Clearent is a leading payment processing service provider available for all types of businesses. However, it uniquely features a list of niche of services on their website and are known to particularly cater to the needs of web development and online businesses. The company was founded in 2005 and it’s headquarters is located in Missouri.
Clearent is referred to as a Super ISO. This implies that they are a large-scale independent sales company that is capable of working with both processors as well as small-scale ISOs, Independent Sales Organizations. Clearent is a dedicated merchant account provider that is also capable of offering its own proprietary virtual terminal and payment gateway, in which they are the direct processor. In addition to ISOs, the company also extends its services directly to merchants and financial institutions.
In March 2017, Clearent purchased another processing company named Payment Alliance International -one of the NRA-endorsed processors for those merchants dealing with firearms.
What are the Services Offered by Clearent for Businesses?
Clearent gives access to a number of services for businesses -including both debit and credit card processing, payment gateways for e-commerce, virtual terminals, phone & mail order, ACH processing, electronic check, recurring payments, wireless options, gift card processing, and so much more. The company also takes pride in its offering of next-day deposits for ACH transactions, while additionally offering services like surcharging and chargebacks.
- Card Processing: With Clearent, users are allowed to accept credit cards -including American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and others. Moreover, users can also accept PIN- debit cards from important networks like NYCE, Maestro, and Interlink as well. Gift cards and EBT are also able to be a part of their card processing solutions.
For instance, if you have a gas station, Clearent offers access to a specialized pay-at-the-pump services. Clearent extends its card processing services to American Express OptBlue. It is a unique pricing model that was introduced in 2015. The American Express OptBlue pricing model is designed to minimize the overall costs for a merchant to accept American Express.
- Payment Gateway and Virtual Terminal: If you wish to enable your customers to use a laptop, computer, mobile device, or a tablet for payments, Clearent offers access to a customized range of virtual terminal services. The Virtual Terminal by Clearent ensures payment without the requirement of physical POS. Additionally, if you are looking to sell online, Clearent offers access to a dedicated payment gateway from their respective partners like Authorize.Net, TSYS, eProcessing Network, and many more gateway providers.
- Mobile: For those who prefer to use smartphones or mobile devices, Clearent provides seamless mobile processing solutions. Mobile processing is regarded as an ideal solution for individuals not having a conventional storefront -like landscapers, artists, and other types of contractors. Clearent is capable of offering reduced rates for cards swiped and enables merchants to connect a secure card reader to the smartphone for processing transactions.
- ACH and Check Processing: With Clearent, you can get access to the unique ‘No Worry’ method of check acceptance. It is achieved by offering guarantee and conversion of electronic checks. It is also possible to convert a paper-based check into the electronic form of transfer with the help of electronic check processing capability offered by Clearent. ACH services is also an option offered by Clearent.
- Recurring Payments: If your business has a requirement for a recurring payment schedule for your customers -like for memberships, Clearent comes forth with a wide range of options that tend to be industry-specific. However, if you do not fall under such categories, Clearent claims that it is capable of working with you and can devise a service that will exactly fit your requirements.
- DialPay: With the help of the unique DialPay feature of Clearent, it is possible to turn on any touch-based smartphone or mobile device into a dedicated POS or Point of Sale device. The service works effectively for a wide range of signature debit cards and credit cards with messaging options in Spanish and English.
- Reporting: Clearent extends its Compass Merchant services which are used for managing transactions and handling reporting. Compass by Clearent offers a detailed statement on a monthly basis related to the overall fees and activities. At the same time, it also provides day-to-day access to updated information. With Clearent’s Compass Merchant services, it is possible to access your account at any time to go through information on transactions as well as processing costs. You can make use to the transaction search to handles questions or inquiries from your customers.
Clearent Rates and Fees
Like most other conventional merchant service providers, Clearent also does not reveal its exact rate information. The primary reason for it is that the processing rates tend to be variable. Therefore, they are expected to be customized for every merchant out there. If you wish to know about how much a dedicated merchant account with Clearent will cost you, it is recommended to reach out to the sales department of the company while requesting a quote.
- Transaction rates -not disclosed
- Early termination fee -$395 (when not disclosed explicitly in the merchant agreement)
- Debit or credit chargeback fees -not disclosed
- ACH chargeback fee -$15
Reviews and feedback from multiple merchants depict that Clearent is known to primarily offer interchange-plus pricing to most of the customers. It is a positive feature of the service provider and this is because the interchange-plus pricing model is regarded as the most affordable and transparent and is available for businesses that process the amount of at least $5000 every month.
With Interchange-Plus Pricing, you will understand the exact pricing cut the provider is obtaining from the respective processing charges. With this pricing model, you cannot expect the same level of predictability like in the case of a fixed pricing plan. The model of interchange-plus pricing is expected to be less expensive through, and therefore is a worthwhile trade-off.
It is possible to come across some negative reviews regarding Clearent on the Internet. Some of these negative reviews make the company appear a scam or a rip off. Some of the older complaints related to Clearent are regarding the non-disclosure of the early termination fee as well as cancelation policy of the company.
A number of recent companies report complaints regarding withholding funds and denying applications -mostly related to the acquisition of Payment Alliance International by Clearent. The company also as revealed a major report of unverified positive reviews. The reviews praise the transparent pricing model of the company and its inexpensive terms of the contract.
In 2015, the Federal District Court of Eastward Capital Partners had sued Clearent for breaching the contract. The case had been remanded to the State Court in September 2015.
Technical Support and Customer Services
Clearent provides access to customer support services during its business hours through email and telephone. There is also the availability of after-hours support by the company which is made available through TSYS. It is important to know that while TSYS is the backend processor of Clearent, you cannot expect much help with respect to technical issues that involve their software and hardware products.
The overall support quality of the company seems pretty good -at least when resolving issues are concerned with respect to the products and services of the company. While there are several complaints that allege poor customer support services while dealing with the account freeze or transaction hold, you should know that the respective actions are initiated by the backend processor -and not Clearent.
As the company tends to rely on third parties for the purpose of transaction processing and most of the ancillary services and products, it is important to reach out to the right party that is properly equipped towards handling your issues. Indeed, Clearent will always remain as the main point of contact all issues related to the proprietary offerings -like the Clearent Virtual Terminal or the Clearent Payment Gateway. For issues that are related to third-party services or products -like the SwipeSimple mPOS or other credit card terminals, you should reach out to their manufacturers.
It is also seen that the customer care team at Clearent is immensely proactive in its responses to public complaints -like the ones filed on social media and the BBB. Complaints on the platform are addressed in a professional manner. Refunds are issued when they appear appropriate.
Like most other merchant service providers, Clearent has its own perks as well as demerits. We are highly impressed with the proprietary offerings of the company -especially the Compass online reporting system and the payment gateway. High-end use of the Interchange-plus pricing model is another favorable point with respect to Clearent. Still, not all merchants can get access to the pricing plan.
Moreover, there are clear shortcomings to the contract terms and pricing of the company. Long-term contracts with expensive fees for early termination have been highly unpopular with the merchants.