Merchant e-Solutions Review: Fees, Comparisons, Complaints & Lawsuits

Merchant e-Solutions
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Merchant e-Solutions

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A Cielo Company

Merchant e-Solutions is a merchant account provider headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, that provides credit card processing services for most business needs, including global payments and e-commerce. The company’s website states that it was founded in early 2000 by a team of mostly former executives of Bank of America Merchant Services and has since been acquired by a Brazil-based merchant services provider called Cielo S.A. Additionally, Merchant e-Solutions claims to process over $17 billion in transactions annually and support 150 global currencies. As of 2020, it appears that the Merchant e-Solutions name is being phased out and rebranded as MerchantE. The original website now redirects to merchante.com, and the Better Business Bureau’s page points users to MerchantE’s BBB listing. This comes shortly after the company’s announcement in April 2020 that it would be partnering with Payouts Network, but the exact details of this strategic partnership are unknown.

MerchantE Payment Processing

MerchantE processes all major debit and credit cards for most business types. Their services include POS solutions, mobile solutions, ACH processing, access to virtual terminals and payment gateways, other e-commerce services, employee payment services, and cash flow management.

MerchantE Location & Ownership

MerchantE, Inc. is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, CA; Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA; and Fresno First Bank, Fresno, CA; with headquarters located at 1150 Sanctuary Pkwy STE 300 Alpharetta, GA 30009. Mike Rouse is the CEO of Merchant e-Solutions.

Video Summary

Merchant e-Solutions Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: Offers a three-year contract with an early termination fee of $300 or more…
  • Complaints & Service: Has received more than 10 public complaints regarding…
  • BBB Rating: Has been accredited by the BBB since 2020 and has an “A+” rating but has received 1 complaints and 3 reviews in regards to…
  • Sales & Marketing: Hires independent sales representatives and has received some complaints about its…
MerchantE payment processing

MerchantE offers a variety of payment processing services

Should You Trust Merchant e-Solutions?

Lawsuits, Reviews & Complaints

Here's Who We Trust.

Complaint Summary

Total Online Complaints
10+
Live Customer Support
Yes
Most Common Complaint
Auto-Renewing Contract

Moderate Complaint Volume

We were able to locate a few negative Merchant e-Solutions reviews on this and other consumer protection websites that accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. The available merchant complaints mention the contract’s automatic renewal, the company’s unexpectedly large liquidated damages early termination fee, strange Amex charges for consumers, poor customer service, and fund holds. We are also able to locate over 10 complaints posted by current and former employees who express dissatisfaction with the work environment both before and after the company was acquired by Cielo S.A., but these issues will likely have little to no impact on merchants.

Merchant e-Solutions Lawsuits and Fines

In 2013, Merchant e-Solutions appears to have been sued over a patent, though the case looks like it was dealt with out of court and dismissed. 2020 saw a former employee sue the company over an undisclosed matter, but this case was dismissed as well. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.

Merchant e-Solutions Customer Service Options

Merchant e-Solutions has seen its grade drop to a “C” in this section due to the complaints describing very large termination fees and a concerning number of fraudulent charge complaints. The company provides a dedicated 27/7/365 phone support line and email address on its website, but its support channels are not sufficient to qualify it as a top-rated processor for customer service.

We are able to locate multiple MerchantE customer service numbers:

(855) 949-7474 – General Customer Service
(866) 934-3671 – Sales

MerchantE also offers a customer support form on its website.

Is the BBB Rating for Merchant e-Solutions Accurate?

Better Business Bureau Profile

See Which Processors Offer No Monthly Fees And No Contracts.

BBB Summary

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

Under 5 Complaints

Previously, Merchant e-Solutions had a profile with the BBB under that name and one under MerchantE, but only the MerchantE profile remains. This profile has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2020 and has a score of “A+”. The company’s profile is currently showing 1 complaint in the last 36 months. The 1 complaint was due to a problem with a product or service, and it was resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no final response.

What Merchants Say

In addition to the 1 complaint, MerchantE has received 3 informal reviews in the last 36 months, all negative. The negative review mentions fraudulent charges:

They allowed 100,000 plus fraudulent credit charge attempts on my account which normally receives five or six a week and charged me $0.20 per processing. If you’re not a big company with a full-time IT support team and all kinds of insurance these people are a terrible choice for a merchant account. As an FYI they are owned by Wells Fargo, the most well-known horrible bank on the planet. I highly recommend you move elsewhere and make sure to talk to even those people about fraudulent charge attempts and what that means to you. A tiny little mom and pop store with a small e-commerce site is open for tens of thousands of dollars of fraudulent credit card processing attempts and are actually the best targets. These guys know it and use it as a profit center. If your site gets hacked, which they do all the time, you are leaving yourself wide open for massive losses and these guy love every second of it.

Merchants in this situation may benefit from learning how to get out of a contract with a processor without paying a fee.

An Improved Rating

At the time of a previous review, the company had 6 complaints posted to its Spokane BBB profile. It is possible that with Merchant e-Solutions’s recent relocation of headquarters, some complaints were lost among the restructuring of BBB profiles. However, given the company’s current clean complaint record, we agree with the BBB’s rating at this time. Merchants should note, however, that there are good reasons to be skeptical of the BBB’s rating system.

How Expensive is Merchant e-Solutions Service?

Rates, Fees, and Contract Terms

Don't Fall Into An Expensive Trap. See Who The Worst Processors Are.

Cost Summary

Qualified Rate
2.69% + $0.30
Mid-Qualified Rate
3.24% + $0.40
Non-Qualified Rate
4.64% + $0.40
American Express Rate
3.50% + $0.30
Virtual Terminal Rate
1.00% - 4.99%
Payment Gateway Fee
Undisclosed
Monthly Service Fee
$30
Monthly Minimum Fee
$20
Early Termination Fee
$300+
PCI Compliance Fee
$34.95 Per Year

Three-Year Contract

According to the company’s standard contract, terms and conditions, and the company’s pricing table found on its website, Merchant e-Solutions offers a typical agreement of 3 years with automatic renewal for one year, an early termination fee of $300, an annual PCI Compliance fee of $34.95, a $20 monthly minimum fee, a chargeback fee of $25, a qualified rate of 2.69% plus $0.30 per transaction, and an additional 1.95% plus $0.10 for Non-Qualified transactions. This pricing table is co-branded with PayPal, which could indicate that some of the listed fees are charged by PayPal rather than Merchant e-Solutions.

Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing

In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Merchant e-Solutions 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.

Beware of Liquidated Damages

A separate document detailing the company’s terms and conditions (also available below) describes a liquidated damages early termination fee, which is calculated by taking “the greater of $300 or the product of (i) the average monthly Processing Fees over the most recent 6 months, and (ii) the number of months, including any pro-rata portion of a month, then remaining in the Initial Term or any Renewal Term, as applicable. If the Merchant Agreement has been in place less than 6 months, the average monthly Processing Fees shall equal the average monthly fees (net of interchange and assessments) that Processor would have received based upon Merchant’s representations on its Application.”

Contract Complaints

We are also able to locate complaints and company rebuttals online that confirm this liquidated damages fee and some that mention an annual PCI Compliance fee of up to $69.95 with a $15-25 monthly minimum fee. These terms are less competitive than those offered by the cheapest merchant accounts, although the PCI Compliance fee is slightly lower than usual. We therefore award the company a “D” grade in this category. We encourage merchants to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant services.

MerchantE’s pricing table

Does Merchant e-Solutions Use Deceptive Marketing?

Advertising & Sales Strategy

Audit Your Current Statement To Find Its Hidden Fees

Processing statements are intentionally complicated so that they can overcharge you. Get clarity before you switch.

Key Points

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

Outside Agents and Resellers

Merchant e-Solutions appears to rely on referrals and partnerships with ISOs and independent sales agents to market its services. This marketing practice can often result in an elevated complaint rate, as it is difficult for any company to regulate the conduct of a network of independent sales entities. In this case, we have located a handful of Merchant e-Solutions complaints that mention undisclosed fees and contract terms, specifically with respect to the company’s automatic renewal clause. This does not compare favorably to our list of best credit card processors.

No Deceptive Quotes

The company does not appear to engage in any deceptive advertising strategies in its official materials. However, the nature of its available complaints inclines us to award its sales team a “B” for now. If you suspect that you have had undisclosed fees added to your Merchant e-Solutions contract, we advise seeking a third-party statement audit to eliminate hidden charges.

Does Merchant e-Solutions Deserve Your Business?

Review Summary & Our Thoughts

An Average Processor

Merchant e-Solutions rates as an average merchant services provider according to our rating system. The company is showing a slightly lower complaint rate than is typically expected of a company of its size and time in business, but its contract terms lower its overall rating in this review. As always, merchants are advised to carefully examine the terms of any contract they are given and to consider opting for a top-rated credit card processor for the most competitive terms and rates.

Customer & Employee Reviews

What Others Are Saying About Merchant e-Solutions

14 Responses

  • Scott

    I was on a 3-year contract with specific fees. They then added a new “business hub fee” and simply started charging it, claiming I was now getting more services. They agreed that I never asked for the new services, and was not making use of them, and that they were not in my contracted fees, but refused to remove them.
    After trying 3 days to reach a supervisor, she told me that the fee “replaces” another fee I had been charged (but was still higher), except that they charged me both the new fee and the one it supposedly replaced.
    I was twice put on hold to talk to a supervisor, and both times disconnected after a wait on hold.
    They used to have decent customer service, but they have really become impossible.

  • Leanne Fuchs

    So I called to get some information concerning my account and update my online account. I am the OWNER of the BUSINESS!!!! The representative told me that he could not help me because I was not the authorized person on the account. Again, I AM THE OWNER!!!!!!! I told the representative this again and he said it didn’t matter. I what land does it not matter that you ARE THE OWNER. So I had to contact the previous employee and have her tell them she no longer worked there and that I WAS THE OWNER. Then I finished this phone call and was told that I would be sent an email within minutes with a password reset so I could get to my account and information I needed. The email NEVER came through, so I called them again and they proceeded to tell my office manager that since they had no proof I was the owner that I would need to send a copy of the corporation’s taxes with my name on them to prove I am the OWNER!!! It’s laughable since, my sister, the previous office manager and who was the prior authorized person NEVER had to do any of this and she was allowed access to my accounts. Yet, I AM THE OWNER and was made to do all of these extra steps. I find it completely ludicrous their policies and actually not consistent with what was required of others.

  • J Benoit

    merchant e-solutions is a financial trap to small businesses. They lock you in a 3-year contract with automatic annual renewals. If you want to cancel your contract they force you to submit a 90 notice then pay a $500 cancellation fee. The way they handle their business is completely unfair to the small business person. I highly recommend you find another source to accept credit card payments. These thieves will take all they can from you.


    This post will help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

    – Phillip

  • Business Owner

    Listen to the other reviewers ~ they will not let you leave without reaming you for extra fees!!
    I was with Merchant e-solutions for 13 years. They are continuing to charge me $15 month “until the end of my contract” (13 years isn’t long enough???).
    Regarding service, God forbid your credit card machine goes down. You’ll be on hold forevvvverrrrr waiting for help, especially if you call on the weekend.

    ***Horrible all around company! Steer clear!!!


    This post will help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

    – Phillip

  • Anne Cornelius

    My rep had been pressuring me to sign a new contract for some reduced fees. Meanwhile, I got a proposal from another vendor that did not require a contract. And the fees were less. After being with merchant e-solutions for 8 years, I told them I wanted to cancel. The first person I spoke with said he would make it effective that day. No problem. Then my rep called and said there would be early termination fees, because I am in the middle of an automatic renewal contract! This after 8 years with them! I am waiting for a supervisor to address this now. Meanwhile, beware of this company. Very unprofessional and unscrupulous.

    From The Editor
    This Post Might Help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

  • Sharie Thomas

    This is the type of company that would scam a small nonprofit organization. They conned us into believing that their credit card swipe device would be compatible with our current device. It is not. We are paying money each month for a product that we’re unable to use. Not to mention that we were never told about a 3 year contract that somehow we’re tied into. This company is disgusting.

    From The Editor
    This Post Might Help: Best Merchant Accounts for Non-Profits

  • Cliffhanger

    These guys are crooks, they never say one word to you about the automatic renewal of the contract after you have honestly fulfilled your 3 year commitment with them . This is bad business and I wish every pissed off business owner could find this website and hammer them, that is the only way Merchant-e-solutions will ever stop doing this to people. I have a feeling now that they have been open for over 3 years we will see a lot more of these reviews, and then they will close doors and open under another name.

  • Dave Maxfield

    This company is a compete total SCAM and Crooks.
    They charge you like 25 hidden fees per Month, on top of the 2.95% per sale that you pay them to process your payments. I am not KIDDING YOU, they charge you like 25 hidden fees per Month, which can easily add up to 10% of your Sales.

    AVOID them like Plague.
    They are bunch of Criminals :(

  • Dave Powell

    Service is terrible. On hold for almost 5 minutes. A long time when customers are waiting. I have had approval numbers on slip and they would still delay batching money to our bank. One of their managers personally promised me a credit to my account which she admitted was their mistake. Still have not seen that credit. We are getting ready to change soon.

  • Linda Krasinski

    Horrible customer service. Takes weeks and months for someone to get back to you.

  • Justice

    This company is a crook. I just called them to cancel and they said it would cost of $4,000.00 because of liquidated damages, which they use last 6 months processing revenue against the remainder of the contract. :( What a rip off to force merchants to stay when they are not happy.

  • JJ Winters

    Predators who take advantage of small businesses who are loyal to them. Auto renew their contracts and charge staggering fees to terminate. Find another payment processor!!

  • stan hampton

    Charge my Amex card $3667.00 and I do no business with them at all. Total scam.

  • Tobacco stop

    This is the most worst company out there to do your processing
    This company shut down my prosseseng with a 5 minute notice and are holding $183,000.00 dollars of mine.
    This company will put your business out of business. There team are liars they charge high rates and still don’t pay you
    I think the company should go under investigation and the CEO should be behind bars.

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Phillip Parker
Credit Card Processors
2 min read
14 Comments
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