Total Merchant Services Review

Category Breakdown
Sales & Marketing rated C minus
Costs & Contract rated C
Complaints & Service rated C
BBB Rating rated C minus

Overall Rating

"C" Credit Card Processor Rating


Total Merchant Services ( is a mid-size merchant account provider that appears to have entered the credit card processing industry in 1996. Although Total Merchant Services serves its merchant customers directly, the company uses Global Payments for its actual card processing services. The company is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California, with corporate headquarters located at 21650 Oxnard St Ste 1200, Woodland Hills, California 91367-7814. Joe Kaplan is listed as the CEO of Total Merchant Services.

Total Merchant Products and Services Industries Served
  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • MOTO
  • E-commerce

Related: Find The Best Processor For Your Business Type

Sales & Marketing | C-

Key Points – Sales & Marketing
Uses independent resellers? Yes
Promotes deceptive rate quotes? No
Discloses all important terms? No

Total Merchant Services appears to employ independent sales agents and sub-ISOs to market its services. This hiring practice is common within the industry, and it is usually a major source of merchant frustration. In this case, we are currently able to locate over 50 negative Total Merchant Services reviews that describe deceptive sales strategies by sales agents across the country. The overwhelming majority of these complaints describe nondisclosure of terms, particularly with regard to early termination fees and equipment leases, and misrepresentation of rates or sudden changes in rates after signing up for the service. To its credit, the company does not appear to engage in any deceptive advertising strategies in its official materials.

Related: Find The Best Providers By Processor Type

Costs & Contract | C

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: $295+ or none
PCI compliance fee: Variable
Equipment lease: Variable

According to documentation available below and numerous online complaints, the standard Total Merchant Services contract is an automatically renewing three-year agreement through Global Payments that may or may not include a $295 early termination fee at the agent’s discretion. Merchants also report varying PCI compliance fees and other undisclosed fees, and many complaints mention costly equipment leases with high termination fees. Although the company’s merchant account terms are basically unchanged Global Payments contracts, the added cost of leasing terminals and other equipment through the company appears to be the more distressing factor for merchants.

There is some confusion among the company’s own agents about whether it enforces a termination fee. On this and other consumer protection websites, sources have issued rebuttals to merchant complaints either insisting that there is no early termination fee in the Total Merchant Services contract or claiming that they were told during training that no such fee existed. The current consensus appears to be that the $295 termination fee is no longer standard, but that agents can either include it or not include it as they like. Merchants are advised to carefully read their contracts for any mention of a cancellation penalty of any amount. We have recently seen complaints that cite an early termination fee of $399, so it seems that such a fee still applies in some cases. The number of complaints related to the company’s pricing has lowered the company’s score in this section to a “C.” See the Total Merchant Services Merchant Agreement.

Related: Best Processors For Quickbooks Integration

Complaints & Service | C

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: 80+
Live customer support: Yes
Most common complaint: Hidden fees

There are over 80 Total Merchant Services complaints on this and other consumer protection websites, many of which accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. Consistent themes include deceptive sales tactics, difficulty cancelling accounts, and withholding of funds. Most of these complaints appear to be the result of conduct on the part of sales agents at the point of signing rather than rude or unhelpful customer service, but it is our belief that an effective customer service team resolves complaints before they are taken to public forums. It is unclear at this time whether Total Merchant Services employs an in-house sales staff or outsources its customer support to Global Payments, but its website lists dedicated phone numbers for merchant support.

Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce

BBB Report | C-*

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 83
Billing/collection: 67
Advertising/sales: 45
Guarantee/warranty: 0
Delivery: 0

The shutdown of the Better Business Bureau’s Los Angeles-area branch has resulted in Total Merchant Services receiving a rebooted profile that only dates back to July 17, 2013. The company’s new profile shows accreditation and an “A+” rating and has received 195 complaints since its creation. Eighty-three are due to problems with the product or service, 67 are attributed to billing or collection, and 45 have to do with advertising or sales issues. Total Merchant Services has resolved 58 of these complaints to the merchant’s satisfaction, while the remaining 137 either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant.

Given the number of complaints on Total’s rebooted BBB profile, we have adjusted the BBB’s grade to a “C-” for the purposes of this review.

* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score

Related: Best iPad & Tablet Point of Sale Services

Total Merchant Services Bottom Line

Total Merchant Services Review

Rated 2.3 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2016-01-29

Total Merchant Services rates as an average merchant account provider according to our rating criteria. We have found many merchant complaints of deceptive tactics by the company’s sales agents, and the company’s contract terms appear to be average at best. Total Merchant Services also does not appear to have taken advantage of the fact that its BBB profile was wiped clean in March 2013.

This review was originally published on 9/18/12 and was last updated on 1/29/16.

Leave your review of Total Merchant Services in the comment section below:

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry. Schedule a Consultation with Phillip

Schedule a Consultation with Phillip

44 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

  1. This is an absolute SCAM co.
    My wife and I have separate businesses just a couple doors apart and we both canceled at the same time last Nov 2015.
    Since then they claim they never received the equipment nor a cancellation notification, all of which was completed through their account agent at the same time of cancelation. To this day they continue to debit our business accounts associated to this processor and after dozens of phone calls, meetings and promises from all levels of management they continue their policies of corruption after admitting that they partially found some of our equipment… go figure!
    In addition certain institutions do not allow cancelation of processing without copies of formal notification on file which must be provided by thy processing co.
    This company is worse than just incompetent, they are knowingly and fraudulently misleading and claim that somehow, someway it’s your fault.
    I believe they is a criminally fraudulent company engaging in bank and wire transfer fraud, false and misleading account representatives and non-compliance with their own contracts. They need to be stopped.

  2. I was solicited by Total Merchant Services, HD, 21650 Oxnard St, suite 1200, Woodland Hills, Ca 91367 – 1-888-848-6825, They told me they would provide a merchant processing machine for no charge, they have no contract, and claim no hidden fees as stated all over the Internet. After reviewing other reviews I decided to refuse delivery of the processing machine, refused and returned immediately it as return to sender. Once I refused delivery I believed the purported contract would be null and void. I do not have the processing equipment and this company is Aware I never took delivery and returned it “return to sender-refused” as confirmed and stated by Kevin and Anthony. While preparing banking for my CPA I noticed I’ve been charged monthly since July 2015 for services never received or provided for a total of $576.30 to date. These charges appear under another company name “Global Payments Bankcard Processing.” I called this morning 3-2-2016 and began with Sarah who transferred me to Kevin, whom continued to be condescending, and informed me I would have to pay $399+ for closing fees to close the account for equipment and services I’ve never took possession of nor received. I don’t have the equipment, never took delivery of the equipment and this company won’t do the right thing and simply close an account that was never activated by me in the first place. I would like the fees refunded and the account closed. I even offered to allow them to keep the already charged fees for nothing and apply to the closing fees and simply close the account and no more charges. Anthony kept telling me he would only close account if I paid the $399+ fees and unless I authorized the fees the account would remain open and each month I would be charged a processing fee for “services” that I don’t receive nor am able to receive nor wish to receive from such a unscrupulous company.

    Are you with Total Merchant Services? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  3. Beware of this company. Offer free devices that aren’t free. Nothing on contract stating return up cancellation then almost a year later you will be charged a hefty $750 fee for a terminal you never even activated. Use them at your own risk they train sales rep to lie and do not honor anything the have told you over the phone.
    Explore other options or be prepared to pay outrageously unexpected fees that could greatly harm your small business.

    Are you with Total Merchant Services? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  4. Our business established two credit card processing accounts through an agent of TMS. The agent started charging our accounts along with Global STL (aka Total Merchant Services, TMS). The two names became synonymous to us and we had considered them one in the same. We’ve recently found that although these two entities act as one, they are independent of one another without any accountability to their customers.

    Total Merchant Services (aka Global STL, TMS) is the credit card processor who outsources sales to agents. Those agents do not disclose the relationship between the two entities, say whatever it takes to sell you, but when asked to be accountable they simply point to one another. Neither is willing to accept responsibility for their own wrong doing or the wrong doing of the other company. As a customer, I should not be held responsible for understanding a termination policy I never possessed due to an agent’s unethical practices. It should be illegal to sell services and omit such important information.

    It’s also unrealistic to expect any business owner to put forth the time and effort necessary to research the convoluted relationship of these two entities when they present themselves as a unified business. Total Merchant Services should not be allowed to solicit agents nor should an agent be allowed to sell their services. Their business practices are deceptive and are devised to leave the customer at a costly disadvantage.

    We are still waiting for shipping labels to return their equipment which we’ve decided to pay for ourselves after reading the comments above. Thank you for providing this informative site!

    Are you with Total Merchant Services? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  5. These guys suck! Hidden fees and higher charges! Will never use or recommend this company to anyone! Shame on you! They have deceptive business practices and pass on basic business expenses on tot wh consumer. Use Square Up or PayPal and keep your money where it belongs, in your pocket! HORRIBLE COMPANY!!

    Are you with Total Merchant Services? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  6. [Potential Merchants]

    They will rip you off and not give you refunds for amounts that they “notify” you of. You also will not be allowed to speak with a supervisor after being put on hold for over 30 minutes.

    Yes you may save some money when they sign you up. But in the long run they will take more from you than even the bigger guys.

    My suggestion is to use anyone else except this processing company, which is now apparently owned by Wells Fargo, according to their footer on their site.

    If I could give them a star rating, it would be zero stars or a negative amount.

    Oh lets also not forget that if you want paper billing it is $2 a month. But if you want to login to look at your electronic bill you will have to reset your password if it has been more than 30 days. Which never worked for me, so I would have to email my area sales rep to get him to call someone, who would call someone, who would email someone that would send a password reset.

    Are you with Total Merchant Services? Learn how to resolve this complaint.

  7. When I originally got signed up with this company, I asked specific questions to make sure there were no hidden agreements, contracts or fees. I was busy as this was out startup week and we were already way behind. I was told there was only a few charges and that was a lie. I was being charged other fees and then excessive amounts from the “Credit Card” companies that I was not made aware of. Before I even swiped the first card, Total Merchant or “Global Payments” had already charged my account for $3.47. How is this possible when there were no transactions? There is also another fee already charged and yet again… NO SALE WAS MADE. They also told me there were no agreements or contracts. I asked about termination fees, and they told me there were none as long as they get the equipment back via shipment with return label. I called to cancel today and they told me I had to pay a termination fee of $399… When other clients stated that it was $200. LAWSUIT!

  8. I try to apply merchant service with Total but they decline because our business name US Investment & Marketing LLC but we’re web designer. It so simple decline about the name. Phillip do you see any like that one ?
    Also I meet another business owner on same day I receive word decline from Total. She said her business is massage therapy and reflexology , she got license and still got decline because her business is Massage Spa Salon. Also boarding department said decline because business type and maybe they have ” happy ending ” . It’s look like discrimination. Please all business owner see that before to sign up with Total merchant services. We on way contact with lawyer about this response from Total Merchant Services .

    Nick Ly

  9. Salesman pitched a total lie on the “Marketing Tool”. The same Monday I got set up with TMS, and learned what the “marketing tool” really was, I attempted to cancel… on the same Set-up phone call… Oh, you have to wait 24 to 48 hours for someone to call you back to cancel…. 2 days pass, I call again… Oh, you have to wait 24 – 48 hours… Friday, I call again… Same BS… No one can cancel… There are no managers… There are no supervisors… They WILL NOT let me cancel. TMS is total BS… Their elusive “cancellation Department” is unreachable.

    BE WARNED from a current prisoner of TMS.

  10. Phillip:

    Thanks for your response to my suggestions.

    It makes perfect sense that you would be critical of an early termination fee and would want to let your readers know that Total Merchant Services allows agents to charge an early termination fee..That is both sensible and accurate. .

    However, it is clearly not accurate to say that “the standard Total Merchant Services contract” includes a $295 early termination fee and that a termination fee of any kind is not disclosed. The word “standard” implies the most recent contract. For at least one year, the contract (fine print) refers to whatever ETF is on the application. The first page of the application shows clearly what the agent has put as an ETF. For an agent to put $295 is definitely not the “standard”

    My only request is that you advise your readers to look at the agreement, on the bottom of the first page, and see what the agent has put next to the phrase “termination fee”. It most likely will be $0.00. Please do not say that the “standard Total Merchant Services contract” contains an early termination fee of $295. That may have been correct at one time, but at the present time and for the last year it is simply not correct.

    I hope this is a small and do-able request.

    Once again, thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts and thanks for your considerate responses.

    Dave Murrow

  11. To Phillip Parker

    Hello Phillip,

    I’ve been a sales agent with Total Merchant Services (TMS) for at least 10 years. Out of 15 different companies I’ve worked for, TMS has been, without doubt, at the highest level of honesty, fairness, and flexibility.

    I am, for the most part, impressed by your reviews. Some of the companies you criticize do exactly what you say and they deserve it. However, I feel as though your criticism of TMS, especially your criticism of the termination fee, is appropriate ONLY for some sales reps and is therefore only partially correct. This partial correctness could have a detrimental effect on the merchant. It could easily mislead a merchant away from TMS, causing him/her to miss out on a high quality business experience with TMS if indeed the sales agent is honest, upfront, and reasonable. I know there are many such TMS agents. I’m one of them.

    I’ve been a sales agent for Total Merchant Services for at least 10 years. Out of 15 different companies I’ve worked for, TMS has been, without doubt, at the highest level of honesty, fairness, and flexibility.

    For the last year, TMS has clearly placed the option for a termination fee on the bottom of the first page of the application. The agent can put some specified fee or he can put $0.00 or “NA”. If the contract clearly says the termination fee is zero, then TMS is legally bound to a termination fee of zero.

    In addition to the application let’s look at the so-called “fine print” on the contract that TMS has been using for at least a year.

    “If Merchant has applied for Card processing and is approved by Servicers, and if Merchant exercises its option to terminate this Agreement within three (3) years after such approval, then Merchant will pay to Servicers a termination fee in the amount set forth in the Merchant Application.”

    THEREFORE, if the agent has written $0.00 (which I always do) then the merchant can cancel whenever he/she wants and pay $0.00. No Termination Fee.

    Your job is not an easy, and I know you seek to be as accurate and as fair as possible. In light of the fact that you do seek accuracy and fairness, and in light of the fact that the TMS application CLEARLY states at the bottom of the first page the non-existence of a termination fee or an amount of a termination fee, I would STRONGLY suggest that you include the following (or something similar) in your review:

    “In previous years, like most credit card companies, TMS had a termination fee hard-coded and buried in the small print of the contract. However, for the last year, TMS has clearly placed the option for a termination fee on the bottom of the first page of the application. The agent can put some specified fee or he can put $0.00 or “NA”. If you are thinking about processing with TMS, be sure to look for the termination fee entry. If it clearly shows a termination fee of zero, then TMS is legally bound to charge no termination fee.”

    If you can add this statement (or something similar) to your TMS review, I think you will be doing your readers and yourself a real favor.

    Thank you for your kind consideration.
    Dave Murrow

    1. Dave,

      It is important to understand that we hold the provider directly responsible for Early Termination Fees even if they are optional additions to the merchant account agreement by an agent. The reason behind this decision is due to the fact that the provider is the one that makes it possible for an ETF to be included at all. Due to the high churn of agents in this industry, it is impossible to score individual sales representatives according to their ethical behavior. Therefore, we hold the provider accountable if it maintains policies that allow agents to do things that we consider as un-favorable to the business owner.

      If you read the section in question closely, I believe that we have given a fair assessment of Total Merchant Services policy regarding ETFs and will likely add more detail in our next update to the review.

  12. I have used Total merchant services for over 5 years, my contract was up with them after 3years. I called to cancel my services with them today & thought it would be very easy. Once they found out that I went with another company, I was told they would be transferring me to someone to shut my service down…. Instead I got a very hostile representative names Brenda, who seemed to be angry that I was canceling my service. She told me I should have gone with their square. When I said that you should have contacted me, if you had new prices & systems & you valued my business as a client. Brenda told me they didn’t have time for all of that! She then told me I would have to pay Sam Freedman $195 cancellation fee, who I originally signed my contract with….. WHAT!? She said if I cancelled any year between Nov 28th- Jan 28th after my 3year agreement, I would not be charged. I said, ok hold up on canceling then……. She said oops sorry, I just cancelled it! It’s too bad there are hardly any companies that truly care about their clients…. So sad!

  13. As to the comments here, I have been an independent agent with Total Merchant Services for the last 10 years. Having been in the industry for over 20 years, I have found them to be one of the best companies I have worked for and I have many happy merchants with some processing millions per year under my watch with them. It is usually a very small merchant with the most compliants I find because they are small they do not realize the real costs of a merchant account. Some of them are lucky to even get an account. Not all are qualified to have one. You have to be approved to get one.
    All of this about termination fees and such is agent options, agents can charge a cancellation fee or not in the contract in the last 2 plus years. Contracts signed before that did have cancellation fees. No matter what is in the “fine print” it is what is on the contract form that was signed that matters. There is No Increased amount of upfront ( or no upfront )money if there is a cancellation fee or not, I know , I have hundreds of clients. If a merchants does not return the placement equipment they can be charged for it, this is fair practice, it is a placement for the merchant to use as long as there are with TMS. If not then return it, I have had merchants that have been to lazy to return it and they are charged appropriately. Try cancelling your contract with your mobile phone service provider. (remember free phones with 2 year agreement) you will find older contracts with termination fees. Things change in every industry Phillip so keep up with the times. Mobile phone companies no longer charge termination fees either, ON new Contracts !
    Every Industry will have unhappy customers, No matter what. It is the nature of business and it’s owners and customers. Try pleasing everyone, No one can do it.

  14. Hi Phillip,

    I have been an agent for Total Merchant Services since 1998. Some of the points you have written here are valid. For example since the vast majority of the representatives are independent there is some chance that they my not be the best. This however is a common practice in this industry as most companies that offer merchant services have independent agents. I personally find it hard to compete being a full disclosure agent against the less reputable agents.

    I do contest with the fact you have mentioned about the cancellation fee. Total Merchant Services has since done away with this and now offers a month to month agreement. I see in you chat thread that this has been pointed out to you many times, however you still have yet to update your review. You are correct that agents have the ability to add a cancellation and if they do the merchant agreement MUST reflect this under “Termination Fee”. If the agent has $0.00 populated in this field there is NO cancellation fee.

    Also, many agents at Total Merchant Services like myself offer themselves as the merchants primary support contact for all account related needs. This is not mentioned in your support section.

  15. The problem with TMS seems to be with the numerous reps scattered all over the country. There seems to be no control over what they can and cannot do to place a machine. I dealt with J316 Card Services Inc. in Los Angeles. I was informed of my monthly fee and what the per transaction fee would be for debit and credit. The machine was free and there would be no early termination fees. The very first month I did slightly over $500.00 in debit sales. Then suddenly $200.00 was taken from my account for a laundry list of fees and surcharges. Per the instructions given to me by J316 Card Services, I sent the machine back to them when they failed to return my calls questioning the amount. J316 by the way is a Korean run operation that uses the “Jesus fish” in their logo and gave me an additional flyer showing how a percentage of their money is being used for Christian ministries abroad. My Korean wife instantly fell for the sales pitch. Now I’m getting repeated requests from TMS in Portland, OR to return my machine which J316 already has. I have the signed FedEx receipts to show this. Let’s set this aside and look at what happened today.

    A woman came into my shop with a sales pitch for credit card services. I looked at the flyer and saw it was Total Merchant Services. I did not have my papers from the previous fiasco available but told her the story mentioned in the first paragraph. When I mentioned the company involved was TMS Portland, OR she appeared shocked and told me TMS is located in and operated from California. Only tonight as I looked over all the paperwork did I discover something. I went to the website this TMS rep told me about and looked at her company’s blog. In the upper right corner was a phone number for current customers. 888-848-6825. I looked at the papers from TMS Portland, OR and they too have a phone number for me to call to confirm they received the equipment. 888-848-6825. My question is if TMS California knows nothing of TMS Oregon, how come they share a phone number?

  16. BC
    The upfront bonus is not determinant by the cancellation fee or no ETF fee. The upfront bonus is determined if the merchant wants a “free terminal” or if the merchant’s terminal can be reprogrammed. The upfront bonus is much higher if an agent can perform a reprogram. It is up to the agent to determine the ETF fee or cancellation fee, with the cap at $295 the first year and $195 thereafter. As far as the PCI fees, TMS waives that fee for the first 12 months of that agreement, AND the agreements are now on a month-to-month service.

    TMS has improved in many areas and I have many merchants who love the services they receive from TMS. Personally, I conduct a three-month rate review for my merchants and whenever the rates drop, so do theirs.

    I was an educator for over 25 years and I taught in the public sector. I approach my position as an agent for TMS with an educators approach and provide my merchants with ALL fees, including the card association fees that the government has decided to stick their hands into the cookie jar of processing.

    I do not have my merchants sign anything until they read and understand the merchant agreement/contract.

  17. I was with TMS for 1 year before we had to close our business due to moving. The last 3 months we did $700 on our card and were charged $89 per month for the service! So we closed the account and were told to expect a call tag within 10 days. We got it a week later, but we have no fedex location due to the extreme rural state we live in, so we did not get the machine back to them for 20 days.they charged us $750 for the machine! We are still disputing this but my gut tells me we will get nothing back. :(
    Not only that but our agent was ridiculously condescending and did a “You can’t keep the machine you know.”
    I took videos and photos of our machine to prove it is in working order as I’m assuming they will also lie and claim it is broken so they can keep the $750. Believe me, if I do not get my refund we will be going to BBB!

  18. Hi Philip,

    Ever considered rating independent sales agents.. it seems the poor work ethics of some 1099 agents reflect poorly on an ISO.

    1. In my experience, the vast majority of commission-only agents last just a few weeks in this industry. It would be impossible to keep up.

  19. Hi Philip,

    it is really disheartening to read all the negative comments about TMS. Having worked in this industry for quite a few years I am aware of the unscrupulous tactics used by some independent agents to get a merchant to sign. The TMS application form has a line item-“cancellation fee”. Here an independent agent can write $0.00 or leave it blank. if left blank the cancellation fee is $295. This is clearly stated on the application which had a link to the terms and conditions of the agreement.- Also, during training these are clearly told to the independent agents. it is therefore up to the agent to decide whether to put $0.00 or to leave the cancellation fee filed blank.

    TMS has been around for many many years and have more than 100,000 customers. They were in fact awarded the ETA award in 2012. I am very happy with their customer service department and my merchants are very happy with their rates. I am all about earning a living honestly and would not consider causing financial harm to a merchants. Its all about relationship building. So the fault lies with both the unscrupulous sales agents and the merchants. It is in the best interest of the merchant to read the fine prints. I always recommend that my clients get quotes from at least three different processors before making a decision.

    So, before you give TMS a negative rating, please take the time to evaluate their contract and then decide whether it is the company or the agent who is at fault for the bad experiences the above merchants have endured.

    Sorry for this verbose email, but I needed to give you my two cents worth.

    BTW , i love your site and have directed many potential customers to your site and so it is in my best interest to encourage you to dig deeper to verify whether the above are genuine complaints from business owners or people who have other motives.

    Have a great one!

    1. Hi Monica,

      Thank you for the comment. Although I agree that agents carry some responsibility for complaints against a company, we are more concerned with a company’s policies and how they make such complaints possible. In our opinion, TMS, and any company for that matter, is responsible for its agents’ actions because it forms the policies by which the agents can sell its services. Even though an agent has the option of including a Early Termination Fee (ETF), TMS is the entity responsible for allowing it. Additionally, most providers that give agents an option to include an ETF pay bigger commissions if they do so. In many cases, agents have incentives from the company to include fees and terms that are not favorable for the merchant. Therefore, we hold companies responsible for their agents and employees.

      You may also find this article interesting: Why We Verify Testimonials

  20. Total Merchant Services is a horrible company!!! Stay very far away unless you have plenty of money to throw away. They randomly charge for unauthorized charges. I have had nothing but problems with this company. BEWARE!!!

    1. Hi Kristen, can you elaborate on your experience? What kind of unauthorized charges and problems, etc?

  21. I had a saleman come in and pitch this company to me. I do my research….. yes they can charge you a fee it is in their merchant agreement statement witch you can find on their website or you can check it from my link witch is from their website these few comments above mine are most likly salemen trying to trick you. just go to their agreement page and look under their Termination. section. if they did not charge this fee it would not be in thier agreement. Nice try Crooks.

  22. Just got hit with a fee without warning. Now they tell me about compliance FEES. Never got the notice they claimed to have sent. Very cold response from customer service. I cancelled immediately. Very disappointed.
    Poor communication, we could have worked it out with a reasonable solution. Not their style. $106.95!!!
    Unauthorized, not informed. Sorry guys.

  23. OMG!! If you choose to use this company, you are in a world of trouble!!!! EVERY time I go to batch out, it is a nightmare. This time, it is charging old transactions and they are telling us that it can’t be erased. This is going to mean that my past customers are going to be charged again!! I always dread trying to batch out due to the stress of dealing with them. Also, I only use the service approximately 3-5 times a year. The contract started out at $5.00 per month, then it went to $7.00 per month and currently they are taking out almost $17.00 per month. My contract is up in May of 2013 and I am sending a letter today, and again the 1st of April and again which will be dated specifically 30 days prior to the end of the contract.

  24. I used them for nearly 6 years. They were not the cheapest and refused to send me a new credit card machine when the one that I was using didn’t seem to work anymore at tradeshows. So I was using them less and less and couldn’t justify the monthly fees. I failed to notice for a long time the huge rate discrepancy between “qualified” and “non-qualified” card processing. I deal mostly with people using business cards and cards with rewards, meaning most of the time, I was being charged around 4% for non-qualified cards instead of the 2.2% that they had quoted me. That was my bad for not paying attention. But I do find it tricky in the contract how it looks as though you are charged one rate or the other, and instead, you are actually charged both the regular rate PLUS the surcharge for non-qualified cards. They are willing to negotiate rates, and other companies do this too, just be very careful to find out what you are really going to be charged for all types of cards.

    When I cancelled the account, they mentioned waiving the early termination fee….which I thought was ridiculous since I had been with them for 6 years. I didn’t think I had signed any kind of 10 year contract. But apparently, each year your contract renews for a whole year and you have like a 30 day window within the year to cancel without the early termination fee. Like an earlier review stated, apparently there are different contracts out there, some with cancellation fees and others without. Read your contract.

    Then one day after cancelling, I found a $200 charge and a $750 charge on my bank account. They had charged the $200 cancellation fee anyways and a non-return of equipment fee. There is no way in hell that a 6 year old machine, that was used when I received it, was worth $750 to anyone, but I had sent it back to them so the argument was pointless anyways. I called and they said they would refund the charges. Fortunately they had it in their “call log” that they had promised to waive the cancellation feel. Honestly I hadn’t even noticed the $200 cancellation fee until I saw the $750 fee and then called my bank to see what it was. They took a week to refund all of my money. That could have been disastrous for a smaller business to have nearly $1000 tied up for a week or more.

    Although their practices are common amongst merchant account companies, and they weren’t exactly dishonest, I just felt that they were less-than-forthcoming with the whole story and attempted to hide negative aspects of having an account with them. I couldn’t recommend them for this reason. I’d rather pay a few cents more and go with a company who has one single rate and announces it loud and proud without needing to read a doctoral dissertation’s worth of fine print to get to the truth.

  25. Total Merchant Services said they were the cheapest around…. That is a lie, Amazon Merchant Services only charge a percentage, and when I was told this by Robert Edelmann that it was the cheapest. I believed the lie, stay away from Total Merchant Services, They are not the cheapest, also my $25 minimum charge was actually $60+. Liars, Start tell the truth, and do not say things that are false.

  26. Tried to contact their terminal support dept and customer support dept. All I get is voice mail – really? If was having terminal issues and a sale was involved, I would be is a lot of trouble right now. Very disapointed.

  27. Your review seems to be fabricated, first of all there is no early Termination fees. Even if the sales rep is misleading the merchant can quit and not be charged. Might want to check your facts before doing your review. The BBB tells the true story not this website.

    1. Hi Mike,

      There are several reports from merchants stating that they were charged cancellation fees. Also, as of the publishing of this comment, 29 of the 87 complaints filed with the BBB are due billing and collection disputes. If you take time to read the complaint details like I did, you will see reports of a $295 early termination fee in the BBB report.

    2. I am another one of their cancellation fee victims but the amount they took out was $500 (unauthorized use of my account). Furthermore, I only had a 2 year contract with them and I caledl them ahead of time to make it a month to month AFTER our 2 year contract ended and they still charged our account by transferring $500 from our account to theirs. I would advise anyone who wants or has a business DO NOT go with Total Merchant Services for your credit card or payment solutions. This company’s only interest is to make their money by charging their customers with crazy hidden fees and the representatives are very misleading and untruthful and this company should be held accountable for the misleading, untruthful, and uninformed representatives THEY hire. I will turn this into the BBB as a negative report on Total Merchant Services and if need be I will sue!!!

  28. You may want to fact check prior to doing a review – Total Merchant Services does not, repeat does not have any cancellation fees, period end of story.

    Please correct your review.

    1. Hi Jack,

      There are several reports online of merchants complaining of ETFs imposed by Total Merchant services, which is why it is mentioned in this article. If you would like to supply us with a standard and unaltered merchant account agreement, we’ll be happy to add it to the article so that merchants can review it.

      1. Good day Phillip,,

        I will supply a standard merchant agreement for you along with other information which supports the fact TMS has no cancellation fees.

        After you have read the contract would expect you to update your information to reflect the fact that TMS has no cancellation fees.

        How can I get the contract to you?


        1. Hi Jack,

          Use the contact form and I’ll respond to let you know where you can send it. Keep in mind that merchants are, in fact, reporting that they have experienced cancellation fees and this information will not be removed from the review. However, I will add the information that you send if everything seems legitimate. Also, can you explain the relationship between Green Payment Systems, which is your email address, and Total Merchant Services?

          1. Philip,

            Up until 3 years ago TMS did have Cancellation Fees on some contracts, however, as of 2 years ago there are no longer cancellation fees. In the interest of impartial and fair/balanced reporting you could mention this in your review.

            Anotherwords, if a merchant gets a cancel fee it is because they had an older contract. A contract in which these terms were fully disclosed.

            Documentation will follow per your instructions.


          2. What is your role with the company? I find it odd that a company would eliminate its cancellation fee and then still enforce it on older contracts. I see complaints filed as recently as November of 2012.

          3. They have several contract with and without cancellation fees. It depends on whoever is signing you up and how they want to set you up. They get a bigger upfront bonus if you sign with a $295 cancellation fee… cancellation fee = no bonus upfront.

    2. This company told me the exact same lies. After I was deceived into my agreement, I objected to some of the terms of the agreement. The rep assured me that I could simply try the service and cancel anytime for free. And there is a cancellation fee of $295 in my contract (which I did not agree to!):

      From my contract dated Feb 2014:

      “if Merchant exercises its option to terminate this Agreement within three (3) years after such
      approval, then Merchant will pay to Servicers a termination fee in the amount set forth in the Merchant Application. If the Merchant Application references a “standard
      termination fee,” a fee of $295.00 will apply upon Merchant’s termination of services.”

      Period, end of story.

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