Founded in 2015, Clearwater Payments is a relatively new payment service provider located in Dallas, Texas, serving most low-risk businesses. The provider is a registered ISO of Synovus Bank and DBA of Future Payment Technologies. It was started by the executives of Park Central Company, Crescent Processing Company, and Talus Pay. The company’s acquisition by DocuPhase in 2021 enhanced its services, bringing advanced document management and automation to the table and benefiting both companies. Here is a complete Clearwater Payments review for merchants.
Clearwater Payments serves several online and mobile businesses, providing third-party payment services and billing software to education, insurance, utility, health care, and consumer finance markets. The company is not a merchant services company and focuses on payment processing services. Since the businesses accepting credit card payments are required to obtain a merchant account, it is unclear if Clearwater provides those accounts or refers merchants to its partners to attain them. Merchants may need to find a separate merchant account provider.
Clearwater Payments accepts all major credit and debit card payments and offers instant e-receipts and simplified reconciliation. It provides mobile card readers, POS systems, credit card terminals, and kiosks for check, card, and cash payments. The company supports ACH and e-check processing and provides various value-added services to accommodate its merchants. This review below will discuss all of their pros and cons in detail so you can decide whether or not to sign up with the provider.
Clearwater Payments aims to provide the most effective tools for businesses to guarantee growth and stability. It offers innovative solutions and user-friendly technology to simplify the complexities of high-volume transactions and benefits merchants with features like e-wallets, text reminders, and e-receipts. The provider strives to meet the client’s expectations and claims to have trained a top-tier customer support team to assist merchants at all times. Here is a review of the features and services offered by Clearwater Payments;
Partnered with DocuPhase, the company provides cloud-based document management solutions to eradicate the tiring process of finding a document in a pile of paperwork. It makes your business secure and stress-free by keeping the data in digital files that can be accessed anywhere, anytime, with customized permission protocol. The provider offers auto-indexing, cloud hosting, and automatic file routing. Users can manually enter the data, and the optical character recognition technology interprets it from the incoming documents.
The company’s end-to-end accounts payable (AP) automation solutions eliminate the manual data entry work and sort out the invoicing. The new invoices are automatically transferred for approval. Merchants can access and approve them anywhere and get email notifications for pending invoices. The three-way match technology frees merchants from matching the receipts, orders, and invoices and eliminates clerical errors with automatic GL coding.
Merchants can terminate unnecessary costs and save time by offering e-receipts to their customers. Clearwater enables merchants to create customized receipts with their preferable template, edit their company branding, and email it to customers on the go. E-receipts are easy to save and access without the need to keep piles of paper receipts. It helps businesses save money by eliminating the cost of paper, ink, and printing.
With the company’s workflow automation tool, merchants can track the workflow and identify inefficiency and loopholes with real-time data tracking. Its drag-and-drop tool automatically distributes data to specific departments based on task completion and authority and designs workflow to fit a company’s business needs. The provider is integrated with software companies such as Dynamics GP, NAV, AX, and NetSuite for a seamlessly integrated system.
Clearwater Payments provides one daily reconciliation report for the previous day. This way, merchants can review all the transactions without needing to go through multiple statements or check separate records. They can detect unauthorized transactions and take immediate action without wasting any time. The provider helps businesses save time, secures their deposits, and streamlines the billing process.
Clearwater accepts all major debit and credit cards and supports most payment methods. Merchants can allow their customers to make payments anywhere via phone, online on their smartphones, or in person through an agent. The provider offers kiosks and POS systems for brick-and-mortar outlets. Clearwater POS systems have EMV mobile card readers, are WiFi and NFC enabled, and support debit card transactions with an internal PIN pad.
With KyckGlobal, an advanced payment platform, Clearwater provides convenient functions to assist B2C businesses. It offers national and international wire transfers and supports physical checks, pay cards, prepaid cards, and cash pickup via ATM. Merchants can enable regular and same-day ACH payments. The company provides tax compliance and fraud protection tools to keep businesses secure and helps them grow beyond limits.
The provider offers varying contract lengths depending upon the agent setting up the merchant account, the risk factor, and the business type and size. Clearwater provides a flat rate pricing model but does not disclose the complete information on its website. The provider’s virtual terminal rate ranges from 1% to 4.99%.
Merchants are charged 1.00% to 4.99% per transaction for keyed-in and swiped-card payments. Its mobile payment rates are unknown. Moreover, there is no disclosure about the provider’s batch, gateway, annual, account setup, or application fees. The reviews indicate that Clearwater binds its merchants to a non-cancellable, four-year equipment lease with undisclosed pricing. Merchants are charged $495 in case of early contract termination.
The provider utilizes its official website, online advertisements, and referral programs to market its services. It does not depend on telemarketing and independent sales agents to resell its products and seems to refrain from portraying deceptive quotes to the merchants. However, there are no reviews to back this claim.
Moreover, the company does not provide the required information to the public. It is unclear whether the perception that Clearwater uses truthful marketing strategies is because of the company’s honest approach or simply the lack of online feedback. Merchants are advised to weigh all the pros and cons and check and entertain every possibility to make sure the company is not overcharging them before signing a contract.
The company provides a dedicated account manager to the merchants to address their queries. There is a contact form on the website to leave complaints or messages. Moreover, Clearwater has reserved a phone number and an email address to reach out to the provider with any concerns. Furthermore, the company has maintained a help desk ticketing system to manage customer complaints and provided knowledge-based documentation to the merchants.
There are not many reviews cited for Clearwater on online platforms. There are not any mentionable class-action lawsuits or FTC reports against the provider. It should be noted that the company is still new. Merchants may still be posting complaints against the provider’s parent organization itself. It could also mean that after the acquisition, most merchants are addressing their reviews for DocuPhase instead of doing it separately for Clearwater.
Moreover, the company does not have any Better Business Bureau profile and is not accredited by the platform hence no rating. Currently, there are zero Google, Yelp, or Facebook reviews. The provider is practically non-existent in the reviews section of any online platform.
The provider has a long history. Its executives were associated with various companies before starting this venture. Additionally, Clearwater is affiliated with multiple payment processors that are currently some of the worst-reviewed. Even though the provider has maintained a separate identity, merchants are advised to choose the right service provider for their business and steer clear of the possible Clearwater drawbacks.
Being stuck in a long-term contract can damage a business as it runs on a set pattern. There is a very minimal chance of exceptional growth, and you cannot expect anything unique. The provider offers long-term contracts without providing any flexibility to the client. Merchants cannot keep up with the latest tech changes and make any additions to their business plan until the contract ends.
Clearwater has not mentioned any pricing or contract detail anywhere online, and the least amount of information it provides is difficult to find on the official website. Merchants are unsure if they can afford the provider or if it’s appropriate for their business. The company’s contract terms do not give out any information about its pricing, which is frustrating for potential clients.
Clearwater charges a variable termination fee depending upon various aspects, which is too expensive for most low-risk businesses. The provider has mentioned a $495 early termination fee, yet it is not fixed. Merchants who cannot afford the provider’s high fees are forced to keep an unsatisfactory contract. It is not an appealing factor for any business.
The Clearwater Payments reviews prove that the provider does not offer adequate information about its pricing and hides its key terms and conditions. Additionally, there are not many reviews on any online platforms to depend on. New merchants looking for a service provider trust the company and take the risk of signing a contract but later find out that the provider is unsuitable for their business. The company’s high termination fee forbids them to cancel a contract, and they are stuck in it for a long time.
Moreover, undisclosed information is never a positive sign and can cause trouble in the future. Merchants are advised to look for a better service provider that offers complete guidance, affordable pricing, and all the necessary information.