Chase Paymentech offers a wide range of business payment options for the mid- to large-sized merchant, excellent international transaction capabilities, free training, but just average fees. They're a bad fit for smaller merchants.
Among credit card processing companies, Chase Paymentech is one of the largest, most internationally focused credit card processors. While there are definitely some problems in using this service, which we'll discuss below, they're a decent option for mid-sized to large companies with an international clientele. Once you sign up, they'll offer tons of instruction, training, and other perks to their merchants that can make you a loyal customer for life.
Although Chase Paymentech can reference origins dating back decades, the changes to becoming a merchant service and processor have been recent. Chase Paymentech became a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase in 2008 through a series of mergers, acquisitions, and payoffs. Within the past seven years, this merchant acquirer service has acquired other merchant account services companies and is now the largest global credit card processor.
Chase Paymentech approves 98% of the applications it receives, and accepted merchants can expect to be set up to take credit cards within days. If you already have an account with Chase Bank, the setup may take only hours. Payment processes range from mobile to online and traditional storefront credit card processing. Merchants can accept a wide range of credit and debit cards as well as NFC payments such as Google Wallet or Apple Pay.
In addition to other limitations, Chase Paymentech is not a friendly service for small businesses like mom-and-pop shops. The service is vast, global, and more geared towards large businesses conducting a lot of international transactions. In addition, because of the way Chase Paymentech handles invoices and chargebacks, a business that uses this service will need to be large enough so a staff member can keep an eye on invoices and those chargebacks. With that said, this company appears to have everything a larger internationally focused business might need.
Below is a detailed review of Chase Paymentech 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.
JPMorgan Bank is a massive corporation that is global and that encompasses a lot of different financial services. Chase Paymentech is just part of that bank's offerings. Despite not being the bank's primary business, Chase Paymentech still provides everything you might need or even dream up in features.
|Microsoft Dynamics GP||No|
|Windows / Blackberry||No|
|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)||No|
|Fleet Cards (Petroleum)||Yes|
|Online Menu Orders (Restaurants)||Yes|
We could add even more features here, but the list would be enormous. Plus, it appears that Chase Paymentech constantly rolls out new features without leaving customers in their dust, as they stay in touch through emails and on the site with news items and feature roll-out pages. We're fully impressed with their broadband/phone backup services and even more impressed that they're thinking ahead with EMV chip cards and contactless readers.
If you want be able to offer a wide array of transaction types including multiple currencies, PayPal processing, gift card programs, recurring payment options, and international sales, this company could be a good fit.
A note on the eCommerce/Shopping Cart feature: If you need one, Chase Paymentech can recommend third-party tools for you. If you already have a shopping cart, you can integrate Chase's services with that venue.
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.
Our Experience: Chase Paymentech's online fees are somewhat transparent, but the fine print is so small that it took us a good deal of time to read through the numerous options that this processor offers. Chase claims "Low Rates" in their advertising, but their rates are more at the "average" level. Still, if you plan to do a lot of international transactions, or a lot of alternative transaction types with things like PayPal or off-brand credit cards, you may still find some of the lowest competitive fees here.
Chase PaymentTech has a really complicated pricing structure. They offer four payment levels dependent upon services, and within each level they price transactions on three tiers along with setup fees and minimum monthly sales.
According to Chase Paymentech, transactions are grouped into three categories for the purpose of determining applicable discount rates. How a particular transaction is categorized depends on various factors, such as the method of acceptance (e.g. swiped vs. hand keyed), the type of card, your industry, and how soon you submit transactions for settlement after they occur. This is a perfect example of three-tiered pricing.
This pricing can be very confusing, and even Chase's website seems inconsistent with how it works. For example, another price list shows a lower rate - 1.65% + $.25 for processing qualified credit, signature debit, and reward card swiped transactions. Beyond the various rates, note that Chase Paymentech wants monthly payments instead of annual fees, and they charge a setup fee for some products.
Chase Paymentech tries to explain their lack of price transparency by stating that they offer customized solutions for each merchant based upon how you manage payments, fulfill orders, and other criteria. I feel this is a reasonable statement for a processor that offers such a wide variety of options. However, I would warn any merchant to do a ton of due diligence and read through your contract carefully because the volume of fine print with this company makes me nervous. In fact, as I was reading through the Chase Paymentech site, I was tempted to hire an accountant, an attorney, and a CFO. For small merchants in particular, read through the entire site to learn how you can avoid getting suckered into a high-priced payment option when all you need is a simple mobile device swiper and software to make your processing work for you.
Chase Paymentech states that they offer simple invoices (they offer a sample statement online) and a free statement review to show you how much money you can save by switching to their processing services...but all this activity takes time. If you're in a hurry to make a credit card sale, this is not the option to pick for your current business.
With respect to fees, Chase PaymenTech touts that they don't have any annual fees. However, it appears that what they've done is just taken annual fees and broken them down monthly. Adding them back up, the monthly fees currently total to $119.40 per year. Spreading that supposedly non-existent "annual fee" out over twelve months in a monthly fee seems to make it hurt less, and I'd rather pay those monthly fees if it means a lower per transaction cost if I'm a mid-sized or large merchant. You might want to note that Chase Paymentech's monthly and setup fees do not count toward your monthly minimum fee.
Chase Paymentech's terms of agreement are indeed fine print that needs a comb to go through them. However, we learned that Chase Paymentech really is user friendly when it comes to hidden fees - we found just a few:
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Termination Fee||Yes, more likely than not|
|Setup / Application Fee||Yes, on some products and services|
|PCI Compliance Fee||None|
|PCI Inaction Fee||None|
|Online Reporting Fee||None|
|Monthly Minimum Volume Fee||Yes|
|Accept International Pymt Fee||Possible|
|Voice Authorization Fee||Possible|
|Monthly Min. Process Fee||Possible|
|Daily Batch Fee||Possible|
|ACH / Direct Deposit Fee||Yes|
|ACH Charge Fee||Yes|
|ACH Return Fee||Yes|
|Online Reporting through either Resouce Online or Paymentech Online|
|24/7 Phone and Email Support|
Chase Paymentech's pricing is competitive and for mid-sized or large processors that do a lot of international transactions, actually lower than most other major credit card processing companies when considering the lack of fees in the fine print. Some fees appear to be non-existent here. For example, we couldn't fine fees for PCI compliance or inaction which most credit card processors now charge merchants for. We did, however, find the gateway fee in the sample invoice even though we couldn't find it in the fine print.
That lack of transparency leads me to believe that we may not be able to actually discern all of their hidden fees. On the one hand, the fact that they're semi-transparent with their invoicing structure puts Chase Paymentech ahead of the game, on the other hand, however, if they only disclose some of the fees but not all, and leave you with the impression that you're seeing everything, that's pretty bad.
For example, take a good look at that sample invoice when you can, because you'll see some fees that aren't mentioned above. Look under the tab for"Charges and Fees" and you can find items such as "Network Regulated Fraud Per Item Fee" and the "AVS Fee" and "VISA Zero Floor Limit" fees. That last fee is a VISA fee, which Chase will pass on to you if a clearing record doesn't match an approved or partially approved authorization. Fun, right? This is how the credit card companies make their money. We don't know if Chase Paymentech marks up that fee for a few pennies on the side, but there you go.
Turning from fees to chargebacks, we like four things about chargeback management at Chase Paymentech:
In sum, this company has a fair number of fees, but they're not entirely unreasonable. I would consider using this company for a mid- to large-sized business with high volume, particularly if they needed a lot of international transaction capabilities. Chase Paymentech's help center and reporting tools - all included in the package - are top-notch assets to any business. Their fees are standard, and in some cases lower than usual. Of course, my praise comes with a caveat - make sure you read everything regarding the use of this service so you aren't caught off guard with 1,000 $.10 charges per item buried in the fine print.
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.
Be aware that Chase Paymentech appears to offer free equipment (your options discussed below), but the fine print indicates it may not actually be free. Their contract's fine print seems to say that if you accept a free card reader or terminal, you are then tied into a long term contract with them. Moreover, it appears that when you get a "free" terminal, it may be one that accepts payments only for Chase Paymentech. Thus, it's worthless if you move to another card processing company and Chase Paymentech may charge you for that terminal if you leave your contract early. If you decide to pay for your terminal to avoid these traps, make sure you confirm with the sales person that your terminal can be reprogrammed to work with another provider.
Also, while we list what "free" equipment they offer to be available below, Chase Paymentech wants you to know that the type of hardware you need depends upon your business type, number of transactions, and number of locations. Thus, they want you to contact them before you purchase (or get free) equipment so they can help you choose.
I don't like lack of independence when it comes to choosing equipment for card processing payments, but I do like the logic behind Chase Paymentech's firm insistence about contacting a sales rep before buying into their services. At the same time, while part of me would like to believe they're actually going to help me get a good deal for me and my business, part of me thinks that they're just going to snooker me.
In sum, Chase Paymentech doesn't offer a ton of equipment, what they do offer is "free" (but comes with strings attached as described above). The equipment they currently offer is described below:
Chase Paymentech Merchant Services can handle payments from and for merchants in the United States, Canada and abroad.
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.
Chase Paymentech, like many other credit card processing companies, provides merchants with a long-term contract with fees for early termination. Recently, Chase Paymentech rolled out a "No Long-Term" contract feature with no fees for termination, but restrictions apply. Merchants who require processing capabilities in multiple currencies or who process offer $5 million in annual credit or debit card sales, for instance, are not eligible for the short-term contract. And given that the main reason someone would choose this company is the multiple currencies for international transactions, that's a pretty significant caveat. Merchants who do qualify for this short-term contract may terminate at any time with a 30-day written notice. Finally, if you signed up with Chase during a promotion, you may still be subject to additional terms and conditions, such as the inability to terminate the contract during your first 24 months.
Read the fine print, and be sure to also read promotional fine print. Those promotions may alter terms of any contract drastically.
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: Chase cuts out the middleman with its combined services as a merchant acquirer (aka an "ISO") and payment processor. The ability to service accounts and process payments may translate to savings for the merchant. Since 2006, Paymentech has ranked consistently as the number one payment processor by the Top 500 Guide, Internet Retailer. The fact that Chase can process transactions in more than 130 currencies doesn't hurt. To be totally transparent, Chase is a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase Bank, and Paymentech is not a bank. Chase Paymentech bills itself as a merchant acquirer.
Account Sales: According to Chase Paymentech, your sales person is a "dedicated" in-house employee versed in products, prices, and sales. Once that person has sold you on Chase Paymentech, the same sales representative supposedly assists you throughout the life of your business. While this information may ring true, I feel it also seems unrealistic. People, including sales personnel, tend to move on when the offer seems right. Chase also offers a comprehensive help center for registered merchants and training for business owners.
Account Service: Chase Paymentech offers customer service via phone, email, and support center for their customers. This support is offered 24/7, which makes sense for serving global business and their varying hours. We've read very few negative comments about Chase Paymentech's customer service despite their length of time in this business and company size (see below).
On the other hand, if you're growing your business and you're a self-starter, I'd state that Chase Paymentech may offer some of the best growth materials and options around, especially with their help center, training, and possibilities for growth.
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.
1/3/2015; TIME: 10:29 am EST
Call to Customer Support
We called sales to learn if the support and sales teams were in-house or outsourced. Kim answered the phone in native English with a happy voice (we imagined a smile on her face) and she stated that the staff was all "dedicated in-house." I do want to note that we had to go through a phone tree on this call, but it was simple to use.
1/3/2015; TIME: 10:31 am EST
Call to Chase Paymentech Media
Just for kicks, we called the media number at Chase Paymentech to see if they could sell us on their product. The phone rang ten times, which is our limit, and we hung up. No voice mail, nothing.
First, we're not Chase Paymentech customers, so we have no clue as to how customer service or support teams might treat us down the road. From the complaints we've seen, it appears that "dedicated" in-house service might not be as rosy as it sounds.
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. Interestingly, we learned that Chase Paymentech has very few complaints when compared to the size of the company. What we did learn is that small business owners are lodging most of the complaints, and many of them have similar horror tales.
We had to wring out our handkerchiefs over this complaint, because some of the stories we read are horrific. Small business owners (meaning mom-and-pop shops) lodged online complaints about being financially destroyed by fees concerning chargebacks, monthly payments, and other money extractions that they were unprepared to pay. One group of complaints we found concentrated on a class action lawsuit.
As I mentioned previously, I felt I needed a seasoned and dedicated in-house staff myself to navigate the fine print contained in Chase Paymentech's website. This card processing service is not for the mom-and-pop shop, if we consider the complaints we read.
Some of the words we read in this category included "rude," "dishonest," and "unhelpful." Most of these complaints tied into the previous complaint.
We'll be on the nice side here and state that perhaps the rudeness came from the perspective of the frustrated and angry customer. On the other side of that coin, we're wondering why Chase Paymentech isn't paying attention to the small business owner. Perhaps it's because Chase views small business owners as small potatoes compared to the money they're making from larger clients.
We found complaints regarding the inability to use the service. Some of these complaints dragged on for weeks. Again, these complaints came from small business owners.
As I mentioned earlier, Chase Paymentech has a broad and free training program. If you don't have the time or incentive to read this information to learn whether or not the product is right for you, then you're to blame. At the same time, what is it with Chase Paymentech and small business owners?
|PCI Compliance Fee||$0.00|
|Online Reporting Fee||$0.00|
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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.