2.5

BankCard USA Review

  • 12 comments
  • Updated on:
  • Review by: Tom DeSimone
Date Established
1993
Location
Westlake Village, CA

Overview:

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!

Unless you are using a mobile processor, you should always try to get interchange-plus rates regardless of the processor you use.

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.

Final Verdict:

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.

Until then, please check out our comparison chart to see some of our favorite providers. And don’t forget to leave your review in a comment!

Tom DeSimone

Tom DeSimone

Tom loves asking tough questions and getting straight answers, so he has a lot of fun calling payment processors for Merchant Maverick to cut through their smoke and mirrors and find the real deals. He has run a full-time editorial business from his home in New York’s Hudson Valley since 2010 and could not imagine a better job. When not busy writing and keeping credit processors honest, Tom enjoys backpacking in the mountains.
Tom DeSimone
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12 Comments

    Glendon Cameron

    I can confirm your review, you can even take it down to a one! When the rep had me on the phone it was all milk and honey. All was well until I starting make money, I had a week were we did 35K in sales in my furniture store. ( just a note furniture stores are now on the high risk list for many merchant account providers) Bankcard USA held all of the funds! I thought it was an error, nope the sales were under review. They even called my customers and harassed a old lady ( she did not know about the dining room set it was a suppose to be a surprise.) she freaked! I had to make a personal visit to ease her mind.

    Then their other evil side came out, the woman in risk management even yell at me! ” Well you know with volume like that we need to check you out!” Hello, didn’t you do that before you approved the account? It got so bad she hung up on me and would not answer the phone!

    After beating my head against the wall, I did a quick search and was appalled at my error in merchant accounts! I knew I had to do something quick or sue them. I ran one of my cards through the account and waited a day. The I did a refund, it work so a plan was born!

    I called up each customer and explained what happened. I told them I would refund their money and recharge to another system. I did that waited a week for the refunds to be credited and charged the cards again. I was lucky no on walked. Thank GOD I did not close my other merchant account. I lost money, the money I could have made running my business versus dealing with those idiots! This was over 3 years ago and it still pisses me off!

    Their customer service is no existent!

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    The Merchant Maverick

    Glendon,

    Thanks for posting, and very sorry to hear about your experience with Bankcard USA. Although it’s unfortunate that you had a rough time with them, your comment will definitely help prevent another business owner from going down the same path that you did.

    I can confirm your review, you can even take it down to a one!

    My reviews are always being updated, so I will definitely lower their score if I continue seeing negative comments like yours.

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    Wanda Denham

    This company just upped my monthly fee in Ca. from 11.53 to 43.17. No notice nothing. I have complained to Attorney generals office. This can’t be legal without notice.

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    E G

    BankCard USA just (as of 4/1/2010) raised my standard monthly fees from $5/month to $40 and also added a $99 annual fee that is to be charged on the anniversary date.

    These changes came with no advanced notice: they were printed in my statement dated 3/31/2010 to go into effect on 4/1, with the note that “Continued processing will be deemed acceptance of the new changes…”

    At the end of last month, I had an email conversation with my service representative (about a different matter), and he did not mention at all that these changes were coming.

    I have to say, up until now, I haven’t had any problems with them (since June of last year), but this increase is rather large and not one that I am set to absorb. (I found this site in the process of searching for a new provider.)

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    Travis

    I have a new business and Bankcard USA was the first merchant service company I used. When talking to the salesman he ade it seem like everything worked very easily. I told the salesman exactly how much my very first transaction would be run for and how it would be run. They tied up my funds in risk management because the salesman lied to me about how things worked. As of this morning they keeping 10% of the sale as a “reserve”, yet they closed my account after the first transaction because of “contract viaolations”. If my account is closed why do they need to keep my money? I would NEVER deal with this company. If a salesman tells you anything you should definately double check it.

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    Rob Finn

    I was a customer of Bankcard USA for about 10 years (although it’s hard to tell because they keep switching names or selling their list). I had finally had enough of their excessive charges and switched to a new provider. And then the headaches started!!! I faxed over their cancellation form and they told me they would close the account but still charge me $45 for the month even though I wasn’t using the account. Ok. I’m happy to pay $45 to get rid of them. But in March I find out that they haven’t closed the account and I’m about to get another $45 charge. After numerous (unreturned calls), I finally speak to a supervisor who tells me that he’ll close the account after I fax him the form (again), but this time, I have to pay an additional $295 because it’s now March and there’s an early cancellation fee!! Now I know why they’re saying they didn’t receive the fax. IMO these guys are nothing but scammers. DO NOT LET THEM GET THEIR HANDS ON YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT!

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    Tammy

    I just want to say thank you to all of the reviews I have just read. I actually just called them today because of a post card I received in the mail from them. I was told $10 monthly fee and % of each transaction processed each month. Said that is ALL the charges I would have. I didn’t sign up with them or anything yet but they were lower than the prices I received from the bank and QuickBooks which made me like them more. After thinking about it and how I found out about them I felt a little weiry with all of the fraud and scams out there. Thought to myself that I would look them up tonight and see what I find out. Well, here I am and I found out a lot of valuable information. We all work too hard for them to take our money for doing NOTHING. I really don’t know how people can live day by day knowing what they are doing to other innocent hard working people. Anyway, thanks everyone for the information, it’s greatly appreciated.

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    Tracey Burnett

    Any advice as to how to get rid of these people without being hung up to dry or am I asking for alot? We are getting ready to change from BankcardUSA to a local bank which will be cheaper for us in the long run but by these reviews, I see alot of people are being charged any “early” cancellation fee of $295 dollars. I already recieved a BS charge from them already. Something about some government stuff and a monthly charge of $3.95. Also, they stated that I provided them with an invalid TIN and in checking with them they had our business name wrong. So, they intend to charge me $10.00 a month until I straighten that out in their system online which I cannot find access to. I think that is their fault to begin with. What is wrong with these people. I don’t know how they sleep at night. We also recieved an obsolete card reader that we paid $249.00 for. Our bank says it cannot be reprogrammed. I guess we should have rented one first but we didn’t know we would start having these problems. You can’t trust any of the bankcard services. There should be government regulations on all of them.

    RatingNot Rated
    Edward Hrenchir

    Now here I am joining the ranks of the unimpressed. After having nightmares with Sams Club/First Data,I don’t know quite what to do so I call my bank. They tell me that some of their costumers were trying Bankcard USA so hesitantly I called them and they assured me that I would love their program.They agreed to sell me one of their processing machines so I chanced it and said yes I would try them. The first few months went by.the charges were high and I kept contacting them as to what was the problem. Now for the third time in a row I am being charged for not being pmi compliant and when I correct this problem for 2 months I am still being charged 19.95 for none compliance. This was supposed to have been done ins 2011 but three months into2012 I’m being charged. Now my machine suddenly quits working, and all they can tell me is something is wrong will my internet service. They finally send me a different machine and guess what it won’t work either, but it will work on my phone line which is not satisfactory with me as I only have one phone line as I am a small business, but all I’m getting is bs that it is a problem at my end and the phone company says that shouldn’t be the case .So now in order to get card machine service I will be forced to pay a cancellation fee which is bogus when their machine is the thing not communicating with the internet.Is it interesting that as soon as I am compliant my machine quits working Be careful.

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    Mark M

    I decided to start a little business of merchant processing and contacted BankCard to handle the processing. WHAT A MISTAKE. Everything worked great for a while. Then they held the merchants money. I tried to handle it for my merchants. They quit taking my calls. Then they sold my accounts, never told me, and I quit receiving checks. I do not recommend this company. I would also be careful, because I suspect they will only close down and start up a new company under a different name. I feel so bad for my merchants as they were small businesses and needed every dime to stay in business. That is why they switched to me, because I could get their charges lowered. Humph!!!

    RatingNot Rated
    Chris Brinkman

    The worst customer service I have ever experienced. I have been on hold for 26 minutes and counting and still do not have my issue resolved. Unbelievable!!!!!

    Rating11111
    a/s auto

    I have been with this company 1 year and I have been having major problems with their administartion corospondense people they have poor people skills and are very greedy , our company would rather pay more then pay less for credit card transaction than deal with their neglegence.

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    Genaro Bonilla

    So today I decided to look around to see if I was the only person in their dishonest and abused list. So I had a few bad transactions go south but I was completely aware of and I didn’t take steps since I spoke to their Agent over the phone and she said she would take care of it I responded to their emails but never got a respond from them. I keep getting bills and my account is being terminated and fund placed on hold because they have a awful way of communicating with people. Worst mistake I’ve done to hire these guys to processes my payments now I’m in a thin line of going bankrupt and out of business do to not having my funds. I well be talking to a lawyer since these damages are very hard to repair due to their bad service. I even hired a third-party for fraud right after that they cancelled the account. Fishy!

    RatingNot Rated
    Barbara Dorn

    I cancelled service in February and they continue to charge my bank account the $24 fee! They are stealing my money!

    RatingNot Rated

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