Our Overall Rating:

Bank of Scotland

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Friday, October 26th, 2018
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A Good Fit For:


What We Like

Bank of Scotland was engaging, responsive, and knowledgeable. Also, it clearly notes on its site and during interactions that its merchant service provider is Cardnet.

What We Didn't Like

Through Bank of Scotland’s arrangement with Cardnet, merchants enter a minimum one-year contract and are forced to pay a £200 early termination fee if they cancel early. Merchants also are required to pay PCI compliance fees and other charges.


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Marketing

Sales

Support

Pricing

Overall

Overview

For more than 300 years, the Bank of Scotland has been dedicated to customers, businesses, and communities in Scotland. It is a simple, low-risk, UK-focused bank that was founded in 1695 and is a member of the Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax, Lloyds Bank, Scottish Widows, as well as other subsidiaries. In addition to its strong nationwide presence, the Lloyds Banking Group has the largest network of branches in the UK and serves more than 30 million customers.

During the last four years, the Bank of Scotland is dedicated to serving customers in the most efficient way and have invested £500 million into more digital platforms for commercial banking users.

During the 1970s, the Bank of Scotland expanded considerably due to the massive potential of North Sea Oil. The company had its own oil division and played a leading role in establishing the International Oil and Energy Bank. Later, it opened offices in the United States, Hong Kong, Moscow and Singapore. In 1987, it bought Countrywide in New Zealand and the Bank of Western Australia. In 2009, Lloyds TSB acquired Bank of Scotland. At that time, it began using Lloyds Bank Cardnet for its merchant services.

The Bank of Scotland’s card acceptance service provider, Cardnet, processes a huge range of debit and credit cards from around the globe and accepts a wide range of payments types in many currencies. Cardnet, which provides merchant accounts and payment services to UK businesses of all sizes, is a joint venture between First Data and Lloyds Bank and the Bank of Scotland is now part of the Lloyds Bank Group. In addition to allowing merchants to process face-to-face, online, and mobile payments, Cardnet provides a detailed online management information portal, fraud prevention, and chargeback management. It also leases all of the equipment needed for a business of any size to succeed. Currently, Cardnet serves more than 51,000 merchants.

Marketing

Primarily, the Bank of Scotland markets its services through traditional advertising. Additionally, to promote its serves, the Bank of Scotland depends on its existing bank customers, its many partnerships fostered with the help of its bank services, and its trade association referral program.

Though it is active on social media, the bank basically uses its Facebook page to post information about company events and its culture. For the most part, the same rings true for its Twitter page. However, the bank also uses this platform to answer questions 24 hours per day, seven days per week. It appears that it responds rather quickly.

Also, we were hard-pressed to find any complaints about promotions or its marketing tactics. Overall, we found its advertising tactics straightforward and honest.

Honesty

It does not promote any deceptive rates, and we also could not find any complaints that describe the Bank of Scotland or Cardnet using unethical or misleading sales strategies to expand its pool of customers. Overall, we felt both sites to be clear, easy-to-understand, and information was accessible through multiple channels.

Sales

Bank of Scotland uses in-house staff to handle the sale of its banking products and services. Since merchant services are offered through Cardnet, it is best to review its sales structure. Lloyds Bank Cardnet uses a team of sale representative, and it does not use resellers or independent sales organizations.

The Bank of Scotland and Cardnet also gain customers through a referral program. The Bank of Scotland encourages its trade associations to introduce Cardnet to their member bases. Associations and referees earn commissions and their members benefit from bespoke rates if new members sign up with Cardnet.

Support

Bank of Scotland can be reached by phone and email. New customers can get phone support from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Existing customers can reach support 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

In terms of technical support and related questions, Cardnet offers 24 hour per day, seven day a week UK-based support. Neither offers live chat services. However, Twitter does appear to be a quick way to get help.

Staff Responsiveness

For a large organization, we found it to be quite responsive. The emails we spent were responded to almost immediately. Our phone calls also went smoothly. We did not get transferred often, and our calls were never lost. Overall, the team was very responsive.

Staff Education

The team members at Bank of Scotland were extremely knowledgeable, and it easily was able to explain how merchant service inquiries were handled. We were given proper information from the team on how to get the services we needed. We found those we interacted with at Cardnet to be equally trained and educated on products and services.

Staff Interaction

We were pleasantly surprised by our interactions with both Bank of Scotland and Cardnet representatives. They were thoughtful, confident, and helpful when we discussed pricing and terms. However, when we wanted specifics, we were told we needed to submit an online application. Though eager to move us forward to the next step, we never felt rushed or pushed by their strategies. Positive attitudes and engaging ways were refreshing in the processing industry. Most importantly, no matter who we talked to we received consistent information.

Pricing

No processing rates and fees are listed on Bank of Scotland’s site because merchant services are offered through Cardnet. However, Cardnet offers customized pricing based on business size, services needed, average ticket price, and transaction volume, but it does not disclose any of the information on its site.

What do know is that merchants with existing Lloyds Bank business accounts get special rates and benefits. For Lloyds’ customers, terms include a flat 1.25% per-transaction fee on all debit and credit card transactions and a monthly minimum fee of £15. Those that do not have Lloyds’ accounts pay a joining fee of £175, which cover account set up, a monthly minimum fee of £25, and an authorization fee of 3p per transaction. Cardnet also charges a chargeback fee of £15 and a PCI compliance fee. Transaction rates vary. Depending on business type and monthly transaction volumes, customers likely are expected to pay transaction rates between 1.5% to 3.5%.

Hardware Costs

Bank of Scotland customers can lease Ingenico chip and PIN machines with countertop, mobile, and portable solutions, as well as a variety of Clover point-of-sale terminals from Cardnet. The amount a merchant pays depend on the model and type chosen. The monthly terminal rental fee ranges between £15 and £24.95, and the prices drop after 18 months. It length of a lease agreement is unclear, but is likely to be between 18 and 48 months.

Early Termination Fees

When a business signs up for a merchant account, the agreement is made with Cardnet. Through Cardnet, merchants enter into minimum 12-month contracts. Merchants that cancel agreements early are subject to a £200 early termination fee. Though some merchant service providers have completely abandoned early termination fees, Cardnet’s fee is not as hefty as others that charge upwards of £495.

Complaints

Bank of Scotland has a one-star rating on Trustpilot. However, of the 63% of the 70 reviews that are bad, all of the complaints are related to banking services not merchant services. To provide the best overall picture in terms of complaints, we looked at the reviews for Lloyds Cardnet. Fortunately, we did not uncover any complaints about aggressive sales tactics or hidden fees. Many of the approximately two dozen complaints we found were from  high-risk businesses that have complained that Lloyds Cardnet holds funds for unreasonably long periods of time. Others have complained about slow or poor customer service while others complained of minor technical issues.

With such a large organization and customer base, we found the number of complaints to be very small in comparison.

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