Merchant Focus Review

Overview

Merchant Focus (merchantfocus.com), also known as “Established Merchant Focus,” is a small to mid-sized merchant account provider based out of Dublin, Ohio. The company was established in 2004 and appears to focus solely on providing credit card processing services. Merchant Focus also has a sister company called “Established Merchants Only” that serves businesses with over $250,000 in credit card sales per year.

Merchant Focus utilizes Authorize.net for its payment gateway and e-commerce processing services. Merchant Focus was founded by the two co-founders of e-onlinedata, which they sold in 2007 to PowerPay. The CEO of PowerPay, Steve Goodrich, is now a partner at Merchant Focus. Merchant Focus also acts as the processor for the mobile credit card processing services Inner Fence and AppNinja’s Swipe.

The acquiring bank of Merchant Focus is Deutsche Bank AG, New York. John Waldron is listed as the CEO of Merchant Focus.

Key Points

  • Sales & Marketing: Merchant Focus appears to hire independent sales representatives but has not received any complaints related to its sales team.
  • Costs & Contract: Merchant Focus appears to offer a month-to-month agreement with no early termination fee.
  • Complaints & Service: Merchant Focus has received fewer than 10 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Merchant Focus has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received four complaints in the past three years.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Merchant Focus

Merchant Focus Products and Services

  • Debit and credit card processing
  • Mobile phone processing
  • Gift card programs
  • Online payment gateway (Authorize.Net)
  • Virtual terminal with USB card swiper
  • POS equipment

Industries

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO
a

Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

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

Merchant Focus seems to rely heavily upon the use of independent resellers and sales agents, a practice which would normally lower a company’s rating; however, there are no merchant complaints that accuse the company’s sales agents of unethical conduct. The only factor lowering the company’s rating in this section is its promotion of “Qualified” rate quotes on some of its pricing pages. These pages often do not make any mention of the higher “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” rates that merchants will pay on the majority of transactions, which could give merchants an unrealistic expectation of the rates they will pay. However, on a few of its pricing pages, the company does list Mid-Qualified and Non-Qualified rates.

To its credit, Merchant Focus has not suffered the usual complaints associated with this marketing strategy and therefore will maintain a high rating in this section until evidence surfaces to the contrary.

a

Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate Variable
Keyed-in Rate Variable
Early Termination Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee Variable
Equipment Lease Terms Variable

According to an agent of the company, Merchant Focus has month-to-month contracts and no cancellation fee. The company requires written notice if a merchant wants to cancel service without a penalty, and this notice can be submitted any time. As for pricing, Merchant Focus’ rates and fees appear to vary based on processing needs, transaction volume, business type, and possibly by the agent setting up the account.

The company’s website lists its qualified rate for retail merchants as 1.69% plus $0.25, its qualified rate for internet and MOTO transactions as 2.19% plus $0.24, its statement fee as $10, and its monthly minimum fee as $15. We have found some evidence that the company offers interchange-plus pricing for large merchants, but this does not appear to be actively promoted on the Merchant Focus website. Overall, there does not appear to be much cause for concern with the company’s pricing.

a

Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

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

There are fewer than 10 Merchant Focus negative reviews in the usual online forums, and none of these describe the company as a scam. Commonly cited issues among complainants include unhelpful customer service, difficulty cancelling an account, and fund holds. The only other strike against Merchant Focus is in regards to this reviewer’s experience in having difficulty reaching a sales agent over the phone. After repeated calls and only reaching a voicemail service, an agent was finally reached by using the site’s “Live Chat” feature. Although not a worrisome problem, it could pose an issue for some merchants. Merchant Focus offers phone support to all of its merchants.

a

BBB

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 4
Billing & Collection Complaints 0
Advertising & Sales Complaints 0
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

As of this update, the Better Business Bureau maintains a profile for Merchant Focus under the name “Established Merchant Focus” and is reporting that the company has been accredited since 2006. The BBB is awarding the company an “A” rating based upon four complaints filed in the last 36 months. All of these complaints are related to product or service issues. The BBB states that it has either not heard back from merchants regarding the resolution of these complaints, or that the complaints received a resolution that was dissatisfactory to the merchants. Given the company’s complaint total and resolution ratio, we agree with the BBB’s rating at this time.

Merchant Focus Logo

Merchant Focus Bottom Line

Overall, Merchant Focus scores quite well in this review. The company offers month-to-month contracts as a standard practice and has no cancellation fee. Merchant Focus also appears to offer competitive pricing and excellent service. One minor area of improvement in this reviewer’s experience would be to make the company’s sales staff more accessible for phone calls.

Hi, I’m Phillip and I’m disgusted by the state of credit card processing in the U.S. and abroad. I believe that the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal money from hard working business owners. I’ve made it my mission to expose the companies and individuals who engage in predatory marketing, pricing, and contracts, or just provide terrible service. Along with uncovering the bad guys, I’ve also discovered the good guys who do stand out from the status quo. CPO is a website where you will find ratings and reviews of these companies along with advice on how to save money and which service providers consider. Together we can move the industry in a positive direction. If you would like to help support my work, please checkout “Fee Sweep” my eGuide to getting the lowest possible fees when accepting card payments. If you haven’t heard of “interchange” this advice will save you hundreds, even thousands, in processing fees.

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5 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

  1. Terrible customer service us led us to cancel their service.

    We are a PTA, which means that account ownership changes frequently. During our account transition, I called the customer service organization to clarify the Personal Guarantee in their paperwork (something typically waived for a 501c3 organization). What a nightmare! The rep actually said, “Is there a question in there? … You need to sign whatever the paperwork says.” When I asked for copies of our previously signed agreements, he wouldn’t help because I was not yet on the account. Forward to the next day, the former Treasurer call to access our paperwork. Took him over an hour on the phone just to procure this documentation.

    Decided to try another channel, one which might actually care about their customers. Their business development department put me in touch with our account manager, who immediately waived the Personal Guarantee due to our nonprofit status.

    After submitting the required paperwork to transfer the account, we requested verification of the transfer several times. Never heard back from them. Only after we canceled the account did we hear anything.

    Maybe they had decent customer service at some point. Unfortunately, my organization only encountered untrained, unhelpful phone jockeys. Their message of being a “full service” provider is a joke.

  2. I wish I could give a negative star rating instead! This company ripped me off. I had terminated with them using the form they provided by Drew (account manager), and for some reason there has been charges every single month after that. I had to close out my bank account because they didn’t stop this. I called and emailed and all he could say was that they received the termination form, that does not explain these charges. I advice you to use another payment processor.

  3. The issue I had with merchant focus is they were not truthful upfront. Signed up and got approved for account. After transaction were deposited I notice they were much smaller than the actual transaction amount. I called in and was told my account had a 10% reserve and reserved will be return to me in 6 months. I didn’t like it because we were not told this upfront. We continued processing for a few weeks until the deposits stopped. After calling in we were told our account was on 100% reserved until I submit requested information. After submitting information that was requested they then requested more information, then after submitting more information, they then wanted more information. They could have asked for everything at once but the string you along for weeks and weeks while the review submitted info. Well, I got tired and I called and cancelled my account.

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