Merchant Account Reviews - Reviews of Merchant Processors

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Find out criticisms and complaints of various merchant account processors
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A Culture of Ethics and Standards At Every Level

The credit card processing industry has gotten a great deal of bad publicity and complaints regarding the way it does business. The nature of the business itself has a lot to do with the negativity associated with merchant services. Additionally, the large client base and diverse range of customers means that there will be some companies that complain about their services despite the fact that they may have actively defrauded their merchant account provider. Emotions can also run high because a company that ends up closing an account with money owed will end up on a blacklist (the MATCH list) that is notoriously hard to get off of.

In the best of all worlds, you should be able to leave your current processor with no early termination fees, liquidated damages (which can read like a horror story) or other charges. On the flipside, it does cost money to set you up in processing, so there may need to be some recovery if you just order a complex setup and then skip out without paying. From the author's experience, you are paying a lot of people to keep up a system and they need to eat too.

Professional Ethics for Processors

Salespeople should not actively disparage other processors, banks, and credit card associations such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and AMEX.  The key to making a sale should be to show that a new partnership would be in the client’s best interest, not that people are getting “ripped off” or “robbed” by their current processor. It is especially important for salespeople to stay professional about their colleagues in the industry since companies merge all the time, and a salesperson may end up working for the very business he or she disparaged. Furthermore, many business owners may associate negativity about a competitor with the salesperson. In the same way that you shouldn’t badmouth your old employer when you go on a job interview, you should not say bad things about a business owner’s current choice of credit card processing services. In a manner of speaking, you are calling your prospective customer an idiot for getting scammed

For processing companies employing various sales methods, the professional philosophy should extend to sales groups and independent contractors. Many 1099 employees who resell your services may come into town with a pushy, aggressive, and brash attitude. Door-to-door salesmen often will sell services that provide them with the most profit up front, with little thought toward the long-term relationship and back-end profits. Many “feet on the street” teams will swarm into a town, solicit every open store, and then leave business people with a bad impression of your company. Furthermore, since business owners get badgered about credit card processing on a weekly basis, your sales force needs to have a value proposition and professional bearing far in excess of previous offers.

Online affiliate marketing is another place where processors get leads, but affiliates also need to be aware of your company’s standards for ethics and professionalism. For example, there are sites that may show false rates and offers in order to send a “lead” over to your company. Many sites show “reviews” or “top processors” which are ranked by the commissions that they provide for the marketer. Therefore, there is an incentive to show negative reviews for companies that don’t provide a commission, while high commission companies get top billing. Note that the Federal Trade Commission requires bloggers, website owners, and “reviewers” to disclose any sponsorships or paid relationship.

What are some other examples of unprofessional behavior seen in the industry? In merchant services, ISOs and representatives have had a reputation of doing some very shady things, including falsifying signatures on documents, leaving out contract pages that show additional charges, supplying obsolete hardware, and representing teaser rates as permanent. Independent Sales Organizations for credit card processors often make their money by reselling contracts to leasing companies and processors, so they have an incentive to get the sale at all costs and leave customer service issues to the processing company. Naturally, this means that BBB complaints, Ripoff Report postings, and online complaints often get associated with the processor and not the guilty salesperson or agency.

Maintaining an atmosphere of professionalism, courtesy, and integrity in the credit card processing field is essential for long-term success. As most reputable merchant services firms know, a great deal of money is made in residuals and account maintenance. Furthermore, referrals are the lifeblood of many established firms, and satisfied customers can do a better job evangelizing your product than many salespeople. By expecting a high standard from your representatives, customer service, and support teams, you can get benefits far beyond those seen by the average ISO.