NBS is geared to high-risk merchants. Compared to other high risk providers, they offer low monthly fees and a good array of hardware and software options, so they are an overall good choice for high-risk businesses. Alternatively, they are a bad choice for any low risk business, because as a category, these types of providers have higher prices.
National Bank Services (NBS) is a high-risk credit card processing company. That means they focus exclusively on offering processing to companies that operate in industries that have historically high chargeback rates. Regarding NBS as a company, they are owned by iPayment, one of the 10 largest processors in the US.
NBS uses tiered pricing, which varies significantly from business to business depending on the specific high-risk category your business is in. Their monthly and annual fees are low compared to most high-risk merchant account service providers.
A high-risk business refers to the industry that your business is in, regardless of whether your individual business is actually high-risk. These industries have a history of high chargeback rates, and typically include:
The NBS website isn't particularly informative, so, if after reading this review you have additional questions, we'd recommend contacting MerchantNegotiators.com for further assistance.
Below is a detailed review of National Bank 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.
NBS offers more in terms of features than most high-risk merchant account services company, because it is part of the larger iPayment company. As such, they offer pretty much everything:
|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)||Possibly|
|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 verified with that NBS sales rep that whatever iPayment offers, NBS also offers. The NBS sales rep that we spoke with also said that they also walk the merchant through the PCI compliance survey to make sure they get it done and paid. That payment may vary. All other features are offered, depending upon the type of hardware and software the merchant chooses.
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.
NBS uses a two tiered pricing structure, with qualified and non-qualified charges (typically "card not present" transactions) each priced separately. As for the actual prices, they depend wildly on the particular niche within the broader category of "high-risk" that your business falls into. On the low end of the "risk" scale, for example, qualified transactions are 1.89%, which is less than many processors charge low risk businesses. Whereas on the highest end of the "risk" spectrum, rates are as high as 7.95% for qualified transactions. On all of these there is a $0.14 per transaction charge.
As for monthly fees, their pretty low, particularly for a high-risk client. There was a $16.00 gateway charge, a $15.00 monthly fee that covers online access, tech support and customer service, and two charges that are unique to the high-risk merchant services industry, a $15.00 per month charge for $100,000 in data breach protection, and a $75.00 semi- annual technology upgrade charge, which takes the place of a PCI fee.
Our Experience: In the high-risk merchant services industry, your individual price will vary wildly depending on the particular niche that your business is in. So, it serves you best to get a quote from a couple of providers and see who comes out the best.
What we can say is that the monthly and annual fees seem fairly mundane and reasonable, which isn't always the case with high-risk providers.
National Bank Services is pretty upfront with their fees, and as an iPayment subsidiary, doesn't try to hide charges like some smaller independent providers might. Here's what we found:
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Setup / Application Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$12.50/month|
|PCI Inaction Fee||Yes|
|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|
Our Take:Unlike a low risk credit card processor, we can't definitively say whether or not all these fees will apply to your business, because it truly does depend on what sub-niche your business operates within the larger high-risk category. We listed all the fees as "possible," because they may apply...and then again, they may not.
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.
NBS offers hardware and software options that are PCI compliant and which cover a broad array of needs. As a subsidiary of iPayment, they offer the same hardware and software that the parent company owns. As such, there's a good selection to choose from and it covers just about every type of business need. That said, if you want a truly custom solution you're probably better off with another provider.
National Bank 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.
NBS doesn't offer contract terms on their site, because that contract term would change depending upon the merchant in question and upon what they have to offer. Just as with pricing, the terms of a high-risk merchant services agreement are far more custom than otherwise.
We do know that NBS uses Authorize.Net as one of their gateways, and - as we mention above - Authorize.Net offers month-to-month services with no termination fees. Be sure to bring this issue up if you choose NBS for your credit card processing.
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: NBS is fully owned by iPayment. iPayment is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California.
Account Sales: NBS appears to have receptionists in house who can fully answer questions about their services. As one of the only major providers who is focused exclusively on high-risk merchant services, they don't have to be, as customers often come to them.
Account Service: NBS offers a support number, and it's not the same as any number at iPayment; however, we strongly feel that this company may rely heavily on iPayment's tech support since it is a division of iPayment. Both companies have the following hours of operation for tech support: Monday – Friday 5:00 am - 8:00 pm PST and Saturday & Sunday 7:30 am - 4:30 pm PST.
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. Since we really didn't learn much about NBS by staring at their website, we decided to call sales.
3/2/2015; TIME: 2:05 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
Steve answered my call immediately and answered all my questions with a matter-of-fact this-is-what-we-are attitude. He was cheerful about answering my questions and spoke in native English. We'll give kudos to Steve for shining a light on NBS services.
Our Take: NBS is not for the regular retailer. In fact, if you're not a high-risk merchant you definitely shouldn't use them. But if you are in the high-risk category, their customer service seems straightforward, their agents seem smart, and overall we were pleased with the 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 only one complaint about NBS services. The writer stated, basically, "Don't do business with these people! They're crooks! They don't follow up!"
While we can't take that one complaint as a clue to NBS' credibility, we can say that in general, businesses seeking merchant services who operate in a high-risk industry are prone to having issues with their credit card processor because their business type generates more chargebacks. Thus, we take it as a positive that we can only find one negative review for a company of this size that takes on high-risk merchants.
WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:
WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:
|PCI Compliance Fee||$12.50|
|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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