SunTrust is a credit card processing company; it provides payment processing solutions to merchants with the association of First Data as its backend processor. It is counted as a reseller of the merchant account services of First Data Corporation (Fiserv) which has a partnership with Clover to provide POS hardware solutions to the merchants. SunTrust Merchant Services is a division of SunTrust banks and use it as its acquiring bank and has headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. SunTrust Merchant Services’ founding year is 2002, and Eric Mann is running the company as the CEO with almost 1000 employees.
SunTrust Merchant Services offers to process major cards and check transactions for all business sizes on contractual terms. Its partnership with First Data Global Leasing also enables it to provide equipment leasing on a locked term basis.
The company hardly guides the clients concerning services, and the customer service is also not up to par. The SunTrust Merchant Services review below has analyzed everything about the provider, from services to prices.
Products and Services
SunTrust Merchant Services is well known for its merchant services, as the company resells the merchant services of First Data. You will find multiple options to facilitate your e-commerce and in-store business tasks and payment processing on its platform. Their payment processing services include check payments, POS processing, mobile and telephone orders via a virtual terminal and online payment gateway, and electronic benefits transfer.
SunTrust Merchant Services process mobile transactions via ApplePay. For the Andriod users, it processes NFC payments through the PAYware Mobile reader from Verifone.
GiftCards & Perks Loyalty Program
SunTrust promotes business growth by offering Gift cards and promotional messages to the customers. The virtual loyalty program provides customers attractive rewards on every purchase to increase sales. This offering has grabbed the attention of returning and new customers.
This is First Data’s security system to detect fraud in payment processing, ensuring safe business transactions with the help of tokenization and encryption.
First Data offers Insightics to evaluate the spending habits and analyze the ways to increase business growth by tracking recent growth patterns.
SunTrust Merchant Services Customer Support
A single contact number is displayed on the SunTrust Merchant Services website for customer service. Customer Service is given over the phone and is available during business hours;
Contact Number: (800) 432-7628
The company provides live support to customers, however, there are no precise details about it. The company also offers knowledge-based documentation to instruct the customers about the setup process.
There is no e-mail present on the website. Also, the company fails to post their social media profiles and it is unsure if they have an additional online presence. Considering the extent of information it delivers to customers as a support, it is difficult to award it an above-average rating. Customers find it difficult to contact a representaive to get their queries answered. This results from the limited information about their services on their website; merchants can hardly navigate through their systems.
Because of its partnership with Cover and First Data, SunTrust’s customer support reputation does not solely depend on SunTrust Merchant Services. Customers who have experienced dissatisfaction from First Data customer representatives report SunTrust in that review due to their association. Considering the reviews against customer service, it cannot be regarded as a provider with reputable or top-rated customer service.
SunTrust Merchant Services Advertising and Sales
SunTrust Merchant uses a client-based system for advertising its services. It offers additional services to its pre-existing banking clients, thus heavily promoting cross-selling.
The company’s sales agents and cross-selling practices have impacted the reputation of SunTrust Merchant Services. It makes it hard for reviews to call them transparent in all terms, and it is noted that there are many negative reviews against the organization.
SunTrust Merchant Services website has inadequate information. Although some of the pricing and sales information is traceable from informal sources, merchants cannot find the complete facts presented in a detailed manner.
Truth in Marketing
To summarize, SunTrust Merchant Services does not disclose all essential terms and is not completely honest in its marketing practices. Merchants are disclosed strict conditions after they sign up for an account, or typically an amendment can be found in previous agreed upon terms after contract closure.
Although it does not advertise through third-party sales agents, deception can be seen in the company’s promises. The main reason is client-based banking instead of a proper channel for promoting its services. This leads to a lack of trust in the bank and its merchant services department.
SunTrust Merchant Services Rates
SunTrust does not disclose its pricing information publicly on its website. However, the rates of Suntrust Merchant Services indeed resemble the pricing list of First Data. First Data offers a standard plan with variable contract length and terms; however, they are multi-year plans usually with hefty price listings.
The merchants with a monthly processing limit of up to $50,000 will be charged 2.69%+ $0.19 as a swiped rate. For keyed-in transactions, the price is set to 3.69%+$0.19. Businesses with a processing value of more than $50,000 per month have swiped rates of 2.29%+$0.19 and a keyed-in rate of 3.29%+$0.19. PCI compliance fee is registered as $19.95 per month.
In addition to the previous rates, SunTrust has offered long-term and non-cancellable equipment leases for 48 months through its partner, First Data Global Leasing.
Due to the doubts about the company’s transparency, these prices cannot be verified. Witnessing the old practice, it is said that hidden charges and additional costs may be attached to their merchant plans.
The company does not disclose the monthly, payment gateway, and batch fees. Plus, there is no information about the application charges, gateway setup fee, and annual fee.
SunTrust Contract Terms
SunTrust bounds its users into a multi-year contract and charges them a heavy price upon early termination. The contract length of SunTrust is up to three years, with tiered pricing plans. Merchants are charged with a PCI compliance fee, hidden charges, and additional fees. Terminating the contract before three years results in the merchants’ payable fee of $495.
SunTrust Merchant Services’ contract length and the associated rates are expensive if compared with the industry standards. Other payment processors are more economical and don’t bind the customer to strict terms. The partner company First Data is also not as rigid in its terms as SunTrust is.
Complaints Against the Provider
SunTrust has a high complaint ratio all over the internet, where customers have reviewed most of the negative aspects of the company. Many complaints about merchants labeling its services as a scam and rip-off. More than 250 authentic complaints can be traced all over the internet on different sites.
SunTrust is a massive organization with various services, and merchants have complained against almost everything, including its banking services and policies, mortgaging subsidiaries, and loans. However, many complaints about SunTrust Merchant Services and hidden charges are among the significant issues mentioned. To have a deeper dive into the nature of SunTrust’s common complaints, continue to the following sections.
SunTrust Merchant Services BBB complaints
SunTrust was established long ago; however, its merchant services were initiated in 2002. SunTrust’s profile has been accredited with Better Business Bureau since 1967, so the complaints are not restricted to merchant services only.
Furthermore, Trust Bank has SunTrust’s headquarters profile submerged and has been accredited with BBB since 1986.
SunTrust, as a whole, has received 2683 complaints in the last three years. 1635 complaints were submitted for product and service issues, 454 have discussed billing and collection problems, and 491 show customers’ dissatisfaction with advertising and sales. Among the rest, 34 are registered for guarantee and warranty concerns, and 69 have reviewed delivery affairs.
Out of all 2683 complaints that BBB registered in the last 36 months, SunTrust has resolved 1452 complaints to the customer’s satisfaction. The rest of 1231 were either left unnoticed or resolved to a dissatisfactory level.
BBB Informal Reviews
Besides the 2683 complaints in the last 36 months, merchants have registered 1287 informal reviews. Out of these, 22 were significantly negative in tone. However, these informal comments have discussed the whole SunTrust organization and not solely SunTrust Merchant Services are reviewed.
BBB Rating of SunTrust Merchant Services
Merchants find Better Business Bureau rating skeptical, and BBB provides reasons to be. BBB has awarded SunTrust an A+ rating, which is misleading because the company shows its involvement in a lawsuit filed against it for breaching the Federal Reserve rules in the dealings, relatively high complaint ratio, and low resolving percentage.
SunTrust Merchant Services Lawsuits and Fines
Class action lawsuits and legal fines are rare problems that merchant service providers have to deal with. And there are fewer shreds of evidence where renowned payment processors have to defend legal action against them. However, SunTrust Merchant Services had previously dealt with a legal proceeding, which can be considered a red flag.
In 2017 the banking apparatus of SunTrust was charged with a significant amount of $1.5 million civil penalty. The Federal Reserve investigation charged the fine for breaching the National Flood Insurance Act.
However, suppose the customers are willing to file a class action lawsuit in opposition to SunTrust services or terms. In that case, they should report it to the relevant supervisory organization for legal action.
SunTrust Merchant Services Setbacks
SunTrust has diversified services, considering that its complaints are diverse in nature. Although SunTrust Merchant Services has its own website, it is hard to find SunTrust Merchant Service Reviews without being bundled up with reviews of the SunTrust organization.
After evaluating dispersed complaints, the commonly appearing downsides of SMS are evaluated below;
SunTrust’s offered rates are expensive compared to industry standards. Merchants are tied with tiered plans and charged with hefty early termination fees upon canceling the contract. The minimum contract time is three years, and up to $500 is deducted from customers as early termination fees.
In addition, Customers are obliged to pay a PCI compliance fee every month. Most negative complaints refer to the company’s early termination and PCI compliance fees. Merchants are dissatisfied because of strict canceling policies imposed by SunTrust Merchant Services.
Lack of Transparency
The company is accused of being a rip-off and a scam due to its practices of undisclosed essential terms. An increase has been observed in the company’s negative reputation where merchants are not satisfied with the ambiguous terms. Their website publicly displays minimal information, and strict terms are not revealed until the customer has signed the contract. Misrepresented and undisclosed terms are why its services cannot be compared to transparent and top-rated providers.
SunTrust offers a contract with more inflexible terms than First Data’s contract. In addition to hefty prices and lengthy contracts, SunTrust Merchant Services is infamous for imposing hidden charges monthly. Merchants have complained that the provider deducts funds from accounts in the name of expenses that have not been mentioned in the contract.
SunTrust does not use third-party agents to represent its services and grab customers, which is a good initiative. However, the downside is that it only relies on client-based advertisement, which has added several negative complaints.
Company representatives are not effective enough to deal with customer problems, and the customer service is below average, which concerns a payment processor.
According to the data in this SunTrust Merchant Services review, the company is not qualified to compete with top-rated payment processors in the market. However, some of its services as the reseller of First Data advocate the positive rating of the company.
The negligence observed in the disclosure of sales terms, ambiguity in information, misleading statements, and high prices are significant hurdles in business growth, especially for new start-ups.
If you still want to test their services, review and compare the contract terms with other competitors. It is recommended to check beforehand if the contract has an auto-renewal clause because it can cost you a significant loss if it goes unnoticed.