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Apex Merchant Group Review

  • 10 comments
  • Updated on:
  • Review by: Amad Ebrahimi

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Date Established
2008
Location
Plano, TX


Overview:

Apex Merchant Group is based in Plano, Texas and has been in business since 2008 (according to the BBB). They use First American Payment Systems as their payment processor, so chances are you’ve seen the First American name somewhere on your contract, if you’ve done business with Apex.

For a company that hasn’t been around for very long, they’ve managed to rack up quite a few complaints. I found some commonalities amongst those complaints, so be sure to read the Common Complaints section.

Read through the rest of this review for more info on Apex Merchant Group.

Apex gets a 2 out of 5 rating.

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Parent/Partner Company:
Doesn’t look like Apex has a parent company.

Type:
ISO/MSP.

Acquiring Bank(s) (Acquirer):
Fifth Third Bank.

Payment Processor(s):
First American Payment Systems.

Payment Gateway(s):
Authorize.Net or FirstPay.Net 2.0.

Do you need help setting up your payment gateway with your website? Click here.

Trust Symbols:
You can find the Apex Merchant Group BBB profile here. They have a “F” rating and 171 complaints as of this update.

Negative Reviews/Complaints:
There are quite a few negative reviews and complaints against Apex. They’re spread across the web on sites complaints sites and the BBB. For a company that has only been around since 2008, that’s not a good sign.

Common Complaints:
Here are some common problems that you may want to look out for…

  • Expensive terminal lease contracts through Merimac Capital: Looks like Apex likes to push terminal leases. Leases are a big money maker for processors that push them, but because they’re so unfair to the merchant, most of the honest processors have walked away from them. A terminal lease usually carries a 4-year contract, which can be extremely expensive to get out of. Nowadays you can buy a terminal outright for far cheaper. Leases only make sense for very large organizations that need multiple terminals and don’t have the upfront capital to purchase them.
  • High cancellation fee: Here’s what the Apex agreement (see section #23) says about their cancellation fee; “MERCHANT agrees to pay bank/processor early termination fees established by Bank, but in no event less than four hundred ninety five dollars ($495.00) for each MERCHANT location, plus any and all losses (including consequential damages and loss of profits, costs, expenses, and liabilities) incurred by Bank in connection with termination.” So, bottom line is that you’ll pay a MINIMUM of $495 to break your contract…most likely more than that.
  • PCI compliance fee: A few of Apex’s merchants are having an issue with the annual PCI compliance fee of $124.74 (see section #21 of the Apex agreement). Although PCI compliance is necessary for anyone that plans on accepting credit cards for their business, Apex is not required to charge their merchants any type of fee for that compliance. So, contrary to what you may have heard, processor’s are not required to pass that charge on to you.
  • High number of complaints from former sales reps: Whenever I see a high number of complaints from sales reps, it tells me that the company is running a “churn and burn” type operation. The goal being to get as many commission-only independent or in-house sales agents under the Apex banner, then letting them loose. The focus becomes quantity over quality. That’s always a bad recipe for the merchant because usually these reps aren’t educated enough and end up signing you into bum deals due to the lure of a fat paycheck.

Verifiable Testimonials/References:
No verifiable testimonials on the Apex website.

Security/Privacy:
No on-site security features (i.e. McAfee, Security Metrics etc…). The security issue really depends on what kind of information the merchant account provider is collecting from you. If they require you to fill out a full digital application with sensitive info like SSN numbers, then they should definitely have some third-party security in place. Sometimes, and in the case of Apex Merchant Group, the initial contact form only requires some basic info, then the real application is taken care of by fax or later on through a secure online app.

Customer Service:
I haven’t dealt with Apex’s customer service, so it’s difficult for me to make an assessment here. It doesn’t look like they offer 24/7 support though. If you’ve been a customer of Apex Merchant Group, please let us know.

Contract Duration:
3-years (auto-renewing).

Cancellation Fee:
No less than $495.00 for each location including consequential damages and loss of profits, costs, expenses, and liabilities (see section #23 of the Apex Agreement). In other words, the cancellation fee can be whatever the hell they want it to be, but DEFINITELY not less than $495.00

Interchange-Plus Pricing:
Interchange-plus is offered by Apex.

Seasonal Downtime:
Seasonal downtime is also offered by Apex.

Product/Service Offering:
Retail (Credit/Debit), Online/e-Commerce Payments, Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO), Wireless, Check Processing, Gift & Loyalty, EBT.

Product/Service Specialty:
None.

Don’t forget to leave your review and rating in the comment section. :)

Amad Ebrahimi
Amad has worked in the eCommerce and online marketing world since 2002. He started as an eBay seller, then slowly graduated to building & marketing his own websites and consulting others to do the same. He founded Merchant Maverick out of frustration with all the misinformation and shady tactics that he encountered when trying to find a merchant account for his and his client's businesses. He's the man behind most of the merchant account reviews, and articles posted on MerchantMaverick.com. Have any questions related to credit card processing? Talk to him.
Amad Ebrahimi
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10 Comments

    Glenn Salisbury Jr.

    I wish I had read some of this information about Apex before I became involved with them. I will, however say one thing positive about their early termination fee of $495.00. I lost my lease on my auto repair facility on July 31, 2011. I was trying to secure an new location but could not locate a suitable on. On March of this year I decide to terminate the service because I could no longer pay the “MINIMUM” fee to keep the account open. I was told I would have to fax a letter to the closing dept., which I did, and at that time I requested early termination and the address to send the terminal to. I will state at this time they did reduce the early termination fee by 50% because the termination was a result of my losing my lease and no other reason. I will give then credit for that, but that is all. That was I March 13, 2012. On April 17, they took $500.00 from my checking account and when I inquired what that deduction was for I was informed it was for the terminal which I did not return. I explained that I requested the address to return it to on March 13,2012 and I had not received that address as requested. The address is nowhere in the contract and you are at their mercy to get it from them. I was informed if I returned the equipment the $500.00 would be refunded. I sent the terminal back the very same day via UPS. I waited about 10 days after I had the delivery information from UPS and inquired about my $500.00 and I was told it would take about 7 to 10 days for the refund to be completed. I just called today, May 25, 2012 and again inquired about my refund and was told the request for the refund was denied. When inquired I as to why, they would not give me a reason, only to say they have “the sole discretion to refund it”. So now they have my $500.00 for the terminal and the terminal. The person there told me she would put in a request to return the equipment to me. I wish to say at this time these people use the word “REQUEST” frequently. I’ll bet this request gets denied also, but maybe they will surprise me. All I can advise people of is READ THE FINE PRINT and make sure you ask questions using different situations.
    Glenn Salisbury Jr.

    Rating11111
    Sherri D.

    This appears to be an easy company to sign up with but very difficult to get out of. We have been trying to cancel for over a year but told that there is only a small window to cancel in without being charged an early cancel fee. When I look at our contract I can see no where on it where it states that the contract is for three years but this is what Apex says. I’ve sent in the cancel but am having a difficult time getting confirmation that they have received it and that the account will be cancelled. In the mean time they will still take out money from our account for the ‘debit’ side and the ‘credit’ side although there have been no transactions for over two years until the anniversary date. From what this website just said, the anniversary date would be too late to cancel and it would auto renew for another three years?! I have asked if I need to send the terminal back to them but they say the terminal is not through them so I’m hoping that we won’t get another $500 taken out of our account for that like the post before mine. As for their customer support. I called yesterday and was transferred to the customer support center (that was who the number I dialed originally said I was calling!) but by the time I got to them it was 5:28 and they close at 5:30… but there was nobody there to help me. I work at another job from 8-5 so today I came over here to start calling Apex as soon as I could. It took me ten minutes to be transferred three times to the people I needed to talk to (apparently it’s not customer support, they were still there) but THOSE people leave at 5. Part of the game appears to be to wear you down so you don’t ‘do’ what you’re supposed to except go on paying. I’m not sure how any of this can be right. Apex appears to be able to make up rules as they go along and continue to take money out of an account an it’s not called theft somehow????? I don’t even begin to know how to protect yourself from this company except to stay very far away from it!!

    RatingNot Rated
    JM

    This is a complete ripoff. They do not disclose that the equipment lease is “non-cancellable” and they will charge you for the entirety of the lease regardless of at what point you cancel their service. And First American/Merimac’s service is HORRIBLE. They shut down payment deposits for a week on us before we realized it, then took another 5 days to get our money deposited. Had to borrow money to make payroll. When we called them up their CSR’s and managers were rude beyond words and completely unwilling to make the situation better. We were unwilling to continue a business relationship with them, and this came about within only the first 30 days of using their service. We sent the machine back, told them we were cancelling, and shut off the automatic payments out of our bank account. They threw us in collections for over $6,000, tried to automatically debit money out of our account without our knowledge (we stopped it), and then hired a collector to come after us. We are currently suing them along with at least 5 other companies who experienced the same problems.

    Rating11111
    barney kalman

    I don’t agree with what you say. Non cancelable is on the agreement in bold letters.if they give you money back in 5 days that is excellent .

    Thanks

    RatingNot Rated
    Anna

    APEX Merchant calls us 1-3 times daily Monday-Friday to “speak to the owner”. I’m not an idiot – we have caller ID. No, you cannot speak to the owner or our company. #1 We don’t send calls to the owner of our company unless you know him personally. #2 He has an Executive Assistant. If you don’t wish to speak to his assistant than you won’t get through. Their sales representatives are persistently annoying and rude!! We would never go with APEX.

    RatingNot Rated
    james johnson

    Apex is the worse company on the net they are so ignorant that they will tie your money up an refuse payment while drawing interest on your cash !!! They make up excuses that you need to send them your original invoice so they can verify that you aren’t committing credit card fraud !!!!You as a business owner cant afford this kind of harassment its time to call the banking commissioner and the State Wage and Labor Board and put these crooks out of business!!!! How do you stay in compliance with the state labor and wage board when they keep your money tied up for 3 or four weeks !!!When you don’t make payroll labor board makes you pay every employee his or hers wage daily for all days late which goes back to APEX being sued by all my employees on my dime !!!

    RatingNot Rated
    Brad Schmidt

    If you are reading these to decide if you’re going to sign up with this company, DO NOT DO IT. You will pull your hair out when you decide to get out. We signed up for a year and 13 months into it we found the same thing cheaper and told Apex we wanted out and they told us we now had to pay $495.00 to get out. It’s not worth it.

    RatingNot Rated
    Tresa Vorenberg

    Service is definitely their middle finger! It is next to impossible to get a call back from their customer service representatives. Once they have you in a contract, they have you by the jugular. Many promises, poor followthrough. Best to go with a different company!

    Rating11111
    Kimberly Wilkins

    I wouldn’t rate these people if my life depended on it. Horrible company to deal with. Customer service is rude. Takes forever to get your money and your constantly on the phone straightening out issues. The salesman came 2 times and have never seen him again. Do not ever deal with APEX

    RatingNot Rated
    Fred Calkins

    Received my second call trying to get me to upgrade my machine. I had already had it when I signed up with these people. They said the old one is analog, not upgradeable and vulnerable to someone it the parking lot hacking it. I checked and my old unit is still avalable, secure, and digital. Seems like they are lying to me to scare me into leasing a “secure one from them”. They said I could be fined 1/2 million dollars for not upgrading, talk about scare tactics!
    I hate dealing with people that lie to me.

    RatingNot Rated

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