Smart Choice Payments Review

Overview

A Company of Many Names

Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, Smart Choice Payments (smartchoicepayments.com) is a merchant account provider that offers credit card processing for most domestic business types. The company is a DBA of Wholesale Merchant Processing and of First Choice Payments, and it also appears to be a DBA of North American Processing Solutions. According to a complaint on our Payment Systems Corporation review, Smart Choice Payments, First Choice Payments, and North American Processing Solutions are subsidiaries of Payment Systems Corporation, which rates as one of the worst merchant account providers we have ever reviewed. There is also recent evidence to suggest that the company has launched a new brand called Velocity (govelocity.com).

Based in Oregon

Todd McCartney is listed as the president of Wholesale Merchant Processing, Smart Choice Payments, and American Payment Systems. All three companies are headquartered at 10250 SW Greenburg Rd. Ste. 200, Portland, Oregon 97223. Smart Choice Payments is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California.

Smart Choice Payments Review Table of Contents

  • Sales & Marketing: Smart Choice Payments appears to hire independently contracted agents and has received a moderate number of complaints about its sales team.
  • Costs & Contract: Smart Choice Payments offers a three-year contract with an early termination fee of $495.
  • Complaints & Service: Smart Choice Payments has received more than 20 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Smart Choice Payments has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 34 complaints in the last three years.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Smart Choice Payments

Smart Choice Payments Products and Services

Industries

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO
  • Restaurant
  • Lodging
d

Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

Employs Independent Resellers Yes
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms No

Sales Complaints

Like Wholesale Merchant Processing, Smart Choice Payments appears to sell its products and services through a combination of telemarketing and independently contracted sales agents. We have found a number of Smart Choice Payments complaints that cite nondisclosure of contract terms, misrepresentation of rates, and difficulty contacting sales agents after the contract was signed. A number of complaints from former and current employees also describe a “hiring mill” type of environment.

A Familiar Pattern

These complaints generally mirror those filed against Wholesale Merchant Processing, and many Smart Choice complaints also mention WMP as though they are the same company. In our opinion, this means that the dozens of complaints available online about Wholesale Merchant Processing are at least partially applicable to Smart Choice Payments.

Ripoff Report Complaints

Smart Choice Payments has paid Ripoff Report in order to participate in that website’s “Corporate Advocacy Program,” which enables Smart Choice to paste its own promotional copy above certain merchant complaints. It is our belief that this practice reflects poorly on any company, as it only makes it harder for merchants to see what other business owners have to say about the company. In addition, Smart Choice appears to be one of a number of DBAs and subsidiary entities that Wholesale Merchant Processing has established across the country. This strategy is commonly used by some providers to spread complaints across multiple brands or to escape the negative reputation of an existing brand.

Some Red Flags

Taking into account the complaints filed against both Wholesale Merchant Processing and Smart Choice, we have assigned Smart Choice a “D” in this section. If you suspect that Smart Choice Payments is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to find and eliminate hidden costs.

Response from Smart Choice Payments

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Smart Choice Payments Marketing Example

f

Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate Variable
Keyed-in Rate Variable
Early Termination Fee $495+
PCI Compliance Fee $4.95 Per Month
Equipment Lease Terms Non-Cancellable

Three-Year Contract

The standard Smart Choice Payments contract (available below) is a three-year agreement with an early termination fee of $495, a monthly PCI compliance fee of $4.95, a monthly minimum fee of $25, a monthly statement fee of $10, and an accompanying non-cancellable, four-year equipment lease through Northern Leasing Systems. In addition, we have found one report of an additional early termination fee of $900 that is charged upon cancellation. This sounds a lot like a similar $893.98 fee charged by Wholesale Merchant Processing, but we are unable to determine why the company charges it under either name.

Beware Long-Term Leases

As with Wholesale Merchant Processing, the company’s merchant account contract terms are more expensive than industry averages and would warrant a rating at least as low as “C” on their own. However, two other factors lower the company’s score in this section to an “F.” First, the company’s agents appear to commonly package their processing agreements with long-term equipment leases through Northern Leasing Systems. Northern Leasing Systems is notorious for selling non-cancellable four-year leases that charge thousands of dollars for equipment that can be purchased for under $500. Second, the regular complaints about nondisclosure of contract terms indicate that many merchants are signing up with the understanding that they will not face many of these fees. This makes the contract’s length and fee structure even more damaging for unsuspecting merchants.

Higher-Than-Average Costs

Smart Choice Payments appears to offer substandard contract terms overall, and we do not consider its pricing to be even remotely competitive with the cheapest merchant accounts. See the Smart Choice Payments Merchant Application and the Smart Choice Payments Program Guide.

Response from Smart Choice Payments

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c

Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

Total Online Complaints 20+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Hidden Fees

Moderate-to-High Complaint Total

We are currently able to locate more than 20 negative Smart Choice Payments reviews, some of which accuse the company of being a scam. This total does not include the more than 50 complaints we have found regarding Wholesale Merchant Processing or the additional complaints filed against First Choice Payments and North American Processing Solutions. Common themes among complainants include nondisclosure of contract terms, poor customer service, expensive equipment leases, and an unprofessional work environment. Many complaints (and responses from company representatives) mention Smart Choice and Wholesale Merchant Processing as though they are the same company, so we will not differentiate between the two entities in this section.

Ripoff Report “Corporate Advocacy”

As noted above, Smart Choice Payments has paid Ripoff Report in order to participate in that website’s “Corporate Advocacy Program.” This program makes it difficult to find the title and content of targeted complaints on Ripoff Report. Merchants are advised to scroll completely down the page to read the full details of each complaint.

Smart Choice Payments Support Options

Smart Choice has been assigned the same rating in this section as Wholesale Merchant Processing because there is no indication that the companies are different from each other. The company lists phone and email contact information on its website, but its complaint record precludes it from being considered a top merchant account provider for customer service.

Response from Smart Choice Payments

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d

BBB

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 19
Billing & Collection Complaints 12
Advertising & Sales Complaints 3
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

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.

Over 30 Complaints

Smart Choice Payments currently has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and is not BBB-accredited. The company currently has 34 complaints on its BBB profile, with 19 related to product or service issues, 12 having to do with billing or collection, and three due to advertising or sales issues. Seven complaints were successfully resolved, while the remaining 27 complaints either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant.

What Merchants Say

Smart Choice Has also received 10 informal reviews to its BBB profile, three of which were positive in tone and seven of which were negative. The most recent review describes persistent telemarketing tactics:

They do auto dialer cold calls with no way to stop except for blocking the number. They used **SSN**

This merchant might benefit from taking the steps to shut down sales calls.

A “D” Performance Overall

Despite the fact that Smart Choice’s BBB profile is technically separate from Wholesale Merchant Processing’s BBB profile, we do not differentiate between the two companies like the BBB. We will therefore apply Wholesale Merchant Processing’s 28 complaints to Smart Choice Payments’s profile for now, and adjust its rating to a “D” to reflect how our own rating system would score it.

Response from Smart Choice Payments

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Smart Choice Payments Logo

Smart Choice Payments Bottom Line

Not a Competitive Option for Most Merchants

Smart Choice Payments rates as a substandard merchant services provider according to our rating criteria. The company does not appear to be substantively different from Wholesale Merchant Processing, which scores very poorly by our standards. Merchants who have been contacted by Smart Choice Payments or Wholesale Merchant Processing are advised to request and review all documentation before signing up. They may also want to consider opting for a top-rated merchant account instead.

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services sales agent who believes the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal from hard working business owners. He created this website to help you avoid the bad players, save money on fees, and to get peace of mind with your merchant account. If you would like to help support his work, learn more about our cost reduction service. We can evaluate your statement, tell you exactly how much you're overpaying, and then help you dramatically reduce your fees with your current credit card processor. Looking to switch instead? See our list of the best merchant account providers.

Schedule a Consultation with Phillip

19 Reviews Leave Your Review for Smart Choice Payments Below

    Eliminate hidden fees and mistakes without switching merchant accounts. Get a free statement audit today to see how much you are overpaying.

  1. Russell Harley says:

    The sale staff will tell you one thing and do completely opposit than trying get customer service are correct it is like pulling teeth out of a wild bull. Deal with Rachel calling doesn’t know which side is up or down.

    From The Editor
    This Post Might Help: Best Merchant Accounts for Great Customer Service

  2. Brandon says:

    This company uses annoying sales tactics. Don’t waste your time with their robo calls.

  3. Eliminate hidden fees and mistakes without switching merchant accounts. Get a free statement audit today to see how much you are overpaying.

  4. Rich Ryland says:

    Worst company to use for a Merchant Account! I continually had issues with the card machine throughout a period of more than 2 years and eventually when I asked the company to fix an additional issue, the only solution they could come up with was to get another merchant number. When I did get another Merchant number the machine would still not work and because I had to run credit cards I went back to my previous company. I had about 7 months to go with the original agreement I signed, so if I did not charge anything for those months I would owe $319.92. The representative on the phone told me I would be responsible for $893.98 to cancel early. They could have offered me to stay with them until the original agreement matured and I would have only paid $319.92. This company in my opinion does not care about the service they provide but only how they can get the most money out of a situation. STEER CLEAR OF THIS COMPANY!!!!

  5. liars and thieves. they don’t put their name anywhere on the sales documentation so you can’t look them up. their contact says that if they provide you with no service, no card reader, no customer support, no technical support, then you still have to pay them. it’s a farce of a contract, but they’ll still send their full-time lawyers after you and waste your time. i spent 3 months on the phone getting this up and working and immediately tried to cancel, but they would not let me. evil evil evil. the sales org in texas was North American Payment Processing (NAPSHQ.com). do not do business with them at all costs. they know how bad these companies are, and they still sell you off to them. so sad and icky and evil and gross human beings.

  6. Eliminate hidden fees and mistakes without switching merchant accounts. Get a free statement audit today to see how much you are overpaying.

  7. Randall says:

    Smart choice payments is totally deceptive in every way.
    DO NOT even give them a chance. You will get bit badly.

    Stay away!!!

  8. These bastards along with http://www.govelocity.com are a scam. They charged me $ 1690 for keycard advertising my company never received. Promised in 90 days and we are almost double that. After many emails and phone calls I was refunded $495 but given the run around for the rest. They were greedy and called several times to get me the “upgrade” for more money.

  9. Eliminate hidden fees and mistakes without switching merchant accounts. Get a free statement audit today to see how much you are overpaying.

  10. Fred Kamp says:

    I want to warn anyone considering Smart Choice as their processing co. You can not believe any thing they tell you. Our brief relationship with them was a nightmare and makes me want to run off processors seeking our business.

    1. Gleeann kamp says:

      Absolutely the biggest credit card payment scam ever!!! Our rep Beau told us he would not switch us over until we were 100% satisfied and offered a 2 week trial. It took almost a month for them to supposedly get their machines to do what we needed and by then we had new machines from the company we were already with!!!
      Well he transferred us to his company with out our authorization and his company has since been taking money from our account and we never ever plugged in their machines!! They are total swindlers and we will now see them in court!!!

  11. Mike says:

    Stay away from this company. They actually took over $3,900 from my company bank account after cancelling my credit card service for lack of use. I was shocked as I didn’t receive any advanced notice. I finally got my money returned after 6 months and a lot of headaches. Also you will have to sign a lease for the terminal with Northern Leasing. You really get stuck with using them and there are no ways to early termination of lease. They will charge you the full lease amount left to pay if you go out of business or want to change credit card services. Word to the Wise…. stay away!

  12. Eliminate hidden fees and mistakes without switching merchant accounts. Get a free statement audit today to see how much you are overpaying.

  13. Justin sandness says:

    I just have to say that Brian Ronk is so good to work with, very knowledgeable and easy to work with. I will be recommending him and the company to many of my contractor friends.

    1. CPO Admin says:

      Hi Justin,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

  14. Jeff says:

    Absolutely don’t do business with them. They are tricker . They say I can cancel any time and pay nothing for it. But they lied to me. I need help to fight for my right.

  15. Eliminate hidden fees and mistakes without switching merchant accounts. Get a free statement audit today to see how much you are overpaying.

  16. Matt says:

    Smart Choice payments is a scam company. They hire ex cons to obtain your business and allow them access to your bank accounts. They alter paperwork after the fact and stick you with leasing companies that are overcharging for cheap equipment. The whole process is built around a scam. I will never lease another machine as long as I live based on what they have put me through. Never lease a CC terminal other reputiable companies give them to you free.

    1. Jeff says:

      How to make everything done with them? Please. I really need help

    2. Jeff says:

      How to cancel their service without pay any fees?

  17. Jennifer Valdez says:

    Smart Choice Payments’ sales associate Collin Pryor provided false information to persuade me to enter into a merchant services contract that also included a (3rd party) equipment lease. I was reluctant to lease the equipment due to the added monthly expense but he provided a savings estimate that showed my effective rate, including lease expense, would be lower than what I had been previously paying. He also offered a 90-day trial period with no early termination fee so that I could make sure my rates would be lower. This contract was started April 20, 2016. Each month when I got my statement, I emailed him telling him what my rates were working out to be and let him know I would probably need to cancel. Each time he offered to check on what might be getting incorrectly charged or how he could get the rates lowered and I pointed out that with the lease fee, the effective rate would never be what he had quoted. The last time I ever heard back from him was July 11 when he stated he was going to check with customer service to see if they could get the AMEX processing rates lowered and my response to him the next day was that I appreciated him doing that but needed to cancel the account. I emailed him several more times but NEVER heard back from him again. I called customer service and we went back and forth a couple times through voicemail. When I did finally talk to someone, they asked me to send records confirming the 90-day trial as they had no record of it. I forwarded all of my email correspondence between Collin and myself. They did get back to me and agree not to charge an early termination fee but that the lease was out of their hands.

  18. Eliminate hidden fees and mistakes without switching merchant accounts. Get a free statement audit today to see how much you are overpaying.

  19. fernand says:

    There’s a reason why smart choice payments has earned my customer loyalty and that’s because I feel like they actually are monitoring and taking care of me as a client. I love that I can go in their website and chat any questions or concerns to customer service and get a response immediately.
    My rep is Colleen Wilson and she is amazing. She loves her company and it shows in her voice she explains things to the fullest.
    I am in a terminal share program that locks in my rates so I never have to monitor my statements. Now
    when other processors call me I have no problem hanging up before they speak. I am happy where I am and I have referred other business to Colleen aka Smart Choice.
    In a nut shell. This company is the SMART CHOICE!

    1. CPO Admin says:

      Hi Fernand,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

  20. Smart Choice Payments Review

    After five difficult years, we met the contract and cancelled.. They then charged us $1000 for failure to return the equipment, equipment that they would no longer service due to security changes. This company is corrupt at worst, and customer unfriendly at best.

    I wish that we had know of your service 5 years ago.


    Are you with Smart Choice Payments? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

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