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Merchant Advice Service

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Thursday, March 15th, 2018
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What We Like

Merchant Advice Service has a small, knowledgeable staff and it does not charge merchants for auditing them and assisting them with finding a merchant account provider.

What We Didn't Like

Since Merchant Advice Service acts as a go-between businesses and merchant account providers, you have no idea what type of fees, terms, and contracts you are getting into until you are connected with a provider.


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Marketing

Sales

Support

Pricing

Overall

Overview

Merchant Advice Service Ltd. (Merchant Advice Service) is an advisory business that is comprised of a team of industry experts based in the Midlands. It offers processing, payment solution, and merchant account service advice and information to businesses operating throughout the UK. The company audits merchants current business practices and profits, as well as their future plans, researches options, and recommends the best merchant account providers that meet their needs. During comparisons, it highlights the small print of terms and contracts, such as hidden fees, exit fees, and automatic contract renewals, so merchants can make the best decisions.

Since Merchant Advice Service is an independent intermediary, it relies on recommendations and referrals to continue growing its business. Therefore, it claims to provide reliable information, unbiased advice, and exemplary customer service priorities. Merchants pay nothing for its services. Instead, Merchant Advice Service receives a flat commission from providers. If you are happy with its services, Merchant Advice Service helps you set up the merchant account with a provider. There still is no obligation or cost if you don’t move forward with its recommendations.

assist merchants by explaining, comparing, and negotiating terms with acquirers.

Marketing

Merchant Advice Service clearly and honestly reveals itself as an intermediary between businesses and merchant account providers. Its content is easy to understand and its site is easy to navigate and offers many informational how-to and education blog articles. There are no gimmicks and no misleading claims.

Because of the way it works, it always has its hand on the pulse of what is happening in the market, including the newest and best offers from major card providers. Also, there is no obligation if it reviews your business and decide not move forward with the suggestions provided by Merchant Advice Service.

Honesty

Merchant Advice Service puts forth nothing overtly dishonest or misleading. However, we do find it strange that it offers no insight into who it works with or if it has any preferred payment providers. We have found no reason to think that this mean no more than it has no loyalty to any particular providers. If that’s the case, then we find that admirable. The only note it makes on its site is that there are 360 possible merchant provider and payment gateway options. We wish it provided more transparency it terms of these options or simply stated it worked with any and all in the sector, if that is in fact the case.

Sales

Merchant Advice Service has fewer than 10 in-house employees that work to find the best deals for merchants. They are selling anything to merchants, instead, they are weeding the best deals and presenting them to businesses. However, it is important to note that their commissions are based on them landing sales for merchant account providers. If they don’t sign you up, they don’t get paid.

With that being said, you should not feel pressured to move forward with a contract unless you understand all of the terms and conditions. As intermediary, Merchant Advice Service should be able to obtain and provide all fees, rates, and contract terms when they connect you with a provider.

If you are pushed into closing a deal that you don’t completely understand, then don’t sign.

Support

In our experience, it was fairly easy to get details from Merchant Advice Service. Representatives gave basic information about merchant account services, spoke clearly and knowledgeably about transaction processing, and virtual and mobile terminals. They also asked thoughtful questions about transaction volumes and average ticket prices. Additionally, they were upfront about the information it needed to move forward with the review and assessment. The staff was eager to help and even offered to arrange a time to call us back to discuss additional questions or concerns. The staff was upbeat, quick to respond, answered questions, and clearly outlined its duties. We found their approach and overall confidence refreshing.

They were confident, prompt, and communicated clearly while also volunteering information. The staff seemed well informed, and we felt confident that they could help guide us through the selection of a merchant account provider and get a deal that worked best for us.

Availability

Merchant Advice Service is available by phone, email, and by submitting an inquiry form on its website. The site’s “Request a Call Back” button on the homepage was “not found” and couldn’t be accessed, however, a form could be submitting using the “Contact Us” button.

Customers also can get information from its Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. Though these channels are available, we found it fair to say that customers don’t use these platforms to reach the business.

Additionally, after Merchant Advice Service secures you with a contract with a provider that satisfies your needs, it will contact you toward the end of your contract to discuss any new needs, problems, or up-to-date deals that may benefit your business.

Responsiveness

Several hours after filling out an inquiry form, we received an automated response from Merchant Advice Service, notifying us that it received our request for a call back. A day later, we received a phone message. We called back and spoke to a pleasant, knowledgeable representative. Emails were answered just as promptly but we gathered the most detailed and helpful information via phone calls.

It most intermediary situations, customer service issues that arise after a contract is signed are dealt with by the payment service provider’s support team. Since each provider has its own style and resources, it is best to follow up about this prior to signing a contract.

Pricing

There is no obligation or fee for advice or audits Merchant Advice Service provides to businesses. Merchant Advice Service earns its commission through merchant account providers.

When you sign up for a merchant account, your agreement is with the payment service provider not Merchant Advice Service. The processing fees, chargeback fees, costs per transactions, and other costs are determined by the payment service provider, therefore no pricing is disclosed on Merchant Advice Service’s site.

All pricing should be discussed during negotiations with the payment services provider and the final agreed upon rates should be outlined in your contract.

Hardware Costs

Costs for hardware, such as terminals and card readers, are set by individual payment service providers. For example, the average cost of a mobile card reader is £58 plus tax. Also, providers charge fees starting at 2.6% plus 12p for each transaction. Any hardware cost concerns should be addressed with Merchant Advice Service when it is helping you set up a merchant account with a provider.

Termination Fees

Again, since you are not entering into a contract with Merchant Advice Service, there is no pricing structure listed on its site. The length of the contract you sign with your merchant account provider will determine the terms, including whether there is a fee if a contract is terminated early.

Merchants need to ask about any early termination fees when they sign up with their individual payment service providers. These fees are something that we believe should be part of the negotiations Merchant Advice Service conducts on your behalf.

Complaints

Not a single positive or negative review of Merchant Advice Service could be found. Since it doesn’t disclose any providers, it is difficult to determine if there are other underlying complaints. It is not rare for an intermediary to have a positive reputation or zero complaints because most often the problems occur with the merchant account providers. In many cases, customers complain about hidden fees, exorbitant early termination fees, and unresponsive customer service. Since you will not know any of this information until you are matched with a provider, it is vital that you mention these issues to Merchant Advice Service when you being worth with its team.

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