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Co-operative Bank

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Tuesday, September 25th, 2018
Best Payment Providers

A Good Fit For:


What We Like

We experienced quality customer service from knowledgeable staff. Also, many resources, tools, and complementary services are offered.

What We Didn't Like

No pricing is disclosed. Co-operative Bank’s merchant services partner, First Data, has a reputation for high fees, withholding funds, and terminating accounts quickly. Though it offers a lot of features and functionality, it is probably not the best for smaller businesses.


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Marketing

Sales

Support

Pricing

Overall

Overview

The roots of Co-operative Bank can be traced back to 1872 when it was part of the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS). Rochdale Pioneers started CWS in 1844 as a business that was owned by its members and aimed to work for the common good. In 1863, the North of England Co-operative Wholesale Society was launched by 300 individual co-ops across Yorkshire and Lancashire, and the primary goal was to buy and make goods for cooperatives. The business has gone through many changes over the years, it still tries to champion good causes.

Co-operative Bank offers safe, secure and reliable card acceptance solutions through its strategic partner, First Data, which provides secure and innovative payment technology and services to more than six million merchants internationally.

Through its partnership, Co-operative Bank helps merchants accept face-to-face, phone, mail order, and online payments. First Data accepts every credit and debit card option, including: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Diner’s Club, and debit cards. Through First Data, Co-operative Bank is able to offer customers a large variety of add-ons, including a tax-free shopping refund service and dynamic currency conversion. Merchant services also include fraud screening, transaction data and analytics, chargeback dispute resolution, seamless integration with point-of-sale software, and streamlined account management with Business Track.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, First Data, which is a global leader in payment services, and serves 118 countries, 4,000 financial institutions and six million merchants. It processes more than 2,800 transactions per second. More than $1.9 trillion goes through its hands every year, while processing 28% of the world’s ecommerce transactions. Its subsidiaries are Clover Network and Bluepay.

Marketing

Co-operative Bank’s brand image has assisted in making it competitive because it often portrays customer perception. Its promoting strategy incorporates supporting business, personnel engagement, and social activism, which, in turn, brings customers, investors, and employees together. Overall, its selling process appears to promotes cohesiveness around the delivery of commodities. Co-operative Bank utilizes social activism in its advertising and marketing while embracing a qualitative internet marketing framework.

Its promotion appears genuine and straightforward. Nothing about its site or brochures is misleading or deceptive. Also, we like that it clearly promotes its partnership with First Data.

Honesty

All of its marketing materials appeared clear and transparent, and since no pricing is disclosed anywhere, we found no rate-baiting. Again, it also clearly states in several areas that it outsources its credit card processing to First Data. We did not experience anything deceptive, however, it difficult to say this with absolute certainty because we were provided with so little useful information.

Sales

By working with partners and independent sales agents, Co-operative Bank is able expand its pool of customers. It is important to note that there are some complaints about sales tactics and failure to mention fees about its merchant services partner, First Data. For most businesses in this industry, these issues arise when they work with partners and other agents.

Support

Co-operative Bank is available by both phone and email. Merchants have access to a UK-based support team that is available during business hours. It does not offer 24/7 support or a live chat option.

Staff Education

During our interactions, we found the staff to be very knowledgeable, confident, and enthusiastic. The representatives were quick to ask questions and to answer questions about products and services. They were very educated about its offerings. They seemed trained and skilled, especially about Global Choice, as well as other benefits, including the many Clover products.

Staff Responsiveness

We received a response quickly following our email, which found to be a positive start.  The responses did not answer any of our questions and, instead, just urged to call for more information or to start an application online. We were told to provide sales with our phone number, so they could ring us at our convenience, but we chose to reach out them via phone. We reached someone rather quickly without a lot of hang ups or delays. Though we found the business to be much more responsive than others in the payments industry, it was impossible to get any concrete information from team members.

Staff Interaction

The staff was knowledgeable, approachable, and professional. We wished they were more forthcoming with information, but every person we talked to was able tout the benefits of its offerings. Though we didn’t get the answer we wanted about contract terms and pricing, we felt like the team cared about helping in the ways they could. Basically, we were told that they could not provide any specifics without getting all of the details about our business. Unfortunately, we felt stonewalled at every turn.

Pricing

Since Co-operative Bank Merchant Services and First Data do not list any of their pricing or fees online, merchants must obtain them from Co-operative Bank directly. When discussing prices, find out whether it uses a tiered, interchange plus, or flat pricing model. Additionally, the average ticket size of your transactions, transaction volume, and how you accept payments – contactless payments are more expensive than face-to-face transactions – will impact final costs. Many processors also charge monthly minimum, statement, and PCI-compliance fees.

Hardware Costs

Through First Data, Co-operative Bank is able to rent equipment that allows merchants to take face-to-face, mobile, and contactless transactions. An equipment lease is a minimum 36-month contract. Whether equipment is bought or leased, merchants still need to pay for software services to use the equipment. Offerings include the Clover Station, Clover Mobile, and Clover mini. Unfortunately, no rental or purchase prices are provided.

Early Termination Fees

Due to its relationship with First Data, it is very likely that contract terms are variable, and that merchants must buy out agreements if they want to cancel before it expires.

Complaints

After a thorough search, we were unable to find a few complaints about Co-operative Bank. However, they referred to its banking services. We suspect that any complaints about merchant services are being filed against First Data, since it handle the processing.

First Data, a major player in the payment industry that partners with Co-operative Bank, has 1,017 complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Many of the complaints were related to account closures, misleading or miscategorized sales information, and hidden fees. Additionally, First Data is not accredited by the BBB. A business earns accreditation when the BBB has determined that it meets its standards, of committing to making good faith efforts to resolve consumer complaints.

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