Smart Card Merchant Services Review

Smart Card Merchant Services Overview

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Established in 2015

Active since 2015, Smart Card Merchant Services (smartcardms.com) 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.

Slamming Allegations

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 those companies’ business approach.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona

Smart Card Merchant Services is a reseller of First Data, TSYS, and Worldpay contracts and a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank. 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 more than 20 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Smart Card Merchant Services has received ten complaints with the Better Business Bureau and has an “F” rating.
  • Sales & Marketing: Smart Card Merchant Services hires independent sales agents and has received a high number of complaints about its sales practices.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Smart Card Merchant Services

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Products & Services Offered

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO

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Smart Card Merchant Services Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Swipe Rate: Variable
Keyed-In Rate: Variable
Early Termination Fee Variable
PCI Compliance Fee Variable
Equipment Lease Terms 48 Months, Non-Cancellable

Potentially Costly Terms

There is very little information available regarding the actual terms of the standard Smart Card Merchant Services contract, as 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 issue facing the company.

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 have lowered Smart Card’s score in this section more than the terms of its merchant agreement.

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Smart Card Merchant Services Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

Total Online Complaints 20+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Equipment Lease

Widespread Negative Reports

We are currently able to locate nearly 25 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 company that is only two years old, 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.

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.

Customer Support Channels

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.

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Response from Smart Card Merchant Services

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Smart Card Merchant Services BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 6
Billing & Collection Complaints 2
Advertising & Sales Complaints 1
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 1

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 ten complaints since its profile was created in January 2017, with six related to product or service problems, one related to an advertising or sales issue, two due to billing or collection disputes, and one due to a delivery issue. Smart Card Merchant Services has only responded to one of these complaints, which is the primary reason for its low rating.

What Merchants Say

One complainant mentions incessant, unwanted calls from the company:

We receive unsolicited calls regarding them wanting to send an analyst out to review our merchant account. We do not process our merchants charges with them. They refuse to delete us from their calling lis. I have spoken with Gary, anthony, and Emily who says she is the supervisor and says she is in charge and no one else to talk to.

This complainant could benefit from understanding how to shut down sales calls.

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.

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

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 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.

Nondisclosure Complaints

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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Response from Smart Card Merchant Services

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Smart Card Merchant Services Logo

Our Opinion of Smart Card Merchant Services

A Substandard Choice

Like its affiliated organizations, Smart Card Merchant Services rates very poorly according to our rating criteria. We have identified a consistent pattern of complaints filed against this merchant services provider that describe deceptive sales tactics, expensive equipment leases, and poor customer service. Due to reports of some of the company’s sales agents misrepresenting their identity, merchants are not encouraged to even engage with this company at this time. Merchants will be better served by working with a top-rated credit card processor instead.

We rely on your feedback about Smart Card Merchant Services to keep this review accurate and up-to-date. Please take a minute to tell us about your experience. We and the small business owners of this world thank you!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope that it has helped you with your research.

My Qualifications

I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry to start my own a small business. From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to write about it, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this insider knowledge to myself, so decided to build this website to help you research which providers to use and how to save money on rates and fees. I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers here. Simply scroll to the top of the page to find the search bar. You can also message me if you need any guidance.

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2 Reviews Leave Your Review for Smart Card Merchant Services Below

  1. Sergio Nardi says:

    STAY AWAY, this company uses illegal tactics to get you to sign up. Stay away especially from Lee Min Woo he is a sales rep. for Smart Card Merchant Services. His tactic? he will use the excuse that he needs your signature to get your merchant account approved, he will say things like “not anyone” can get approved. Then use your Social Number and Signature to get you involved into a lease through First Data Global Leasing. Nothing he says is true, its all a ruse to get the lease agreement. Stay Away

  2. Lori Cambs says:

    Very unprofessional and sketchy phone marketing tactics. Misleading and rude employees. Expressed I was not interested and continued to call me back 3 times yelling at me. Called Supervisor, still sketchy remarks. I would not recommend anyone doing business with them

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