CardConnect is a merchant service provider based in Pennsylvania. It provides services such as payment gateways, merchant accounts, and other tech-based needs of businesses. It was first launched in 2006 as Financial Transaction Services and was re-branded to CardConnect in 2013. Card Connect now presents itself as a tech company rather than a financial service provider for businesses. CardConnect is the largest independent sales organization in the arsenal of FirstData.
The primary service that CardConnect offers businesses is CardPointe. It is a payment processor and gateway through which businesses can conduct online and cashless transactions. The company also provides a wide range of premium business services that significantly influence a business’s health. CardConnect provides businesses with POS systems, real-time accounts reporting, and many third-party integrations that help businesses.
As mentioned above, CardConnect is owned by FirstData. But there are several ways you can get a CardConnect account. You can contact FirstData directly, or you can contact the several independent sales organizations that are registered with them. Another way to get their services is to contact CardConnect directly. Having so many options to sign up means there is an immense opportunity to negotiate and acquire a set of pricing and terms that benefit your business. Different resellers and agents will offer you separate pricing and terms based on their protocols.
This allows you to have a more transparent form of pricing as a customer. But it can backfire if you do not have enough knowledge of how merchant account pricing works. Third-party resellers can easily mislead you into overpaying if you are not careful enough.
Just like the market norm, CardConnect offers you a wide range of methods through which your customers can pay. You can receive payments in-person, through mobile terminals, and even over the phone. Here are some of the standard services that CardConnect offers;
Using the virtual terminal provided by CardConnect, you can receive payments through any computer or smartphone that has access to the internet. The virtual terminal offers you level 2 and 3 data processing to conduct transactions at the lowest rate possible. You get the option to print the receipt or send it through email to your customers.
CardConenct can process cards from all significant credit card associations, including Mastercard, JCB, Discover, AME, and Visa. Customers can pay using a PIN or signature-based debit based on their preference. While all of this is standard with most payment processors, what makes the card processing of CardConnect worth noting is the CardPointe platform.
CardPointe is a central payment system that syncs all the POS systems, mobile terminals, and online methods into one single unit. The CardPointe platform can operate using level 2 and 3 data. This means that merchants can conduct transactions by giving more than the essential information. This helps banks verify that the marketing is authentic, and it further reduces the costs per transaction. CardPointe streamlines the transaction process by auto-filling the details to reduce extra costs that can be saved using more information.
CardConnect also allows merchants to deposit payments using physical checks as electronic payments. Through electronic check conversion, merchants can accept both local and international checks. Depositing the checks electronically saves the merchant time as they do not have to go to the bank physically.
As CardConnect comes under FirstData, the merchant service provider is compatible with Clover POS and Mobile terminals. If your business needs more than just a countertop terminal to accept payments, then you have the option to use Clover hardware and apps to streamline your financial needs. Using CardConnect services and Clover Go, you can accept payments no matter where you are.
The company suffers from a bad reputation, both online and in the market. The overall score that the processor gets across the internet is roughly 3 out of 5 stars. There are several critical reasons for this explained below;
The company does not promote interchange-plus pricing anywhere in its internet presence. The interchange-plus pricing model is arguably the most reasonable for businesses with high sales volumes and low profits. The lack of transparency is a concerning factor. On top of that, there is a class-action lawsuit against the company claiming that they have deceptive fees. The company attaches a second agreement to the initial merchant services contract.
Compared to the size of the business, it has a staggeringly high number of complaints on the internet. Many of those complaints claim that CardConnect is involved in unethical business practices. While the company seems to respond to some customer grievances, the replies look computer-generated instead of by a customer sales representative.
Two replies to complaints that seem to be from customer support representatives portray unprofessionalism and borderline rudeness. Over time, the complaint rate of the company has been noted to increase instead of decrease.
There is no exact trace of contract length or terms like its pricing model. Based on the type of business you run or how you negotiate it, you can have a contract from two to three years in length. Or, if you are lucky, you can negotiate a month-to-month agreement.
While merchants can get a month-to-month contract, it is rarely offered. And in case you do not have it, you would face a hefty early termination fee of $750. This is way more than the industry average and is a significant reason for the lack of reputation for the company.
CardConnect is considered a medium-sized payment processor in the industry. And a payment processor of this size should not have complaints in the hundreds on the internet. While the integration features with Clover and CardPointe platform are attractive, the downsides are too critical to ignore.
While only the most significant problems have been discussed above, merchants also claim it is difficult to close an account with the provider. They have an extensive notice period and many forms to submit. Furthermore, the ISO’s that resell their services have a reputation of being dishonest. And these factors make CardConnect a merchant service provider that cannot be recommended.