The Southern Institute 2023: Reviews & Complaints

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image of a phone image of a phone that changes when your mouse hovers over it (855) 339-6004 View Pricing

Company Overview

Founded in June 2017, The Southern Institute is a merchant account provider that serves both standard and high-risk businesses. The company is “powered by” The Steward Group, which is the organization behind two other payment processors named ASAP Merchant Services or ASAP Solutions Consulting and High Risk Merchant Solutions. The Southern Institute and ASAP Merchant Services list the same contact phone number, which may indicate that they are the same company. The Southern Institute claims to offer CBD merchant accounts, hemp merchant accounts, and cannabis merchant accounts as well as credit card processing for travel, timeshare, continuity, document prep, nutraceuticals, and e-cigarettes.

The Southern Institute Payment Processing

The Southern Institute processes all major debit and credit cards for high-risk businesses. Their services include in-person payments, ACH and e-check processing, access to payment gateways, and more.

Location & Ownership

The Southern Institute is headquartered at 3876 Weller Run Ct, Addison, Texas 75001. However, Carlos Anderson, a managing partner at “Steward Group Merchant Processing”, lists his location as Aspen, Colorado, while a person named “Jeff Keever” has uploaded some of The Southern Institute’s marketing resources to the internet.

Table of Contents

The Southern Institute Customer Reviews

Here's What Their Clients Say

Customer Reviews Summary
Item Result
Total Online Complaints <10
Live Customer Support No
Most Common Complaint N/A
Recent Lawsuits No

No Public Complaints

We are unable to locate any negative The Southern Institute reviews, which is a good sign that the company isn’t a ripoff or a scam. The Southern Institute has only been active for a few years, but it is a positive sign to see that it has maintained such a clean complaint record. We will interpret this lack of client complaints as evidence that the company is operating ethically. If you have your own The Southern Institute review to make, please do so in the comments below.

The Southern Institute Lawsuits and Fines

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

The Southern Institute Customer Support Options

The Southern Institute does not list any customer support contact information on its website. This falls short of the minimum level of service that we expect from top-rated payment processors for great customer service, but it appears to serve the company’s merchants well.

The Southern Institute Customer Service Number

  • (855) 339-6004 – Toll-Free Support

Other Support Options

The Southern Institute Online Ratings

Here's How They Rate Online

No Profile Available

The Better Business Bureau does not maintain a profile for The Southern Institute at this time. We therefore will not factor a BBB rating into this review.

The Southern Institute Fees, Rates & Costs

A Closer Look at The Contract

Cost & Fees Summary
Item Result
Cancellation Penalties Unclear
Monthly & Annual Fees Unclear
Processing Rates 1.00% - 4.99%+
Equipment Leasing Unclear

Variable Contract Terms

The Southern Institute does not disclose its pricing to the public, and there are no complaints that mention specific rates or fees charged by the company. As a high-risk payment processor, it’s likely that the company’s contract terms will vary dramatically depending on each merchant’s business type, location, and processing history. The Southern Institute offers payment processing equipment, but it is possible that this equipment may come with a long-term lease. Businesses are advised to purchase their own equipment whenever possible to avoid getting locked into long-term, non-cancellable equipment leases.

High-Risk, High Fees

High-risk businesses that sign up with The Southern Institute should expect to pay higher-than-average fees, and they may also be subject to cash reserves on their accounts. This is standard practice within the industry due to the elevated risk of chargebacks that many high-risk merchants pose. High-risk businesses can reduce their risk of fund-holds and chargebacks by being open and transparent with The Southern Institute about their business type and product lineup from the start.

The Southern Institute CBD Pricing

High Risk Merchant Solutions, a partner company of The Southern Institute, has previously offered CBD payment processing with no contract or monthly minimum fee, and it is possible that The Southern Institute offers similar terms. However, given Elavon‘s recent purge of all of its CBD accounts, The Southern Institute may offer different CBD contract terms at this time.

No Red Flags

We cannot find even one The Southern Institute complaint related to the company’s pricing, and there’s no reason to believe that the company’s clients are dissatisfied with their pricing at this time. It is possible that The Southern Institute offers a wide range of potential contract types, so business owners should understand how to spot undesirable terms in their contract.

We also encourage readers to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.

The Southern Institute Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs

Should You Work For Them?

Jobs & Marketing Summary
Item Result
Uses Independent Resellers No
Telemarketing No
Misleading Marketing No
Discloses All Important Terms No

Inside Sales Team

The Southern Institute appears to rely on an in-house sales team and referral partners to market its services. Despite the fact that the company may employ independently contracted sales agents, we have not found any The Southern Institute reviews that mention deceptive sales conduct. We will therefore assume for the time being that the company’s sales approach is transparent and ethical.

This compares favorably to our list of best credit card processors.

No Deceptive Rate Quotes

The Southern Institute does not list any misleading rate quotes or unrealistic guarantees in its official marketing materials. If you suspect that a sales agent from The Southern Institute has misled you about your rates, you can double-check your monthly bill with a third-party statement audit.

Our The Southern Institute Review Summary

Our Final Thoughts

The Southern Institute rates as a reliable credit card processing provider according to our rating criteria. The company enjoys a clean complaint record and is able to serve both standard and high-risk merchants. However, business owners should be aware that we have not found detailed information about the company’s pricing and fees. We will continue to monitor the company and update this review as needed. For now, readers should be sure to compare The Southern Institute’s pricing to that offered by other top-rated high-risk payment processors.

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Your Comments & Reviews

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