Native Merchant Services, LLC (NMS) is a Native American-owned ISO that offers a wide range of services to an equally wide range of businesses. They provide First Data equipment and gateway. We found no complaints for this merchant services provider, however, they've only been in business since 2013. NMS uses an ERR pricing structure, which can be confusing, so make sure you understand it before signing up.
Native Merchant Services, LLC (NMS) is a Native American-owned business and a First Data ISO based in California. NMS touts as a competitive advantage that they don't have to pay taxes. This company translates that lack of tax payment as savings to merchants who use their services. It's an intriguing idea, and while the company is a good fit for some merchants, particularly high-risk and gaming businesses. In general we found their pricing unique, but probably not a great fit for many mainstream merchants.
In our phone call to NMS, we learned that this company has only been in business for a little over a year, and was previously known as "Cred Card Trend." This lack of time in the merchant services business for Native Merchant Services could account for a lack of complaints or compliments about the company, which makes us hesitant to recommend them too strongly.
At the same time, NMS is an interesting service because they also provide merchant services to high-risk businesses and take a different approach to pricing. They provide industry-specific software for casinos, gaming, educational institutions, and professional services, such as corporate billers and financial analysts.
Below is a detailed review of Native 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.
Anything First Data offers, NMS will also offer, including the following (which we verified):
|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)||No|
|Security / Fraud Prevention:|
|AVS Fraud Protection||Yes|
|PCI DSS Secure Transactions||Yes|
|HIPAA Compliance (Healthcare)||No|
|Trust Account Debiting (Legal)||No|
|Fleet Cards (Petroleum)||No|
|Online Menu Orders (Restaurants)||Yes|
Of note, we verified that NMS offers international sales, but only for U.S. based businesses. Also, to answer a potential question, no, you don't need to be a Native American business to do business with NMS.
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.
Native Merchant Services uses a pricing model called Enhanced Recover Reducted (ERR). It's a blend between tiered pricing and interchange plus pricing. Essentially, it's a flat rate for qualified credit and debit transactions (just like tiered pricing), which then reverts to a markup over the interchange rate for non-qualified transactions (just like interchange plus pricing). The pricing model is often criticized for being misleading because the credit card processor doesn't have to list the non-qualified pricing tier in the agreement, and just lists the qualified rate and a markup rate. So, there's nothing on the contract that says anything in the 2-3% range, even though the merchant may be charged it quite regularly. Ultimately, however, because MerchantNegotiators.com converts all pricing to a consistent estimated total monthly payment no matter the payment structure, we're not too bothered by that, it's just something you need to be aware of.
Native Merchant Services ERR Pricing:
That $0.60 is comprised of a lot of smaller per transaction fees. They include an Authorization Fee: $0.10
Monthly & Other Fees:
Our Experience: We made a phone call to learn more about this company, and in that call we learned that NMS only offers Interchange Plus pricing, (which to be more precise, I think what they offer is actually ERR pricing).
NMS doesn't provide much information by way of equipment, pricing or support services online, but that may simply be because they're a newer company. We obtained our fee information from the company directly rather than online. Looking at those fees, a qualified rate of 1.69% with only a 0.2% markup for non-qualified transactions looks really attractive. But when you realize that it's ERR, and then treat it as such, it's still not a bad deal, but it's not as amazing as it first appeared. Add to that the multitude of per transaction fees, and you can see that for many retail businesses there are cheaper options available.
All that said, the company guarantees that they can beat any rate, or they'll pay the merchant $500. So, by giving them a call and asking for them to price match or beat your existing rates you may find a better deal than their retail pricing offer.
Native Merchant Services appears to have taken a different approach than most companies when it comes to their fine print fees. They have a hefty termination fee (which is becoming more rare in the industry) but they've absorbed the cost of PCI compliance completely. That's an attractive change for folks to don't plan to leave NMS because it saves them money, on the other hand, it makes it difficult to leave if you're unhappy, and undermines your leverage as a merchant if you want to dispute a fee.
They also offer a free terminal for businesses over $10k per month in processing. For small businesses that just need a simple setup, this means that they could have $0 equipment costs, which could save $300+ on the front end. This free equipment offer may also explain why there is a termination fee, as they don't want you keeping their equipment and cancelling after month 1.
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Termination Fee||$499 /year|
|Setup / Application Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||None|
|PCI Inaction Fee||None|
|Gateway Fee||$15 /month|
|Statement Fee||$5 /month|
|Online Reporting Fee||None|
|Customer Service Fee||$10 /year|
|Annual Fee||$99 /year|
|Monthly Minimum Fee||$25|
|Accept International Pymt Fee||Possible|
|Voice Authorization Fee||Possible|
|Monthly Min. Process Fee||Possible|
|Daily Batch Fee||$0.20 per transaction|
|ACH / Direct Deposit Fee||Possible|
|ACH Charge Fee||Possible|
|ACH Return Fee||Possible|
|FANF Fee||No Markup|
Our Take: I appreciate that Native is taking a unique approach to pricing their monthly and annual fees, basically saying, we'll give you some free equipment and absorb some of the traditional costs, BUT you have to agree to a hefty early termination clause. That's a unique approach that might be attractive to some folks. That said, there are still some fees, like the Annual Fee, that you don't see in a lot of other contracts, so if you sign up with this company, please be sure to read your contract thoroughly to make sure that you are actually getting that tradeoff of lower monthly costs vs. termination fee that we discussed. Otherwise, you're just agreeing to a termination fee with nothing in return.
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.
NMS is a First Data ISO, providing that latter company's equipment and gateway to customers. With respect to equipment selection, NMS provides their clients with some updated POS systems.
Native Merchant Services serves U.S. businesses that have local, regional, national, and international sales potential.
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.
NMS doesn't offer contract information on their site, but got this clarified in discussions with the company. They offer two contracts, their contract for merchant services and a separate contract for leasing equipment. We don't advocate leasing equipment, so that's one contract you can avoid, as it's generally much cheaper to buy the equipment outright. With respect to their merchant services contract, it's a 3-year term as discussed above with a $499 early termination fee. The tradeoff, as I see it, is that they absorb some costs that the merchant would typically pay, and provide you with a free terminal. Whether that's a good enough tradeoff for your company is a decision you have to make with yourself (or let us help you at MerchantNegotiators.com).
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: Native Merchant Services LLC, is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. They use First Data for numerous services and equipment as well as the POS equipment provided by Clover solutions.
Account Sales: NMS appears to be low key about their sales, not engaging in much direct marketing, but instead relying on affiliates and resellers to promote their services. They also update their Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly.
Account Service: NMS offers 24/7 terminal help desk support, but the number they offer on their site leads to a wide-ranging customer support service that covers many merchant service accounts. Note that this support is for terminals and POS systems only.
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 really didn't learn much about NMS by browsing through their website, because all their pages seemed to contain the same information. A call to NMS was in order:
3/9/2015; TIME: 3:30 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
Rosa took the call on the second ring, so I didn't encounter a phone tree. She handed my call over to Christa, a sales rep who seemed very nice and very eager, but a little insecure about some of the rates I asked about (PCI Compliance, in particular). She also pushed leasing equipment for low monthly rates and waxed almost poetic about the Clover Station. She stated most equipment for sale would total $200 to $500 dollars for a complete in-store setup.
Our Take: NMS customer service was friendly, but I got the impression that the sales team wasn't as well versed in the details of their contracts and equipment as they should have been, perhaps owing to the fact that they're such a new company.
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 one complaint about NMS online. They also have an A+ rating with BBB.
While it's great that there are no complaints, we also can't find any compliments. NMS doesn't include testimonials on their website. Since this company has only been in business for about 1.5 years DBA as NMS, we'll revisit this topic later to see how they're doing. For now, we'll assume the best and say that silence is golden.
WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:
WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:
|PCI Compliance Fee||$0.00|
|Online Reporting Fee||$8.25|
|Contract Length||3 Year Contract|
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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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