Merchant Focus Overview

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Founded in 2004

Merchant Focus Processing, Inc. (, 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.

A Joint Venture Operation

Merchant Focus utilizes 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 (now EVO Payments International). The founder 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.

Merchant Focus Location and Ownership

The acquiring bank of Merchant Focus is Deutsche Bank AG, New York. John Waldron is listed as the CEO of Merchant Focus, which maintains its headquarters at 105 North Riverview, #314, Dublin, Ohio 43017.

Merchant Focus Review Table of Contents

  • 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 one complaint in the past three years.
  • Sales & Marketing: Merchant Focus appears to hire independent sales representatives but has not received any complaints related to its sales team.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Merchant Focus

Merchant Focus Statement Analyzer

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Products & Services Offered

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

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO

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Merchant Focus Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

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

Month-to-Month Contracts

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.

Merchant Focus Pricing

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, but merchants should still compare Merchant Focus’ terms to cheaper merchant accounts.

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Response from Merchant Focus

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Merchant Focus Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

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

Low Complaint Volume

There are fewer than 10 negative Merchant Focus reviews in the usual online forums, but a few of these describe the company as a ripoff or scam operation. Commonly cited issues among complainants include unhelpful customer service, difficulty cancelling an account, and fund holds. The only other real 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.

Merchant Focus Support Options

Although not a worrisome problem, the difficulty in reaching the company’s staff could pose an issue for some merchants. Merchant Focus offers phone support to all of its merchants, but this channel is apparently lacking in comparison to top payment processors for customer service.

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Response from Merchant Focus

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Merchant Focus 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

One BBB Complaint

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 one complaint filed in the last 36 months. This sole complaint is related to product or service issues. The BBB states that it has either not heard back from merchants regarding the resolution of this complaint, or that the complaint received a resolution that was dissatisfactory to the merchant.

What Merchants Say

This sample of the sole complaint details the merchant’s concern with a possible fund hold situation:

So I will start from the very start, I had put in an application through for a payment gateway, they had accepted my application and had began to file applications for merchant services for me. Soon after I was contacted by an account adviser for the merchant service company “Merchant Focus” His name is supposedly “Drew S***** I ask a series of questions, like about fees…. I asl him are there any fees i should be aware of, he says no, not other than the small (below 2%) on every batch they deposit to me. (later i go on to find this was a lie, I was charged $56 that still has not been explained to me! I needed to be aware of this mind you)

So all the paperwork gets sorted and my website is back to accepting payment, huray! Well a week goes by and several orders later, and absolutely zero deposits have entered my account…. so I email my “account adviser” about it (i can show evidence of ALL of this) he tells me they should be in there any day. so about another week goes by, still nothing… and many orders placed on my website…. so I message the “account adviser” again and he is absolutely clueless on what the situation is and gives me a number to customer service. So im calling customee service, and they immidiately tell me that somehow I must have given them the info for my pwrsonal acxount instead of business.. okay cool no biggy, BUT dont give me a notice at all?? dont call me and alert me.. instead, just keep taking my companies money. So I put in a bank change forum with them, and am told to give them a few documents to validate ownership. Done! same day, same hour.. all my info was submitted and I was told I’ll be receiving deposits within the week. cool right? wrong.

About another week goes by and NO DEPOSITS, so this time I’m getting really impatient. and I ***** you not, I call back a week later, and Im told I need to submit MORE documents, so I submit those and again SAME STORY, “you should have your funds in 2 business days” so two businessdays past. NO DEPOSITS. I call yet again, and they request MORE documents…. so i give them what they want, no hassle…. So FINALLY about 20 days after being lead on basically every other day being told “the funds have been released, give it 2 business days.”

Merchant Focus responded to this issue in a professional matter, claiming that no funds were held from the complainant, but merchants stuck in similar situations would benefit from researching how to force their payment processor to release their money.

An “A” Performance Overall

Given the company’s complaint total and resolution ratio, we agree with the BBB’s rating at this time.

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Response from Merchant Focus

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

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

Independent Resellers

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 Focus complaints that accuse the company’s sales agents of unethical conduct. The only factor negatively affecting 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 and also appears to promote interchange-plus pricing, in some cases.

No Widespread Sales Issue

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.  If you suspect that Merchant Focus is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to find and eliminate hidden charges.

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Response from Merchant Focus

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Merchant Focus Logo

Our Opinion of Merchant Focus

A Decent Option for Most Merchants

Overall, Merchant Focus scores quite well in this review. The merchant services provider offers month-to-month contracts as a standard practice and has no cancellation fee. Merchant Focus also appears to offer competitive pricing and decent service, even when compared to some of the best overall credit card processors. One minor area of improvement in this reviewer’s experience would be to make the company’s sales staff more accessible for phone calls.

We rely on your feedback about Merchant Focus 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.

My Qualifications

I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry to start my own a small business. From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to write about it, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this insider knowledge to myself, so decided to build this website to help you research which providers to use and how to save money on rates and fees. 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 here. Simply scroll to the top of the page to find the search bar. You can also message me if you need any guidance.

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7 Reviews Leave Your Review for Merchant Focus Below

  1. Brigette Leach says:

    I was very unhappy with Merchant Focus in the process of trying to close an account through AppNinja/Swipe.

    1. Phillip Parker says:

      Can you explain the problem you had?

  2. Terence Samlson says:

    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.

  3. Konrad says:

    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.

  4. Karen says:

    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.

  5. AS says:

    This business is a scam, don’t ever use them. They take advantage of small business owners with no regard for proper customer service. They charged me month upon month for a service I wasn’t even using. I had spoken once with a salesperson to see if I was eligible for their payment processing app, was told my business was under review, and then charged monthly without any warning. A good business would have called me to confirm my business was approved, reached out when they saw I wasn’t using the service (yet still being charged), and provided a full refund when I finally realized who they were (the charges were labeled non-descriptively in my bank statements so I had no idea what it even was. Do not do business with these guys!!

  6. Manning says:

    Stay away from Merchant Focus. Its a Scam operation run by complete idiots who only want to take advantage of small businesses. I was with Merchant focus for about 3 months and I have all regrets from first to last day. I’m an idiot for staying this long but am glad I can cut my losses. The chargeback dept is so atrocious and incompetent. They will run your company to the ground. Beware!!

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