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Pitney Bowes Payment Solutions

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Thursday, January 31st, 2019
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What We Like

PB Payment Solutions is transparent about its partnerships and ties to First Data and Bank of Scotland.

What We Didn't Like

PB Payment Solutions offers no information about pricing or contract terms. Its team also needs to work on customer service. Representatives wait too long to get back to customers.


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Marketing

Sales

Support

Pricing

Overall

Overview

PB (Pitney Bowes) Payment Solutions is a card machine merchant based in Hertfordshire. Through tis partnerships, it offers static, wireless or mobile terminals, a virtual terminal using any web-based device, and e-commerce terminal. Merchant Solutions are provided by FDR Limited, which trades as First Data Merchant Solutions, as an independent sales agent for Bank of Scotland. Therefore, merchants’ contracts for merchant solutions are with Bank of Scotland. Delaware-based payment processor, First Data provides merchant services, including its Clover point-of-sale smart terminal platform, to the lender's business customers in the UK. Also, it provides its payments acceptance gateway and it global multi-currency processing platform. Pitney Bowes primarily deals with selling the equipment, while First Data creates and delivers physical card readers and virtual terminals to customers. Once customers process £10,000 worth of sales through their terminals, they are offered a 5 percent discount across Pitney Bowes' portfolio of products. As sales increase, so will discounts across franking equipment and office supplies from the Pitney Bowes.

Marketing

PB Payment Solutions leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to marketing. The site looks old and needs overhauling. When we clicked on the “Our Company” page, we received a message that the page “was misplaced.” The site vaguely markets its offerings on its home page. The content is very salesy and offers few important details. Mailing expert, Pitney Bowes, is very active on Twitter and other social media channels, but this platform does not appeared to be used to promote PB Payment Solutions. PB Payment Solutions also touts its referral program high on its site. It offers £50 for a successful referral.

Honesty

When we began viewing PB Payment Solutions’ materials, we didn’t notice anything overtly misleading or deceptive. In fact, it clearly states on its homepage that merchant agreements are with Bank of Scotland and that First Data is its processor. We find it refreshing, consider many businesses in the payment industry are not as forthcoming. We did find plenty of complaints from customers about being quoted different prices than what they actually got charged, but most of these had to do with their mailing and shipping services.

Additionally, we liked that PB Payment Solutions offered success stories from their clients, as well as testimonials. Also, the information listed on its site included the first and last names, as well as company names, of those who provided testimonials. We find that admirable, especially at a time when people can try to mislead potential customers with augmented or fake testimonials. Offering up this information gives future customers a chance to try an reach out to their clients directly and confirm their experiences.

Sales

In addition to a referral program, other organizations can partner with PB Payment Solutions. As a partner, a business has pricing flexibility when it sells PB Payment Solutions’ products and services. Partner programs help companies increase revenues, however, these tactics can be misleading and can hurt customers and business bands.

Support

During our interactions, we found the staff to be somewhat knowledgeable and overly confident. They were quick to ask questions and to answer questions with vague responses. We felt like the skills and experience were there, but they were not trained not provide quality customer service.

Staff Interaction

At first, the one person we were able to reach was courteous at the start, but then grew annoyed as the conversation continued. The person we talked to was too focused on closing the sale instead of trying to build up a rapport. Eventually, he transferred our call to another person, only to eventually lose the call. We got off the phone not knowing more than when we started.

This is unacceptable. From customer reviews, it seems others have had the same experiences when talking to representatives.

Responsiveness

When we emailed PB Payment Solutions, we did not receive a response for nearly four days. It took more than several attempts to get a person on the phone. After submitting an inquiry form, we received a message that our form was received, but then heard nothing back after that.

Availability

PB Payment Solutions offers no live chat support. The company only makes itself available via email, phone, and inquiry form.

Pricing

Neither PB Payment Solutions, First Data, or Bank of Scotland disclose any pricing on their sites. Customized pricing is offering based on business size, services needed, average ticket price, and transaction volume. To get the best possible rates, you will need to get a custom quote yourself.

Hardware Costs

As a reseller for First Data, PB Payment Solutions leases and sells the company’s credit card terminals and readers. Neither PB Payment Solutions or First Data does not provide any of the pricing information until you sign up as a customer.

What we do know is that it is much cheaper (though still not inexpensive) to buy equipment than lease it from its subsidiary, First Data Global Leasing. Leases are for four years and cannot be cancelled. Customers have complained that equipment has stopped working and they still must continue to pay monthly fees for the duration of the lease agreements. Overall, we find this approach unacceptable.

Early Termination Fees

Like with many other contracts that are lengthy and renew automatically, merchants need to pay an early termination fee to leave the agreement. When a business signs up for a merchant account, the agreement is with Bank of Scotland. Merchants enter into minimum 12-month contracts with Bank of Scotland. Merchants that cancel agreements early are subject to a £200 early termination fee. Though some merchant service providers have completely abandoned early termination fees, some charge fees as high as £495.

Complaints

The consumer review site, TrustPilot, lists PB Payment Solutions, with a four-star rating and more than 1,075 reviews. About 20 percent of the reviews are bad, and the rest are good or great. Most of the negative feedback is about poor customer service and shipping problems. Other reviewers have said it offers fast, reliable services and quality customer service.

However, since it works with both First Data and Bank of Scotland, to get a real view of what it’s like to work with them, we believe you must look at them all.

With more than six million customers, First Data’s approximately 1,000 complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), is not that bad. Many of the complaints were related to poorly functioning equipment, problems trying to end equipment leases, account closures, and misleading sales information and hidden fees. Also, it is important to note that First Data is not an accredited by the BBB. To be accredited, it means the BBB has determined that the business meets its accreditation standards, which means a business is committed to making good faith efforts to resolve consumer complaints. First Data does respond to most complaints on the BBB, but whether issues are resolved are unclear.

Bank of Scotland has a one-star rating on Trustpilot. However, of the 66% of the 85 reviews are bad, all of the complaints are related to banking services not merchant services. Scattered throughout the web, there are some complaints about it holding funds for high-risk businesses for unreasonably long periods of time. Others have complained about slow or poor customer service, while others have cited minor technical issues. With such a large organization and customer base, we found the number of complaints against Bank of Scotland to be very small in comparison.

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