|Sales & Marketing|
|Costs & Contract|
|Complaints & Service|
SalonSwipe (salonswipe.com) is a mobile payment processing service designed specifically for individuals and businesses in the salon industry. The company is not a direct processor, and it appears to be partnered with multiple credit card processing networks, including North American Bancard, First Data, and Vantiv. Launched in 2005, SalonSwipe offers two forms of electronic payment processing. The first is a traditional, wired card terminal with a PIN pad and printer capabilities. The second is a mobile processing solution wherein a free card-reading device is plugged into the headphone jack of a user’s mobile device, similar to Square’s hardware. SalonSwipe charges on a per-transaction basis and does not require any contracts or monthly minimums. Isaac Lay is listed as the CEO of SalonSwipe, which is headquartered at 1015 E Imperial Highway, Suite C8, Brea, California 92821.
|SalonSwipe Products and Services||Industries Served|
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||No|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||No|
|Discloses all important terms?||Yes|
SalonSwipe appears to market itself primarily through its website. There is no indication at this time that the company partners with ISOs or independent agents, which are often loosely regulated and poorly trained entities. We are also unable to locate any negative SalonSwipe reviews that mention unethical practices by the company’s sales force. The company’s website lists specific rates and pricing for swiped and keyed transactions, but there is no evidence that these rates are misleading or false.
SalonSwipe Marketing Example
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|Swiped rate:||2.69% or 2.4% + $0.24|
|Keyed-in rate:||3.49% + $0.15|
|PCI compliance fee:||None|
SalonSwipe appears to offer fairly transparent pricing. The company’s contract (available below) does not include a long-term service agreement, early termination fee, or monthly minimum, just as the company advertises. In addition, there are no complaints online that dispute the company’s advertised swipe rates of 2.4% plus $0.24 (terminal) and 2.69% (mobile), or its keyed mobile rate of 3.49% plus $0.15. These pricing structures do not appear to vary from merchant to merchant.
What does appear to vary is the company’s reserve policy from merchant to merchant. Similar to Square, SalonSwipe claims the right to establish a reserve account at any time, in any amount, and at its own discretion in order to protect itself in the case of fraudulent transactions. Additionally, in the case that a merchant processes over $1,000 in card-not-present amounts in a given week, SalonSwipe reserves the right to defer payout of the amount exceeding $1,000 for 30 days. The establishment of a cash reserve is a common practice within the industry, but in the case of SalonSwipe, it appears that multiple merchants are experiencing frustration with this policy. Specifically, it seems that SalonSwipe does not openly disclose this policy or offer available customer support staff to assist merchants with unexpected holds, leaving business owners wondering when their funds will be returned. This factor has lowered the company’s grade in this category somewhat.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Fund holds|
We are currently able to locate over 30 SalonSwipe complaints, some of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. The overwhelming majority of complaints mention some combination of missing funds that have yet to be deposited in the merchant’s bank account and an inability to reach a SalonSwipe customer service representative to resolve the issue. Other complaints include difficulty cancelling service and miscommunications regarding banking info that take time to resolve. Generally speaking, it seems that SalonSwipe’s customer service phone line and email address do not provide responses to merchants in a timely fashion, which results in a great deal of frustration for merchants.
It is also worth noting that approximately half of these publicly available SalonSwipe complaints received rebuttals from company representatives. These rebuttals were sometimes unprofessional in tone and attempted to shift blame onto SalonSwipe’s processors or affiliated banks rather than resolve the merchant’s problem. In addition to the multiple complaints specifically expressing frustration with the company’s customer service, this generally antagonistic rebuttal approach has lowered the company’s overall score in this section.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
SalonSwipe is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and is currently showing a “B” rating. The company has received 15 complaints in the past three years, with nine due to product or service issues and six related to billing or collection disputes. SalonSwipe has resolved all complaints. It’s worth mentioning that SalonSwipe’s BBB profile was deactivated for a brief period of time in 2013 following the shutdown of the BBB’s Los Angeles-area branch, so it’s possible that the company’s current profile only dates back to March 2013. Considering the company’s complaint total, its resolution ratio through the BBB, and the content of the complaints, we agree with the BBB’s rating at this time.
Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce
This review was originally published on 2/5/13 and was last updated on 4/10/15.
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