Pivotal Payments (pivotalpayments.com) is a large super ISO with operations in both the U.S. and Canada. The company is headquartered in Melville, New York, and St. Catharines, Ontario, respectively. Founded in 2003, Pivotal acquired Cardex Corporation and Tangerine Payment Solutions and rebranded both companies under the Pivotal Payments name. As an ISO, Pivotal appears to be a reseller of First Data, Global Payments, and TSYS credit card processing services, but may also work with other direct processors. The company manages its merchant accounts directly and provides in-house customer support.
Pivotal Payments’ Acquiring Banks are Merrick Bank of South Jordan, Utah, BMO Harris Bank: N.A., Chicago, Illinois, and Wells Fargo of Walnut Creek, California. Philip Fayer is the president and CEO of Pivotal Payments.
- Sales & Marketing: Pivotal Payments hires independent sales representatives and has received a moderate-to-high number of complaints about its sales practices.
- Costs & Contract: Pivotal Payments offers a three-year contract through Global Payments with an early termination fee of either $395 or $495.
- Complaints & Service: Pivotal Payments has received more than 160 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Pivotal Payments has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 68 complaints in the past three years.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Pivotal Payments
Pivotal Payments History Video
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Pivotal does not appear to use any deceptive advertising or rate quoting in its official materials, but the company has suffered considerable damage to its reputation due to its marketing strategy.
The company relies very heavily on outside independent sales agents, sub-ISOs, telemarketing, franchises, and strategic partnerships to sell its services. Evidence contained in numerous merchant complaints seems to indicate that Pivotal pays varying commissions based upon the rates and fees that agents set during the activation of the merchant account and equipment lease. Many merchants report that agents misrepresented their pricing, terms and conditions, and lease agreements to persuade them to accept an account. Pivotal’s internal policies appear to be doing a poor job of regulating its resellers’ marketing practices.
A representative of Pivotal stated in an email to us that the company has implemented a “sales compliance” position so that all sales channels meet the company’s “internal standards,” but did not elaborate on the policies that define the standards. He also stated that Pivotal will buy back an equipment lease if the company cannot provide service to the merchant, or if there was a sales misrepresentation issue. As of this update, we see little evidence to indicate that Pivotal’s efforts have resulted in reduced merchant complaints regarding sales and marketing tactics.
Pivotal Payments Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$395 Or $495|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$99 Per Year|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Months, Non-Cancellable|
Pivotal’s pricing may vary greatly based upon several factors including the agent, franchise, sub-ISO, or partner setting up the account, and by a merchant’s processing volume and business type. Additionally, the company’s sales agents are known to lease equipment either directly or through First Data Global Leasing at varying costs. A company representative has stated that Pivotal has started to focus on offering free equipment and equipment rental programs to reduce the number of lease contracts it sells, but it is still possible for merchants to receive a long-term lease from a Pivotal rep. This reviewer recommends to always buy your equipment and to never lease it.
Pivotal Payments previously enforced a liquidated damages early termination fee in its standard contract. As of this update, however, a company representative has informed us that the company’s standard early termination fee is now a flat $395 fee for merchants processing up to $25,000 per month and $495 for merchants processing over $25,000 per month. Pivotal Payment’s standard contract (available below) appears to include a three-year service agreement with an automatic renewal for one year, but a few merchants have reported agreements up to five years. A company representative has stated that Pivotal does offer month-to-month contracts, but that these are up to agent discretion. As noted above, several reviews state that Pivotal agents often also market 48-month, non-cancellable equipment leases that can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the lease.
In addition to the processing fees, merchants have reported various other monthly fees as well as an annual $99 PCI Compliance fee. It is strongly advised that merchants fully understand the pricing and terms of their Pivotal Payments merchant account agreement before signing. See the Pivotal Payments Global Payments Terms & Conditions.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||300+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Cancellation Fees|
There are a moderate-to-high number of Pivotal Payments negative reviews filed online for a processor of its size and time in business, including over 160 in the comment section of this review. The content of the complaints is fairly consistent, with numerous merchants reporting poor customer service, problems with accounts, processing errors, terminal problems, difficulty cancelling service, unexpected costs, and high cancellation fees. One contributing factor may be that Pivotal acquired Tangerine Payment Solutions, which also has very poor reviews. To get more details about Pivotal complaints, see actual merchant reports in the comment section at the end of this review.
It should also be noted that Pivotal Payments appears to have paid Ripoff Report to join that site’s Corporate Advocacy program, which allows Pivotal to replace the titles of negative reviews with bogus promotional blurbs that are all identical. Merchants should note that the full complaints can still be found beneath the lengthy promotional material that has been added to each review. It is our view that this approach demonstrates less of a commitment to customer service than if the company had simply provided professional rebuttals to merchant complaints.
Although Pivotal states that it has improved its customer service and improved on the areas of merchant dissatisfaction, we see little evidence to support improving its rating as of this update.
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||39|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||18|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||10|
|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, the Better Business Bureau is awarding Pivotal Payments accreditation as well as an “A+” rating due to 68 complaints registered in the last 36 months. Of the total, 39 are regarding problems with products and services, 18 with billing and collection, 10 with advertising and sales, and one with delivery. Pivotal Payments has resolved 26 of the complaints, while the remaining 42 either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant. Although these numbers are consistent with other BBB profiles for Pivotal Payments, it should be noted that the BBB lists a Plano, Texas, location for the company that is not consistent with the information provided by other sources.
At the time of our previous update, the BBB also included the following notice:
BBB has identified a pattern of complaints concerning sales misrepresentation. Pivotal Payments has cooperated with the BBB by providing a response as to the steps they are taking to eliminate this pattern. As of August 5, 2015, Pivotal Payments’ complaints are being monitored for 6 months specifically to identify whether or not this pattern has been eliminated.
It therefore seems that Pivotal’s rapid decrease in complaints and improvement from an “F” to an “A+” has occurred during this probationary period—a period that curiously aligns with the length of time that Pivotal has been an accredited BBB member. Considering Pivotal’s current complaint total and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C.”
About Phillip Parker
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