Mercury Payment Systems Review

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Date Established
2001
Location
Durango, CO

Overview:

If nothing else, Mercury Payment Systems gets points for simplicity. Take a look at the website. There aren’t many gimmicks, no freebies, no big, “too good to be true” promises. The company advertises quick transaction times, quality customer support, and near 100% uptime. These are the types of claims I prefer to see over the “FREE FREE FREE $1,000 FREE” type of ad copy.

Sadly, that seems to be about all that’s in Mercury’s favor these days. Initially, Mercury was a promising service — not perfect, but with some solid selling points and quality service. However, something seems to have gone horribly wrong.

Based out of Durango, Colorado, Mercury Payment Systems (MPS) has been in business since 2001. In 2004, the company was ranked the 68th largest merchant acquirer — and rose to 16th largest in 2012. That’s some substantial growth there.

Despite that, the company seems to have a rather small customer base — some 80,000 merchants by its own claims. (Not that 80K is a really small amount.) It has over 500 employees and probably a couple thousand independent agents selling its products, with headquarters in Durango, CO, and another office in Denver.

In 2014, the company was acquired by VANTIV (for $1.65 billion). That’s worth noting because as of March 2015, Vantiv is the second-largest merchant acquirer in the U.S., with a purchase transaction volume of $15.5 billion. However, as far as product offerings go, it’s been business as usual.

Mercury uses its “integrated processing solutions” as a main selling point. This means that the processing services work with a wide variety of POS systems and software, and serves as the foundation for many developers to create their programs. This translates to overall versatility and can, in theory, make your life easier. It could also limit your options if it’s pre-programmed into the POS you use (see TouchBistro or SalesVu, for example).

Mercury does offer month-to-month service and interchange-plus plans, which I consider important factors. It does not, however, advertise either of these features, which leaves its independent agents less accountable and reduces transparency overall.

I’m not convinced that you can count on Mercury for competitive rates with that lack of transparency. Many of you have chimed in with a similar tune — and Mercury’s also being sued by another processor that makes a similar allegation.

Not only that, but there’s a serious uptick in the number of complaints with the BBB, and overall users across the web aren’t exactly lining up to praise Mercury. Quite the opposite, in fact.

As with all medium-large size providers, some resale agents fail to disclose important terms. It seems like Mercury is willing to compromise in many of these situations, although it might take BBB arbitration to get you there.

At the end of the day, the uptick in complaints about the two most important aspects of any merchant account — rates and service — is enough to warrant a downgrade from 4 stars to 3.5 stars. Check out the rest of the review for more details, or take a look at the best of the best in processing!

Products and Services:

Mercury’s offerings are pretty basic, but not in a bad way. It has the essentials you’d expect, as well as a few other goodies in the mix. You can get gift card services, which includes free gift card processing and reporting, if you need them. Mercury also offers “proactive troubleshooting” that should, in theory, prevent billing mishaps before they become a headache.

MPS services include:

  • Merchant accounts
  • Mobile processing
  • Terminal leases/sales: I’m not a fan of terminal leasing, and watch out for over priced units on the sales end. Despite what they might lead you to believe, you don’t have to buy or lease through the account provider. Read our article about it. If you’re curious, you can check out a copy of Mercury’s lease agreement here.
  • Mercury Stand-In: Allows you to process transactions even during network outages. When this happens, they assume all risk associated with declines, guaranteeing no loss for you. Skeptical as I am about Mercury on the whole, this is worth noting
  • Gift cards: This includes free gift card processing, custom designs, and the ability to handle gift cards online or in a mobile app.
  • Mercury StoreCard: Essentially, this is a loyalty/rewards card program, with elements of a gift card program as well as well. You can offer incentives and cash-back rewards for repeat customers. There’s an option for physical or digital cards as well.
  • “Proactive troubleshooting”: Basically, this is Mercury’s initiative to proactively prevent billing errors, holds, freezes, and all those other annoying setbacks we see in processing. They’ll contact you when a flag comes up to help resolve it before it’s too late.
  • Online reporting system
  • Merchant cash advances
  • 24/7 live support: In theory, this sounds great. Unfortunately, Mercury seems to be failing in the execution of it.

Fees and Rates:

You won’t find any rates or fees disclosed on the Mercury site, nor will you see any information about how rates and fees are determined or what kinds of plans they offer. I can tell you that I’ve seen interchange-plus pricing as well as tiered and fixed-rate pricing from MPS. I’d encourage you to go with the interchange-plus pricing to maintain the most transparency possible.

Make sure to ask your rep about the PCI compliance fee as well, since MPS may hit you with up to a $150 annual charge. The industry standard is about $80, so this is kind of steep if you ask me.

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

The MPS contract length and termination stipulations are pretty standard, with ETF fees based on the length of your contract. Initial terms with Mercury usually range from one to three years, auto-renewed for one-year periods unless cancelled in writing 30 days before expiration. Early termination fees range from $295-495, although independent resellers may tack on an additional fee if they so choose.

Some merchants have negotiated with Mercury to reduce their rates. In doing so, their contracts were reset, and the sales reps in charge of doing so didn’t disclose that — leading to unhappy merchants who get stuck with ETFs. We’ve seen a substantial number of complaints about the issue. Frankly, the resetting of the contract isn’t uncommon. The lack of disclosure is the problem.

MPS does offer month-to-month agreements as well, where you can cancel without penalty if you give 30 days’ notice. Let me remind you, though, that so-called “month-to-month” agreements are never actually month-to-month with merchant accounts. No matter what, you’ll be signing a merchant agreement for at least a year. What makes it month-to-month is the waiver of any early termination fees.

That said, you’ll still have to terminate your account as per the merchant agreement — usually including written verification, the return of any hardware, and the payment of any outstanding fees. Whether you’re on a month-to-month or yearly contract, until the account is properly closed, you will still be billed!

Here’s a little excerpt from a Mercury contract I read recently:

Merchant may terminate this Card Services Agreement prior to the end of a term at any time upon thirty (30) days written notice to Global Direct and Member if, and only if, Merchant pays Global Direct an Early Termination Fee which shall be the lesser of (a) the maximum amount permitted by state law, and (b) (i) $295 if the Card  Services Agreement has a one (1) year Initial Term  or the Card Services Agreement is in a renewal term, (ii) $395 if the Card Services Agreement has a two (2) year Initial Term, or (iii) $495 if the Card Services Agreement has a three (3) year Initial Term. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the Card Services Agreement has an Initial Term of one (1) year and the Merchant provides Global Direct and Member with thirty (30) days’ prior written notice of termination, the $295 Early Termination Fee will be waived.

Be sure to review your contract in detail, as it might differ from the ones I’ve seen. Make careful note of all the fees listed, as well as the cancellation process. Let us know if you need help with it.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

Mercury doesn’t make any big claims or use sales gimmicks to entice merchants, offering instead a no-nonsense approach. While I wish the company would disclose a little bit of information on fees, rates and contract terms (if not specifics, at least general info), at least it’s not making outlandish claims. I would like to see the claim of “affordable” substantiated. It makes the statement a few times on the site, but doesn’t provide any details.

Mercury also offers free POS consultations and demos, which feel somewhat gimmicky. I’m quite wary of this, even though Mercury claims there’s no obligation. That doesn’t mean you won’t still get a sales pitch, and since we’re dealing with independent representatives, there’s no way of knowing just how upfront they’re being.

Now here’s where it gets complicated.

Heartland Payment Systems has also filed a lawsuit against Mercury, alleging the company artificially inflates its interchange fees and charges other unfair fees, while using the fear of those fees to keep merchants locked into their contracts. The suit was initially filed in 2014, but the most recent documents from the case indicate that the two companies are still in the discovery phase — meaning they’re just gathering evidence. It could be another couple of years before we see any sort of resolution.

Mercury does maintain active Facebook and Twitter accounts, where unsatisfied merchants can (and do) engage with the company publicly. None of the recent complaints (in the past two months) on the Facebook page have been addressed. On Twitter, all you seem to get is an apology for the long wait times.

You will also find some resources for merchants, including videos and infographics, so long as you’re willing to shell out a bit of information to get them.

Overall, MPS could use some work in this category.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Mercury Payment Systems has a lot of pride in its customer support services, and the company uses it as a selling point. It’s even won awards for its quality of service (check it out here).

Since MPS markets to small and mid-sized businesses first and foremost, good customer support is essential. You’ll get 24/7/365 live, US-based customer support by phone or email, including technical support.

I’ve dealt with Mercury Payment Systems in the past, and I have to admit that I’ve never had a problem with its customer service. Every rep that I’ve chatted with has been very consultative, patient, and polite. And this is after I signed up with them, too.

The problem is, my experience doesn’t appear to be the same as many other merchants of late. The most consistent complaint, apart from excessive fees (we’ll come back to that) is that wait times are more than an hour on the phone. Those who escalate their problems to a supervisor are directed to leave a voicemail but do not get a call back.

Frankly, it seems like the best way to get Mercury’s attention is to file a complaint with the BBB. Mercury is very polite and helpful in its responses to BBB complaints and seems to be very dedicated to solving the issue.

Want to weigh in with a recent experience? Leave your review at the bottom of this page!

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Mercury has an A+ BBB rating with 71 complaints (up from 34 at last check in) in the past three years. More than half of them — 40 in fact — are within the last year. That means Mercury’s had more complaints in the past year than it did in the previous three years combined.

The good news is that Mercury seems to be very responsive to BBB complaints. It also looks like the company genuinely tries to work with merchants to solve the issue if you read the complaints and responses. However, a fair number of merchants don’t bother to indicate whether the issue has been fixed — and then Mercury steps in and says “Yes, we’ve addressed the problem and we’ll keep working with them to find an agreeable solution.” That makes me skeptical.

Mercury also has 9 complaints on Ripoff Reports, 3 of which date from 2015. The rest of which are from 2012 or earlier.

Our own comments section has a number of complaints, a few of which are very well articulated and have been verified. Your insights are a crucial part of how we evaluate merchants, so if you have experience with Mercury, leave us a comment!
Common complaints include:

  • Billing mistakes/rises in rates and fees: These are a few of my least favorite things. This seems to have become a common complaint since the last time we looked at Mercury. Many merchants complain of fees being randomly tacked on, many of which hadn’t been mentioned before. The PCI compliance fee is one, but also data security fees, the high fees for preparing 1099s, annual fees, minimum fees, etc. No matter who you process with, always review your statements. I know you’ve got a million invoices and bills coming in each month, but it’s important to spend at least a few minutes with your statement. If you don’t understand something on it, call up your processor! It’s their job to clearly describe your rates and fees. If they don’t explain it well or you’re not getting the rate you were promised, it’s time to start looking elsewhere.
  • Customer service issues: I’m disappointed to hear about rudeness and ineptitude from Mercury support staff, since their support is a major selling point for them. Another consistent complaint across every channel we’ve looked at is high wait times, in excess of an hour. Others have been told to leave voicemails and never receive calls back.
  • Getting locked in through a POS: This isn’t really Mercury’s fault, but it comes up quite a bit. Since MPS has so many POS software partners, a fair portion of its clientele comes from merchants shopping for POS software. These software vendors sometimes only allow merchants to use Mercury for processing, while others just strongly encourage it. This happens because the software vendors get paid for the clients they sign up with Mercury accounts, and Mercury provides the basis for the POS coding. Unfortunately, this also means that these merchants do not have the option to shop around for their merchant accounts, which can lead to bad deals and poorly disclosed contract terms.
  • Gift card program fees: Several merchants have complained at how difficult Mercury makes it to transfer your gift card program if you opt for another processor. Not only do you pay a 10% fee for the total outstanding balance, but you have to pay an hourly rate for the company to prepare a report that you can send to your new gift card processor. One merchant pointed out that you may be able to download sufficient information from the Mercury Pay website yourself — we can’t verify that, but if you’re having issues in the switch, check with your new payments processor to see what they say.
  • Early termination fees: As I mentioned in the “Contract Length and Early Termination Fee” section above, you can avoid the termination fee by insisting on a one-year contract and then giving 30 days’ notice. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck paying $295 or more. Some merchants did not have this little tidbit properly explain to them during sales consultations, which is disappointing but not surprising from independent agents. As we already covered, something else that comes up often is merchants who renegotiate with Mercury to get better rates…then find themselves locked into a brand-new contract.
  • Hardware issues: While these complaints are in a much lower volume compared to others, they are common enough to merit mentioning here. Some people have trouble getting terminals to work after switching over, or other POS compatibility issues.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Some testimonials are sprinkled across the site, and you can also find a few case studies, such as this one here and this one. The quality is questionable in my eyes — one cites no hard numbers at all.

There’s also a YouTube channel with testimonials and case studies. Everything older than a year seems to have been deleted. You can find a few case studies on the press page, as well as other resources.

Final Verdict:

The problem with Mercury isn’t in its services. In fact, Mercury genuinely seems to have a solid grasp on what products merchants need. It’s keeping up with industry trends and giving store owners the tools they need to compete against big box retailers, with loyalty programs and gift cards suited to the digital space.

The problem is in the quality of service. The company is fairly large, owned by an even larger company, and uses independent resellers, which almost always translates to a lack of transparency and shady practices designed to close a sale. Something in the past year has gone horribly wrong on the customer service front, with wait times and a lack of response.

There’s no information about Mercury’s rates, which is another big issue. It’s pretty common because these companies usually want to negotiate with you directly, and there are a lot of factors that go into credit card processing rates. However, the complete lack of any information leaves merchants unprepared and not knowing what to expect. Not only that, but people complain about random fees tacked on to their monthly bills with no rhyme or reason.

If you can substantiate or refute any of these claims, please leave a comment. Remember to check out our review policy first, and please consider authenticating your review. It’s a huge help for me, and allows us to provide the most accurate ratings possible!

We’re dropping Mercury to 3.5 stars because of the issues you’ve encountered. It’s just not acceptable. While we won’t tell you to steer clear of Mercury entirely (yet), be aware that you might encounter issues with customer service, and be vigilant when it comes to your contract and rates. Check your statements regularly and get everything in writing. Go for a month-to-month plan or a 1-year contract so you don’t get locked in by high fees.

For the absolute best processing experience, check out our favorite processors via this handy comparison chart.

Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl is an independent writer, editor, and blogger with an endless fascination for technology and gadgets. After a long and enjoyable career of traveling around the world as an Air Force navigator, he’s comfortably settled down in the wine country of California’s Central Coast. He enjoys reading, photography, hiking, and numerous other outdoor pursuits.
Frank Kehl

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38 Comments

    DJ Armstrong

    ***YES….. HIDDEN FEES AND TERMINATION COSTS ARE ALL TRUE***

    I will never use, nor recommend Mercury Payment, Global Payment, Vantiv Corp. or Comcash POS Systems to any merchant or professional person asking for my help.

    With terminology in reviews such as “rip off, worst company, loads of hidden fees, terrible company, don’t do business with Mercury Payment Systems, stay away from Mercury, crooked company, unethical, deceptive, unscrupulous” just to name a few. Now, a Class Action Suit? Wonderful.

    BOTTOM LINE…..DON’T DO IT.

    Rating11111
    Renee M.

    Wish I did more research on this company before signing up through SalesVu. Worst customer service ever! Closed 2 of my 4 restaurants signed up with them. Called to see what paperwork they needed from me and was asked “What date would you like to use in the closing paperwork?”. I say, “well today I guess”. Got 2 – $295 charges in my account. Followed up as to why and the rude lady on the phone says, “Guess you should read your contract”. Really? Total crooks!

    Rating11111
    chris hursey

    Very poor customer service. I can not say its the worse I have ever had because I can not get anyone on the phone. I have only been on hold for 3 hours over the last week, left countless messages, sent emails, and waited for the “live chat” for hours. They do not mind taking money out of my account every evening but they sure do not want to answer a simple question.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Dell

    Mercury is the pits. They are getting sued:

    http://www.dailyreportonline.com/id=1202740827994/Small-Merchants-Claim-Credit-Card-Processors-Add-Junk-Fees?slreturn=20150928151518

    Might want to call that firm to get involved, webbllc.com

    Rating11111

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    Erin

    Mercury is THE WORST payment processing company I have ever dealt with. We have been with them for only 2 weeks and the error messages, mess-ups and insane amount of issues we have had to contact their technical support for has near incinerated my phone line. From being sent dirty refurbished machines to machines that give me daily errors to at least one of the terminals ALWAYS being down and unable to process… and, oh there’s more… to the few days where all my debit transactions were declined but then actually debited from my customers accounts (with no credit to my account). I am dealing with a payment processing nightmare. I have actually lost customers due to the wait on an approval code taking SO long… and now I am afraid I will lose more b/c of this latest debit debacle. Mercury is completely unapologetic and is saying it could take up to 6 weeks for my customers to get their money refunded. I actually set up a new account with a different processing company and unplugged Mercury’s terminals before closing with them. Mercury’s fees do not even come close to touching the business I have lost because of them. I’d gladly swallow any fees they have in order to NEVER have to deal with them again.

    Rating11111

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    kenji matsuda

    have been with them for over 3 years. asked for termination form due to time i had to wait many times to get to customer service and i also got better rate with another company. In that form i misread and thought that i could terminate before 20th of the month for no payment and since i didn’t give them 30 days( i gave them 18 days) i am stuck with $295 cancellection fee. Female customer service lady told me a lot of merchant do this. Why would i pay $295 when i can give them another 13 days and pay $32.95 minimum fee??????

    i would not recommend this company what so ever.

    Rating11111

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    Scott Champ

    My company has been with Mercury for a very long time. We knew we were paying a very high rate on card processing, but the “free gift card processing” pretty much had us stuck with them. We had asked to have our rates reviewed but our rep said they could not reduce our rates (this was back in January). I also asked why we were being charged rates higher than what they are claiming our current rates are set at. My rep spent 15mins trying to tell me that I do not understand how the rates/fees are calculated and that the math I was doing was incorrect. First off, I know how the calculations are done. Second, I know how to do the math to figure out the actual rate we are being charged, and I KNOW Mercury was over charging us on several different card types/categories.

    Recently we found a processor that will also handle our gift cards for “free” and will give us MUCH lower rates. I had been attempting to contact our rep for MONTHS to get a few questions answered with no response. Only after we called and spoke with a supervisor/manager to request account closure paperwork did we hear from our rep. And only then did Mercury offer to lower our rates. This was the worst customer service I have ever experienced.

    We were warned by our new processor that Mercury may try to charge us a small fortune to have a gift card report prepared that a new processor can import to transition the data to a new company. Here is a tip to anyone else Mercury attempts to extort for the release of gift card information… Most processors can pull the information about your gift cards they need directly from http://www.mercurypay.com. So do not allow Mercury to charge you 10% plus an hourly fee for something that can be done in minutes. Our new processor pulled the information they needed at no cost to us.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Brenda

    Scott
    What gift card processor did you use that was able to pull the full card numbers off he mercury site. I am having a nightmare with Mercury because they no longer support our version of Aloha and I am forced to change credit card processing companies and gift cards and know I’m forced to pay the 10% of the gift card liability. I need a new gift card processor and would like to go to one that knows how to get this information. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

    RatingNot Rated

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    Brenda

    Scott,

    Any chance I could find out from you what processor it was that was able to retrieve that information for you?

    Rating44444

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    John Richardson

    Mercury is a ripoff company. We have been with them for over a year and they overcharged us compared to other companies by over double. We closed our business on April 4th 2015 and contacted them and they have continued to charge us up to now monthly when we aren’t even processing credit cards. In addition the “friendly” woman on the phone today said that do to “fine print” and not filling the closing paperwork out properly we would be charged a $295 early termination fee.
    I would stay away from this company ant all costs. They are crooked and overcharge.
    From every opportunity they had the worst customer service imaginable.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    RUTH SIEGEL

    I have been waiting for over an hour for a callback. I have had problems with my POS processing over the year and today cannot charge credit cards. I have left numerous messages. When it works, it works; when it doesn’t it is really bad! I don’t know if any of these companies are problem-free, but today is just not their day!

    Rating11111

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    Andrew

    Hey Tom, if you did ANY research past just looking on their website, you would see that Mercury Payments is an Independent Service Organization of Wells Fargo, who themselves are an ISO of FirstData.

    Do you work for Mercury or something?

    RatingNot Rated

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    Tom DeSimone

    Actually Mercury was acquired by Vantiv in 2014. Wells Fargo does own Vantiv, and Wells Fargo is in a joint venture with First Data. But this has less of an effect on the service itself than you might imagine. If I worked for Mercury, I assure you they would have received a more favorable review.

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    clint

    HUGE WARNING!
    I have been a customer with mercury for almost 2 years now. for the past few days I have not been able to check anything in my account. Every time I would try to check -anything- their website would throw up an error message. Finally after days of this I had enough and contacted customer support. Then, and ONLY THEN was I informed that their portal was no longer compatible with firefox. Their suggestion was to (obviously) use a different browser. There were several problems with this.

    1. I was NEVER informed of this prior to my contacting them. That left me, and probably thousands of others, trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

    2. There was never any kind of notification, message, warning, nothing, when logged into the portal. There is a message section in your portal, for important messages. For whatever reason, mercury felt that this crippling error was not worth even mentioning to their customers.

    3. The customer support agent was rude and gave me the impression that it was perfectly acceptable that there was no warning or notification about this crippling error ANYWHERE in the portal, or via message, or anything.

    I had read that mercury got bought out some months ago, I am starting to wonder if this is a sign of how they plan on continuing their business going forward. As it is, I am absolutely disappointed in how mercury has handled this situation.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Lisa

    Don’t be fooled by their “free gift card processing”. They do hold you hostage! Once I knew I was paying a high rate for cr card processing, I notified M in the proper amount of time via my contract that I was leaving. I would then be responsible for gift card transition to another co. which was fine, but ending my contract with M meant they would take down the server for gift card balance inquiries for my outstanding gift cards. The only way I can get balances with card numbers is to pay Mercury for a report. They want 10% of outstanding balance and $75/hour to generate the report which they estimate to be 3 hours! That’s 10% of 55,000.00 plus 3 hours to push a button! Highway robbery and BAD business Mercury!

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    Kelly Rees

    Horrible company. Hidden fee’s and charges everywhere. Charged me $150 to prepare my 1099, $80 for PCI compliance paperwork, $169 to keep my data safe on their server. Fee’s constantly going up every month, $495 to cancel with 10 months left. Absolute sham of a company. Paypal… yes paypal is cheaper to process through. Thats a scary thought isnt it?

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    Margaret Giacomini

    I am not pleased with Mercury. I spent hours trying to either get through to someone or get results from someone. Our company noticed on our bank statement that we had been charged fees for an account that we had closed. Although they did refund one payment, the rest (totalling at least $600) has not been refunded though they told me it would be. I have been dealing with them for about a month. I have no confidence that they will ever refund the money. We had an active account with them which I requested be closed. I’m not even sure I trust that they will do this. I would stay away from this company. I am seeking legal action and reporting them to the BBB.

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    Margaret Giacomini

    I just spoke to Mercury and they are not going to refund our money. They said they would if we would continue our existing account with them. I just don’t trust this company, so I am not continuing to do business with them even though I won’t get the money reimbursed to us.

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    Art

    Has there been any update on the lawsuit or do you have any thoughts on the claims about fees?

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    Archer Bagley

    Mercury Payment System is an organization of Professional Thieves. Do not do business with Mercury Payment Systems. Mercury will not honor their own contract and will overcharge you all sorts of fees that were never disclosed. Mercury stole over $600 from Archers BBQ over a 1 year period.

    I would suggest Heartland Payment Systems.

    Archer Bagley
    Archers BBQ

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    Jessica Litton

    I am very dissapointed with the customer service the we have been given from Mercury. We haven’t processed a payment through them for about 7 months because we found a simpler, less expensive way to process them…(I won’t say which service because I don’t want people to assume that I am advertising someone else, this is purely a review). We were charged about $37 a month for not using them (which is on us since we didn’t cancel sooner). Then when we called to cancel we were told that we would be charged over $200 to cancel our service if we didn’t send them written notice one month in advance. SO, we sent in written notice and cancelled a month later. In the meantime our monthly service fee for that month went up to $106 and the following month we were charged an “annual service fee” of $222. This was nowhere in our service agreement with them. We called to get reimbursed, were on hold for nearly an hour and then sent to a voicemail which was never returned. RIDICULOUSLY SLIMY!!!!!

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    Mike

    Oops, here is the link: http://www.merchantservicesdefense.com/spotting_false_charges/

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    Mike

    If you are not aware, Mercury is padding an extra .04 cents into every transaction and passing it off as MC NABU and VISA APF fess. Interchange is .0195 and .0155 while MPS charges .0595. Funny how this bogus up-charge is not in their contract. Here is the link to show you where to look on your statement. And no, I do not work for Heartland. They have a fee that is not exactly upfront with their customers either. It is the Monthly Settlement Discount of up to 5 basis points.

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    Marcia West

    Four stars for a company that is being sued by another processor for padding interchange rates? I’ve seen it myself on NABU and other supposedly pass-thru fees. We call this deceptive.

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    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Marcia,

    Thank you for this comment. Heartland’s lawsuit was filed in late January and we have not updated this review since then, but I am making this a high priority and will definitely be mentioning the pending suit in the forthcoming updated review. If these allegations end up verified, this is way more than deceptive – it’s systemic fraud, and a serious coffin nail in my already waning goodwill toward Mercury.

    Thank you again for the comment.

    All the best,
    Tom

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    DLS

    they have been charging excessive fees and now someone is looking at a class action
    http://www.consumerclassactionlawyers.com/mercury-payments-systems-excessive-fees.html

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    just_a_user

    Mercury Payment Systems.. what a joke.

    Its a pity more people don’t look at thier statements, although it won’t matter if you don’t know how to decipher it. Mercury and many others make the charges impossible to calculate properly.

    Last year we were charged, in fees which included the card associations fees as well as mercuries fees, %7.01! True story. Thier math is often wrong on thier reports as well. I informed them of 3 different mistakes but never did see a correction.

    And finally they hold you hostage if you use gift cards. The gift card # is conveniently hashed out on the report that shows you current balance. This makes leaving them difficult because you must know what the balance is on every gift card. If you want the actual balance that will show the full gift card # you must get the complete “activity” report. You will have to do the math on it but it will give you the correct balance. Luckily I know how to manipulate databases pretty well so I imported it into access and wrote my own program to give me the balances. Then I was free to leave mercury behind and save some money!

    Bottom line is anyone dealing with card processors should know what interchange is, what fees to not be contracted into and to demand a transparent statement that lets you actually hold your processor accountable.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Rahul Desai

    I have been working with Mercury for over a year now and the rates just keep getting higher and higher – around 3.9% now. Plus they just charged me a $169 data security fee last month for what? I asked and they said dont worry it’s only $18/month. These guys hook you in by being pre-programemd into the software (I use Retaurant Pro Express) and then squeeze the maximum possible. Avoid at all costs!

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jodi Mavrantzas

    I am a Canadian company that uses Mercury Payments as they are currently the only company that allows integrated payment through our Digital Dining POS system. Since siging with them in 2009 ( at which time the “Canadian rep”) was very accomodating) we have had nothing but problems. They over charged me on multiple occassions for pin pad rentals and when you call them they constantly have different reasons always stating that they have not overcharged me despite the fact that I have all of my back statements showing otherwise. They do not call back, supervisors are unwilling to speak to you and as many others have said they stonewall and make up varying excuses as to why the extra charges. Last year they started charging me a $40 security fee and their rates are not competitive when you actually compare the rates charged on the most popularly used credit cards. They give you you a base rate on a visa card that seems cheap but the fact is the 1 in 1000 people actually use that card. I am very unhappy with their service and am at the point that I am going to leave and go back to non integrated payments simply to stop having to deal with these people. every call into them just makes me want to scream and as a small business owner I do not have time to deal with companies who are trying to rob me, I need to focus on my customers and promoting my business. If anyone is intending a lawsuit or group complaint with the state’s attorney general I would eagerly participate.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Nitin Jain

    I have been with Mercury since I opened my business in February 2006 as it directly integrated with my POS software (Comcash; I am sure they have a back end deal with Comcash). I have to say, not knowing much about processing cards and being a new business in 2006, Mercury was easy to deal with and setup our account. Since then, however, their service has gone considerably downhill.

    As most merchants will attest, I am constantly solicited by other payment processors offering better rates. I usually have them analyze my statements and respond with their competing bid, at which point I have Mercury review and usually beat these rates. Well, fast forward a couple of years and let me take you to February 2010. I learned of interchange plus pricing through another processor and decided to contact Mercury at which point I began discussions with my account rep. After many days and an “analysis” on their end, they quoted me new terms, requested a 3 year contract, and explained I would be saving $40 bux a month. To this, I responded that I was not impressed and the rep told me that Mercury doesn’t make money on my account and that is the best they could do; I spent $9583 in processing fees in 2009 and in 2010 I have spent $11232, though my overall business is flat to down. Additionally they are very secretive about the extra fees I am often charged through a cryptic account statement that seems to almost always include 3 pages of fine print. After getting very frustrated, I decided to do nothing and not extend my contract but instead, continue processing with Mercury as I didn’t want to make my decision in a moment of frustration. My fees continued going way up and of course the PCI fee of $150 charged in September and on and on it went.

    Fast forward to November 2010, and once again, I get solicited, this time by US Merchant Systems and their analysis leads to an annual savings of $2400! Up until then, with an average ticket of $15, I was always told that pin based debit was cheaper than swipe debit. After reviewing my statement, my rep at US Merchant told me this was completely wrong and the price point is $30 for it to make sense to use pin based debit! (We made the switch in 11/04/10 to process all transactions under $30 as a swipe and over as a pin based debit, and according to the rep at US Merchant, this saved my company $110 in November.) So, armed with this info, I start talking to a different account rep at Mercury and get nowhere yet again. This drags on through the month of November into the month of December. Once again, my fees went up on lower sales and I became even more agitated.

    Today, I have a conversation with my rep at Mercury and it becomes blatantly obvious that they don’t care for my business and fabricate reasons as to why every other processor is lying, but they are telling me the truth. Additionally, they go so far as to inform me that based on the types of cards that I process, I should be using pin based debit. Now, I know I was born yesterday, but I certainly wasn’t born last night. After a careful analysis, I fully am aware that using pin based debit on low tickets is prohibitive and very expensive. Bringing this up to my rep, got the response that it isn’t an apples to apples comparison and there are too many rewards on the cards I process, probably because of a local bank in my area! I mean, wtf, really? Most of my customers use Bank of American, Wells Fargo and the other large banks. Once I ended the conversation with [name removed] at Mercury, I called my rep at US Merchant and sent him my Nov. statement. Not only did I save $110 by using swipe vs pin on transactions less than $30 (something he didn’t need to tell me, but did as he is far more forthcoming), I would have saved an additional $80 on interchange plus according to his analysis (whereas [name removed] told me overall I would save $42 a month under an interchange plus vs my current tiered setup).

    Long story short, Mercury likes to dangle the carrot of lower introductory prices but don’t tell you about how they downgrade your cards to increase the surcharges they are collecting., so my 1.55% actually is more than 2.15%! I certainly can’t fathom how much money I have left on the table by using Mercury, but will certainly be going elsewhere and utilizing Pc Charge or the like with Comcash. If nothing else, I hope my review of Mercury has others thinking twice before you sign up with them. They are very deceptive in their business practices and deciphering their cryptic statements a complete chore for even the most seasoned industry vet. I wouldn’t even give Mercury 1 star!

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Erick

    I’m going to simply echo Dawn’s sentiments. We’ve been getting stonewalled by Mercury Payment systems in the exact same way as described by Dawn. All with the exact same type of mystery charges, such as the $150 PCI compliance thing that they’re telling us it is a post charge for the prior year.

    I’m looking for a new merchant service provider now and wondering if this person from United Bank Card can be trusted.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bruce

    I’m wondering if United bank Card can be trusted as well!

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sandie

    I used to work for United Bank Card . . . They have the PCI compliance fee as well . . . Most do

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Dawn

    I have been with Mercury for a little over 2 years, and in that time my rates have gone up over 50% with no prior notice. In January of this year they charged me a PCI Compliance fee of $95. Then in September they charged me a PCI Compliance fee of $150. When I called to talk to them about it they kept saying “it was disclosed on your last bill.” After 30 minutes of reading through 6 pages of disclosures, most of which were for restaurant and petroleum customers, I found the disclosure in the middle of a half-page paragraph, stating that a fee of “up to” $150 might be charged. None of these disclosures are available in the online versions of their billing, nor are they to be found anywhere but in the small print on the bill.

    Their bills are hard to read and extremely misleading. They charge two monthly fees, one for statements, and one for monthly maintenance. In addition, I nearly always get charged a fee for not meeting the $25 minimum, even though my bills are always about $200. The charges for credit and debit cards are charged twice in two different pages on the bills to disguise the fact that I am actually paying $.41-.49 per swipe PLUS 3.2-3.9%. Debits are charged at $.45-.52 PLUS .8-1.5%.

    When I asked them to discuss the fees, they claimed that they only make the $7.95 monthly maintenance fee off of my account. Really? You charged me $350 this month and you only made $8? You expect me to believe that? When I asked about the enormous hike in my rates, they said, and I’m not kidding, “You are too small and are not a valuable account to us, so stop complaining.” I am not Walmart, but how does that make me not valuable? I’d wager out of my monthly $200 bills they probably take at least half of that to themselves.

    I find it hard to believe that Mercury got a 4.5 rating because they are crooks and do their darndest to hide how much you are paying. And when you have the temerity to ask why your bills have nearly doubled while sales have been stable, they stonewall and tell you you aren’t important.

    I’m moving as fast as possible to get away from these reprehensible beings. Unfortunately, I’m finding that most processors do things this way. How sad that you’re reduced to rating the best of the worst.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Merchant Maverick Admin

    Dawn,

    Thank you for the thorough review. These are the types of user reviews that I love. Rather than saying that MPS “sucks” or throwing any ALL CAPS letters my way, you were very professional and detailed. Bravo!

    With that said, please believe that user comments, just like the one that you have written here have a big effect on my rating of a provider. MPS used to be a 5 on my site, but ever since the first complaint that was not responded to (apparently they don’t feel like they need to submit rebuttal’s), their score came down to a 4.5. Now that they’ve racked up a few similar complaints, you better believe that their score will go down even further.

    Thanks again!

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    julee

    I have used Mercury for over 2 years now. I am a small business and they seemed very willing to accommodate at first. In the past year the have slid in two separate $150+ charges to my bill for “additional security” and “PCI compliance”. I have called them and their reply was they told me about it in my previous statement. I said I will be shopping for another merchant provider, lets see if they care.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    cuong

    I talked with a sale rep. over the phone requested a pricing schedule, and was quoted a 1.99% MOTO rate. I received the email without any pricing schedule but a “required” inspection where – “We will send a representative to your address with instructions to confirm that a business is being conducted there. That site visit costs $100 and we bill you for that.”

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Charlie

    So I had a really bad experience with Mercury. They convinced me to switch because they were vertically integrated with my POS software and they promised me better rates than my current processor (this was after I sent them a copy of my statement to make sure).

    Lo and behold, after I switched, I discovered all sorts of hidden fees:
    – Statement fee – WTF?
    – Decline Auth Fee???

    Plus their statements obscure the interchange rate versus their own fees – not to mention the fact that when all was said and done, I was paying nearly 1% more than my old processor!

    So I decided to end my contract with them. And I had read my contract very carefully (to address the comment about “lazy” merchants. I contacted Mercury 30 days in advance and asked where to send my written notification for termination to avoid my termination fee. AFTER they received it, their “termination rep” informed me I would be charged the termination fee anyway. When I asked why, the reasons kept changing:

    1. First, they said it was because I had “verbally” terminated when I called to tell them I wanted to close my account and where to send the paperwork. WTF?!?! Plus, their contract explicitly states I can only cancel in writing, so how can I cancel verbally?!

    2. Then they say because I switched over to my original processor within the 30 days, I was in default and therefore liable to the termination fee, because that was when I “terminated” the contact. Except:

    a. Termination does NOT equal default. The two are separate.
    b. Even in that case, their OWN CONTRACT states they can’t charge me a termination fee for that reason.

    3. When I point out to them the contract I have with them doesn’t allow them to charge me the fee, they tell me it is their “corporate policy” to consider them the same. I don’t care what the policy is, I agreed to a contract. That’s what they have to live up to!

    I spoke with the rep and her supervisor, both gave me the same cock and bull story. I showed my contract to an attorney friend of mine who specializes in contract law, who said it was one of the worst contracts she had ever read, and probably mostly unenforcable. She also said I was 100% right in my interpertation.

    Then they tried to tell me that I could only escalate further by having my attorney contact their legal department. I’m sure they do this since for most folks the cost of the attorney would be more than the fee! I refused, and told them to have their attorney contact me directly, they said they would call back in 1-2 days.

    In the meantime, I filed a complaint with my state Attorney General’s office.

    After 4 business days, I still hadn’t heard back from Mercury. On the 4th day, the state AG’s office contacted Mercury regarding my complaint.

    Wahlah! Magically, on the 5th day, the same supervisor calls me and tells me that after further “review”, they would be “able” to refund me my termination fee (that they had already taken out of my bank account!). I’m 100% certain it was only because they were contacted by the Attorney General’s office.

    So in short, I think Mercury is highly slimy. I’m sure many folks have had great experiences with them, maybe I’m just unlucky. But I’m back to a lower rate and better (and more honest) customer service. And at least their corporate policy doesn’t explicitly contradict their contract.

    I sincerely believe that Mercury has a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen with how they treat customers attempting to cancel their contract. They are dishonest and weasely in what they say and do.

    Oh, and a couple of other corrections to this review:

    1. The contract is NOT month-to-month. It’s annual, minimum 1 year. Make sure your contract is for 1 year! Because if you are more than 1 year you HAVE to pay a termination fee if you leave early, no exceptions.

    2. Cancellation fee – good luck getting them to honor the waiver clause. Don’t be afraid to fight for your rights here.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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