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Smart Card Merchant Services Review
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Note: As of August 2021, the Smart Card Merchant Services website is down and they appear to be inactive on their various online profiles. We believe the company is out of business and will no longer be updating this profile. If you have information that the company is still in business, please let us know in the comments below.
Established in 2015
Active since 2015, Smart Card Merchant Services is a merchant account provider that appears to be a DBA or related business of Eschelon Merchant Services and a now-defunct company called EMV Payment Systems. Eschelon Merchant Services registered the Smart Card Merchant Services trade name in the state of Arizona in August 2015, and the vice president of business development at Eschelon Merchant Services registered “Smartcard Merchant Services” with the Arizona Corporations Commission in 2013. Furthermore, the president of Eschelon Merchant Services is listed as the registrant of the “smartcardms.com” web domain.
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona
Smart Card Merchant Services is a reseller of First Data (now Fiserv), TSYS, and Worldpay contracts and a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio. It is headquartered at 3320 W Cheryl Dr, Ste A-160, Phoenix, Arizona 85051-9594, although other addresses in the Phoenix area have also been associated with it. The company does not disclose the identities of its owners on its website, but, as noted above, it appears to share ownership with Eschelon Merchant Services and EMV Payment Systems.
Smart Card Merchant Services Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Smart Card Merchant Services appears to offer variable contract terms that are commonly paired with long-term equipment leases.
- Complaints & Service: Smart Card Merchant Services has received nearly 40 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Smart Card Merchant Services has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 3 complaints and 1 review in the last 3 years.
- Sales & Marketing: Smart Card Merchant Services hires independent sales agents and has received a high number of complaints about its sales practices.
Smart Card Merchant Services Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||20+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Equipment Lease|
Widespread Negative Reports
We are currently able to locate nearly 40 negative Smart Card Merchant Services reviews, some of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Common complaints include improperly advertised equipment leases, undisclosed fees, misrepresented rates, unreachable customer service, and a poor work environment for the company’s employees. This complaint total is fairly high for a young company, and it doesn’t even include a much larger number of EMV Payment Systems and Eschelon Merchant Services complaints that could potentially be connected to Smart Card staff members.
Both Eschelon Merchant Services and EMV Payment Systems are the subjects of multiple merchant complaints describing very similar “slamming” tactics, particularly with regard to equipment leased through First Data Global Leasing and Northern Leasing Systems. We have received Smart Card Merchant Services complaints that describe this same issue, indicating that Smart Card shares the business approach used by those companies.
Serious Red Flags
Moreover, many of these complaints describe severe issues such as exorbitantly expensive lease costs, outright deception by sales agents, and totally indifferent replies from sales agents and company representatives. Smart Card therefore rates poorly both in the quantity and content of its available complaints.
Smart Card Merchant Services Lawsuits
We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Smart Card Merchant Services. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
Smart Card Merchant Services Customer Service Options
The company advertises that its customer service center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST Monday through Friday, but 24/7/365 technical support is available for all merchants. However, the company’s options and performance do not earn it a place among the top-rated payment processors for great customer service at this time.
Smart Card Merchant Services Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
|Product & Service Complaints||3|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||0|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||0|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||0|
Poor Company Responsiveness
Smart Card Merchant Services currently has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and is not BBB-accredited. The company has received 3 complaints on their BBB profile. All 3 of the complaints related to product or service problems. All 3 were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no final response.
What Merchants Say
In addition to the 3 complaints filed with the BBB, Smart Card Merchant Services’ profile has also received 1 informal review, which is negative. The complainant mentions excessive fees when leasing equipment:
This is a cheating company. If I read the review of this company before I signed contract with them then I will not end up as a victim. The sales rep gave lots of misleading information. The worse part was the leasing of the credit card reader which bound me for 4 years with the total charges to almost $5,000! So DON’T SIGN ANY CONTRACT WITH THIS COMPANY ESPECIALLY FOR THE CREDIT CARD READING MACHINE LEASE! You will regret if you don’t take people’s warning about this company!!!! I would have given minus star if I am allowed to!
This complainant could benefit from understanding what fees to be on the lookout for when signing up for a merchant account.
An “F” Performance
In light of the company’s complaint total and resolution ratio over the past eight months, we see no reason to alter the BBB’s rating.
Smart Card Merchant Services Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Swipe Rate:||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Keyed-In Rate:||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Virtual Terminal Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Payment Gateway Fee||Undisclosed|
|Early Termination Fee||Undisclosed|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Undisclosed|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Month (locked)|
Potentially Costly Terms
There is very little information available regarding the actual terms of the standard Smart Card Merchant Services contract. The company gives a detailed explanation of how their customized pricing involved 3 tiers for qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified rates but does not disclose any information. Merchants have not filed complaints that specifically mention transaction fees, early termination fees, PCI Compliance fees, monthly minimums, or other fees. Some merchants do express a general sense of surprise at how high their monthly costs are, but it seems that the rates and fees charged by Smart Card for its credit card processing services are not the biggest issues facing the company.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Smart Card Merchant Services also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. However, pricing is not disclosed on either of those services. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
Beware Long-Term Equipment Leases
Smart Card’s tendency to package its merchant accounts with equipment leases through First Data Global Leasing, on the other hand, is a major problem for merchants. As one of the lowest-rated providers, First Data Global Leasing is notorious for providing long-term, non-cancellable, expensive equipment leases, and most complaints filed against Smart Card refer to the equipment lease as the primary problem. The company’s equipment lease policy in combination with accusations of incomplete sales disclosure has lowered Smart Card’s score in this section more than the terms of its merchant agreement. It should be noted that most credit card terminals can be purchased for under $500. Non-cancellable, long-term leases mean a merchant can pay thousands for that same equipment making them a contract term to avoid. We also encourage merchants to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.
Smart Card Merchant Services Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Deceptive Sales Tactics
Smart Card Merchant Services utilizes a combination of telephone appointment setters and independent agents to market its services. In general, this hiring strategy can create a team of unsupervised or untrained sales agents and is commonly linked to merchant complaints. In this case, we have located a large number of complaints about Smart Card Merchant Services, Eschelon Merchant Services, and EMV Payment Systems that consistently cite issues with nondisclosure or misrepresentation. In particular, many negative reviews describe aggressive telemarketing and deceptive tactics with regard to the company’s equipment leases. This does not compare favorably to our list of best credit card processors.
Multiple merchants allege that Smart Card sales agents failed to disclose the 36- to 48-month non-cancellable leases that came with their merchant accounts or claimed that the equipment was “free.” Some complaints also describe tactics that closely resemble “slamming” scams, in which a Smart Card Merchant Services agent will call and claim to be with “Merchant Services” in order to persuade a merchant to purchase new equipment. A few complaints from the company’s employees back this up with descriptions of a high-pressure “hiring mill” environment. All of these claims are corroborated by an account mistakenly posted in the comment section below our CardSmart Merchant Services review:
Smart Card Merchant Services cold called me and said our business rating had changed and wanted to know whether I wanted to accept an upgrade to our account for better credit card processing fees.
The telesales agent made it seem like we had a relationship with them, but when I asked they said we did not. I asked them to put the upgrade offer in writing but she said she could not, but could schedule an in-person interview. We scheduled a date and time and I asked her to send email confirmation, but it never appeared. Strike 1.
On the date in question, I called the number on the website and reached someone who confirmed there was an appointment and they had my email address wrong. So obviously they don’t know much about my business, and when I said it was a cold sales call, they insisted it was not since they knew our credit rating had improved.
I told her I would be a little late for the meeting since it wasn’t confirmed. I was five minutes late – the rep was 45 minutes late. Strike 2.
During the meeting, the rep would not put anything in writing and proceeded with a number of hard sell / hard close sales gambits. He was vague about details and said I have to commit, they only review accounts once a year and I have to decide now. I told him I needed to talk to my partners and he continued to try to close the sale.
He finally wrote some things on his business card with a *not guaranteed* on it. He said he was not selling me, but rather his goal was to screen me out.
I called the next day and told him we were interested and whether he could send me the contract so we can review the terms and sign. He told me he can only meet in person. Since my partner is in another state, I told him we would be happy to do that but he would have to fly across the country. He said he can’t do that. Strike 3.
We decided the sales process and business practices are too sketchy for us to engage with them. They promise great rates, but won’t put anything in writing and keep saying “it depends”.
While we have not done business with them, they managed to waste a lot of my time and proved to be incompetent with sketchy business practices at best. At least as far as we are concerned, they are out.
It’s strange they behave so unprofessionally. We are currently paying sky-high rates for credit card processing and it appears they can save us a lot of money. But we can’t risk a core part of our business dealing with a vendor who:
1) Has deceptive sales techniques
2) Insists on meeting in person and is 45 minutes late
3) Won’t send a contract to review
Specific Sales Agent Issue
In addition to merchant complaints, we have located a news story from December 2016 that actively warns business owners about the conduct of some Smart Card Merchant Services sales reps. One rep in the story, Michael Lee, is named in numerous Smart Card complaints across the web. As of that article’s publication, he was still selling for the company, but it is unknown whether he is still an active salesman.
Supposedly Transparent Pricing
The Smart Card Merchant Services website actively promotes interchange-plus pricing, which is the most transparent pricing model available. Although there is no indication that this pricing structure is misleadingly promoted, the company’s reputation with regard to its equipment lease sales inclines us to warn merchants against taking the company’s word on this. Business owners should be sure to confirm that the rate structure they will receive is true Interchange-plus rather than a tiered model that has been misrepresented. If you suspect that Smart Card is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking an independent statement audit to spot hidden charges.
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