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WorldPay (formerly known as RBS WorldPay) is a worldwide payment processor and acquirer with locations all across the globe. They have been in business since 1989, but back then their name was Streamline. They helped pioneer internet-based payments way back in 1994, being one of the first on the market for this service. In 2001 they launched their U.S. headquarters, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Today, the company is owned by Advent International and Bain Capital. While WorldPay processes all over the world (as their name suggests), I’m going to be focusing on their US-based services for this review.
Much like Elavon, First Data and Chase Paymentech, WorldPay is a very large processor. I don’t have exact numbers, but I’m sure they have hundreds of thousands of merchants under their wing. Generally when you see those types of numbers you expect to see a ton of complaints, but WorldPay surprised me. Compared to their size, the WorldPay complaint count is actually under the norm. That’s good news for us all.
The one thing that I did notice about WorldPay was that many of their merchants were unhappy about the early termination fee. In the past WorldPay would charge a flat $495 if you were to break your contract before the three-year term was up, but they lowered that amount significantly in 2012. Regardless, the best way to avoid a cancellation fee is to ask your WorldPay rep to waive it for you.
Based on my research, I would have no problems recommending you to go with WorldPay. For now, WorldPay gets a commendable four stars from me. They’ve got some progress to make in their sales and advertising transparency before they can work up to perfect score, though. I’d love to see them providing more educational resources, and maybe even some info on interchange-plus plans.
Check out the full review for more information, and be sure to comment with your thoughts!
Products and Services:
WorldPay has pretty standard offerings in terms of products and services. I like their bookkeeping and POS software integration. (We also review POS and bookkeeping services, so make sure you check out our reviews before making any decisions). Overall, I have no major complaints here. Their products and services include:
- Merchant accounts
- Check processing
- Terminal leases/sales: WorldPay can offer you a free terminal, but make sure you understand all stipulations surrounding this deal, some of which I cover later in this review. Also check out our article on buying and leasing terminals.
- Payment gateway/virtual terminal: Gateways come through Authorize.Net.
- Mobile payments: Most processors offer options for phone/tablet-based processing, as well as wireless terminals. WorldPay Mobile will supply you with an app and one free card readers (additional free readers offered depending on your processing volume). I haven’t had a chance to checkout the app or card reader yet, but it seems functional.
- Integrated cash register/POS options: To check out your POS integration options with WorldPay, see their list of registered partners here.
- QuickBooks integration: I always like to see options for integrated accounting software. It can be a huge added convenience for your bookkeeping.
- Gift/loyalty card programs: Pretty standard services here, although they do offer 100 free cards to start out with. See “Sales and Advertising Transparency” below for more information on this offer.
- ATM services
- Cash advances
- Terminal supplies
Fees and Rates:
Unfortunately, WorldPay does not disclose any information about rates or fees on their website. They also fail to provide educational content to inform you how rates are decided or what types of fees you might expect with WorldPay or other processors, with the exception of a few FAQ entries that indirectly deal with these topics.
They do offer interchange-plus plans, but don’t advertise this fact. You can also expect to pay the following scheduled fees:
- PCI compliance fee
- Statement/administrative fee
…as well as chargeback fees when one occurs.
Overall, you can get sensible pricing options with WorldPay. There are no junk fees and no application fees. If you get an agent pushing an application fee on you from WorldPay or anywhere else, tell them to hit the road.
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:
At WorldPay, you’ll get the standard contract term of three years, auto-renewing for one-year periods. Their early cancellation fee structure is actually a little better than the industry standard. The following fee disclosure is taken directly from a WorldPay contract:
(a) $295.00 per location if such Early Termination occurs on or prior to the first anniversary of this Agreement,
(b) $195.00 per location if such Early Termination occurs after the first anniversary of this Agreement and before the second anniversary of this Agreement, or
(c) $95.00 per location if such Early Termination occurs on or after the second anniversary of this Agreement and before the third anniversary of this Agreement.
Note: The above mentioned cancellation policy is relatively new. In the past WorldPay would charge a flat $495 early termination fee (ETF). Regardless, there’s a simple solution to all this ETF business. Just ask them to waive the early termination fee when you sign up with them. Make sure that it’s on paper, and that you have a copy of it. That way you won’t have to pay anything to get out of your contract.
Okay, one caveat here. You can get a sign up bonus with WorldPay of $250-750 depending on your first month’s processing volume. If you’d liek to get this cash in pocket, you’ll have to take on the ETF in your contract. But it might be worth the trade off for you.
Sales and Advertising Transparency:
I don’t like sales gimmicks and I don’t like fine print. These two misleading tactics almost always appear together, where they significantly reduce sales transparency. Beware of the asterisk (*), and be especially skeptical when you see an asterisk but can’t seem to find the fine print footnote.
Lets start with their free terminal sales gimmick. They claim that if you sign up with them, you’ll get a free terminal or mobile card reader. While some providers actually provide good “free terminal” deals, I don’t like the stipulations involved to claim your (not so) free terminal from World Pay.
First of all, mobile card readers are dirt-cheap anyway. Square literally gives them away, no questions asked. So don’t let WorldPay make you think they’re doing you some big favor by sending you a mobile reader. Not to mention they’ll charge you for shipping. It’s not expensive, but it’s something.
You’ll also have to sign up for their standard three-year contract (and termination fee) if you want to qualify for a free mobile reader or terminal.
Speaking of the terminal, these stipulations also apply:
Limit of one free terminal per physical location, not to exceed five free terminals in total.
A $499 per terminal fee shall apply in the event (a) customer fails to activate a terminal within 60 days of signing the Customer Processing Agreement by processing at least $20 of transactions during such period for the location receiving the terminal or (b) if customer terminates within one year.
This might not make a difference to you, but it’s something to be aware of. I’d recommend you skip the free terminal deal and buy one outright. If you can’t afford it, then consider taking the sign up bonus offer and putting that toward a credit card machine.
Free Gift Cards:
They’ll also claim to give you 100 free standard gift cards (not customized). Well, you’ll have to pay for them actually, but then WorldPay will reimburse you next month as a statement credit. I guess that’s “free” technically.
The cost of the first 100 standard gift cards plus shipping will be reimbursed to the customer as a statement credit. The credit is based on merchant location and will appear on your statement the month following our receipt of payment for the cards
We should also note that WorldPay will charge you a monthly fee for issued gift cards that become dormant for 12 months or more. Depending on your local laws, you may or may not be allowed to charge this fee to the customer. Many businesses are left paying it out of pocket.
Dormancy fees applied monthly for cards that have been inactive for at least 12 months, whether or not service fees are charged against the card balance (except where prohibited by law). WorldPay reserves the right to amend the fees charged for Gift program services upon 30 days written notice to Customer.
Other Transparency Issues:
Beyond these gimmicks, WorldPay doesn’t offer much in terms of transparency in their advertising. You’ll find very little educational material on their website, and absolutely no disclosure of rates or fees. I understand that some of these costs don’t have a standardized value, but they could at least disclose the existence of some annual, monthly, or incidental fees, along with a description of rate pricing structures like tiers (bad) or interchange-plus (good).
Customer Service and Technical Support:
WorldPay offers 24/7 customer support. We personally contacted their support team at midnight PST to see if I could reach a real, live human being. Thankfully, we did. They also offer live chat during business hours.
Based on the comments of our readers, many merchants seem to get sub-par customer service from WorldPay, including unresponsive account representatives and unhelpful customer support staff. Many of these complaints are from WorldPay users in the UK, though, so bear that in mind. Only the US-based complaints are relevant to you.
If you’ve had experience with WorldPay’s customer service, please let us know.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
For a company as large as WorldPay, I was surprised to see that they don’t have many complaints. Don’t get me wrong, they do have complaints, but compared to their size, the number is pretty low. At the BBB, WorldPay has 256 complaints listed (although an A+ rating) in the past three years, with 108 closed in the past 12 months. This means they had almost as many complaints in the past year as they did in the previous two years combined. Not good. Also about one third of their complaints were not resolved to the satisfaction of the customer. Remember to take this with a grain of salt, since tactics differ from sales rep to sales rep.
About 50 complaints come up through Ripoff Reports, none of which the company has responded to. That’s another bad sign in my book.
Here are some common problems that you may want to look out for:
- Withholding of funds/termination of accounts: This can happen for a number of reasons. Chargebacks and/or suspicious charges can easily raise a red flag that will either get you suspended or shut down. You’re going to want to learn how to avoid holds and minimize chargebacks if you plan on signing up with WorldPay.
- High cancellation fee: There are a decent amount of complaints regarding WorldPay’s early termination fee. In the past, they would charge $495 if you wanted to break your contract. That number has been lowered recently ($295 within first year, $195 within second year, $95 before completion of third year). If you don’t need any free equipment or a sign up bonus, you can certainly get this fee waived.
- Non-disclosure of contract terms: This is related to the early termination fee in most cases, or to the auto-renewal clause that triggers the early termination fee even after the initial three-year term is up. In many complaints and company rebuttals I’ve read, this comes back to independent agents who sell WorldPay processing. It’s an incredibly common practice in sales, and can lead to a poorly regulated and poorly trained salesforce.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
You’ll find a few video testimonials on the WorldPay YouTube channel, some of which feature merchants who seem like genuinely satisfied customers. Others seem awkwardly scripted. I’m not saying that these are falsified in any way, just a little too tightly controlled for my preference. I’d rather hear from the merchant in his or her own words. Still, it’s nice to see a small collection of video-based reviews.
If you’d like a little more endorsement than that, try to ask your sales rep for references, specifically for businesses that operate in your same industry. They should give you information for merchants who they have personally signed up.
Overall, WorldPay definitely has the resources and the knowhow to set you up with good payment processing. I like their products and services, and I liked dealing with them on the phone. Every sales rep is different, though, and when you start dealing with Joe Schmoe the independent reseller, all bets are off. If you need help getting connected with a good agent in this company, let us know. Otherwise, just be careful and remember that you have negotiating power, no matter how small your business it. There are plenty of great options out there, so if WorldPay can’t meet your needs then someone else can. (Is this starting to sound like dating advice?…)
To improve their score, WorldPay needs to increase their advertising transparency at the corporate level. I’d like to see fewer sales gimmicks and more educational information. Information about rates and fees – including interchange-plus plans – would be greatly appreciated. Until then, I can still offer WorldPay a respectable four out of five stars. Check them out!