Leap Payments is an ISO that offers attractive interchange plus pricing that mid-sized and large companies will find attractive. In our tests, their customer service was among the best we've seen.
Finally, they offer a wide array of terminals, shopping carts, and POS integration, so they're a good fit for moderately complex setups such as in larger websites, restaurants, high volume retail, and personal services.
Leap Payments has been in business since 2009. What we like about Leap is that they're the type of merchant services company that appeals to the merchant who is sick and tired of larger processing services and forced tiered pricing.
Leap offers pretty cheap Interchange Plus pricing across the board, with straightforward monthly fees. They cater primarily to mid-sized companies, but have the capability to handle large merchants as well. Once we spoke with a salesperson we clarified a few questions about their pricing, (discussed further below) and found that, overall, it's a pretty attractive deal for most mid-sized and large companies.
We also like - in a world of cutthroat credit-card processing sales - that Leap offers superior customer service. In our test calls, it was the best we experienced across the board so far. But not only did we witness this service first-hand, verifiable testimonials on their site bear this opinion out.
In sum, Leap Payments offers attractively priced merchant accounts for retailers, restaurants, professional and personal services, contractors and home services. They also offer eCommerce solutions and accept some high-risk merchant accounts.
Below is a detailed review of Leap Payments 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, just click on it.
Leap Payments provides a number of services, depending upon what the merchant requires. Features also depend upon type of equipment used, business type, and POS.
|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)||Yes|
|Fleet Cards (Petroleum)||Yes|
|Online Menu Orders (Restaurants)||Yes|
Leap Payments also provides several other features depending upon a client's business. For instance, a "Quick Pay" option is available for select merchants who process transactions under $25. This option allows sales without a signature or receipt unless requested by the cardholder.
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.
Leap Payments touts the ability to offer Interchange Plus pricing for all clients no matter the business size, but they also offer varied tiered pricing for merchants who'd rather stick with that pricing structure. To be honest, if a merchant is making less than $2,500 per month, we like the tiered pricing structure better because there's no real value in switching to Interchange Plus at that volume.
We know that it's difficult to post the various pricing options online with Interchange Plus pricing, because - outside the various Interchange prices for different cards - the rate and swipe and non-swipe fees also change. The variables could fill an entire page.
With that said, we're disappointed that Leap didn't offer at least a sample of their rates - especially the tiered rates - on their website. After a lengthy and helpful discussion with a sales rep, we received some rates via email. Here's what we learned:
Interchange Plus Rates:
We also learned that Leap clients now pay less for American Express rates. Here's how that rate reduction pans out:
That's a fairly hefty difference, especially during that annual American Express "Shop Small" event for mom-and-pop shops or if you conduct a high volume sales business.
Our Experience: Leap Payments isn't transparent about their rates and fees on their website, but after talking with a Leap representative, we felt comfortable with their numbers. Make sure your terms are in writing, even though you won't have a long-term contract.
While Leap Payments offers a lot of information and testimonials to their service, they're still not as clear about their fee structures and pricing as we'd like. We had to hunt down the following information online outside Leap's website and then verify with Leap via a phone call:
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Setup / Application Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$6.95/month|
|PCI Inaction Fee||None|
|Online Reporting Fee||None|
|Monthly Minimum Volume Fee||None|
|Accept International Pymt Fee||Possible|
|Voice Authorization Fee||Possible|
|Monthly Min. Process Fee||None|
|Daily Batch Fee||None|
|ACH / Direct Deposit Fee||None|
|ACH Charge Fee||None|
|ACH Return Fee||None|
|Free Setup Consultation|
|No Application Fees|
|Statement Analysis Service|
We want to review a couple items here. The PCI compliance fee is an ongoing monthly fee, and that breakdown equals $83.40 per year. That's not a bad price, and Leap helps merchants stay on top of that compliance so there is no non-compliance fee. Gateway fees are only for those merchants who want online eCommerce solutions. They don't apply to merchants who use in-store terminals.
Although Leap states on their website that they don't have statement fees, the sales rep we talked with called the monthly fee a statement fee. The statement fee covers technical support (which is why we didn't include tech support as a freebie) and other service fees.
This Leap offer is worthy of note and merchants need to remember it if they sign up with Leap - Leap offers a "Lifetime Rate Lock" that locks in that monthly fee as well as the rate you're charged every time you swipe a card. Be sure to find out exactly how that rate stability might work for you and be sure that rate lock is included in your terms.
Our Take: Although Leap has garnered rave reviews online, we're going to take the contrarian's position and state here that the merchant needs to remember that there's nothing really rosy about the merchant service business. Take time to ask questions and be sure to read over any contracts thoroughly before making a commitment. You'll enjoy talking with Leap Payments, because their customer sales team is great. But, be sure to carry our list with you to make sure all you cover all your bases.
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.
Leap Payments offers a wide array of hardware, and they carry every brand under the sun. They talk about how difficult it is to choose among various brands, but proceed to offer a list of the "best" terminals based upon speed, screen, options, reliability, and price. Additionally, because we were so happy with their customer service during our test calls, we feel confident that their sales reps can help you pick the right machine without trying to upsell you too hard.
A sampling of the hardware offered includes:
Leap Payments can handle payments from and for merchants in the United States, Canada and abroad, but the business must be located in the U.S.
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.
Leap Payments offers month-to-month service with no contract and no early termination fees. As a side note - our sales rep told us that Leap used to lease equipment and also offered a free terminal program. They stopped both services, because customers ended up with contracts on the terminals that cost hundreds of dollars to terminate. Instead, they sell the equipment outright and when the merchant wants to quit, they can quit. Be sure, as always, to learn the termination policy with Leap so you're not left paying monthly fees when you thought you quit 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: Leap Payments is a registered ISO/MSP for U.S. Bank, and their processors are Elavon and Nova. They also resell equipment (hardware) and gateway services. However, they do offer their own whitelabeled gateway - the Converge Virtual Merchant Gateway (aka My Virtual Merchant).
Account Sales: Leap Payment appears to use an in-house marketing team. They also rely on testimonials, which often seem contrived - and yet, at the same time, could point to Leap's great customer service since those testimonials are verifiable. Leap also relies on a referral partner program. This program is based upon referrals only, not on outside agent sales.
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. We were eager to call this company because of all the rave reviews we heard about their service and support.
3/5/2015; TIME: 2:10 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
When I called Leap, Sarah answered the phone in a cheerful voice and obtained my name and phone number for a sales agent. She patched me through to Steve, and Steve and I talked for at least 40 minutes about credit card options. Frankly, this was the best time I ever had on the phone with a credit card processing service. Steve not only answered all my questions, but offered some warnings and elaborated on many issues.
If service is what pushes merchant service businesses into the lead, Leap Payments is light years ahead of most other credit processing companies.
COMMON CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS
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 didn't find any legitimate complaints about Leap - they seem to be as clean as a whistle. The testimonies they post on their website also are fully verifiable. One potential caveat, is that their social media team is so active, that its possible that they're quelling complaints. I don't think that's the case, but I suppose its possible. Since there are no public complaints, the most common compliments are listed here:
COMMON CUSTOMER COMPLIMENTS
This compliment took the lead.
We agree so far. Although I didn't give Steve a chance to offer information (I had my list of questions instead), I might feel very confident he would have covered all the issues if I based my belief on customer testimonials.
This compliment came from merchants who had dealt with previous merchant account services.
We haven't seen a statement, but we'll guess that Leap is fairly upfront about their fees on this document. Outside the fact that they don't offer those fees online, there shouldn't be anything other than what we listed in this article unless you go for broke and order options that we haven't covered.
We want to state this warning: Although Leap offers a "lifetime rate freeze" when you sign up, we find it difficult to believe that this rate won't change without a contract, especially if underlying rates from Visa / Mastercard change. So, keep an eye on that statement to note any changes and call Leap if you suspect that they're raising rates on you.
WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:
WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:
|PCI Compliance Fee||$6.95|
|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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