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Total Merchant Services is a mid-size credit card processor and merchant account provider that appears to have entered the credit card processing industry in 1996. Although Total Merchant Services handles the support of its business customers directly, the company uses Global Payments for its back-end card processing. In May 2017, Total Merchant Services was fully acquired by North American Bancard but continues to operated under its own brand name. This processor also offers point-of-sale hardware and software under the brand name “Groovv.”
Credit Card Processing
Total Merchant Services provides credit card processing services that enable businesses to accept credit and debit card payments from customers.
Point of Sale Systems (POS)
Total Merchant Services offers point-of-sale (POS) systems that allow businesses to manage inventory, process payments, and track sales data.
Total Merchant Services provides mobile payment solutions that enable businesses to accept payments on-the-go using a smartphone or tablet.
Total Merchant Services offers e-commerce payment solutions that allow businesses to accept online payments on their website or through a virtual terminal.
Gift and Loyalty Programs
Total Merchant Services offers gift and loyalty program services that allow businesses to create and manage custom programs to reward customers and increase sales.
Total Merchant Services offers check processing services that allow businesses to accept paper checks as payment.
Merchant Cash Advance
Total Merchant Services provides merchant cash advance services that offer businesses quick access to capital without the need for collateral.
Location & Ownership
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 the CEO of Total Merchant Services.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Appears to offer a three-year contract through Global Payments that may or may not include an early termination fee of…
- Complaints & Service: Has received more than 100 public complaints in regards to…
- BBB Rating: Has been accredited since 2013 and has an “A+” rating but has received 19 complaints and 3 reviews in the last three years regarding…
- Sales & Marketing: Hires independent sales agents and has received a moderate-to-high number of complaints about its…
Total Merchant Services Reviews and Complaints
Here's What Their Clients Say
Total Online Complaints
Live Customer Support
Most Common Complaint
Moderate Complaint Total
There are over 100 Total Merchant Services reviews 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 canceling accounts, poor customer service, 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. Still, it is our belief that an effective customer service team resolves complaints before they are taken to public forums.
Total Merchant Services Lawsuits
In November of 2018, a U.S. District Court Judge approved a $7.5 million settlement resolving Naiman v. Total Merchant Services Inc., Case No. 4:17-cv-03806, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, a class-action lawsuit against the company. The suit alleged that Total Merchant Services partnered with Quality Merchant Services, Inc. to create a telemarketing scheme. Telephone numbers included in the automatic dialer database were purchased from an unknown source, violating the privacy of the individuals whose data was part of that transaction in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Total Merchant Services Customer Support Options
It is unclear at this time whether Total Merchant Services employs an in-house support staff or outsources its customer support to North American Bancard/Global Payments, but its website lists dedicated phone numbers and email addresses for merchant support. Despite these channels, the company does not currently rank among our top-rated payment processors for great customer service.
Total Merchant Services Customer Service Number
- 800-518-6825 – Sales Team
- 866-485-8999 – Support Team
- 717-944-2182 – Local
- 800-521-6495 – Fax
Total Merchant Services also offers a customer support form on its website and a customer support email address at [email protected]
Total Merchant Services BBB Rating and Report
Our Better Business Bureau Profile Assessment
Total BBB Complaints
Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
Nearly 20 Complaints
The Better Business Bureau currently awards Total Merchant Services accreditation and an “A+” rating. The company has received 19 complaints in the past 36 months. Only 8 of these 19 complaints were resolved by the company to the satisfaction of the merchant. The remaining 11 were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no final response
What Merchants Say
Total Merchant Services has also received 3 negative informal reviews on its BBB profile. The most recent review is from a former employee describing deceptive sales practices and poor customer service:
I use to work for this company when it was in Colorado. They had independent sales agents that would go out and get merchants signed up and lie to them stating that there was not a yearly contract and there was! Then the agent would make $500 for signing a business up and leave them high and dry! I worked in their call center and the staff in the call center were rude and even hung up on clients! When I went to report this to my manager and no results I went to their manager and no results! So I went into the HR person who hired me and she seemed to know nothing about any of this! I really couldn’t believe that she could be so in the dark. I have great customer service skills and would NEVER stay with a company that treated their customers like that! I was always taught that your customers where like GOLD! SO left. It’s been years now, I just happened to wander onto the company reviews and though I would share my experience! DO NOT SIGN UP WITH THIS COMPANY! Maybe they sold, or got new management? However, looking at the reviews it doesn’t look like it!
Business owners should consider credit card processors with excellent customer service.
A “C” Performance
Given the number of complaints on Total’s BBB profile and the company’s resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s grade to a “C” for the purposes of this review.
Total Merchant Services Fees and Rates
A Closer Look at the Contract
Don't Fall Into An Expensive Trap. See Who The Worst Processors Are.
1.00% - 4.99%
Early Termination Fee
According to available documentation and numerous Total Merchant Services reviews, 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 businesses.
Early Termination Fee Disputes
There is some confusion among the payment processor’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. Business owners are advised to carefully scan the trickiest parts of 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.”
Total Merchant Services Jobs and Employment
Hiring Standards and Ethical Marketing Assessment
Audit Your Current Statement To Find Its Hidden Fees
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Employs Independent Resellers
Advertises Deceptive Rates
Discloses All Important Terms
Outside Sales Team
Total Merchant Services appears to hire independent sales agents and sub-ISOs to market its credit card processing services, which is a common practice within the industry. However, this practice can be a major source of frustration for businesses. In this case, we have found over 100 negative Total Merchant Services reviews that describe deceptive sales strategies by sales agents across the country. The overwhelming majority of these complaints describe non-disclosure 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.
Total Merchant Services Agent Bonuses
In the past, Total Merchant Services advertised a $100,000 progressive signing bonus for new sales partners, which offered $100 per new account on top of the company’s existing bonus structure. Total Merchant Services stated that partners could “Earn up to an Extra $100,000 in Your First 90 Days,” but it wasn’t clear how many new accounts the sales partner would have to open to reach that amount. Under any circumstances, this seems to be an unrealistically lucrative promotion. If it pays marginally more than $100 per new account, then it’s possible that sales agents would need to open nearly 1,000 new accounts in 90 days to take full advantage of the bonus. But if the program is frequently paying out $100,000 to new partners on top of existing bonus structures, then it’s likely that the added revenue is coming in the form of lopsided contracts with clients. If you suspect that you have been tricked into an unfavorable contract by a Total Merchant Services sales agent, you can double-check your pricing with a third-party statement audit.
Total Merchant Services Review Summary
Our Final Thoughts and Opinions
Total Merchant Services reviews indicate a below-average credit card processor. We have found many complaints describing 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 essentially wiped clean in March 2013. For now, merchants will likely be able to obtain more competitive pricing through a top-rated credit card processor.
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