UPDATE 5/6/16: Excel Corporation has sold Securus Payments’s operations to Chyp, a newly created company that shares ownership, employees, and a location with Securus. Existing Securus merchants will be serviced by eVance, a subsidiary of Excel Corporation. For more information, see our Chyp review.
Securus Payments (securuspayments.com) is a Portland, Oregon-based merchant account provider that appears to be an ISO of First Data. Launched in 2009, the company shares ownership with the now-defunct Portland company Payprotec, which was the subject of a warning issued by the Better Business Bureau in 2013. In 2014, both Payprotec and Securus were acquired by Excel Corporation, and it appears that the Payprotec brand was retired while the Securus brand remained active. Securus Payments is located at 7724 SE Aspen Summit Dr., Suite 300, Portland, Oregon 97266 and is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. in Walnut Creek, California. Steven Lemma is listed as the founder and CEO of both Payprotec and Securus Payments.
- Gas stations
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||Yes|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Securus Payments appears to utilize in-house telemarketing and independent sales agents to market its services. Though common in the credit card processing industry, the use of independent sales agents is often a cause for complaint among merchants, as it can be difficult for any company to regulate the conduct of its independent sales entities. Securus appears to be no exception, as we have located numerous negative Securus Payments reviews that describe misrepresentation of rates, nondisclosure of terms, and aggressive or manipulative tactics by Securus sales agents. Additionally, some of these complaints have been filed by former employees of the company, who allege a lack of support for agents, non-payment of owed residuals, and an unprofessional workplace.
The Securus Payments website also contains a table promoting rates “as low as 1.59%” for swiped, internet, and MOTO transactions. While it’s entirely possible that these quotes accurately refer to the company’s “Qualified” rates, the website makes no mention of the “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” rates that merchants would pay for the majority of their transactions. We consider this type of rate quoting to be deceptive, since it could give merchants an unrealistic expectation of the effective rate they will pay. Multiple merchant complaints confirm that there is sometimes a difference between the rates represented by agents and the rates that merchants ultimately pay to Securus.
Securus Payments Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$495|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$159 Per Year|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Months, Non-Cancellable|
The standard Securus Payments agreement (available below) is a three-year contract through First Data with an early termination fee of $495 and other miscellaneous fees, including a monthly minimum of $25, a $159 annual PCI compliance fee, and a variable monthly statement fee. The payment processing rates appear to follow a tiered pricing structure and, according to merchant complaints, may not be appropriately outlined by sales agents in all cases. Merchants also report being locked into expensive long-term equipment leases as an undisclosed condition of their merchant agreements. Overall, these terms appear to be more expensive than industry averages, resulting in a “D” grade in this category. See the Securus Merchant Agreement.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||60+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Hidden Fees|
We are currently able to locate at least 60 non-BBB Securus Payments complaints, many of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Common themes among complainants include deceptive or high-pressure sales tactics by sales agents, expensive contract terms such as large, undisclosed termination fees, and difficulty reaching customer service representatives. Many merchants indicate that their greatest expenses while processing through Securus are related to their equipment leases, which can cost thousands of dollars to cancel. This is a rather high complaint rate for a company that has only been active since 2009. The company lists a direct phone line on its website, but it is currently unclear whether and to what degree First Data handles the customer support for Securus Payments.
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Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||69|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||14|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||64|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||1|
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.
At the time of our previous update, Securus had informed the Better Business Bureau that it would not respond to complaints submitted through the BBB. The company appears to have changed this policy, however, because it currently has a “B” rating based on a whopping 149 complaints filed in the past three years. Of the total complaints, 69 were related to product or service problems, 64 had to do with advertising or sales issues, 14 were related to billing or collection disputes, and the remaining two were a guarantee issue and a delivery problem. Securus successfully resolved 43 complaints, while the remaining 106 either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from Securus. Given Securus’s complaint total and resolution ratio, we have adjusted its BBB score to a “D.”
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About Phillip Parker
Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry. Schedule a Consultation with PhillipSchedule a Consultation with Phillip