and First Data Global Leasing has lowered its rating to a “C” in this category. Business owners are generally advised to purchase rather than lease equipment, as equipment leases end up costing thousands over the life of the lease for equipment that is worth less than $500. It is extremely hard to cancel these lease agreements without paying a large fee. This is far from ideal, and we encourage businesses to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant services.
Merchant Cooperative Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Uses Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Independent Sales Agents
Merchant Cooperative appears to primarily utilize outbound telemarketing and commission-only sales representatives to market its products and services. This combination tends to generate a high number of complaints within the credit card processing industry, and Merchant Cooperative is no exception. We are able to locate numerous Merchant Cooperative reviews that report “slamming” tactics and undisclosed contract terms, particularly with regard to the company’s long-term credit card terminal leases through MBF Leasing and First Data Global Leasing. This does not compare favorably to our list of best credit card processors.
Incomplete Rates Removed
At the time of an earlier Merchant Cooperative review, the Merchant Cooperative rates page advertised rates that “start at 1.09% for Swiped Merchants and 1.79% for Keyed Merchants,” but it also stated that its rates and fees “depend on the type of business you have, whether you are swiping cards or keying cards, which card types you are accepting, and more.” The company was probably referring to “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” downgrade fees which are charged on the majority of transactions. Businesses should heed the company’s words and expect an effective Merchant Cooperative rate that is much higher than 1.09% or 1.79%. If you suspect that Merchant Cooperative is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking an independent, third-party statement audit.
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