The company is a First Data reseller, partnered with various payment processing companies, including Chase Merchant Services, Global Payments, and TSYS. Here is a complete and authentic Five Star Merchant Services review.
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Five Star Merchant Services is a payment processor and a registered ISO/MSP (Independent Sales Organization/Merchant Service provider) of Wells Fargo bank, Concordia. It was founded in 2002 as Delta Payment Solutions and is currently transitioning to TransGlobal Payment Systems.
Five Star Merchant Services offers complete payment solutions to most business types, including e-commerce, mom-and-pop, MOTO (Mail Order Telephone Order), and B2B businesses. It promises to guide merchants with tips to expand their business through valuable resources at competitive rates. Five Star claims that it will multiply a company’s revenue and productivity with its 75 years of experience as a reliable merchant service provider.
The provider processes all major debit and credit card brands, offering its expertise to retail stores, hotels, restaurants, e-commerce stores, non-profits, corporate sales, government, automotive, petroleum, moving companies, legal, beauty, gas stations, education, and the health care industry. Here is a review of the features and services the company provides for its merchants.
The company is a well-grounded source of various services. It offers credit card processing, pin debit payments, PCI security, gift cards, loyalty programs, business loans and funding, ACH, e-commerce solutions, POS systems, EMV card readers, and e-check processing. It uses advanced technology and provides user-friendly equipment to cater to a merchant’s needs.
Five Star Services’ custom mail-out feature allows merchants to connect with their customers through the mail. Merchants can customize and mail plastic postcards to approach new customers in a target market or to incentivize current ones.
This feature helps merchants promote their business and increase sales by creating membership programs, customizing loyalty programs, and sending SMS to multiple users simultaneously. Merchants have the option to design their promotional campaigns to suit various demographics. Users do not need any new equipment to use this feature.
The provider offers exceptional payment solutions to petroleum businesses. Features for the petroleum industry include EDC acceptance, fleet card solutions, quick funding, cashback features, and pin debit solutions, amongst essential payment processing services. Five Star enables merchants to accept major fleet cards like Fuelman, Voyager, and Wright Express. Merchants can offer the pay-at-the-pump feature at gas stations to attract more customers.
Five Star provides various gift card designs to choose from and offers customization to reach a targeted audience. This feature has a low startup cost and is easier to manage. It improves customer loyalty by providing instant discounts and point programs.
Five Star offers processing solutions for ACH payments and provides a payment gateway for ACH transactions. This service allows consumers to process quick payments while reducing the risk of human error and saving time. It has lower costs and is more secure than checks. Consumers can quickly transfer money online and don’t have to go through the hassle of keeping cash or checks on hand.
A business must be PCI DSS compliant to process credit cards as it secures payments from various risks and eliminates data breaches. Five Star Merchant Services helps merchants maintain a PCI-compliant business, reviews their accounts every year to eradicate any issues arising in the process and ensures that the company meets PCI security standards. Moreover, it provides PCI-certified equipment, and its user-friendly portal helps merchants get their business authorized without going through a confusing process.
The company provides flexible funding options to businesses without fixed terms or payment amounts. Most business types, including restaurants, bars, auto shops, retail stores, and salons, are eligible for this funding program. Merchants can benefit from funds up to $5000,000, and they are not restricted to using that funding on a specific business need. This service does not require any collateral, and users do not have to pay an expensive application fee.
Modern customers and businesses are quickly shifting toward online modes of payment. A vast majority of consumers like to shop and make payments online. Five Star ensures that e-commerce payments are processed at affordable rates, and merchants can set up their websites to accept online credit card payments. This feature involves reporting and analytics, a virtual terminal and payment gateway, advanced app integration, and recurring billing, with Level 2 and 3 processing.
Accepting credit card payments is necessary for all businesses in today’s fast-growing world. Five Star provides a free analysis to compare a business’s current cost with the cost it will have to pay after choosing Five Star Merchant Services. The company’s terminals are compatible with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Discover, PayPal, Diners Club, JCB, and Union Pay. It provides fast authorization and offers low rates for a 24/7 technical service.
The provider’s PIN debit solutions allow merchants to process PIN-based transactions at a lower rate. Users can access debit network services like Maestro, Interlink, and Pulse. It offers cashback and online debit transactions to most business types.
Hardware and Technology
Along with payment solutions and software, the company provides a variety of hardware and equipment to its merchants;
Although there is not much information on the official Five Star website about its contract, the company offers a variable contract length. Considering that it uses various backend processors, Five Star provides a multiyear contract depending on the processor, business type, size, and agent setting up the account. The reviews indicate that an average Five Star contract length is three years.
Fees and Pricing Model
Five Star offers a tiered pricing plan. The rate for the swiped card and keyed-in transactions ranges from 1.00% to 4.99%. The company charges from 2.29% plus $0.09 to 3.69% plus $ 0.19 per transaction. Five Star Merchant Service also provides an interchange plus pricing model that varies. Merchants are charged an early termination fee of up to $495 and a monthly $19.95 PCI compliance fee. The company’s equipment lease term is 48 months with variable lease charges. Consumers have reviewed that Five Star also charges additional fees like batch fees, payment gateway fees, technical support fees, and a monthly minimum fee. The provider has not disclosed these charges on the official website.
Along with its regular fees, the company charges an additional amount for level 2 and level 3 processing for B2B and B2G businesses. A merchant service provider requires advanced technology to transfer the data needed to carry out these transactions. Hence, it demands different interchange rates than regular credit card transactions. These rates vary and depend on the kind of business a provider is dealing with.
The company hires independent sales agents for promotions and marketing. Even though this practice is common in the payment processing industry, it becomes a catalyst for negative feedback. Companies can never have complete control over independent sales agents and often utilize sales tactics that merchants disapprove of. However, Five Star does not use deceptive measures for its marketing.
Like most businesses, the company has given standardized options to its merchants for customer support. It has provided multiple helpline phone numbers and an email on its official website. Moreover, there is an online form for customers to fill out complaints or address queries. The provider has not given any additional customer service platforms to customers.
There isn’t much feedback given for Five Star on online platforms. The few reviews posted by the merchants have a positive tone. Although, even a small number of negative reviews can be enough to stain a company’s reputation if they address a serious issue. None of the reviews indicate that the company is a scam. Moreover, there are no lawsuits worth mentioning against the provider.
The negative reviews found against the company revolve around its contract terms and termination issues. Some complaints are aligned with the company’s backend payment processor. Although it should be noted that since First Data handles the company’s customer support, most complaints are posted on First Data’s online profile.
Five Star is not accredited by Better Business Bureau and has an incomplete profile on the platform. Consequently, there aren’t any negative reviews on BBB for Five Star, and it is not rated there. The reason is that Five Star has given little to no information, and all the BBB inquiries have been ignored.
It should be noted that the lack of complaints does not mean the company has no drawbacks. It just means that merchants have not said anything about the company on the BBB platform, and no feedback has been given. Only three reviews were posted in the past 36 months and cannot be relied upon.
A company can never be fool-proof and will always lack in something. There are a few shortcomings that can be deal-breakers for merchants. Before selecting a payment processor for your business, a merchant should compare the available options and pick the one better suited to meet all their business needs. Even though the company comes with a reliable package and a wide range of products and services, reviewed below are a few drawbacks of Five Star that need careful consideration.
Five Star Services’ variable pricing rates are not competitive. Merchants are charged high PCI compliance fees and a list of other fees that are too expensive for most businesses. It also has an early termination fee, and the equipment lease charges are higher than the equipment’s purchase price itself. It seems like the provider does not emancipate its merchants from any charges.
The provider has not disclosed all information to its merchants and is not transparent about its rates and terms. Some complaints by the merchants indicate hidden fees and unexpected equipment lease terms. Moreover, Five Star’s independent sales agents are deceptive and do not disclose all the necessary information to merchants before signing up and misrepresenting the company’s rates.
The provider’s setup time is also no less than a conundrum. Merchants are promised an immediate setup time, but it can take more than a couple weeks and prolong even more if there is an equipment delivery involved. This confusion is frustrating for merchants and could be avoided if the provider is more transparent with its merchants.
The company’s customer support is not very extraordinary for its size. In today’s world of advanced technology, businesses try to be up-to-date with all options open for customer support. The provider only offers phone numbers and an email to its merchants, which is not enough. Considering the number of businesses it caters to, Five Star’s limited consumer support does not come to the rescue when needed, as most of the merchant’s queries and complaints are left unnoticed.
The company offers beneficial services and has a wide range of features and products, but it is not the best option for businesses looking for an affordable financial service provider. Merchants need a payment processor they can blindly trust and rely on without being constantly surprised by unexpected terms and hidden charges. Moreover, consumers deserve an all-time available provider that can answer all their questions and help them grow their businesses. Merchants are advised to research and compare their options before concluding which service provider is better suited for their company.