Swipe4Free Overview

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A DBA of Merchant Industry

Launched in May 2017, Swipe4Free is a merchant account provider that specializes in “cash discount” pricing. The company is a DBA of Merchant Industry, a New York-based credit card processor that has been in business since 2007. Like other cash discount payment processors, Swipe4Free enables merchants to pass the costs of accepting credit cards directly to customers by adding a 4% per-transaction surcharge to all non-cash purchases. The company claims that this eliminates credit card processing fees for its merchants, which would make it one of the cheapest merchant account providers in the industry.

Headquartered in New York

Swipe4Free is a reseller of TSYS and First Data‘s products and is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California, and of Esquire Bank N.A., Jericho, New York. The company is headquartered at 3636 33rd Street Suite 306 Long Island City, New York 11106, which is an address that it shares with Merchant Industry. Leo Vartanov is the CEO of Merchant Industry but is not publicly listed as the CEO of Swipe4Free. The COO of Swipe4Free, Chris Benabu, is also the CEO of Merchant Industry.

Swipe4Free Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: Swipe4Free offers a long-term contract with cash discount pricing and an early termination fee of $750 or more.
  • Complaints & Service: Swipe4Free has received fewer than 10 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Swipe4Free currently has an “A+” rating and has received 40 complaints and 9 reviews in the last 3 years. The company has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2015.
  • Sales & Marketing: Swipe4Free hires independent sales agents and has received some complaints about its sales practices.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Swipe4Free

Swipe4Free Statement Analyzer

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Products & Services Offered

  • Debit and credit card processing
  • POS equipment
  • ACH processing
  • EBT processing

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail

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Swipe4Free Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Swiped Rate N/A
Keyed-In Rate N/A
Transaction Surcharge 4.00%
Early Termination Fee $750+
Monthly Fee $49.99
PCI Non-Compliance Fee $19.95
PCI Compliance Fee $119.99 Per Year
Equipment Lease Cost $30 Per Month
Equipment Lease Terms 48 Month (locked)

Swipe4Free’s Full Pricing

The standard Swipe4Free contract is an agreement of undetermined length with a monthly fee of $49.99, an annual PCI compliance fee of $119.99, a PCI non-compliance fee of $19.95 per month, and an early termination fee of $750 or liquidated damages, whichever is greater. Merchants have also reported that the company will lease credit card terminals for $30 per month, and these leasing agreements are non-cancellable, four-year terms. Swipe4Free’s per-transaction pricing will be covered in greater detail below.

Swipe4Free’s Cancellation Policy

Swipe4Free’s termination fee is very large for the industry, and it has the potential to balloon into much more than merchants are expecting to pay. Here is the exact language from the Swipe4Free merchant agreement:

In the event that MERCHANT terminates this Agreement MERCHANT shall be liable to pay to ISO an EARLY TERMINATION FEE. The EARLY TERMINATION FEE shall be equivalent to the greater of (a) $750; or (b) number of whole months remaining in the TERM hereof at the time of termination multiplied by the amount of FEES paid or payable by the MERCHANT during the month preceding that during which this AGREEMENT was terminated.

Merchant Industry is known to have a similar fee, and merchants have reported frustration over having to pay it. If you are planning to cancel your contract with Swipe4Free, we recommend taking steps to cancel your merchant account without paying a fee.

Swipe4Free’s Per-Transaction Pricing

Swipe4Free’s pricing plan has technically been legal for at least a decade, but it has attracted new interest from merchants as merchant account providers have found savvy ways to market it. Essentially, Swipe4Free provides its merchants with credit card processing equipment that automatically adds a 4% “service fee” to all products in the merchant’s store. This means that any customer who pays with a credit or debit card will be charged an additional 4% on their purchase. This service fee is plainly disclosed on the receipt. Customers who pay with cash will not be charged the service fee. The 4% fee is collected by Swipe4Free in place of conventional per-transaction fees, which saves the merchant the full cost of per-transaction fees.

Some Good, Some Bad

At first glance, passing your costs on to your customers seems like a great way to avoid worrying about transaction fees. We feel that Swipe4Free does provide some value by offering that as a pricing option. However, the company’s PCI compliance costs, early termination fee, and equipment lease policies are average or worse-than-average for the industry. Moreover, the switch to a cash discount plan requires a major shift in how you conduct business. Your customers may balk at paying an extra 4% that isn’t being charged by your competitors, and it will be up to you to sell them on this idea. This type of change should only be made if you know that you will save massive amounts of money without losing business in the long run, which is unfortunately not a guarantee. The company’s massive termination fee makes it hard to experiment with this pricing plan because you can’t cancel for free if it doesn’t work. In short, there are some good reasons to steer clear of Swipe4Free’s contract terms at this time.

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Swipe4Free Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

Total Online Complaints <10
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint N/A

Few Complaints

We are currently able to locate only a few negative Swipe4Free reviews, none of which accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. The available complaints describe higher-than-expected rates, undisclosed equipment lease costs, poor customer service, and difficulty cancelling service. These are similar to the much larger body of Merchant Industry complaints that have been publicly filed. There is also a large volume of unverified positive Swipe4Free testimonials posted online, but we have not factored these into our rating due to their unknown origin.

Swipe4Free Lawsuits

We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Swipe4Free. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.

Swipe4Free Customer Support Options

Swipe4Free offers direct phone and email support, although it is possible that some of these lines are serviced by Merchant Industry. It’s a good sign that the company offers live support, but the few complaints that Swipe4Free has amassed in a short period of time are enough to prevent it from being considered a top merchant account for great customer service at this time.

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Response from Swipe4Free

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Swipe4Free BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 18
Billing & Collection Complaints 22
Advertising & Sales Complaints 0
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

The Better Business Bureau currently groups Swipe4Free’s BBB profile with Merchant Industry’s profile. The combined organization has an “A+” rating and has been BBB-accredited since May 2015. It has received 40 complaints in the past three years, with 18 related to product or service problems and 22 due to billing or collection disputes. The company has successfully resolved 14 of these complaints to the merchant’s satisfaction, while 26 either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no response from the merchant.

What Merchants Say

Swipe4Free has also received 9 informal reviews from merchants, 2 of which were positive and 7 of which were negative in tone. The most recent negative review cites excessive charges:

Be aware of this merchant processor , they are rip-off company. they will charge much more than Stripe, square, or paypal, and you will see nightmare with every month bill. You also need to waste of time on handling your unexpected things. If you are unfortunate to be a victim already, please let me know my gmail. I am going to have something to deal all these problems. wevision10 Please put this on subject line: Merchant victim

Merchants who find themselves in this position may benefit from researching the rates of competitors like Stripe, Square, and PayPal mentioned in this review to find an alternative provider.

A “B” Performance Overall

The fact that Swipe4Free shares its BBB profile with Merchant Industry makes it difficult to separate complaints about the two businesses. However, this may not be necessary because they both share personnel and a location. We therefore feel that the BBB’s rating should be adjusted to a “B” given Swipe4Free’s complaint total.

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

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

Outside Sales Team

Like Merchant Industry, Swipe4Free utilizes in-house telephone appointment setters and independently contracted outside sales agents to sell its services. This approach has generated a large number of sales complaints for Merchant Industry, with merchants reporting unfulfilled promises, misrepresentation of the agent’s identity, and undisclosed fees. However, we have found only a few Swipe4Free complaints that specifically mention the company’s sales team at this time. These reports describe higher-than-expected fees and undisclosed costs. Swipe4Free’s low sales complaint total may simply be due to the short amount of the time that the company has been active so far.

Swipe4Free Marketing Tactics

The Swipe4Free website goes to great lengths to explain how its cash discount pricing plan works, but it fails to highlight other details of its pricing. For instance, a calculator on the Swipe4Free website shows merchants how much they could save by replacing the current total amount of their monthly merchant statement with Swipe4Free’s $49.99 monthly fee and no other costs. However, this estimate does not factor in the company’s $119.99 annual PCI compliance fee, inactivity fees, equipment lease costs, or the company’s $0.10 per-transaction fee for EBT payments.

A “B” For Now

Swipe4Free’s affiliation with Merchant Industry, its organizational approach to sales, and the advertising language on its website are enough to lower its grade slightly in this section. However, the lack of merchant complaints that directly mention the company’s sales team has kept it at a “B” rating for now. If you suspect that Swipe4Free is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking a free third-party statement audit.

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Swipe4Free Marketing Example

Swipe4Free Logo

Our Opinion of Swipe4Free

An Average Cash Discount Processor

Swipe4Free rates as an average merchant services provider according to our rating criteria. The company’s cash discount pricing could potentially save merchants a great deal of money, but there are other costs in its contract that are nowhere near as low as the company’s competitors. Merchants will need to weigh to potential headache of surcharging customers against the savings they can realistically expect from Swipe4Free. Before locking yourself into a long-term contract with a huge termination fee, we advise you to first see if you can secure rock-bottom pricing on a month-to-month agreement through a top-rated merchant account provider.

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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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3 Reviews Leave Your Review for Swipe4Free Below

  1. Roman says:

    Saved me a ton of money. This is a no brainer. These guys came in set everything up reprogrammed my equipment and increased my bottom line by 22%. The consumers don’t even notice or care. I was worried but its the best thing I did in years.

    1. Phillip says:

      Hi Roman,

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

  2. Amy Bove says:

    I could not be happier with the experience I had with Swipe 4 Free. From the first conversation, I was very impressed with the level of professionalism and the the time the team took to answer all questions and inquiries so that I could grow my business. Equally impressive was the customer care experience after making the decision to proceed on with Merchant Industry. The service provided was above and beyond my expectations. I encourage any and all small to medium sized companies to reach out and work with this amazing team!!!

    THE BOTTOM LINE
    There are multiple reasons to opt for Swipe for Free. From their approval rate and fast turnaround, to their customized processing solutions and state-of-the-art equipment, they offer tons of benefits and cater to multiple types of businesses. Whether your business is online or in-store, it’s likely they’ll be able to provide the right solution for your payment and processing needs.

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