leaders merchant services review

Leaders Merchant Services Review 2022

Leaders Merchant Services’ reputation precedes it and reveals a number of concerning issues. Customers’ reviews and complaints include deceitful sales tactics such as surprise charges and accounts being shut down without warning. Before signing the LMS contract, business owners should exercise caution and consider other merchant service providers.

What is Leaders Merchant Services?

Leaders Merchant Services offers various payment processing services for small and large businesses, including – accounts for merchants, point of sale systems, online credit card processing, and cash advances for merchants.

The company is a reseller based in California which means the software and equipment you purchase from them are purchased from another business. In Leaders’ instance, the other company comprises Clover and its primary supplier First Data. First Data is now part of Fiserv, one of the largest companies that offer financial and payment technology worldwide.

Features of Leaders Credit Card Processing

This is a brief overview of the services available through Leaders processing services:

  • Merchant accounts: Like iPayment, Leaders Merchant Services is Fiserv’s ISO, but it could provide merchant accounts through other processors.
  • Clover POS Line: We’ve thoroughly reviewed the Clover line. Be aware that the majority of Clover products include a monthly subscription fee for software and the price of hardware. Additionally, Clover products are not reprogrammable to work alongside a different processor.
  • Countertop Credit Card Terminals: LMS offers Fiserv FD150 along with the RP10 PIN Pad. Although both are decent devices, they’re only available on lease. No matter which firm you purchase the devices from, we recommend you to buy the terminals directly and refrain from leasing, as the upfront cost one time is much lower than what you’ll have to pay over the course of a lease that you will not recover the fees from. 
  • Mobile Payments Processing: Leaders do not currently offer an online payment system that can be used with your tablet or smartphone. If you require payments instantly, a Clover Flex is your only option.
  • Shopping Cart Integration: Leaders Merchant Services sole shopping cart provider is CartManager. The company has been in existence since 1998.
  • Check Processing: Leaders Merchant Services includes the Magtek Mini-MIRC check reader. 
  • InstantAccept QuickBooks Integration: Leaders allows you to accept payments using a PC where QuickBooks isn’t installed and syncs everything to the back end.

Leaders Merchant Services Fees & Rates

Leaders Merchant Services doesn’t divulge prices on their website. Instead, they prefer to utilize a quote-based system customized to your specific business. However, it’s a common belief in processing that any firm that guarantees the lowest rate but doesn’t tell you the exact price — will end up as higher priced than its competition.

We’ve noticed that Leaders mostly uses the high price-tiered method to set rates. The process provides a cheap rate, but if most of your transactions fall within the mid-qualified or unqualified rate, you will end up paying much higher processing rates than anticipated. Surprise!

Like other traditional service providers, Leaders also provides a more transparent and reasonable interchange-plus pricing plan. However, you’ll need to inquire about it, and the majority of merchants aren’t knowledgeable enough of pricing plans to suggest a more suitable alternative.

Here’s a summary of what you can expect from Leaders Merchant Services fees:

  • Account Setup Cost: $25
  • Monthly Fee for Account: Usually at a minimum of $10 per month
  • Annual Cost: About $99 per year.
  • Monthly Minimum: $25/month
  • PCI non-compliance fee: $40/month for each month your account is in compliance
  • PCI Compliance Fee: $129/year
  • Gateway Cost: $25/month.
  • The Chargeback Cost: $35 per chargeback

Customer Service & Technical Support

While Leaders Merchant Services touts 24/7 support, many complaints from customers have pointed out the lack of service in this department. The support staff in-house will likely not be accessible at all times (I’ve noticed that their hours are from 6:30 AM to 6 PM PT, Monday through Saturday). You will likely be referred to assistance from third-party firms during off-hours. If you use any Clover suites, you could be directed to Clover for help with technical issues.

Aside from a few Resource PDFs and an informative FAQ, Leaders Merchant Services’ self-service tools are mainly absent. Other resources are available through its iAccess Merchant Portal, which is the payment platform used by most partners.

Pros

No industry limitations

Any company that complies with Leaders underwriting requirements can be approved to provide merchant services through LMS. The company does not have restrictions on specific industries or types of business.

Cons

Lack of transparency  

Leaders Merchant Services provides little in terms of upfront pricing information other than the claim that it has among the “lowest rates in the industry.” The company doesn’t disclose the charges associated with its service, although customers are charged annual, monthly, or one-time charges. LMS resolved a civil case in July 2021 in which it was accused of failing to provide information about fees to prospective customers adequately. The company’s leaders agreed to pay more than $800,000 in restitution and one million dollars in penalties for civil violations together with other fines in the settlement.

Customer complaints

Leaders Merchant Services has a B+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and a Trustpilot Trust Score of 2.7 out of five. Negative customer reviews complain about unexpected charges, deceitful sales tactics, and merchant accounts being shut down without notice.

Lengthy contract, early termination fees  

Small-business owners must sign an agreement for three years to work with Leaders Merchant Services. It’s a significant contract, especially considering the opaque pricing of the company and bad reviews. Customers can cancel at no cost within their first thirty days. After the first 30 days, the price for withdrawing is $250 to $350.

Leaders Merchant Services Review: Final Verdict

Many merchant service companies in the business engage in the type of fraudulent sales practices that led Leaders Merchant Services into legal problems. But, we’ve yet to witness one so outrageous in its attempts to boost its profits at the expense of its customers. The expensive tiered-price plans, leasing of equipment, contract terms, and the absence of adequate support for customers lead to a poor rating overall.