Operating as a financial service provider since 1986, Preferred Card Services is headquartered in Idaho, United States, serving most businesses countrywide. Powered by Fiserv, the merchant account facilitator is a verified ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank. Its target audience and niche are unclear. Gathered from the few consumer reviews, it is evident that the company caters to most average-risk mobile and e-commerce businesses, including credit card companies and financial services.
Preferred Card Services’ CEO, John Martin, claims to represent some of the renowned organizations in the U.S. and promises to deliver excellence. The provider maintains a low profile and avoids publicity. There is not much online information either. So, it is impossible to know about the expertise and services it offers to its clients. However, here is a Preferred Card Services review comprising the basic pros and cons that merchants need to be aware of;
Fees and Contract Intricacies
Consumers are bound to variable contract terms through Fiserv depending on multiple deciding factors, including their company’s size, business type, and processing history. An average Preferred Card Services agreement costs $19.95 for PCI compliance, $495 for early cancellation, and a $0.10 batch fee. Merchants are offered a tiered pricing plan and charged 2.69% plus $0.19 for swiped and 3.69% plus $0.19 for keyed-in transactions.
The provider has partnered with Authorize.Net to provide online payment processing solutions. It charges a monthly payment gateway fee of $25 and demands a virtual terminal rate of 2.9% plus $0.30. Consumers are offered a four-year non-cancellable equipment lease, but the terms and rates are unclear. The company does not disclose all of its fees.
Sales and Marketing
The provider relies on telemarketing and utilizes the services of independent sales representatives to market its brand. Even though most companies receive complaints about their sales agents, Preferred Card services reviews hold a different story. Merchants have complained about the company’s telemarketing tactics and shown frustration about receiving uncountable calls. The sales agents have received fewer complaints in comparison. Nevertheless, the provider’s marketing strategies (if not improved) can taint its reputation.
Customer Support Options
Presumably, the provider facilitates its customer service through First Data. However, there isn’t any reliable source to verify this information. The company offers a general support number and an email address for its clients to address their queries and concern. These support options are inadequate to list Preferred Card Services as a top-rated service provider. While choosing a payment facilitator for their business, merchants are advised to consider this factor seriously.
Preferred Card Services Products and Features
The company accepts all major credit and debit card brands, including American Express, MasterCard, Discover, and Visa. It offers mobile payment solutions, virtual terminals, and payment gateway services. Merchants can benefit from its data analytics and reporting tools, e-check processing, and cash advance programs.
Consumers can create mutually-beneficial relationships with their customers by offering gift cards and reward points. The provider promises fast PCI compliance approval, ensuring a secure checkout experience at online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Customer Reward Programs
One of the most effective strategies to get more clients while keeping the old ones is to offer something that will keep them buying from you. Even the biggest enterprises operate with reward systems to incentivize their customers, making them believe they are being offered something they won’t get anywhere else.
The provider offers gift cards to its merchants that can be used to gain additional benefits, acting as a voucher. Customers can either gift these cards to their loved ones or use them to get discounts on future purchases. Moreover, merchants are offered reward points on a certain amount of shopping that can be exchanged for discounts.
Regular customers receive personalized promotional notifications for upcoming sales. These benefits encourage customers to refer the brand to their friends and family. This way, a business can gain new customers and maintain a positive relationship.
PCI Compliance Services
Preferred Card Services reviews indicate that the company has partnered with Control Scan (now renamed VikingCloud,) offering quick compliance approvals. With proactive data security, small and medium-scale businesses are provided compliance management features, helping them stay updated with the latest data privacy regulations and security standards.
Users are offered a cloud-based portal to manage the assessment process. Moreover, with the PCI gap analysis tool, businesses can compare their security controls with the PCI compliance standards and know what requirements are not being met in their organization.
Electronic Check Processing
The provider facilitates electronic check processing through Authorize.Net’s payment services, offering a secure environment for customers who prefer check payments. E-checks, transferred over an ACH network instead of a credit card network, are faster than paper checks and take only a few seconds to be sent over an email.
E-checks are cheaper than credit card processing and sometimes more convenient, especially for online, subscription-based, and auto-finance businesses. Customers can secure their payment details in a digital wallet and avail of the recurring billing option for regular transactions. Since electronic check payments eliminate the middleman, it is best for high-volume processing.
Preferred Card Services Reviews and Complaints
The provider has maintained a low complaint rate, but most reviews accuse it of scamming its clients. There is negative feedback about the company’s sales practices, and its customer support team has received its fair share of backlash. Consumers are unhappy with Preferred Card Services’ compliance policy and showing frustration about the lack of transparency.
Even though there are not many negative reviews cited online, the company has not received any praise either. No worth-mentioning class-action lawsuits or FTC reports are posted against Preferred Card Services.
Better Business Bureau Report
There are zero Preferred Card Services reviews on its Better Business Bureau profile, so the company displays an A+ rating. However, it should be noted that BBB ratings should not be relied upon since the ranking criteria are a little flawed and usually based on the number of complaints. Since most merchants do not care to write reviews or post online complaints, we have reasons to be suspicious about this rating.
Preferred Card Services Shortcomings
The company needs to improve its customer service and train its sales agents to be more attentive. The complaints about numerous unwanted calls were brushed aside with the statement that Preferred Card Services has no hand in those sales calls. However, consumers are not satisfied and demand answers. Here are some of the most commonly cited complaints against the company;
The provider does not reveal any information about its services, rates, contract terms, and other policies. The official website is only accessible in specific regions. Hence it is difficult for the general public to gain insight into what the company may offer.
New merchants cannot know what hardware it provides (if any) and are unaware of its product intricacies and features. It is difficult to determine if they can afford Preferred Card Services and if it is the best choice for their business. The company’s fees are variable and a mystery to most clients until they sign the contract. The limited available information is referenced from Fiserv and not the provider itself.
Multiple Preferred Card Services reviews reveal complaints about the company’s marketing tactics. People have shown frustration about unwanted calls in the middle of the night and accused the sales team of misguiding. Consumers have complained that the sales agents do not guide them through the PCI compliance process and offer inadequate information, leading them to pay the PCI non-compliance fee even after following the procedure. Some reviews even accuse the provider of being a rip-off.
Sub-Par Customer Service
Calling the company’s customer service subpar would be an overstatement since it is non-existent. Preferred Card Services reviews portray that the provider offers its contract through Fiserv, so it is safe to assume that merchants are also offered consumer support through the partner company. However, there are no reviews to verify this information.
The company advertises a 24/7 help desk, yet no contact details are available. Like other significant factors, the company has concealed this information, leaving merchants to figure things out. Without an efficient customer support team, the queries go unnoticed and remain unresolved.
Early Termination Fee
The average ETF is $495, but it can be higher. The provider can change the terms anytime during the contract, and the pricing is not the same for all merchants. A high ETF causes a strain on a smooth customer-merchant relationship. When a merchant cannot afford to cancel a contract or pay a hefty amount for it, they are forced to stay with a provider they no longer trust. They miss out on many opportunities, and their business cannot evolve.
This Preferred Card Services review concludes that the provider offers reasonable rates, but this is the extent of available data. There is not much information to consider it a reliable payment facilitator. The company displays enough red flags for merchants to be cautious.
Consumers looking to sign up with Preferred Card Services should find a way to negotiate with the company to find a middle ground. They are advised to demand all the necessary answers, gain insight, and clear the confusion. Otherwise, merchants should find a more convenient payment facilitator that offers transparency and can provide enough information to earn their trust.