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MSI Merchant Services, Inc. Review
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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.
MSI Merchant Services Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|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.
MSI Merchant Services Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
|Product & Service Complaints||0|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||1|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||1|
|Guarantee & Warranty 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.
MSI Merchant Services Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|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.
MSI Merchant Services Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|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).
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