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PNC Merchant Services 2023: Reviews & Complaints
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PNC Merchant Services is the merchant services division of PNC Bank, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company works with First Data (now Fiserv) to provide merchant accounts and Clover point-of-sale products. It is therefore not a direct processor.
PNC Merchant Services Point of Sale
PNC Merchant Services offers debit and credit card processing through point-of-sale products from Clover. These include the Clover Go mobile solution, the Clover Flex portable solution, the Clover Mini tablet, and the Clover Station terminal. The company also offers access to a payment gateway and virtual terminals.
PNC Merchant Services offers a comprehensive range of payment processing solutions, allowing businesses to accept various forms of electronic payments such as credit cards, debit cards, and mobile wallets. This flexibility helps merchants accommodate their customers’ preferred payment methods.
Recognizing the growing demand for mobile payment options, PNC Merchant Services enables businesses to accept payments through smartphones and tablets. This feature allows merchants to process transactions on the go and provide their customers with a convenient payment experience.
Online Payment Gateways
PNC Merchant Services offers secure and reliable online payment gateways for e-commerce businesses. These gateways ensure smooth and secure transactions, giving customers confidence in the online shopping experience and helping merchants maintain their reputation.
Security is a top priority for PNC Merchant Services, and they provide a variety of fraud prevention tools to protect businesses against fraudulent transactions. These tools include address verification, secure encryption, and advanced fraud detection systems to safeguard sensitive customer information.
Location & Leadership
PNC Bank is headquartered at 249 Fifth Avenue, One PNC Plaza, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222. William S. Demchak is CEO and President of PNC, Alexander Overstrom is the Head of Retail Banking, and Deanna Thomas is Account Executive at PNC Merchant Services.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Appears to offer a multi-year contract through First Data (Fiserv) that includes a liquidated damages early termination fee. The company relies on…
- Complaints & Service: Complaints number more than 30 on…
- BBB Rating: Better Business Bureau profile has been conflated with the larger PNC Financial Services Group and has an…
- Sales & Marketing: Does not appear to hire independently contracted agents but has received…
PNC Merchant Services Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||30+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Undisclosed Fees|
Low Complaint Total
We are currently able to locate more than 30 negative PNC Merchant Services reviews, some of which outright accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Common themes among PNC Merchant Services complaints include deceptive sales tactics, expensive cancellation costs, difficulty canceling the service, and undisclosed fees. PNC does not appear to have responded to any of these merchant complaints. While this is a relatively low overall complaint volume for the company’s size and time in business, the consistent reports of misrepresentation and high costs are troubling enough to lower the company’s grade to a “B” at this time. If you have your own PNC Merchant Services review to make, please do so in the comments below.
PNC Merchant Services Lawsuits and Fines
In October 2018, a class-action lawsuit filed against PNC Merchant Services alleges the company overbilled customers through “unanticipated and excessive fees,” as well as misrepresenting its annual fees on its standard form contract, which states such fees will only be charged “as needed.” The lawsuit seeks to cover all of PNC Merchant Services’ U.S. customers who were assessed an annual fee. This case is yet to reach a resolution.
Similarly, in October 2017, a group of clients filed a class-action lawsuit against PNC Merchant Services for overcharging business owners. The complaint is best summarized by the following excerpt:
For years, PNC Merchant Services Company, L.P. (“Defendant” or “Merchant Services”) and its affiliates have engaged in a scheme through which it overbills its customers. Indeed, once merchants are locked into long-term contracts, Defendant assesses unanticipated and excessive fees and deliberately obscures and hides the upcharges so that merchants cannot reasonably detect that they have been overbilled.
Much of the harm is initially attributable to deception by Defendant’s sales agents during the contracting process. These sales agents, with the full knowledge and encouragement of Defendant’s management, seek to enroll merchants by every trick in the book, including by failing to disclose fee practices they know will occur and outright lying about fine print contractual terms. Agents earn substantial commission income and bonuses by doing so.
Once merchants are enrolled, Defendant endeavors to cover up such frauds by blocking merchants from receiving itemized monthly statements. This practice has two effects: it obscures Defendant’s upcharges and blocks merchants from complaining.
Those “squeaky wheel” merchants that are vigilant enough to demand itemized monthly statements and discover Defendant’s scheme are typically unable to obtain any relief. Defendant instructs its sales agents and customer service department to refuse refunds in most cases. Merchants that refuse to accept the overbilling and seek to cancel are forced to pay excessive early termination penalties that often exceed amounts they would otherwise pay if they fulfilled the remaining months on their contract’s term. Merchants are thus put to a Hobson’s Choice – accept the overbilling or cancel and pay massive termination fees.
The case was settled in November 2021 for $14.5 million.
In May 2022, PNC Merchant Services was sued over allegedly not making their website accessible to the blind. This suit is ongoing.
PNC Merchant Services Customer Support Options
The PNC Merchant Services website appears to offer dedicated phone and email customer support lines, but it is unclear at this time whether these lines are serviced by PNC or First Data (Fiserv).
PNC Merchant Services Customer Service Number
- (888) 562-2300 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
Other Support Options
- Customer support form
This said, it is unlikely that the company’s service will rival that offered by top-rated providers for great customer service.
PNC Merchant Services Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
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.
No Dedicated Profile
As of this review, PNC Bank at large has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau. The complaints and review sections of this profile defer to the PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., the merchant account provider’s parent company. As such, these complaints and reviews do not accurately reflect the quality of the company’s merchant services.
No Rating Assigned
Given the BBB’s apparent confusion about how to classify PNC Merchant Services and the company’s uneven performance in the other categories of this review, we are currently excluding this section from the company’s overall rating. Business owners should note, however, that there are reasons to be skeptical of the BBB’s ratings.
PNC Merchant Services Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Monthly & Annual Fees||Yes|
According to a sample merchant agreement and the company’s program guide, the standard PNC Merchant Services rates and contract involve a three-year agreement through First Data (Firserv) with a Liquidated Damages early termination fee (ETF) which can surpass the typical First Data (Fiserv) fee of $495, an application fee of $195, a programming fee of $90, a setup cost that may approach $345, a statement fee of $5, a monthly minimum fee of approximately $15-$20, an annual fee of an unknown amount, and a tiered pricing structure.
PNC Merchant Services has recently revised its pricing structure. The latest PNC Merchant Services rates are disclosed directly on its website. According to PNC Merchant services, swipe transactions are charged a rate of 2.60% plus $0.10 while keyed-in transactions a charged a rate of 3.45% plus $0.15. It is unknown whether the company charges PCI Compliance fees separately from its annual fees, but it appears that its setup cost, application fee, and programming fee can be lowered or waived. PNC also resells 48-month, non-cancellable equipment leases through First Data Global Leasing.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
According to the revised PNC Merchant Services pricing page, the company also relies on the First Data (Fiserv)-backed Payeezy payment gateway for its virtual terminal service. Payeezy offers 2 separate plans, the Basic Plan and Pro Plan. Neither plan charges setup fees, statement fees, or gateway fees. The Basic Plan charges a rate of 2.90% plus $0.30. Meanwhile, the Pro Plan offers a lower rate of 1.89% plus $0.23 and a monthly fee of $19.95.
While PNC Merchant Services fees and rate structure are essentially average for the industry, PNC’s early termination fee has the potential to be up to $900, which is well above industry averages. The company calculates this early termination fee by charging clients $25 for each month remaining in their contract. Therefore, the longer a client stays with PNC before canceling, the lower their early termination fee will be. Given the fact that PNC’s average contract is three years in length, a business would have to process through PNC for two years in order to be subject to an early termination fee close to the industry average. We view this type of ETF as excessive and have accordingly scored the company far lower than the cheapest merchant accounts. We also encourage businesses to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.
PNC Merchant Services Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Uses Independent Resellers||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Built-In Marketing Channels
PNC appears to utilize traditional advertising and its existing network of clients to market its merchant services. There is no indication at this time that the company employs independent sales agents. We are currently able to locate more than a dozen negative PNC Merchant Services reviews that accuse the company’s sales representatives of deceptive or aggressive sales practices, including nondisclosure or misrepresentation of service length, termination fees, and rates. This does not compare favorably to our list of best credit card processors. If you believe that PNC Merchant Services rates have been misrepresented to you, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to find and eliminate hidden fees.
No Deceptive Rates
To its credit, the company does not appear to list any deceptive rate quotes in its official advertising materials. However, at least one merchant has recently complained that PNC did not properly honor its rebate on an equipment purchase. Business owners should therefore be sure to read the fine print of any promotional offers, such as the $500 reward for switching to PNC on the company’s homepage.
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