Vantiv (vantiv.com) is the merchant services and credit card processing division of Fifth Third Bank. The company is one of the largest payment processors in the United States and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under “VNTV.” Vantiv entered the merchant services industry in 1991 under the name of Midwest Payment Systems, then changed its name to Fifth Third Processing Solutions in 2003, and then again changed its name in 2011 to Vantiv.
Since its founding, the company has acquired several other credit card processors and ISOs, including ACI Merchant Services, Card Management Corporation (CMC), TNB Card Services, National Processing Company (NPC), and, most recently, Mercury Payment Systems. Mercury and Element Payment Services have since been combined and rebranded to create Vantiv Integrated Payments. Vantiv is a direct processor sponsored by Fifth Third Bank. The company’s corporate headquarters is located at 8500 Governors Hill Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio 54249, but Vantiv also has offices in Illinois, Indiana, and Texas. Vantiv’s CEO is Charles D. Drucker.
Vantiv Products and Services
- Debit and credit card processing
- E-commerce solutions
- International payments
- Mobile processing
- Gift, loyalty, and prepaid programs
- POS hardware and software
- Most business types of any size, including retail, MOTO, e-commerce, and international
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Vantiv appears to market its services through several different methods, including directly within its own sales channels as well as indirectly through partnerships with sub-ISOs and independent resellers. The company also markets heavily through National Processing Company, its largest subsidiary, and Fifth Third Bank. Although Vantiv does not appear to use any deceptive rate advertising or quoting tactics, its grade is negatively affected by the use of sub-ISOs, independent resellers, and subsidiaries. These marketing channels make it difficult for the company to control the sales tactics used to sell its services, and it also spreads merchant complaints across several different company names instead of concentrating them on one source.
Vantiv Marketing Example
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$250 To $495|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Variable|
|Equipment Lease Terms||Variable|
Vantiv merchant account agreements appear to vary from merchant to merchant based on several factors, including who set up the merchant account, each merchant’s business type, and each merchant’s processing volume. The standard contract is reported to have a three-year service agreement with an early termination fee that ranges from $250 to $495. Additionally, the contract may automatically renew for successive one-year terms if not cancelled within a small window of opportunity.
Based on reviews left by a few merchants, some Vantiv agreements may contain a Liquidated Damages clause; however, we were unable to verify these claims prior to the publishing of this review. Most multi-thousand-dollar termination fees are actually equipment lease termination fees rather than merchant account cancellation fees, and at least one merchant commenter has claimed that they were signed up for a Lease Finance Group lease alongside their Vantiv contract.
The company also appears to charge a PCI Compliance fee which may be assessed either on a monthly or annual basis and may vary in cost from one account to the next. Vantiv earns an average score in this section primarily due to its automatically renewing contract in combination with an early termination fee.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||80+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Hidden Fees|
Vantiv is mentioned in approximately 80 complaints outside of the Better Business Bureau, and a few of the complaints describe the company as a ripoff or scam. The complaints fall into three common types, in which merchants report fund holds, unexpected early termination fees, or poor customer service. You can see actual merchant reviews at the bottom of this article and by visiting our Fifth Third Processing review. It should also be noted that some of Vantiv’s sub-ISOs and subsidiaries have received a substantial amount of complaints. We have not factored these complaints into this rating because it is unclear who is ultimately responsible in these cases.
Although Vantiv’s complaint total is low for a provider of its size, we have noticed an moderate uptick in complaints within the last year. This trend has lowered the company’s score as of this update. Merchants are strongly encouraged to fully read and understand the terms of any merchant account agreement before signing any documents.
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||44|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||48|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||3|
|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.
As of this review, the Better Business Bureau is reporting that Vantiv is not BBB accredited and is awarding the company an “A+” rating. The report shows a total of 95 complaints (up from 67 as of our last update) filed in the last 36 months, with 44 regarding problems with products and services, 48 due to billing and collection, and three related to an advertising or sales issue. Thirty-nine complaints have been resolved to the merchants’ satisfaction, while 54 either were resolved to the merchants’ dissatisfaction or did not receive a final response from the merchant. The BBB determined that Vantiv did not make a good-faith effort to resolve the remaining two complaints. We have adjusted the company’s rating to a “B” for the purposes of this review because is it is our philosophy that “A+” ratings should be reserved for reports with no complaints. Our rating will be adjusted further if Vantiv continues to accumulate complaints at such a rapid rate.
About Phillip Parker
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 CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry. Schedule a Consultation with PhillipSchedule a Consultation with Phillip
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