Merchant One (merchantone.com) is a Miami, Florida-based independent sales arm of United Bank Card that uses First Data (FDIS) as its processor. 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. Joseph Saka is listed as the director of operations at Merchant One. The company should not be confused with One For Merchants, a wholly separate merchant account reseller.
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||Yes|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
This reviewer found a few instances of misleading marketing and reports of deceptive sales tactics. At the time of our last update, Merchant One promoted processing rates starting at 0.39% on its homepage as well as through online advertisements we found. Currently, the company’s “About Us” page quotes low rates “starting at 0.29%.” Not only do these quoted rates set unrealistic expectations, but only a tiny fraction (if any) of a merchant’s transactions would qualify for them. The site fails to mention what type of transaction qualifies for this transaction rate or whether 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 specific claims, we are still awarding it a “D” based on merchant feedback and the rate quotes described above.
Merchant One Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$295+|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$100 Per Year|
|Equipment Lease Terms||Variable|
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 nor the cancellation fees were disclosed by the agents during the application process, so merchants should be sure to check the document below 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 more information regarding Merchant One’s contract policies becomes available. See the Merchant One Program Guide.
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Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||70+|
|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 over 70 Merchant One negative reviews across several consumer protection websites. This is a moderate-to-high number of complaints in comparison to other providers of its size. Most 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. To its credit, Merchant One provides a customer support number for merchants, but it’s unclear whether this line is serviced by Merchant One itself or by First Data.
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||17|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||20|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||10|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||0|
Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
As of this review, the BBB is reporting an “A+” rating for Merchant One despite receiving 48 complaints over the last 36 months, which is down from 55 as of our last update of this review. The types of complaints mirror those found on other complaint websites, with 17 under problems with service or products, 10 filed under advertising and sales issues, and 20 under billing and collection. Of the total complaints, eight were resolved to the satisfaction of the merchant while the remaining 40 either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant. Based on Merchant One’s complaint count, resolution ratio, and business size, we are adjusting the rating of this section to a “B-” for the purposes of this review.
About Phillip Parker
Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry. Schedule a Consultation with PhillipSchedule a Consultation with Phillip
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