Win $2500 in Grants For Your Business
Enter by August 1st 2015!
APPLY NOW

Review of CardConnect Merchant Services

1000 Continental Drive, Suite 600, King of Prussia, PA 19406

DISCLOSURE: Ads, Affiliates and Conflicts 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 potential conflicts of interest. Read our Affiliate / Conflicts / Advertising Disclosure for a more detailed disclosure.

Overview

CardConnect has been one of the fastest growing merchant services providers particularly for small and mid-sized merchants doing less than $5,000,000 in gross credit card sales per year.

 

We found very few complaints about this company, which supplies both low and high risk businesses with a broader array of features and services than most other processors. Their customer service and sales teams also performed well in our test calls.

Founded in 2006, CardConnect serves over 50,000 merchants across the globe. Their focus is on small and mid-sized merchants, across almost every industry including retail, telephone ordering, online and ecommerce. 

Headquartered in Pennsylvania but servicing merchants globally, they offer businesses a wide range of services that smaller processors cannot, including gift cards, quickbooks integration, shopping cart integration, hundreds of gateway integration and virtually every type of equipment imaginable. Plus they're able to provide processing for some high-risk merchants through their broad network of bank relationships.

We were impressed with CardConnect's transparent and fairly cheap prices and fees, and their customer service and knowledgeable sales teams receieved high marks in our test calls. Regarding their pricing, it it was some of the most straightforward we found, particularly because Card Connect doesn't charge for things like reprogramming equipment, and will provide free equipment to merchants doing over $5,000 per month in volume.

Detailed Review

Below is a detailed review of CardConnect 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. To learn more about any given feature, or if there's a feature that you need that you don't see listed, call Merchant Negotiators and we'll discuss your options.

CardConnect offers some of the most comprehensive services we've seen. While the sheer number of options might prove overwhelming, we found in test calls that their sales / customer service staff was helpful in explaining which options would work best for a business, and were pretty straightforward with how much each option would cost:

Software Compatibility:
Intuit Quickbooks Yes
Sage 50 No
Microsoft Dynamics GP Yes
Hardware Compatibility:
Windows / Blackberry Yes
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 Yes
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) Yes
Trust Account Debiting (Legal) Yes
Fleet Cards (Petroleum) Yes
Online Menu Orders (Restaurants) Yes
Countries Served:
U.S. Yes
Other Countries Yes
International Yes

Back to top

For More Information About This Processor or To Sign Up

Pricing

Almost every merchant account services company uses either Interchange Plus or Tiered Pricing (to learn the differences read 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.

CardConnect is fairly open about their fees, and we were very happy to see that they have eliminated a lot of the "hidden" or add-on fees that other less reputable processors include, such as reprogramming equipment, annual fees, or setup fees. All fees listed below do not include a $9.95 monthly service fee that applies to all businesses. Although the sales team explained that they use a pricing grid that accounts for the industry, size, and risk of a business, along with other factors, this was the quote we received during our test call:

  • Swiped Fees: 1.69% + $.18 per swipe
  • eCommerce: 1.99% + $.23 per transaction
  • Wireless Rates: 1.69% + $.18 per transaction + $10.00 monthly wireless fee
  • Phone Processing: 1.99% + $.18 + $.75 voice authorization per transaction
  • Check Processing & ACH Rates: $.25 per transaction
  • Mobile Swipe Rates: 1.69% + $.18 per transaction

The CardConnect sales folks that we spoke with explained that their pricing quote was based on the specific hypothetical business I had used on my test call, which was a small professional services company and how it fits in their risk profile grid. Thus, it's important for merchants to know, that factors like the degree of chargeback risk, and the time between when you take payment and actually deliver the service will affect your quoted rate.

Our Experience: We were pretty happy with CardConnect's retail cost structure. It was pretty straightforward and the quote I received was clear and understandable and because the company uses a pricing grid they were able to provide it quickly and without haggling, which I appreciated. The downside, however, is that we can't really tell you what your quote will be, as apparently the matrix they use has approximately 100 different pricing options. In any case, when it comes to credit card processing, it's important to look at the fine print pricing to know whether what appears to be a good deal, actually is...

Back to top

For More Information About This Processor or To Sign Up

Contract Fine Print

CardConnect provided me with a detailed pricing breakdown, as well as a list of definitions of all the possible fees that a business might incur. While a lot of these presumably stay consistent regardless of the business, as discussed above, this company uses a pricing grid to determine a businesses' quote, so yours might differ in some respects.

 

Fine Print Fees:
Termination Fee None
Setup / Application Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee $8.25
PCI Inaction Fee $9.95
Gateway Fee $10.00
1099-K Fee $3.95
Statement Fee $9.95
Online Reporting Fee None
Monthly Minimum Volume Fee $20.00
Accept International Pymt Fee Per Transaction
Voice Authorization Fee $1.00 per call
Monthly Min. Process Fee Yes
Daily Batch Fee $0.18
ACH / Direct Deposit Fee None
ACH Charge Fee $10.00
ACH Return Fee $10.00
FANF Fee None
Chargeback Fees $25
Freebies:
Initial Consultation
Free Equipment

Free 24/7 Customer Service

Back to top

For More Information About This Processor or To Sign Up

Equipment

CardConnect offers Free Equipment, including RoamPay

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.

Card Connect provides one of the largest selections equipment for all types of transactions, and some twists on software and service:

HARDWARE

  • Terminals: CardConnect provides options that originate from First Data VeriFone, Equinox, and Ingenico. Wireless terminals for mobile processing come from First Data, VeriFone and Ingenico.
  • PIN Pad: About 10 PIN pads are available, including Equinox P1300, VeriFone VX 805, the Ingenico iPP320, and First Data's options.
  • MagTek Dynamag Swiper: This swiper works with the PC Charge Pro software noted below, and they offer about a dozen different compatible software options.

SOFTWARE

  • CardConnect Gateway: CardConnect delivers a gateway that is a proprietary platform that accepts all major credit cards, signature debit cards, and ACH payments. Shopping cart integration is pretty robust, and includes features like card tokenization (a form of encryption), recurring payment options, email payment notification, and integration with nearly all systems or applications that have Internet access.
  • Authorize.net Gateway: If you don't want to use CardConnect's proprietary gateway (presumably because you're already using another gateway), CardConnect also offers Authorize.Net gateway, with free setup, and a relatively cheap monthly charge.
  • First Data Global Gateway: Along with offering most other third party gateways, CardConnect offers the ability to use First Data's Global Gateway. The reason, again, is that merchants who are already familiar with a gateway prefer to stick with it.
  • QuickBooks Payment Terminal: This add-on software works with QuickBooks Pro®, Premier, Enterprise and Accountant versions 2009 - 2015.
  • RoamPay: This is CardConnect's mobile processing solution software for mobile phones, specifically iPhones, iPads, and Androids. They also work with most third party providers of mobile processing, and their sales team can recommend your options.
  • Dialpay: Software for telephone processing via mobile phone.
  • PC Charge Pro: Install this software on a laptop with WiFi, Internet Air Card or USB wireless modem. Add the MagTek Mini USB Sqiper for an inexpensive wireless terminal that allows you to swipe credit cards at lower processing rates. Runs on Windows only.

Back to top

For More Information About This Processor or To Sign Up

Countries Served

CardConnect has a vast network of partner banks, and while the bulk of their business is US merchants, they also sign a good number of offshore and international merchants through partnerships with Canadian, UK, and Polish banks.In all cases, CardConnect does allow you to accept payments from merchants internationally, and will allow payments in Euros, Dollars, Canadian Dollars and a few other currencies.

Back to top

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.

We were offered a month-to-month contract during our call to sales, along with no termination fee. If you get free equipment, it's our understanding that there will be a termination fee and contract length, so that CardConnect makes sure you don't just accept the free equipment and immediately cancel.

Back to top

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: CardConnect is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California, and Deutsche Bank, USA, New York, NY, but because of their extensive relationships with international banks, they also represent a number of international and high-risk merchants. They use both Authorize.Net and the CardConnect proprietary gateway as their main gateways. CardConnect's corporate headquarters are in Pennsylvania, and their operations are located in several locations throughout the United States.

Account Sales: The sales team is in-house, and CardConnect also works with partners and agents to market their services. Finally, CardConnect might offer some sales gimmicks designed to get merchants to sign up, such as free equipment. We know that a lot of merchants don't like to buy equipment up front, however, in our opinion having to sign a long-term contract is worse than a free terminal. So while we understand why they'd do this, we'd rather they not.

Account Service: CardConnect offers 24/7 support services, which is often an underrated feature. For businesses that are busy during the workday, the only time they have to deal with issues is after hours, so if customer service shuts down at 5pm, it's basically not worth anything.

Back to top

For More Information About This Processor or To Sign Up

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.

When:

8/5/2015; TIME: 2:16 pm CST

Who:

Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

When I called the CardConnect main line I encountered a relatively painless phone tree. After punching some numbers for service, I got a human (yay!) Jacob within a minute. He was friendly, a little weirded out that I was calling for customer service but I didn't have an actual live account with CardConnect, but nonetheless was helpful. He explained how their gift card program worked, whether the terminal I had could be reprogrammed, what EMV compliance meant for my business, and a few other test questions I posed. 

Our Take: Given that it normally takes me 10 minutes on test calls to actually reach a human, I was pretty impressed with how quickly CardConnect helped me. The customer service person I spoke with was friendly, US based, and seemed knowledgeable about the half dozen random questions I asked him. I would still like to see a company where I don't have to work through a phone tree to get to a person, but all things considered, this was a pretty decent experience.

Back to top

Common Customer Complaints / Our Verdicts

We scoured the web to find past and current customer complaints about this processor. Then, we investigated those complaints that seemed legit, and provide our verdict on how well the processor handled the issues. We found relatively few complaints about CardConnect on at BBB and on the web. For a company with over 50,000 merchants, finding just 20 complaints is pretty remarkable. What I was impressed with, is that the company has resolved almost all of the complaints and seemed to do it in what I'd describe as a relatively classy way. They didn't attack the merchant, but did shell out the cash needed to make the customer happy with there was an issue. The complaints varied, but all of them focused on three items:

Problems with Product/Service:
Customer Complaint:

The majority of complaints centered on problems with the transition of the company from FTS to rebrand as CardConnect in 2013. Apparently, some customers who had signed up with FTS were unaware of the company's name change, and thus problems ensued when they tried to get customer assistance..

Our Verdict:

The company probably could have done a better job during the transition, but again, given that there are only about 4-5 complaints with 50,000 merchants, I might just chalk this one up to a few merchants who weren't paying attention and who freaked out when their customer service line was answered by a company with a different name.

Billing / Collection Issues:
Customer Complaint:

Customer complaints about equipment leases, and expensive termination amounts with equipment that was leased.

Our Verdict:

We wish every merchant could learn at least one thing before signing up with a credit card processor, don't lease your equipment, buy it. Leases are notoriously expensive, and have expensive termination agreements. That's consistent across every provider we've reviewed. One piece of good news, is that at least on our test sales call, CardConnect didn't even propose that I lease equipment. They offered me the price to purchase equipment. So perhaps the company realized that the hassle of dealing with businesses complaining about leases wasn't worth the extra money. 

 

Back to top

For More Information About This Processor or To Sign Up

Who Should / Shouldn't Use this Processor

WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:

  • Small Business: The discount rates are cheap and the monthly fees are straightforward and beat most competitors. Plus the options that this company offers are really broad and their sales / customer service team is really helpful, so if your business pivots or you need a piece of hardware or to accept a transaction type that you didn't anticipate, you won't have to change companies. That said, if you're below $2,000 per month and don't plan to grow, stick with one of the payment aggregators.
  • Mid-Size Business: CardConnect is a good fit for mid-sized businesses. Their rates are very reasonable, equipment and gateways are robust, customer service is good, etc.
  • eCommerce Businesses: A good option for e-commerce businesses of all sizes, because they work with literally every gateway under the sun, offer cheap rates, and can set you up with multiple accounts or high-risk options if you need them.
  • High-Risk Businesses: CardConnect works with a good number of banks who each have a different risk profile. That means they can match you with the cheapest bank that will accept you, rather than just placing you with their only high-risk option.
  • International Businesses: If your a business not based in the US that wants to sell to US customers 

WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:

  • Very Small / Hobby Businesses: If you're doing below $2,000 per month, and you plan to stay at those levels, go with an aggregator like Flint or SparkPay. The per transaction costs are higher with those providers, but the monthly fees are lower, which matters more at very low volume. Plus, since you're doing less than $5,000 per month, the equipment here is going to cost you, whereas it's free with them.
  • National Chains: National chains generally need a custom solution with one hour service response times, and they're willing to pay for it. Because CardConnect is designed for small and mid-sized businesses, they're designed with a much cheaper cost structure. Part of that is that their customer service is primarily designed to help walk you through the problem or remotely fix it. If you need someone to show up at your location in person, they'll do it, but it typically takes 24 hours, which for a national chain is typically too long.

Back to top

For More Information About This Processor or To Sign Up
CardConnect Merchant Services
Ratings
Overall
Price
Customer Service
Customer Reviews
Rates
0.15% - 1.75%
Features
  • Free Equipment
  • Accepts High-Risk
  • 24/7 Customer Support
Monthly Fees Breakdown
Setup Fee$0.00
Monthly Fee$9.95
PCI Compliance Fee$8.25
Online Reporting Fee$0.00
Batch Fee$0.18
Gateway Fee$9.95
Chargeback Fee$25.00
Termination Fee$0.00
Contract LengthMonth-to-Month
Sign Up Now

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.