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Review of National BankCard Merchant Services

538 Broadhollow Rd, Suite 213, Melville, NY 11747

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

National Bankcard is a registered ISO that offers 24/7 support for their merchants. Prices are not quoted on the site, but merchants can have a choice between Tiered or Interchange Plus rates.

National Bankcard is an ISO that offers a month-to-month contract for merchants with no termination fees. Based in the U.S., merchants can use their services for international sales.

We're giving thumbs up for this company for a lack of complaints despite their size; however, there are a number of fees you need to be aware of before you sign up...

Detailed Review

Below is a detailed review of National BankCard 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, just click on it.

National Bankcard does offer a range of features with their hardware and software, but they're not very clear on which equipment handles which features. They are very clear that the only way to integrate QuickBooks is through a third-party plug-in. In sum, because National Bankcard offers so many options, it's probably best to contact MerchantNegotiators.com about what specific equipment best fits your business needs before ordering.

Software Compatibility:
Intuit Quickbooks Yes, with plugin
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 Yes
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) xxx
Trust Account Debiting (Legal) Possibly
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). 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.

National Bankcard lists its tiered pricing information as follows:

  • Swiped Debit Cards: 0.25% + $0.19
  • Swiped Credit Cards: 1.58% + $0.19
  • Keyed Debit Cards (aka Card not Present): 0.85% + $0.19
  • Keyed Credit Cards (aka Card not Present): 1.99% + $0.19

It appears from the company's literature that this pricing is for all types of cards, however, merchants should verify this in their actual written agreement. Assuming so, this is some of the most attractive tiered pricing we've seen.

In terms of startup fees, this is about as cheap as it gets. There are no setup or cancellation fees, a free terminal, and they can get you setup and approved same day.

For monthly fees, there is a $5.00 monthly fee and an $8.00 gateway fee (optional).

For those merchants that prefer interchange plus pricing, this is an option. However, because the company primarily offers the tiered pricing structure described above, tiered pricing will have to be individually discussed.

Our Experience: We learned through a call to the company that National Bankcard offers both tiered and Interchange Plus rate plans that depend upon the size and age of a business. Given the lack of a complete price list, we recommend that merchants request a complete pricing list before signing. That said, from what we can see, these are some of the most competitive tiered rates we've seen.

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Contract Fine Print

National Bankcard appears, initially, to be upfront about their fees. But, we found some discrepancies when we read complaints about this company. Here's what we found:

Fine Print Fees:
Termination Fee None
Setup / Application Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee $129/year
PCI Inaction Fee Possible
Gateway Fee $8.00/month
1099-K Fee None
Statement Fee $5.00/month
Online Reporting Fee None
Monthly Minimum Volume Fee Possible
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
FANF Fee None
Chargeback Fees $15.00
Freebies:
No Application Fees
Free Initial Swiper
Free Terminal with Merchant Account

Our Take: National Bankcard is far more transparent than the typical merchant services company insofar as they list rate comparisons on their website. For example, one fee disclosed there that isn't discussed above is a $.05 per check address verification fee. At least they're upfront with that fee, because they're missing the PCI compliance fee and the chargeback fees in their disclosures. We took a look at their Program Guide, and that's where we found the chargeback information. We still couldn't find the PCI compliance fee, but we've read complaints about National Bankcard that state those fees exist, and confirmed as much through our discussions with their sales team.

We found a few other fees in the Program Guide that merchants need to be aware of, such as the Merchant Reserve Account fee at $49.95 per month. They extract that fee from the merchants account without notice if National Bankcard suspects fraudulent activity. The reason for this, we suspect, is that National Bankcard has a very high acceptance rate (99%) and as such gets a few bad apples. They have to cover themselves with this fee to compensate for that. While it shouldn't affect legitimate businesses, we'd still be mindful that the fee potential exists.

Also, we learned through customer reviews that National Bankcard partners with third party merchants who offer free 30-day trials that the merchant is enrolled with automatically and that the merchant needs to cancel before the trial period ends or be charged for the services.

We also learned about a possible minimum monthly volume fee through the complaints we read about this merchant services processing company. We couldn't find that information online or in their program guide. Other "possible" fees are questions a merchant should ask about when questioning this company about their services.

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Equipment

ROAMpay

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.

National Bankcard offers tons of equipment and three software programs. Merchants can get one free swiper, and the software that comes with that card reader is free to download. National Bankcard also offers a free terminal if the merchant opens a merchant account with National Bankcard, but none of the other software or equipment is free. We never learned whether or not National Bankcard would reprogram any equipment the merchants already own.

HARDWARE

  • Terminals: National Bankcard offers over a dozen different terminals, with listed prices for each terminal, including some cheaper refurbished models. With this variety, you can be certain to find something that fits your business needs. Given the wide array of choices, you may want to discuss your needs with MerchantNegotiators.com before making a selection.
  • Wireless Terminals: Again, there are a wide array of choices here, and once again, National Bankcard offers refurbished equipment at discount rates. Currently they offer brands such as Nurit, Exadigm, and WAY Systems.
  • PIN Pads and Printers: Products and prices listed for brands such as Verifone, Printpoint, and Hypercom.
  • Check and Card Readers: Limited selection here between Magtek and Verifone.
  • Smart Phone Processing (swiper): ROAMpay allows merchants to send email receipts. National Bankcard offers the initial swiper for free. The card reader is compatible with most all Android phones and iPhones as well as Blackberry.

SOFTWARE

  • PC Charge: This software, at $199.00, turns a merchant's PC into a credit-card acceptance terminal. This allows merchants to key in transactions, however, purchasing and using a physical card reader will lower the price you pay per transaction for swiped transactions, so we recommend getting a swiper or physical terminal.
  • IC Verify: This software enables credit, debit, and gift card transactions through a PC or PC-based POS system. Multi-user version is $336.00, and single-user version is $239.00. This solution is geared towared retail and mail/telephone order merchants, and its features include recurring billing functions, the ability to process Internet and E-mail transactions, and its ability to support advanced configuration options including split-dial and Internet transaction processing.
  • Payware PC: PAYware PC provides secure, end-to-end payment processing and a multitude of advanced features complimented by an intuitive interface based on 2007 Microsoft Office. The cost of this software is $270.00.

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Countries Served

National BankCard can handle payments from and for merchants in the United States, Canada and abroad.

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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.

National Bankcard offers a three-year month-to-month "contract" in their program guide that costs the merchant $.00 to end. In other words, no early termination fees exist. With that said, be sure to read over your contract with a fine-toothed comb, because we're learning that other tie-ins may exist that will cost the merchant dollars to end services. Also, be aware of how you'll need to terminate your service with National Bankcard so they don't continue to charge you for gateway fees or other services after you've ended your relationship.

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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: National Bankcard Inc. is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. They use Authorize.Net, First Data, and Charge Anywhere payment gateways. There are no up front charges for the first two gateways, but the Charge Anywhere Gateway Plugin, designed for use with QuickBooks, costs $159.00. This charge is different than the $8.00 charge per month listed in the Fine Print fees above.

Account Sales: It appears that National Bankcard relies on in-house sales and service, as well as resellers.

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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. National Bankcard doesn't offer a way to contact a support teams unless you have an account with them, so we called upon sales to answer our questions about their service.

When:

3/2/2015; TIME: 12:10 pm EST

Who:

Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

I called the number on the website and was greeted immediately by Marteen. She was cheerful, spoke in native English, and she answered all my questions. Toward the end of the call, she wanted to know if I wanted to speak with a sales person, and I declined. Now, however, I wonder if that sales person was in house or if she wanted to patch me through to a reseller.

Our Take: Marteen helped us clear up the PCI question, mainly. She stated that National Bankcard would "walk me through" the PCI compliance at a cost of $129 per year. If they weren't capable of helping me, they would refund my late charge. Wow - really? I wonder if they helped merchants who didn't know to ask that question. She also stated that they use both tiered pricing and Interchange Plus, and I would need to speak to a sales rep to learn which rate program would be right for me. We're giving thumbs up to Marteen, because she was quite helpful and nice without a lot of pressure from her end.

When:

2/17/2015; TIME: 12:25 pm EST

Who:

Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

I called back and spoke with Vanessa this time. She stated that their sales, support, and other teams were not located in house, but were within the U.S. and they offer 24/7 support to their merchants. Vanessa stated that their support is with a company called "IP Men." We looked for this company and couldn't find a trace of a public existence.

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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 learned that, despite the legitimate complaints found, the numbers are small when compared to the size of this merchant processor. Still, we didn't like the way National Bankcard responded to complaints, especially at BBB. They tend to blame the merchant for any complaints against the company. If you find yourself in a dispute with National Bankcard, we suggest you report it to the BBB. It appears that National Bankcard buckles, finally, under BBB pressure.

Fee Misrepresentation:
Customer Complaint:

This complaint was the highest on the list.

Our Verdict:

Although National Bankcard responded to most of the complaints about fee misrepresentation, they always pointed the finger at the merchant. To be honest, in may of the situations we agreed with National Bankcard. Again, because the company has such a high acceptance rate (99%) they get some bad apples and / or people who just don't understand what they're buying. That said, we'd like to see them take a more hands-on and tactful approach to resolving these issues.

Inability to Close Account:
Customer Complaint:

This complaint comes in second.

Our Verdict:

Be sure to read your contract thoroughly before you sign. Some of these complaints were tied into a minimum monthly volume, which we only learned about through the complaints we found.

Withholding Funds:
Customer Complaint:

This complaint comes in last, but it's severe enough to mention it. Some merchants had funds held up to a year.

Our Verdict:

Again, National Bankcard pointed fingers at the merchants, when in some cases the issue appeared legitimate and the merchant was backed by BBB. An issue like this could put a small business owner out on the street. Beware.

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Who Should / Shouldn't Use this Processor

WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:

  • Detail-Oriented Businesses: If you are detail oriented, this company offers some of the most competitive tiered pricing rates we've seen and tons of hardware choices, but their propensity for conflicts with existing customers leads us to recommend that you document everything with this company.
  • Small Businesses: National Bankcard targets small and mid-sized business owners, which means they have everything you'll want. In addition, for small businesses the costs of equipment and related startup costs can be prohibitive, and so we love the fact that you can get started with these guys for basically nothing up front.
  • Mid-Sized Businesses: National Bankcard targets mid-sized business owners, and offers them every combination of hardware and software they could want. So for growing businesses whose needs are changing, this could be a good fit.
  • Cash Strapped Businesses: If you're just starting out, or have limited cash on hand, this pricing structure is good for you. This company requires you to pay basically nothing up front, as they offer free equipment, free setup, consultations, etc. Compare their prices to other inexpensive options.

 WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:

  • High Chargeback Business:Those chargeback fees are too wishy-washy for us. If you're going to take $25 - $150 for a chargeback fee, we'll bet that fee is $150 every time. Take a look at some other merchant services that focus on high-risk businesses.
  • Non-Detail Oriented People:If you aren't watching your monthly statement, you may be in for surprises down the road. We come to this opinion after reading the complaints about this company.

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National BankCard Merchant Services
Ratings
Overall
Price
Customer Service
Customer Reviews
Rates
0.25% - 1.99%
Features
  • Free Terminal
  • No Application Fee
  • High Acceptance Rate
Monthly Fees Breakdown
Setup Fee$0.00
Monthly Fee$5.00
PCI Compliance Fee$10.75
Online Reporting Fee$0.00
Batch Fee$0.00
Gateway Fee$8.00
Chargeback Fee$25.00
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.