Pipeline Data Review

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Credit Card Processors
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Category Breakdown
Sales & Marketing rated D
Costs & Contract rated C
Complaints & Service rated D
BBB Rating rated D

Overall Rating

"D" Credit Card Processor Rating


UPDATE: 7/24/2013: – Pipeline Data filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2012. Its assets were purchased by Calpian Commerce in March 2013.

Pipeline Data Processing, Inc. (pipelinedata.com) was incorporated in 1997 and operates its main headquarters out of Alpharetta, Georgia. The company appears to be owned by, or is a subsidiary of, Cynergy Data and claims to service over 40,000 merchants as of 2006. Pipeline primarily specializes in providing processing services for other third party merchant services sales organizations.

Pipeline Data, Inc. is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank of Chicago, IL, Meridian Bank of Devon, PA and Wells Fargo Bank of Walnut Creek, CA as its Acquiring Banks.

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Sales & Marketing | D

Pipeline Data does not have its own sales channel and does not appear to market merchant accounts directly. Instead, it relies on several wholly owned subsidiaries and outside partners to market and sell its merchant accounts and credit card processing services. These partners and subsidiaries include SecurePay.com, Charge.com, Northern Merchant Services, World Products, Inc. (aka: AIRCHARGE) and possibly many more. Pipeline also employs a sales force of independent, commission-only sales agents. It appears that various other Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) resell Pipeline Data merchant accounts as well.

Pipeline does not appear to use any deceptive marketing or sales tactics itself; however, this reviewer has found during other provider reviews that some of its subsidiaries do use misleading tactics. Since it is our belief that the parent company is ultimately responsible for its subsidiaries, Pipeline is currently earning a poor rating in this section.

Related: Find The Best Providers By Processor Type

Costs & Contract | C

The majority of Pipeline’s merchant accounts appear to be sold through resellers, partners and its own subsidiaries. This means that Pipeline sets base rates and fees (AKA: wholesale costs) and then the fees are marked up for a profit by the different sales organizations that sell the accounts. Due to this, the costs and fees of a Pipeline merchant account will likely vary widely depending on the agent who set up the account and by each merchant.

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Complaints & Service | D

Customer service of Pipeline accounts appears to be handled in one of two ways: first, some of the independent resellers handle account maintenance and service in-house, or second, some outsource the customer service directly to Pipeline’s internal support, which appears to be handled by Cynergy Data. This can be confusing since blame for problems can be tossed around and it may be unclear which company is servicing the merchant.

This processor has a high number of complaints filed in various complaint forums. A few angry merchants have even dedicated entire websites to bashing the company. The majority of the online complaints are centered on undisclosed PCI compliance fees, which range from $75-$195 per year, and the withholding of funds to establish “rolling reserves” without any notification to the merchant.

What is particularly unsettling to this reviewer are the numerous complaints of Pipeline withholding thousands of dollars from merchants for up to 180 days without giving the merchant any explanation. Some merchants even complained of the reserves being withdrawn from linked checking accounts, causing overdraws. Numerous other merchants complained of undisclosed fees being directly withdrawn from their checking accounts unexpectedly. Some merchants reported closing the linked checking accounts to avoid further withdrawals and subsequently received harassing phone calls from Pipeline representatives trying to collect. The resounding theme among nearly all complaints is that Pipeline provided “poor” or “awful” customer service.

Lastly, many of the complaints about Pipeline also name one of its partners or subsidiaries as part of the problem. Merchants are encouraged to research any company that is providing a Pipeline merchant account prior to signing any documents.

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BBB Report | D

Pipeline has made some slight improvements in its Better Business Bureau report since the last update of this review. The company has raised its grade from an “F” to a “D” and has lowered its complaint count from the previous three years from 186 to 149. The bulk of the complaints are regarding billing and collections issues, and problems with service. Of the 149 complaints, 132 have been resolved to the merchants’ satisfaction.

Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce

Bottom Line

Pipeline Data Review

Rated 1.4 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2015-06-04

Pipeline Data is suffering from a considerable amount of merchant complaints. It appears that the company may be taking steps to improve its reputation because the rate of complaints seems to have slowed slightly since the last update of this review. The company could raise its rating by eliminating future merchant complaints through positive policy changes and improved customer support.

This review was originally published on 3/9/12 and was last updated on 6/4/15.

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  1. John

    We got hooked into Pipeline/Cynergy through Everest marketing (EMS). Numerous problems, poor customer service, bogus PCI charges ($185.00) and finally a “Risk analysis assessment” triggered by an above average keyed in transaction – brought our account to a halt and required a week of exhausting calls, emails and attachments to resolve. I am trying to switch out of this account but get “this mailbox is full” messages on the account cancellation phone line. What a nightmare – keep away from this company,

  2. Gerald holland

    Pipeline data is horrible. After two years of silence and no help they called one day and gave me one hour before they cancelled my account and left me with no credit card processing. They would give me no reason at all. Stay away from this company.

  3. Crios Munnings

    We somehow got hooked up with Pipeline a few years ago, and it has been one of the most unprofessional, unethical experiences we have ever had in business.
    It started withe the withholding fees. They gave vague explanations saying that they had to withhold a portion of every charge transaction because of risks. Year after year, the costs kept going up. PCI compliance fees, monthly fees, misc ACH charges, etc, etc. It was just out of hand, and decided to migrate our merchant services elsewhere. During all this time, we tried to communicate our concerns via the email address they would use to contact us from time to time, nobody ever answered our concerns. It was as if nobody existed on the other end. And the ‘agent’ or ‘call center’ they used was of no help. Generic responses. We patiently waited for the 6 months to be out and again after repeated emails had gone unreplied, we had to call to get our refund.
    I told the agent that during that time, our business had undergone some changes and our bank had closed down, and that we were no longer operating at that business address, and provided a new address. Needless to say, they sent a check to the old address, and this mail got turned around and by the time it reached us, 30 days had passed. The check had bold-faced words on the front stating “void after 30 days”. Well you can imagine. I called several times to explain the situation and nobody had any answers. After all the years and all the withholding funds, we now have a ‘dead’ check that is not even worth the paper it’s printed on. Still trying to figure out what to do next….

  4. kevin boyer

    Pipeline Data seems to be a leech company of first data they also use another company called cynergy data to charge pci non compliance fees for services I do not even have they leech money out of my bank account for all these other (leech) partners I am surprised the government doesn’t charge them with fraud

  5. Double HH Ranch Maureen

    I have been trying to cancel my account with Pipeline data for a year and a half. I have faxed them numerous times using the form and fax number THEY supplied. They have given the following reasons for not cancelling the account #1 didn’t receive it at all #2 that’s not our fax number #3 Oh year we received it, don’t know what happened #4 need an additional signature – supplied In our opinion the company is UNETHICAL

  6. Note

    After finalizing the end of a very difficult last six months of a 3 year contract with Pipeline Data/Cynergy Corp. Relief is an under statement. The first 2 and half years of doing business with them was fine. However, without notice in June 2011, Pipeline Data charged my business account a $189.00 PCI annual fee. I already paid this fee in December of 2011. Speaking with Pipeline Data’s CSR representatives was grueling, most of them were rude and unprofessional. After wasting a large amount of time on the phone, and waiting for Pipeline Data CRS reps to return calls. This, by the way, never happened. I decided I would pay the $350.00 early cancellation fee, (although my contract was up for re newel or cancellation in November 2011). It was at that point, when Pipeline Data decided to reverse the fee. However, the following months my billing statement with Pipeline Data was covered with fee’s. Including a $20.00 per month non-compliant PCI fee, that was to have been handled when they reversed the $189.00 annual PCI fee. Then, the gateway fee was increased by $23.00 without notice or explanation. When calling to resolve these issues, the representatives where unprofessional, combative, indifferent, brash and just plain rude. It was terrible. To date, I have spoken with several of Pipeline Data CSR without success (including “Supervisors”) and paid for uncontracted and unwarranted fees. Whether or not this company has recently changed hands or has repeatedly practiced questionable business I am not sure. What is clear is the havoc and negative impact doing business with Pipeline Data can have on any business. My experience with Pipeline Data’s gross lack of professionalism, couple with many questionable and shady business practices, was the motivating factor behind my writing this review for those seeking merchant services.

  7. Gerald Holland

    Pipeline is the worst. I had them for three years without a peep. They called today and gave me one hour notice and cancelled my account. Could not get a reason from anyone other than Harris Bank did not want to offer this kind of business anymore. What a crock. Can you imagine, ONE HOUR NOTICE!!

  8. Kim

    For 3 years in a row Pipeline Data attempts to withdraw funds from our business checking account. The charges are for some obscure fees or PCI compliance. We have never had an account with them and in fact, none of the merchant account numbers that we’ve had through the years match the number they give us.

    Now they’re telling me to cancel this, I have to send them a copy of the original merchant agreement along with a copy of my drivers license. Right – not going to happen since (1) we’ve NEVER HAD a Merchant Agreement with them and (2) they are NOT getting any personal information from me.

    What boggles me is that they continue getting away with this fraudulent activity with no recourse. I’m sending this to the attorney general in our state to request that they please investigate this scam.

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