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26Jul/1030

First American Payment Systems Review

Merchant Maverick's Rating: (3 out of 5)
three-stars

Last Updated: September 23nd, 2012.

Logo:
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Overview:
Based out of Forth Worth, Texas and operating since 1990, First American Payment Systems (FAPS) has about two decade's worth of payment processing under its belt. As of now, they do about $10 billion in transactional volume annually, which puts them in the mid to upper tier as far as size is concerned.

When I first reviewed FAPS they had an enormous amount of complaints on their BBB profile (since been removed). After I did some digging, I noticed that a large number of those complaints were actually directed at some other business names that were associated with First American. Digging further, I found that those businesses are subsidiaries of First American Payment Systems. Subsidiaries with some pretty crappy track records I must add  (see "Negative Reviews/Complaints").

Moving on...

  • The 3-year/$495 contract duration and cancellation fee is a bit high by industry standards.
  • I'd like to see some testimonials or case studies listed on the FAPS site. They don't have either as of now.
  • How about adding a blog or some other educational resources? The only blog that I found seemed geared more towards their sales agents than their merchants. Which isn't a problem since educated sales reps are just as important as educated merchants, but how about putting out some good resources for us as well?
  • The Twitter and Facebook accounts are cool. At least we know we can interact with them on a public channel if we ever need to.

First American Payment Systems gets a 3 out of 5.

Date Established:
1990.

Location:
Fort Worth, Texas.

Domain Name(s):
www.first-american.net.

Parent/Partner Company:
FAPS (aka GMAX Express, Inc.) doesn't have a parent company, but they do have some sister/subsidiary companies.

Type:
Registered ISO/MSP.

Acquiring Bank(s) (Acquirer):
Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.

Payment Processor(s):
First American Payment Systems is the payment processor.

Payment Gateway(s):
FAPS has their own payment gateway by the name FirstPay.Net 2.0, but they can also set you up with the GoEmerchant payment gateway or Authorize.Net.

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

Trust Symbols:
You can find the First American BBB profile here.

Negative Reviews/Complaints:
I'm just going to use RipOffReport for this section, because most of the other complaint sites (i.e. Complaints Board, MeasuredUp etc...) have redundant reports.

If you read through the ROR complaints you'll notice that in addition to calling out FAPS, most of the complaints also include the name of other companies like, "Trans Tech Merchant Group" and "Summit Merchant Solutions."

Those companies are subsidiaries (owned by) of FAPS. Originally, I just thought that they were resellers for FAPS services, but several people pointed out in the comment section of this review that those companies were indeed owned by First American Payment Systems.

Those companies are:

Common Complaints:
There were a couple merchants that had a bad experience with the FAPS terminal lease contracts (supplied by Merimac Capital), but that's about it. If I was you, I wouldn't lease a terminal to begin with. You can buy a terminal these days for less than $400, so no point in locking yourself into a contract (generally 4-years) that you can't break from.

Verifiable Testimonials/References:
I couldn't find any verifiable testimonials (as of this review) on the FAPS website. Get some good testimonials up guys! Case studies would be even better.

Customer Service:
They offer 24/7 customer support to all existing merchants. Have you worked with First American Payment Systems? Feel free to leave us your review. Don't forget to read the user review and comment policy.

Contract Duration:
3-years.

Cancellation Fee:
$495. This is pretty high by industry standards. If I was you, I'd try and get them to lower this for you, or eliminate it completely.

Interchange-Plus Pricing:
Interchange-plus is offered by FAPS, but you will have to qualify for it. Generally, "qualifying" means you process $10k or more per month.

Seasonal Downtime:
Seasonal downtime is also offered by FAPS.

Product/Service Offering:
Retail (Credit/Debit), Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO), EBT, Check Services, Online/e-Commerce Payments, Gift & Loyalty, Online Reporting, ACH, Equipment Leasing, ATM, Merchant Cash Advance, Remote Deposit Capture.

Product/Service Specialty:
None.

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

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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.

Latest posts by Amad Ebrahimi (see all)

Comments (30) Trackbacks (0)
Comment Rules: Don't forget to read the "User Review and Comment Policy" before posting.
  1. I was with First American System for a couple years then when I went to cancel they were absolutely horrible!! They charges are outrageous! They make it extremely difficult to cancel then charged my account nearly $700. If you are currently with this company I feel sorry for you!! Have fun leaving! If you are undecided DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY!! There are plenty of reputable companies out there just run fast away from this company.

    • Not Rated
  2. Read your contract carefully. I spoke with someone on the phone and they gave me instructions to send a letter in canceling my contract at it’s end. They however, did not inform me this letter had to be sent 30 day prior to the end of the contract. Thus they charged my company a $595 cancellation fee even though I canceled before the contract was up. Asked for a refund but not granted.

    • 11111
    • FAPS has been taking money from my wife and I since we canceled them in 10-10-11 monthly. They started at $17 dollars a month then over $50 now they are taking over $600 !!! All this with no service, statements or any contact. We dont even own the business that had the service anymore. Now we are getting very threatning letters and phone calls from FAPS directly not even a sister company

      • 11111
      • It now appears that they opened a new account and contract. They are using 3 or 4 different company’s to get us. It’s been hard to know who or what number to call. The other company’s are Apex merchant group ( apex has so-called original contract) Digital financial group , Merimac Capitol, First American payment systems. We know there is another company, but have not figured out who they are yet. Scary stuff!

        • 11111
  3. It appears we are just now starting to realize what a tremendous pile of garbage we have stepped in with First American Payment Systems. We were doing business with NPC through Retriever and were very satisfied with the charges and especially with our rep. After 4 years, he called saying that Retriever was grossly overcharging us and he was stepping out to start is own company Pilot Processing and if we would follow him, we would save plenty. We received a simple 2-page acknowledgement, signed for FAPS and instantly our fees skyrocketed. We were assured there was no contract as before. After changing back to NPC through Vantiv, we are still being billed 36.00 a month from FAPS. Our agent has elected to not be available in any form, so we called FAPS directly to find out about the charges. After an hour on the phone with some horribly rude people, we were bluntly told we should “watch what we sign”, and were sent this ridiculous 5-page ‘contract’ that we had never seen before.
    It is only now that I am reading others feedback about this company (FAPS), their deceptive practices, horrible customer service, and nightmarish contracts. Twice, our PCI compliance has be completed without my signature; I’m assuming that was forged, and I have processor paperwork on my desk where my signature is obviously forged.
    Will be calling the FTC (1-877-382-4357) for solutions ASAP.
    Apparently the game goes thusly:
    1) ‘independent agents’ spring up and gather new merchants for the parent company who claims no fault, blaming it all on the contract.
    2) Independents don’t present the whole contract, if at all.
    3) The page your signature is on simply states you agree with the “terms” which are explained over the phone.
    4) Actual contract is a separate unsigned, undisclosed mystery document you supposedly have read.
    5) You are screwed. It appears the magnitude of your plight depends on which version of the contract you are later presented with (from what I’ve been reading).

    If I am able to reply to myself, I will be happy to relay what we learn.

    We are a small business and are not experts in the field of processing, but I know when I’m being taken for a ride and this feels reminiscent of the old car dealer straw scam that was used frequently in the 90′s or so.

    • 11111
    • Same thing happened to us. I wish we had read these reviews before we signed up. We had an “agent” tell us he could get us better rates and when we told him we wanted a month to month contract he said yes that was what we were getting. I actually asked him several times to confirm and asked him where it was in the contract and he said “yes” everytime and assured us it was in the contract. He didn’t actually show me, it is a 50 page contract. His company App Star processes thru First American and they were extremely difficult to deal with to try to close our other account. We were charged for a year on an account we didn’t use. They are rude and devious.

      • Not Rated
      • So we came to find out that our new contract is the same as the old. A 3 year contract with yearly automatic renewals. We don’t want to deal with First American anymore but we have to now til 2015 because of their deceit.

        • Not Rated
        • I signed up in 2005 with Transone and was fine with the service, In 2011 [edited: name removed] shows up at my door to renew my contract. He says he is with FAPS and that Transone is owned by FAPS He can reduce my rates if I renew right now. I signed on and he came and replaced my old machine, and we were in business, except that he did not close the old contract. I discovered the duplicate charges several months later, along with the fact that the new contract was much more expensive. I called them to inform them of the error, and they said FAPS was a different company and that if I wanted to cancel my Transone account I would have to pay $495. They would not budge from that position.
          Where do I cancel the account? With the same customer service as FAPS, they have the same employees, telephone, Fax, address, and owner but claim to be separate when it is convenient.
          I pointed out that they even took my old machine. If they were different companies how could they do that? There response is I should read what I signed. I shouldn’t have allowed them to take the old machine. Everything is my fault for doing business with them is their position.

          The fact is the contract in which I was trying to end was only 3 pages with the an equipment lease on page 4. There was nothing in the contract about automatic renewal or anything stating that I could only cancel on my anniversary date. The only reference to early termination was in the machine lease and it was 4 years.

          If you are thinking about doing business with them Don’t. If you are thinking of doing business with any other company, make sure it has no ties with First American.

          • Not Rated
  4. I learned a very valuable lesson from this company. I was cold-called to have a ‘field rep’ come to my office to inspect the credit card service I was currently using. The ‘rep’ discovered a number of ways his company could save me money, but that he needed me to sign a credit check authorization just to see if even “qualified” for their service. Two weeks later, I am told via paper bill that I was indeed qualified and, without my knowledge was signed up to a 3 year service contract and a 4 year equipment lease. When I immediately contacted the company and explained that I only signed to authorize a credit check, the customer service agent abruptly told me that “you need to watch what you sign for”. He also informed me that I would need to pay $495 for an early termination. Obviously, the lesson I learned was to NEVER sign anything until you read it thoroughly, but when you have a very sly sales rep ‘assuring’ you that the signature was only for the credit check, then it leads me to reason that this company uses decetive practices to pirate accounts away from more reputable companies.

    • 11111
  5. This Company is a big ripoff. We tried to cancel the contract and was told we had a 3 year contract and when it expried we tried again only to be told we missed the dedline for notification and they kept billing us. As of April this year they charged us a cancellation fee of $536.42. This has better be the end of this crooked company’s tricks.

    • Not Rated
  6. WE HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY THIS COMPANIES “SISTER COMPANIES 2 TIMES WITH ONE SALEMAN SAYING THE FIRST COMPANY WAS “RIPPING US OFF BIG TIME” ONLY TO FIND THEY ARE ALL THE SAME COMPANY & NOW 2 LEASES FOR EQUIPMENT THAT WERE NOT NEEDED. TOTALLY UNETHICAL SALESMEN AND AGREEMENTS.

    • Not Rated
  7. These guys are trying to make us pay $425 fee even after our contract is up. What a bunch of con artists.

    • Not Rated
  8. Last year I signed two contracts with two credit-card process companies(App-Star Financial and Summit Merchant), both promised to reimburse the cancellation fees from my former processors(Park Central and Wells Fargo)

    But Summit did not give me the reimbursement, so I closed my bank account(1) processing the money with Summit and canceled the contract with Summit. I refused to pay the cancellation fee to Summit because it did not give me the reimbursement as they promised me.

    Then some money was taken from my bank account (2) processing the money with App-Star to pay the fee for Summit. So I closed my bank account (2) and canceled the contract with App-Star. Again I refused to pay the cancellation fee to App-Star because it took money from my bank account (2) to pay the fee for Summit.

    Then the third company First American Payment System asked me to pay the cancellation fees $702.46 and 674.42.

    Now I know these three companies are one in different names (there are more other different names), they have really bad reputation for cheating small businesses, and they are the companies who owe our small businesses a lot of money. I decide to fight against them when we go to court.
    Yesterday I got letters from Commercial Services Group (www. collectcsg.com) asked me to pay First American Payment System $742.42 and $577.46.

    What should I do?

    • Not Rated
  9. Is there anyway to get out of these contracts with these people. I was so confused and believed what I was told now seem to have contracts with Summitt merchant Solutions, First Amer4ican Payment Systems and Lease Finance Group. Please help told me 30 day cancellation period and now I find out noncancellable lease.

    • Not Rated
  10. SCAMMERS!

    First American Payment Systems took 29.89 out of my account on 3/26 and then 31.99 on 4/18, sneaks didn’t list a phone number with debit and listed their name as Merimac…..then I received a collection letter from Transworld sayind First American Payment Systems is filing abad debt against me for $31.50. COME ON, I have had the same merchant services for years. I do not know how they got my information but they are most certainly SCAMMERS and Thieves!

    • Not Rated
  11. Let me add another “shell” name to this deception…Heritage Payment Solutions is another front for First American Payment Systems…they have the exact same physical address. Ditto on previous comments..they want $495 for us to exit their contract. They had to fax me the pages that included that when I told them I never saw that information in the 4 page contract I signed. Their response was that it is my responsibility to ASK them for the additional pages before I signed the contract. Reporting them to the Better Business Bureau today.

    • 11111
  12. First American Payment Systems aka Apex is too be avoided. there are too

    many Credit Processor that offer lower fees and no contract, and termination

    fees

    You have to be smoking something with 479 negative BBB reviews.

    Obviously, you do not have first hand experience with this company.

    Start with the 25 page contract, crafted to be unintelligible gooby gook. Well

    hidden is the $495.00, 3 year contract, and $125.00 annual PCI fee.

    The first thing they did to me is charge a monthly fee when I was not yet

    hooked up their service to them. they would not credit me for that. They are a

    thieving bunch of crooks who charge $36,80 last month fee, when they

    cancelled my service on 4th of that billing month. Ho yes, they kept increasing

    their monthly fees, they allege the CC companies had increased their fees.

    Prove it. If they could reach into my back

    pocket, they would take my wallet. There loss prevention department put a

    hold on two charges of Corporate customer, I had to cancel the charge and

    have the customer pay me direct. Because, they wanted a complete description

    of work(was for a legal department and confidential), The charge was $450.00.

    As well three months bank statement. I have been at the same location for over

    20 years a credit merchant a notary public, licensed with Department of Justice

    as a fingerprinter. This idiot could of settled his suspicions with a simple phone

    call.

    The good news a Credit Processing Co. bought out the remaining contract, of

    $495,00 and saved me $600 over my remaining contract.

    Run for Apex First American Payment Systems.

    • Not Rated
  13. First american payment services is a scam… they charge you outlandish fees.
    . they have conveniently forgot to tell me about my anniversary date of renew…. sony automatically renew you without your permission. Then try to charge you close to a 500 dollar fee to cancel your account… they charge me that much monthly…. I will personally set myself on fire before. i referwill that companyI to someone else for them to rob blind…. now why is it when I wanna cancel you can offer me a better fee… but there isn’t 1 when I want 1…. scam artist…
    .

    • Not Rated
  14. Does anyone find it entriguing that First American Payment Systems is no longer BBB certified? I’m pretty sure I looked a few weeks ago and was able to find the profile that MerchantMaverick quoted and now its gone. I looked again to find it and it has no rating now. It still has the complaints but no rating. http://www.bbb.org/fort-worth/business-reviews/credit-cards-and-plans/first-american-payment-systems-lp-in-fort-worth-tx-97040065/

    Any comments on this?

    • Not Rated
  15. Actually, “MERCHANT MAVERICK” — Bryan is 100% right; FPA does own and operate each ISO… As an example; Certified Merchant Services and Transaction Merchant Services may have at one time been a sponsored ISO; but in 2003 FPA acquired them so that their owner Jon Frankel and brother Craig Frankel could pay the $24,000,000.00 settlement that the FTC sued and won from them. Stay away from ISO’s… The best bet to know exactly what you are getting (even though the rates may not be the same) is to go down to your bank… At least then you know what to expect from them… If you’re not willing to do that; then reach out to other merchants who have been in business and find out who they are doing business with…. Just like with so many other things; there is a difference between what you are told and what you are charged; stick with a company you know you can trust.

    • Not Rated
    • Good work “EncorePaymentInfo!”

      I went ahead and dug into the Certified Merchant Services FTC issue. See here and here to learn more. It also looks like you’re right about FAPS acquiring Certified Merchant Services. See here. Things aren’t looking good for FAPS.

      Thanks again!

      • Not Rated
      • no problem, thank you for the response; and don’t let the name “EncorePaymentInfo” throw you off; I am somewhat of an advocate for merchant’s being screwed out of their hard earned money… Encore Payment Systems, aka Prodigy Payment Systems, and Momentum Payment Systems are all one in the same company; and their executive and director level staff with the exception of 2 or three of the director level employees are the “SAME” as those from Certified Merchant Services… Guess what that means… I have also found 2 other ISO’s that have links back to the “PLAYERS” from CMS. People have to be careful about who they do business with; references are ok, but what company is going to hand out a list of customers who are going to complain… That’s why I constantly tell people to either deal with the bank or get personal references from people who they already know doing business with a card processor. There is way too much deception out there.

        • Not Rated
  16. They have a bad BBB rating because they deserve it. We are with them under the Transtech Merchant Group name. They do have a $495 cancellation fee and another $100 if you do debit. They have a 3 year agreements with automatic 1 year renewals. We thought we were canceling after our 3 year agreement but were told we were renewed automatically for another year since we did not notify them in time, had to be 30 days, we did so in 24 days. They have been an absolute pain to deal with. There are much better companies out there with better rates and terms, many that do have a contract. If you are with them, read your contract terms and cancel early as they will not let you out. This company has been a nightmare!

    • 11111
    • I must agree, This company is very deceptive in their practices. As with all companies they promise this and that to get your business. But these guys deliver nothing of value in return. Customer service is nonexistent. Speak to anyone on the phone and you get the run around. They do not offer true PCI compliance testing, they over charge by a large margin for all CC processing. They over charge by a large margin for cancellation. They make up fake charges such as a statement fee, not for sending you the bill but for simply keeping track of your charges. Sure, each fee is small but when put together they are say over priced. These guys are a joke and are exactly what is wrong with this country. They are little short of thieves.

      • 11111
  17. Actually, First American Payment Systems does own every one of the sub ISO companies listed in this article. They are all owned and run by First American. They are not independent ISO’s from First American. I like how Jazell say’s they are all rolled up together and that makes it hard for First American. First American owns all of these companies. Just More deception from First American!!

    • Not Rated
    • Hi Bryan,

      Would you be able to provide any proof that they are all owned by FAPS? When doing my research, I personally noticed that they are mostly under different ownership, but maybe I missed something. Some evidence would definitely help your cause.

      • Not Rated
  18. Thank you for reviewing our company! The things you say about the BBB are true, and it is challenging to overcome a bad rating when FAPS is rolled up with so many other companies. We do have a blog at http://www.fapsmarketing.blogspot.com. We also have testimonials on our newer (more targeted) sites, http://www.fapsbanks.com and http://www.faps-sales.com.

    • 55555
    • Jazell,

      Thank you for the comments, and clarity. You guys shouldn’t have any trouble pulling those other ISOs DBA’s off of your profile. I’ve reviewed several companies, and up until your review, the BBB has never rolled a processor and its ISOs all into one profile. They shouldn’t be doing that. Each entity should have their own profile. I’m willing to bet that if you brought this to their attention, they’d clean it up for you.

      Regardless, I’m definitely going to revisit your review with this new info. I’ll let you know once it have been updated. :)

      • Not Rated

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