Smart Choice Payments Review

Overview

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.

Todd McCartney is listed as the president of Wholesale Merchant Processing, Smart Choice Payments, and American Payment Systems. All three companies are headquartered at 11000 SW Stratus St., Ste. 150, Beaverton, Oregon 97008. Smart Choice Payments is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California.

Key Points

  • 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 28 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

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 handful 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.

These complaints generally mirror those filed against Wholesale Merchant Processing, and, in fact, 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.

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.

Taking into account the complaints filed against both Wholesale Merchant Processing and Smart Choice, we have assigned Smart Choice a “D” in this section.

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

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.

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. See the Smart Choice Payments Merchant Application and the Smart Choice Payments Program Guide.

c

Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

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

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.

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 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.

d

BBB

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 20
Billing & Collection Complaints 8
Advertising & Sales Complaints 0
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery 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.

Smart Choice Payments currently has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has been accredited since September 2015. The company currently has 29 complaints on its BBB profile, with 20 related to product or service issues, eight having to do with billing or collection, and one due to delivery. Five complaints were successfully resolved, while the remaining 24 complaints either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant.

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.

Smart Choice Payments Logo

Smart Choice Payments Bottom Line

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.

Hi, I’m Phillip and I’m disgusted by the state of credit card processing in the U.S. and abroad. I believe that the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal money from hard working business owners. I’ve made it my mission to expose the companies and individuals who engage in predatory marketing, pricing, and contracts, or just provide terrible service. Along with uncovering the bad guys, I’ve also discovered the good guys who do stand out from the status quo. CPO is a website where you will find ratings and reviews of these companies along with advice on how to save money and which service providers consider. Together we can move the industry in a positive direction. If you would like to help support my work, please checkout “Fee Sweep” my eGuide to getting the lowest possible fees when accepting card payments. If you haven’t heard of “interchange” this advice will save you hundreds, even thousands, in processing fees.

Schedule a Consultation with Phillip

13 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

  1. 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. 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!!!

  2. 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!

  3. 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. Hi Justin,

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. Hi Fernand,

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

  8. 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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