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.
Below is a detailed review of CardConnect Merchant Services offering. The review is broken down into the following categories.
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:
|Microsoft Dynamics GP||Yes|
|Windows / Blackberry||Yes|
|iPhone / iPad||Yes|
|Alternative Transaction Types:|
|Snail Mail Orders||Yes|
|American Express (AMEX)||Yes|
|Add Tips to Bills||Yes|
|eCommerce / Shopping Cart||Yes|
|EMV Chip 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|
|HIPAA Compliance (Healthcare)||Yes|
|Trust Account Debiting (Legal)||Yes|
|Fleet Cards (Petroleum)||Yes|
|Online Menu Orders (Restaurants)||Yes|
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:
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...
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:|
|Setup / Application Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$8.25|
|PCI Inaction 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|
Free 24/7 Customer Service
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
8/5/2015; TIME: 2:16 pm CST
Call to Customer Support
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.
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:
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..
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.
Customer complaints about equipment leases, and expensive termination amounts with equipment that was leased.
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.
WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:
WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:
|PCI Compliance Fee||$8.25|
|Online Reporting Fee||$0.00|
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.
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