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WorldPay (formerly known as RBS WorldPay) is a worldwide payment processor and acquirer with locations all across the globe. The company has been in business since 1989, when it went by the name Streamline. It helped pioneer Internet-based payments way back in 1994, being one of the first in the market for this service. In 2001, WorldPay opened its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Today, the company is owned by Advent International and Bain Capital. While WorldPay processes all over the world (as the name suggests), I’m going to be focusing on its US-based services for this review.
Much like Elavon, First Data and Chase Paymentech, WorldPay is a very large processor. The numbers are not easy to find, but if you know where to look, you can cobble together an idea of how big the company is. According to a March 2015 press release, WorldPay processed 10.7 billion transactions, valued at more than $500 billion — or, you know, half a trillion dollars — in 2014. That’s a LOT. If you check out the rather lackluster testimonials page, you’ll see that WorldPay claims to service more than 150,000 businesses in the U.S. alone — not counting its massive international client base.
Generally when you see those types of numbers, you expect to see a ton of complaints, but WorldPay surprised me. Compared to the company’s size, the WorldPay complaint count is actually under the norm. However, the complaints we do see are severe enough to give us pause.
The one thing that I did notice about WorldPay was that many of its 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 the company lowered that amount significantly in 2012. Some merchants have complained of termination fees much higher than that. Regardless, the best way to avoid a cancellation fee is to ask your WorldPay rep to waive it for you — but there are trade-offs.
Last year, we had no problems recommending WorldPay. But we’ve heard what you had to say, especially in regard to customer service. WorldPay gets a 3.5 stars from me. It’s got some progress to make in its sales and advertising transparency, as well as its customer service efforts, before it can regain its former rating of 4 stars. I’d love to see WorldPay providing more educational resources, and maybe even some info on interchange-plus plans, in addition to its other key struggles.
Products and Services:
WorldPay has pretty standard offerings in terms of products and services. I like the bookkeeping and POS software integration. (We also review POS and bookkeeping services, so make sure you check out our reviews or finder tool before making any decisions). Overall, I have no major complaints here. Products and services include:
- 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 reader (additional free readers offered depending on your processing volume). We haven’t had a chance to check out the app or card reader, but the Google Play reviews for the Android version are positive. The scant iTunes reviews? Not quite so much.
- Integrated cash register/POS options: To check out your POS integration options with WorldPay, see the 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.
- EMV Processing: Being a large multi-national corporation, WorldPay was relatively prepared for the implementation of chip cards in the U.S. with several processing methods for merchants. But, while WorldPay offers a “free” terminal (see below), we’d suggest checking out our advice on picking hardware.
- Gift/Loyalty card programs
- ATM services
- Cash advances
- Terminal supplies
- Check processing
Fees and Rates:
When we reviewed WorldPay previously, we noted that it disclosed absolutely no fees on its website. Later on, WorldPay began offering new merchants three years of guaranteed pricing — but it was worth reading the fine print.
Here’s what WorldPay was offering:
- Signature debit transactions at 0.99%
- Standard credit transactions at 1.99%
- Rewards credit transactions at 2.6%
- Corporate/T&E/Keyed-In credit transactions at 3.30%
On top of that, there was a $0.20 per-transaction fee.
Here’s the fine print:
*Offer expires June 30, 2015. Customer must be new to Worldpay. Requires execution of Worldpay’s standard 3 year Customer Processing Agreement and related Addendum. Subject to credit review and approval. Offer available only to merchants who have processed less than $5,000,000 of credit and debit card transactions in the previous 12 calendar month period. Offer applies only to Worldpay rates for Visa®, MasterCard®, Discover® and PayPal™ credit and signature debit, along with certain other specified fees. Other fees apply and are subject to change. Additional detail, terms and conditions, including early termination fees, are set forth in the related Addendum.
On the plus side, this is very transparent. There’s no “starting at” hedging or other weasel words. It’s better than a provider promising rates “as low as 0.29%” that you’ll never see. However, this is in theory a limited-time offer (I’m always wary of those, because often times they aren’t; it’s just a marketing technique to make you feel urgency). The fact that June 2015 is long past and there have been no changes to the offer (including the expiration date) is a little discomforting. If the page goes away or updates, please let us know! We’ll be keeping an eye on it as well.
That obviously doesn’t cover existing merchants or the people who sign a contract without that guaranteed pricing deal. And WorldPay otherwise does not have any publicly accessible resources on the topic, or pages explaining how rates are assessed.
WorldPay does offer interchange-plus plans, but doesn’t openly 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. I like that it’s not promising “the lowest rates anywhere,” a claim that makes all of my Spidey senses tingle.
Oh, and if you ever get an agent pushing an application fee on you from WorldPay or anywhere else, tell them to hit the road and check out some of our top-rated payments processors. For general processing fee questions, feel free to refer to this article or our handy chart.
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:
At WorldPay, you’ll get the standard contract term of three years, auto-renewing for one-year periods. The 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. 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 like 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. This offer is also set to expire shortly, but we’ll be keeping an eye out.
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.
Let’s start with the free terminal sales gimmick. WorldPay claims 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 WorldPay.
First of all, mobile card readers are dirt-cheap anyway. Square and PayPal literally give them away, no questions asked. So don’t let WorldPay make you think it’s doing you some big favor by sending you a mobile reader. Not to mention the company will charge you for shipping. It’s not expensive, but it’s still something.
You’ll also have to sign up for the 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.
It should also be noted that this deal expire this month.
Other Transparency Issues:
Beyond these gimmicks, WorldPay doesn’t offer much in terms of transparency in its advertising. You’ll find some educational material on the website, but it’s not extensive (however, I do give bonus points for the incorporation of an actual search bar on the site). Apart from the 3-year guaranteed pricing offer (which hasn’t been updated), there’s no disclosure of rates and 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).
On a positive note, I do like that you can find WorldPay on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Public communication is good for transparency! However, when I looked, the most recent 3 posts to the WorldPay page (I also like that Facebook fans can actually post directly to the page), they were all complaints about customer service. WorldPay does seem to respond to those comments, but with a generic canned response. The Twitter account doesn’t show a lot of engagement, even though it’s active. More than anything, WorldPay seems to excel on LinkedIn — which makes perfect sense to me given that WorldPay is a B2B service and LinkedIn is a great B2B platform.
As I’ve said, WorldPay’s site is actually searchable, something that makes me incredibly happy. There are also educational resources scattered throughout the site, though you’ll need a merchant account to access the bulk of support resources. If you head over to the Insight page, you’ll find white papers on important topics. However, you’ll have to put in some contact information, and every box is mandatory — which means you should expect some emails and maybe a phone call about WorldPay services.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
WorldPay offers 24/7 customer support. We personally contacted the support team at midnight PST to see if we could reach a real, live human being. Thankfully, we did. You can also use 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. Since our last review, there’s been an uptick in US-based complaints. That’s not a good sign.
Also worth noting: On WorldPay’s Contact Us page, under “Other Help,” there’s a section about complaints and the complaints procedure. It’ll even take you to a page where you can file your complaint. Bear in mind, this takes you from the US site to the UK site.
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 the company doesn’t have many complaints. Don’t get me wrong, there are complaints, but compared to the company’s size, the number is pretty low. At the BBB, WorldPay has 233 complaints in the past three years (down slightly from 264 complaints from our previous check up), with an A+ rating. Just 65 of those were in the past 12 months, slightly down from the 65 from last time. That’s a slightly promising sign.
Less promising is the fact that 83 complaints were not resolved to the satisfaction of the customer — that’s about one-third of the complaints total. Remember to take this with a grain of salt, since tactics differ from sales rep to sales rep. And as is usually the case, most of the issues revolve around billing/collections issues and problems with the service.
A total of 59 complaints come up through Ripoff Report (up just slightly from the “about 56” we quoted last time), and we’re happy to say WorldPay is at least responding and attempting to contact the people who posted their complaints.
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, it 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. Some people have complained of much higher termination fees (sometimes 4 figures) when they tried to cancel their service.
- 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 sales force. Make sure you have a copy of your contract and read it thoroughly.
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 WorldPay reviews 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.
Scattered throughout the site you’ll also find the occasional case study relating to WorldPay merchant services. It would be fantastic if these were all collected in a single place — but they’re not.
If you’d like a little more endorsement than what’s available, try to ask your sales rep for references, specifically for businesses that operate in your same industry. They should give you information for merchants they have personally signed up.
There are plenty of great merchant account options out there, and since we last looked, WorldPay has fallen behind. The company definitely has the resources and the knowhow to set you up with good payment processing. The sticking point appears to be sales tactics, contracts, and billing, all of which are closely entwined.
To improve its score, WorldPay needs to increase its advertising transparency at the corporate level. I’d like to see fewer sales gimmicks and more educational information, especially information that’s, you know, easy to find. Information about rates and fees – including interchange-plus plans – would be greatly appreciated. But most importantly, I want to see real improvements in customer service, not just generic responses to complaints. Until that happens, WorldPay will be keeping a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Whatever payment processor you choose, be careful and remember that you have negotiating power, no matter how small your business is. At the risk of being mistaken as dating advice, keep this in mind: If WorldPay can’t meet your needs, someone else can. We recommend you check out our top-rated processors or find one that best fits your needs.