Unless you have a complete e-commerce business, you will need access to a dedicated credit card terminal to ensure the acceptance of credit card payments. If you have a large-scale business or are operating across multiple locations, you might require more than a single credit card terminal. Credit card terminals by merchant account providers are available in various sizes and shapes -right from the simply wired credit card terminals (similar to the size of a smartphone) to high-end POS (Point of Sale) terminals -capable of doing much more than merely processing credit card transactions.
Getting access to credit card terminals or merchant accounts can be an expensive process -especially for a first-time, small-scale business. Due to this, most traditional merchant account providers started using the concept of leasing arrangements to supply the merchants with the hardware needed. Therefore, it is essential to select the right merchant account provider to ensure the success of your business.
How to Watch Out for Bad Merchant Account Providers?
One of the easiest ways to save significantly on credit card processing is coming across the best merchant account providers. However, there are several reasons why you would like to keep a tab on the worst merchant account providers available out there.
The credit card processing industry is filled with fraudulent companies that might rob you of your savings. The processors are willing to execute anything when it comes to making quick money out of small-scale business owners. Bad merchant account providers are recognized for duping sales agents into the concept of commission-only working. Eventually, they train these sales agents to deceive retailers or merchants into signing expensive, long-term contracts with poor customer support and outdated equipment. Even worse, most of these merchant account providers rebrand and disappear often.
The companies we are going to review have all received either D or F ratings in the respective reviews due to the involvement of several factors, including:
- Reports related to poor customer services
- Undisclosed fees and rates
- Deceptive sales mechanisms
- Expensive monthly, annual, and early termination fees
- Several public complaints from former and current merchants
- Non-cancelable, long-term leases and contracts
- Several public complaints from former and current employees
- Poor rating with leading review websites
- Public interactions with CPOs or merchants not reflecting favorably on the organization
- Suspected or proven affiliations with poor-reputation companies
Worst Merchant Account Providers
Lease Finance Group
In addition to Golden Eagle Leasing and MBF Leasing, Lease Finance Group serves as the subsidiary of Northern Leasing Systems. The company is responsible for engaging in the same pattern of equipment leasing as its parent company. Lease Finance Group turns out to be the second-most active brand by Northern Leasing. It has been cited in several merchant account complaints more than other affiliated subsidiaries.
Lease Finance Group has also been named in the lawsuit of the New York General against Northern Leasing. Moreover, it is also known to provide the same non-cancelable, expensive, and long-term equipment leases.
Northern Leasing Systems
It is currently settling another lawsuit filed by the New York State Attorney General. Northern Leasing Systems is an equipment lease service provider for ensuring credit card processing. It is not an end-to-end merchant account provider. Even after its immense focus on equipment, the organization has a number of merchant complaints due to its practice of non-cancelable, 4-year equipment leases.
Usually, Northern Leasing Systems allows sales agents with any merchant account provider to sell the equipment leases of the company as additional material to the basic merchant account contracts. As a matter of fact, most organizations in the current list deliver access to equipment leases through Northern Leasing Systems.
It leads to more confusion amongst merchants who do not realize that they end up signing contracts with two entities. The confusion easily gets converted into a rage once the customers realize that leases by Northern Leasing Systems continue for four years -one year more than the basic multi-year contracts by merchant account providers. Customers also realize that the contracts cannot be canceled without paying the total amount of the contract. Moreover, the company also charges the merchants an amount that turns out to be several times higher than the purchase price of the leasing equipment.
Ladco Global Leasing Solutions is another equipment leasing organization that is one of the preferred partners of Elavon -one of the most popular credit card processors across the globe. The standard terms for equipment lease by Ladco Leasing are quite similar to the one offered by Northern Leasing Systems and its subsidiaries. The equipment leases by Ladco Leasing are available as non-cancelable, long-term, and disclosed inconsistently by sales agents. Moreover, these equipment leases by Ladco Leasing are significantly more expensive than the real price of the equipment.
The unclear status of Ladco Leasing as the prospective affiliate or subsidiary of Elavon makes it quite difficult to analyze to what extent the marketing and customer services of the company are managed by Elavon. Moreover, there are more than 200 merchant complaints regarding Ladco Leasing, its high costs, and the challenging leased terms of the company.
Main Street Processing
Main Street Processing is regarded as the DBA of Datalink Bankcard Services. The processor was discovered initially due to a major inflow of complaints -referring to the use of unethical slamming strategies. The complaints keep coming and going. However, they consistently mention telemarketers posing as the current processor of the merchant.
There is also proof that suggests that Main Street Processing has commenced executing business in the form of Challas Group and Wholesale Banc. The companies are known to share staff with Datalink Bankcard Services.
FDGL or First Data Global Leasing
FDGL is regarded as the subsidiary of the giant First Data -one of the largest merchant account providers in the United States of America. There is the presence of non-cancelable, expensive leases that last for the duration of 24-48 months. Therefore, FDGL has ended up generating ample negative complaints from multiple merchants for its respective business practices.
Primarily, FDGL leases its proprietary POS systems and credit card terminals as branded by First Data. Some of the leading equipment leases by FDGL are Clover Station POS and others. While the hardware offerings of FDGL are solid items, they are quite affordable in the long run by purchasing and not leasing them.
For instance, it is possible to buy Clover Station POS for around $1000. While it might be a large investment for a small-scale business, it is significantly less than you might have to pay for a lease of 4 years. Moreover, you will also get access to your own equipment -right from the beginning, instead of sending it back to FDGL or paying another time to purchase it after the expiry of the lease.
The website of FDGL is quite basic. Therefore, it does not offer much information about the terms of the leases or even the leasing fees in association with the respective products or services. However, the website comes with a brief FAQ section to convince people that leasing is not a profitable idea.
First American Payment Systems
It is a super ISO of Vantiv. First American Payment Systems is based in Texas. Vantiv is known to have served as the parent company of some of the poorly-rated ISOs -including Apex Merchant Group, Eliot Merchant Group, Certified Payment Processing, Trinity Merchant Group, Summit Merchant Solutions, and Trans Tech Merchant Group.
First American Payment Systems, along with its several resellers, features a large team comprising independent sales agents. There is also the presence of multi-year contracts with a higher early termination fee of around $495.
While the brand has received fewer complaints quite recently, it used to serve as one of the most reliable sources of understanding negative merchant reviews.
North American Bancard
North American Bancard is a Global Payments reseller with a history of 25 years. North American Bancard is headquartered in Troy, Michigan. The organization is known to employ a large workforce featuring sales agents who are independently contracted. Moreover, the company offers access to a standard contract lasting for 3 years. The company also features an early termination fee structure for liquidated damages.
North American Bancard serves to be the parent company of PayAnywhere, -a mobile-based POS solution. PayAnywhere has ended up garnering a number of public complaints since its inception in 2010. In 2017, North American Bancard attained success in acquiring Total Merchant Services.
This review should have given you a better understanding of what to look out for in a Merchant Services account provider in order to protect and sustain your business. There are certainly much better options that the providers listed above, and we hope that these cautions help your decision-making process become a lot easier.