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Review of GPN Data Merchant Services

Lexham House, Forest Road, Binfield, Bracknell, Berkshire RG42 4HP, UK

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

GPN Data is an offshore credit card processing company that serves high-risk merchants, international merchants, merchants with a history of chargebacks or rejections by credit card processors and merchants that need to sell globally. 

Very expensive compared to a low-risk processor, GPN is one of the cheapest offshore processors, but require that merchants process at least $15,000 in gross credit card sales each month in order to qualify.

GPN Data is an international merchant account provider and credit card processor based in Poland with sponsor banks located throughout the world, including islands such as Mauritius. They are one of the few providers of merchant services capable of serving international businesses that want to sell to US companies, as well as high-risk merchants in industries like debt collection, casinos, online pharmacies, online and MOTO eCigarettes and tabacco stores, search engine optimization (SEO), recurring billing, outbound sales, continuity, free trial and nutra trial companies.

Their terms and pricing are relatively cheap for these types of businesses, but are still wildly more expensive than a low risk provider. We were impressed that they don't charge an application fee, their underwriting is relatively fast and painless, their sales team is straightforward, and they work with a variety of gateways and virtual terminals.

Detailed Review

Below is a detailed review of GPN Data 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.

GPN Data Merchant Services serves the widest array of businesses of any merchant services provider we've reviewed. If you haven't worked with an offshore merchant services provider in the past, the application can seem daunting. However, we've found in test calls that their sales / customer service staff was helpful in explaining the paperwork, even offering to prepare it all on our behalf, and were pretty straightforward with how much everything 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 No
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 No
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

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Pricing

Almost every merchant account services company uses either Interchange Plus or Tiered Pricing (to learn the differences read here), however, offshore accounts typically use Flat Pricing. 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.

GPN Data is fairly open about their fees, and while they're certainly not as cheap as a low risk processor, or even a mid-risk processor, they were cheaper than other offshore options, and their fee structure was relatively straightforward. Although the sales team explained that the exact pricing a business is offered will be presented in a formal offer letter, and depends on the unique characteristics of that business, this was the quote we received during our test application:

  • Swiped Fees: 8.00% + $1.00 per transaction
  • eCommerce: 8.00% + $1.00 per transaction
  • Wireless Rates: Not Applicable
  • Phone Processing: 8.00% + $1.00 per transaction
  • Check Processing & ACH Rates: Not Applicable
  • Mobile Swipe Rates: Not Applicable

Additional Terms: As with all offshore / international accounts, there is a rolling reserve and holdback period. The

  • Rolling Reserve we were quoted was 10%, in place for the first 190 days.
  • Holdback Period started at 21 days for month 1, dropped to 14 days in month 2, and 7 days by month 4.
  • Minimum Volume Requirements: The company requires that businesses process at least $15,000 per month in total volume.

The GPN-Data salesperson that we spoke with told us that underwriting can change the terms for a particular business. Thus, it's important for merchants to know, that factors like the degree of chargeback risk, the industry type, your processing history, 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 GPN's rates and fee structure. Low risk merchant providers have all sorts of hidden or tricky fees, whereas this quote, including all fees, contained less than 10 items. The rolling reserve is relatively low for an offshore company, and while the 21 day holdback was pretty nasty for month 1, the fact that it fell to 7 days by month 4 meant that it's a viable solution for businesses.

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Contract Fine Print

GPN-Data credit card processing's sales team provided us with a detailed fee breakdown, as well as a list of definitions of all the possible fees that a business might incur, all in the formal offer letter. While a lot of these presumably stay consistent regardless of the business, as discussed above, this company underwriting department has significant flexibility to change terms as the need to, so your business' quote might differ in some respects.

 

Fine Print Fees:
Termination Fee None / $2,000 For Fraud Shutdowns
Setup / Application Fee $1,000.00 (Due on Approval)
PCI Compliance Fee None
PCI Inaction Fee None
Gateway Fee $25.00
Fraud Protection Fee $70.00
Statement Fee None
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 None
Daily Batch Fee None
ACH / Direct Deposit Fee None
Wire Fee $65.00
Refund Fee $5.00
FANF Fee None
Chargeback Fees $70 to $120
Freebies:
Initial Consultation / Contract Assistance
Free Integration Assistance

Free 24/7 Customer Service

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Equipment

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, gateways or apps for that hardware to function properly.

GPN-Data does not allow for countertop terminals, but operates exclusively via a virtual terminal and / or eCommerce. They have their own virtual terminal / gateway, but merchants are free to use almost any third party gateway or shopping cart.

HARDWARE

  • Terminals: GPN does not offer nor work with terminals. MOTO payments must be accepted via a virtual terminal, and online via ecommerce.
  • MagTek  Swiper: To the extent that you want to accept payments in-person, you can use a swiper that plugs into the virtual terminal.

SOFTWARE

  • GPN Virtual Terminal: The GPN virtual terminal requires no technical integration. Merchants simply log in to their page, enter the customer's credit card information, and they're done.
  • GPN Payment Page: For merchants who want to accept paymnet online, but have no integration requirements, GPN offers a payment page. Merchants can simply redirect their links to the payment page and customers will complete the transaction on the GPN secure payment page.
  • GPN Data Merchant API: For merchants who want to fully integrate GPN into their website, or into a shopping cart or other gateway, GPN offers a robust API and provides free technical support. 
  • Custom Integration Services: For those merchants who want to develop a custom integration method, GPN offers custom integration services and consulting.

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Countries Served

GPN is truly a global processor. Designed to serve merchants and customers anywhere at any time, they focus on merchants who are offshore, international, or are otherwise in a high-risk industry that prevents them from obtaining merchant services with a low risk processor in their country. They will allow payments in Euros, Dollars, Canadian Dollars and a few other currencies.

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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.

That analysis is certainly true for low-risk providers. But in the high-risk world where getting through underwriting is such a hurdle, the dynamic is flipped. Frankly, you'd prefer a longer contract, because the goal, if you get accepted for processing at GPN is to keep the relationship as long as you can.

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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: GPN-Data is based in Poland, but because of their extensive relationships with international banks, they represent international and high-risk merchants globally. They have offices and partners throughout the globe to better serve these merchants.

Account Sales: GPN-Data has an internal sales team, but primarily relies on partners in each respective country to market their services.

Account Service: GPN-Data Merchant Services 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.

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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.

When:

8/3/2015; TIME: 4:22 pm CST

Who:

Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

Making a call from the US to customer service requires a long-distance call, so we, like most people I imagine, choose either Skype or email. In this case we tried the Skype line that was immediately answered by a person speaking fluent english. I asked a few questions about the underwriting process and how long I could expect to wait to be approved, which were answered knowledgeably and satisfactorally. I also asked a few questions about price, but got the standard answer that it depends on your individual business. 

Our Take: Given that it normally takes us 10 to 15 minutes on test customer service calls to reach a person, I was surprised that I got through immediately via Skype. The customer service person I spoke with was friendly and knowledgeable, however, and although he was Polish and I'm American, so there's an accent difference, he understood me, and visa versa. In sum, a better experience than I would have expected. 

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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 no complaints about GPN-Data. Granted, the company is only 5 years old, but for a company of this size, we'd certainly expect some bad feedback just given the sheer numbers of merchants they represent. There is no listing on BBB, which isn't terribly surprising considering they're based in Poland. So, given that there are literally no complaints online, I'm going to speculate on some issues / concerns that merchants might have.

Problems with Product/Service:

Customer Complaint:

It's expensive. Really expensive. 8% plus $1.00 per sale isn't cheap by any stretch, and I could imagine a merchant being upset by that.

Our Verdict:

The problem with this complaint is the GPN-Data isn't marketed to regular merchants, they're focused on international, offshore, or high-risk merchants. And for those merchants, this rate is actually on the cheap end.

Billing / Collection Issues:
Customer Complaint:

Merchants may not like the fact that once they agree to a certain monthly credit card processing volume, GPN-Data requires them to deliver on that volume regularly within a 20% window. 

Our Verdict:

Offshore merchant accounts aren't like domestic accounts. They require very extensive underwriting, so offshore merchant account companies place floors on the amount of volume that you can process, and on the other end, hard ceilings because they have tight underwriting limits because of the riskiness of their portfolio of accounts.

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Who Should / Shouldn't Use this Processor

WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:

  • High-Risk Business: They specialize in servicing high-risk businesses that few other companies can touch. That list includes casinos, tech support, off track betting, fulfillment houses, internet pharmacies, adult material, collection agencies, trial based businesses, rebate based businesses, internet tobacco, and SEO. 
  • Offshore Businesses: If you aren't a US business, don't have a US citizen owner, but sell primarily to a US customer base, you'll need a company like this.
  • International Businesses: If you need to sell globally, or in multiple currencies, GPN can be a good solution.
  • eCommerce Businesses: GPN focuses on high-volume eCommerce and online businesses. 
  • MOTO: If youre primarily a MOTO (telephone payment or mail order) company, you'll find a good home here.

WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:

  • Small Businesses: You have to do at least $15,000 per month in credit card sales by your second month, in order for GPN to not drop you. 
  • Low Risk Businesses: You can pay literally 1/4 the cost by going with a domestic low risk provider.
  • High-Risk Businesses with US Ownership: If you have US ownership, you can get a cheaper rate through a US High-Risk provider.

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GPN Data Merchant Services
Ratings
Overall
Price
Customer Service
Customer Reviews
Rates
7.9% - 7.9%
Features
  • Accepts International
  • Accepts High-Risk
  • Offshore Processing
Monthly Fees Breakdown
Setup Fee$0.00
Monthly Fee$70.00
PCI Compliance Fee$0.00
Online Reporting Fee$0.00
Batch Fee$0.00
Gateway Fee$25.00
Chargeback Fee$70.00
Termination Fee$0.00
Contract LengthMonth-to-Month
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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.