New Contract Terms in Response to Merchant Dissatisfaction
At the time of previous reviews, Shift4 Payments’ terms and conditions imposed a three-year contract term with a costly early termination fee. This was the basis of most of the complaints left by merchants on this and many other consumer review websites. However, Shift4 Payments has revised its terms and conditions in response to this outcry from merchants.
Shift4 Payments’ current terms and conditions convey a one-year contract with a tiered pricing structure. Merchants are charged either an interchange-plus model or tiered rates of 1.39% plus $0.10 for swiped transactions, while keyed-in transactions are charged 1.79% plus $0.10. Shift4 Payments does not charge an early termination fee any longer, which was the most costly fee from its old contract terms. However, Shift4 Payments does require merchants to return equipment within 15 days of the end of a contract, or else it imposes costly equipment fees. Merchants who do not return standard credit card terminals within that period are charged $200, contactless terminals are charged a $300 fee, and POS systems are charged a $500 fee. However, the lack of an early termination fee provides merchants with much more flexible contract terms, and its transaction rates are much more affordable as well.
Shift4 Payments is also the owner of a handful of different POS system companies: Harbortouch, Restuarant Manager, Future POS, VenueNext, 3dcart, Merchant Link, and POSitouch. The company also serves as a partner to over 300 other POS and PMS companies, providing merchants across different industries with tailormade options for the unique needs of their business.
One of Shift4 Payments’ more notable companies, Harbortouch, previously provided merchants with the option between 2 different POS systems: Echo POS and Elite POS, though it appears they are shifting to the new Onyx model Each merchant agreement conveys some pretty basic pricing. Echo POS charges a monthly fee of $29 per system, while Elite POS has a $39 monthly fee for each. Echo POS charges an installation fee of $150 for the first system and $100 for any additional. While the Elite POS merchant agreement does not include an installation fee, per se, there is a $250 fee for additional wiring needed to install a POS system. Though neither agreement includes an early termination fee, merchants who cancel their contracts must return any POS equipment within the prescribed period in their merchant agreement or being charged an equipment return fee of $500.
In addition to those fees, each POS agreement details a range of products and services and their additional monthly costs. These products and services are categorized as optional add-ons and come with additional monthly fees, though they can be purchased outright at a one-time cost as well. Other, less expensive items — from employee authorization cards to printers and scanners — are billed as one-time purchases.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Shift4 Payments’ terms and conditions also disclose the cost of its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. Shift4 Payments charges 1.79% plus $0.10 per transaction and a batch fee of $0.35.
Your Agent’s Word Is Not The Final Word
Although these are the company’s official terms, the company’s use of independent sales agents means that transaction rates and fees may vary from agent to agent. A representative of the company confirmed in the comment section of this review that any verbal guarantees made by sales agents will not overrule the language in the company’s contract, so merchants are advised to trust the documentation above an agent’s word. Multiple merchants have described a situation in which a sales agent verbally agreed to waive or alter certain fees and then failed to follow through on those changes. There are also multiple claims that agents failed to disclose the contract length and early termination fee associated with the company’s POS agreement. If you suspect that you may be paying too many hidden fees, we recommend obtaining a cost analysis from an independent fee reduction service.
A New Grade for New Contract Terms
Shift4 Payments’ approach to POS sales has received mixed reviews. The basis of most complaints concerns issues with the company’s previous terms and conditions; primarily the costly early termination fees. Since Shift4 Payments has revised its terms and conditions for its merchant agreements and POS systems, we award the company a “B” in this category. Though there are many monthly charges and some one-time fees that come with the Echo and Elite POS systems, the flexibility merchants have with no early termination fees and shorter one-year contracts mitigates the expense of those costs drastically from the company’s previous policies. We always encourage merchants to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.