MSI Merchant Services, Inc. Review

MSI Merchant Services
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MSI Merchant Services

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Updated 3/4/2019: MSI’s original website (merchantservices.com) now directs to Harbortouch, and that of a second office (msimerchantservice.com) is currently display branding and promotion for Harbortouch. Merchants should therefore consider MSI and Harbortouch to be the same entity. For current information on this company, please see our Harbortouch review.

Incorporated in 1989, MSI Merchant Services, Inc. (msimerchantservice.com) is a DBA of a parent company called Credit Card Processing USA, Inc. The company provides credit and debit card processing services, check guarantee, gift and loyalty cards, and a payment gateway through Authorize.net. MSI authorizes credit and debit authorizations for major credit card companies and operates three independent divisions in New Jersey, New York, and South Dakota.

In 2012, the company reportedly ranked as the 17th-largest national processor and one of the 100 largest processors worldwide, according to the Nilson Report. MSI Merchant Services, Inc. is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, at 890 Mountain Ave. Credit Card Processing USA, Inc., d/b/a MSI Merchant Services, Inc., is sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. of Walnut Creek, California, as its Acquiring Bank.

Should You Trust MSI Merchant Services?

Lawsuits, Reviews & Complaints

Here's Who We Trust.

Complaint Summary

Total Online Complaints
50+
Live Customer Support
Yes
Most Common Complaint
Sales Tactics

Outside of the BBB, nearly 50 MSI negative reviews were found on other consumer protection websites relating to employee compensation, disputable account charges and contract terms, expensive equipment leases, and payment withholding. There are a handful of complaints that mention MSI agents packaging the company’s processing service with equipment leases from Lease Finance Group, although this does not appear to be a company-wide practice. Rebuttals from MSI Merchant Services, Inc. regarding consumer complaints generally referred complainants to the terms of their merchant accounts. MSI offers multiple dedicated support lines and email addresses on its website.

Is the BBB Rating for MSI Merchant Services Accurate?

Better Business Bureau Profile

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BBB Summary

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

The Better Business Bureau has deleted its original profile for MSI, and now the only MSI profile available is for a South Easton, Massachusetts location. It is unclear whether this location represents the company’s new office or is simply a reseller of MSI/Harbortouch. This BBB page awards the company a “F” rating and is showing two complaints in the past 36 months. The reason given for the company’s low rating is the fact that it has failed to respond to both complaints through the BBB.

The previous MSI profile showed accreditation since 2010 and received an “A+” rating despite logging 51 consumer complaints in the previous 36 months. Of these complaints, 27 had to do with the product or service, 20 were related to billing and collection, and four were due to advertising or sales issues. Of the 51 complaints, 39 were listed as resolved with assistance from the BBB. The other 12 complaints were considered resolved even though the merchants were not satisfied with MSI Merchant Services, Inc.’s response.

How Expensive is MSI Merchant Services Service?

Rates, Fees, and Contract Terms

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Cost Summary

Swiped Rate
Variable
Keyed-in Rate
Variable
Early Termination Fee
$250
PCI Compliance Fee
$99
Equipment Lease Terms
Variable

MSI’s rate page includes links to each of its merchant agreements for each of its pricing plans, and most of these contracts list a three-year agreement with automatic renewal for one year, an early termination fee (ETF) of $250, a monthly minimum fee of $25, a monthly statement fee of $5, an annual postage and handling fee of $99, and an annual PCI Compliance fee of $99. Several complaints report early termination fees of up to $800, and one or two of these complaints mention something that sounds similar to a liquidated damages clause. It may be that these complainants have also figured the cost of equipment into the termination fee amount, as there is no evidence in the company’s merchant agreement that an ETF that large is enforced. All of these terms are fairly standard for the industry, and MSI’s use of independent sales agents means that many of these terms might vary from agent to agent. Merchants are advised to carefully examine the conditions of any contract they are given by MSI.

Does MSI Merchant Services Use Deceptive Marketing?

Advertising & Sales Strategy

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Key Points

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

MSI appears to utilize telemarketing and hire independent sales agents to market its services. In this industry, a sales force comprised of independent sales agents is likely to be untrained, unregulated, and motivated to sign merchants up for the most expensive contract possible. Numerous complaints about MSI cite undisclosed fees and terms, sales reps who cannot be reached after setting up the account, and poor overall customer service.

MSI’s website features a “Merchant Account Rates” page that lists multiple rates and fee structures for retail, smartphone, mail order/telephone order, internet, and check processing. The page also includes an explanation of Interchange-plus pricing. Unfortunately, almost all of the swipe rates quoted on the page are “Qualified” rates, while the tables make no mention of the “Mid-Qualified” or “Non-Qualified” rates that merchants will pay for the majority of their transactions. We consider this kind of rate quoting deceptive because it is likely to cause merchants to expect a much lower rate than they will actually receive. Although the company claims to offer Interchange-plus (the most competitive pricing structure) to most merchants, we rate MSI a “D” in this category due to the other provided rate quotes and multiple complaints about its Independent Sales Agents (ISAs).

Does MSI Merchant Services Deserve Your Business?

Review Summary & Our Thoughts

MSI Merchant Services, Inc. receives an average rating according to our criteria for several reasons. The company can improve its rating by continuing to lower its number of complaints with the BBB, removing misleading rate quotes from its website, and exercising greater control over the behavior of its sales agents. As always, merchants are encouraged to review the terms of any contract they sign.

Customer & Employee Reviews

What Others Are Saying About MSI Merchant Services

12 Responses

  • David Smith

    On September of 2015 a sales representative named Eric Williams provided a credit card merchant service proposal to my company, (United Photo Inc.) through his company Merchant Services Inc (MSI). Since the rates and fees quoted by him were lower than my previous service provider, and the terms he described to me seemed fine, I eagerly accepted the offer. By his calculation, we would have been able to save an estimated $47.85 per month or $574.20 annually with his company, MSI.

    After a number of months we realized that the promised savings were not adding up and were, in fact higher than the fees that we had been paying with our previous vendor (Bank of America). I contacted the company April 2017 to cancel. Although their sales rep Eric had verbally assured me that if there was a problem that we could cancel without a penalty, it turned out that the contract I signed did indicate, in obscure fine print on the back side of the form, notice of a cancellation fee. Had I been made aware of this at the time I would NOT have signed a contract with these people. The company provided me with a cancellation form that I returned to them and thought the matter closed. Now, six months later, I find that MSI has been deducting service fees from our business checking account since May 2017 totaling $539.70 after we cancelled the service.

    Upon further investigating this company I have discovered that the State of California has already been investigating MSI for fraud (No. C 10-1993 CW). It now occurs to me that these unscrupulous people must have surely also scammed countless other small business operators all over the country.

    I once again contacted the company today (October 17, 2017) and the representative (Ivan, employee ID #317028) claims MSI has no record of our attempt to cancel. He further informed me that they intend to continue deducting a minimum activity fee of $114.95 per month from our business checking account until this is resolved. As far as I am concerned, these people are nothing but criminal scam artists and need to be stopped from this predatory activity.

  • Dr. Hunnicutt
    3n1creative.com

    What a horrific company! I received a call early today, an annoying “use our product” etc etc typical spam call. I called the number back and after it’s lengthy message I selected 0 for the operator.

    Once the operator answered, I informed her that I am requesting removal from their list. She hung-up on me. I called back, she hung-up on me again. I called back again… finally “Andrea” answered and I told her I will continue to call, regardless of how many times they hang-up; I demand removal from their list.

    Supposedly she’s done this, and yet I have zero faith that I am removed after being treated so unprofessionally by the backbone of the company – the secretary.

  • Tammy R

    I have used MSI/Prodigy Payment systems for over 4 years. Over that time I have been charged periodic fees for “monitoring my credit”, “monitoring account” and a number of other reasons, none of which were disclosed initially.. When initially enrolled, I was told I would have a cancellation fee if I canceled within the 3 year period. I called today (4+ years later) to cancel as I found a better program for processing credit card payments and was informed that after the three years, the contract is renewed for another year and I have to notify them 90 days in advance of that renewal date if I want to cancel, otherwise there is a penalty of $250 “in light of the financial harm caused by the early termination of this Agreement.” Furthermore, the representative seemed more than pleased to inform me I would be penalized for being a loyal customer for the past four plus years. Please don’t make the same mistake I did. I hope their $250 fee was worth it because bad publicity is priceless and I intend to give them plenty of it.

  • Maria

    I have worked with Brian from Prime Bank Card for about a year now. He is an outstanding Merchant Relationship Manager. His expertise has been invaluable to my company. The superior pricing he has provided my business with has saved me over $300 a month.

    I highly recommend MSI and Prime Bank Card for all your merchant services.

    Maria

    • Phillip CPO

      Hi Maria,

      In order to authenticate your testimonial, please reply to this comment with your business name and location or website URL.

  • Elegant Floors

    We just won a judgement against MSI Merchant Services, Inc. in the State of Virginia, for a mount close to $5,000. They forged the contract document after we signed it. Thus, the contract they have in their record vs our copy shows an altered section of the contract that they are holding our money for over 2 years. We are planning on filing the complaint against them in the entire NJ court system. Also, we will be submitting our court judgement to BBB where it says that it has a A+ rating with BBB.

    Linda had probably spoke with the same woman, rude and non-helping, at MSI. We share the same opinion as Linda.

    I wish that there are strict, and criminally chargeable Federal laws that put banking and finance related businesses in a tight leash to keep them in line so that they don’t practice such business.

    It seems to me that MSI is banking on small merchants’ inability to pursue them in the court system for various reasons that small merchants has, i.e. lack of time, lack of financial resources to hire attorney etc., and etc.

    We’ve contacted the Virginia State Corporate Commission to verify, DEC 2012, if MSI Merchant Services has license to do business in VA,,, the result? MSI is no longer licensed to do business in VA when we signed the contract with them.. at the time of contract, etc.

    There are so many things that can be said about MSI’s bad business practices. I am even wondering if one can go to Congress to to testify against MSI Merchant Services. Of course, the Congress may reject the request, as they may think that problem with MSI is nothing compared to other issues that the Congress has to deal with, such as BP.. etc.

    Somebody reading this complaint wants to bring a class action against MSI Merchant Services, you’ve got my support in a heartbeat.

    • jerry

      hi, i have read your complaint about msi and i need some information as to how to go about the severe problem i am having with them . I own a simple two bay auto car wash in erie pa and somehow msi had the aquiring bank take almost $8000.00 out of my account i have never had money taken out of my account only put in from the aquiring bank . I contacted msi and they just dismissed me so i contacted the aquiring bank and said they only do what msi reports them to do and they were just the middle man but that msi is responsible and should return my money ,so they called msi and told them the situation and that it could put me out of busiines if they didnt pay back the money as soon as possible msi did call me the next day i explained the situation and they said they would call back after they talked to there supervisor but never did i have left several messages but did not get a call back from any of them .i need to know how and what channels you went through to get your money back and also the name of the attorney you used to make this happen . everywhere and everyone including attorneys i have contacted can not help because they are not famiular with this type of FRAUD . i hope you can help me and i thank you from the bottom of my heart if you can . Thank’s , jerry

  • Shiela Wood

    MSI Merchant Services certainly know how to scam people. Once they get you under contract, they ditch you and will not return calls or emails. This is my story with this cheating, lying company, and it is long:

    I was looking for a company that could do my retail shop and my high risk online shop both. I spoke with sales representative Paul Goodwin. I had told him that I had a company building a web-store for me. He wanted to know what I paid for it and I told him. He replied that he wish that I had not signed a contract, because MSI could do it much cheaper. He then said that I should get out of the contract with the other company. His words sounded so good, and he bragged about how fast they would have me up and selling online. He sent the contract and the description of what my online store would include.

    I then signed and canceled with the other company, which cost me $200 to cancel it. Well, that was going to be still even cheaper by going with MSI as my merchant provider. I started sending info, products, descriptions of my products to Paul Goodwin, who would forward the info to John Rogers, the person Paul said that would be in charge of building my site. This was in late January this year. By the end of February, I was ready to be online with my store. Only problem, I could not get in touch with Mr. Goodwin. Every time I would call, I would get the run around, “Oh he is in a meeting, I will have him return your call. He would not answer my emails, calls, or nothing. I waited a few weeks, then finally wrote a email tell Paul Goodwin of how I felt about him and his company.

    It was not long that I received a phone call from John Rogers. He explained that he was with a company different from MSI (but was the company that did MSI’s web-stores for them), and wanted to say how sorry he was for the way Paul had not returned calls and emails to me. He said that he would take over and have the site up and running in 3 days. He sent me a quote through my email on hosting the site for me. I emailed back saying the price sounded good to me, but that I still had a few questions and asked him to call me. After not hearing from him, I tried to call him quite a few times, just to get his voice mail. I emailed and called both of these men, but never spoke to them again. My father passed in April and at the same time, we found out that my husband had cancer. I put the website on hold, and continued using MSI as my merchant provider for my retail store as I was under contract (was quoted 1 year on that).

    Today, I called MSI to tell them that I would no longer be using their company because I had found another company that has built a web-store for me. I ask to speak to Mr. Goodwin and alas, he was on the phone. He didn’t remember me by name, but after I told him my business, he remembered very well! He shot me even more BS and that John Rogers is his boss and how he believed that Mr. Rogers had taken care of me, and told me I was under a 36 month contact. What? He told me that it will cost $250 to cancel. What? You are going to charge me to cancel when you, your company didn’t hold up to your side of the contract that I have on paper?

    It is alright because I will spread my story with this cheating company all over the internet. I will be contacting the Better Business Bureau with my complaint too with this company. Other business owners should hear of the dishonesty of MSI and the crooks that work for them. They will get you under contract, then the hidden charges start coming but, you will never get to complain to your representative at all. Shame on you Paul Goodwin and John Rogers, and MSI for being such crooks!

  • Irving Merkatz

    We have been using them since 9.1.2011, at total of 14 Months without 1 Chargeback or even a Retrieval.
    On November 16 2012 we had processed a Debit for 4500.00 (PIN BASED) they froze our account, for that
    and other charges. Pin Based charges are secure and never cause chargebacks. And we are now at there mercy to provide the whatever they want. I could understand if we had problems in the past, but NEVER.

  • Shaun Bennett

    They charge $59 per year for being able to return your equipment or to get paper products without having to pay postal fees. You cannot cancel that charge, but have to contact them AFTER the charge to have it reimbursed if you don’t want that “Service”. They also charge $99 per year to avoid fraud. I have to pay THEM to avoid having them approve charges that are fraudulent. They lock you in with a 3 year contract, then add fees you didn’t agree to. PLUS, they don’t send your statement out until AFTER they take the money out of your account. I CAN’T WAIT TILL MY CONTRACT IS OVER!

    • Barbara

      Shaun, I just had a salesman in my business today. I told him I would not sign up until I did some checking online. Your post is early August, how long have you been a customer? I was told I have 90 days to back out. Flat fees,statement fee, no annual fee etc, no middle man, just us and the Bank Of Omaha…
      I currently have Merchant services direct which is totally overcharging us, rude customer service. The salesman lied through is teeth, and of course he’s not longer with that company. Really makes me want to not accept credit cards ever again. Just pay my early termination fees and get the heck out Completely!
      Supposedly you can send a cease and desist letter and they are legally suppose to stop drawing from your account. Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know. That’s something else I will be checking tonight!

  • Linda

    The risk department has the rudest person working for them. The woman I talked to would not connect me to a supervisor. her manner and behavior was astoundingly NON-customer service oriented.

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Phillip Parker
Credit Card Processors
< 1 min read
12 Comments
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