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Review of Netcom PaySystem Merchant Services

100 Green Oak Drive, Roswell, Georgia 30075

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

Netcom Paysystem has been in business for almost three decades, providing obvious stellar performance in service and support. We found no complaints about this company, which supplies low- to high-risk businesses with a plethora of both proprietary and third-party products and services.

Netcom PaySystem has provided a wide range of credit card processing services for almost three decades and remains one of the fastest-growing companies in this industry. Part of that growth comes from the sheer number of products and services they offer to industries such as restaurants, retail, lodging, and the legal professions. They also reach out to high-risk businesses such as weapons-related businesses, the travel industry, and collection agencies. Additionally, Netcom recently added a new high-risk site for clients to begin or restore a high-risk merchant account -- even merchants with bad credit.

Their website is easy to use, and it seems this company can do no wrong. We discovered no complaints about this company's services or products. We also discovered very few compliments other than the testimonials on Netcom's website. Considering the length of time this company has conducted business and how they conduct their marketing (outside agents), the lack of complaints is a stellar accomplishment. Netcom uses Interchange Plus pricing, which is ideal for businesses that conduct more than $5,000 per month in transactions. The options that Netcom presents in programs and software also may be too wide-ranging for a small business. Based in the U.S., Netcom provides access to international sales.

Finally, Netcom's customer service appears to be something to brag about. This company states that their attrition rate is one of the lowest in the industry, with up to only four percent of defections. On top of that figure, 50% of those clients who leave eventually return.

Detailed Review

Below is a detailed review of Netcom PaySystem 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.

Netcom Paysystem really has a handle on what merchants need. As mentioned elsewhere, Netcom is fond of developers and third-party tie-ins that can make business easier for various merchant types. To that end, you can find features for restaurants and convenience stores as well as for medical facilities, gas stations, and retail in general:

Software Compatibility:
Intuit Quickbooks Yes, plugin
Sage 50 No
Microsoft Dynamics GP No
Hardware Compatibility:
Windows / Blackberry Yes
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, 3rd Party
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) Yes
Trust Account Debiting (Legal) No
Fleet Cards (Petroleum) Yes
Online Menu Orders (Restaurants) Yes
Countries Served:
U.S. Yes
Other Countries Yes
International Yes

Netcom doesn't make their international sales option apparent on their site, so be sure to ask about your options in online vs. in-person sales.

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Pricing

Almost Every merchant account services company uses either Interchange Plus or Tiered Pricing (read more about this topic 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.

Since Netcom offers merchant account services to low-risk as well as to high-risk merchants, the pricing can vary across the board. However, all merchants can expect Interchange Plus pricing, and low risk merchants can expect a price around the following:

  • Interchange Plus + 0.20% + $.10/transaction + $9 per month

Talk to your account rep about your sales volume, your return policies (Netcom, as with any merchant service company, would like to know how you avoid chargebacks), and your goals. You may be able to work on developing a flexible plan that grows with your business.

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Contract Fine Print

Netcom is clear that their service is offered on a month-to-month bases with no termination fee. That's great news. They do include some fine print fees, though, so be aware of what's included (or omitted) in your contract:

Fine Print Fees:
Termination Fee None
Setup / Application Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee None
PCI Inaction Fee None
Gateway Fee $15/month
1099-K Fee None
Statement Fee $9/month
Online Reporting Fee None
Monthly Minimum Volume Fee None
Accept International Pymt Fee Possible
Voice Authorization Fee $.95/transaction
Monthly Min. Process Fee None
Daily Batch Fee $.00
ACH / Direct Deposit Fee $2/transaction
ACH Charge Fee $25
ACH Return Fee $15
FANF Fee Yes, Variable
Chargeback Fees $25 each
Freebies:
Free Setup Consultation
Free Customer Support

The fees listed above are really attractive, especially considering Netcom doesn't ask for a PCI compliance or non-compliance fee, online reporting fees, or monthly minimums. Chargeback fees are industry standard, as are the gateway and monthly statement fees.

Our Take: Thumbs up to Netcom for offering such attractive rates and fees on low-risk accounts, especially when they have a focus on high-risk merchants. Remember, however, that Netcom does use outside sales agents...while this tactic can be scary when it comes to those agents plugging hidden fees into contracts, the upside is that merchants often can negotiate better terms, depending upon sales volume and other factors. Add that last perk to the fact that we've discovered no complaints about Netcom's services, and you should feel confident about doing business with this company.

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Equipment

Netcom's ePNMobile Pro encrypted reader

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.

Netcom isn't very upfront about their hardware options, but they state that they offer a variety of tools that are basics for developing a strong merchant account service system. Their software is their strongest point, as they keep building upon those tools. They point out that developers can have a hand in developing a vibrant system that includes third-party applications that can include AVS and CVV validation, fees, and support for tokenization.

Hardware

  • Countertop Payment Systems: Netcom offers ShopKeep as their POS system. The software involved is ideal for bars, restaurants, food trucks, wine and liquor stores, and retail.
  • Check Readers: Unsure about brands offered.
  • Wireless Credit Card Processors: Swipers include the Netcom ePNMObile Pro and the Magtek BulleT.
  • Pin Pads: Offering a variety of PIN pads, no brand mentioned.
  • Printer: One printer mentioned -- Woosim PORTi SC-30 Bluetooth Printer.

Software

    • Virtual POS: A full suite of processing solutions available for merchants that ranges from retail to card-not-present transactions and full reporting.
    • Payment Form Builder: This software allows merchants to create an online payment form for customers that is easy to use.
    • Payment Plugin for QuickBooks: This accounting software connects your payment processes to your QuickBooks account.
    • Batch Upload Service: This application is an alternative method for processing large volumes of non real-time transactions.
    • Payments API: This app is designed to ease integration efforts for ISV and developers. Based upon SOAP web service protocol.
    • Authorize.Net: This is Netcom's main payment gateway for eCommerce solutions.

Netcom also offers merchant cash services, the eProcessing Network (ePN) -- the first innovative and mainstream secure payment gateway to offer wireless -- and check services.

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Countries Served

Netcom Paysystems is based in Roswell, Georgia, and offers merchants the capabilities for regional, national, and international sales.

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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.

Fortunately, Netcom offers a month-to-month contract with no early termination fees. You can try them out and then -- if you follow all the termination guidelines properly -- you can move on if you don't like their products or services. Be aware that Netcom provides separate contracts for some of their third-party services. We've received assurances from the company president himself, that merchants who sign up with Netcom via Merchant Negotiators will not pay any early termination fees with any of their third party vendors either. Thus, this is truly a month-to-month agreement you can rely upon.

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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). Good things 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: Bill Plummer, Netcom's Vice President of Product Development, developed Netcom PaySystem under the name of Netcom Data Southern Corp. in 1987. In 2008, United eSystems Inc., one of Netcom's vendors, purchased Netcom PaySystem. Today, Netcom PaySystem is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio, and of Citizens N.A., operating out of Roswell, Georgia.

Account Sales: Netcom PaySystem partners with other ISOs and independent agents for marketing and sales. As a rule, this practice tends to result in an unregulated sales force bent on signing up merchants with inconsistent contracts, but Netcom tends to limit their reps to territories with incentives to grow into regional manager positions. Accordingly, Netcom appears clean when it comes to complaints about sales and marketing. Overall, we found no complaints about Netcom's products and services, nor accusations of any deceptive practices.

Account Service: According to Netcom's site and to the reviews we've read, this company takes customer service seriously. Their retention rate alone speaks volumes to customer service, and their reputation is among the best in the industry. Remember that Netcom deals with third parties for many services, so if you have gateway issues, Authorize.Net is the company you'll tap for live technical and account support as well as access to online documentation and user guides.

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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:

4/24/2015; TIME: 12:32 pm EST

Who:

Call to Customer Support

Our Experience:

When I called Netcom, I encountered an interesting message...first, the message directed me to contact various other brands for service problems, such as Bank of America and TransFirst. While this information is not readily available on the Netcom site, that phone call prompted me to find it...buried within Netcom's site. This page is where a prospective merchant can find the various third-party companies that Netcom works with for services.

Update 5/29/15: After speaking with Netcom management we discovered that this listing is actually a result of the fact that Netcom has switched processor platforms over the years, and as a result has merchants whom they continue to provide front-line customer service for under each of these processors. When switching platforms, an ISO isn't required to continue to provide customer service, but Netcom chooses to do so, yet another indication of how seriously this company takes quality customer service.

That same page on their website also shows what I learned from the second tier in the phone tree -- that Netcom provides direct lines to four account reps (three are listed on the page). While we talked to one representative to learn more about the fine print and pricing, we also learned that you can pick an account rep, and that rep may not be available. With that said, you can leave a message, and Netcom promises a return call within 24 hours. This availability to a specific account rep is a great tool for merchants, and it seems to back up the claim that the sales and marketing department is a well oiled machine and something the company takes great pride in.

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Common Customer Complaints / Our Verdicts

We scoured the web to find past and current customer complaints about Netcom's services. Then, we investigated those complaints that seemed legit, and provide our verdict on how well the processor handled the issues.

In this instance, we couldn't find complaints about Netcom's products or services. Their BBB rating is clean -- no complaints. Reviews about this company rave about their service and Netcom also includes verifiable testimonies on their site that tout both great service and great pricing.

This is the "cleanest" company I've reviewed to date, so I have to gripe about something myself...I would like to see more testimonials on the Netcom site, considering they've been in business for almost thirty years.

Update 5/29/15: After speaking with Netcom they explained that their website was hacked in 2013 and they lost all of the testimonials that had been stored on the website. They are currently obtaining new testimonials from current clients and adding them regularly to the website.

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Who Should / Shouldn't Use this Processor

WHO IT'S GOOD FOR:

  • Large Merchants: Don't pass up Interchange Plus pricing in addition to flexible contract terms.
  • Mid-Sized Merchants: Again, Interchange Plus pricing and options for growth make this company attractive.
  • Mid- to High-Risk Merchants: Look to Netcom to resolve issues around businesses that other merchant services might consider too risky. Netcom also offers help for merchants with bad credit

WHO IT'S NOT GOOD FOR:

  • Small Businesses: If you're pulling in less than $5k per month in transactions, consider that a full merchant service account may not be right for you unless you plan on growing considerably. Additionally, the type of interchange plus pricing that Netcom offers can be a little confusing for the smallest merchants. So, if you're planning on growing, Netcom is the type of company that will work with you to grow your business. Otherwise, check out your other options for small businesses or even startups.

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Netcom PaySystem Merchant Services
Ratings
Overall
Price
Customer Service
Customer Reviews
Rates
0.25% - 2.6%
Features
  • No Setup Fee
  • No Monthly Minimum
  • Month-to-Month
Monthly Fees Breakdown
Setup Fee$0.00
Monthly Fee$9.00
PCI Compliance Fee$0.00
Online Reporting Fee$0.00
Batch Fee$0.00
Gateway Fee$15.00
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.