SunTrust Merchant Services Review

SunTrust Merchant Services Overview

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First Data Reseller

SunTrust Merchant Services is a credit card processing division of SunTrust Bank, which is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. SunTrust is a reseller of First Data merchant accounts, meaning that merchants who sign up for credit card processing through SunTrust will receive the services and customer support of First Data.

Location and Ownership

SunTrust Bank’s corporate headquarters is located at 919 E Main St, Richmond, Virginia 23219, and Eric Mann is listed as the company’s sales and marketing manager for its Virginia location.

SunTrust Merchant Services Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: SunTrust Merchant Services offers variable contract terms that may take the form of a three-year agreement with an early termination fee of $500.
  • Complaints & Service: SunTrust Merchant Services has received more than 200 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: SunTrust Merchant Services has an “A+” rating and has received 917 complaints and 72 reviews in the past 3 years. The company has been accredited with the BBB since 1967.
  • Sales & Marketing: SunTrust Merchant Services does not appear to hire independent sales representatives but has received a low number of complaints about its sales practices.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With SunTrust Merchant Services

SunTrust Merchant Services Statement Analyzer

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Products & Services Offered

  • Debit and credit card processing
  • EBT processing
  • Gift and loyalty programs
  • POS equipment
  • Online payment gateway
  • Mobile processing

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • MOTO
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce

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SunTrust Merchant Services Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Swiped Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
Keyed-in Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
Early Termination Fee $500
PCI Compliance Fee Undisclosed
Equipment Lease Terms 48 Months (locked)

SunTrust Merchant Services Pricing

The standard SunTrust merchant agreement appears to be similar to the standard First Data contract. Multiple merchants are reporting a three-year agreement with an early termination fee of $500, and a monthly minimum fee of $25. Expensive equipment leases through First Data Global Leasing associated with the account, whose agreement last 48 months and cannot be cancelled.

Expensive Contract Terms

These contract terms appear to be more expensive than industry averages, and they are also on the extreme end of what First Data tends to allow in its contracts. SunTrust Merchant Services’s terms are therefore not competitive with the cheapest merchant accounts. When dealing with a SunTrust Merchant Services rep, merchants are encouraged to request all documentation from both SunTrust and First Data in order to understand the exact fees they’ll be expected to pay.

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Response from SunTrust Merchant Services

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SunTrust Merchant Services Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

Total Online Complaints 250+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Hidden Fees

High Complaint Total

We are currently able to locate approximately 250 complaints regarding SunTrust, many of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. Although the majority were filed in regards to SunTrust’s other services, including its banking, loans, and mortgaging subsidiaries, a handful refer to SunTrust Merchant Services and cite unexpected and unauthorized fees.

SunTrust Merchant Services Lawsuits

We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against SunTrust 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.

SunTrust Merchant Services Customer Support Options

Generally speaking, merchants seem dissatisfied with the contract terms and customer service they have received from First Data, which leads them to also mention SunTrust in their complaints. The company appears to outsource its customer service to First Data, which is partially responsible for its average grade in this category and prevents it from qualifying as a top-rated credit card processor for customer service.

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Response from SunTrust Merchant Services

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SunTrust Merchant Services BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 649
Billing & Collection Complaints 223
Advertising & Sales Complaints 22
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 3
Delivery Complaints 20

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 900 Complaints

SunTrust has been an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 1967. However, its profile is not specific to the bank’s merchant services. As of this review, the company holds an “A+” rating with the BBB and has had 917 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months, as well as 305 which were closed in the last 12 months. 649 complaints were related to product or service issues, 223 had to do with billing or collection, 22 stemmed from advertising or sales problems, 20 had to do with delivery, and 3 were related to a guarantee or warranty. SunTrust successfully resolved 99 of the total complaints, while the remaining 818either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the complainant or did not receive a final response from the complainant.

What Merchants Say

In addition to the 921 complaints filed on its BBB profile, SunTrust Merchant Services has received 72 informal reviews. Only 3 of the reviews are positive while the remaining 69 are negative. However, these reviews are in respect to the company’s banking services and by and large do not reflect the quality of their merchant services.

A “D” Performance Overall

According to the BBB’s previous profile, SunTrust was also recently a part of a lawsuit with the Federal Reserve regarding its mortgaging and foreclosure practices. The suit has since been settled. Given all of this information, we find the Better Business Bureau’s “A” rating to be inappropriate and a solid example of why there are good reasons to be skeptical of the BBB’s rating system. We have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “D” for the purposes of this review.

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Response from SunTrust Merchant Services

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

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

Sales Complaints

SunTrust Merchant Services appears to rely primarily on its client base established through normal banking operations to market its services. The company does not appear to outsource its marketing operations to independent sales agents at this time. That said, we are currently able to locate a handful of negative SunTrust Merchant Services reviews that accuse the company’s sales agents of misrepresentation or nondisclosure, especially regarding the company’s relationship to First Data and the high early termination fee imposed by First Data.

Seek an Independent Audit

If you suspect that SunTrust Merchant Services is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to find and eliminate hidden charges. To its credit, SunTrust does not appear to engage in any deceptive advertising strategies in its official materials.

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Response from SunTrust Merchant Services

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Our Opinion of SunTrust Merchant Services

An Average Rating

SunTrust Merchant Services rates as an average merchant services provider according to our standards. The company is a reseller of First Data contracts, and it appears to charge an early termination fee of $500, which has led to the bulk of SunTrust Merchant Services complaints. SunTrust is a large business with many diverse operations, so it has attracted a large number of complaints. Only some of these complaints are related to its merchant services branch, and we have tried to take this into account in our overall rating. According to available evidence, however, SunTrust is nowhere close to being a worthy competitor to the top-rated providers.

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

Why I'm Qualified to Write About Credit Card Processing

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 built this website to help small business owners research which service 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. I can help you save money with your current merchant account or help you find a new one. Message me here to get started.

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6 Reviews Leave Your Review for SunTrust Merchant Services Below

  1. O says:

    I’ve had the most horrible experience. My account was closed with SunTrust Merchant in July of 2016 and as of May 2019, I am still trying to get my funds that is being held back from them. First I was told that the money was sent to the state as uncollected funds, it turned out that was a lie. I was transferred to several different departments with each one claiming not to be responsible for sending refund and as I write, I still do not have my refund back


    This post will help: How to Make Your Payment Processor Release Your Money

    -Phillip

  2. Joseph Davila says:

    Horrible customer service. They took money out of my account for equipment that they never sent tags for. I finally was able to get ahold of someone and return the items , but now they wont put the money back in my account. Very upset over this I’ll never use them in the future and its actually going to cause me to close my SunTrust account.


    This post will help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

    – Phillip

  3. Zach says:

    Suntrust merchant services, are nothing but a bunch of criminals. They will raise your interchange rates constantly, create little hidden fees, very slow deposits, and THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER, on the phone. These fools actually aided a online internet scammer who has a active case against him, with refunding money from small business back to this guys account after he scammed the credit card companies claiming he never participated in the transaction. They just will say there is nothing they can do and practically wait for you to hang up…. BUYERS BEWARE DO NOT GO NEAR THESE PEOPLE. THERE IS MANY CLOVER MERCHANT PROCESSORS OUT THERE. Do your business a favor and find a different one.

  4. Larry George says:

    In 2013 I owned two separate businesses, holding two separate accounts with SunTrust Bank.
    On November 7th, 2013 a Sales Rep with SunTrust arrived to my office and informed me of SunTrust Merchant Services. The Sales Rep informed me that I will have a 2 year agreement with the Merchant Services and informed me of the card processing fees per transaction, and the monthly fees that would go toward the credit card processing equipment. The Sales Rep provided me with 3 forms to sign (Merchant Processing Application and Agreement, Payment Processing Charges Agreement, and The Confirmation Page). I signed the forms and the Sales Rep proceeded to set up the accounts.
    When my card processing equipment arrived in the mail I received a large packet of documents to with the machine. From that moment on I was able to use the card reader and the merchant services as normal.
    I used this service over the course of 28 months without any issues. In March of this year (2016) I closed one of my business checking accounts with SunTrust, as I was going to merge my (2) businesses under one checking account. I proceeded to use the credit card processing equipment as normal (However, I did not use it often as most of my customers pay by written check). I was under the impression that everything with my existing accounts was current and in good order, as I was not informed otherwise by SunTrust or First Data.
    In June of this year (2016) I received a letter regarding a collection notice from First Data/Merchant Services for the collection of an ‘Early Termination’ fee of $500. Upon receiving this notice I contacted the Merchant Services to try to figure out why I was receiving a bill for early termination.
    The Representative I spoke to with SunTrust Merchant Services explained that since I was not using the one business account the services were being terminated. I informed the Representative that I did not want to cancel my services, I was only merging my two checking accounts into one checking account and I wanted to continue using my merchant services as normal. We ended the conversation with the understanding that I was not terminating the account.
    In August of this year (2016) Following a handful of various exchanges with the Merchant Services I contacted the SunTrust Merchant Services one last time to check on the status of my account, only to find out that I had accrued two delinquent payments from April and May (2016) as well as collection fees and the original Early Termination fee, equaling out to approximately $750. I, again, explained the situation regarding merging my bank accounts, and my original intent to remain active in my service. The Representative proceeded to include an ‘in-house’ collection agent on our telephone conversation. After discussing the current situation and attempting to relieve this debt I had unknowingly accrued, I began feeling unheard and misunderstood in my intent. I ultimately became frustrated and informed both parties on the phone conversation that I now want to terminate all of my accounts and business dealings with SunTrust Merchant Services.
    After informing them I wanted to cancel my services, the Representative explains to me that they can possibly have the collection fee waived but I still must pay the ‘Early Termination’ fee, but now I also must pay the fee for my 2nd business account. I informed them that I only had a 2 year contract (which would have ended in 2015), as the Sales Rep explained to me when I started, but I was told, in fact, I had a 3 year contract, which I was unaware of. I have yet to receive the documentation showing the (3 year) contract I had signed, even after many attempts to collect this proof.
    I had also attempted to just keep my accounts open until November (2016), the date I was told my term would end. My request was denied via email.
    I also need to include details regarding the credit card processing equipment (leased through First Data) as a side note. I have learned that I am in a contract with them for 48 months (I was unaware of this term contract until after the fact). In an attempt to cancel my Merchant accounts I was informed that I must continue to lease the equipment until the end of term (November 2017) or I must pay out the remainder of my term, and only then my account will be cancelled. I am confused as to why I am in a 48 months contract with the equipment but have a lesser term with the actual Merchant account, but I have yet to find someone with First Data or SunTrust Merchant Services who can explain this to me.
    I am writing this, not in an attempt to demean SunTrust Bank as a business, rather I am attempting to discourage all business owners and/or future merchants from using SunTrust’s Merchant Services, which I have discovered is actually partnered with First Data (and all exchanges are in fact run through them and not SunTrust).
    I feel robbed of my trust in business affairs through this Bank and their affiliates. I believe SunTrust Merchant/ First Data has been practicing unfair business and they are unreliable in their customer service skills.
    I feel saddened that I have to take so much out of my time to stress over the relationship I have had for so long with SunTrust Bank. And after reading multiple reviews for this service I have realized I am not alone, I am not special in this deceitful act. I have found that I am simply one in thousands who have had this same experience, and I know I will not be the last.
    I simply want to end my services with SunTrust Merchant/ First Data, as I believe they have forced me into a business arrangement by deceit.
    I truly hope SunTrust ends their partnership with First Data, as they are allowing their faithful customers to be manipulated into contracts without full understanding of what the contracts entail.
    I hope to find a resolution to this issue soon.

  5. Ronald Archer says:

    The worst, and very antiquated. Still uses tiered pricing, and charges for every little thing that they can invent to charge for. Pull monthly fees out of your bank account without prior knowledge as to the cost. Any merchant service but this one, once you’s sucked in by their lies and deceit, it is a very expensive process to get out.


    Are you with SunTrust Merchant Services? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  6. Where do I start? Lied to by sales person. Charged funds that were not legit. Closed the account in October and they STILL are billing me, charging fees for an account that was closed, now they say they didn’t call me or close the account until I called them again in November. Account still open in December after I made all contacts to close. My contact at the local branch just keeps selling me the cool-aid and refuses to give me contact information in Corporate or at the local branch in upper management. HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE THAT JUST KEEPS ON GOING. I rate them an F———! If anyone knows of someone with pull at this association please let me know. Next step will involve attorneys if I can’t get them to do their jobs!!!!!


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