Acquired by Global Payments
TSYS is one of the largest credit card processors in the United States. The company has two primary areas of business. The first, which will be the focus of this review, is its direct sales channel called “TSYS Merchant Solutions.” The second is its processing platform, “TSYS Acquiring Solutions”, which is now called Heartland. It’s important to understand the difference between these two entities because your relationship with the company will be different depending on which channel you’re dealing with. First, we’ll cover the acquiring side.
On May 28, 2019, Global Payments announced its acquisition of TSYS in a $21.5 billion all-stock deal. The acquisition had been speculated upon for some time in the months preceding its confirmation. TSYS is among the largest merchant service providers in the world, making Global Payments acquisition of the company a seminal moment for the industry. The announcement follows a flurry of acquisitions among competitors as FiServ announced its acquisition of First Data in January for $22 billion as well as FIS’ acquisition of Worldpay for approximately $35 billion.
Backend Credit Card Processing
TSYS Acquiring Solutions is a merchant acquirer located in Tempe, Arizona. The company specializes in acting as a backend credit card processor for non-acquiring banks, Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), and companies that create and sell credit card processing technology. In other words, it supplies the credit card processing for other companies that sell merchant services. As a merchant in this scenario, you would have a third-party company between you and TSYS that would set up and manage your merchant account.
Direct Merchant Services
On the direct sales side, TSYS formerly had its own sales offices with dedicated sales staff that could set up a merchant directly with credit card processing services. This channel was called “TSYS Merchant Solutions“, but as of the acquisition by Global Payments, it has been absorbed into Global’s processor Heartland. In this scenario, there is no third-party company between you and TSYS/Heartland, and you will be dealing with Heartland directly for account setup and management.
Direct Processing vs TSYS Resellers
It is important to understand that a very large part of TSYS’s business is supplying backend credit card processing services for other sales organizations that resell services to small businesses seeking merchant accounts. In many cases, TSYS does not supply merchant accounts directly to merchants, although the TSYS brand name may appear on the merchant account agreement. The banks, subsidiaries, and partners that resell TSYS credit card processing can often set the terms of their own contracts and mark up the processing rates and fees as they please. This practice can cause confusion with merchants as TSYS may have had nothing to do with the terms and pricing of the account. To add to the confusion, some partners manage the customer service of their accounts in-house while others outsource it to TSYS’s Back Office Support program. Depending on the partner, a merchant may either deal with the partner’s customer service, TSYS’s customer service, or Heartland/Global Payment’s customer service. For the purposes of this review, we’ll focus on TSYS’s back-office support and direct sales channel.
TSYS Location and Ownership
TSYS is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, CA; Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA; and Deutsche Bank, New York, NY. Headquartered at 1 TSYS Way, Columbus, Georgia, TSYS has been processing credit card payments since the 1970s and is one of the few processors listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TSS). TSYS has acquired several other processors in its history, including First National Merchant Solutions (FNMS), Clarity Payment Solutions, Card Tech Ltd., TermNet Merchant Services, ProPay, TransFirst, and, most recently, Cayan. Some of these companies have remained independently branded while others have been absorbed into the TSYS brand name. Troy Woods is the current president/CEO of TSYS.
TSYS Merchant Solutions Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: TSYS/Heartland typically offers a three-year contract that automatically renews for one year and includes an early termination fee.
- Complaints & Service: TSYS has received more than 40 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: TSYS as Global Payments has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 306 complaints and 30 reviews in the past 3 years.
- Sales & Marketing: TSYS/Heartland utilizes independent sales agents and has received some complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With TSYS