PaymentMax Review

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How did they treat you? ▼

Update 3/4/2019: The PaymentMax website is currently unavailable, and we are unable to determine how long it has been down. We cannot find any evidence that the company has gone out of business or changed its name, so we will assume for the time being that this is a temporary outage. If you have any information about the current status of PaymentMax, please share it in the comment section below this review.

A First Data Reseller

Founded in 2004, PaymentMax ( is a small to mid-size merchant services provider. The company's website states that PaymentMax is “powered” by First Data, which means that PaymentMax either is a reseller of First Data merchant accounts or relies on First Data for its e-commerce merchant services.

Multiple California Locations

PaymentMax is headquartered in Thousand Oaks at P.O box 3847, California 91359, with an additional listed address found at 600 Hampshire Road #120, Westlake Village, California 91361. PaymentMax states that it is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Walnut Creek, California. Tony Shap is the founder and CEO of PaymentMax.

PaymentMax Review Table of Contents

  • Sales & Marketing: PaymentMax does not appear to rely on independent sales agents but has received some complaints about its sales practices.
  • Costs & Contract: PaymentMax appears to offer a multi-year contract that may include a variable early termination fee.
  • Complaints & Service: PaymentMax has received more than 15 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: PaymentMax has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received zero complaints in the past three years.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With PaymentMax

PaymentMax Customer Reviews

Here's What Their Clients Say

Customer Reviews Summary
Total Online Complaints 15+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Poor Service

PaymentMax Customer Support Options

PaymentMax appears to offer support only via e-mail. Perhaps as a result of this policy, the predominant theme among complainants is an inability to reach a sales or customer service representative in a timely fashion, which often results in additional problems for the merchant. Some merchants report never actually establishing an account with or using the services of PaymentMax, yet still being charged as if they had.

Low Complaint Total

Strangely, there are very few PaymentMax reviews on other consumer protection websites, but the comment section of this review has been fairly active with complaints. One complaint compares PaymentMax’s customer support unfavorably to that of Square, which provides virtually no customer support. This supports our decision not to include PaymentMax in our list of the best-rated merchant accounts for customer support. Overall, it appears that PaymentMax does not make itself readily available to many of its clients.

PaymentMax Online Ratings

Here's How They Rate Online

Online Ratings Summary
Product & Service Complaints 0
Billing & Collection Complaints 0
Advertising & Sales Complaints 0
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

Clean Complaint Record

As of this review, PaymentMax has an “A+” with the Better Business Bureau is not an accredited business of the BBB. The company has not received any complaints in the past three years. It also has not received any informal reviews.

An “A” Performance Overall

We will not adjust the BBB’s rating at this time. Merchants should be aware, however, that there are reasons to be skeptical of the BBB’s ratings in general.

PaymentMax Fees, Rates & Costs

A Closer Look at The Contract

Cost & Fees Summary
Swiped Rate Variable
Keyed-in Rate Variable
Early Termination Fee Variable
PCI Compliance Fee $149
Equipment Lease Terms Variable

Variable Contract Terms

Because PaymentMax is “powered” by First Data, it is likely that the standard PaymentMax contract is similar to the standard First Data contract. Complainants have reported a discrepancy between the rates and fees they agree to pay and those they are actually charged, and the minimal live customer support at PaymentMax seems to be ineffective at resolving these complaints in a timely fashion. As a result, there is a lot of mixed and outdated information available about possible contract terms offered by PaymentMax.

Possible PCI Compliance Fee

One complaint mentions a $149 PCI compliance service that PaymentMax describes as “optional”; the merchant in this case opted out and was charged for the service anyway. Because of this and other incidents, we award PaymentMax an average score of “C” in this section. We do not expect the company’s standard pricing to compete with the cheapest merchant accounts. If you have any knowledge about PaymentMax’s contract terms, please leave that information in the comment section below.

PaymentMax Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs

Should You Work For Them?

Jobs & Marketing Summary
Employs Independent Resellers No
Advertises Deceptive Rates Yes
Discloses All Important Terms No

Primary Contact Via Email

PaymentMax appears to market itself primarily through its website. Three complaints in the comment section of this review report that the company’s sales agents prefer to communicate with merchants exclusively through email, which is uncommon for the industry. Merchants usually cite misrepresentation or nondisclosure of contract terms in these complaints, although the use of email might provide both merchants and agents with concrete evidence of which terms were disclosed and which were not. The company’s unorthodox communication preferences seem to cause some irritation among merchants who would prefer to speak to live agents.

Incomplete Rate Quotes

As of this update, the PaymentMax homepage quotes a qualified swipe rate of “1.59% + 20¢” and a qualified keyed-in rate of “1.99% + 20¢.” These rates are contrasted with competitors’ rates of “2.9% + 30¢.” However, PaymentMax is only listing its qualified rates for comparison and is not including its mid-qualified and non-qualified rates. We consider this rate-quoting tactic to be deceptive because it could give merchants an unrealistic expectation of the rates they will pay.

History of Fake Testimonials

There is some evidence that PaymentMax was at one point (and may still be) paying people on to leave positive reviews of the company on consumer protection websites. We have lowered PaymentMax’s rating in this section based on this evidence, and we advise merchants to take this information into account when researching PaymentMax online.

Our PaymentMax Review Summary

Our Final Thoughts

A Substandard Option for Most Merchants

PaymentMax rates as a below-average merchant account provider according to our rating system. The company’s rating mostly suffers from an apparent lack of quality customer support as well as a refusal to respond to BBB complaints. PaymentMax could improve its rating by providing clearer paths of communication for its clients. Merchant feedback about PaymentMax has slowed down in the last few years, which could indicate that the company is winding down operations. Given PaymentMax’s reputation, we would encourage most merchants to compare the company’s pricing to top-rated merchant account providers before signing up.

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Which is Most Important for You?

If you had to pick one, which quality would you say will be the most important with your next credit card processor? Tap or click your selection to register your vote:

  1. Low Transaction Fees
  2. No Monthly Fees
  3. No Contract
  4. Reliable Customer Support
  5. Quick Signup

Testimonials & Complaints

How Did PaymentMax Treat You?

21 User Reviews

  • Doug Stewart

    This people are impossible to deal with. I submitted an application on February 4 and never heard back if it was opened. I emailed four time and I just got form letter saying how busy they were On March 10, I received a bill from them for $50 minimum for an account I did not was open nor could use; no instructions, account number how to use etc..

    I tried calling the number on the bill but it was only some kind of customer service not Paymentmax. I went to their website and did an online chat who told me to submit a form to their email and then disconnected me. I did this twice and still have no response.

    It is my intention to file a complain with my state’s attorney general as well as the better business bureau as I am tied of no response and bills for something I cannot use
    Doug Stewart
    STS Technical Services

  • George

    My wife and I own a small health food store and have been using PaymentMax for almost 4 years. In that time we have had no problems and have found their customer service and their services in general to be of very high quality. Our rates have gone up once in that time which, frankly, I find to be quite normal. Inflation and the changing economy have forced us to increase our prices so why should a CC payment processing company be any different? The truth is, I only use services band products to run our store that make my life easier and PaymentMax has done that for us over the last 4 years. If they didn’t I wouldn’t still be using them. If you’re unsure of whether or not to use them in your business I can only say that, in the last 4 years, they have always done right by us. They have earned our trust and our continued business.
    George Tacomo

    • Phillip CPO

      Hi George, it has recently come to our attention that PaymentMax may be hiring people on to post fake testimonials online. In order to verify your testimonial, please reply to this comment with your business name and location.

  • Jenn & Jason

    We’ve used PaymentMax for credit card processing for our business since 2007. We first spoke to a rep on the phone who answered all of our questions professionally and then we sent in our forms to have our account set up and it was done in no time. To date, we’ve experienced excellent service from PaymentMax. We certainly haven’t run into some of the problems here I am reading in other reviews and overall we find the service to be wonderful and very affordable. We’d highly recommend it to others! We’ve actually already recommended it to our good friends and they too are now happy customers of PaymentMax.

    • Paul Carter

      Methinks some Paymentmax employees are trying to pose as customers to salvage a ruined rep. How else do you explain their comment in contrast to ALL the others? My bank did force a refund btw, and their fraud dept did report them to the FBI, as they are using international banks to funnel funds to transact. They also never even ONCE responded to my very polite emails asking why an acct had been opened, and as yet I have never received any kind of access, terminal, software, receipt, invoice – nothing.

  • Andrea

    I recently tried to set up an account with payment max. my application when in on December 19th and according to the website I was supposed to hear back in 24 hours. Instead I heard back 15 days later; on January 3rd, that my account was approved and that if I forwarded them a copy of a voided check to verify banking they would then send me my merchant number and login info. On January 5th I noticed a debit of my checking account for $89. When I replied to payment max regarding my displeasure at taking so long to open the account, I also inquired as to was this them who charged me fees because it was not clearly identified on my checking account. They emailed me a cancellation request but never responded to my inquiry about the fees. I had to investigate by calling Wells Fargo who then referred me to First Data. First Data looked up the information based on the numbers on my account and confirmed the fees came from payment max for December processing fees. Even though I did not get confirmation of an account until January 3rd they charged me fees for the month of December even though there were no charges, had never given me login information nor given me my Merchant ID. I I have emailed the company several times without responses. I have also tried to make phone calls to the company but no calls are answered just directed to email for assistance. my bank is now investigating and will try to get my money back for me. Stay away from this company!

  • Chris

    Here’s a couple numbers I have for PaymentMax; one of which was obtained at the Western States Acquirers show this past October:

    805-557-1692 for Tony Shap

    800-979-0210 for the rest of the crew is always in a meeting and never responds to voicemails or emails.

    Hope this information helps!

  • Z

    Amazing Pam. I had to do a double take as I was reading your comment and make sure I didn’t write that entry without remembering. My story mirrors yours closely.

    We joined with them in 2008 and also had the Jacob communication after the rate increase notice in the September bill. We even told Jacob to let us know if the rate could not be maintained so we can search for another processor before the increase went into effect.. Jacob provided us the same exact assurances that our rate would remain the same. In our October statement we boticed we were charged the higher rate. That’s when the back and forth emails began. This time with William. William would ignore any discussion of Jacob’s promise in his replies and insisted the increase was valid, we were “not eligible for lower rates”, and that we were not due any refunds for the overcharges in October or November up till that date. Than I receive an email from William on 11/21 with a new rate proposal and contract to sign. Of course this contract was set up for a swiped account even though William should have known we are a card not present company. I emailed him back pointing this out and still requesting the previous issues be addressed. That was our last communication. The 4 transactions we processed on 11/29 did not deposit into our account the next morning as they should have. We called First Data and just like Pam our account had been closed. The best part was it was at “our request” This is a clear violation of the Terms which require 30 days notice unless we are in default. We had to scramble for a new processor and thus had no ability to receive payments for almost a week.

    Our customers were never charged like Pam’s which is one headache we avoided but we never did get communication from Paymentmax regarding their abhorant behavior even after asking First Data to get to the bottom of this.

    Complaints were filed with the FTC and Wells Fargo who is the bank that gives them a license to be a card processor.

    • Z

      For good measure they banned our 2 IP addresses that we registered with them for PCI Compliance Scans from being able to access their website. The block was put in the same day Wells Fargo forwarded our complaint letter on to them.

      • Z

        I have an update to my situation.

        Tony Shap, the CEO, reached out to me last week by phone. He asked that I explain everything that happened from beginning to end. After going over everything he profusely apoligized for the way we were treated and promised to make things right.

        Tony claimed that during the time period we had written emails directly to his direct email address, they had been experiencing issues receiving mail from Yahoo and AOL accounts. He says he did not see our emails and would have addressed it at that time if he had.

        All overages were refuned to our bank account.
        He gave the okay to release ownership of our account so we could transfer it to our new processor. This was important to us as it had the records for many years worth of transaction details.
        Our IPs were unbanned from accessing their website.
        Both employees we had interactions with were dealt with by Tony and he assured me such situations won’t happen again in the future.

        I’d recommend everyone else here reach out to Tony directly so you can hopefully get your issues resolved too.

        Hopefully Paymentmax will learn from these issues and Tony will put in place procedures to prevent them from happening in the future.

  • Pam New

    I had been a customer of Paymentmax since 2007 and accepted each and every increase in their rates. However, when I was notified about their last increase – I asked if I was eligible for a “rate review”. I communicated with Jacob, one of their representatives, via email (the only way to contact them) and was assured that my current rate would stay the same. As per the notice on my September statement, if I continued with them after 10/01 – I had accepted their terms. When my October statement arrived I had noticed that my rate went up. This started many emails to them trying to find out “why” Jacob’s assurance was not honored – to any avail. After much consideration and waiting for emails to be returned, I decided to switch my Merchant Service Provider. On 11/29 I notified Paymentmax that I would no longer need their services effective 12/01. On 11/29, as I was attempting to process a credit card, the terminal said invalid merchant number. I called First Data (Paymentmax’s processing center) and they said that the account had been closed. Initially I thought that this was done so that there would be no billing whatsoever for the month of December, since the cut off time for next day deposits is 7:00 pm. The credit card sales from 11/28 had not deposited into my account on Friday, as they should have been or Monday either. Matter of fact, the credit card sales from 11/29 also had not been deposited. However, when I received my November statement I was billed service charges for the 11/28 sales. This prompted another call to First Data, since they are the only contact information that I have. They eventually deposited the 11/28 sales into my account, but they said that they were having a difficult time “forcing through” the 11/29 sales – especially since I no longer had their terminal. The terminal had been sent back to them on 11/30. By the way, the charge vouchers from 11/29 had 11/28 as the date of service. After two weeks of attempting to get the 11/29 sales deposited, on 12/13 I called Serena at First Data and instructed her to stop the ticket # and not to attempt any further action. I stated that I would contact my customers directly and process those charges through my new Merchant Service Provider. On 12/17 I noticed that Paymentmax processed the charges from 11/29 and deposited them into my account. I immediately contacted Serena from First Data, who was also perplexed. This ticket and merchant number had been closed and there were not supposed to be any further transactions or activities. Serena assured me that she would attempt to have these reversed, but that it may take 3 – 5 business days. I plan to monitor my account frequently, patiently waiting for the 11/29 charges to be reversed. I also told Serena that I would contact her once this situation has been straightened out and hopefully by 12/28. This has put me in a compromising situation with my customers. Fortunately, we have been in business for 33 years and our customers are very understanding. Nevertheless, Paymentmax has fraudulently “forced through” my customer’s credit card sales for 11/29. They should not have my customer’s account numbers stored and definitely were not authorized to do this. We must be in PCI compliance aren’t they???

  • Paul Carter

    They scammed me as well out of $100 in fees before I even knew they were drafting my acct. Didnt receive any acct approval, didnt do any merchant activity, didnt even know i had an acct, and I certainly had never authorized access to my checking acct. So I went to the fraud dept of my bank, Frost National, and they are helping me report these thieves to the FBI and the BBB. I recommend everyone else do the same – dont just lay down and be taken advantage of – put em in Jail!

  • Marlene

    Don’t use them! They are awful. When you apply they are quick to respond but once they give you a merchant number forget about it… they will blow you off. I closed my account immediately due to them charging me for a terminal that I never requested because I told them I was only interested in doing mobile processing plus I never received the terminal. After I submitted my closure form, I emailed a couple of times asking for confirmation that they received my closure form but they never answered. The bad part is I got charged for the month plus all sorts of fees that they are not mentioned on their website. If you think that they are only going to charge 1.59% for mobile charging – be ware that is a LIE. If you wish to see my statement of all the fees, feel free to email me. DO NOT USE this company unless you want to lose all your hard earned money. Christa if you want to take this to the US Attorney General, count me in!!! I’m already telling everyone to stay away from this company and to go with square.

    • Christine


      Help! What hoops did you have to go through? I got a random statement for that amount and it said min monthly fee which was not listed in any of their initial offer materials. please let me know what I need to do to avoid getting hurt by this company. Christine

  • Mike

    PaymentMax is an absolutely abysmal company, and shamefully located in the same town I grew up in (Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village, CA). We found this company on the web and was promoted as an alternative to Square. Square was a disaster, but that’s another story. PaymentMax has no support. No real people you can speak to over the phone. All correspondence was through email. The PaymentMax salesperson promised us the world. Low rates, instant approval, quick, 24-hour turnaround for daily batches deposited into our bank account. After providing our ACH bank account information, we were given access to a virtual terminal and told to start processing our transactions right away. After about a week of processing orders, we noticed that none of our daily deposits were coming into our bank account. PaymentMax didn’t even bother sending the test deposits to verify our bank account information, it just held all of our money (approximately $1500). When we asked why they wouldn’t release any money, they indicated that we would have to go through an additional and more invasive verification process. I’ve seen this game before. The good, old fly-by-night merchant account bait & switch. I said, “no thanks”, and promptly refunded all $1500 in orders. If I can have my money, neither will you….. Next?

  • Elise

    PaymentMax has been an absolute nightmare for me. I am an artist that occasionally processes credit cards, usually in the holiday season. After signing up, processing cards at my first trade show went very well. Then when I tried to use it again (after several months had passed — seasonal shows), I found out that my account had been deactivated due to inactivity, and I had not received any notice that it had been deactivated. When I signed up, I was very clear about my processing needs.

    In spite of my account being deactivated, I was charged a PCI compliance fee, and most recently a $50 minimum monthly fee was withdrawn from my bank account. They told me it was according to the 30-day notice, but I never received any notice. They have refused to credit my account for this fee.

    I have also never been able to receive support to resolve the deactivation. They are not available for this type of issue 24/7. They are only available 8-5 M-F, and even when I have called the number during those hours, I get a voice recording telling me to email them.

    I definitely do not recommend this company. I am filing a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Better Business Bureau.

  • Karen Trimble

    I would never recommend this business.
    I searched online for a credit card company that would support a Lucid Android phone and found PaymentMax. Their online site assured me that Lucid, specifically, would be supported. After filing the paperwork, I couldn’t download the app for my phone and discovered that no, PaymentMax indeed did not support the Lucid. One can only contact that company via email and after several sent back and forth, I was told in no uncertain terms that they would not refund a$50.00 fee taken directly from my bank account.

    So not only was I misled as to their service, they hid behind a contract that ought to have been void for lack of services provided. Buyer BEWARE.

  • christa

    PaymentMax has to be a scam. First of all I ordered a card reader and signed up for
    an account with them Oct. 2011. They were to get the card reader to me for a special event
    which by the way came from Roam data on the East Coast. I never received the card reader
    ever! I emailed Payment Max since there is no phone number for a customer to call and let
    them know I would have to cancel the account because they never got the card reader to me.
    This has been going on since Oct 2011 it is not May 2012. They have been taking 49.95 out
    of my account since then and you can’t stop it. You call the 800 # on the statement and they
    give you another 800 number to call because they say they can’t do anything. That 800
    # goes to First Data. I have no idea how to get ahold of Payment Max in CA by phone to
    get this ironed out. Plus they charge a $295 fee for cancellation. Plus a $97 initiation fee which they don’t tell you about. STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY -I am ready to
    send this to the US Attorney General’s office. It has been and continues to be a really bad
    experience not to mention the time and money I have spent trying to get out of this mess.
    I even have the email trail of events linked to this case!

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