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Apex Merchant Group Review
Merchant Maverick's Rating: (2 out of 5)
Last Updated: September 5th, 2013.
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.
Doesn't look like Apex has a parent company.
Acquiring Bank(s) (Acquirer):
Fifth Third Bank.
First American Payment Systems.
Authorize.Net or FirstPay.Net 2.0.
Do you need help setting up your payment gateway with your website? Click here.
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.
- 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.
No verifiable testimonials on the Apex website.
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.
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.
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 is offered by Apex.
Seasonal downtime is also offered by Apex.
Retail (Credit/Debit), Online/e-Commerce Payments, Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO), Wireless, Check Processing, Gift & Loyalty, EBT.
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