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Swipe4Free Credit Card Processing 2023: Reviews & Complaints
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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. Swipe4Free is a reseller of TSYS and First Data (now Fiserv) products
Before we dive in, here’s a short summary of what we’ll cover:
- Swipe4Free’s various payment processing services.
- The company has received fairly consistent complaints, including some recently. Most of the complaints have to do with unexpected fees.
- Swipe5Free’s contract contains some expensive fees, especially its early termination fee.
Swipe4Free Payment Processing
Swipe4Free processes all major debit and credit cards for most business types. Their services include EMV card readers and swipers, POS solutions, access to virtual terminals and payment gateways, and mobile solutions.
Dual Pricing and Surcharging Platform
Swipe4Free offers a dual pricing platform, which allows businesses to display prices for goods and services in both cash and card amounts. For credit card transactions, a surcharge fee, not exceeding 3%, may be applied, which is displayed as a separate line item.
The service provides clients with point-of-sale (POS) systems and terminals that support payment acceptance in various locations, including on-the-go transactions.
Cash Payment Incentives
Swipe4Free encourages cash transactions by offering a lower price for cash-paying customers, which can help businesses avoid card fees. This approach is designed to reward customers who pay with cash, potentially reducing the business’ costs associated with card processing fees.
E-commerce and Contactless Solutions
Swipe4Free also provides solutions for e-commerce businesses, integrating a convenience fee at checkout, compatible with platforms like WooCommerce. They also offer contactless payment options and equipment.
Locations & Ownership
Swipe4Free 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 36-36 33rd Street Suite 206 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. COO and co-founder of Swipe4Free Chris Benabu is also the CEO of Merchant Industry.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Offers a long-term contract with cash discount pricing and…
- Complaints & Service: Complaints number fewer than 10 on…
- BBB Rating: Currently has an “A+” rating and has received…
- Sales & Marketing: Hires independent sales agents and has…
Swipe4Free Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||<10|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||N/A|
We are currently able to locate only a few negative Swipe4Free reviews, few 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 canceling 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. If you have your own Swipe4Free review to make, please do so below.
Swipe4Free Lawsuits and Fines
We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Swipe4Free. Dissatisfied clients 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 as well as live chat on their site, 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.
Swipe4Free Customer Service Numbers
- (855) 345-0040 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
- (877) 841-4818 – Technical/Hardware Support
- (516) 821-0484 – Risk and Underwriting
- (718) 834-6669 – Retention
Other Support Options
Swipe4Free Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
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 20 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 30 complaints in the past 36 months.
What Merchants Say
Swipe4Free has also received 4 informal reviews from clients, 1 of which was positive and 3 of which were negative in tone. The most recent negative review cites a large amount in unexpected fees:
So when I signed a lease with ******(bad mistake) in 2015 they signed me up with this company. I used the machine one a week at the farmers market. We had months were we didn’t use the machine because of it being winter. They never once said anything about inactivity fees. They would never do anything about it. Our contract ended in March with ******(kept giving us the run around about the equipment) Finally in august I was able to close clover down. I assumed that since I signed with both companies at one time they would cancel both at one time. MY BAD! I haven’t used this machine for several months but yet get billed $125.00 (inactivity fees )each month. I found out that I had to cancel with this company too. I called and was told someone would call me back. I have yet to here from them. This has cost me around $900.00 so far. I guess the next thing to do is cancel my bank account. I will never work with this company,,,,
Situations like this make the need for excellent customer service an essential component of merchant account providers dedicated to serving them.
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.
Swipe4Free Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Monthly & Annual Fees||Yes|
|Processing Rates||4.00% Surcharge|
Swipe4Free’s Full Pricing
As of the last report we can find, 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. Clients 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 business owners 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 businesses as merchant account providers have found savvy ways to market it. Essentially, Swipe4Free provides its clients with credit card processing equipment that automatically adds a 4% “service fee” to all products in the business’ store. This means that any customer who pays with a credit or debit card will be charged an additional 4% on their purchase. This Swipe4Free 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 business 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 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. We also encourage business owners to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.
Swipe4Free Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Uses Independent Resellers||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 clients reporting unfulfilled promises, misrepresentation of the agent’s identity, and undisclosed fees. However, we have found only a few Swipe4Free reviews that specifically mention the company’s sales team at this time. These reports describe higher-than-expected Swipe4Free fees and undisclosed costs. Swipe4Free’s low sales complaint total may simply be due to the short amount of time that the company has been active so far. This compares favorably to our list of best credit card processors.
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 businesses 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 client 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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