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Paymentsense is a very large merchant account provider that claims to service over 70,000 businesses in the UK. Paymentsense is the UK branch of First Data (now Fiserv), the largest payment processor in the United States. Paymentsense provides conventional countertop and e-commerce payment solutions as well as mobile payment apps for UK merchants. In 2018, the company launched Connect — a cloud-based technology that facilitates its payment processing network.
Paymentsense Payment Processing
As part of Fiserv, Paymentsense offers payment processing on all major debit and credit cards for most types of businesses. Their advertising particularly focuses on enabling merchants to take payments in person, over the phone, and online. For in-person payments, they offer Ingenico card readers in portable, mobile, and countertop options. For online payments, they offer e-commerce shops, their own payment gateway, and the ability to pay by email. Their phone option uses their proprietary virtual terminal.
Costs & Contract: Paymentsense appears to offer multi-year contracts through First Data (Fiserv) with long-term equipment leases. The company also charges a payment gateway with 3 different tiers of monthly fees.
We are currently able to locate more than 600 negative Paymentsense reviews in the comment section below this review and even more elsewhere. Complainants report issues that are typical of First Data (Fiserv) and its resellers, including undisclosed fees, higher-than-expected rates, long-term equipment leases, and poor customer service. These complaints have been posted very frequently and are loaded with consistent grievances, indicating that these issues may be systemic at Paymentsense.
Some Reviews Are Not Reliable
Paymentsense currently has a 4.2 out of 5 rating based on 6,452 reviews on Trustpilot.co.uk, a customer review website. Despite that rating, 12% of those reviews, an excess of 750, give the company 1 or 2 out of 5 stars. This figure is not especially meaningful, though, given the fact that Trustpilot allows businesses to pay a fee in order to exert some control over their profiles. A survey of available Paymentsense reviews on Trustpilot reveals that at least some reviews have been flagged for review by Paymentsense and are currently unavailable. The company’s ability to report comments and subject them to review greatly reduces the credibility of this profile in our opinion, and we are not inclined to lend much credence to the company’s rating.
Mixed Reviews From Business Owners
On UK Business Forums, another consumer protection website, users have mixed reviews of Paymentsense. Some commenters praise the company’s locked-in rate guarantee, low rates, and customer service, while others bemoan its long-term equipment lease commitments and unexpected fees. Paymentsense is rarely described as a cheap merchant account provider.
The Better Business Bureau does not maintain a profile for this UK-based business.
How Expensive is Paymentsense?
Rates, Fees, and Contract Terms
0.2% + £0.50
Early Termination Fee
£120 plus VAT
PCI Compliance Fee
£5.94 Per Month
Equipment Lease Terms
Discounts for Paying Annually
Paymentsense does not disclose all of its pricing details on its website or in its merchant agreement, but it does list its monthly fees for online payments via a payment gateway and virtual terminal-enabled phone processing. These fees can be paid annually or monthly, but merchants receive a discount for paying for a year upfront. Both types of payment plan cost £9.95 per month (£8.29 if paid annually) for businesses processing up to £50,000 per year, £14.95 per month (£12.45 if paid annually) for businesses processing between £50,000 and £250,000 per year, and £19.95 per month (£16.62 if paid annually) for businesses processing between £250,000 and £1.2 million per year. Merchant reviews reflect a rate of 0.20% for swiped transactions and 0.20% plus 50p for those keyed-in. Each per transaction fee is in addition to the cost of monthly payment plans.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Paymentsense also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. The company offers 3 different plans to facilitate online payments determined by a merchant’s yearly processing revenue. The Starter Plan is available to merchants processing up to £50,000 per year at a cost of £8.29 per month. The Regular Plan serves merchants processing up to £250,000 a year for a monthly fee of £12.45. Lastly, merchants processing up to £1.2m a year qualify for the Advanced Plan which has a monthly see of £16.62. According to the company’s terms and conditions, its payment gateway plans do not enforce an early termination fee and are in effect month-to-month agreements.
Multi-Year Contracts Are Possible
According to merchant comments available online and responses from company representatives, Paymentsense offers a standard contract agreement of 18 to 60 months, with locked-in rates decreasing as the contract length increases. The company’s specific transaction fees vary depending on a merchant’s business type, size, and time in business as well as the terms presented by the sales agent. Most complaints about the company’s contract terms mention that although Paymentsense locks in rates over the life of a contract, the company may introduce unexpected minor monthly charges over time, such as statement fees, 24-hour terminal replacement fees (£1.89 per month, according to some reports), or PCI compliance fees (£5.94 per month, according to some reports).
Termination Fees May Apply to Leased Equipment
Most reviewers also indicate that Paymentsense charges an early termination fee for the cancellation of its equipment leases, which can range from a £120plus VAT to Liquidated Damages. Merchants are encouraged to inquire about these terms before signing up for service. We have seen an influx of complaints about five-year leasing agreements that ultimately cost far more than the retail cost of the equipment, and we continue to recommend that merchants purchase used equipment rather than buy new equipment whenever possible. Paymentsense claims to not charge an early termination fee on its actual merchant accounts, but the cost of canceling a terminal often exceeds most common ETFs. When it comes to providers that do not charge this kind of fee, we encourage merchants to check out our list of the providers of thebest merchant accounts.
Merchant Feedback Is Not Encouraging
Given the company’s size and diverse customer base, it is difficult to determine exact figures for the standard Paymentsense contract at this time. However, the rate and volume of complaints we have received about the company’s pricing suggest that there is a high potential for undisclosed fees through this provider. If you suspect that undisclosed fees have crept into your monthly statement, we recommend seeking a fee reduction audit from an independent third party.
Does Paymentsense Use Deceptive Marketing?
Advertising & Sales Strategy
Employs Independent Resellers
Advertises Deceptive Rates
Discloses All Important Terms
Resellers and Telemarketers
Paymentsense appears to primarily market itself through independent sales agents and telemarketing efforts. The use of independent sales agents is a practice that is commonly linked to merchant complaints within the credit card payments industry, and Paymentsense’s reputation appears to suffer from its use of this practice. We have found dozens of merchant reviews that mention aggressive or misleading sales tactics by Paymentsense representatives, discrepancies between promised rates and actual rates, and incomplete disclosure of contract length. This does not compare favorably to our list ofbest credit card processors.
Some complaints also state that Paymentsense sales agents promised merchants that Paymentsense would pay the merchants’ cancellation fees with their previous providers, only to have Paymentsense deny this guarantee and refuse to follow through on it. These complaints have been posted with regularity and are similar to the complaints that have been filed against Paymentsense’s U.S. partner, First Data (Fiserv).
No Tricky Quotes
To its credit, Paymentsense does not engage in deceptive advertising strategies in its publicly available marketing materials. This is not enough to qualify it as a top-rated UK merchant account provider, but it does somewhat mitigate the negative reports from business owners.
Does Paymentsense Deserve Your Business?
Review Summary & Our Thoughts
Not a Competitive Option for Most UK Businesses
Paymentsense rates as a below-average merchant services provider according to our criteria. The company offers long-term equipment contracts with locked-in rates that some reviewers feel are competitive, but most complainants report unexpected fees, aggressive sales practices, and poor customer service. Paymentsense rates about as well as its U.S. parent company, First Data (Fiserv), because it appears to be very similar in terms of its sales and service offering. Paymentsense users who wish to cancel their service without a fee may encounter some difficulty due to the company’s contractual language.
Phillip Parker is a Payments Industry Analyst and creator of this blog, CardPaymentOptions.com. Phillip is passionate about researching merchant service providers and payment industry trends. He is often quoted as an expert source in national publications such as INC Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Entrepreneur, and many others.
“I started this blog because I was disgusted by the business practices of the merchant services industry. I wanted to empower business owners by providing insight on how to avoid shady merchant account providers and costly credit card processing mistakes.”
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