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Questions & Answers

Merchant Account and Credit Card Processing Q & A

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232 comments

  1. Terry

    I’m looking for an audit of our on-line subscription payment platform from top to bottom. I need to know if I should steer customers to a particular payment option (say Amex or PayPal) and if our foreign payments are being unnecessarily rejected. Since we are a subscription service, I want to be sure our recurring billing is being handled appropriately. We subscribe to Mastercard Visa Updater, but how can I be sure it is being properly used? I understand that Amex has an automatic update service, but our gateway still needs to send a card with an expired date over to Amex.

    I would like to work with someone independent and not pushing their own agenda. Would your company do this? If not, do you know of any truly independent consultants that have the knowledge to do this? Most of our subscribers are in the US but we also have a lot in Europe and Australia.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Terry,

      Unfortunately, this is not a service that we offer and I don’t have any referrals for such a need. The best advice I can offer is to work with more than one highly rated provider for two reasons: 1) To ensure that you have a backup in case your account is terminated unexpectedly, and 2) To route your foreign transactions to a provider that specializes in accepting international payments.

  2. Gladys Brierley

    HI

    I have been having some strange luck lately. After 12 years of never having a charge back on my pay pal account, a woman successfully committed theft of services in spite of my iron clad contract and tons of proof the services were provided according to the terms of the contract.

    Then I signed up for the Square, used it a couple of times with no problem then all of a sudden I get hit with a huge list of additional credential verification even though I operate a fully legal LLC and all this in the middle of an important transaction with a client. They have the clients money and I don’t have any way to deal with it, since I disagreed with their credentialing terms even while complying and they made a decision to deactivate me probably because of this one charge back and also my disagreement.

    I believe they waited to get me on the hook and then they forced me into providing confidential bank statements and wanted me to provide transaction details even though they already had them. I was not going to provide my contract as the details of the services were listed in their and that was very confidential. However I did give them communication with the clients credit card number. I cannot believe this company is still in business after all the reviews that are so negative. I am really feeling hoodwinked and at a loss of what to do at the moment.

    Any advice? I cannot use their nifty pass code to call them it is expired and they have not provided another and I cannot refund the customer myself because I cannot use the site. I probably should make a formal complaint to someone in the federal government who overseas this industry.

    I have already posted on Twitter which I learned was founded by the same person not sure if he is still a major shareholder.

    The fact that they do not want emails or phone calls except under their terms and control tells me that they are not consumer friendly and won’t probably make it to the Forbes best companies list any time soon.

    I don’t know what the client will do and this is a good sum of money for a small business person like me.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Gladys,

      Unfortunately, Square’s agreement with which you agreed when using their services and is legally binding, allows them to further verify your identity if you are running transactions that flag their risk algorithms. It also allows them hold your money until they deem that it is safe to release. Refusing to supply the documentation they requested has likely complicated the matter, so the quickest resolution will be sought by complying with their request. An attorney may be able to accelerate the process, but it may be cost-prohibitive to do so. Best of luck to you!

  3. Tina

    Can a vendor not ship a paid item or offer a refund if their credit card processor has put a hold on their funds?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Tina,
      In most cases these decisions are up to the vendor, not the processor. If the vendor’s funds for the transaction are being held, it may choose to wait for the funds to clear before shipping an item. This is understandable as it is in vendor’s best interest to make sure that the funds will ultimately be released prior to shipping the merchandise. Generally speaking, a vendor can issue a refund on held funds. However, there may be cases where this is not possible because fraud is suspected.

  4. Janice

    Can square be used on multiple phones for the same account? Do all the phones used need the same app downloaded and registered? This is for a school store where different volunteers work on monthly schedules. What would be the best card reader to use for this environment?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Janice,

      Yes, the same Square account can be used on multiple phones. The volunteers will just need to sign-in with the account used for your store. However, this method is not recommended as it can lead to problems with volunteers accidentally charging sales for their own business to your account because they forget to log out of your account. Square also doesn’t separate the login credentials by user, so it can be difficult to track which volunteer charged particular sales. If you have a need for multiple users, it is best to use a service that allows you to issue unique login credentials for each user. Here is a list of providers that may better suit your needs: Best Credit Card Processing Apps For Real Businesses

  5. Paul Cangelosi

    I have been overwhelmed by credit card processing companies. The latest have been Central Payments whom i’ve read about on your site but also North American Card Services, LLC. I am not able to find anything on your site about NACS. Should that worry me? It doesn’t sound like Central Payments is a great option and to be honest he lied to me not saying that I didn’t need a contract if I had all my equipment. Plus their PCI fees are $85 and NACS doesn’t charge at all with no contract. Is it better to have a contract (doesn’t seem like a good option)? What is the advantage of a contract? Especially if it’s a three year one. Also, when I asked the guy from CP about getting out of the contract he said it would be $100 but after reading the contract it was way more than that. I’m assuming I should be worried that he’s lied already. I stupidly had signed the contract but they haven’t set up the equipment yet. He’s from my local Chamber of Commerce and hoping that I will be able to get out of it if need be. But I would like to know more about NACS if that’s possible.
    Thank you for any help you can give me. My mind has been spinning.
    Paul.

    1. Phillip

      Hi Paul,

      North American Card Services appears to be a very young company, possibly founded within the last two years. So far there hasn’t been any evidence surfacing to indicate any serious issues, but it may be too early to tell. If you already signed a contract, you may be stuck if there is a three year agreement. Most companies will not let you out and your agent may have little to no authority to help you get out of it. Most agents are paid on a commission-only basis, so they has no incentive to help you back out of your contract.

      As for your other concerns, there is usually no benefit to you for signing a three year service agreement. Most of the contracts allow the processor to change fees while you are under contract and charge you an early termination fee for cancelling service before the contract expiration. In most cases, the contracts are used as a tool to keep merchants from switching providers. If an agent is lying about, or omitting, important details regarding costs and cancellation, you should cease doing business with him immediately. It’s usually a clear indicator that he does not have your best interests in mind.

  6. Geri

    A month ago an agent for Cardience came into my shop and gave me a great sell on her company, since I was unhappy with the fees from my current company I listened to her. She compared fees and told me how much money I would save & even told me she would cancel my old processor without a fee because they raised my rates. I said ok, sounds great and I would go ahead. Her company didn’t have a cancellation fee, lower rates and an easier swipe. I signed a contract (unread) and then the trouble started. I got my swipe (it didn’t work) I had questions and difficulties and she never came back I never got my contract (I didn’t even know the company I signed up for I thought it was Cardience and it’s not) they are independent agents. Well, I know have 3 companies that have a signed contract from me. American Express, Fortis and Piviotal. I got out of AE, & Fortis but Piviotal doesn’t believe me. I don’t have a copy of my contract, I don’t know who I’m dealing with, I don’t know who now has my personal information, SSI, Name, DOB & Address and a voided check from my bank. I feel voilated and scammed and don’t know where to turn any suggestions?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Geri,

      It sounds like you dealt with an unscrupulous independent agent that lied to you and basically committed fraud. I would suggest to first contact the agent (if you can) and let her know that if she doesn’t take care of the problem that you will report her to the police and take her to small claims court to recover your losses. As an independent agent you can hold her personally responsible for committing fraud by intentionally misleading you into signing up with other third party services. If that doesn’t solve your issue, use the tactics in this article to influence Pivotal to give you what you deserve: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

  7. Scott Freeman

    Phillip
    I processed a CC transaction through EMS & they put a 180 day hold on the transaction. I ended up refunding the customer in full but the customer claims they never got the refund. What are my alternatives to getting information I need. I sent a legal letter to my customer 2 weeks ago, saying that I will file charges against him for non-payment if not settled, only to have him respond he will file counter lawsuit stating he never got the refund. The problem is it shows the transaction being processed & refunded on my statement but no other proof. EMS says they (or me) are not allowed to contact the issuing cards bank. Is that true?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Scott,

      If you issued a refund and it is showing on your merchant statement, then your customer has, or will, get the money back. It sounds like your customer may be trying to pull a fast one on you. I would contact EMS and ask how long it should take for your refund to be returned to the customer’s card. If that time has passed, ask you customer to supply statements that prove he never got his refund. If he truly has not, you should contact EMS and your customer should contact his card’s customer service to inquire about the missing refund. If you believe that your customer is lying about the refund, let him know that you will be contacting the police and reporting him for theft and fraud. If that doesn’t do the trick, file a police report and then take him to small claims court.

  8. Mike Young

    Your Fee Sweep document was full of very good information, which is invaluable for a small start up business who is going to sell product via my website as well as via POS. So Thank you!

    When I received my Texas Sales Tax Permit I started getting a lot of calls in ref to eCommerce. That being said what’s your opinion about TSYS Merchant Solutions? They said they’re “Named to Ethisphere’s 2013 World’s Most Ethical Companies List.”

    I’ve gotten calls from about 6 other companies offering eCommerce, and when I tell them I’m looking at TSYS I don’t hear from them again, despite promises to send me a quote so I can do a comparative analysis.

    Mike

  9. Stash and Stow

    When you manually enter the credit card information and you get to the zip code when the customer is from Calgary in Canada what do you put in that field? I tried to switch back and forth from numbers and letters and it wouldn’t let me, what is the secret?

    Thank you.

  10. Mike

    Hi Phillip. I am a health practitioner with my own business. I do not have a good credit score. I am in need of a credit card processor. It is my understanding that I may be really limited in my choices because of my credit score. I have been in practice for 24 years and this new business has been in existence for 18 months. I am projecting to do $20K plus in business per month. Your input would greatly be appreciated. Thank you.

    Mike

  11. krystle

    I am being asked to switch credit card companies with my business but am leary of switching. The people trying to get our business is TSYS merchant systems. Does anyone have any thing to say about whether i should switch to them or not? Bad reviews? Anything is helpful.

  12. Jerry Hale

    How or who can I go to inorder to resolve an issue with Square Up holding several hunderd dollars. I placed an order with Pacsafe, who at that time was using Square Up to process on line orders. When I checked my credit card statement I saw a charge to someone whom I did not recognize. I contacted the credit card company and them gave me a name and address of of the person who received the money. I could find no such person at the address or a phone number, so I asked for an investigation. By this time the credit card company had paid the person (whom I did not know) and I had paid my monthly credit card bill. In the mean time, Pacsafe contacted me and said there was a problem with my credit card (I cancelled the transaction). I then paid my Pacsafe invoice with a different credit card (now I have paid twice). My credit card company said there was nothing they could do because the payment had already been made and the person in question provided a receipt. I contacted Pacsafe and they said Square Up collected the (several hundred dollars) and was holding it because of my request for an investigation.. Pacsafe’s effort to resolve the issue has fallen on deaf ears at Square Up. I can not find anyway to contact Square Up to try to resolve the issue myself. Time lapse – two months.

    1. Phillip

      Hi Jerry,

      Unfortunately, this is a common problem with Square. Since you have paid a second time with the another card, I would advise Pacsafe to issue a refund on your first transaction. This should not only release the hold that the merchant is experiencing, but also credit your account in the amount of the refund. Do not expect immediate results as Square is notoriously slow with resolving these kind of issues.

  13. Sharon

    I am an antiques dealer renting space in a local store. Recently the owner told me she could not pay me for all my sales last month for another 7 to 10 days after the usual payday. She said the sales paid for by credit card took that long to clear and until then she would not have the funds to pay me. Is this true?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Sharon,

      Generally speaking, funds from credit card sales are deposited into a merchant’s checking account within two business days. However, the owner’s merchant account provider may be establishing some sort of temporary hold on the funds due to the type of business that is being operated. It’s also possible that the owner may need a few days to reconcile the deposits to ensure that s/he has actually received the funds for a particular sale. My take is that the delay seems a little unusual but there is no cause for alarm.

  14. Andrew

    Hi,
    I am looking through your website and my only question is, are you affiliated with any particular credit card processing company or companies?
    I see all these ads on your site, and that’s understandable, but I’m just wondering if you are a real, impartial, neutral judge of these various providers. Do you benefit in any way if I choose a certain provider over another?
    Thanks,
    Andrew

    1. Phillip

      Hi Andrew,

      We have no affiliation with any providers other than we allow well scoring providers to advertise on the site, which helps merchants find ethical processors. Providers must score well in our review before they are allowed to advertise and we will revoke the privilege if they fall below our quality standards. You can learn more about our advertising policy on our About page and Advertise page.

  15. Katie

    Hi,

    I am a new attorney starting my own firm. I was wondering if you have a suggestion about whether I should go with a credit card processor that specializes in attorneys? A suggestion about a processor for a small firm would be greatly appreciated as well. I have been looking into LawPay and did not see them on your list of reviewed processors.

    You have a great website! Thank you for the information!

    Katie

    1. Parker1

      Hi Katie,

      With the exception of e-commerce and the type of equipment a company provides for processing services, “specializing” in a specific industry is mostly a marketing gimmick. For your business, the most important factor will be how you run transactions. I would highly recommend using a virtual terminal system that also includes a card swiper that you can plug into your computer for face-to-face processing. Here are a few to check out:

      • PayJunction
      • Punchey
      • Authorize.net (terminal only, requires separate merchant account. See our processor picks here.
      • If you are looking for a low commitment and quick setup option, you may also want to try a mobile credit card processing app. Our top picks can be found here:

  16. melissa

    I have a First Data 400 that cannot process anything on Saturdays at our farm market. Cell tower usage is maxed out in our tourist town until an upgrade happens this fall. I purchased a AT&T 3G MicroCell after someone suggested it. Now I am being told from tech support at Flagship Merch Svc that there is no phone number associated with my terminal… Is this true? Any insight for me on this one?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Melissa,

      I can’t really speak for the hardware issues or on behalf of Flagship Merchant Services, but there are a couple providers that have mobile technologies to allow for offline processing. For example if you can’t connect to the internet or a cell tower, the system/hardware will store the transaction and process it when you get a connection. The risk you take is that either the transaction doesn’t run properly, or the customer’s card is declined. Both of which you will only know after the customer has your product. Two of the services that come to mind are Mobuyle by Heartland Payment Systems and the FLASH Card Reader by ProPay.

    2. Gary Martin

      There is no phone number tied to a wireless credit card terminal, as the terminal uses a wireless plan within the terminal. It is not using the standard service of the provider, which would be on an even par, priority wise, with cell and cell data usage. It is using a GPRS or CDMA service on those towers, which seems to have a lower priority with the wireless carriers. Any type of cell phone extender, or hot spot type system, will not have any effect on your service.

      I would not recommend store and forward with all the increases in technology recently. A swiper attached to your cell phone would be a much better option, and can be through almost any provider. These phone swiped transactions would have the same priority as web pages on your cell phone, so you would have a much better reliability.

      1. User Phillip Parker Post author

        Hi Gary, thanks for the clarification on the hardware issue. Although “store and forward” technology isn’t ideal, I don’t believe a mobile app and swiper will work for Melissa as she stated that the cell tower in the area is overwhelmed. All of these apps use a cell tower data connection and will fail to process transactions if they can’t transmit the data back and forth. Most store-and-forward technology will also process in real-time if a data or internet connection is available.

  17. Erin

    Thanks for your informative website! I’ve been doing research on credit card processing geared for an iPad. Many services charge a high monthly fee, not including card processing fees. Thats why I was interested in the GoPayment and Square systems.

    GoPayment has a pricing structure that allows you to pay $12.95 per month and 1.75% per transaction. The reviews I’m reading from customers is that they rarely receive that rate. It’s actually closer to 2.7% (and 3.7% for keyed in transactions). Also, there are additional hidden fees that aren’t disclosed and just appear on your statement. So, I’m thinking I’ll pass on GoPayment.

    With Square you can now sign up and pay $275 a month with no transaction fees up to $250,000.00, and after that it would be 2.75% per transaction. It stands to reason that if you are doing $10,000.00 or more a month in transactions that this would be advantageous.

    You pointed out that with Square there have been complaints about fund holding. My business is a cafe so I’m looking at ticket prices from $4 – $40. Do you think this range is susceptible to fund holding? You also said they hold And what constitutes large volume? $20k a month? $50k a month?

    I greatly appreciate any advise!

    Thanks,

    Erin

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Erin,

      I have both a Square account and a GoPayment account. I have never experienced other/hidden fees from either provider, so I’m not sure what fees other reviewers are talking about with GoPayment. Based on what I’ve seen from reviews about Square, merchants seem to have an increased chance of experiencing holds if they process more than $10k per month. The more they process above $10k, the higher the chance of having funds becoming held. I don’t think either option is appropriate for an established cafe, but make for great backup services if your main processing option goes down. For your business type, I would recommend that you use traditional provider as they are better suited for your type of processing needs.

  18. Kevin

    Looking at options for accepting ccs for a one time fund raiser auction for a local school fund raiser – have had issues with local bank options and equipment rental, etc. Liking the idea of mutiple ipads running square, etc. mobile… but just not sure about reliability as it’s untested for me.

    It is a one time event, and typically captures about 25K, probably with majority of that on cc.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Kevin,

      If you suddenly run $25k in one day with any provider, you will likely experience problems with funds being held by the provider. They do this to protect themselves from fraud and your event would likely trigger their alarms. Square will likely work for your event, but be prepared to have some of the funds held for up to 180 days.

  19. Lisa

    Hello,
    I am looking to purchase a motor home for $11,300 and seller wants me to use Amazon Payments. I got their information from craigslist.org and I am in Arizona & they are in Maine. They mentioned that I am protected for $50,000 but I am a little worried about doing this because it feels like a scam or something. How can I verify my rights as a purchaser and understand how I am protected? what if this person is not legitimate, is there a way to confirm their account? How do I insure against losing my money if this is not a legitimate situation?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Lisa,

      There are a lot of scams going on right now that sound exactly like this. I can’t speak for each providers specific policies for buyer protection, but most can do very little if it is indeed a scam. If you feel uneasy about the transaction, the safe choice is to pass on it.

  20. Robin

    Hey Phillip

    Wow, what a nice thing to have for people needing help without knowing who to turn to. Thanks for offering such wonderful information!

    Well, it seems the writing is on the wall as it goes to Online Kratom businesses with US merchant processors. The next step is offshore merchant processing. We have good credit and up to this point, no chargebacks but have been told everybody is eventually going to have to do this. I was hoping you could suggest to me a couple of offshore Merchant Processors I could look into. I look forward to hearing from you and reading more on this stie!

    Rob

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Robin,

      Thanks for the kinds words. Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience with offshore processing and don’t have any companies to recommend. Using an offshore processor is risky because there is usually little to no legal recourse should you have a major problem with the company. Additionally, they still have to abide by Visa’s and MasterCard’s Terms of Service so its likely that they lie about your business type in order to set up your merchant account, which could also cause problems. My educated guess is that they will require a large deposit (aka: Cash Reserve) and have very high processing fees. Be sure carefully research any offshore processor before going into business with one.

  21. Katie

    We’re looking at upgrading to multi-line phones AND starting on-site credit card processing (currently we use Paypal for online credit card payments, and have a single-line phone through our local service).

    I’m trying to figure out if there’s a way to bundle these services–like, getting cell phones instead of hard-wired phones, that would then also be able to use Square or a similar service. Or, getting Skype or Vonage phones that might be able to link in with a credit card processor somehow. Perhaps I’m dreaming here? Right now we pay about $80 a month for our one phone line.

    Thanks for your help.

    Katie

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Katie,

      I can’t speak for the phone side except that I believe most cell providers have family and business plans. I’m not sure about Square, but I’m fairly certain that GoPayment allows merchants to set up multiple users for one merchant account. PayPal also has a mobile option called “PayPal Here” that may allow for multiple users, but you will need to check with them directly to verify this information.

  22. Jo

    We have been using worldpay to collect payments for our course and this runs through MAL’s e-Commerce and up until the 1st of this month have had no problems but now, all of a sudden our transactions are getting to the payment screen and there is a radio button saying electronic transfer which is already checked (can’t uncheck) and people can’t make payment with a card…

    Instead when they continue they get a confirmation page saying the order has gone through but no credit cards details have been inputted and in the screen it gives our bank transfer details..?

    Is there any advice you could give…

    Kind regards
    Jo Sennett

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Jo,

      We primarily cover provider policies and merchant satisfaction, not so much features and systems. I recommend contacting Lyndi Heckaman at [email protected]. She often responds to merchant complaints on our review of the company.

  23. Celia

    In considering the use of square card or similar devise I am wondering about charges when our clients use cards that have rewards. Using conventional merchant card machines we end up paying high
    fees when these cards are used. Especially cards that earn air miles and similar benefits. Are these type of fees somehow deducted even though I am told that my cost is only 2.75% of the swipe.

    There is so limited info available for making an intelligent decision.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Celia,

      I believe that Square charges 2.75% no matter the card type, but similar providers may have different pricing. It is best to check with them directly for pricing questions. Most of them have a free setup and no service length agreements, so you can test most of them with no risk. Just be sure that you aren’t locking yourself into a contract before you sign up with a provider.

  24. Emily

    We recently got a letter from our insurance agent recommending World Pay as our processor. We contacted them and sent a copy of our statement to them. The effective overall rate we are paying with PCS is 2.08%. The World Pay direct representative stated WP would be an estimated effective overall rate of 1.5%. This is offered with a five year contract. Upon reading your reviews, I see PCS rated higher than World Pay. Have you heard of anyone with similar offers and is it too good to be true?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Emily,

      I can’t imagine very many circumstance where a 1.5% effective rate is feasible because it would be lower than the average Interchange rate, which is around 1.7%. If you have a very specific type of processing, swipe all of your transactions, and the types of cards you accept is consistent and predictable, then it might be possible. If you are happy with PCS and you are paying an effective rate of 2.08% (which is very low), I would say that the safe bet would be to stay with them.

  25. andy

    If I have a discount sales rate of 1.96% and it goes down to 37bps from my merchant, does it automatically become interchange plus? please let me know thank you.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Andy,

      Interchange-plus is a fixed markup above the Interchange cost, so lowering a discount rate by a fixed cost would not be considered as Interchange-plus. If you haven’t already, I would suggest that you read my “Fee Sweep” ebook.

  26. Mark

    Quick question. We have had a few customers request refunds in the past month (our average monthly transaction volume is around $250,000 and the refunds were around $8,000). The credit card processor withdrew $30,000 from our bank account without any notification to us.

    As a small business this led to cash flow problems on my end.

    They claim this is allowed in the fine print of the contract. That said, if this an acceptable industry practice? Is there an industry association or regulatory body to discuss this with? Any input would be appreciated.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Mark,

      It appears that your provider established a Cash Reserve to shield itself from losses due to such large refunds as it may be a sign that more about about to happen. Unfortunately, this is a common practice in the credit card processing industry and there is little recourse other than allowing the Reserve to run its course. Generally speaking, providers are not allowed to hold specific funds for more than 180 days but the can establish new Reserve amounts to get around the limitation. Nearly all providers utilize this practice, so it is unlikely that you would find a provider who wouldn’t do the same thing. If it has put you in a financial bind, you may be able to negotiate a lower Reserve amount and they may credit a portion back to you. Best of luck!

  27. Marcus

    We have not been able to perform transactions using our machine for over 24 hours PROBLEM: NO HOST RESPONSE (#47916)- even though we have been using the same machine for 2 or 3 years with never a problem. TSYS says they cannot check because they cannot get into our Verifone V570 because it is blocked by Global East and they gave the phone #800-367-2638. We have never heard of Global East and get no response from them when called. Our contract is with TSYS…who will not contact us even though we’ve logged in to the merchant site and requested several posts for help. Do you have any information that we can use to resolve this issue? We are a retail business and are desperate for any help we can get.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Marcus,

      I have never encountered a situation such as this. You may want to file a complaint with the BBB against both companies, which could spur them into action. Good luck!

    2. Gary Martin

      Hi Marcus,

      No Host Response is usually a communication error, ie problem with a phone line. Have you had any changes to your phone service lately? Or are you using a VOIP type of phone service? Some bundled programs with cable/phone/internet use a modem to convert analog to digital. I’ve seen where the merchant made no changes, but the phone provider made some small change on their end that all of a sudden caused problems such as the one you describe. I’d contact your phone company and see if they’ve made any changes, and tell them you are having problems with a fax machine at your location. i say fax machine, as they will understand that, and is similar to credit card machines for communications. If you say credit card machine they will probably refer you back to TSYS, and in a circle you go!

  28. Betty Eaton-Rhea

    I wish to cancel the paypal account and never use it again. Charges to my account are not legal as I paid the full amount within two weeks of purchase from Ebay. Where do I stand on this? and how do I cancel? I am very upset to have this monster with my information in it’s grasp. Please help!

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Susan,

      I haven’t looked into Electronic Payment Exchange yet but I added them to my future review list. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

  29. Susann

    Hello, I just recently received by mail and email from WorldPay that they were charging me a 14.99 fee beginning July and if I am not compliant by Oct they will charge me 25.00 fee until I am.
    Ironically, yesterday the day I was going to call my rep, he was in my waiting room. He wanted to tell me how he could save me monies if I would sign up my co worker and thus reduce this PCI fee to 4.99 a month. Now call me crazy BUT really!!! I was ignorant and signed up on a thirty six month…now into my second year and am considering the 495.00 early term fee.
    I am a small business..my fees are approx a hundred a month…is it worth it to stay two years and they could do this again?? Is this a way for me to get out of or business owner beware? Please advise and thank you SO for your time.
    Susann Cochren

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Susann,

      You may want to check out this article: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee. If just your monthly fees are $100 (not including your processing fees), that is extremely high. You you be better off paying a cancellation fee than continuing your account with them. However, if the $100 includes your processing fees, you would have to do the math to figure out if it’s worth switching providers and paying a cancellation fee. If you haven’t already, I would also recommend reading my ebook “Fee Sweep” to learn about how fees are assessed.

  30. Jessica

    Thank you so much for this website! It is so informative. My hotels have credit card processing fees that average 2.24% of sales (two food and beverage accounts bring the percentage up slightly due to very low per-ticket items). We are on the program of straight Visa/MC pass-through rates with $.14 per transaction fee as being the only charge by our processor. I think that seems pretty good after reading your Fee Sweep book. Let me know if I am wrong.

    Anyway, I have been approached by the Interchange Brokers company stating that they can save me 8-15% of the processing fees without changing processors. They would offer a 6 month performance guarantee with ability to walk away if cannot provide savings. Their charge would be 50% of savings. http://www.interchangebrokers.com is the website. Is this something that would be beneficial to look into for my hotels? They are saying that they can save me a lot of money. I am suspicious.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Jessica,

      At a 2.24% average rate across all your sales, you already have very good pricing. If this company were able to save you anything, it would probably be about a tenth of a percent, or a lower transaction fee (the $.14 you mentioned). Not only that, but you could probably accomplish the same thing by calling your provider and asking for a lower rate or transaction fee.

      As for the company you mentioned, I have never heard of it so I cannot provide any insight on its validity. At your current pricing it may not be worth the hassle/risk.

  31. carrie

    I have a two year contract with ‘Leaders Merchant Services‘ for credit card processing but I feel they are engaged in unethical business practices such as charging me hidden fees that I was not told about, increasing rates, charging me up to 10% for per transaction and exorbitant PCI compliance fees. Am I obligated to honor my contract? I don’t feel they are honoring the agreement they made to me upon sign up.

    thanks for any insight you can contribute

  32. David Blues

    We have a contract with the Commerce Payment Group to process credit card transactions.
    On Saturday 23rd. June we processed 5 transactions for $37.98 each. We also processed in that batch 1 transaction for an erroneous amount of $3,798.00, the decimal point having been onitted.

    We noticed the error on Monday 25th. June and at that time the system would not let us void the transaction so we issued a credit for the $3,798.00.

    I talked to a risk analyst at the company who said he noticed the transaction and stopped it and guessed it was just an error. However they said they processed it and we were charged a discount on the transaction of $159.97. They then tried to withdraw an amount of $3,494 from our bank account which was refused because of lack of funds.

    Overall because of this error we believe we are out of pocket a total of c.$500. I do not believe they actually processed this transaction. Is there a contact at Discover where I can verify this?
    Thank you.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi David,

      Generally speaking, transactions are not actually processed until you run your nightly batch. Before the batch, the transaction is held in a state of authorization. Since it appears that you did, indeed, run a batch with that amount, your provider would have been charged for the Interchange fees and Assessment fees which are then passed to you at a markup. Often times, these fees are also charged on refunds. Since it was an error on your part, you may be able to get any excess fees waived the the processing fee reduced to the actual cost if you negotiate a little with your provider. My advice is to be courteous and admit the mistake as your own because they will be more likely to work with you.

  33. Michael

    I’m currently a rep for a credit card processing company.

    I’m interesting in contacting companies such as Square and Level Up to act as an agent for them.

    Is there a way to contact them in this regard?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      I don’t think that Square takes on outside reps, but LevelUp might. Your best bet is to visit their websites to find a contact form, or email address, and inquire directly.

  34. Mary Kay Lance

    I sell at art fairs and need a way to process a credit card purchase. I don’t have or want an iphone but am looking at purchasing an ipad. If I am not in a WiFi hotspot is there any app or plug-in thing I can use on an ipad, and without a monthly fee, to process a credit card transaction?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      I believe that ProPay as a device called the “ProPay Flash Card Reader” that will let you accept that credit cards offline and then upload the transactions the next time you have an Internet connection. The only drawback to this method is that you will not know if the card will be approved until you connect to the internet. You is a link to our review and ProPay’s website.

  35. Todd

    Are the apps associated with mobile swipe devices (i.e. square, pay anywhere, etc) specific to that device? While there is a lot of overlap in functionality, there are some differences between apps that might make one better than another for certain users. It would be nice to choose the app most easily customizable for my needs and just enter in the information to allow it to access my account.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Todd,

      Square, Pay Anywhere and GoPayment are compatible is most iPhone and Android devices. Each of them offer a free app and card reader, so you could test them out with virtually no risk.

  36. Mike

    Do I have to use Wells Fargo Bank account in order to use First Data? Also if I cancelled my Wells Fargo Account will it cancel my agreement with First Data and forcing me to pay out my lease upfront?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Mike,

      I can’t speak for Wells Fargo’s and First Data’s policies regarding these matters. However, I can say that many merchant account providers act as resellers for First Data and that you do not necessarily need to go with Wells Fargo to obtain a First Data merchant account. Wells Fargo may have different policies regarding how they handle their merchant account setups, so be sure to check with them before moving forward.

  37. Christine Enders

    Please please tell me how I can get away from NPC/Retriever/Capital Leasing ?They lied to me had me sign papers without the correct information filled out now they are randomly taking funds out of my account for bogus charges,they won’t return calls,they failed to terminate my contract with my former processor so now I am being charged by both companies. I just purchased my business at the end of March and switched to them at the end of May. They have already made my life a living hell and after reading about others’ complaints about them I am scared to death that I will lose my business I cannot afford all their extra fees-they promised me all these lower rates than what I was paying and now they are robbing my account of even higher fees. What can I do? Who can I go to for help? I really don’t want to lose my business-isn’t there someone out there to help small businesses against these unfair practices?Why can’t they be stopped???

  38. Helen

    Hello Mr. Parker;
    I signed up with Wells Fargo merchant processing in November 2011. When I had a spike in business in last March, ipayment held funds that went over my limit for “risk assessment.” They have been holding $28,000 of legitimate charges from March 23-30th. After over two months and many promises all they give me is a another date in the future when they “may” release the funds. I am prepared to take legal action, but I do not know where to turn. Do you have any recommendations, please?
    Thank you in advance from a 39-year family manufacturing company in Chicago.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Helen,

      The unfortunate truth of your situation is that iPayment is within its rights to hold your deposits for a certain length of time for the purposes of protecting themselves from against fraud or chargebacks. In most states the maximum length of a hold cannot exceed 180 days. Your best course of action is to probably wait it out and then find a new processor when your funds are released. However, you may be able to get your money sooner by informing the company that you will be filing a report with the Better Business Bureau and your state’s Attorney General if they do not release your deposit within a specified time frame. If they do not cooperate, filing the reports may force their hand. You may also find this article helpful: How to Report Bad Credit Card Processors

      Good luck!

  39. Mari

    I am thinking about getting out of an agreement with Cresent Processing Company and going with another company. But ever ytime I request a Copy of a signed Agreement I get a blank copy. What can I do to get a copy??? Help.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Don,

      I assume you are referring to the PCI Compliance fee that most providers charge. Despite what they may tell you, this fee is not mandated by the government and is charged by the company itself. It is completely up to the provider if they want to charge the fee, so you will need to negotiate it directly with them. If you have moderate to high processing volume, you may be able to get it waived simply based on the high amount of fees they already collect from your account.

      Good luck! Please keep us updated on the result of your negotiation.

  40. Charlie

    I received rate analyze from APS (American Payment Solutions) which is a merchant & credit card processing business based in Mesa, AZ. I’ve been checking online for reviews of this business, but unable to find anything. APS rate seem very good for example Visa/MC and Online Debit discount rate is 0 .10% and Trans fee is $0.10. I am currently using Heartland Payment systems and my rate for Visa/MC discount is 0.50% and Trans fee is $0.0 and Online Debit discount is 0.00% and Trans fee is $0.25. Also APS promise me no annual fee, and PCI. Please let me know if you hear anything from American payment solutions.

    Thanks

    CN

  41. Mena Matevska

    Hi,

    PLEASE HELP!! I just got done talking to my merchant service provider Vantiv, I ask them if they are in compliance with the Durbin Law. They said they are but they are not familiar with it. I have not seen any changes in my monthly charges and they have no explanation. I was told that the Durbin law only applies to debit cards processes when pin is entered. Is that correct? I have not seen anywhere where the Durbin law explains pin to be entered. Also, I don’t understand how they are in compliance but not familiar with the law. And when I asked to talk to someone that is familiar, I was told that there is no one available to answer my question. First I guess I need to find out if that is pin entered cards only and if not where do I go from here. Your help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. Mena

  42. Bonnie

    I Received a phone call from a company, NETWORK MEDIA SOLUTIONS, which is a merchant & credit card processing business based in Tempe, AZ. I’ve been checking online for reviews of this business, but unable to find anything.

    Also, could you check on another company, SUBLIME MERCHANTS, a merchant & credit card processing business, based in Mesa, AZ?

    Any information is appreciated. Thank you.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Bonnie,

      Both of these companies appear to have been started within the last two years, which is very young for the merchant services industry. The BBB has no rating for either company and I was unable to locate any complaints. Personally, I like to see a longer track record before giving a company a rating. I strongly encourage you to thoroughly read and understand any paperwork before signing with either of them. You may want to also check out our recommended providers: Top Rated Providers

  43. Andres Behrens

    I have received a solicitation call from MerchantOne/Merchant Warehouse, in Miami.

    Phil Parker gave them an A in October of 2010 and then gave them a D in April of 2011.

    Could you please elaborate on why such a dramatic change of opinion?

  44. Eva

    Hi Mr. Parker,

    I got a call from JST Merchant Services (jstmerchantservices.com). Have you heard anything about them? They are very aggressive and pushy. I have not been able to find anything on them on any sites.

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Eva

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Eva,

      It looks like the have an “F” rating with the BBB, so I would be very cautious. Any merchant services company that is “pushy,” or trying to get you to sign up as quickly as possible, should be investigated thoroughly.

  45. LaShawn

    My boss has asked me to find a credit card processing company, in which I know nothing of. I have spoke with a few companies, received a few quotes, and researched tons more. I am very reluctant to sign up for fear of being misinformed or uneducated in this field, and in the long run costing my boss and his company money that could be profited, rather than lost. Is there any web sites, books or advocacy agencies that could give me the basic’s, so that I may make a decision in the best interest of our company, rather than simply being rushed to offer the convienience of accepting credit cards ??

  46. Nancie Glazer

    I have completed a three year contract with a credit card processing company. It was a mistake on my part to ever sign up as I am a very small vendor with a small seasonal business. I stuck out the three years as I
    chalked it up to my mistake.. even though the fees have continually gone and was told the pci fee would only be
    charged once. I circle the date on my calender to be sure I could close the account timely and not miss the
    opportunity to fix the error.. I was notified that this would take 30 days, great, Happy Happy- Joy Joy- no more
    monthly fees – sigh of relief. Next email, they would now be taking yet another pci fee as it is due. Is this a normal expense at the termination of the contract? I have paid the fee for 3 full years – I paid in Dec 09-
    Dec 10 and Dec 11. That is three years. The contract began June 1-09. Please advise.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Nancie, many processors charge a PCI compliance fee even months after an account has been closed saying that it is for the previous year of service; however, if you can show that they charged it to you within a few months of starting service, then it disproves their argument. My suggestion would be to inform them that you will report them to the BBB and your state’s Attorney General if they do not refund the fee. If they refuse to cooperate, start filing complaints.

  47. Lowen

    Hi Philip,

    I’m so glad I came across your very helpful site in my quest for better merchant services. I’m with TSYS, by default as I started with First National Merchant Services. I’m unhappy with them, they seem to be taking a bigger chunk every year. The account fee started at $7.50/mo but it got up to over $40, plus the card percentages, batch fees and misc. They tacked on a sneaky insurance charge automatically. It was several months before I found out I had to opt-out.

    However, I was additionally charged a redundant service maintenance fee for 2 1/2 years, the old one ($7.50/mo) remaining on my monthly statement even as the new one ($15/mo) was added. Two separate customer service reps confirmed it, and I was refunded 3 months worth, plus the current month. Now I’ve written a letter as advised by CS to see if the company will refund beyond 3 months (29 more months, by my calculation, at $7.50/mo.) I don’t know if they are obligated to, although I’m pretty sure I talked to a service rep back in 2009 and was assured the charges were standard, so I didn’t pursue it again until now.

    Is there anything else I can do to ensure they refund my money? It seems pretty unfair if they choose not to.

    Thanks!
    Lowen

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Lowen,

      The best advice I can give would be to report them to the Better Business Bureau and be specific that the only resolution you will be satisfied with is a full refund. These companies care greatly about their BBB rating and will be more likely to work with you when you have some leverage. Best of luck to you!

      1. Lowen

        Hi Philip,

        This is a follow up regarding TSYS Merchant Services (formerly FNMS).

        I did end up canceling my account after they refused to pay back the erroneously double-charged fees to the tune of $217. I wrote twice to the Office of the President stating my case, to no avail. (Besides the CS personnel validating that it was their fault, I also just found emails dating back to 2009 regarding statement and maintenance fees proving that I tried to rectify it back then). In any case, I was very courteous, and I also did take the precaution of closing the associated bank account first (even though I hadn’t yet read your excellent “Canceling an Account” articles).

        Under my contract (automatically renewed every 2 years, for 2 years) I am aware they could charge me a $250 early termination fee, although they haven’t yet. I sent them a firm, polite letter stating that I had closed my bank account, and they were to bill me any outstanding charges. I did get a somewhat nasty letter 3 weeks later that if I did not pay $49.xx they would send me to collections – this, the first letter sent! I immediately sent that money, having expected those charges for the last active month of service.

        Since then I have been holding my breath about the early termination fee ($250). So far, no charges. I have held off on reporting my complaints to the BBB in case they retaliate by charging me, and after reading your two articles on account cancellations, I will hold off longer. It sounds like they can retroactively try to collect months later. I am hoping that at least the $217 they owe me offsets the $250 cancellation fee. My frustration is that in dealing with CS, it has turned into a mobius strip of underlings telling me to write an appeal to the “office of the president” where it will be reviewed. Each time (twice) they simply say my request is denied. I still hold them accountable for double charging me.

        I can’t wait to report them! How long would you say I should wait to report until I’m in the clear from financial repercussions?

        sincerely,
        Lowen

        p.s. sorry for the long-winded email! it feels good to state my case to sympathetic ears. : )

        1. User Phillip Parker Post author

          Hi Lowen,

          It sounds like you have gone about the whole situation in the correct way. In my opinion, you could handle the report in two different ways.

          First, if they do not demand a cancellation fee from you within the next 30 days, you could consider it a wash since you were double charged earlier. They could have double charged you and demanded a cancellation fee. I have a hunch that this is the reason they are not asking for it. If you pursue a refund of the additional charges they may turn around and demand the cancellation fee. Either way you are going to be out around $200.

          If you feel that it is worth attempting a refund of the charges, I wouldn’t wait more than 30 days to let them know that you will be reporting them to the BBB along with the documentation that you have. If they are still uncooperative within a week or so, go ahead and file the report.

          Good luck to you, and thanks for the update!

          -Phillip

  48. Stephanie

    Hello MR Parker,

    I wanted to say Thank you for the E book it has alot of great information. I was wondering if I could fax my statement to you and if you could clarify some things for me. I am still a little confused and my provider right know cant explain it to me good enough. I am in the process of looking for another provider and am waiting on some quotes, I am not in any contract (thank goodness) I was smart enough to have them waive that part when we started this business a year ago.

  49. Marion

    Hi Phillip,
    You have already helped me a great deal and I appreciate it. We are in the final stages on what merch svc co.(MSC) to go with but have a few final questions. My company will be going international within the first year. So far all the MSCs I’ve spoken with say they handle international currencies and have explained the way it works is- so long as our products are sold with US dollars the buyer uses their international cc and the transaction is handled the same as any other transaction (thanks to you we’ve secured an IR Plus program). But it seems like there would be considerable costs in the exchange and conversion rates not to mention the volitility of some international currencies. Who pays for those costs? If it is the buyer with the internat’l cc then do you what kind of premium they’re paying to purchase US dollar goods? What if we wanted to charge an international currency for some of our (country specific) items- do you know if these MSCs can handle it because I can’t seem to get a clear answer from them? We are considering Flagship, Paypal and GoEmerchant.
    Thanks Phillip!!
    Marion

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Marion,

      Under Interchange-Plus pricing the Visa and MasterCard base rates for International transactions are as follows:

      MasterCard

      • International Dynamic Currency Conversion Cross Border Fee: 0.80%
      • International Cross Border Fee: 0.40%

      VISA

      • International Service Assessment: 0.40%
      • International Acquiring Fee: 0.45%
      • International Acquiring Fee High Risk: 0.90%

      These fees are added on top of any other fees already being assessed, and which exact fees you pay will be determined by the card type and transaction type. If you are unable to get clear answers from the providers with whom you are speaking as to whether or not they will be able to serve your international needs, I recommend finding different providers. A couple of companies that may serve you well are Global Payments and 2Checkout. If you email me with my contact form, I can put you in touch with someone I know over at Global Payments. You can signup with 2Checkout through its website.

      1. Marion

        Hi,
        Thanks for your reply and info. I checked with one of the companies we’re considering and they said the fees you quoted are already built into the Interchange Rate and the only rate or fee we will be assessed on top of that is their “plus” rate of .30%, nothing else.
        I will look into Global Payments but we are pretty far down the road with our process.
        Thank you again for your info and insight, much appreciated.
        Marion

        1. User Phillip Parker Post author

          Hi Marion,

          The fees I quoted are not part of the Interchange Rate. They are a separate cost altogether and part of VISA and MC’s Dues & Assessment fees. Whomever told you that they are built into the Interchange Rate is incorrect. For example, the total fee structure for an international transaction would look something like this:

          (Sale Amount)*(Interchange Fee)
          +(Sale Amount)*(VISA/MC Dues & Assessments fee)
          +(Sale Amount)*(International Fee)
          +(Sale Amount)*(Provider Markup)
          ——————————–
          Total Transaction Fee

  50. John

    I was looking through your reviews, but could not find one on a Merchant Services, Inc. or MSI? They called me recently to aquire my business.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi John,

      I haven’t gotten around to reviewing MSI yet. I don’t know anything about them at the moment but I would be wary of any merchant services company that calls out of the blue. It’s best to start by researching companies first and then contacting them directly.

  51. TM

    I’m seeing more people using mobile cc processing on their smartphones, some of which dont have a “signature” capability. I’m sure many people don’t mind just having a receipt emailed to them, but if that’s all that was done and no receipt printed or signed, aren’t these merchants vulnerable to fraud and disputes? Is there anything in PCI or other regulation that requires a signature?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      As far as I’m aware, there are not any regulations that require a merchant to get a signature from a customer. However, it is strongly encouraged because it helps to prove that the transaction was authorized by the customer. Just think of all the e-commerce and catalog orders that are placed without a signature.

      I haven’t seen any data that indicates merchants are experiencing higher fraud or dispute rates with mobile processing applications. Mobile merchants actually have an advantage over many other merchant types because they are running face-to-face transactions. This gives them the opportunity to ask for I.D. before accepting a card payment, which is probably one of the best fraud prevention measures. Additionally, most of the best apps have great dispute prevention features such as allowing merchants to attach photos to the transaction (such as taking a picture of the customer or I.D.), geo-tagging, signature capture and texting and/or emailing receipts. If a merchant does his/her due diligence when accepting mobile card payments, the chance of experiencing fraud or disputes is greatly diminished.

  52. Gabriel Uriarte

    I need a payment Gateway to work in Spain. Could you please inform me which of the providers you have analyzed do it? I’ve seen that 2Checkout works with Spanish banks but I would like to have at least another two or three more to compare and take the decision.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Bruce,

      It is not uncommon for Square to hold large transactions for a few days, especially if they were your first transactions. You might want to try calling them. You can find their phone number in my Square review. Clear up the confusion with them before you issue any refunds or do anything drastic. Otherwise, you will just add to the problem.

  53. Brown Mobile Welding Bruce Brown

    I recently accepted 2 different credit card payments for 2 different invoices to one customer. Square sent an email accepting then sent me a questionair that I answered to the best of my understanding twice. It was the same questions I answered when I applied for this service. Now I have emailed their cust. srv. a few times to see why I haven’t received my funds and the only response I’m getting now is “We are comitted to answering you within 24hr now it has been 5 days and I haven’t received anything, can you help?????????????????

  54. Rhonda

    HELP !!! I am desperate..here is the issue, I have a CruzT408 (tablet) I signed up for a “Square” account and reader, received both…here is the issue, I cannot get a straight answer from Cruz or Square..I need to know if the “Cruz” is compatible with Square ? I know my info tells me the Cruz has Android 2.3, but I cannot download “Square” can this be done or not..HELP…lol

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Rhonda,

      Unfortunately, only Square should be able to answer this question since they are the developer of the app. Good luck to you!

  55. John

    Philip, you seem to really know what you’re talking about. In mid to late 2010, I had a bad experience with Merchant Lynx Services. I did not look them up, shame on me, but their sales tactics are so deceptive, promises made and never delivered, addendums to contracts removed, hidden fees, account closure fees amounting to about $2000.00, etc. I am initiating legal action, and bringing criminal charges towards them. To get to my point, you reviewed them and listed their BBB rating. Their BBB rating as of November 2010 was a C-. Then, I checked back in December 2010, amidst my bad interactions with them, and their status was raised to a B-. I was wondering when you reviewed them, the date is not listed on the Merchant Lynx review page. Any assistance would help me greatly. Thank you.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi John, the last update of the review was 6/25/2010. I try to update each review once or twice a year, so it looks like I’ll be getting around to them again soon. Good luck to you.

      1. John

        Sorry, I meant 2011, not 2010. Not used to the new year yet. Thanks for the information, Phillip. You are doing a great service to the public and small business owners with your website. It is greatly appreciated.

  56. Nancie

    i had a different merchant processing company before who charged me
    150.00 /year as a regulatory compliance fee. As a very small vendor doing
    antique shows this certainly cut into my profits from using their services. I was
    told this was a mandatory charge to any credit merchant company. It appears that
    square does not have these charges associated with it. Is that possible?

    I will be out of my 3 year contract with them shortly and it is worth
    switching my cell phone to something else in order to accept the square reader.
    if the fees are correct.

    Thanks.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Nancy,

      Correct, Square does not charge a PCI compliance fee like most processors. You may also want to check out GoPayment which is a similar service and has been getting better ratings. Additionally, GoPayment has a dedicated telephone support line whereas Square relies primarily on email support.

  57. Jerome

    Phillip,

    Do you have any comments on First Financial Merchant Services. They currently have an A+ rating with BBB in MN.

    With all of the deception in the industry, I’m trying to find a company that will allow me to make a good income as a sales agent, have a clean conscience by doing what is ethically right for the merchant.

    Can you help me out?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Jerome,

      I’m unfamiliar with this provider but I did some quick research and it looks like it is a small “run of the mill” ISO. Not including the BBB, the only complaints I found were from from former agents. I’ll email you a couple suggestions outside of this thread.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Leslie,

      I don’t know of any recycle programs for terminals. It it is still functional, you could sell it on eBay pretty easily.

  58. Nicole

    We got a quote from Securus Payments that offers us 0% on debit cards and 28 cents per transaction. I’ve never had any company offer 0% and it seems to good to be true. What do you think?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Nicole,

      A recently passed bill in Congress set a cap of 21cents plus 5 basis points (%0.05) on what banks can charge for PIN-debit transactions. Since Securus is a third-party sales organization, it can mark fees above the cap for a profit. With this in mind, it is possible that 28 cents is a realistic number BUT you will want to clarify with your agent if it only applies to PIN-debit transactions (which it probably does). I recommend also asking how much a “signature debit” transaction will cost as it will likely be a percentage fee plus a flat transaction fee.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Dixon,

      Any merchant account will enable you to accept business and corporate cards. Just be sure to research all providers that you are considering before you sign up. You can find our suggestions on the Top Rated Processors page.

  59. Geir Galen

    One more thing. Since I`m just starting out I don`t make much money, but I`m willing to take the potential loss of providing credit card and not just PayPal Standard, to increase the chance of getting orders. I mean… a few customers who pay with credit card (that otherwise wouldn`t have bought if I only had PP) will easily cover all expenses.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Square works with any US-issued and most non-US issued credit, debit, pre-paid or gift cards with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover logo. I don’t believe EBT cash cards are issued by any of these card brands, so I don’t believe that you can accept them through Square. To be sure, you might want to email Square by going here.

  60. Elizabeth

    Just recieved a notice by Elavon that in November 2011 we will be charged
    a $59 fee because Elavon has to now do 1099’s to government, So they
    are having all account holders pay $59. This seems like a hefty charge..
    times how many account holders.. How can I join with others to have this
    fee investigated.. This is way more costly than the Debit Card charge of $5.00
    that the Banks were going to charge. Any suggestions on how I can complain
    or join a group of those who want to fight these fees.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Unfortunately, there may not be much that can be done about this fee. You may want to refer Elavon to this document which states in the very last question that providers are not allowed to collect fees for obtaining 1099s. Some believe that it is not a formal rule, so there may be no recourse against processors that charge for it. Due to little regulation of this industry, Elavon is free to charge any fees that they want. The best way to fight it is to take your business elsewhere.

  61. Bob Bowers

    Hello, I live in Eastern Canada and am talking to several merchant services providers about employment opportunities. I am not sure if this is the proper forum but I would appreciate any feedback on good companies to work for. I am speaking with Federated Payments, MOCA and I have yet to hear from Moneris.

    I am interested especially in the ethics of the entire industry and those companies in particular. Thanks

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Bob,

      I haven’t done a review of Federated, but I have for Moneris and MOCA. If you haven’t already, be sure to check them out. My suggestion is to make sure to work with a company that has a good reputation. Don’t get tempted by the high commissions the poorly rated companies offer. You will only be shooting yourself in the foot later. If you care about your own reputation, work with a company that has a good one.

  62. S. Chao

    Hi Phillip,

    I own a ecommerce store. We recently found a security vulnerability with our ecommerce software which is built upon ‘Product Cart”. As soon we found out about the breach we fix the problem and notify the credit card processor (Global Payments) which we been processing for 9+ years with a good track record. Without notice they froze my account and is holding a large sum of money in “reserve”. We have made numerous of calls and emails to Global trying to get someone to help us. Global has kept us in the dark and we are not sure what to do at this point. They have held my money for 40+ days. Is there anything I can do at this point?

    My business is in jeopardy and some of my employees may lose there jobs.

    PLEASE HELP

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hello S. Chao,

      This is a tricky situation. Global is likely holding your money to protect themselves in the event that fraud might have taken place during your security problem. Not only that, but your merchant account agreement with Global probably states that you agreed to let them establish reserves when you signed up. Although they may be unwilling to release all of your funds right away, you might be able to negotiate an immediate partial release. I would recommend calling Global and asking if they will release a portion of the funds so that you can continue operations without disruption. Escalate your issue to someone in a management position if the agent cannot help you.

      If Global will not work with you on this, try filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau stating that you want at least part of your funds released as a resolution. Most providers care greatly about their BBB rating and will be more likely to bring the issue to your satisfaction if you get the BBB involved.

      Best of luck to you!

  63. Bessie

    Hi Phillip,
    Are you familiar with USA National Bankcard? They have quoted me a discount rate of 0.50% + .10 transaction fee for all cards. This fee also includes debit transactions. No annual fee, $5.00 monthly online reporting statement fee, $25 minimum monthly, Authorization settlement access fee Visa .03, Mastercard .02, and Discover .01 One year contract.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Bessie,

      There are a few companies with a similar name to the one you mentioned, so I would need the website to know which company we are talking about. Also, it is impossible for me to say whether you are getting a good quote without seeing the merchant account contract and understanding your business. My suggestion would be to read Fee Sweep to understand how rates are calculated, and that should help you understand if you are getting a good quote. Sorry that I can’t give you a more complete answer to this question, but I don’t want to mislead you.

  64. Shaun Salari

    Hey Phillip,
    Have you or do you plan to review Century Payments? They have a partnership with a company called TransEngen that has a really similar product to Trinity by PayJunction. I would like to know if Century is a easy and well established (reputation-wise) as PayJunction.

    Thank you for your time. Have a great day!

    Warm regards,
    Shaun

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Shaun,

      I should be reviewing Century Payments in the near future. All that I can really say right now is that they look to be performing well so far. They appear to be mid-size operation and have relatively few complaints filed, which is a good sign. The only thing that catches my attention is that they started business in 2009, so it may still be a little early to pass a final judgement. I’ll a little deeper soon so subscribe to my RSS or email notifications to get notified when the review is up. Thanks!

  65. Michelle Samuel

    Hi,
    I want to complain about a credit card procession company, RBS Worldpay. Is there any federal or state agency that regulates those?
    By the way, I found your book and your website really helpful.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for the kind words. There is no agency dedicated to regulating credit card processors, but I have heard of merchants complaining to their state’s attorney general and getting results. Sometimes just the threat of doing so seems to do the trick. It’s also a good idea to file a report with the Better Business Bureau if the processor is being unreasonable about something. I’ll make sure to add RBS WorldPay to my list of processors to be reviewed. Best of luck to you!

  66. Robert

    Phillip,

    During my credit card processor search I came across a question that I was looking to get some unbiased response and knew just where to go. Here goes…

    I was talking with payjunction looking at an emerchant account. This would be our own checkout screen in my website that just gets the CC processed through them. They threw out a few numbers that somewhat caught me by surprise. Now I had done some research before hand and I thought that they did not have a annual fee. The sales guy said that there was a $60 annual fee on top of our monthly fee. Is it typical to have these companies charge an annual fee? Why would we be charged an annual fee on top of a monthly fee?

    Thank you!

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Robert,

      Nearly all processors nowadays charge and annual “PCI Compliance” fee that cost anywhere between $50 to $150. PCI compliance has to do with protecting credit card data as it is being transferred and stored. Processors have to pay an annual fee to the PCI compliance board, which gets marked up and passed onto the merchant. In some cases, processors simply call it an “annual fee” to avoid confusion with merchants. You will want to ask PayJunction if the annual fee covers the PCI compliance fee. If it does not, you may want to consider asking for the annual fee to be waived.

  67. John

    Hello Phillip

    I recently had a merchant account open with Flagship/Ipayment, 2 months(Processed over $13,000), only 1 chargeback for the partial amount of $20, and for some reason they decide to shut me down last week, and as Iam sure you know, they held my last batch(over $900) and debited my checking account for over $1500.
    My average ticket is $200, and my monthly average is $8000 permonth. The service I provide is technical support through the internet and onsite tech support aswell,and it is home-based I don’t believe my business is high risk, so I have no idea why they would do this. They did not give me an excuse why they shut it down, and simply told me they did not want to business with me anymore.

    Over the last week I have cleverly found ways to maintain my business afloat(Checks, Cash), but I have over 6 different cards that need to be processed due to existing clients only requesting credit card payments,not to mention future clients, this puts me in a big limbo. This is what make or breaks a small business!!

    I have called and applied in several new card proccesors(first data, merchant warehouse) but some are requesting a co signer and some are requesting a bunch of other hoopla(utility bills, id’s,last 3 months of bank statements, and so much more paperwork), and noting that it wont guarantee me getting approved, which they’re basically telling me “I dont want to do business with you”. I ám guessing i pissed off the wrong guy at Ipayment and they negatively noted my account………

    Any card proccesors in mind that will take my business? IYO, is it high risk?
    I have found one that seems willing, http://www.capitalmerchant.net/ but from the looks of it, it’s a reseller trying to put me with Cynergy, and I feel uncomfortable sending him all my documents.

    Please, help is appreciated
    Thanks

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi John, I can only speculate as to why Flagship/iPayment terminated your merchant account. My guess is that they deemed you as an account that posed more risk to them than they wanted to accept. Since merchant account providers act as a middleman in the credit card processing industry, they run the risk of losing money if you become insolvent and then suffer chargebacks or fraudulent transactions. When a chargeback occurs, the customer’s bank automatically credits the customer by debiting from the credit card processor that charged the card. From there, the credit processor in turn debits the merchant. If the merchant disappears, the credit card processor takes the loss. Since you had such high volume from the start, and had a chargeback within only two months, Flagship/iPayment probably decided to pull the plug to avoid potential future losses. My advice to you would be to avoid chargebacks at all costs because too many of them can result in getting put on the TMF/Match list, which will make it impossible for you to get another merchant account from any provider.

      As for the issues you are having getting a new merchant account, it is very common for credit card processors to require additional documentation. In your case it is probably because you have a high transaction volume and were terminated by your previous provider. The only credit card processors I recommend at this time can be found on the Recommended Processors page. Best of luck to you!

  68. Carol Heinzl

    Good Morning,
    I am on the verge of signing up with “Bureau of National Merchant Services” who are offering me a tiered % on interchange rates, month to month contract, .20/transaction fee, they sound good. The problem is a feeling of uneasiness….they never communicate through email, are a bit slow on return calls, unimpressive when I called their merchant service number. They do have an A rating w/BBB, but that is because they resolved 12 complaints in the last year. The girls who process the credit cards are crying for a new terminal, so I need to act ASAP. I am going to check out your month to month service link. Another problem is the business owner has already signed the papers for Bof NM, and is out of the country for one month. But I sure do not want him, or me, having troubles with a faulty merchant service. Can you shed any light on this?

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Carol, there are a few things that raise flags with me about what you said. First, “tiered % on interchange” sounds to me like traditional bucket pricing. If that is the terminology they are using with you, I would be cautious. Secondly, if you are feeling uneasy with a potential merchant services provider, then you should probably look elsewhere. You should feel comfortable with the choice you are making. Lastly, if your owner already potentially signed up with B of NM, your company may be locked into a contract. Before you get another merchant account, you will want to find out if B of NM has a cancellation fee.

      I hope this helps!

  69. Cindy

    I am currently using Chase Paymentech platform thru a local processor –
    Veracity Payment solutions. I worked with someone there that I new and trusted – she is gone- my prices keep rising-
    along comes sales person (via phone) selling Innovative Merchant Solutions. – Swiped debit card rate of 1.35%
    Swiped credit card rate is 1.69%
    Mid-Qualified Key entered card and phone orders rates are 2.19%
    Non-Qualified business and corporate card rate is 2.79%
    a .20 per transaction fee
    $5.99 monthly statement fee. (current co. said they would lower from10-$8)

    Innovative is offering:
    NO APPLICATION FEE
    FREE QUICKBOOKS 2011 PRO SOFTWARE.
    FREE CREDIT CARD TERMINAL.
    NO SETUP AND ACTIVATION
    FREE SHIPPING
    NO ANNUAL FEE
    Waiver on the cancellation fee
    Waiver on the contract – just month to month
    includes $50,000.00 data breach insurance (this would be $5.00 per month at current comapny) \
    21.95 per year PCI ($85 from current company)

    sound to good to be true………….so i was researching and came across your blog-
    they do not have very good reviews-
    what do you think??

  70. Tammy Woifgram

    Hi Phillip,

    I’m glad I found you, as I can’t seem to find the answer to my question anywhere online. I was told there are only ten or eleven “direct processors” but everyone, and I mean everyone, tells me that they are a direct processor and the other guy isn’t one. So, what are the names of the direct processors that service the US? And if there are more than the ten or eleven I was told, how can you really tell if a business is a direct processor or a third party processor?

    Thanks!

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Tammy,

      There are actually more than ten or eleven “direct processors” in the credit card processing industry. A company is considered a direct processor when it processes the transactions in-house and has a direct partnership with an Acquiring Bank with no third-party companies standing in between. I do not have a list of all the direct processors out there, but one way to tell if you are dealing with one is with the merchant account contract. If a company is a third-party sales organization (ISO) the contract will list the actual processor. There isn’t necessarily any benefit to dealing with a direct processor because the relationships between the organizations can be set up in many different ways, and may result is the same cost to the merchant. Also, many direct processors do not sign merchants directly and require that you sign up through an ISO. Of course there are exceptions such as Chase Paymentech, which is a direct processor and signs up merchants with its own sales department.

  71. Hector

    Hi Phill, this blog is amazing, and i hope you go big with it, because you give serious solutions to small business owners.

    Phill, heres my situation. I use to work for a company in 2004 and the merchant service was under my responsibility, but i left without canceling the service, than start my own business later on 2006 and i got approve by chase paymentech, got cancel 3 month after no reasons.

    Now, 2 weeks a go, I fill paper work with first data, got approve in 3 days, the days after i got canceled, the reason, they told me that american express got me on their match list.

    To make the story short, i contact AMEX, they told me that they decide to cancel the account in jan-2007 for the company i used to work with, amex rep told me that in heir side theres no problems, or pending legal mater, sue, liens, or money own to them, the rep makes it look like everything is under control, she told me that my processor acquirer should contact them, unfortunatelly, firsta data has strong polocies and they are not interested in giving service to those who are int he match list, no matter the reasons, the acquirer wont call them.

    Please let me know what are my next step or what company you recomend who’s willing to work with this situation.

    Best regards, and thanks for your time

    Hector M.
    Miami, FL

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Hector,

      The only way to be removed from the TMF/Match list is by the processor that placed you on it. My advice would be to make sure that AMEX isn’t the only company that reported you. There is the possibility that Chase Paymentech may have filed a report if they also cancelled their account. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to go about getting removed other than persistence and follow-up. Be sure to keep a record of all your calls, who you spoke with, and what was said. Last but not least, avoid getting angry with the representative and be courteous throughout the process because it will help speed things along. In the meantime, PayPal may be your best option because there are not any reputable processors that will give you account without charging you an arm and a leg for it. Best of luck to you!

      1. Hector M.

        Thx Phillips for your support, This situation is putting in the bottom, my business is low in sales and my competition is eating me alive because they process credit cards or give credit terms.

        I’m trying to my best to solve this matter until im satisfied with a reasonable answer from AMEX, i will call Chase paymentech to see if they where the one that put me in the list.

        I will update this threat, because i know I’m not be the only one with this issue.

  72. Chet K

    Hi
    A person asked you about Bank of America’s Mobilepay…..I believe you are mistaken in what you think the product is. Mobilepay is a web based merchant payment portal that you can access via your smartphone’s internet browser, With a logon ID and Password, no app to download. Person presents you a card and you key enter the transation, by years end they will have a sled so you can swipe cards. But I don’t understand the comment that your donor needs to have a compatible smartphone? The donors phone plays no role in the transaction, just the credit card in his or her wallet is needed.

    Otherwise, you make some nice reviews on the other questions.

    Thanks
    Chet K

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Chet,

      Thank you for the comment. Are you sure that we are talking about the same product? The one you are describing is not the MobilePay application that I’m describing. Here is the one I believe the question was referring to and the the one I was providing an answer for: http://www.mobilepayusa.com/Home/HowItWorks

      As you can see, this is not a product for the Merchant to accept mobile payments (although, it could possibly be used for that) and it does require the customer to have a compatible smartphone to download the app.

  73. Betsy

    Hi Phil,

    Very interesting site. I am a complete newbie and want to make sure we contract with the right company at the right price. They all seem to have different fees which are difficult to compare. Does this sound reasonable to you?
    2.19% discount rate
    .24 transaction fee
    5.00/month support/statement fee
    14.95 gateway fee
    PCI compliance fee $18.80/quarter

    This is for a strictly internet processed transactions. Are there any fees that seem to be missing and do these fees seem reasonable for a first time relationship?
    Thanks!

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Betsy,

      The monthly fees sound fair and the the quoted rate is standard; however, they have only quoted you the “Qualified” rate. There are two more rate tiers call “Mid-Qualifed” and “Non-Qualified” that can add surcharges of 1.5-3% to each transaction. You will want to find out how much these rate tiers will cost because about 80% of your sales will run at the Mid- and Non-Qualified tiers. For more information about how rates are calculated, be sure to read my ebook Fee Sweep. You may also want to consider getting quotes from other processors on the on the Find a Provider page.

        1. User Phillip Parker Post author

          Hi Betsy,

          Glad I could help, and thank you for your purchase of Fee Sweep! Please feel free to contact me with any other questions.

  74. Cristy

    Hi Phillip,

    As a new business starting out very bare-bones, I am interested in merchant accounts where I can swipe on a smart phone or key in on the computer. I know about Square for smart phone swipes, but I don’t like the $1,000 per week limit for normal processing.

    I came across a company called Merchant Anywhere (Advanced Merchant Solutions). They seem to advertise the best rates at 1.69% swiped or 2.2% keyed and 30¢ per transaction and a $25 flat monthly rate. Also, they automatically batch transaction for the customer everyday- so no rate inflation or fee for forgetting about that. The other advertised terms seem very favorable; no start up fee, no commitment or cancel fee, no statement fee, gateway and virtual terminal are included free.

    Am I missing something? I am not sure if this company is legit. Their website looks like it’s out of 1998.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Cristy,

      I did some quick research on Advanced Merchant Solutions and I was surprised to find that it is registered as an Independent Sales Organization (ISO) with Visa. I was fully expecting not to find them on the list due to the out-of-date website, like you mentioned. They also appear to have an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and no complaints in the usual forums.

      The rates they quote are only the “Qualified” rates, which less than 20% of your transactions will fall into. If you talk to them, I would ask them to also quote you the “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” rates and have them explain which cards fall into each of the buckets.

      It all sounds a little too good to be true, but it is possible that there aren’t any other costs or commitments. I would be sure to read the contract very closely before you sign it. You may also want to checkout Merchant Warehouse, as I know they have a similar set up and month-to-month contracts.

  75. Joan

    We are non-resident own Delaware LLC company dealing with SEO services.
    We have paypal from our country but paypal wouldn’t let us open a business account with the LLC.

    We have to find a merchant account now. Thanks in advance for any suggestion or ideas.

    Regards,
    Joan

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Joan,

      Nearly all U.S. processors require that you have a U.S. subsidiary to open a merchant account with them. If you are based in a different country and the processors don’t want to recognize your Non-Resident Delaware LLC, then you will likely need to set up with a large processor that handles international credit card processing, like Elavon or Global Payments. If the large processors will not approve you, then you will likely have to go with an off-shore high risk processor.

  76. Shannon

    I am looking at a company called Merchant Services Direct, LLC from Spokane, WA. They have a B+ rating on the BBB, but are not accredited (13 complaints over three years filed, with all but one resolved). The young man called me on the phone and said he was coming to my area. I made the appointment with him because I have been unhappy with my processing fees through Intuit direct through Quickbooks. His offer was $5 monthly service fee, 1/2 percent above the cc company fees on transations, .10 cent transaction fee, no terminal cost and no machine contract (limitation) . Of course I was in a hurry and signed the paperwork, gave him a voided check and never read a word. That was last Friday, I am waiting for my machine to show up, but meanwhile he has used my name as a company that signed with him – so in the small town that I am in, people are coming to me for my opinion. Now the pressure is on and I am hoping they are a good company with great rates.
    Thanks,
    Shannon

    1. Shannon

      Apparently we are looking at Interchange Rating – not exactly sure of the advantages or disadvantages. I process a very low volume and my husband’s business processes around $2,000 to $5,000 per month. The other company that we are looking at is Central Payments. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

      1. User Phillip Parker Post author

        Hi Shannon,

        If by “Interchange Rating” you are referring to Interchange Pass-through rate pricing, then it looks like you are getting setup is the lowest rate pricing model. This, of course, depends on how much the provider is marking up the rate. Without knowing this information, it’s hard for me to comment much further on it. As for the provider, I suggest reading my Central Payments Review.

  77. freddie jones

    Hi Phillip,
    very nice site. you are doing a good thing helping people not get taken. we are just starting a business that will require mobile credit card processing. to say the least it is very very confusing when you dig deep.

    from my research being able to swipe will generate a better rate so im looking at companies that allow swiping on Smart Phones (we have an android). do you recommend any companies to look into for the ability to use smartphones with for swiping (and keying in of course as well)?

    also i noticed there are only a few companies out there providing the smartphone swiping service (for android)….like Roam Pay, AprivaPay, and Magtek. do you recommend one over any others?

    thank you very much for your answers

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Freddie,

      If you sign up with any of the providers that you mentioned, you will also need to sign up for a traditional merchant account. Since you are just starting out, it might make sense to avoid getting a merchant account until your credit card processing volumes exceed $10K per month. The reason for this is because most merchant accounts will cost you at least $30 per month even if you don’t process a single transaction. Not only that, most merchant account agreements require a 1-3 year commitment and come with hefty early cancellation fees. Another option you might want to consider is Square ( squareup.com). The transaction fee is going to be about 1% higher than a normal merchant account but there are no monthly fees, no contract, the swiper attachment is free, and it’s compatible with Android phones.

  78. K. St Clare

    I am looking in to accepting credit and debt cards for our lawn care company. We can’t be carrying around a lot of machinery to take the cards so I thought that being able to call them in would be perfect. I found a company that does this but I can’t seem to find any reviews about them. I want to know if I can trust when a company says “this is our fees” that they are not lying or omitting things. They say they do not have monthly fees and that is really what I am looking for. We don’t know how often we would be taking cards so I don’t want to pay for something we may not be using often.

    acceptcreditcardsbyphone.com

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      I have never heard of this website but it looks like a sales page for Alpha Card Services, which has a “B-” rating with the Better Business Bureau. Do you currently accept credit cards through any other means, or are you looking to start?

      1. K. St Clare

        No we do not accept cards at this time. I just liked that there were not any monthly fees and no new equipment to buy. We do not no have a smart phone so we can’t get a reader that attaches and I don’t want to pay for a new phone line for us to get a wireless reader. We really have no idea how much we will even be getting paid by credit.

        1. User Phillip Parker Post author

          I just read the merchant account application and contract and there are a couple things that raised concerns. First is the claim of no monthly fees: I can see that there is not a “monthly minimum,” which means that you don’t get charged a penalty (or minimum fee) for not charging anything in a month. However, if I understand the merchant account application correctly, it looks like there is a $23.99 monthly “wireless service fee.” It also says that there is an additional $0.05 fee per transaction and a $50 “wireless activation fee,” which contradicts what the site says.

          Aside from the fees, the service agreement’s cancellation policy is the most concerning part. It says that it is a three (3) year agreement with an automatic one (1) year renewal, unless you write in 60 days prior to the expiration date to cancel it. Not only that, the early termination fee is what is known as a “Liquidated Damages” fee. This means that if you were to cancel early, you would owe them all the remaining fees that would have been assessed for the remainder of the contract, plus “termination expenses” and any other “damages” they decide to charge you. “Liquidated Damages” early termination fees can run into the thousands of dollars, and are vague and misleading. Personally, I would never sign a contract that has auto-renewal and liquidated damages clauses.

  79. Elisha

    My organization is looking into using MobilePay through Bank of America for our fundraiser events. We currently have three wireless credit card machines, but think the mobile phone option will help us fill in the gap when we need more.
    Do you have any experience with them? Are they as secure as the machines?
    The literature says no extra fees, but that is hard to believe.
    Thank you,
    Elisha

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Elisha,

      The MobilePay technology is interesting, but I think it has a lot of limitations for your needs. First, your donors must have compatible smartphones, and second, they must already be using the MobilePay app. MobilePay is still trying to get this product off of the ground, so it doesn’t surprise me that there are no extra fees for it. Another option you might want to consider is Square (Squareup.com) because it will allow you to easily swipe credit cards with your own smartphones. With both MobilePay and Square, you should be able to fill in all the gaps and not pay any extra monthly service fees.

      Best,

      Phillip

  80. Raymond Kishen

    Can you look at a company called, Affinipay or Affiniscape Merchant Solutions I don’t see that much on complaints about them from anywhere.
    They are recommended by our association with ACSI schools, kind of a coop thing, I did notice they also work with alot of law firms also.
    The bank behind them is Harris Bank and I found some negative about them, but nothing I think is not typical of people complaining or venting over strange fees.

    Thanks very much.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Raymond,

      Thanks for bringing these processors to my attention. I did some quick research on Affinipay and Affiniscape Merchant Solutions and I didn’t see anything that would indicate that they would be troublesome. As you mentioned, the complaints are pretty typical and of the same type you will find of the credit card processing industry in general.

      Best,

      Phillip

      1. Heather

        I’m also looking for info on Affinipay. I find it disconcerting that I can’t find any reviews on any of these companies. Why would they need so many names? I’ve heard that processors who change names-from Affiniscape to Affinipay, it’s usually because they have something to hide. Who’s doing the processing? If there are only 11 TRUE processors, why can’t I find who the processor is? I went to the Harris site and it says they recommend Moneris. So, is that the processor? I’m really confused.

        1. User Phillip Parker Post author

          Hi Heather,

          Generally speaking, providers will change names when their current name has become overly tainted with bad reviews. Sometimes they will operate under multiple business names to spread complaints across several names. I’m not sure where you heard that there are only 11 true processors, but that is not actually the case. There are dozens. If you want to better understand this industry and keep yourself from getting a bad deal, I recommend reading my ebook, “Fee Sweep.”

  81. Richard Simon

    Hi,
    Interesting site. My wife and I currently run a travel site in Chile, where we we deal with an international clientele. There is almost no such thing as a routine tranaction! Sometimes our clients pay the providers and the provider will pay us a commission, sometimes we charge clients just a small booking fee via credit card through PayPal, and sometimes we charge clients the full cost (several $K) and forward the net costs to the hotel booked on behalf of the client. We typically collect the credit card info from our clients and key it in as needed, and never swipe cards. We have been using PayPal, but it is problematic, with rejected transactions or difficulty in accessing the funds. PayPal is also costly, with the transaction fees for international credit cards as high as 3.9%.
    We are considering going the merchant account route. Our transactions are sporadic, consisting of 5-10 small ones (~$15 – $25) each month, plus occasional charged of, say, $500 to $5000 which may be one or two every couple of months, normally in US$. I am from the US with a good US banking connection, but our company is part the travel industry, located in Chile, and dealing with international credit cards. This seems to put us well into the high risk categories with maximum fees and rates for any Merchant Account, and large
    Do you have any suggestion on providers which might be able to reduce our high costs with PayPal, and would be willing to deal with our particular niche?
    Thanks in advance.
    Richard

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Richard,

      Your best bet is to go with a large direct processor that has an international presence. Off the top of my head, I would say that Elavon or Global Payments may be a good options for you. You may also want to get a quote from Merchant Warehouse because they use First Data as their processor, which is a one of the larger processors in the industry. The bad news is that your type of business is generally considered as “high risk,” meaning that you may have no choice but to be subjected to high transaction fees.

      Best of luck to you,

      Phillip

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Greg,

      I’m personally unfamiliar with Electronic Payment Exchange (EPX) but a quick search revealed that the company is not registered as an Independent Sales Organization (ISO) with Visa, which is a requirement for all companies wishing to provide Visa credit card processing. This could mean that they are registered under a different name, or that it’s ran by a small team of independent sales agents who resell other companies services, or that they are simply not registered. My educated guess is that the company is a small third-party reseller of merchant accounts and payment solutions.

  82. Wally Krause

    Dear Phillip:

    I am interested in your book. However, I am hesitant to provide my CC#
    over the internet. Please call me so we can do the transaction over the
    phone.

    Thank You
    Wally Krause
    (phone number removed)

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Wally,

      I use PayPal’s checkout, so you wouldn’t be providing me your credit card information. I also cannot accept credit cards over the phone, so my website is the only option at this time. I can assure you that is very safe.

      Best,

      Phillip

    2. Geir Galen

      Hi,

      1. I own a Delaware corporation, but am not a US citizen. Is this something I have to mention, or doesn`t it matter as it`s the corporation I`m signing up with? I operate purely in ecommerce, with payments through my stores.

      2. Currently I`m operating several stores. Do you know if it`s possible to have them all under “one roof”, or do I need one account for each store, thus paying the fees over and over? Since the stores are not considered high risk, in my opinion (one sells rugs, the other hammocks, another dog products).

      1. User Phillip Parker Post author

        Hi Geir,

        Here are your answers:

        1. You mentioned in another comment that this is a new business. In that case, Most U.S. providers are going to want a personal guarantee from the owner or founder, which means that you would need to be a U.S. citizen with a Social Security Number. For established corporations and LLCs that can provide financial documentation, most providers will waive the requirement for a personal guarantee. These policies will vary from one processor to the next, so it’s best to make them aware of your situation before going through the application process.

        2. If your stores have different names and sell different products, most providers will want you to have (or require) separate accounts for each store. This is because you can only provide one business name that will show up on your customers’ credit card and bank statements per merchant account. The policies vary from processor to processor, and some have better systems in place to serve merchants with such a need.

  83. Bessie

    Hi Phillip,
    I find your website very informative. Do to circumstances beyond my control, I have had to switch gears in my career. With a background in insurance, I have turned to merchant services to possibly replace my income. I also have quite a few agents that I would like to bring on an earn overrides as well if that is possible. I have done a lot of research, but you really don’t know a company till you become involved with them. Do you have any recommendations for this scenario? I don’t see your review on Capital Bankcard. Also, your bio says former agent, what are you doing now?

    1. Shaun

      Hey Bessie,
      In short, Capital Bankcard is Merchant Warehouse. CB is the agent partnership side of MW. As an agent for CB you receive all the great benefits of MW….great pricing, great products, and great service.

      Have a great day!

      Warm regards,
      Shaun

  84. Melody Hendrix

    I will be a vendor at an open air market. I don’t have a computer or phone with Internet access at my location. I must wait to get home to process the credit cards on my computer. I think Propay will give me that ability, but was wondering if there was anything else less expensive.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Melody,

      I do know of another option that is better than Propay. If you email me at [email protected] I’ll be happy to send you the name.

  85. Mary

    I am thinking of changing my merchant services to NorthAmerican Bancard they are offering me 1.99 for qulaified and .99 for non-qualified – how reliable are they is there any kind of scam??
    Thank you for any information you can give me on them.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Mary,

      These fees seem high to me and the quote looks incomplete. If you email me at [email protected] I’ll be happy to refer you to a company that can probably better serve your needs and won’t hide fees from you.

  86. Shaun

    Hey Phillip,
    First of all I just would like to say that your website is so informative and has helped me a lot. I am currently looking for a new processor because I feel my rates are too high. I have run across United Bankcard, but don’t see them reviewed on your website. Have you had experience with them? Also, because of my business type I have been told that I may need to look at high risk processors. Are any of the processors that you have reviewed in the market of processing high risk businesses? If not, could you recommend someone?

    Thank you very much for your time. It is because of people like yourself that us business owners can make heads or tails of this industry. Have a great day!

    Warm regards,
    Shaun

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Shaun,

      I haven’t reviewed United Bankcard yet, but they are on my radar. If you email me more information about your business, I’ll be happy to recommend a provider that will fit your needs.

  87. Pilar

    Hi Phillip
    I am considering accepting e-checks by ITI Internet Services. They charge $1.36 per transaction. I am very tired of accepting credit cards, however I can not stop accepting credit cards because it would be inconvenient for some clients. I just need to minimize my use of them . I own a Day Spa and I have new customers almost everyday and most new clients pay by credit. Do you recommend e-checks and ITI.

    Sincerely,
    Pilar

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Pilar,

      I’m not familiar with ITI Internet Services so I won’t be able to help you with that part of the question; however, I do have some thoughts on e-checks. I understand that the cost per transaction may be less for e-checks than for credit cards, but the use of checks is declining. Also checks do not offer nearly any of the same fraud protections and benefits that credit cards do, so it’s unlikely that very many of your customers will opt for using a check instead of a card. You may want to consider accepting PIN-based debit card transactions because the fees can be much less than charging a normal credit card, especially for transactions exceeding a $100. Simply ask your current processor about it and they should be able to offer you the service. If not, you may want to consider changing processors.

      Best,

      Phillip

    2. Robert

      Pilar,

      To add on to what Phillip said (but from a consumer’s prospective). I NEVER carry cash or checks. I only pay with debit or credit. The the retailer does not accept credit or debit, I will not do business with them.

  88. Lori

    I just bought your Feesweep guidebook Phillip.
    It is really good.

    I bought it because I sell credit card processing. After months of researching the best, most credible processors in the country, I’m just hired, and changed companies to sell for them.

    I bought your book because I want to be as knowledgeable as possible for my customers. Even after selling processing for a year there is so much to learn. And it is a growing changing field.

    Thank you for writing it.
    Lori

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Lori,

      You are very welcome. Thanks for letting me know that it helped you and for the testimonial on the Fee Sweep page.

      Best,

      Phillip

  89. Matt

    Hi, I have been researching credit card processing services and am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I don’t need any equipment, as most of my sales can be done manually on a virtual terminal or via my website. A, acquaintance of mine approached me about pay junction and it seems pretty great. However, he mentioned to me that it takes about $500 to start up. I inquired if there were any monthly fees and I didn’t get a straight answer. Would you happen to know if pay junction is a good processor and what the standard fees are?

    I am also looking at American Express’s Accept Pay, which is powered by Pay Simple. This one also seems pretty good as well, but not sure on its reliability, as I can’t find a whole lot of information on online.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    -Matt

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Matt,

      I’m a fan of Payjunction’s Trinity System, but it can be a little costly for businesses that process under $10K a month. The agents at Payjunction have a lot a price flexibility. It sounds like the agent you are dealing with may not be fully educated on the costs, so I would be cautious if you decide to work with him/her.

      I’m not very familiar with Accept Pay or Pay Simple, so I can’t offer much advice on them. One company that I have been happy sending referrals is Merchant Warehouse. They seem to have good pricing and the people I’ve sent there seem happy with their services.

      If you truly want to understand credit card processing, make sure to check out my ebook “Fee Sweep.”

      Best,

      Phillip

  90. sharon calow

    I NEED HELP TO GET OUT OF MY CONTRACT WITH TANGERINE.
    THE EQUIP FAILS CONSTANTLY, OVERCHARGES, NO TECH SUPPORT,
    OUTRAGEOUS CANCELLATION FEES THEY MISLED ME WHEN I SIGNED UP. PLEASE HELP.

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Sharon,

      Unfortunately there may not be many options because you likely signed a contract with them. Tangarine is a reseller of Elavon, so the only advice that I can offer would be to call Elavon (Elavon.com) to complain because they may be able to help you; However, I can’t say for sure if they can do much. If you can prove that Tangarine mislead you, then you may want to contact an attorney who can guide you in the legalities of the matter. Good luck!

  91. BH

    Hello. I need to cut to the chase and get your top 5 recommended merchant account providers. I am a startup and will be implementing a market test which has me taking credit card payments over the phone initially so I need a virtual process system (no equipment) and since its a test I would prefer no contract if possible. I will gladly buy your Ebook if it can provide this info or if youre able to porvide your top 5 thru email great

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hello,
      I usually do not recommend providers so as not to imply any accidental biased, but based on your needs there is only one company that I know of that can do what you want. I believe Merchant Warehouse can do what you need without a long contract, but you might want to call to find out (866-828-1289). Another good company for this is Payjunction, but I don’t believe that they offer month-to-month contracts.

      “Fee Sweep” doesn’t recommend any particular providers, but it does explain how to get the lowest fees you can possibly get in this industry. Without it reading it, you will likely get a more expensive set up.

      Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions.

  92. Cheryl

    Hi Phillip,

    I was in the banking industry for over 10 years so I have limited knowledge of merchant services. I am currently considering working with a merchant service company as a sales rep. I was contacted by several companies First Financial Merchant Services and Certified Payment are 2) but the commission plan was so confusing that I started to do some research and became concerned about all the scams. I think this could be a lucrative career, however, I want to be sure I am working with a reputable company (BBB accredited). I have found a few that offer a base salary plus commission, as well as benefits and was hoping for your opinion on working with some of these companies. I am in the Monmouth County, New Jersey market.

    Thanks,
    Cheryl

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Cheryl,

      This is somewhat difficult to answer because there is a lot that could be said and I’m not familiar with the companies you mentioned. The best answer I can give is that you are right to be cautious. I recommend thoroughly researching a company before you sign on.

      “Commission only” positions can be far more lucrative, but it can take a long time to build up a big enough client base to provide you with steady income. Most people who start this way fail because you must constantly cold call for at least a year to get enough business to sustain yourself. This industry is also highly competitive which can also make things difficult. If you can start out with a company that provides a salary, it’s probably the best way to get acquainted without much personal risk. With all this being said, to succeed in merchant services you must be prepared to be a highly driven, cold calling sales person because it’s the only way to succeed.

      If you decide to get into it, be honest with your clients and give them good deals because they will refer others to you later. Don’t get tempted to do the wrong thing just for a big commission. Unfortunately, that is where this industry goes wrong and soils its reputation.

      I do know of a company that has a pretty good commission structure for new agents. Let me know and I’ll be happy to email you the name.

      I hope this helps, and best of luck to you.

      Phillip

      1. Fong

        Hi Phillip,

        I also have similar situation like Cheryl and happen to live in NJ too. I am very interested in getting into this field. I don’t mind work straightly on commission bases because all my current jobs paid commission only anyway. (I currently sell Life, Health insurance and mortgages). I planned to utilize my bilangual skill to expand my client base and I want to join a reputable company with the most competitive products because my market is very competitive. I think my initial target will be restaurants and nail salons in NJ area. Can you recommend a company for me.

        Thank you so much in advance!

        By the way, do you only sell electronic copy of your book?

        Fong Yeung

  93. Robert

    I am looking to start payments with Payjunction, but I had a question about recurring payments. I want to make these payments from my site using their API. I can see how to create a recurring payment, but what I don’t understand is how to check to see if the recurring payment was accepted in the following months.

    For example. If you setup a 1 year subscription to be billed $20 every month. The first payment would be taken out immediately. How can I automate it to check to see if the next month payment was successful or if it was unsuccessful and I need to suspend their account?

    Thanks!

    Robert

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hi Robert,

      My knowledge on this is somewhat limited, but Payjunction’s system will report all of the approved and declined transactions in real-time. I assume that you want to automate account suspensions if a card is declined in a future payment. If so, Payjunction’s system does allow you to create unique customer IDs that you can use to reconcile with your own system, and you can manually download daily .csv reports of the recurring transactions and their statuses. You may be able to automate the report from Payjunction or have your system automatically pull the data using the API, but I’m not 100% sure on either. If you email me at [email protected], I can put you in touch with someone who can give you a definite answer on this.

      Best,

      Phillip

  94. Amy

    I AM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHICH CREDIT CARD PROCESSING COMPANY TO GO WITH. I AM CURRENTLY WITH LEADERS. THEY ARE CHARGING ME APPROX. 3.4%. I KEY IN MOST TRANSACTIONS FROM ORDERS OVER THE PHONE BUT I ALSO GO TO BOAT SHOWS WHERE I CAN SWIPE CARDS. I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT FLAGSHIP, BANK OF AMERICA AND A COUPLE OTHERS. I AM SO CONFUSED!! ARE THERE ANY THAT YOU RECCOMEND?

    ALSO, MY AVERAGE SALES ARE $20-$30K PER MONTH. AVERAGE SALE IS $400.00.

    PLEASE HELP!!

    AMY

    1. User Phillip Parker Post author

      Hello Amy,

      As a general answer, there are a couple providers who can supply all of your needs in one package and will beat your current rates. I sent you an email with a couple recommendations.

      Best,

      Phillip

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