TSYS Merchant Solutions Review

26 Replies

Credit Card Processors
Category Breakdown
Sales & Marketing rated A plus
Costs & Contract rated C
Complaints & Service rated A
BBB Rating rated A minus

Overall Rating

"A-" Credit Card Processor Rating


TSYS Merchant Solutions Logo


TSYS is one of the largest credit card processors in the United States, and 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.” 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.

TSYS Acquiring Solutions (tsys.com/acquiring/) 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 be setting up and managing your merchant account.

On the direct sales side, TSYS has its own sales offices with dedicated sales staff that can set up a merchant directly with credit card processing services. This channel is called “TSYS Merchant Solutions” (tsys.com/tms/). In this scenario, there is no third party company between you and TSYS, and you will be dealing with TSYS directly for account setup and management.

TSYS has been processing credit card payments since the 1970s and is one of 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, and, most recently, ProPay. Some of these companies have remained independently branded while others have been absorbed into the TSYS brand name. The president of TSYS is Thomas Boyer.

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 fact 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 or TSYS’s customer service. For the purposes of this review, we’ll focus on TSYS’s back office support and direct sales channel.

TSYS Products and Services:

  • Debit and credit card processing
  • POS hardware and software
  • Mobile processing
  • Online payment gateway
  • Virtual terminal
  • Sales analytics
  • Multi-currency support
  • Gift and reward programs

Industries served:

  • Most domestic business types of any size, including retail, MOTO, and e-commerce

Sales & Marketing | A+

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

TSYS appears to use a variety of marketing tactics including W-2 employed sales agents, telemarketing, advertising, sub-ISOs, and strategic partnerships. A representative has stated that the company does not use independent sales agents, but merchants should note that the company’s use of sub-ISOs can result in some price variation among TSYS merchant accounts. Although sales experiences may vary, we are awarding the company an “A+” in this section due to the lack of deceptive marketing tactics that are apparent to this reviewer.

TSYS Marketing Example

[Related: Get rate quotes from other “A” rated merchant account providers right now]

Costs & Contract | C

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: Variable
PCI compliance fee: Variable
Equipment lease: Variable

Costs and fees of a TSYS merchant account will vary based on a merchant’s business type, processing volume and the agent setting up the account. Generally, this means that pricing is highly flexible. Merchants are encouraged to read “Fee Sweep” to learn how to negotiate the best rates and fees.

The company’s low score in this section is due to its merchant account contract terms. As of this review, TSYS Merchant Solutions’ standard contract includes a three-year service agreement that automatically renews for one-year terms unless the merchant cancels during a small window of opportunity. A representative confirmed that merchants who cancel outside of the grace period will be subject to a variable Early Termination Fee (ETF) based on the length of the contract and termination date. This, combined with an automatically renewing contract, greatly reduces the company’s rating in this section.

Keep in mind that these terms can often be negotiated. If you are dealing with a partner or subsidiary, the terms may be drastically different. As always, be sure to read the contract in its entirety.

[Related: Get matched with a provider with “A” rated contract terms]

Complaints & Service | A

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: 40+
Live customer support? Yes
Most common complaint: Contract length

Most TSYS negative reviews can be traced back to the partner or subsidiary that sold and managed the merchant account. As mentioned earlier, these entities resell TSYS accounts and can set their own terms and pricing as well as have their own in-house customer service. Several complaints seemed to target TSYS when the partner was truly the root of the problem.

There are only a handful of complaints that appear to be a direct result of a TSYS action or policy. In these complaints, the common theme is merchants reporting non-disclosure of the three-year service agreement, auto-renewing contract, and cancellation fee. Considering TSYS Merchant Solutions’ size and time in business, some of these complaints should be expected. Also, the overall number of complaints is very low compared to the massive size of the company. We therefore award TSYS an “A” in this section at this time.

BBB Report | A-*

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 30
Billing/collection: 31
Advertising/sales: 4
Guarantee/warranty: 0
Delivery: 0

As of this review, the Better Business Bureau lists numerous reports for TSYS Merchant Solutions at various locations. The BBB is awarding the corporate headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, an “A+” rating and reporting 65 complaints in the last 36 months. Most of these complaints are regarding problems with billing/collection or the product/service, and all but 14 have been resolved to the merchants’ satisfaction. We believe “A+” ratings should be reserved for companies with zero complaints, so we have adjusted the rating of this section to an “A-” for the purposes of this review.

* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score

Bottom Line

TSYS Merchant Solutions Review

Rated 4 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2015-01-06

As one of the largest processors, TSYS Merchant Solutions scores well in most sections of this review. The company can raise its rating by removing its three-year service agreement, auto-renewing contract and early termination fee. Merchants considering TSYS as their processor are encouraged to negotiate pricing and terms assertively.

This review was originally published on 1/24/12 and was last updated on 1/6/15.

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  1. EFI LLC

    TSYS has got to be the worst merchant service provider EVER!!!! In addition to all of the complaints above, I never received a monthly statement or end of year tax forms from them unless I called. Their web site was worse than useless, and they never did get access to my account set up correctly. Minimum monthly nut even if I didn’t run a card was about $70 (MAJOR RIPOFF), the $250 cancellation fee was absolutely NOT disclosed when I initially signed up and I do have copies of everything I signed to prove it, there was a $150 PCI compliance fee out every year even though I do not do eCommerce or online sales, and for months after I cancelled TSYS continued to pull some other $35/month fee out of my account, which they refuse to refund even though they admit they should have never continued to collect that fee! I called many times to complain and never got anything but the runaround.

  2. Andrew

    I have been trying to cancel my account with TSYS for 4 months. Having signed up with them back when they were Termnet Merchant Services, we filed a stop payment with our bank back in May, because the confuctionated business processes to close the account weren’t working. They changed their name, at some, point, and continued to charge our account for services we haven’t used for years. Having called Rachel, who demanded that we show a copy of the cancellation form to get our refund, I got ahold of Jerry, who told me that the cancellation would be done by him and that we had to file a form he emailed me. The bank said they will handle the refund from their end and we closed the account. I believe this company is knowingly withdrawing money from accounts that people have tried to close under their new name. Notice that there is no personal phone numbers? Notice that the Board and CEO don’t have their emails or phones on the website? Hinky. Shady. Don’t do business with them. I will be talking to my Fed District Attorney next week to see if there should be an investigation into their practices. I think they know exactly what they are and aren’t doing, but they may just be a nothot mess.

  3. Trish

    Do not use TSYS as your merchant account provider. We had 8 consecutive months of mischarges on our statements and they still owe us refund money from 4 months that they will not pay. Every time I call and talk to a customer service rep I get a different story. Two have said I’ll process this right away and you will see the money in 3-4 days and it never shows up. The rest say I have to wait until the next billing statement but it hasn’t showed up in 4 months. When I closed my account the rep never told me what exactly that meant as far as batches and refunds. Stay away from TSYS! There are far better Merchant Account Providers out there that are professional and offer knowledge and helpful customer service.

  4. Thomas

    I was “sold” two seperate accounts for one company under the premise that it would save me money to have the two accounts. That did not happen I was getting fees at unbelievable rates and now I am being charged two seperate early termination fees. I don’t mind following our contract, but now I am feeling duped into double indeminty. Of course, when I called, no one cared. Stay AWAY from these guys.

  5. Stan

    No follow through with any of the problems I had, constant overbilling, no reasonable temporary solution for trade shows. My Rep will say the right thing, but never actually DO it! It took two years to get paid back for some wrong charges and to stop some others.

    Your rates may be good, but your savings there will be destroyed by miscellaneous charges added on your bill.

    The final straw, they only keep one year of statements online. I called to request the first six months of the previous year. They said they charge $20/hr and $4 a page to look up “archived” records (It’s new to me that 18 months is now considered archived).

    Switching to Chase/Paymentech, one of the contacts called me and told me that would not charge me their monthly $10 fee because I’m using Authorize.net. Hopefully they continue that way.

  6. Shondi Pugh

    I am a stylist at a small hair and make up studio. I, along with two other stylists used TSYS merchant solutions for credit card processing for a couple of years. We decided to cancel our contracts early due to another company’s rates working out better for our studio’s financial needs. When the owner of the salon called to handle the cancellations, she filled out the cancellation papers and was under the impression that all stylists using TSYS Merchant Solutions working in our shop were cancelled and no further action needed to be taken. Unfortunately, that was not correct and I continued to receive statements that my account was still being charged 40.45 per month. I tried calling to resolve this issue a number of times. Each time I would call, I would be transferred to a woman’s voicemail. I had a difficult time getting a hold of her. Eventually, after going through several different customer service reps I asked if I could speak to someone other than the elusive woman with the voicemail. I was finally able to speak to a supervisor who was very nice and offered to cancel my account. This was after speaking to one particular employee who seemed angry from the start of our conversation, refused to listen to my issue, cut me off with every word I tried to speak to her, even though I remained calm and collected despite my frustration. I was not able to receive a refund on the fees for the months the issue went resolved, but CJ, the supervisor was able to waive the cancellation fee. I appreciated her speaking to me in a civilized matter and ultimately solving the problem to say the least. The initial error was perhaps due to a communication error on our salons part. My suggestion is that there would be a less frustrating way to achieve customer service issues. It seems as though the woman who is in charge of canceling accounts is never in her office and extremely difficult to reach. Perhaps more employees could relay the information to clients needing to cancel the accounts or resolve simple issues like mine. Everyone else that I spoke to at TSYS was fairly pleasant, although powerless to resolve the issue, so no major complaint there other than it causing frustration on my part. The inconvenience of essentially having to play “phone tag” just to find out that all I needed was a simple form to resolve my issue is enough for me to cancel my account with TSYS all over again! I remain disappointed that hundreds of dollars were drafted from my account in the meantime, due to the inefficient means of processing cancellations. I probably wouldn’t bother to utilize my time writing this review had I not had such an unpleasant conversation with the last employee. Overall, my experience with TSYS lacked the customer service that I might like to expect from my merchant provider.

  7. Scott

    TSYS has been a good company with fair processing rates until we realized HOW WE WERE TRICKED into doing business with them. This TSYS representative, David Brown, calls us and tells us that the POS company that we utilize recommended him. He dropped names of the people at this POS company, as if they had a close working relationship with him. In short, he swindled us into giving him our merchant statement and eventually signing us up with TSYS. Sure enough, our costs were in fact somewhat reduced with TSYS but we later found that this particular TSYS rep was telemarketing us out of some other state and had no affiliation what so ever with our POS provider. Infact, our POS provider stated that this had been an ongoing issue with this particular rep misleading and misrepresenting himself in this way.

    As soon as we realized the TSYS rep had flat lied to us to get our business, we canceled with TSYS immediately. That is NOT how to earn new customers. Watch out for TSYS telemarketing reps. Especially one named David Brown (could be his alias for all we know after being tricked by him)!!

  8. DAWN

    Our small business had been affiliated with TSYS credit card processing for several years. We switched to a different processor in mid 2012. To our fault, believing that the new processor had closed our TSYS account, the account remained open and we incurred rent, card compromise assistance plan, reg and compliance and monthly maintenance fees. Again, to my own fault, I did not realize the account was still open until Dec 2012. I called TSYS in Dec to close the account and was advised of a $250.00 early cancellation fee in addition to the other fees we were already being charged. I spoke to a CSR initially and then to Adam, a manager. They refused to waive the cancellation fee or work with me on any of the other fees we had been incurring for no processing. I decided to just pay the monthly fees and let the contract run out instead of incurring the early cancellation fee. In the mean time, I realized that the CARD COMPROMISE ASSIST PLAN charge was not needed because I wasn’t processing anything through them. I called in January to cancel that plan through their automated phone service. I continued to receive the charge each month. Finally, I called again today and because we are not PCI compliant through Trustwave they will not let me cancel that card compromise plan (again, they have not processed any of our card transactions since June 2012). They had transferred me to Trustwave who said that they have nothing to do with cancelling or waiving fees; that that is TSYS’s policy. I was very disappointed that TSYS was not willing to work with us regarding any of the fees and that I could not cancel the card compromise plan. I felt that since I was a small business, they did not see the need for compromise.

  9. adina

    TSYS is a fruadulent company. I feel like I have been a prisoner to thier company. They repeatedly charged me for monthly charges when I repeatedly told them to cancel my account. I was with them for over 4 years and my custumer rep even admitted that the charges were not suppose to happen and that he was going to give me a credit that never happened. He then never returned my calls. Apparently, the person who has authrity to handle complaints is the Office of President. I tried to contact the Office of President who never responded to my emails, faxes, and letters. I have been so stressed from this whole ordeal and there is so much more that goes into this story that I don’t even have enough space. I truely feel this company is violating our rights and needs to have serious reprecussions. The problem is that it is happening to people like us who are trying to run our businesses and make a decent living that we don’t have the money or the resources to fight a giant company like this. So we cut our losses and they continue to misuse their power and get rich off helpless victims like ourselves. I really hope someone fights for justice!!!!

  10. rosemary franco

    We had TSYS merchant solutions for 2 weeks. I should have known from the day the sales rep came at the wrong time for our meeting (meeting @1p.m., she came @9 am) that things were not going to go well. We agreed to try them at our dental office. Money was not being funded for over 5 days.. After many calls to our rep she discovered that she gave our account incorrectly to the set up people..She only dug into this after we pursued her many a phone call. Then the money came in every 3 days as oppossed to the 2 days it was set up to do… Then people could not pay if the Visa was tied to a medical account. After many unreturned phone calls, she said it needs to be programmed for this. When programming a health care provider office one would assume this would automatically be done. We cut to contract after 2 weeks. It was very stressful.
    Now 2 months later, they are still charging me because she did not close our account. She told us we were to do that. The 800 number says she needs to.. get the picture. Very aggravating.

  11. Dawn Wehking

    I spoke with Jackie today on the phone. She was wonderful! What a pleasant person to speak with and she helped me with all of my issues.
    AND she recommended a great game on the iphone. Thanks Jackie!

  12. sam chan

    Using tsys for a year and agreeing with other reviewers regarding non-existant customer service. Dealing with my first chargeback and they are not answering their phones so I can speak with them on this. Used other co’s for last 15 years and never had a company not answer phones in the morning and afternoon. Am considering going elsewhere now where I can actually speak with someone to assist.

  13. Jeremy Porter

    This is the most fraudulent processing company I’ve ever come across. I do PCI compliance security for the financial industry, and they follow their own rules with PCI compliance – just as a way to charge you an additional $35 per month if you don’t comply. If you complain and end up cancelling your contract they try to charge you $299 termination fee. DO NOT SIGN UP WITH THIS COMPANY.

  14. Tim Bloodworth

    We were customers of Termnet then TSYS for 15 years. We had a glitch with our power cord on a terminal and TSYS wanted $90.00 to replace. Between the higher processing fees and pricey products we switched to our local bank. We bought a brand new processing terminal for $295.00 that was much more efficient than the one from TSYS. I returned my outdated rental to TSYS. The charged me $385.00 for a cracked screen that must have happened in shipping. They did not report the damage to the shipper or contact me before debiting my account. I have tried to contact TSYS to work out the problem. So far no luck. Time will tell. Be careful

  15. Lydia

    Customer service is absolutely terrible. I agree 100% with the comments above. They need to train their whole staff on what “customer care” actually means. No matter what, you never hang up on a customer unless they are using profanity which I NEVER did. I have had to make multiple phone calls with no resolution. I could not wait to cancel my account after being with them for 3 years. They also charged me for the PCI annual fee for the year after cancellation even though I no longer have an account and will not be using a credit card machine. You cannot talk to any supervisors or the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT except in writing but that gets you absolutely nowhere either. They are a very deceptive company indeed. I am considering legal action.

  16. Karrie Allen

    I have a small company and I am sure I am just a pebble of sand when it comes to the amount of money that goes through their hands. However, I am still a costumer. Here is my story. I had to put a freeze on my bank account because of fraudulent activity. It just so happen it was the same day they tried to take their fees. I ended up having to close that account and opened a new account. Still not knowing they tried to get their money. The first contact I made after opening the new account was to my rep with TSYS. I provided all the information he needed and he repeatedly assured me that he was on this and he would take care of everything. I have been in contact with them every day for 6 solid working days. even though I have done everything required they seem to take their sweet time in making the needed change. We are starting into week two of my income and it seems because my fee was not accessible the second their atomized program was scheduled to take it they are entitled to my income and the interest they will accumulate while holding MY funds! If you want a company to handle your funds that has NO customer service and takes advantage of everything and anything that might be in their favor . . . TSYS is the merchant server you want.

  17. West

    Our little company was just hit with the same complaint we have seen over and over on the web. TSYS designates a $250 early termination fee within the initial 3 year agreement. We are over a year past our 3 year agreement but are still being charged the early termination. Why? Because TSYS automatically renews for 1 year after the initial 3 year agreement, HOWEVER, if you don’t notify them 30 days prior to the original renewal date, you will still be charged the $250 early termination fee. TSYS is one of the largest processors and (oh boy) on the NYSE, and apparently view themselves as “big business”. Thanks for stepping on the little guys TSYS. When is this industry going to adopt best practices to keep this from happening to so many unsuspecting customers???

  18. Alexis

    TSYS is a HORRIBLE company! I have been using them for almost a year and my advice is Do NOT use them! Their fees are outrageous, have long wait times when you call the 800 number and has bad customer service!

  19. Heather schmidt

    Sandy, I am in the same boat with you in regards to tsys. Try calling your sales rep. Also maybe call the BBB.

  20. Heather schmidt

    Make sure that if you decide to use tsys merchant solutions that they remove the early termination fee from your contract. After buying a business that has used them for over ten years, we have found it impossible to have them either update the account with new ownership information or let us cancel. Our choices were to either pay a large termination fee or sign a new three year contract. Considering the $40 monthly increase on fees that showed up on our statements one day, a new contract is out of the question. Turns out that had we taken an online survey, our fees could have been less. Wish that could have been communicated to us years ago, think of the savings we missed out on!
    The only positive encounter we have had with tsys is our sales rep. He has been able to negate some of the frustration customer service bullying has left us with.

  21. Heather

    How would one find someone to talk to at TSYS merchant solutions that has any authority? Recently there have been two problems that I have tried to get customer service to help with. One manager told me that unless I signes a new 3 year contract he wouldnt help.

  22. Sandy

    I recently switched from TSYS Merchant Solutions after OVER 10 years with them (previous Name). I found that they were charging me $49.00 per month for using an outdated terminal. I called several times trying to find out how I could remedy this situation, but NEVER heard back from anyone. Finally I decided to go with Merchant Warehouse and am processing on line. I terminated my relationship with TSYS and thought nothing about it. Then I received a statement from them with a $250.00 account closure fee. When I called their office about this charge I was told that I cancelled in the middle of a contract term. Since I had been with them for so long, I asked when I was advised that the contract was automatically renewed. I was told “we don’t have to let you know when we automatically renew”. The person on the phone had a TERRIBLE customer service attitude. I asked for a copy of my signature allowing this type of behavior from him and he asked if I wanted it faxed or mailed. When I asked for it emailed, he replied that they could not email and that I should “get ready because the contract is 50 pages, so make sure your fax machine has paper’. He was rude and a real idiot. His professional behavior was not lacking, but completely absent. Is there a class action lawsuit against this company?

  23. Joe

    TSYS Merchant Solutions is a complete joke. Stay clear of them at all costs. They will continually try adding bogus fees to your account each month without telling you, and you’ll have to spend hours on hold just to have them removed.

    In my case, I discovered they were adding on an erroneous $20 fee each month for nearly a year on two merchant accounts. They openly acknowledged their fault, yet they refused to reverse the charges. Totally bad business, unethical, and IMO criminal.

  24. teresa giedgowd

    I have had a very bad time with this deceptive company. They insist I’ve signed and agreed to terms that I have not and they cannot provide these documents. i have used them to process my credit cards for 4 years and they have time and again debited my account for random fees. The last was a $250 early termination fee that i never agreed to. This company is dishonest and actually laughed at me when i wanted to know why they had taken the $250 from my account without my permission. Stay clear of this company there are many other processors out there that would be happy to have your business for much lower rates.

  25. Chad

    Anytime I need anything from TSYS I call my sales rep Patrick Stevens. I’m always satisfied with the results, and service I receive. He is quick to respond and often goes above and beyond what I am asking for.

    Much better than the crappy service I received from fifth third.

  26. Jonathan Stewart

    Customer service at TSYS is non existent! They are not at all concerned with retention and actually go out of their way to be difficult. I used them for 3 years and I just cancelled. Each time I called over the last 3 months I was insulted, treated rudely, or just ignored. Stay away from TSYS for Merchant Processing. Try M&T bank or any other one. Even Paypal is better.

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