Tier 1 Processing Overview

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8/1/2019 Update: Tier 1 Processing’s web domain is no longer active. For the purpose of this review, all information is up to date as of May 20, 2019, the time of our last update. Any merchants who have insight as to whether or not the company is still in business are encouraged to leave their feedback in the comment section of this review.

Affiliation with Datalink Bankcard Services

Tier 1 Processing is a Richardson, Texas-based merchant account provider that appears to be a DBA or partner of Datalink Bankcard Services (datalinkonline.net). It is difficult to obtain any firsthand information regarding Tier 1’s pricing, services, or location because the company’s website is down at this time. In fact, according to The Internet Archive, the company’s website might not have been active at any point during its existence. This would normally indicate that a business is no longer in operation, but there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that Tier 1 Processing is in fact an active merchant account provider.

“Slamming” Allegations

We have located dozens of online complaints from the past three years alleging that Tier 1 engages in a process called “slamming.” Complainants claim to receive calls from Tier 1 Processing (which also goes by the name “Main Street Processing” and appears to also go by the names “Challas Group” and “Wholesale Banc“) in which the caller states that the merchant’s account has been “flagged” or “red-flagged” for overpaying on processing fees. When pressed about the organization they represent, the caller states that they are with “Visa,” “Visa/MasterCard,” or, simply, “the processor.” The caller then requests information such as the merchant’s tax ID number, merchant ID number, and two months of credit card statements in order to “modify” the merchant’s rates. Merchants who question the caller’s identity or motives claim to experience high-pressure tactics, stalling, and outright deception from the caller.  Merchants who consent to the caller’s requests eventually receive a contract from Tier 1 Processing/Main Street Processing/Datalink Bankcard Services and are then ushered into the signup process.

Verify Caller Identity

These online complainants allege a systemic effort by the company to attract new merchants by confusing and pressuring them into unwanted contracts. The practice of slamming is questionably legal and can result in the merchant paying thousands of dollars in excessive fees. Merchants should understand that Visa and MasterCard will never contact them for a rate review, and they should be sure to contact their processor directly if they suspect that they’ve been contacted by an impostor.

Tier 1 Processing Location and Ownership

According to the Better Business Bureau, Tier 1 Processing shares an address with Datalink Bankcard Processing at 3505 Token Dr, Richardson, Texas, 75082. The BBB also states that Steve Odom is the president of Datalink Bankcard Services.

Tier 1 Processing Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: Tier 1 Processing appears to offer a three-year contract through First Data with a $250 early termination fee.
  • Complaints & Service: Tier 1 Processing has received more than 30 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Tier 1 Processing does not have a rating with the Better Business Bureau and has 0 complaints in the past 3 years.
  • Sales & Marketing: Tier 1 Processing appears to hire independent sales agents and has received a relatively high number of complaints about its sales practices.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Tier 1 Processing
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Tier 1 Processing Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Swiped Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
Keyed-in Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
Early Termination Fee $250+
Batch Fee $0.35 Per Batch
PCI Compliance Fee Undisclosed
Equipment Lease Terms Undisclosed

Three-Year Agreement

Most merchant complaints state that the contract provided by Tier 1 Processing is actually through Datalink Bankcard, which is itself an ISO of First Data. Datalink Bankcard Services Terms & Conditions outline a three-year agreement with automatic renewal for two-year terms, an early termination fee of $250 or Liquidated Damages (whichever is greater), a $0.35 batch fee, and an unspecified “membership” fee to be billed bi-annually. There may be additional fees that aren’t listed in the available documentation. Merchants also report being signed up for long-term, expensive equipment leases that they cannot cancel without paying thousands of dollars.

Unfavorable Terms

Datalink Bankcard’s contract terms receive a “D” rating from us due to the multiyear term with a large cancellation fee. However, we have given Tier 1 Processing an “F” in this section because of the alleged misrepresentation and nondisclosure that accompanies these contract terms. According to merchant complaints, it appears very unlikely that merchants will receive an opportunity to negotiate competitive rates with this company. Merchants should instead consider opting for a low-cost merchant provider to see the most savings. If you have any further details regarding the standard Tier 1 Processing contract, please share that information in the comment section below this review.

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Response from Tier 1 Processing

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Tier 1 Processing Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

Total Online Complaints 30+
Live Customer Support Unknown
Most Common Complaint Sales Tactics

Widespread Complaints

As noted above, we have located dozens of negative Tier 1 Processing reviews, many of which refer to the company as a telemarketing scam. The vast majority of these complaints have to do with the company’s sales tactics, but merchants also call Tier 1 Processing a ripoff with its expensive lease terms, longer-than-expected contracts, and poor customer service. Two complaints filed by former employees describe excessive employee turnover, inadequate training, delays in compensation, and completely unqualified leads.

Tier 1 Processing Lawsuits

Despite numerous complaints of potentially illegal business practices, we have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Tier 1 Processing. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.

Tier 1 Processing Customer Support Options

As of this writing, Tier 1 Processing does not appear to maintain a website or publicly list a customer support number. It is likely that the company’s customer support is actually serviced by Datalink Bankcard, which receives a “C” rating in this category from CardPaymentOptions.com at this time. Neither company appears to offer the service levels we expect of top-rated credit card processors for quality customer service.

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Response from Tier 1 Processing

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Tier 1 Processing BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 0
Billing & Collection Complaints 0
Advertising & Sales Complaints 0
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

The Better Business Bureau currently does not assign a rating to Tier 1 Processing and has not received any complaints against the company in the past three years. The BBB states that the reason for withholding a rating is that it does not have sufficient information about the company. Given our own inability to uncover much concrete information about Tier 1 Processing, we agree with the BBB’s rating at this time.

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Response from Tier 1 Processing

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

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

Telemarketing and Outside Agents

According to all available information, Tier 1 Processing utilizes telemarketers and independent sales agents to sell its services. As a general rule in the industry, the combination of telemarketers and independently contracted agents tends to result in a sales staff that receives little training or oversight. Tier 1 Processing appears to be no exception, as there are numerous Tier 1 Processing complaints that describe deception, high-pressure tactics, and aggressive behavior by Tier 1 Processing sales agents. As noted above, there is evidence that the company engages in “slamming” on a fairly regular basis, and the company has no online presence that would allow merchants to double-check the information they’ve been given over the phone. This complaint from a former employee largely confirms what merchants have reported.

Serious Red Flags

Given the abundance of complaints related to Tier 1 Processing’s sales practices, we have assigned the company an “F” rating in this section. This grade is mostly due to the content of the telemarketing complaints, but it may improve modestly if the company ever creates a functioning website. If you suspect that you have been misled Tier 1 Processing’s sales team, you can double-check your monthly bill with a third-party statement audit.

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Response from Tier 1 Processing

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Our Opinion of Tier 1 Processing

A Substandard Option

Tier 1 Processing rates very poorly as a merchant services provider according to our rating criteria. The company faces widespread reports of deceptive sales tactics and appears to offer below-average contract terms to its merchants. Merchants who are contacted by a known Tier 1 Processing phone number are advised to inquire about all possible rates and fees and to clarify the identity of the caller. The company can improve its overall rating by greatly reducing the number of complaints related to its telemarketing practices. For now, merchants will be better served by working with a top-rated payment processor.

We rely on your feedback about Tier 1 Processing to keep this review accurate and up-to-date. Please take a minute to tell us about your experience. We and the small business owners of this world thank you!

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 and Merchant Account Services

I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry because I didn't like how it takes advantage of small business owners. It feeds like a leech on businesses and thrives by imposing fees that are nearly impossible to comprehend. Seeing a need for change, I left and built this website help business owners better understand the industry, research merchant services providers, and get refunds of excessive merchant account fees. My experience of working "behind the curtain" in the industry, and using that knowledge for good, has resulted in millions of dollars returned to hard-working small business owners as well as enterprise-level companies.

From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to create this website, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this "insider" knowledge to myself. To lift the fog, 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 on this website.

How I Can Help You

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10 Reviews Leave Your Review for Tier 1 Processing Below

  1. Patty Vicknair says:

    Got a call from a rather rude lady who informed me that I was not PCI compliant and that I have been charged a fee for the last few months because I am not compliant. I informed her my company does it for me.. She said no they don’t I said yes they do and argued it with her at which point she was done with me… but before I let her off I asked what company she was with and she gave me the name Top Teir and would not give me a number to call her back. The number she called from did not work. She informed me she had tried to reach out to me but since I would not give her any info and argued the issue she was going to mark down that I will continue to pay the over charge fee per month on my statement. (of which I do not pay because I am compliant) I got the number from a post of a review 888-315-9629 so I called and asked for my number to be removed from there list and informed them they are scam artist before I got off the phone… SO BEWARE… I would never do business with a company that uses these tactics.

  2. Anon Indiana says:

    I receive several phone calls each week stating that we over pay fees on our processing statements. They always ask that we send them copies of our statements. If they know we are overpaying, why do they need a copy of the statement? Why do I need to send them my statement for a refund? BECAUSE I WILL NEVER GET A REFUND AND BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT WORKING FOR MY PROCESSING COMPANY. They are trying to get information on my company to have me switch service providers in a scammy way. Come on . . . Not falling for that!

  3. Ms. Wagner says:

    They are still at it. Called my office yesterday, claiming they would refund fees on my credit card statement that we were over charged. I asked several times if she was working with my credit card company and she never answered directly, only that my merchant sends my statements. She then asked for me to fax my credit card statement. Fax number given 877-277-1875. I wrote down they phone number on caller-id 888-315-9629. Called the number back and the man that answered abruptly and said “Yea”, then changed his tone and said “Top Tier”, I asked for Linda at ext. 1419, who I then questioned about our earlier conversation and her working a scam. She abruptly hung up.

  4. Jessica says:

    One of their reps called me and said setting up merchant processing for my CBD business would be very easy and I’d be up and running in 24-48 hours. The sales pitch seemed way to good to be true. Sure enough, it was. They called me 3 days later to let me know it would take more time then called a couple days after that to let me know they could not get my account set up after all. Very disappointing. They over promise and never delivered. I’ve also heard horrible things about them after discussing this mess with my colleagues.

    This post will help: Best CBD Merchant Accounts


  5. Michael Miller says:

    Top Tier Payment Solutions is continuing to call our business stating that there are over payment charges on our credit card service providers statement. They ask for 2 months of statements to be sent immediately to them to get our refund. They state that they work for our credit card processor. They are fraudulent. JUST HANG UP!

    This post will help: Make The Sales Calls Stop


  6. Today I randomly received a phone call from a lady named Jennifer stating that she was calling me concerning a refund that my company was owed due to being charged for PCI compliance for the last three months… all I would need to do is fax or email my last three statements to receive the credit. When I asked what company she worked for she responded “corrective compliance division with merchant services”; I replied I understood she worked in merchant services but for what company which she stated her division worked for thousands of companies. Hearing the run around I consented agreement to “do my best” to get that over via email and jotted down her info…

    Jennifer @ 1-888-315-9629 x 1417
    To send my bank statements to…
    [email protected]

    When I look up “Top Tier Payment Solutions” the website is under maintenance and of course no BBB listing. I feel this business flat out lies to con small business owners (like myself) to gain clientele for a disreputable company. This should be illegal.

    This post will help: How to Report Bad Credit Card Processors


  7. Billie King says:

    Tier 1 calls every few months. They called again today. The first time I fell for the scam to recover over charges on our merchant machine . None where ever recovered.

    When I refused to send any more documentation a gentleman called numerous times. I kept hanging up and he kept calling the business line back. The final time he used profanity. No class in this company.

    Since then a female, Kiesha I think as she talks so fast, calls constantly and when I hang up she calls back, sometimes as many as 3 times. I have threatened to call law enforcement at this point because of being harassed by the sales people in this company. The owner has asked they do not call us and waste our time any longer and they were also rude to him. Tier 1 needs to stop allowing their people to harass businesses. They immediately get mad when asked to stop calling and continue to call. This time I let them know I would call local law enforcement. Hoping that works…

    This post will help: Make the Sales Calls Stop


  8. Jeffrey Handerson says:

    This fraudulent company continues to call my place of business under the guise that we have been overcharged for merchant services for the past 18 months and need to adjust our account. In reality, they are scam artists who wanted to sell us a $500 credit card machine and switch us to their service. They have nothing to do with our current provider. Do not trust them. Pure fraud!!!!!

    This post will help: Stop The Sales Calls For Good


  9. Shay says:

    They also go by Top Tier. I received a similar call from a Kerri at 888-315-9629 X 1407. Very high pressure technique and they knew all about the company we go through for our credit card processing. Wonder how they got that info.

  10. Thanks for your informative article. I was contacted by them & told I was paying twice the monthly fees I should be paying, that my rate was averaging 2.8% & should be 1.4% per transaction. It sounded really great, but I’m locked in a proprietary gateway. However, there was no mention of switching providers. I didn’t even realize this was another processor until I received an email from them with a contract attachment. What an eye opener your article was as was another article I read basically saying these guys are a scam. They used the Main Street name when they contacted me. Thank you so much. I will stay far away from these guys!

    Are you with Tier 1? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

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