UPDATE 8/24/2017: The SalonSwipe website is not available at this time, and public reports indicate that SalonSwipe is no longer responding to merchants or to the Better Business Bureau. The available evidence suggests that SalonSwipe is no longer an active business. If you have any information about SalonSwipe’s current status (including any rebrandings or DBAs), please share it in the comment section below this review.
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 a mobile processing solution consisting of a free card-reading device 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 411 W Lambert Rd #404, Brea, California 92821.
SalonSwipe Products and Services
- Debit and credit card processing
- POS equipment
- Custom tip amounts
- Receipts that include “after” pictures
- Sales reporting
- Social media integration
- Skin care specialists
- Massage therapists
- Nail techs
- Makeup artists
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||No|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
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 is a factor in its favor. SalonSwipe’s website lists specific rates and pricing for swiped and keyed transactions and states that there are no annual or setup fees, but according to merchant complaints, these aren’t the full costs charged by SalonSwipe. Beginning in early 2016, we have seen a large number of complaints posted that specifically mention a $16.95 fee and a $3.95 fee suddenly being charged after months or years of inactivity. These fees are not mentioned on the SalonSwipe website, which leaves open the possibility that still other potential fees may be charged by the company. In light of this recent rash of complaints, we have lowered SalonSwipe’s rating to a “B” in this section.
SalonSwipe Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Keyed-in Rate||3.49% + $0.15|
|Early Termination Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Variable|
|Equipment Lease Terms||None|
The standard SalonSwipe 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 2.69% (swiped) or 3.49% plus $0.15 (keyed). However, as noted above, it appears that some inactive accounts are suddenly being charged monthly fees as of early 2016. It is unclear whether these fees are being charged in error, or whether the company has suddenly introduced an inactivity fee or PCI compliance fee.
Another major issue appears to be related to 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. See the SalonSwipe User Agreement.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||40+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Unauthorized Charges|
We are currently able to locate over 40 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 cite unexpected fees, difficulty cancelling service, and miscommunications regarding banking info. 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. After we mentioned this in our review, the tone of the responses improved somewhat. In general, though, SalonSwipe’s customer service appears to be one of the major drawbacks of the service.
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||10|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||6|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||0|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||0|
SalonSwipe is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and is currently showing a “B+” rating. The company has received 16 complaints in the past three years, with 10 due to product or service issues and six related to billing or collection disputes. SalonSwipe has successfully resolved eight of the complaints, while the remaining eight either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant. 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.
About Phillip Parker
Hi, I’m Phillip Parker and I believe that the merchant account industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal from hard working business owners. I created this website to help you avoid the bad players, save money on fees, and get peace of mind with your merchant account. If you would like to help support my work, check out my cost analysis service. I can evaluate your statement and tell you exactly how much you're overpaying for your merchant account. Get more information here.Schedule a Consultation with Phillip
Related: Phillip’s Top All-Purpose Merchant Account Picks
Copyright & Disclaimer
Copyright © CardPaymentOptions.com, Inc. (Digital Fingerprint: 0d38c6720f0d78a701b74d58653af608). Getting paid to re-write this page? Click here to earn a reward.
Any unauthorized copying and reproduction of the content of this page, including all meta data and computer code, is strictly prohibited. While the information in the above article is believed to be accurate as of its publish date, the author and publisher make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents. The author and publisher shall in no event be held liable to any party for any direct, indirect, punitive, special, incidental or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of this material, which is provided “as is,” and without warranties. Any and all use of trade names and/or marks are for identification purposes only and shall not be construed as a claim of affiliation, or otherwise, with CardPaymentOptions.com, Inc. ("CPO") in any form. The sole purpose of the material presented herein is to alert, educate, and inform readers. It is not intended as legal or financial advice.