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Review of Merchant Services

30721 Russell Ranch Road, Suite 200, Westlake Village, CA 91362

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.


Overall, is a good choice if you're a company doing $2.5k to $75k per month in credit card transactions, and particularly good if you're a new businesses. They're a bad choice if you're below $2.5k or are in an industry that has high chargeback rates (e.g. guns, adult, etc.) or an industry with unique needs such as petroleum / energy or healthcare. is a fairly large processor, with over 150,000 clients. They serve a broad array of clients, but are a good fit for U.S. companies that process between $2,500 and $75,000 per month. In particular, new companies that need mainstream services will find them attractive because they require no upfront money to get started.

Detailed Review

Below is a detailed review of 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.

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) Yes
Trust Account Debiting (Legal) No
Fleet Cards (Petroleum) Yes
Online Menu Orders (Restaurants) Yes
Countries Served:
U.S. Yes
Other Countries Canada
International No

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Almost every merchant account services company uses either Interchange Plus or Tiered Pricing (to learn the differences read here). Interchange Plus tends to be lower overall per transaction costs with higher fees, while Tiered pricing tends to be overall high per transaction costs with lower fees, but there are exceptions in both types. Because all of the pricing is so confusing, it really does benefit you to look at each company's pricing individually. uses Tiered Pricing. They don't publish pricing information because they say it depends on the nature, size, needs of the business, etc. All of that is probably true, but the fact that they give you no pricing information at all is a little over the top.

Thankfully, you've got us.

We show the deals that our secret shoppers were able to achieve. And when companies offer both interchange plus and tiered pricing, we tried to get a quote both ways.

Our Experience:

In all, it took about 10 minutes to obtain the full quote. The company rep was professional, and talked strictly business. They were prepared to have me electronically sign a contract while we were on the phone, so we could get fully signed up the same day.

Quote 1: Interchange Plus Pricing
  • 0.30% + $0.10 per transaction
One-Time Fees:
  • NONE: Setup Fee
Monthly Fees:
  • $7.95 Statement Fee
  • $25.00 Monthly Minimum Processing Fee (waived if over approx.. $2,500 /mo in processing)
  • $19.95 PCI Inaction Fee (waived if you complete annual PCI Compliance survey)
  • $7.95 Gateway Fee
Annual Fees:
  • $99.00 PCI Compliance Fee
  • $49.95 1099-K Fee
Standard Fees All Merchants Charge:
  • Standard FANF (formerly NPF) Fee
  • Standard Chargeback Fee
Quote 2: Tiered Pricing Plan
  • Qualified
  • Mid-Qualified
  • Non-Qualified
  • Debit
  • Card Swiped
  • Keyed Entry
  • Monthly Fee offers a $50 AMEX Gift Card if you find a cheaper overall service that they can't beat. I don't really give these sorts of promotions much credence, because all they really mean is that they'll match a cheaper rate if you find it, not that they're providing you the cheapest rate from the get-go.

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Contract Fine Print

Fine Print Fees:
Termination Fee None
Setup / Application Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee $99/annually
PCI Inaction Fee $19.95 (waived with completed compliance survey)
Gateway Fee $7.95
1099-K Fee $49.95
Statement Fee $7.95
Online Reporting Fee None
Monthly Minimum Volume Fee $25.00
Accept International Pymt Fee None
Voice Authorization Fee $.05 per authorization
Monthly Min. Process Fee Possible
Daily Batch Fee Possible
ACH / Direct Deposit Fee Possible
ACH Charge Fee Possible
ACH Return Fee Possible
FANF Fee Standard
Chargeback Fees Standard
Freebies: gateway setup
Shopping Cart Setup
Mobile Swiper & Mobile App
Free Virtual Terminal
Free RoamPay Swiper
Online Reporting
$50 AMEX Gift Card if You Can Beat Their Price Elsewhere

Our Take:

Overall, the fine print fees aren't bad. The only one that annoys me is the PCI inaction fee. $19.95 is steep for just forgetting to fill out a survey, and while the company is doing better at sending out reminders to complete it, there's clearly a strong financial incentive for the company to let you keep forgetting. Otherwise these fees are pretty standard.

The freebies here are pretty decent. The MobilePay G4X swiper is a good device that will allow you to take payments on your mobile phone, whether apple or android. The free setups for, shopping cart, and virtual terminal are nice. Some companies charge $100 for setup, so especially for new or cash-strapped businesses that's useful. Of note, however, you aren't getting Gateway access for free forever, you're just getting the setup for free.

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RoamPay G4X Mobile Swiper

Most of what a credit card processor does is electronic in nature, but the actual machine that you use to swipe or dip credit cards is the "equipment," and what a company offers, and how much it costs can vary pretty significantly from company to company. offers a free RoamPay G4X Mobile Swiper. It's compatible with Windows, Android, and Apple phones and tablets. In addition, the company offers a free app that allows you to key in transactions with your same mobile device. Combined these tools are pretty solid pieces of equipment that will allow you to take mobile payments if it's part (but not the main part) of your business. If you plan to take most of your transactions via mobile, there are better devices out there (read here). But bottom line, it works and it's free.

In terms of wired terminals, offers a pretty run of the mill selection with the exception of their iPad based POS system, called iPaymentPOS.

iPaymentPOS is a newly developed terminal that works on an iPad. Because it's new, I haven't tested it nor heard much feedback, but the initial look and feel from videos I saw is pretty slick. It allows Credit Card Processing to compete in the "sexiness" category for mid-sized businesses like small cafes, hair salons, and the like for whom using an iPad as their POS is a realistic option (btw, if you're doing a ton of volume, you want a dedicated POS computer terminal, not something running on an iPad).

If you're looking for just a regular terminal, their offerings are pretty pedestrian. And because so many merchants have problems programming their equipment and getting it to work with their merchant account services company if they buy it after-market, I generally recommend that you buy your equipment through your merchant account services company. That means that if you go with, you're stuck with some pretty mainstream terminals. For 99% of companies that are more interested in getting paid than in looking cool, that's fine. But if your business image is about being trendy and slick, look elsewhere.

Just FYI, any equipment you buy comes with a 30-day warranty for replacement. If you decide you want to cancel altogether, you'll be charged a 20-25% restocking fee. That's obviously annoying. According to the company, because they don't charge you setup fees like normal providers do, it's their way of recouping some of those costs.

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Countries Served through iPayment and can handle payments from and for merchants in the United States and Canada. The company's primary focus, however, is serving clients in the U.S.

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Contract Length / Termination

I don't typically recommend merchant account services companies with long-term contracts or big termination fees, because these rarely benefit the business owner and instead are often used as a hammer to lock in merchants to an agreement they hate. Plus, the knowledge that you can cancel at any time tends to have a good effect on the behavior of your merchant account services company.

In that regard, is great. Their contract is month to month, and there are no termination fees.

  • Month to Month
  • No Termination Fee

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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: is a wholly owned subsidiary of iPayment, which in turn is an ISO of Wells Fargo. They were bought by iPayment in 2012, and as part of iPayment form one of the largest ISOs in the world.

They're not a direct processor (meaning, Wells Fargo actually processes the transactions), which is normally bad because it means you're dealing with a middle man. But, because Credit Card Processing is so large (over 150,000 merchants) they actually seem to get very good pricing.

Account Sales:

One of the things I like about how this company is setup, is that your sales person is in-house with the company instead of outsourced help, and they stay your account representative once you sign up. The reason I like that, is that you don't get sold a bill of goods by a salesman that you'll never speak to again. That fact, plus the fact that they now record every sales conversation, seems to have limited the common concern of bait and switch pricing.

Account Service:

Once again, your account service rep will be the same person that sold you on The reason I like that, is that developing some mutual trust and an understanding of your business with one person is a lot easier than with two. And at a big company like it helps ensure that you don't get "lost" in the system.

Company Structure Bottom Line:

  • They're owned by iPayment, a very large US based ISO.
  • They process through iPayment and Wells Fargo
  • They use in-house sales team, so everything is well coordinated.

Your salesperson is also your customer service representative, which, in theory, means more consistent and better service.

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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.


2/24/2015; TIME: 12:25 pm EST


Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

Since we don't have contact information for support services, we called sales. We didn't need to sit through a phone tree aswe were connected directly with sales with the number listed on the site. Jane answered in native English and she was cheerful. All I wanted to know was if the 24/7 support was in house. When she answered, "yes," I asked, "Are you sure I won't be speaking with iPaymentor Authorize.Net?" Jane sounded a bit hesitant when she responded that I'd be talking with iPayment support services, not with

Our Take:, as with any merchant processor, wants to make the sale. Be aware of what you ask for and be even more careful of what you don't ask about when talking with any company about your support services.

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Common Customer Complaints / Our Verdicts

We scour the web to find past / current customers' comments / complaints about this processor. Then, we investigate those complaints that seem like they might be legit, and give our verdict on how well the credit card processor handled the issue(s). For, there were a below average number of overall complaints about the company, but they tended to be focused on the following four issues:

Bait & Switch Fees
Customer Complaint:

While there are less of these than with most merchant account providers of this size, there are a few complaints about customers not being fully informed and / or understanding they were being billed for charges like the PCI compliance fee, and the monthly statement fee.

Our Verdict:

Customers hate "gotcha" type fees, and when they sign up under a teaser percentage rate and don't fully understand the total charges, they're irate. I am happy to see that in almost every instance made it right by refunding the money (even in a couple of instances where I wouldn't have if I were in their shoes). Its hard to know, based on this sample size, if this is a common occurrence. At least from what I'm seeing this looks like a company that is at least trying to balance making a profit and treating their customers right.

Too Many Monthly Fees
Customer Complaint:

The customer ran a very small company with just a few transactions. She was unhappy with the monthly charges associated with her account, which because she was such a small merchant, took up a large percentage of her overall sales.

Our Verdict: Poor Fit From the Beginning

One of the biggest sources of tension between the merchant account services company and the business owner comes about because the two are not a match for each other from the beginning. In this case, offers great rates, but only if you're doing over $2,500 per month in total sales. Otherwise, their monthly fees will eat you alive. A small business is better off going with a company with a higher per-transaction percentage, with lower fees. I guess it's asking a lot to expect a sales person to turn down a potential new client because they're too small to be a good fit, but it sure would save everyone a lot of frustration if they did so. Ultimately, the company refunded the money, which is great, but this whole episode could have been avoided altogether with a better match from the beginning.

Getting Charged For Unused Account:
Customer Complaint:

A small business owner called to create an account. He signed the agreement to create the account but never used it. A month later, he received a bill for a little over $70.00, but felt he shouldn't have to pay because he didn't use the service. Ultimately, after he complained the company removed the $70+ dollar charge, and they both went their separate ways.

Our Verdict: Well Done Company.

I understand why the business owner was annoyed. He signed up for Merchant Account Services and then didn't use them, but had to pay anyway. That said, the company went through the entire setup, incurred their own costs, etc. and the fact that the customer never used the product is really sort of immaterial. It's like you asking for a refund for your cable bill just because you didn't watch TV that month. That said, the Company still forgave the entire bill, which to me was more than generous.

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Who Should / Shouldn't Use this Processor


  • Mid-Sized Merchants: If you're doing between $2,500 and $75,000 a month in credit card transactions, a good option. With respect to pricing, the reason is that they offer slightly cheaper than average per transaction pricing (which benefits higher volume merchants), with higher than average monthly fees (which hurts low volume merchants). Combined, that means that if you're doing above $2,500 /mo in volume, you'll get the benefit in pricing. If you're above that threshold, read on, because there are even better price-breaks for you.
  • New Business Merchants with Expectations of Volume: These guys are really setup to make the signup process as cheap as possible. You'll get free setups for everything (, Shopping Cart, Mobile Swiper, etc.) which means you'll be paying nearly $0 to get your account started and usable on day one. That's a big benefit for new businesses and cash-strapped businesses. But see #1 above. Long term, if you don't expect to do $2,500 per month or more in transactions, suck it up -- pay the upfront costs with other credit card processors, because you'll be happier in the long run.
  • Merchants that Need a Little of Everything: If you want better-than-average pricing, customer support, technology, mobile swiping and online processing, with no cancellation charges or lengthy contracts, these guys are a pretty good choice. Because they're a company dedicated to merchant services for mainstream businesses, they've got something for everyone. But, because they don't focus on a particular type of business, if you need something specific, look elsewhere.
  • Merchants that Want an Integrated iPad POS: If you run a mid-sized business (or expect to) and you don't already have a POS system for tracking sales, inventory, etc. then's new iPaymentPOS is a good option. The fact that the POS comes fully integrated with your merchant account company is really nice for small businesses that don't want to spend a bunch of time and money integrating their systems. That said, if you're running a really high volume business, you'll want a dedicated POS computer terminal instead of an iPad, thus negating this benefit entirely.

WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR: portrays themselves as the do-everything credit card processor that has streamlined the setup process such that they take a lot of the headache out. That's mostly true, but it doesn't mean they're a good fit for everybody.

  • Very Small Merchants: If you're doing less than $2,500 in total credit card transactions per month at your business, don't pick these guys. As discussed elsewhere, they have relatively high monthly fees, which take a big bite out of small merchants. There are better options for you here.
  • Very High Volume Merchants: If you're processing over $75,000 per month in credit card transactions, chances are there are both cheaper and more focused credit card processors for you. There are merchant account services companies that specialize in high volume merchants, by offering very cheap per transaction costs (because the processor can make it up in volume), and specialized equipment, setup, and approved credit card lists, that will cater to your specific industry. In sum, Credit Card Processing can service large clients adequately, but with better choices for you out there, why pick them?
  • Tech-Geeks: If you're the kind of person (or company) that prides itself on having the latest and greatest technology, isn't a good match. They're optimal for mid-sized businesses with relatively mainstream needs. On the mobile end, there are companies that have cooler mobile swipers and apps, and on the high volume end, there are companies that have better POS integration with cooler POS systems. Instead, check out some companies with some unique features.

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For More Information About This Processor or To Sign Up Merchant Services
Customer Service
Customer Reviews
0.4% - 3.2%
  • Free
  • Free Equipment
  • Month-to-Month
Monthly Fees Breakdown
Setup Fee$0.00
Monthly Fee$11.99
PCI Compliance Fee$8.25
Online Reporting Fee$0.00
Batch Fee$0.00
Gateway Fee$7.95
Chargeback Fee$15.00
Termination Fee$0.00
Contract LengthMonth-to-Month
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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. is now offline.

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