Merchant One Overall Rating
Merchant One Company Overview
Merchant One (merchantone.com) is a branded independent sales arm of United Bank Card and uses First Data (FDIS) as its processor. This Miami, Florida-based merchant account provider has done a great job of marketing itself and has a very professional and persuasive website. Since our last update, Merchant One has rebranded its logo and revamped its website; however, its old site claimed that the company serviced over 90,000 merchants, including well-known brands like Paul Mitchell and H&K Furniture. Merchant One provides credit card processing services for nearly any need and has an iPhone app for wireless processing. If one only reviewed this company’s marketing strategy, this company would score as a top provider. However, not is all as it seems with Merchant One.
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||Yes|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
This reviewer found a few instances of misleading marketing and reports of deceptive sales tactics. To start, Merchant One promotes processing rates starting at 0.39% on its homepage as well as through online advertisements we found. Not only does the quoted rate set unrealistic expectations, but only a tiny fraction (if any) of a merchant’s transactions would qualify for it. The site fails to mention what type of transaction qualifies for the 0.39% transaction rate or that merchants will experience additional fees outside of that rate.
In addition to the misleading rate promotion, Merchant One’s website used to state that merchants “will not be subject to any long-term agreement” and “are absolutely free to cancel their services with us at any time—for any reason.” Based on merchant complaints describing cancellation fees ranging from $200-$300, this claim was either a new policy or a complete falsehood. As of this update, these claims appear to have been removed from the Merchant One website, indicating that they might not have been completely truthful. Although the company has removed these claims, we are still awarding it a “D” for the time being.
Merchant One Marketing Example
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|PCI compliance fee:||$100 per year|
Pricing and fees of a Merchant One merchant account will likely vary by merchant based on business type, processing volume and the agent setting up the account. Merchant One’s standard merchant account contract (available below) can range from three to five years with an early termination fee of $25 per month for the remaining months of the contract term (known as Liquidated Damages), or $295, whichever is greater. There are several complaints from merchants saying that neither the contract term or cancellation fees were disclosed by the agents during the application process, so merchant should be sure to check the embedded document for the actual text of the ETF (found on page 38). The company also appears to charge an annual PCI Compliance fee of around $100. We will hold the grade to its previous rating and update this section as Merchant One’s contract policies become available.
[spoiler title=”Click here to see a copy of the standard Merchant One program guide”]
Merchant One Program Guide
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Hidden fees|
It is evident that the dispute resolution process at Merchant One needs improvement, because there are numerous Merchant One negative reviews across several consumer protection websites. On average, Merchant One has a moderate-to-high number of complaints in comparison to other providers of its size. The problems seem to center around merchants feeling as though they were deceived by the company’s advertising and sales processes. Many also complain of undisclosed fees and undisclosed contract terms during account setup and high cancellation fees.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
As of this review, the BBB is reporting an “A+” rating for Merchant One despite receiving 79 complaints over the last 36 months, which is down from 81 as of our last update of this review. The types of complaints mirror those found on other complaint websites, with 41 under problems with service or products, 22 filed under advertising and sales issues, and 16 under billing and collection. Of the total complaints, 62 were resolved with BBB assistance while 17 left the merchant dissatisfied with Merchant One’s response. Based on Merchant One’s complaint count, resolution ratio, and business size, we are adjusting the rating of this section to a “C” for the purposes of this review. You can learn more about why we adjust BBB ratings in our rating criteria.
Merchant One’s use of deceptive marketing tactics has had a negative impact on its rating. Although the vast majority of Merchant One’s customers are probably satisfied, this company has a high number of complaints compared to other processors of its size. That, coupled with the resounding themes of non-disclosure complaints and misleading rate promotion, makes it tough to score this provider well. Business owners considering a merchant account with Merchant One are advised to thoroughly read and understand the terms of the contract before signing.
This review was originally published on 7/30/12 and was last updated on 7/10/14.
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