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Vantiv Review

  • 14 comments
  • Updated on:
  • Review by: Tom DeSimone

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Date Established
1970
Location
Cincinnati, OH

Overview:

Vantiv (formerly known as Fifth Third Processing Solutions) is a large credit card processor located in Ohio. They’ve been in operation since 1970 when they were known as Midwest Payment Systems, but have used to Vantiv brand name since 2011. Vantiv owns National Processing Company, Jeanie (ATM network) and SKIPJACK (payment gateway). They also acquired Mercury Payments in 2014.

Vantiv has hundreds of thousands of merchants that use their service, so they’re definitely one of the big boys. With that many customers, one would expect to see a ton of complaints, but – surprisingly – I couldn’t find very many. Their BBB profile is low on negative reviews, and so is the rest of the web. One could argue that it’s because the brand name Vantiv has only been around since 2011, but if you search their previous name “Fifth Third Processing Solutions” for complaints, you won’t find much either. That’s all good news, though I’m still going to keep an eye on the Vantiv brand to see how it progresses.

Much like any other large processors, Vantiv merchant accounts do have a contract with an early termination fee ($295+) although it can be negotiated. I was troubled, however, to hear from a number of merchants complaining that they were asked to pay liquidated damages into the thousands of dollars in order to close their accounts. I can confirm that many Vantiv contracts I’ve seen contain provisions to collect liquidated damages, although they do not seem to consistently enforce this.

So here’s my advice – If you want to sign up with Vantiv, make absolutely sure that this liquidated damages language is removed from your contract. You do not want to get stuck paying that. And while you’re at it, ask them to waive the early termination fee altogether. If they won’t do both of these things, then walk. If you need help, feel free to contact us.

In the meantime, I’m only willing to give Vantiv 3.5 out of 5 stars. If they remove the liquidated damage provision from their standard contracts, I’ll reconsider. In the meantime, I’d recommend that you check out one of our higher-rated providers.

Good luck!

Products and Services:

Formulating any list of Vantiv’s products and services seems like a futile effort, since they basically do a little bit of everything you could imagine. If one thing impressed me more than anything else it’s probably the scalability of the solutions. Whether you are a small business or a mega-corporation, Vantiv can meet your needs. Check out their site or speak with a sales reps for more details, but basically they do it all, and most of their solutions are proprietary.

Fees and Rates:

Vantiv does not disclose any fee or rate information publically, and doesn’t seem to standardize these numbers across the brand. Your quote will largely depend on the sales agent/sales office you sign on through as well as your business attributes.

In general Vantiv will pitch you a tiered pricing plan, which may include the following fees:

  • $99.00 annual fee
  • $50.00 – 90.00 PCI compliance fee (annual)
  • $10.00 PCI non-compliance fee (monthly)

Chargeback fees and card network fees like the FANF are also to be expected. The annual fee is always negotiable. I’d recommend that most businesses, especially those who will do a high volume of card payments, request an interchange-plus markup quote instead.

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

With Vantiv, you can expect a 3-year auto-renewing contract with a $295 early termination fee. This is basically the industry standard, but I don’t usually recommend signing on with any company that requires an early termination fee unless you’ve worked with them in the past. If you request to have this fee waived, most agents will make an acception for you. Just be sure to get a signed waiver form attached your contract before you sign.

You should note that in some cases I’ve heard from merchants who had contracts with Vantiv that included liquidated damages, generally 10% of the total earnings the company would have made on the remainder of your contract. I find this type of early termination fee entirely unacceptable, and I’d encourage you to absolutely refuse this if you see it in your particular contract.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

Like most big processing companies, Vantiv doesn’t make any real disclosures or promises in their public marketing material. Your sales experience will depend on the particular agent you talk to, and whether that agent works as a Vantiv employee or as a as an independent agent.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Existing customers get 24/7 service and support. Have you worked with Vantiv? Feel free to leave us your review. Don’t forget to read the user review and comment policy.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Vantiv impressed me with their responses to merchant complaints via the Better Business Bureau. The responding representatives provide extremely thorough, reasonable, logical and even generous rebuttals. In most cases the company will provide refunds when merchants complain, even if no refund is legally or even ethically required. Overall they have 50 complaints filed with the BBB in the last three years, which is actually very low for a processing company of this size.

Granted, the Vantiv brand has only been around since 2011, but even the previous brand “Fifth Third Processing Solutions” is low on the complaint count as well.

Most of the complaints arise during the cancellation process.

  • Liquidated damages – This is probably the most worrisome complaint I’ve heard, and it came up a number of times. Some merchants cited cancellation fees in the thousands of dollars, which is just unacceptable to my mind. Check out this article for more information about liquidated damages as a form of early termination fees.
  • Unknown auto-renewal - Many merchants who have processed with Vantiv long-term are surprised to find out that they owe an early termination fee even though they have been using the company for the better part of a decade. This is a common problem, and is not unique to Vantiv. Since most contracts auto-renew after the initial 3-year term is up, the so-called “early” termination fee can be collected whenever you cancel, unless you do so during a very small window of time. The good news is that Vantiv is willing to waive these fees for long-term merchants.
  • Difficulty cancelling the account – What’s worse than paying an early termination fee? Being billed – unknown to you – monthly for years after you thought your account was closed. I’d encourage you to follow up aggressively and check your bank statements carefully to be sure that you are not being billed for the service after you cancel. Also be aware that unless you submit a cancellation request in writing, your account cannot be closed.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

You can find a number of success stories on the Vantiv site. They’re mainly from larger financial institutions that Vantiv provides processing service for as opposed to smaller merchants. Your best bet would be to ask them for references.

Final Verdict:

Vantiv is a huge processing company with vast capabilities. They can service enormous businesses in need of complex payment systems and offer competitive rates to win these businesses over. There is no doubt in my mind that Vantiv is a very capable company.

My one concern is that Vantiv Payments might not treat small or new merchants the way these merchants need to be treated. If you are not experienced in the merchant account business and do not know which questions to ask or what to look for in your processing contract, you could be in for a rough ride. It will really depend on your sales rep. Some are willing to go the extra mile to help you make an informed decision, while others might take advantage of your lack of experience.

If you’re thinking about signing on with Vantiv, reach out to us. We can work with you to make sure that you are getting a legitimate deal. Otherwise, you may want to check out one of our more highly-rated providers instead for your small business needs.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

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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14 Comments

    DarthShader Tinting

    Horrible experience. Hidden charges. Fifth Third is NOT your best bank for business banking. Bait and switch. The level of customer service changes immediately after you sign the contract.

    Rating11111
    Bill Hoidas

    Hi Folks,
    Just a heads up. The payment processing industry can be worse than the infamous used car industry. You are all ranting against the acquirer (Vantiv) but truth be told most of the acquirers are pretty good. However most don’t actually have their own “sales reps” Your experience will be dependent on the ISO (Independent Sales Organization) that you use. Hopefully you can find one that is completely honest, skilled, educated in industry products and gives personal 24/7 customer and technical service. The experiences you have sited above are indeed inexcusable and do give the industry a bad name. BTW nowadays nothing special has to be done to accept debit cards so I don’t know what the problem was unless you are referring to utilizing PIN pads. Also overcharging for equipment is in my opinion tantamount to stealing.

    Rating55555
    Anna J.

    We had Vantiv for credit card processing for all four years that we owned a small pizza business. Did not have problems until we sold the business and attempted to close the account (no longer under contract.) Repeatedly attempted to fax the close form to them from different Fifth Third Bank branches, but each time they claimed a part of the form was cut off, meaning that they couldn’t process the close request and I would need to re-fax. They refused to accept the close form via email. Finally, a condescending customer service rep named Victoria asked if I had tried mailing the close form? When I said that evidently I had no choice but to do that now, and asked that a written confirmation be mailed out when the account is closed, she refused to do that. Would not transfer me to a supervisor, and hung up on me. I have asked my Fifth Third Bank Personal Banker to attempt to exert some influence on my behalf, so that I can get this processed before they charge more fees, since Fifth Third referred us to Vantiv in the first place.

    Rating11111
    Anthony Maicki

    Vantiv Mobile Checkout is a classic example of a company over-promising and under-delivering. The sales rep from Fifth Third talked us into it – a good-ol’ boy who in the end knew NOTHING about his system. Even more discouraging is their customer service department, whom although friendly, knows only slightly more than the sales rep. Which isn’t much. They are way over their heads and not ready for actual business. At Vantiv’s price point, you are much better suited with Revel. If you want to save money, there are many other app based programs with nearly the same features for far less money. Until they get their act together, stay away from Vantiv Mobile Checkout.

    RatingNot Rated
    Margaret Durst

    Stay away – predatory – I cannot get my contract cancelled. They lose paperwork, will not provide anything in writing, and make you sit on hold for 20 minutes just to say it will be another 30 days.

    They are DISHONEST! I am very DISGUSTED!

    Rating11111
    Steve Collier

    We started new service with this company three months ago. The salesman was slick. We signed a “non-cancellable” lease agreement for the terminal ( Equinox-Hypercom T4205 available on the web for $150) for 34.95 “plus fees” for 48 months. Now being charged exactly $40/month, which over 48 months is $1920- for a terminal we could have purchased for under $200!

    Salesman had led us to believe the $34.94/month was just the base rate for monthly service (we had been paying over $100/month for our previous service provider) so it sounded OK. He also led us to believe we had no options but to lease their terminal. Just now realized the lease payment is IN ADDITION to all the regular monthly fees, which really are not much better than our previous processor.

    The service provided so far in processing our transactions has been satisfactory, but this whole deal about the terminal lease leaves us feeling stupid that we did not research better.

    Rating22222
    Margaret Durst

    Vantiv has been bad for me. They are predatory with their fees. Stay away – there are better processors out there.
    Their fees are $200 per month too high on roughly $10,000 per month of credit card sales.
    They are not worth it. And they charge extra fees that hit you when you least expect it.
    You would do better elsewhere.

    Rating11111
    les

    you only paid $200 on $10000? Thats only 2% which is actually really good.

    Rating55555
    Randy Ruiz

    I just signed up with this company a week ago and I am closing my account. As far as I am concerned they are a bait and switch operation. Why do I say this, when I was initially talking to the rep one of my main concerns was being able to accept debit cards which they said would be no problem. Because of this requirement I needed to buy a new terminal. As we were discussing terminals I looked online and saw the same terminal for hundreds less. The rep got on the phone with her “boss” and they agreed to price match on a refurbished unit. Just to close the deal I accepted their off. Here is what I got. The terminal they shipped was not the one we agreed upon, no one called to ask if this switch was acceptable. When I tried to use the machine with a debit card it would not accept it, seems they decided not to honor their commitment to give me debit card accessibility. Again no one notified me of this switch. Lastly we had agreed on a price of $179 but when I looked at my statement they charged me $311. 40 again no one asked if this was acceptable. Even if I have to pay to get out of this contract it will be worth it not to do business this way.

    RatingNot Rated
    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Randy,
    Thank you again for your review. We’ll be updating our rating for Vantiv soon, and based on your comments and others it looks like they’ll be getting a substantial downgrade. These kinds of practices are infuriating and entirely unacceptable.

    RatingNot Rated
    Cindy Welch

    Vantiv committed fraud against our small business by selling our credit card machine lease to a third party without disclosure. When we had to shut down the business after 1 year, we found out the machine’s lease had been sold to a third party (First Data Global Leasing) without our knowledge, and we were slapped with an $1,800 charge for a machine we could have purchased at a third of that cost (even though purchasing the machine was never given as an option by Fifth-Third). Now we are looking at having our credit ruined or paying high legal fees to fight this fraud.

    It’s time to EXPOSE Fifth-Third Bank and their Vantiv branch for the frauds they really are. It burns me up that they are using small businesses to make an extra buck at their expense. It’s not enough that small businesses are punished by the federal government, now they have to look out for the bankers too??!

    RatingNot Rated
    Anna J.

    OMG! They did the same to us! When our terminal broke mid-lease, they replaced it with a new one, and had us sign a new contract-with First Data Global Leasing. We believed the contract was a replacement, and not in addition to….but discovered they were double-billing us months later. Fifth Third refused to accept any responsibility for the bait and switch, and it took multiple phone calls to get the double billing to stop. Do not recommend Fifth Third or Vantiv for credit card processing to anyone.

    RatingNot Rated
    Ruth B Kaplan

    I did in depth research and asked detailed questions, as well as reviewed the contract in minute detail before signing a one year contract. I have not used Vantiv services except for and initial charge, when I found out that they would be “passing through” a $5 per ticket charge, in addition to the agreed upon discount. Ten months into the contract, I am engaged for the second time in trying to reverse charges that were not included in the contract and/or not authorized. Vantiv started charging me $10 per month for PCI non compliance. They claimed I was notified on my statement, despite not sending me statements. Even after I fulfilled the Trustwave certification, they continued to charge me for non-compliance until I called and pointed it out to them. Their contract cancellation fee is prohibitively expensive, so I will be monitoring the account monthly until my contract expires. BTW, to close the account, there is a narrow window (5 days) to call and fax the cancellation. I am getting conflicting information about whether my contract auto-renews.

    Rating11111
    Sean O.

    Vantiv/NPC has only been headaches and hassles for me. My merchant account representative has not (or has not timely) responded to my phone calls and emails, and the customer service reps were unhelpful in addressing my concerns. My bank account was improperly charged several times for various amounts, and the representatives don’t know why (the only suggestion is to terminate the account/agreement…).

    Based on my experience, I recommend staying far away from Vantiv/NPC! I have had better experiences with another credit card processing company.

    RatingNot Rated

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