North American Bancard Overview
A Sizable U.S. Credit Card Processor
North American Bancard, in operation since 1992, is a merchant account provider that has grown into one of the largest merchant services providers in the United States. North American Bancard is a large super ISO that specializes in providing credit card processing services supplied by First Data and Global Payments but manages its merchant customers directly with its own in-house customer support. The company also markets a mobile point-of-sale app and card reader called “PayAnywhere” and is the parent company of Electronic Payment Exchange and Argus Payments (now “Inovio“). In May 2017, North American Bancard acquired Total Merchant Services for an undisclosed sum.
Headquartered in Troy, Michigan
North American Bancard is sponsored by The Bancorp Bank, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; BMO Harris N.A., Chicago, Illinois; and by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, California, as its acquiring banks. The company is headquartered at 250 Stephenson Highway, Troy, Michigan 48083. Marc Gardner is the president and CEO of North American Bancard.
North American Bancard Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: North American Bancard offers a three-year contract with a liquidated damages clause and early termination fee of at least $295.
- Complaints & Service: North American Bancard has received more than 200 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: North American Bancard has an “A+” rating despite having received 109 complaints and 42 reviews in the last 3 years. The company has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2001.
- Sales & Marketing: North American Bancard hires independent sales agents and has received a moderate-to-high number of complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With North American Bancard
Types of Businesses Served
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North American Bancard Rates, Fees, and Costs
|Keyed-in Rate||6.90% + $0.19|
|Pay-As-You- Go Swiped Rate||6.90%|
|Pay-As-You- Go Keyed-in Rate||4.90% + $0.19|
|Virtual Terminal Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Payment Gateway Fee||Undisclosed|
|Inactivity Fee||$3.99 Per Month|
|Service Fee||$12.95 Per Month|
|Monthly Minimum Fee||$79|
|Early Termination Fee||$295+|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Undisclosed|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Month (Locked)|
Variable Contract Terms
North American Bancard’s merchant account rates and fees are not mentioned on the company’s website. The company’s standard merchant contract does not reference specific rates and fees either, meaning that it likely varies its rates and fees depending on different factors regarding each merchant such as the size of the business and the industry it belongs to. To the best of our research, merchant reviews reference 2 separate plans — a pay-as-you-go and a standard merchant account plan.
According to merchant reviews, the pay-as-you-go plan charged 6.90% for swiped transactions. Those same reviews convey that the company charges 4.90% + $0.19 for keyed-in transactions. This plan does not include any sort of monthly fee, although there is purportedly a $3.99 inactivity fee when no transactions are charged after 12 months.
Those same reviews detail the company’s standard plan pricing. Under the company’s standard plan, NAB charges 6.90% for swiped transactions and 6.90% plus $0.19 per transaction. The standard plan also includes a $12.95 service fee, the same $3.99 inactivity fee, and a $79 monthly minimum fee. The standard plan is under a 3-year contract with an automatic renewal period of 1 year. It also contains a $295 early termination fee which may exceed that amount as it includes a liquidated damages clause.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, North American Bancardalso dedicates a portion of its website that advertises its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. According to its website, the company offers 8 gateway options, including Authorize.Net and USAePay. Pricing will depend on which gateway a merchant utilizes. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
North American Bancard’s standard contract has a service agreement of 36 months with what appears to be a Liquidated Damages Early Termination Fee that is automatically debited from a merchant’s checking account upon cancellation of service. Essentially, merchants who cancel service prior to the expiration of their contract will be expected to pay the remainder of any monthly fees that would have been assessed throughout the entire contract, with the minimum early termination fee costing $295. Due to this policy, merchants have reported cancellation fees totaling into the thousands of dollars. Additionally, merchants may also be subject to additional fees if they lease equipment and cancel early.
Other North American Bancard Fees
Based upon merchant reports, North American Bancard also charges a variety of unexpected monthly fees as well as an annual PCI Compliance fee of at least $79 (may vary). Learn everything you need to know about rates and how to get the lowest fees in “Fee Sweep: How to Get the Merchant Services You Need Without Getting Scammed.”Are you happy with your North American Bancard fees? Tell us about them before your go!
North American Bancard Complaints & Customer Reviews
|Total Online Complaints||200+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Hidden Fees|
Several Merchant Complaints
We have found a moderate-to-high number of negative North American Bancard reviews, many of which are filed on Ripoff Report and in the comment section of this review. The company appears to make some effort to respond to and resolve public complaints; however, North American Bancard would fare much better in this review if it did a better job of preventing the problems that are causing the complaints in the first place.
Common Complaint Themes
Many of the complainants report difficulty resolving problems and minimal cooperation from North American Bancard prior to filing a public report. The most commonly reported problems are agents using deceptive sales tactics, hidden and surprise fees, sudden rises in fees shortly after service begins, non-disclosure of the service length agreement, and the cost of the early termination fee. Nearly all of these problems can be traced back to agents who fail to verbally disclose important terms of the contract. These agents are either unaware of the terms or rely on merchants to read the fine print prior to account setup; however, we hold providers responsible for their agents’ actions since the provider enforces the terms and conditions of the contract and sets the policies by which agents can sell their services.
North American Bancard Lawsuits
In September 2002, the State of Arizona filed a complaint against a merchant that processed through North American Bancard, a Nevada corporation called CP Direct, Inc., alleging violations of the Arizona Racketeering Act. CP Direct ultimately admitted to defrauding tens of thousands of customers by falsely advertising penis enlargement supplements. As a result, the company was ordered to pay restitution of more than $4 million and to forfeit assets totaling over $45 million. In May 2004, the receiver for CP Direct, Lawrence J. Warfield, filed suit against Marc Gardner of North American Bancard alleging violations under the RICO Act, conversion, and unjust enrichment.
Specifically, Warfield’s complaint alleged that Global Payments, the backend processor for North American Bancard, placed CP Direct on its watch list in under a year of processing due to an excessive rate of chargebacks. The complaint further alleges that as a result of this, North American Bancard advised CP Direct to create a new company and reapply for processing under the untarnished name. According to Warfield, CP Direct continued to accept its customers’ credit card payments under the fictitious and fraudulently maintained name of “Nutritional Supplements, Inc.” at the direction of North American Bancard. Warfield further claimed that CP Direct was ordered to pay a monthly consulting fee of $250,000 (plus bonuses of $50,000 for each million dollars over $8 million in monthly sales) directly to Marc Gardner as a condition of North American Bancard processing payments for the company. According to Warfield’s complaint, these payments totaled over $700,000. In July 2006, Marc Gardner was scheduled to be deposed in the case, but Marc Gardner’s counsel terminated his deposition immediately after he was sworn in.
Unfortunately, we are unable to locate any third-party sources or legal documents that explain how this suit was ultimately resolved. However, the parties were known to have reached a settlement amount in April 2006. It is therefore likely that the suit was settled. If you have any knowledge of how this case was resolved, please share that information in the comment section below this review. North American Bancard is also involved in an ongoing class action lawsuit, as discussed below.
North American Bancard Customer Support Options
North American Bancard offers phone and email customer support to all of its merchants and may also provide support for its subsidiaries’ merchant accounts. These channels are evidently significantly lacking when compared to top merchant account providers for great customer service.
North American Bancard BBB Rating Summary
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||46|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||50|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||2|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||0|
Nearly 100 Complaints
North American Bancard has been an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 2001. As of this review, the company has an “A+” rating with the BBB despite having 109 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months. 46 complaints were related to a product or service issue, 50 stemmed from issues with billing or collections, 2 pertained to advertising or sales issues, and 1 concerned a delivery issue. Only 16 of these 98 complaints were resolved by the company. However, though the remaining 98 were not resolved, NAB did answer each but the merchant did not issue a final response.
What Merchants Say
In addition to those 96 complaints, the company has also received 42 informal reviews on its BBB profile. 37 of those reviews were negative, making only 5 positive in tone. The most recent negative review references multiple issues:
Do not trust these people. They are the worse in the business. Save yourself from high fees, poor customer service and continued fees after you cancel your plan with them. We are still dealing with their bullshit after a year of not working with them. The best part is, they will hit you with a $1,200 fee even AFTER you send in their old processor that they no longer need. They wait a year to do this and send it to their collections and then threaten to put it on your credit report. They will claim that they emailed you a notice (where is this email?) before they send it to claims. They are not a trustworthy, well functioning business. They thrive and make money off of screwing over their customers and still screw you over after you stop using them. #1 scammers in the game.
Merchants who find themselves in this situation may benefit from understanding how merchant account providers may assess fees.
An “F” Performance Overall
In light of the company’s high complaint total and numerous negative reviews, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to an “F.” Merchants should be sure not to rely on the BBB alone for validation of a company’s trustworthiness; we urge merchants to regard the BBB’s rating system with skepticism.
Truth In Marketing & Advertising
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
“Hiring Mill” Practices
North American Bancard’s most frequently cited drawback seems to be its marketing practices. In particular, the company appears to function as a “hiring mill” that relies heavily upon recruiting independent agents and resellers. This marketing practice often results in problems for merchants and damage to a provider’s reputation because the sales practices of resellers are hard to control.
Misleading Sales Tactics
In North American Bancard’s case, numerous reports suggest that its agents are poorly trained on the terms and conditions of the company’s merchant account contract and are encouraged to sell expensive accounts in exchange for large commissions. In fact, a large number of merchant complaints report that agents misrepresented fees and policies in order to persuade them into signing up for services. It also appears that North American Bancard’s underwriting policies do a poor job of screening out merchants that are likely to have their funds frozen.
Cause for Concern
The North American Bancard website lists rates “starting at just 0.29 percent, with no cancellation fees and a month-to-month agreement [and] free equipment.” We consider this language to be deceptive, because a merchant signing up for North American Bancard’s services through an independent agent is in no way guaranteed these terms. Additionally, there is an ongoing class action lawsuit regarding North American Bancard’s false advertising of its PayAnywhere mobile credit card readers as “free,” when in fact the company charges undisclosed monthly fees for the use of the equipment. In light of these ongoing issues, the company keeps its “D” rating as of this update. If you suspect that North American Bancard is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to find and eliminate hidden costs.
North American Bancard Marketing Example
About Phillip Parker
Thank you for reading my review. I hope that it has helped you with your research.
Why I'm Qualified to Write About Credit Card Processing and Merchant Account Services
I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry because I didn't like how it takes advantage of small business owners. It feeds like a leech on businesses and thrives by imposing fees that are nearly impossible to comprehend. Seeing a need for change, I left and built this website help business owners better understand the industry, research merchant services providers, and get refunds of excessive merchant account fees. My experience of working "behind the curtain" in the industry, and using that knowledge for good, has resulted in millions of dollars returned to hard-working small business owners as well as enterprise-level companies.
From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to create this website, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this "insider" knowledge to myself. To lift the fog, I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers on this website.