BankCard USA Review
When I see a processing service like BankCard USA (BCUSA) on my to-review list, I sometimes think to myself “Why bother?” Just a quick look at their website and their internet reputation tells me that I am not going to recommend them to you. But then I remember that it’s important for me to be able to explain exactly why I will not recommend them, and to hopefully save prospective merchants both time and money by showing them my findings. So here we go…
The very first thing I don’t like is the incorrect BBB rating they advertise. I know that this might seem petty, but it’s the kind of thing that serves as a good indicator of honesty, integrity and attention to detail. While the BankCard USA homepage advertises a perfect A+, they actually have an A- at the moment (and a generous A- at that). Next, I don’t like their sales gimmicks. The $1,000 low-rate promise and the misleading 0.23% rate quote are dishonest tactics. And while they offer a few “testimonials” on the BCUSA site, they are of questionable authenticity. At least one of their customer headshots is from a stock photo, and none of them are very convincing.
The site is full of dubious advice and salesy writing, and the representative I spoke to gave me misleading rate information. Overall, this company is not trying to help you to make an informed decision. They are just selling to you.
I am frankly unable to come up with a single good reason for you to use BankCard USA for processing. There are worse providers out there, without a doubt, but this company is performing below average in my opinion. They need to overhaul their public image and their standard practices if they hope to keep up in this increasingly competitive market. Until then, I can only offer 2.5 stars for their efforts.
Check out the full review below for more details or head on over to the comparison chart to see our favorite providers.
Products and Services:
While you can probably dig up some other value-added services offered by BankCard USA, I’m going to keep this list brief and to the point. The main services offered include:
- Merchant accounts: These accounts are issued through First Data and Sage Pay. BankCard USA is not a direct processor.
- Payment gateway: BCUSA is an Authorize.Net reseller. They do not seem to offer any special gateway deals.
- Terminal leasing: Since these leases are very expensive and come with long, non-cancellable agreements, they are almost never cost-effective. Check out our article to learn more about why you should never lease your credit card machine.
- Mobile processing: It’s not clear what app or service BCUSA uses, but they do advertise mobile processing. However I would recommend you check out our mobile payments comparison chart instead.
Fees and Rates:
While BankCard USA doesn’t disclose any rates or fees on their website, the quotes I’ve seen are highly uncompetitive. They can also be misleading, since the tiered system this company uses features non-qualified rates as surcharges. This means you pay the non-qualified rate on top of the normal rate, not instead of it.
Aside from the bad rates, you’ll find the fees to be industry-standard at best. Even if you do not process any transactions, you’re likely to pay about $35-50 just for the service – and that’s not including lease payments or gateway fees or any add-ons!
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:
Contracts that I saw from BankCard USA were for three years, with early termination fees varying between about $100 and about $300. The good (and surprising) news is that I didn’t see any auto-renewal clauses – but you should check your unique contract before signing.
Sales and Advertising Transparency:
BankCard USA performs very poorly in this category. They make no disclosures about fees or rates on their website, and provide little useful information about how processing works. Based on my own communication with BankCard reps and the experiences of other merchants, I can say that their sales staff is hit or miss at best. Sure, I bet they have some good and honest reps – but not enough to make me feel confident.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
While you’ll see 24/7 customer service via phone and email advertised, the quality of this service remains questionable. Merchant reports I’ve seen commonly complain about long wait times and unhelpful support staff. Since I have not personally dealt with them as a customer, I need your help here. Please leave a comment with your experience!
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
This is the category that BankCard USA performs best in. They supply a seemingly endless stream of customers with negative reviews and complaints. Do a search for BankCard USA on RipOffReport, Complaints.com, ComplaintsBoard.com, Paypal Sucks or Trustlink and you’ll find plenty of literature.
While BCUSA has an A- rating with the BBB, they also have 79 formal complaints in the past three years. Many of these complaints have detailed reports attached for your reading pleasure. While I think this complaint volume is rather high for a business of this size, the customer service reps responsible for responding to the complaints are actually doing a very good job. They issue reasonable refunds and give sincere (if brief) apologies. If only the sales reps were so honest and helpful to start with…
The most common complaints include:
- Expensive terminal leases: Many merchants have complained about getting stuck in lengthy terminal leases, which are very expensive to get out of. Most terminal leases last about 4 years, so you can imagine what the cost will be if you decide you want to break the contract early. My recommendation is that you never lease a terminal unless absolutely necessary. Terminals are very cheap to purchase these days.
- Withholding of funds/termination of accounts: This can happen for a number of reasons. Chargebacks and/or suspicious charges can easily raise a red flag that will either get you suspended or shut down. First Data (the main processor used by BCUSA) has been known to be a bit trigger-happy when it comes to holding funds or terminating accounts. You’re going to want to learn how to avoid holds and minimize chargebacks if you sign up with them (or anyone really).
- Poorly disclosed contract terms: This comes up a lot in regard to processing rates as well as early termination fees. Don’t take your sales rep’s word for anything. If you want to protect yourself, you have to read your entire contract and application, paying special attention to the fee schedule which is included as part of the application.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
While BankCard USA claims to have over 100,000 satisfied customers since 1993, they offer a very diminutive and unconvincing testimonials section. You’d think they could do better with 100,000 merchants all “satisfied” with their services.
The BCUSA Success Stories page features five very brief (about one sentence) reviews. These are essentially useless in my eyes. And what’s worse, if you do a Google image search based on the headshot image provided for “Michelle, Owner Salon,” you’ll find the same face used to advertise a wide variety of services. (Here’s the full-size image, if you were wondering.) This leads me to believe that this is a stock photo and probably a fabricated review. Needless to say, I don’t like to see this sort of thing.
Is it possible to get a good deal and quality service through BankCard USA? I guess. Maybe. But it’s far from guaranteed. I have no reason to advise you to even get a quote from this company. They are after all just a reseller of First Data and Sage Pay processing, with little value added. Unless your sales agent is also your best friend from childhood, I’d doubt their trustworthiness. And if he or she is your friend from childhood – maybe recommend selling for someone else. It’s a big market…
The one thing I liked about this business was their efforts when it comes to resolving complaints. Unfortunately they seem unable to prevent complaints in the first place – mostly due to misleading marketing and sales tactics, I believe – which is what I’d much prefer to see. For now, I can only offer a 2.5-star rating. As always I hope to return to this with good news in the near future.