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Payment Alliance International (PAI) Review
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Updated 12/26/2018: Payment Alliance International (gopai.com) is now solely focused on ATM solutions and no longer handles merchant services. Clearent acquired Payment Alliance International’s merchant services division in 2017 and has now fully taken over services for its some 17,000 merchants. We will therefore no longer update this review. See our Clearent review for up-to-date information about this company’s former merchant services division.
Payment Alliance International (gopai.com) is a privately-held ATM provider located in Louisville, Kentucky. Founded in 2005, the company sold merchant accounts alongside ATMs until its merchant services division was acquired by Clearent in January 2017. Since that acquisition, Payment Alliance International has ceased to market merchant services on its website and Clearent has begun servicing Payment Alliance International’s existing merchants. At this time, it appears that Payment Alliance International is no longer boarding new merchants under the PAI brand. However, merchants who opened an account through PAI in the last three years may still encounter PAI-branded service or support while Clearent finalizes its acquisition. This will likely be our last update of this review due to the fact that PAI no longer sells merchant accounts.
In previous years, Payment Alliance International was known as a major provider of high-risk merchant accounts for firearm vendors. Payment Alliance International is currently a registered ISO/MSP of MetaBank. It is also worth noting that Payment Alliance International bought Netbank Payment Systems in 2007. The company is located at 2101 High Wickham Place, Suite 101, Louisville, Kentucky 40245. David Dove is listed as the CEO of Payment Alliance International.
- Sales & Marketing: Payment Alliance International uses independent sales agents to market its services but has not received many sales complaints.
- Costs & Contract: Payment Alliance International offers a three-year agreement with automatic renewal and an early termination fee that can be very costly.
- Complaints & Service: We have found more than 30 Payment Alliance International complaints.
- BBB Rating: Payment Alliance International has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 0 complaints in the past 3 years.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Payment Alliance International
Payment Alliance International (PAI) Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||30+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Fund Holds|
We are currently able to locate over 30 Payment Alliance International complaints on this and other consumer protection websites, and some of these complaints accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. Common complaints include unauthorized or unexpected withholding of funds, undisclosed fees, difficulty canceling the account, and poor customer service. Additionally, a handful of the company’s complaints appear to be the result of a mail scam in which a foreign entity was using the Payment Alliance International name without the company’s knowledge. The company has taken steps to alert merchants to this scam and appears to be blameless in the situation.
Overall, the most common issue among Payment Alliance International clients appears to be confusion over the company’s fraud prevention policies. Since Payment Alliance International offers high-risk merchant accounts to businesses that otherwise might not qualify for merchant services, these complaints are to be expected to a certain degree. Still, it seems as if the company could prevent some of these complaints by explaining its reserve account policies to new merchants in greater detail. We have also seen a recent increase in complaints related to undisclosed fees that persist after cancellation, which is a trend worth monitoring. It should be noted that some complaints about Payment Alliance International may be redirected to Clearent now that Clearent is servicing the company’s previous accounts.
Payment Alliance International (PAI) Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
|Product & Service Complaints||0|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||0|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||0|
|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.
As of this review, Payment Alliance International has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau with 0 complaints filed in the last 36 months.
There are also BBB profiles for what appear to be independent sales offices of PAI in Elmhurst, Illinois; Palm Beach, Florida; Pueblo, Colorado; Orlando, Florida; Jackson, Mississippi; and Newark, New Jersey. We will disregard these profiles for the purposes of this review, but it should be noted that they have varying complaint records and BBB grades.
Payment Alliance International (PAI) Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Early Termination Fee||Liquidated Damages|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Variable|
|Equipment Lease Terms||Variable|
The standard Payment Alliance International contract (available below) is a three-year agreement through Global Payments with automatic one-year renewal, a Liquidated Damages early termination fee, and a variable PCI Compliance fee, monthly minimum fee, annual fee, and statement fee. The company’s ATM processing agreement (available here) also includes a Liquidated Damages early termination fee that is to cost no less than $650.
Now that PAI’s merchant services division is owned by Clearent, it’s possible that the company’s merchants have received modified contract terms under the new ownership.
Payment Alliance International’s early termination fee is calculated in an uncommon way. According to the contract, “the following amount(s) shall be immediately due and payable to Global Direct and/or PAI: the lesser of (a) the maximum amount permitted by state law, and (b) all monthly fees assessed to Merchant under this Card Services Agreement and due to Global Direct and/or PAI for the remainder of the then existing term of the Card Services Agreement, including all minimum monthly fee commitments.” So, upon early termination, merchants can expect to either pay out the remainder of their contracts with Payment Alliance International or pay the maximum fee allowable by state law, but they will only pay the smaller amount of the two. This fee appears to have the potential to be either very large or very small, but at the very least, it does not appear to be tied to any real measurement of the company’s losses as a result of merchant termination. The company’s ATM agreement includes a similar early termination fee, but it takes the larger of the two terms listed.
These terms would normally merit an “F” rating in this category, but there do not appear to be any Payment Alliance International complaints online that mention the company’s early termination fees as a major issue. It may be that many of the complaints reporting large amounts withheld after cancellation are the result of the company pulling this early termination fee from the merchants’ reserve accounts, but it’s unclear at this time whether this is occurring. We cannot determine at this time why these fees have yet to impact merchants severely enough to prompt them to file a public complaint, but we will factor the lack of complaints into the company’s score. If you have any knowledge of how this liquidated damages clause is enforced, please share that information in the comment section of this review. See the Payment Alliance International Merchant Agreement.
Payment Alliance International (PAI) Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Payment Alliance International partners with ISOs and independent sales agents to market its services. Although this “hiring mill” practice is a common strategy within the credit card industry that often results in elevated complaint rates, we are currently able to locate only a handful of negative Payment Alliance International reviews that mention problems with the company’s sales team. These complaints describe undisclosed fees and poor follow-through by sales agents.
One issue that is indirectly related to the company’s sales team seems to be confusion among many merchants about the company’s cash reserve policies. According to multiple merchant complaints, merchants are consistently signing up for merchant accounts through Payment Alliance International without fully understanding how their “high ticket” and “average ticket” figures should be calculated, and as a result, they are seeing holds placed on large transactions. This appears to especially affect gun vendors. While it is partially the responsibility of merchants to educate themselves on the terms of their agreements, it also seems as if many of these complaints could be avoided with proper education at the point of signing. We have downgraded the company’s rating to a “B” in this section to reflect these reports of confusion.
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