Recently, Appstar Financial has been successful in building somewhat a notorious image by continuously relying on multiple independent sales agents to sell their services. The company was established in 2002 by Mark Leibowitz, its CEO and the company has its headquarters in San Diego. Appstar Financial can be regarded as a relatively new company. Even so, it applies the traditional business model of depending significantly on the overall sales to drive growth. In some cases, it even changes its contract terms and pricing formats.
Appstar Financial is a famous merchant service provider in the United States of America that aims at targeting its credit card processing services towards both small as well as mid-sized organizations.
Appstar Financial Merchant Products and Services
Appstar Financial extends its payment acceptance services -including debit, credit, EBT, gift cards, and even check to both small and medium-scale businesses, e-commerce, home, and retail merchants. The company comes forth with a dedicated cash program -referred to as the $100,000 Breach Program.
It is a step towards counteracting payment frauds, ensuring EBT processing, presenting discounts for cash-based payments, online reporting, ensuring e-commerce solutions with the help of FirstPay.net, and ACH processing. Appstar Financial also offers a comprehensive suite of credit card processing equipment -ranging from terminals to card readers, mobile payment solutions, and so more.
On the official website, Appstar Financial offers a dedicated list of products and services that are common for most credit card processors out there. Some of the biggest ones are:
- Merchant Accounts: The company does not reveal ample information in this case. However, you get access to a proper merchant account.
- Check Services: There is the ability to input check data into respective terminals while running it against a proper database for poor check writers. The company offers standard fare in this case.
- EBT Processing: If you have a convenience or grocery store, or are in the business of selling food items, acceptance of EBT can serve as a crucial way to ensure that food is accessible to those relying on food stamps, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children).
- ACH Processing: It is possible to setup clients to ensure the automatic transfer of payments directly into bank accounts regarding avoiding invoices, checks, and the overall bank trip. Most merchant account providers offer ACH processing. It is particularly useful for the merchants that offer subscriptions. This is because it is possible to set up a recurring or one-time payment option with ACH processing with the help of Appstar Financial.
- Loyalty Programs and Gift Cards: Appstar Financial extends no hints about the overall costs on its website. However, there is still information that there is no minimum order for its standard designs. At the same time, there is access to some type of startup or monthly prices. You will receive a proper starter kit along with online access to card balances and free online reporting for transaction history and monthly statements.
- POS Software: Appstar Financial provides its merchants access to the 1stPay POS Pro System. It is an Android-specific software system that offers standard options with respect to the functioning of the POS software.
- Working Capital Cash Advances: These are made available for around $150k for every location or your business.
- Payment Gateways: Appstar Financial does not offer in-depth details in this aspect. It can be presumed that the company does not exclusively deal with e-commerce merchants. However, there is access to a payment gateway, a virtual terminal, and a shopping cart. If you are primarily selling online, you can look for a provider that explains more about its specific e-commerce offerings.
- Reporting: Merchants signing up for Appstar Financial can go through the FirstView portal for ensuring sales insights and reporting.
- Equipment: Appstar Financial offers everything -right from digital check readers to dedicated terminals -all for some price. Some of the terminals of the service provider are proprietary.
Appstar Financial Rates
There is no specific advertisement of any fees or rates. Still, some of the rates to expect out of the merchant service provider are:
- Keyed Entry fee: 2.19 %
- Swiped credit fee: 1.59 %
- Over-interchange markup: 0.10 %
- Per-transaction fee above interchange: 0.10 %
Some of the additional fees as disclosed by the service provider are:
- Annual fee -$95.00
- PCI compliance fees monthly -$3.42
- Statement fee monthly -$5.95
- Early termination fee -$495.00
- Minimum monthly -$15.00
All these fees tend to be negotiable until the time of signing.
There is no information about per-transaction fees. It can be said that the pricing structure of the service provider is quite good and cost-effective for most merchants out there.
Ownership and Location of the Company
Appstar Financial has been registered as the ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Banks in CA and Fifth Third Bank in Ohio. The company features its corporate headquarters in San Diego, California. Appstar Financial has a shared address as well as ownership with the currently defunct Amazon Processing LLC.
Appstar Financial Complaints
There are more than 100 negative reviews and complaints about Appstar Financial on the web. Most of these complaints extend accusations regarding the company with respect to ensuring predatory business methods.
Some of the most common instances of complaints as reported by business owners regarding Appstar Financial are related to the use of deceptive sales practices by agents, continuous telemarketing calls, holding merchant funds, and non-disclosure of relevant fees before the process of account setup (like the PCI Compliance and ETF fees). There are also complaints from former company agents who claim receiving bogus appointments with different business owners and mistreatment.
Appstar Financial Lawsuits
On December 30th, 2016, Amazon Processing LLC DBA had been named as the defendant in the class-action lawsuit that accused the defendant of a series of violations of The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 1991. The accusations were made in Southern District Court of California. On March 13th, 2017, another case had been voluntarily dismissed by a plaintiff. It indicates a potential settlement. However, there are no specific details regarding the case.
In March 2017, another lawsuit was brought into action against Amazon Processing LLC. The lawsuit concerned the alleged classification of former employees in the form of independent contractors when they used to serve as the company’s employees. The respective plaintiffs exclaimed that it was performed towards not allowing breaks or paying for overtime hours.
Transparency of Sales & Advertising
Appstar Financial features a poor case of transparency with veiled fees -like early termination fees. There is no real information about the total costs involved on the official site. The main idea is that you will get on the phone with a dedicated salesperson. However, it is not regarded ad the best way to conduct business. Moreover, independent sales contractors have a single loyalty.
When you will check out the Careers Page of Appstar Financial, you will come across information about what the provider offers to outside sales agents:
- Multiple sources of income
- Ongoing support and professional sales training
- Top commissions and monthly bonuses
- A shorter sales cycle
- No weekends and no nights
- Innovative products and advanced programs
- A+ rated organization that is accredited by the Better Business Bureau
- A recession-proof industry
Customer Support and Services at Appstar Financial
Appstar Financial has a dedicated support service listed on the website. It delivers the assurance of a multilingual, customer-friendly support team that is available 24/7. However, there have been several former complaints regarding difficulty in reaching out to the right personnel on the telephone. Therefore, customers are often left with the option of leaving voice notes that might or might not be returned on time.
If any customer would like to verify the availability and usefulness of the customer support services of Appstar Financial in practicality, they are expected to leave comments. In addition to marketing through 24/7 support services, Appstar Financial is not available for providing any other type of support center or knowledgebase that is publicly accessible. For most of the products offered by Appstar Financial, you will be referred to the sites of First American. It is because First American is known for creating and maintaining the software solutions of Appstar Financial.
Presence of Independent Sales Agents at Appstar Financial
Depending on different customer reviews, it can be said that Appstar Financial significantly depends on telemarketing along with independently contracted sales agents to advertise as well as sell its services related to credit card processing. Like most other merchant service providers using the same practices and scoring poorly in reviews of Appstar Financial, the company is presumably incentivizing its agents. It is achieved by linking higher commissions with increased rates as well as fees for the respective customers. Some of the common rates include lease terms on equipment related to credit card processing.
Due to the given practice, independent agents are mostly committed to setting up expensive merchant accounts along with longer agreements of credit card processing in exchange for increased payouts.