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Review of BluePay Merchant Services

184 Shuman Boulevard, Suite 350, Naperville, IL 60563

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Overview

BluePay is a payment processor and gateway service that can appeal to medium- to large-size U.S. merchants. As a total in-house service (except for hardware and some software), they can provide all types of payment options.

Our first reaction to BluePay was excitement, because this in-house processor and gateway service seems to have it all. And, the company does have it all - including lack of transparency. Forget looking for fine print in the Terms of Service (TOS) or in any other page, because they don't share their pricing. Instead, BluePay is more concerned about third parties sharing their information than with sharing their final costs to merchants.

With that said, there's something to be said about a Naperville, Illinois, company that's been in business for 15 years with little to no bad reviews. The kudos are few and far between, too, except for the case studies posted on BluePay's site. Considering all that BluePay offers U.S. merchants, we feel it's worth a look to determine if this company can fit your needs.

BluePay focuses on business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G), but they also look to serve any size business in any industry by processing all major credit cards, debit cards, and checks. Any business can benefit from a company that avoids the middle man in its services, but this benefit comes with our caveat - be aware of any hidden fees.

Detailed Review

Below is a detailed review of BluePay Merchant Services offering. The review is broken down into the following categories.

Features

Depending upon the type of business you own, some of the following features may or may not be important to you.

BluePay offers a wide range of services, mainly because they're an in-house gateway and payment processor. Also, they offer a wide variety of hardware and software through third-party "partners."

Software Compatibility:
Intuit Quickbooks Yes
Sage 50 No
Microsoft Dynamics GP No
Hardware Compatibility:
Windows / Blackberry No
iPhone / iPad Yes
Android Yes
Alternative Transaction Types:
Phone Orders Yes
Internet Orders Yes
Wireless Orders Yes
Mobile Orders Yes
Snail Mail Orders Yes
American Express (AMEX) Yes
Add Tips to Bills Yes
eCommerce / Shopping Cart Yes
International Sales Possible
Recurring Payments Yes
EMV Chip Cards Yes
Contactless Cards Yes
Loyalty / Gift Cards Yes
eChecks / Electronic Checks Yes
Welfare Benefits (EBT/SNAP/TANF) Yes
Security / Fraud Prevention:
AVS Fraud Protection Yes
PCI DSS Secure Transactions Yes
Industry Specific:
HIPAA Compliance (Healthcare) No
Trust Account Debiting (Legal) No
Fleet Cards (Petroleum) Yes
Online Menu Orders (Restaurants) Yes
Countries Served:
U.S. Yes
Other Countries No
International No

The eCommerce option, and possibly other options listed here, could be offered through a third-party BluePay partner. Be aware when you enter an agreement with BluePay that your needs are fully covered without having to sacrifice your budget. This warning comes with the advice to check about use of their services in other countries. We were hard pressed to learn that information without talking to a sales rep.

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Pricing

Almost Every merchant account services company uses either Interchange Plus or Tiered Pricing (read more about this topic here). Where companies allow us to disclose pricing information, we show the deals that our secret shoppers were able to achieve. When companies offer both Interchange Plus and Tiered Pricing, we try to get a quote on both options.

According to BluePay, a number of options determine your price for their services. These options include type of business, type of credit card payments, swiping vs. manual, volume of sales, average ticket price, bundled vs. unbundled packages, and (something BluePay doesn't mention) your ability as a merchant to negotiate their price structure.

To address BluePay's swiped vs. keyed-in payments, we have this transparent rate:

  • .95% per swiped transaction
  • 1.99% per manual transaction

There are no varying rate differences between qualified cards and specialty cards such as Rewards cards shown, and BluePay doesn't mention that their third-party partners may charge a separate fee for using their software or hardware.

Given that these rates would have BluePay actually losing money on transactions involving reward credit cards or Amex, we're pretty sure this is a tiered pricing plan, with only the lowest tier being disclosed. As always with companies that use this type of fee structure, be on the looking out for what the "non-qualified tier's" rates are, and what the requirements are for a transaction to be placed in a certain tier so that you don't end up with surprise downgraded transactions.

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Contract Fine Print

BluePay posts some comparison pricing that is so general and so low that it may entice a merchant to call just to see what's up. We discovered a few items in fine print, and other items in our research. That said, we were unable to verify a lot of information, as this company really keeps its pricing information close to the vest. You'll note those uncertainties are designated "perhaps":

Fine Print Fees:
Termination Fee $295
Setup / Application Fee Perhaps
PCI Compliance Fee $99-125/year
PCI Inaction Fee Perhaps
Gateway Fee Perhaps
1099-K Fee Perhaps
Statement Fee Perhaps
Online Reporting Fee Perhaps
Monthly Minimum Volume Fee Perhaps
Accept International Pymt Fee Perhaps
Voice Authorization Fee Perhaps
Monthly Min. Process Fee Perhaps
Daily Batch Fee None
ACH / Direct Deposit Fee Perhaps
ACH Charge Fee Perhaps
ACH Return Fee Perhaps
FANF Fee Perhaps
Chargeback Fees Perhaps
Freebies:
Free Setup Consultation
24/7 Free Cusomter Support

Our Take: Although BluePay seems to offer every merchant service imaginable to their clients, we hope that a merchant's accountant, attorney, or in-house staff has enough savvy to ask all the questions to find the bottom line for BluePay's services. While we also focus on customer service, we want to know what we're paying for and why when it comes to credit card processing. Bring it up front, BluePay! That transparency might work better than any cheesy $500 sales lure you're currently offering.

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Equipment

BluePay Offers Traditional and iPad POS Systems like the PayFirma iPad System

While your transactions usually take place electronically, the actual device that you use to swipe a customer's card is referred to as "the equipment." This equipment includes hardware and, often, software or apps for that hardware to function properly.

Although BluePay offers in-house gateway and processing services, their equipment comes from any one of their partners. While the gateway for virtual terminals also is in house, the POS software is through a third party, too. BluePay focuses on partnerships, especially those that can offer more products and services to BluePay clients. The categories for partnerships include accounting software, hosting, mobile loyalty programs, and eCommerce platforms, among many more options.

HARDWARE

  • Terminals: POS, mobile, and other hardware solutions are available through BluePay's partners.
  • Card Reader: Ditto.

SOFTWARE

  • Gateway Solutions: BluePay offers all that a merchant might need in secure gateway services. Beyond this option, the merchant needs to partner with a BluePay partner.

This section sealed our opinion that BluePay is not for small merchants. The partnership options for hardware and software can become too confusing for merchants who have other problems on their hands. Most of these options also may provide contracts other than the one you sign at BluePay, which can muddy the financial waters as well.

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Countries Served

BluePay and its affiliates prefer to work with U.S.-based businesses that conduct business within the U.S. They may have possibilities to sell to other countries or internationally, but - again - that information wasn't available to us.

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Contract Length / Termination

I generally don't like long-term contracts or termination fees in merchant services agreements, because the ability to cancel keeps the credit card processor on its best behavior, including the willingness to make you happy if there's a dispute. Plus, this ability to cancel gives you the ability to move on if you find a better deal.

Look for a standard three-year contract that auto-renews in one-year increments following the end of that initial period. You can avoid that auto-renew with a cancellation in writing at least 60 days before that contract ends. The early termination fee currently is $295.00, which isn't bad when compared to some larger card processing companies. I would suggest that you, as a merchant, press BluePay to waive that fee. If they want you as a customer, they may consider this option.

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About the Company

The merchant account services industry is multi-layered. Understanding how those layers fit together can be confusing (Read More in this Article). A good thing to know, however, is whether or not your company is a direct processor (good if yes) or, if not, then to know who they process with and whether or not that processor is reliable. The second thing to know is whether or not the service or sales staffs are in-house or outsourced. In-house staffs are preferable for you, as these staff members may have more access to sources that can resolve your issues.

Processor: BluePay is, in addition to an ISO, also a payment gateway, providing a full suite of merchant account services without the middle man. They also process all accounts under one roof, but they outsource their hardware and most software solutions through third-party "partners."

Account Sales: BluePay appears to have all sales in house, with offers mainly to pull customers from existing accounts with their "switch and save" motto. With everything that BluePay offers, we're sad to see their $500 offer for "just letting us try" to offer better deals than a merchant's current merchant services account. That offers reeks of desperation and it's a gimmick that's as old as the hills.

Account Service: BluePay states that they offer service 24/7 to their customers, but we've seen some complaints that suggest customer service is not up to par. BluePay also provides a live chat option on the right side of the screen on their website.

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Customer Service

As part of our review process, we try to test merchant account service companies' claims by placing test calls and working through the customer service process. I made the following call and didn't get very far...

When:

2/16/2015; TIME: 1:15 pm EST

Who:

Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

A phone tree offered two options between sales and support. Out of curiosity, I picked the support side. That service focused on support for mobile, tablet, and terminal options only. I didn't go any further, as I wanted to ask sales about these options.

Our Take: The options provided by support seem to confirm our take that BluePay has some issues with third-party integration. We could be way off course here, but our next call seemed to confirm that BluePay is pretty tight about handing out information.

When:

2/16/2015; TIME: 1:17 pm EST

Who:

Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

I had to redial the BluePay number to try the sales option. A woman answered the phone in native English, but she spoke so quickly that I couldn't catch her name. I asked whether BluePay would pick a third-party option for me for hardware or if I could use my own. She interrupted me, and stated she would need more information from me before she could hand me over to sales. She presumed that I was going to switch my current service to theirs. When I stated I had no merchant services and was shopping for services, she stated again that she couldn't hand me over to sales until she had more information from me.

Our Take: In any other situation, I might have provided my full name and any information that receptionist required just to talk with sales. However, I felt I was entering a hostile environment. After reading the TOS early on, I felt I needed to thank her and leave. That TOS is very conservative when it comes to sharing information about the site anywhere else. So, there you go - total lack of transparency.

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Common Customer Complaints / Our Verdicts

We scoured the web to find past and current customer complaints about BluePay's services. Then, we investigated those complaints that seemed legit, and provide our verdict on how well the processor handled the issues.

Hidden Fees:
Customer Complaint:

This is probably the number one complaint, offering phrases such as "deceptive sales," "intentionally confusing," and "no disclosure."

Our Verdict:

All a merchant needs to do is visit the BluePay website to learn that BluePay doesn't disclose detailed fees. If you, as a merchant, want to go the BluePay route, then make a list of questions to ask a salesperson. Get waivers in print, get changes in print, and make sure you have all your bases covered. Otherwise, just go with a simpler card processing company.

Account Funds Withheld:
Customer Complaint:

This complaint also ranked high.

Our Verdict:

It appears the BluePay is a conservative company when it comes to covering possible chargebacks and/or returns. These actions on BluePay's part seems to have no rhyme nor reason according to the complaints we read, so be aware that you - as the merchant - probably need to pay particularly close attention and work with BluePay to avoid any suspicion on their part about your business transactions.

Inability to Close Account:
Customer Complaint:

While some customers praised BluePays initial services, it appears that this service goes downhill as time progresses. At the end, customers who try to close accounts seem to encounter erratic behaviors.

Our Verdict:

It appears that acquiring customers is BluePay's objective, and that once a customer is on board, that customer takes a back seat to sales and services.

Lousy Customer Service:
Customer Complaint:

This complaint seemed to come from current customers who, like those merchants who complained about the inability to close an account and who were unsatisfied with taking a back seat as a long-term customer.

Our Verdict:

Shame on BluePay. A happy customer is a loyal customer.

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Who Should / Shouldn't Use this Processor

WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:

  • Large Merchants: As with any other credit card processor that hides fees, we feel that merchants must have attorneys and CFOs on board to decipher and guide a merchant through any contract for payment processing. Larger firms may benefit from the in-house gateway and processing systems in place with BluePay, especially if technicians can help with hardware and software integration.
  • Detailed-Oriented Merchants: Merchants who can stay on top of long-term BluePay services and are willing to take the risk of multiple contracts might benefit from this company's services.

WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:

  • Medium-Sized Businesses: Medium-sized businesses that require online, in-house, and person-to-person payment processing services can find better terms than what BluePay offers. A month-to-month contract is available elsewhere along with no early termination fees. Also, the integration seems difficult unless you have a technician who can help with those processes.
  • Small Businesses: Small business owners might want a simpler way to go, even if prices seem slightly higher. Those flat fees offered by other companies can cover all the aspects that otherwise might nickel-and-dime the small business owner to death. Check into this list of merchant services accounts that are friendly to small businesses.
  • Non-Detail Oriented Merchants: Be aware that BluePay is a gateway as well as a processor, but their hardware and software is third-party only. Therefore, a merchant needs to conduct some front-end research and stay on top of what might involve multiple contracts.

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BluePay Merchant Services
Ratings
Overall
Price
Customer Service
Customer Reviews
Rates
0.95% - 2.6%
Features
  • Next Day Funding
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Low eCommerce Rates
Monthly Fees Breakdown
Setup Fee$0.00
Monthly Fee$0.00
PCI Compliance Fee$10.00
Online Reporting Fee$0.00
Batch Fee$0.00
Gateway Fee$0.00
Chargeback Fee$0.00
Termination Fee$295.00
Contract Length3 Year Contract
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Disclaimer:

DISCLOSURE: Advertising, Affiliate and Conflicts of Interest: Merchant Negotiators accepts advertising via the Google Adsense platform, directly from advertisers, and has common parent ownership interests with other payments related companies leading to conflicts of interest. Read our Affiliate / Conflicts / Advertising Disclosure for a more detailed disclosure.

About the Reviews: These reviews, and for that matter any reviews, are inherently subjective, and should be regarded as our opinion, not as a statement of fact. Selecting a merchant services provider is an important decision, and we urge you to use no single source of information as the basis of that decision.

About the Pricing: This pricing is an estimate based on limited available information. In some cases, the Processors' pricing information was provided directly by the company, in others, we obtained it from public information, through calls to the company, or through past or current clients of the company. Where, despite these efforts, we were unable to obtain any information about certain fees, we used estimates based on similar providers in the industry. While we're working, in some cases, with the company directly to get more accurate pricing, even in those circumstances, we can't guarantee the pricing's accuracy. Complicating all of this, is that for some companies individual salespeople are given authority to modify terms on a deal by deal basis. In any case, if you know of an error, please let us know and we'll fix it.

About the Calculations: With respect to your estimated savings, this is based on a lot of factors and some hard math. The reason we do it, along with the "Actual Gross Rate" calculation is that every Processor prices their product differently (e.g. interchange v. 3 tier v. 4 tier v. flat v. membership, etc.) and some make it intentionally complicated or opaque. Trying to convert their pricing structure to a consistent "Overall Cost of Processing" is the only way you, the merchant, can do an apples to apples pricing comparison and know whether an offer is actually a good deal. Our system isn't perfect but we're trying.

Conclusion: In sum, these rankings, ratings, and scores are inherently subjective, and should be regarded as our opinion and not as a legal statement of fact. Moreover, use these prices and estimates at your own risk, and make sure to verify the pricing you see here in any formal contract you receive. Finally, if you do find something wrong in our pricing, terms, etc., tell us and we'll try to fix it.