Several Linked Businesses
National Merchant Center is a merchant account provider headquartered in Irvine, California. National Merchant Center was formerly operated by the CEO of the now-defunct Lucrazon, Alex Pitt, and there is evidence that the company has also done business under the name Global Processing. According to multiple merchant complaints, National Merchant Center has had multiple DBAs including the Latino Coalition, National Payment Provider, and PayPro. However, these entities are more accurately described as affiliated businesses rather than DBAs. The Latino Coalition selected National Merchant Center as its preferred payment processing partner in 2007, and one complaint states that the head of the Latino Coalition served on the board of National Merchant Center. Like National Merchant Center, another company named National Payment Provider was founded by Alex Pitt, and at least one merchant complaint states that “employees of National Payment Provider made calls on behalf of the Latino Coalition.” PayPro is another name mentioned in complaints as an affiliated business of National Merchant Center, and the PayPro homepage previously redirected visitors to the homepage for Lucrazon—another Alex Pitt venture.
Ponzi Scheme Allegations
In February 2016, the designated receiver for the victim class in a North Carolina-based Ponzi scheme called “Zeek Rewards” alleged that “Payment World” another company owned by National Merchant Center’s CEO Roman Balanko, facilitated the transfer of more than $13.1 million earned in the Ponzi scheme to a bank in Moldova through a partnership with Payza. The receiver further alleged that it is “an open question” whether those funds are still in the account or have been transferred elsewhere. The receiver’s efforts to investigate the whereabouts of these funds is currently unresolved. Although National Merchant Center is not directly implicated in any of the designated receiver’s claims, the allegations are worth noting for a few reasons. First, the claim that the CEO of National Merchant Center may have funneled profits from a criminal Ponzi scheme into an international account raises ethical questions about National Merchant Center’s executive team. Second, Lucrazon, a company that shares a founding member with National Merchant Center, is the subject of numerous merchant complaints that accuse it of being a Ponzi scheme. Third, Payza is currently the subject of a federal investigation and an alleged partner with Payment World, who is also part of the investigation. Merchants should be aware of the allegations that have been made, and more can be read about the cases here and here.
National Merchant Center Location and Ownership
National Merchant is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, California, and gives its current headquarters as 2955 E Main St, Suite 100 Irvine, California 92614. Roman Balanko is listed as the CEO of National Merchant Center.
National Merchant Center Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: National Merchant Center offers a three-year contract through First Data with a Liquidated Damages-style early termination fee.
- Complaints & Service: National Merchant Center has received approximately 15 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: National Merchant Center has an “A+” rating and has received no complaints and no reviews in the past 3 years. The company has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2019.
- Sales & Marketing: National Merchant Center appears to hire independent sales representatives and has received some serious complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With National Merchant Center