Tier 1 Processing Review
8/1/2019 Update: Tier 1 Processing’s web domain is no longer active.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.
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
Tier 1 Processing Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||30+|
|Live Customer Support||Unknown|
|Most Common Complaint||Sales Tactics|
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.
Tier 1 Processing Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
Online Ratings Summary
|Product & Service Complaints||0|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||0|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||0|
|Guarantee & Warranty 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.
Tier 1 Processing Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|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|
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.
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.
Tier 1 Processing Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|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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