Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions (mcpscorp.com) is a merchant account provider headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas. Founded in 1989, the company partnered with Elite Merchant Solutions, an ISO of Chase Paymentech, in January 2013. Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions is a registered ISO/MSP of Woodforest National Bank in Houston, Texas, and of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., in Walnut Creek, California. The company is located at 25231 Grogan’s Mill Rd Suite 600, The Woodlands, Texas 77380. Todd Linden is listed as the president and CEO of Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions.
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions employs an in-house telemarketing staff, and the company also partners with ISOs, resellers, and independent sales agents to market its services. The use of independent resellers can often result in frustration among merchants, as these sales representatives are usually untrained and unregulated. We are currently able to locate multiple negative Merchants’ Choice reviews that mention misrepresentation of rates and fees by the company’s sales representatives, indicating that this company is no exception.
On this website and elsewhere, we have found numerous merchant complaints indicating that the Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions utilizes an unethical sales tactic known as “slamming” in which its telemarketing staff calls merchants and poses as their current merchant account providers. The standard interaction appears to be one in which the Merchants’ Choice representative states that they are from “Merchant Services,” neglecting to specify that they are not the merchant’s current provider. The telemarketer then appears to insist that the merchant needs to replace their credit card processing equipment in order to remain compliant with a new change instituted by Visa or MasterCard. Merchants who fail to accurately determine that the phone representative is not their current provider will then sign up for a “replacement” terminal, only to unexpectedly find themselves in a lengthy, expensive equipment lease through First Data.
These details have been recounted time after time on consumer protection websites with alarming specificity, indicating that this may be an officially sanctioned practice by the company. In fact, we are currently able to locate at least one instance on the company’s BBB profile in which Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions insisted on enforcing the equipment lease that a merchant mistakenly signed up for, stating that the company’s name was clearly shown in the document signed by the merchant. We consider this sales practice to be highly deceptive, and there are documented cases in which merchant services providers have faced legal action as a result of this tactic.
Merchants' Choice Payment Solutions Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$495|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Variable|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Months, Non-Cancellable|
The standard Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions contract (available below) is a three-year agreement with automatic three-year renewal and an early termination fee of $495 or Liquidated Damages, whichever is greater. We have not found any specific mentions of a PCI Compliance fee, but the company does charge a non-compliance fee of $16.95 per month. The contract also mentions something called a “divert fee,” which is described as follows: “A divert fee of $25.00 per month will be charged for a special account maintained at BANK to house diverted funds for (the) merchant.” Whether and how this fee is enforced is unclear.
The primary complaint about the company’s standard contract is that it usually includes a 48-month equipment lease through First Data Global Leasing, which is often not disclosed by the company’s sales representatives. These equipment leases can be very expensive over the duration of the contract, especially considering that the equipment itself rarely costs more than a few hundred dollars. Multiple merchants report that this equipment is presented at the point of sale as a “free terminal,” which appears to be an out-and-out falsehood. Due to this standard equipment lease, the company’s long service term renewal, and the high early termination fee, we have given the company a “F” in this category. See the MCPS Terms and Conditions.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||50+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Sales Tactics|
We are currently able to locate over 50 Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions complaints on this site and elsewhere, and many of these accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Common complaints among merchants include deceptive sales practices, confusing and expensive cancellation processes, and unexpected/unauthorized fees. The company does not appear to have issued rebuttals to many of these complaints. This is a moderate-to-high complaint volume for a company of this size and time in business, but the consistent reports of deceptive marketing tactics and poor customer service have lowered the company’s grade to a “D” in this category. Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions does not list any dedicated customer support contact information in this website, but it’s likely that the relevant phone numbers can be found behind its login screen.
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||42|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||11|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||25|
|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.
Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau. As of this review, the company holds a “C+” rating with the BBB and has had 78 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months. The majority of those complaints (42) were filed in regards to problems with products or services, while 11 stemmed from billing or collection disputes and 25 from advertising and sales issues. Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions has successfully resolved 28 of the complaints, while 49 were either resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant. One complaint received no response whatsoever from MCPS.
The BBB has also posted a notice warning merchants against slamming and contract alteration by Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions. The company has responded to the BBB by denying these allegations and defending its sales practices. Given this information, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “D.”
About Phillip Parker
Hi, I’m Phillip and I’m disgusted by the state of credit card processing in the U.S. and abroad. I believe that the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal money from hard working business owners. I’ve made it my mission to expose the companies and individuals who engage in predatory marketing, pricing, and contracts, or just provide terrible service. Along with uncovering the bad guys, I’ve also discovered the good guys who do stand out from the status quo. CPO is a website where you will find ratings and reviews of these companies along with advice on how to save money and which service providers consider. Together we can move the industry in a positive direction. If you would like to help support my work, please checkout “Fee Sweep” my eGuide to getting the lowest possible fees when accepting card payments. If you haven’t heard of “interchange” this advice will save you hundreds, even thousands, in processing fees.Schedule a Consultation with Phillip
Related: Phillip’s Top All-Purpose Merchant Account Picks
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