Tier 1 Processing Review


Tier 1 Processing (tier1processing.com) is a Richardson, Texas-based merchant account provider that appears to be a DBA or partner of Datalink Bankcard Services. 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.

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.

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.

Key Points

  • Sales & Marketing: Tier 1 Processing appears to hire independent sales agents and has received a relatively high number of complaints about its sales practices.
  • 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 not received any complaints in the past three years.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Tier 1 Processing

Response from Tier 1 Processing

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Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

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

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 reviews 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.

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.

Response from Tier 1 Processing

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Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate Variable
Keyed-in Rate Variable
Early Termination Fee $250 Plus
PCI Compliance Fee Variable
Equipment Lease Terms Variable

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’s standard terms and conditions (available below) outline a three-year agreement with automatic renewal for two-year terms, an early termination fee of $250 or Liquidated Damages (whichever is greater) and an unspecified “membership” fee. 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. If you have any further details regarding the standard Tier 1 Processing contract, please share that information in the comment section below this review. See the Datalink Bankcard Services Terms & Conditions.

Response from Tier 1 Processing

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Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

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 cite 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. 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 “B” rating in this category from CardPaymentOptions.com at this time.

Response from Tier 1 Processing

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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.

Response from Tier 1 Processing

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Tier 1 Processing Bottom Line

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.

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services sales agent who believes the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal from hard working business owners. He created this website to help you avoid the bad players, save money on fees, and to get peace of mind with your merchant account. If you would like to help support his work, learn more about our cost reduction service. We can evaluate your statement, tell you exactly how much you're overpaying, and then help you dramatically reduce your fees with your current credit card processor. Looking to switch instead? See our list of the best merchant account providers.

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  1. 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!

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