PAI was established in 2006 in Louisville, KY. Payment Alliance operates out of three other locations too. PAI has a sales office in Florida, an ATM center in Montana and a hardware shipping center in Mississippi. The main cash cows of PAI are ATMs and ATM services. PAI manages the operation and credit card processing of these machines and sales, installation, maintenance and branding of more than 70,000 units in the US.
Other than ATMs, the firm also has a stronghold in the merchant service provider landscape. Payment Alliance International has a highly complex mode of operations, and it can be tough to compare it to another provider till you research the provider thoroughly. PAI provides services to high-risk clients, especially in the firearm business. PAI is an openly gun-friendly provider endorsed by popular dealers and bodies such as the NRA, gubroker.com and National Shooting Sports Association.
The risk elimination factors offered by PAI make it a common provider for many low-income and high-risk users that usually do not qualify for merchant accounts with other providers in the market. Payment Alliance International has more than 85000 customers in retail, and it offers eCommerce, countertop, mobile and storefront processing solutions to almost all kinds of small and medium-sized businesses.
Services Offered by Payment Alliance International
Most of the services and products offered by Payment Alliance International are described very well on their website. The provider charges more for advanced features, and it is up to the merchants themselves to negotiate a deal with the most features at a reasonable cost. Out of the several intricate offering of the provider, below are some of the essentials;
While PAI offers a full-fledged merchant account, it does not process transactions independently. Businesses have to sign up for a separate processor for a payment gateway, monthly transaction statements, and other transaction-based needs. PAI encourages its clients to use Global Payments as their primary processor. But they can also process payments through TSYS and WorldPay.
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway
Virtual terminals and secure payment gateways are modern business essential. With most of the world shifting towards eCommerce, having a secure portal for online transactions is nothing short of a necessity. PAI does not have a fancy virtual terminal, but it has the essentials. Merchants can receive payments through ACH, phone, or recurring billing based on their preferences.
PAI often sets up its clients with payment gateways of Authorize.net or eProcessing Network. But the provider is compatible with countless other payment gateways as well. While there is no elaborate information on what Payment Alliance International has to offer in the name of eCommerce, essential gateway integration with websites and shopping carts is mandatory to qualify as a payment gateway provider.
Products Offered by Payment Alliance International
Like their services, most of the hardware associated with PAI will come at a lease or upfront payment by the merchant. Merchants have an opportunity to negotiate with the provider at the time of the contract. In some cases, PAI offers bundles of products and services bunched together, specifically tailored to cater to different needs of businesses in various industries.
Wireless Sales Terminals
While PAI is compatible with most common and competent point-of-sales terminals, they feature the iWL250 Ingenico wireless card terminal on their website. While the iWL series is dependable, it is safe to assume that merchants may prefer other terminals. Merchants need to discuss with the provider which terminals are compatible with PAI and which are not before they choose another airport for their business.
Mobile Card Reader
Like online and remote payments, mobile payments too are a growing necessity for businesses. This is especially true for companies that need to contact customers regularly to renew their subscriptions. A payment option on their doorstep adds ease to pay increases the overall sales dramatically. PAI offers their PAImobile Plus package for merchants that want to take payments on the go. They offer an EMV compatible headphone jack card reader by SwipeSimple and a mobile POS app to work with it.
PAI is one of the largest ATM distributors in the US, so it is no wonder that they have exceptional knowledge and offerings in that department. PAI promotes their ATM services as additional opportunities to brick-and-mortar shops and firms that deal with them. Businesses can even opt for an ATM as a standalone business opportunity too. PAI covers everything from installing EMV-capable and wireless ATMs to their maintenance. They have very detailed descriptions of their offerings on their ATM superstore.
Pitfalls of Payment Alliance International
While Payment Alliance International is considered one of the better providers in the market, it is no wonder that they, too, have some room for improvement. The first point that criticizes the provider is their contract length and early termination fee. Based on evidence on the internet, it can be seen that the provider has merchants in three-year contracts that can only be cancelled after a hefty termination fee. While they calculate the termination fee using two different methods, the merchant has to pay the lesser of the two. Either way, the typical amount a merchant has to pay is way beyond the industry average.
Furthermore, based on some reviews and statements found on the internet, a tiered pricing structure can be seen. Tiered pricing almost guarantees higher rates for the processing of transactions. While their customer care claims they use an interchange-plus pricing structure, it cannot be seen anywhere on their website. Interchange-plus is the best pricing model, and if PAI offered that, then there was no reason to omit it from their website.
Finally, there is a vast disparity between the experiences of merchants, what the customer support claim and what the evidence on the internet describes the provider. While their customer support claims they have a month-to-month contract, evidence on the internet is almost entirely against that claim.
The disparity in information about the provider’s offerings stems from PAI’s use of both internal sales representatives and resellers in the market. There is a chance that the company offers a month-to-month contract and an interchange-plus pricing model. It is up to the merchant to find the right avenue to sign up for their services.
Merchants are advised to call their customer support and confirm their actual terms before committing with a reseller. It is best to choose a more transparent provider if that is too much of a hassle. Many merchant service providers are more open about their terms and offerings.