UPDATE 1/28/2019: Payza has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that it “operated an Internet-based unlicensed money service business that processed more than $250 million in transactions.” Payza’s U.S. website is inactive, and the company appears to no longer operate in the United States. Merchants are reporting that its European site is also not paying out money transfers. At this time, there is no information about how merchants might recover funds that have been withheld by Payza.
Payza (payza.com) is an online payment processor that functions in a manner similar to PayPal or Dwolla. There are a number of unusual features about the company and its service that make it a difficult provider to research and rate. For one thing, the company was formerly based in Canada and known as AlertPay before it was bought by MH Pillars, Ltd. in 2012. This “acquisition” appears to have been more of a rebranding, as there is not a great deal of information available online about MH Pillars, Ltd beyond the fact that it is a DBA of Payza.
To complicate matters further, the company appears to have offices all over the world. Payza is headquartered in London, has a regional office in New York City, uses an acquiring bank located in Moscow, and has made significant recent gains in the Bangladesh payments market. Part of this global success is likely attributable to the fact that the company actively promotes its ability to process remittances (the earnings that a foreign worker sends to his or her home country), which is a largely untapped market among payment processors.
In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed that it is conducting a criminal investigation of Payza and an India-based company called Obopay. The Department of Justice has not provided specific details about the investigation, and the investigation appears to be ongoing.
Payza appears to have only recently ventured into the U.S. market under the Payza name, but it does claim that it can process payments between U.S. users and businesses. Alastair Graham is listed as the CEO of Payza.
How Payza works
Payza operates by having its users send and receive money from dedicated Payza accounts. The company offers both personal and business accounts, and businesses can accept credit card payments from customers who do not have Payza accounts via “pay now” buttons on their websites. It’s free for anyone to send money from their Payza account to someone else’s Payza account, but a transaction fee is assessed for anyone who accepts money from another Payza user.
It seems that Payza users transfer funds through some sort of email authorization system like that used by Square Cash. The company allows users to fund their Payza accounts through ACH transfers, bank wires, cashier’s checks, bitcoin money orders, or credit and debit cards. Payza users can withdraw money from their accounts using ACH transfers or credit cards, or by loading a prepaid Visa card with their funds in countries where this service is available.
- Sales & Marketing: Payza does not employ independent sales representatives but has received some merchant complaints about its sales practices.
- Costs & Contract: Payza offers a month-to-month contract with variable transaction fees for personal and business users.
- Complaints & Service: Payza has received more than 200 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Payza has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 37 complaints in the last three years.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Payza