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Founded in 2001, Strategic Merchant Solutions is a merchant account provider that offers a full suite of payment options. Information on the company’s website suggests that it is a reseller of Elavon merchant accounts. Its solutions range from ATMs and merchant cash advances to non-profit focused merchant accounts, solutions, and more. According to the company’s website, it serves over 100,000 merchants worldwide. It also states that it provides services to high-risk merchants.
Strategic Merchant Solutions Payment Processing
Strategic Merchant Solutions processes all major debit and credit cards for most business types. Their services include POS systems, ATM machines, ACH and check processing, cash advances, EBT, gift and loyalty programs, payroll, wireless solutions, and e-commerce payments.
Strategic Merchant Solutions Location and Ownership
Strategic Merchant Solutions Review Table of Contents
Costs & Contract: Strategic Merchant Solutions offers multi-year contract terms through Evalon with no early termination fee.
Complaints & Service: Strategic Merchant Solutions complaints number fewer than 10 on public complaints forums.
BBB Rating: Strategic Merchant Solutions currently has no rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 0 complaints in the last 3 years.
Sales & Marketing: Strategic Merchant Solutions hires independent sales agents but has not had complaints about its sales practices.
Should You Trust Strategic Merchant Solutions?
Lawsuits, Reviews & Complaints
Total Online Complaints
Live Customer Support
Most Common Complaint
Low Complaint Volume
We have only been able to locate a few Strategic Merchant Solutions complaints. 1 Strategic Merchant Solutions complaint was left regarding fluctuating fees that were higher than those promised to the merchant at the time of their pricing consultation. A second complaint was in regard to poor customer service and an equipment problem. This means that there are no accusations of the company being a scam or engaging in fraud.
Strategic Merchant Solutions Lawsuits and Fines
We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Strategic Merchant Solutions. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
Strategic Merchant Solutions Customer Service Options
Strategic Merchant Solutions provides telephone support, a dedicated email address, and an automated form for responses to support requests. This is as comprehensive as what some of the best merchant accounts for customer service typically provide.
We have located multiple Strategic Merchant Solutions customer service phone numbers:
(888) 614-6300 – Toll-Free Support (805) 244-9266 – Fax
Is the BBB Rating for Strategic Merchant Solutions Accurate?
Better Business Bureau Profile
Product & Service Complaints
Billing & Collection Complaints
Advertising & Sales Complaints
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints
Clean Complaint Record
Strategic Merchant Solutions is not currently accredited by the Better Business Bureau. As of this review, the company has no rating with the BBB and has had 0complaints filed against it in the last 36 months. The company does not have any informal reviews on its BBB profile either.
An “A” Performance Overall
We agree with the BBB’s rating at this time given Strategic Merchant Solution’s clean complaint record. Merchants should be aware, however, that there are reasons to be skeptical of the BBB’s reviews.
How Expensive is Strategic Merchant Solutions?
Rates, Fees, and Contract Terms
1.00% - 4.99%
1.99% - 4/99%
Virtual Terminal Rate
2.05% - 4.99%
Level III Processing Rate
1.40% - 4.99%
Payment Gateway Fee
Up To $25 Per Month
Payment Gateway License
Up To $99
Early Termination Fee
PCI Compliance Fee
Account Maintenance Fee
$20 Per Occurence
Annual Membership Fee
$10 Per Month
Equipment Lease Term
48 Month (locked)
Contract Terms Will Vary
There is a little available information about Strategic Merchant Solutions pricing structure. While its standard merchant agreement outlines fees associated with its account, it does not disclose its rates. However, a pricing schedule on the company’s website does list the qualified rates it offers merchants across different industries:
The table also includes additional service fees otherwise not included in the company’s merchant agreement. It appears that the company assigns a different set of rates to a merchant based upon its industry. Though Select Merchant Services rates are not disclosed, the transaction fee accompanying each rate is not listed. Furthermore, it is possible that a merchant may not qualify for those rates, instead of being charged mid-qualified or non-qualified rates.
Since the company resells Elavon contracts, it is beneficial for a merchant to review that pricing structure. Elavon offers 2 different pricing models, one for contracts leasing a counter-top point-of-sale terminal and the other for its mobile alternative. Both contracts charge a swipe rate of 2.65% + $0.19 or a keyed-in rate of 3.50% + $0.19 per transaction. Those rates are in stark contrast to the qualified rates offered by Select Merchant Services. However, as an Elavon reseller, the company reserves the right to alter the terms and conditions of those contracts which could result in rates lower than Elavon’s standard offering.
Strategic Merchant Solutions’ right to alter Elavon’s terms and conditions is made apparent by its choice to forgo charging merchants with early termination fees. Many complaints filed against Elavon are in regard to its early termination fees. Strategic Merchant Solutions’ policy of not imposes this fee is an incentive to choose the company over Elavon. The company does include a $10 monthly statement fee, a $15 annual membership fee, and an account maintenance fee of $20 per occurrence. It is unclear as to whether or not a PCI compliance fee is included in their contract.
Long-Term Equipment Leases From Ladco
Strategic Merchant Solutions also utilizes Ladco Global Leasing Solutions to provide merchants with payment processing terminals. A typical Ladco leasing agreement is an expensive, non-cancellable 48-month equipment lease that often costs up to 10 times the actual price of the equipment.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Strategic Merchant Solutions also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. While pricing is not entirely disclosed on either of those services the company’s qualified rate for e-commerce transactions begins at 2.05%. The Strategic Merchant Solutions website also discloses a payment gateway license fee of up to $99 and a monthly gateway fee of up to $25 per month. Additional rates and fees, including technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates may apply to these e-commerce services.
Level 2 and Level 3 Processing Services
In addition to its traditional merchant services, Strategic Merchant Solutions also advertises that it provides Level 2 and Level 3 processing for B2B and B2G transactions. Level 2 and Level 3 processing rely upon different interchange rates than traditional consumer credit transactions. Accommodating those rates requires different payment processing technology from a merchant account provider to transmit the amount of data required to facilitate the transactions.
An “A” Overall
Though the company does not disclose its mid and non-qualified rates, the fee schedule gives merchants insight into the potential costs of their contract. Despite including a non-cancellable equipment lease, the lack of an early termination fee and relatively transparent pricing schedule are reason enough for Strategic Merchant Solutions to receive an “A” in this category.
Does Strategic Merchant Solutions Use Deceptive Marketing?
Advertising & Sales Strategy
Employs Independent Resellers
Advertises Deceptive Rates
Discloses All Important Terms
Strategic Merchant Solutions Sales Tactics
Strategic Merchant Solutions hires independently contracted sales agents to market its services. This is evident from the dedicated email address the company discloses for reseller/agent inquiries. While 1 online Strategic Merchant Solutions complaint refers to a problem with inaccurate rates in line with what was promised by a sales agent, it is unclear if that representative was an independent reseller or part of an in-house sales team. There are no other complaints about the company’s sales practices despite it running an affiliate program.
To its credit, Strategic Merchant Solutions does not appear to list deceptive rate quotes in its official materials. While the company only discloses its qualified transaction rates which may not apply to all merchants, it clearly describes them as such.
Given its transparent rate structure and lack of issues with sales practices, we award Strategic Merchant Solutions an “A” in this category.
Does Strategic Merchant Solutions Deserve Your Business?
Review Summary & Our Thoughts
A Great Option to Escape the Risk of an Early Termination Fee
Elavon has a huge presence as a merchant account provider. However, its costly early termination fee is one of the biggest issues merchants have with the company. As a reseller of their services, Strategic Merchant Solutions has the benefit of being able to alter Elavon’s terms and conditions. One benefit of this is apparent as evident from the company foregoing an early termination fee. That, along with the company’s comprehensive services catering to merchants across various industries, makes it a great option for merchants who don’t want to risk the expensive cost of an early termination fee.
Phillip Parker is a Payments Industry Analyst and creator of this blog, CardPaymentOptions.com. Phillip is passionate about researching merchant service providers and payment industry trends. He is often quoted as an expert source in national publications such as INC Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Entrepreneur, and many others.
“I started this blog because I was disgusted by the business practices of the merchant services industry. I wanted to empower business owners by providing insight on how to avoid shady merchant account providers and costly credit card processing mistakes.”
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