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Acceptcards

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Friday, September 28th, 2018
Best Payment Providers

What We Like

Acceptcards was responsive, and its representatives were professional and courteous.

What We Didn't Like

Acceptcards benefits financially from every merchant it refers to an acquirer or processor. It is impossible to garner any pricing or contract terms since Acceptcards is merely the go-between the merchant and acquirer.


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Marketing

Sales

Support

Pricing

Overall

Overview

Based in Elland, West Yorkshire, Acceptcards was founded by financial industry experts in 2005 to provide independent, specialist advice about credit card processing and acceptance to businesses in the UK. Since it is an independent merchant services broker, it does not provide card processing services directly. Instead, Acceptcards partners with merchants to find the best acquirer to meet their needs. To do this, Acceptcards works with many acquirers, including AIB Merchant Services, Barclaycard, Lloyds Bank Cardnet, Elavon, Global Payments, and Sage Pay. Acceptcards support team members even helps low and high-risk merchants complete applications with their chosen merchant services provider.

Acceptcards does not charge merchants for assisting them in finding an acquirer. The acquirer actually pays Acceptcards when a merchant signs up for a merchant account. It is important to note that Acceptcards partners with membership organizations, professional practices, and independent banks, including Metro Bank, to provide a best in class service to clients. By partnering with the independent broker, a bank without an acquiring division, an accountancy practice, or a national trade association can find the best deals for its members.

Also, it leases chip and PIN machines through Acceptcard Rentals Limited, as well as and bespoke payment consultancy services.

One of the UK’s largest independent payment service providers, UPG, formerly known as Universal Payment Gateway and based in Staffordshire, purchased Acceptcards and its subsidiary, Acceptcard Rentals, in 2014. Due to financial troubles, UPG was forced to sell its assets to pay creditors. Accept Cards was sold to a new owner in February 2017. As of this writing, it is privately owned. The payment gateway division of UPG was sold to Monek.

Acceptcards is not only a consultant for debit and credit card transactions, but it also acts as a referral service between merchants and processors, terminal suppliers, and online payment gateway providers.

The website states that the company is not affiliated with any specific acquiring bank or processor, however, Acceptcards gets paid when an acquirer or processor gets a new client through its service. Merchants do not pay for Acceptcards services.

Marketing

Acceptcards uses reselling partners, such as Metro Bank, to promote its services and build its customer base. Also, it uses Twitter to promote its services and partner relationships. We do not think that Acceptcards is fully transparent about how it benefits from its referral services.

Honesty

Though it presents itself as an autonomous, third-party service, it actually generates commissions from the referrals it makes to major banks and acquirers. Acceptcards does not make this clear on its website. We find this misleading and not a very valuable service to businesses, since it is financially benefiting from the advice it gives you.

Sales

Acceptcards operates with several in-house merchant service consultants, but also uses resellers to expand its customer base. Some of the acquirers it works with has complaints about undisclosed and hidden fees. Specifically, Elavon has more than 400 customer complaints in the digital space, including a number of ones about undisclosed fees.

Support

Acceptcards can be reached via phone, email, and contact form. There is no live chat option, and it is only available during business hours.

Staff Responsiveness

Shortly after filling out an inquiry form, we received an automated response from Acceptcards. In the response, we were asked to call for more information. None of our questions were answered in their responses. Fortunately, calling the business was seamless. There were no lost calls, we received a person within a few minutes, and they seemed eager to help.

The quality of the information we received, though sparse, was better when you called.

It is important to note that any customer service issues that arise after a contract is signed is handled by payment service provider’s support team. Each provider has its individual approach and resources. It’s best to ask about support before you sign.

Staff Education

While on the phone, the merchant services consultant gave basic information about merchant account services, and spoke clearly and honestly about processing. The consultant was upfront about the information we needed to move forward. The staff seemed well informed and knowledgeable, however, they were rather pushy in wanting us to move forward right away with an acquirer. We didn’t feel we had provided information for them to make a recommendation that quickly.

Staff Interaction

In our experience, we found getting Acceptcards on a call to discuss the details of their services was straightforward. The staff was upbeat, quick to respond, and answered questions easily about merchant accounts and processing.

Pricing

Since Acceptcards does not set the rates for processing or merchant accounts, there are no prices listed on its site. What you pay will depend on which merchant service provider approves your account. Prices vary depending on industry, average ticket prices, and transaction volumes. Depending on the merchant service provider, you can pay flat rate pricing, tiered pricing, or interchange plus pricing. Flat pricing is when you pay one specific amount for processing, and there are no hidden fees. With interchange plus pricing, you pay a small percentage and a small per-transaction fee plus interchange fees each time a card is used. Meanwhile, tiered pricing is when merchants pay three different rates based on what types of cards are used. You pay the lowest rates for qualified cards, higher for mid-qualified cards, and the highest rate for non-qualified cards.

We did find it important to mention that we did find some pricing that related to Acceptcards relationship with Metro Bank. Developed in collaboration with Acceptcards, Metro Bank launched a “walk out trading” service, which allows businesses to accept debit and credit card payment immediately after opening accounts. The service, which allows customers to take face-to-face payments through a contactless-enable chip and PIN reader, is available on a pay-as-you-go basis, with transactions charged at a flat rate of 1.75% along with either a £99 upfront cost or £6.50 monthly rental fee for the terminal. This service also does not require a fixed-term contract.

Hardware Costs

Through its partners, merchants can also lease desktop, portable, and mobile point-of-sale systems with the help of Acceptcards. All terminals accept contactless payments, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. Though Acceptcards does not list any pricing, merchants can expect to pay rates starting at £9.99 per month for desktop machines and starting at £19.99 per month for portable and mobile machines.

After a merchant account is approved, Acceptcards arranges the configuration and delivery of new card machines. Acceptcards sends the instructions on setting up virtual terminals and e-commerce gateways.

Early Termination Fees

According to Acceptcards, the company does not offer a standard contract because it claims to evaluate a merchant’s business profile, needs, and preferences, and then, provides several processor recommendations to the merchant. In theory, using this type of model, merchants would end up with the best possible contract terms and prices. However, Acceptcards does earn its commission from acquirers, so you will need to determine whether you think its recommendation is best for you. In the payments industry, it is not rare for a merchant to pay an early termination fee as high as £380 or to have to pay out the entirety of a contract to be released from it. Some also have an automatic-renewal clause.

The fee varies, but some of the acquirers used, such a Global Payments, charge those hefty fees. To ensure that you don’t get stuck in a long contract that doesn’t work for you, be sure to read the fine print in your contract and ask about it, before you sign.

Complaints

After thoroughly scouring the web for reviews, we were only able to find one positive Google review about Acceptcards other than the few positive testimonials listed on its site. The reviewer stated Acceptcards had “helpful and friendly staff.”

A major reason we were likely unable to find any other reviews is that merchants likely complained about their acquiring bank or processor. That is not unusual. When merchants sign up for merchant accounts, their agreements are with acquirers, who take on all the risk associated with the accounts.

The best way around this is to search for any reviews about the recommendation Acceptcards provided you. Search the Better Business Bureau, TrustPilot, and the Ripoff Report for any negative reviews or complaints. Many of the acquirers they work have scads of negative reviews about terminating accounts, unnecessarily long fund holds, hidden fees, undisclosed contract terms, and poor customer service.

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