United Card Solutions Review
Note: As of December 2021, the United Card Solutions website is down, and the company’s BBB profile says the company is now out of business. We will no longer be updating this profile but will leave it up. If you have information that the company is still in business, please let us know in the comments below.
An Organization With Many Names
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, United Card Solutions is a merchant account provider that serves standard-risk business types across the United States. United Card Solutions appears to share ownership or to be otherwise affiliated with three other credit card processors called Performance Merchant Alliance, National Card Solutions (nationalcardsolutions.com), and Direct Processors (directprocessors.com). All four companies have similar websites and promotional language, and all four appear to be represented by Jeff Easter, an online reputation management specialist.
United Card Solutions Payment Processing
United Card Solutions process most major debit and credit cards for most business types. They offer card terminals, wireless solutions, POS systems, pin pads, and e-commerce options.
The Jeff Easter Connection
It is unclear at this time whether Jeff Easter is the owner of these companies, an employee of these companies, or a PR representative hired by these companies, but he is listed as the primary contact in three separate press releases about United Card Solutions, National Card Solutions, and Direct Processors. The Better Business Bureau also lists him as the principal of Performance Merchant Alliance. We have found some evidence that United Card Solutions was at one point partnered with BlueSquare Resolutions.
United Card Solutions Location
United Card Solutions is a reseller of First Data (now Fiserv) products and services through i3 Verticals, LLC, and therefore utilizes Wells Fargo as its acquiring bank. United Card Solutions appears to have been launched in August 2015 and is located at 650 NE Holladay St, #1600, Portland, Oregon 97232.
Prestige Payment Systems Allegations
Since the initial publication of this review, we have received public comments and private correspondence alleging that United Card Solutions, National Card Solutions, and Direct Processors are all DBAs of Prestige Payment Systems, another Portland-based company with a poor reputation among merchants. We have been unable to independently verify these claims, but they are supported by very specific accusations made by some commenters. Our own independent research has revealed a number of potential links between Performance Merchant Alliance, Prestige Payment Systems, and a company called National Paymentech. Merchants are advised to inquire as to whether United Card Solutions has any previous or current affiliation with Prestige Payment Systems, and specifically what Jeff Easter’s role is in all of the companies that have been identified in this review.
United Card Solutions Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: United Card Solutions offers a three-year agreement through i3 Verticals with a variable early termination fee and a non-cancellable equipment lease.
- Complaints & Service: United Card Solutions has received more than 100 public complaints.
- Sales & Marketing: United Card Solutions does not appear to hire independently contracted agents but has received a very high number of complaints about its sales team.
- BBB Rating: United Card Solutions has no rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 9 complaints and 6 reviews in the past 3 years.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With United Card Solutions
United Card Solutions Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||100+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Sales Tactics|
Over 100 Complaints
We are currently able to locate more than 100 negative United Card Solutions reviews, and many of these complaints accuse the company of being a scam. Commonly cited issues include persistent telemarketing, undisclosed fees, misrepresented rates, non-cancellable lease agreements, and poor customer support. These complaints have been posted frequently and consistently since this review’s publication and often mention very similar details. Some merchants are reporting exorbitant cancellation penalties associated with their equipment lease terms, which makes the company’s complaints severe as well as numerous.
United Card Solutions Lawsuits
We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against United Card Solutions. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
United Card Solutions Customer Service Options
United Card Solutions lists 24/7 customer support phone number on its website, but this number does not appear to do a good job of resolving merchant issues in-house. United Card Solutions therefore receives a “D” rating in this section and does not receive any consideration for our list of the top credit card processors for customer service.
United Card Solutions Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
Online Ratings Summary
|Product & Service Complaints||3|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||4|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||2|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||0|
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.
Pattern of Poor Business Practices
The BBB has prefaced its profile for United Card Solutions with a warning to consumers about a pattern of complaints against the business:
On August 1, 2017, BBB recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers regarding sales, billing, and collection issues. Consumers allege the company’s sales representatives promise significant savings over the consumer’s current credit card processor, lower rates, free equipment and little to no cancellation fees. However, after signing up for the service, the consumers allege the actual rates and monthly charges are higher than promised and the equipment is charged under a separate 48 month non-cancellable lease with First Data. When consumers try to cancel based on misrepresentation of services, instead of being charged $250 or nothing as they are alleged to have been promised by the sales representatives, they are billed for termination of service and told they cannot cancel the lease of the equipment. Consumers allege when they confront the company regarding the sales misrepresentations, they cannot speak with their sales representative and the customer service representatives refer them to the terms of their agreements which states it is not responsible for the misrepresentations made by their company representatives.
On August 9, 2017, BBB notified the company of the complaint pattern. On August 24, 2017, United Card Solutions provided the following response:
“We disagree both that there is a pattern of complaints and with the allegations raised in this alert. We offer savings estimates based upon information provided by the customer and we expressly never make any guarantees of savings or total cost. Each customer is advised that savings and cost may vary based on processing activity and processing volumes different from the information provided by the customer. Each customer is also sent and executes a processing contract that includes an itemized list of each and every rate and fee applicable to the program as well as the applicable early termination fee, so there is never any doubt that all fees and the early termination fee are properly disclosed to the customer.
Additionally, we send each new customer an equipment lease contract that sets forth all terms and conditions of the lease, including the duration, monthly lease payment, and non-cancellable nature of the agreement. The lease also sets forth the customer’s responsibility in the event of a default or early termination of the lease. Each new customer is also advised that any post-sale questions should be directed to the company’s customer service department and is given the applicable contact information.
That said, our company takes all allegations seriously and will be cognizant of the claims raised in this alert to make sure that these types of issues do not occur in the future.
Our company is in contact with thousands of potential customers per day and has only 28 complaints against it. That said, we disagree with any assertion that there is any significant pattern of complaints against our company.”
Our own research and reports from real merchants beneath this review call into question United Card Solutions’ claim that it “takes all allegations seriously.”
9 Complaints and Counting
The Better Business Bureau currently gives United Card Solutions no rating and does not grant it BBB accreditation. United Card Solutions has received 9 complaints in the past 3 years. 3 of these complaints were related to product or service problems, 4 had to do with billing or collection, and 2 were due to advertising or sales issues. Only 1 of these 9 complaints was resolved by the company to the satisfaction of the merchant. The remaining 8 were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no final response.
What Merchants Say
United Card Solutions has received 6 informal reviews from merchants, 1 of which was positive in tone and 5 of which were negative in tone. One of the latest negative reviews describes deceptive contracts:
I can’t tell you how much I dislike this company. Without question they are the most dishonest, scammers I have ever dealt with in business. Avoid them like the plague. You have been warned. You only have yourself to blame if you still work with them after reading this review. It will cost you thousands more, or in my case $20,000 more over the 4 year term (prison term) they scam you into. Don’t believe a word they say, as their entire sales pitch is loaded with misleading lies.
Merchants can learn the best ways to negotiate their fees upfront to avoid these issues
A “D” Performance Overall
In light of the company’s complaint total and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s grade to a “D” for the purposes of this review.
United Card Solutions Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Swiped Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Keyed-in Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Virtual Terminal Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Payment Gateway Fee||Undisclosed|
|Early Termination Fee||$250|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$197|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Month (locked)|
While the company advertises its low rates, no rate structure is readily available online. Merchant reviews express being charged rates that are drastically higher than those which sales teams had quoted, making it difficult to determine the company’s pricing. The standard United Card Solutions contract is a three-year agreement through i3 Verticals, BlueSquare Resolutions, or First Data (Fiserv) with a liquidated damages clause, early termination fee, an undisclosed monthly minimum fee, and a non-cancellable lease agreement through First Data Global Leasing. Merchants also report an annual fee of up to $197 that may or may not be a PCI compliance fee as well as effective rates that are much higher than the 0% debit and 1% credit rates they were originally quoted.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, United Card Solutions also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. However, pricing is not disclosed on either of those services. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
Beware Equipment Leases
As a general rule, we advise merchants not to lease equipment through First Data Global Leasing. Merchants have reported that United Card Solutions sells equipment leases for $139 per month over four years for equipment that can be bought outright for under $500. In addition, the three-year contract with an early termination fee that United Card Solutions offers is more or less standard for the industry. We do not consider the company’s contract terms to be even remotely competitive with the cheapest merchant accounts available.
Many Merchant Complaints
Given the high number of complaints about the company’s pricing and fees that have appeared in a short period of time, we have assigned it a “D” rating in this section. See the United Card Solutions/i3 Verticals Program Guide or the United Card Solutions/BlueSquare Program Guide. We also encourage merchants to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.
United Card Solutions Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Employs Independent Resellers||No|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Heavy on Telemarketing
United Card Solutions appears to utilize telemarketing and an in-house sales team to market its service. There is no evidence that the company employs independently contracted sales agents, but we have found dozens of United Card Solutions complaints that mention aggressive sales calls, misrepresented fees, undisclosed contract terms, and difficulty reaching a sales representative after the account has been set up. Some of these complaints specifically refer to long-term leasing agreements that are not mentioned by sales agents at the time of the sale, while others claim that they were lied to about their monthly costs. The number of these complaints has risen steadily since we first published this review and is very high for a company that is this new to this industry. This compares favorably to our list of best credit card processors.
Don’t Trust the 1% Quote
One specific trend that is visible in many complaints is that the company’s sales agents will quote a rate of 0% for debit cards and a rate of 1% for credit cards in exchange for joining the company’s “program.” This program mainly consists of an expensive, non-cancellable, long-term lease agreement that will ultimately cost far more than the equipment’s purchase price. Moreover, non-qualified credit card transactions will still be charged rates at or in excess of 2.89%. We have seen this sales strategy used by other low-rated companies in the past (most notably Elite Pay Global) and we strongly recommend against signing up for this agreement. If you are concerned that United Card Solutions is charging you undisclosed fees, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit.
Reputation Management Concerns
As a small side note, United Card Solutions appears to be represented or even owned by an online reputation management and lead generation specialist named Jeff Easter. There is no evidence at this time that the company is actively manipulating its public reputation, but the maintenance of multiple business names (such as “National Card Solutions” and “Direct Processors”) is a common industry tactic for spreading negative reviews across several brands. In addition, multiple commenters on other websites have accused the company’s employees of leaving fake positive reviews to boost United’s reputation. It may be that United Card Solutions is not engaging in this strategy, but merchants should be aware that the company seems to have multiple active DBAs.
An Insider Account
According to an email we have received from a former employee, United Card Solutions trains its agents to tell business owners that their equipment lease from First Data (Fiserv) is actually a program fee to cover the cost of processing and that their rates will be 0% for PIN debit transactions and 1% for standard credit card transactions with no interchange on top. These rates are unrealistically low and highly misleading. This informant states that the “program fee” can ultimately cost anywhere from $59 to $399 per month as part of a 48-month, non-cancellable term. This is an increasingly common tactic we have seen among some poorly rated providers, and it will lower the company’s score further if similar reports continue to come in.
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