Bank of America Merchant Services Review
Taking $3,000 per month or less in card payments?
You’ll save with Square
- Date Established
- Charlotte, NC
- Next-day deposits available
- Multiple hardware/software options available
- Check/eCheck acceptance
- $500 early termination fee
- Poor customer support
- Limited pricing disclosed online
- Expensive terminal leases
- Inconsistent/confusing pricing
Bank of America is well-known by customers and business owners alike. That’s why I can understand why many merchants go straight to Bank of America Merchant Services for payment processing services. It’s a very established name, it’s convenient, and if you trust them to handle your banking, why shouldn’t you trust them to handle your credit card processing?
But here’s the thing: we aren’t talking about Bank of America, the bank. Banc of America Merchant Services, LLC, is not a bank, and while Bank of America is the parent company, it’s not the same company. Yes, that is supposed to be a c in the legal name. To confuse matters a little more, Banc of America with a c refers to itself in all its online material as Bank of America with a k. From here on out, we’ll refer to the combined effort of these two in the context of merchant services as BAMS, Bank of America, or even BofA.
BAMS is an apropos name as it is an enormous merchant acquirer with a huge footprint. It’s ranked third in the nation for purchase volume, according to the 2017 Nilson Report (the most current report available at the time of writing this review). And Bank of America’s acquiring service is growing in volume each year.
BAMS is ultimately just a First Data reseller, meaning that BofA repackages and reprices First Data products instead of developing its own solutions. This sort of practice is very common, especially with First Data. (First Data ranked fourth on the Nilson Report, behind Bank of America. So really, Bank of America has a bigger footprint than First Data, the company BAMS gets its core products from.)
Despite this large footprint, Bank of America isn’t bringing anything new to the table. Its merchant rates are hardly competitive, and if anything, BofA adds strict contractual agreements that hide behind its dinner-table name recognition.
What’s more problematic is that we see reports time and again that suggest this company uses questionable sales tactics and overall poor advertising transparency to get merchants to sign on the dotted line. You can imagine that all of this unease leads to a growing pool of unsatisfied customers who didn’t understand the costs, and they face high costs and frustration when they want to get out. Between expensive early termination fees, bank-breaking lease agreements, add-on services that many other processors include outright, and shoddy customer support, most anyone would start to wonder how such a poor company manages to be so large.
The truth is that many merchants may not be checking over their fees with a fine tooth comb, so they may not know better. Many don’t take the time actually to read the contract before signing. (Don’t do that.) Others are knee-deep in BofA services and may feel it would cost more to migrate elsewhere. And some merchants likely have enough purchasing power to bargain down the extraneous fees in their initial agreement. For all of those merchants who already bank with Bank of America, next-day deposits for business checking account holders remains a major draw. Name recognition may be another significant deciding factor.
If you’re really sure you want to look into Bank of America for your credit card processing, read this review carefully and keep all these factors in mind. In the following post, you’ll find out why I can’t give Bank of America Merchant Services more than 3 stars. Yes, BAMS is a big company with powerful resources, but I’m just not convinced that it wields these resources to the benefit of merchants. This company could improve on many features including transparency, pricing, and frankly, the fundamental way the company operates. If we saw improvement in any regard, we could raise the rating, but not until then.
Check out the full Bank of America Merchant Services review below for the rundown of our rating. If you’re not up to it, you could also explore our handy comparison chart below and find out about the better-rated companies we’ve found that stand out from the crowd.
Our Top Picks For Credit Card Processing
Table of Contents
Products & Services
You have several options to choose from when it comes to your Bank of America merchant services. Keep in mind, though, that most of the options below will cost extra, and specific prices may vary by account. We found that on the official merchant services website, prices were missing. However, on Bank of America’s main banking website, it mentions merchant services, and on those pages, they’ve included some specific pricing for purchasing some of the lower-end hardware outright. Leasing and other information are harder to find, however, as well as rates surrounding eCommerce services.
We’ll dig deeper into pricing later on in the post. For now, here’s an overview of available products and services when you sign up for a merchant account.
- Tablet-based POS options: If you don’t have a POS or you’re looking to upgrade, Bank of America offers the Clover suite of POS products, including the Clover Station, Clover Mini, and Clover Flex. You’ll find several types of devices available based on your needs, and the hardware kit includes support for magstripe, EMV, and NFC transactions. Plus, Clover supports a large app market for all kinds of integrations. For swiped, dipped or tapped cards, you’ll pay 2.7% on each transaction, but this cost doesn’t include other fees that you’ll face with your account, or keyed-in transactions. (We’ll talk more about fees below.)
- Check Acceptance: Check acceptance is becoming increasingly rare among processors, but BAMS can process that for you while detecting potential fraud during the time of the sale through Clover’s TeleCheck service.
- Mobile Payments: The Clover Go mobile app (read our review) isn’t as functional as the full-fledged Clover POS but it’s partially compatible. You’ll pay 2.7% per swipe, dip or tap, or 3.5% + $0.15 per keyed transaction. There’s a basic swipe/chip card reader that connects via headphone hack available for $34.99. You can also opt for Clover Go Bluetooth reader for $59.99.
- Payment Gateway: Bank of America offers its own payment gateway for online merchants, but you’ll likely face a large setup fee and a per-transaction fee on top of processing rates.
- Dynamic Currency Conversion: If you frequently deal with customers from another country, BAMS offers dynamic currency conversion so you can charge customers in their card’s currency for a clearer customer checkout process.
- Global ePricing: BAMS calls this Global ePricing, but other companies generally refer to it as multi-currency displays. If you have an online shop and sell all over the globe, you can display item prices in location-specific currencies automatically.
- Real-Time Reporting and Analytics: BAMS promises detailed reporting and analytics, but you’ll be paying additional monthly fees for this. Considering that many of the best merchant account providers and third-party processors like Square offer free and detailed analytics for no additional cost, I’m a bit put off by this. We discuss which software bundle comes with what later on in this post.
- Gift Card Services: Through the Clover POS, you can use their Gift Cards App to launch and track a gift card program. You can order a batch as small as 100 and can choose from a handful of ready-made designs.
- Loyalty Program: As another example of how nondescript the marketing information is on the BAMS site, you won’t be able to find too much about the loyalty program. However, it’s part of the free software option that’s available with all plans except Clover Go.
- TransArmor Data Protection: TransArmor is a data breach protection service that provides tokenization and encryption, and you’ll get it at no charge with Clover products. If you’re bringing your own POS to the party, expect BAMS to charge you a monthly fee for this service. This data protection is NOT the same as a PCI compliance fee.
- Next-Day Deposits: If you have a Bank of America business checking account, your funds are released to you the next business day. Having a BAMS account also means the bank will waive your $30 monthly fee for checking. If you don’t have a BofA checking account, your deposits will take longer. BAMS doesn’t clarify, but I would expect 2-3 business days.
That’s really about it for Bank of America’s services. For the most part, these solutions address most everything a merchant needs, which is nice. However, nothing about these options stand out as enticing or even note-worthy. Most of their services are just re-packaged deals from another provider — and they’re going to cost you more to get them.
Fees & Rates
Bank of America Merchant Services has gotten a little better about disclosing pricing, and we were glad to see that BAMS now has a more predictable flat-rate pricing model for some POS solutions (more below). However, they don’t have information about eCommerce rates, the Clover Station or terms of service on the site, so we can’t look at a sample contract and point out the red flags right off the bat.
Some large processors like this ambiguity for a variety of reasons. One is that they base their pricing on a whole slew of factors such as your industry, your monthly or annual volume, what kind of hardware you need, etc., and specific plan. However, plenty of other businesses clearly disclose their markup, so you know exactly what you’ll pay when you sign up. So you shouldn’t accept the lack of pricing disclosure as perfectly normal.
To get more detailed pricing information for this post, we reached out to Bank of America and obtained some numbers. Keep in mind that they based these figures on the type of business model we presented — a small business startup merchant. We didn’t attempt to negotiate a deal or shop specific plans. Your experience and quotes may vary. I suspect that if five different businesses contacted BofA, we might get 5 different quotes; that’s the nature of these things. Below are the quotes we received from the rep:
- Gateway Setup Fee: $99 (one time)
- Gateway Service Fee: $16/month
- Gateway Per-transaction fee: $0.10
- PCI Compliance Fee: $9.95/month
As far as the transaction rate, the rep quoted me a tiered pricing model for online transactions. This type of billing means that your transaction rates can vary significantly depending on how a credit card processor categorizes your sale. The rep broke down eCommerce rates for me below:
- Qualified Rate: 2.19% + $0.20
- Mid-Qualified: 3.19% + $0.20
- Non-Qualified: 4.09% + $0.20
So what’s a qualified transaction? Any swiped or inserted card that does not have an attached reward program like points or miles. Keyed-in, corporate, and international cards will cost more, according to her explanation. You can see how commonly used rewards cards can start to be very expensive for merchants, as they no longer pay the qualified rate, and the other two scenarios are a bit muddy when it comes to categorizing. The tiered pricing model is one of our least favorites for transparency issues.
Hardware Options & Costs
Clover Go (Mobile Card Reader)
- Swiped/Dipped/Tapped Transactions: 2.7%
- Keyed Entry Transactions: 3.5% + $0.15
- EMV-Enabled Headphone Jack Reader: $34.99
- All-In-One Bluetooth Card Reader: $59.99
- No Monthly Fee
Clover Mini LTE & Clover Mini WiFi
- Swiped/Dipped/Tapped Transactions: 2.7%
- Keyed Entry Transactions: 3.5% + $0.15
- Includes: Built-in receipt printer and various power supplies (e.g., power brick, cables, etc)
- Clover Mini WiFi: From $599
- Clover Mini LTE: From $649
- Cost: $499
- Swiped/Dipped/Tapped Transactions: 2.7%
- Keyed Entry Transactions: 3.5% + $0.15
- WiFi enabled
- Built-in receipt printer
- Barcode scanner/camera
- Works offline
- Cost: $1,264 full price
- Swiped/Dipped/Tapped Transactions: Non disclosed
- FD40 PIN pad
- Receipt printer
- Cash drawer
- Printer paper
As I was poking around, I noticed this footnote under the Clover Station items:
Clover Station requires Clover Mini to accept PIN Debit. Clover Station requires Clover Mini or an NFC Display Printer to accept NFC transactions. In jurisdictions that require a cardholder facing display, Clover Station requires a Clover Mini, NFC Display Printer or a display pole.
In other words, if you want to accept PIN debit or live in an area that requires a customer-facing display, you’ll need to purchase a Clover Mini for each of your stations, too!
That’s not even all of the fine print — for example, with the Clover Flex, you can opt for 4g LTE data service, but only for an additional monthly fee (Clover lists the fee as $15/month for 1 GB of mobile data, as stated in our Clover Flex review). Scroll through the BAMS pages about Clover and you’ll find lots of these footnotes with the fine print.
BAMS does offer various hardware accessories to go with your Clover equipment, but to be honest I am certain you could get those accessories for a lower price through another provide, because I know for a fact that Bank of America marks up the cost of the Clover hardware. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because most First Data resellers mark up the cost of the hardware in order to make a bit of money. But if you are bargain conscious, get your accessories elsewhere because you can definitely pay less than the asking price.
Software Plans For Clover POS
In addition to the cost of the hardware, you’re going to have to pay a software fee with Clover. You have three choices when it comes to what your POS can actually do for your business. First, we have Payments Plus, which is a completely free plan with any device (except for Clover Go, which is an entirely separate app from the Clover POS). As I studied the page for awhile, I realized that once again, things can get confusing if you’re not paying attention. Case in point, the first “feature” of Payments Plus is cloud-based reporting accessible via web or mobile app. But there are no specific reports listed here, and you have to opt for the Register Lite plan at $9.95 per month to even add tax rates, discounts, and here’s the big red flag — to get product-level reporting and inventory tracking.
Seeing how product inventory and reporting are the basic tenants of most merchant services, I have to wonder what reports are coming along with the “freemium” version. My guess is that the report is an overall sales tally for the day, but again, they don’t specify here.
So as far as actual reporting or basic functionality like adding a discount or tax to the item, you’re on the hook for another monthly fee. Here is an overview of each plan:
Payments Plus (Free; supports Clover Flex and Clover Mini)
- Cloud-Based Reporting: Accessed on app or web (No specifics about reports are listed on site.)
- Customer Engagement: Promotions, loyalty, rewards programs, customer feedback
- Employee Management: Schedule management, employee permissions and logs
Register Lite ($9.95 per month/per device; supports Clover Flex and Clover Mini)
This Register Lite plan for POS includes all of the Payments Plus service plan items plus:
- Tax rates and discounts
- Line-item sales for quicker checkout
- Create and save orders, add notes, and refund items
- Detailed product-level reports
- Cash drawer integration
- Access Clover App Market of 300 apps (additional charges apply)
Register ($29.95 per month/per device; supports Clover Flex, Mini, & Station)
The Register software plan for POS will give you everything in Payments Plus, Register LITE and:
- Kitchen printer integration
- Weight scale integration (available on Clover Mini and Clover Station)
- More detailed reporting (such as the ability to see reporting based on variant and modifier)
- Enhanced inventory management (variant and modifier-level line item descriptions)
All of these costs start to add up quickly. Clover is competitive in the POS space, but I don’t think anyone except a Clover representative would tell you it’s the best pricing available.
Keep in mind that if you contact the company over the phone to get set up — especially if you’re also using some other part of Bank of America’s offerings — you’ll pay an undisclosed price. I have no information about whether that’s lower or higher. BAMS does have some lovely fine print saying that not all merchants are eligible for the online rate, and that prices vary when dealing with sales reps, so you should be wary. When you deal with a sales rep, you’ll also likely be offered hardware through a leasing program, which should absolutely avoid at all costs. We discuss more about that in our next sections, so don’t miss it!
Finally, one of the bigger draws of BAMS is next-day deposits for merchants who also have a business checking account with them. If you don’t have a BofA business checking account, your deposits will take longer (2-3 business days being most likely).
If you are with BofA, it’s important to note yet another fee — your business checking account will cost about $30/month to maintain, unless you’re also using merchant services and/or payroll as well. In which case, the company is happy to waive that fee. It claims that this saves you money. In fact, BAMS goes so far as to claim this is a great way to reduce your processing fees:
But do you want to know how else you can save money? Get a business account with another bank or a credit union that has low or nonexistent monthly fees. Then choose a processor who will give you next-day deposits regardless of which bank you use.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
When I previously talked to a Bank of America rep using the live chat feature, he told me that there was a three-year contract in place, which fits with everything we’ve heard from merchants. He also said there was no early termination fee, which definitely does NOT fit with everything we’ve heard from merchants. We have multiple reports of merchants being assessed a $500 ETF, which is $200 MORE than the typical ETF (most processors I’ve seen charge about $300). That’s ridiculously expensive for a company that already charges a boatload of fees.
During the conversation I had this week with the BoA rep, she did disclose the termination agreement for processing to include the $500 cancellation fee. It kind of makes one wonder why they make it so expensive to leave in the first place. Some of the most ethical of merchant account providers we’ve reviewed operate on a month-to-month basis without contracts, so you certainly shouldn’t feel like an ETF is unavoidable. If you don’t want to be locked into a contract, I recommend checking out our top-rated processors.
Lease Agreement: Benefit or Risk?
It’s also important to note that Bank of America uses an equipment leasing program. It’s not even an in-house leasing program. If you want to lease Clover hardware, you’ll actually be dealing with First Data. While the company is a large and overall solid processor, their leasing program can be terrible for merchants.
According to the rep I talked to, leases for equipment are 36 months. When I asked the rep about cancelling the lease, she informed me that I’d need to pay the remainder balance of the lease. Note that she did not say the remainder balance for the cost of hardware, but the cost of the lease. This hefty sum would be far above what a merchant would pay outright for equipment. And if you’re cancelling the equipment lease, you probably have a good reason. Yet you’d still be left with the remainder of the lease and the hardware you won’t use. For this reason, we strongly caution merchants against lease agreements though BoA.
If you can, buy the equipment outright. Buying your POS hardware outright will cost more up front, but it’ll be a much better deal overall. If you need more time to pay, consider a small business loan to buy the equipment instead.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
BAMS exhibits almost every transparency issue I’ve come to expect from less-than-stellar processors. For starters, BAMS only offers pricing information for some of its plans and services, coupled with a disclaimer that not everyone will be eligible for that pricing.
Any processor that does this will tell you it’s because pricing is contingent on your industry, your average transaction size, your monthly/annual volume and other factors. And that’s true — however, that’s how they set rates. That’s not the case across the board. Transparent merchant services companies have no trouble disclosing their markup and fees because they charge consistent, transparent rates to everyone and typically only offer special rates for high-volume merchant accounts. And that’s to save you money, not the other way around.
Second, I am utterly unimpressed by the BAMS website. It is clunky, poorly designed, and lacking information in obvious places. The design feels like three sites within one, and as a result is very difficult to navigate. To confuse matters even more, they even have a separate mini-site on the main Bank of America site under its small business services, which has different information!
And again — the website is full of fine print. It’s EVERYwhere. Every single page has footnotes with all the exceptions and rules and requirements and all the extra bits that BAMS doesn’t want you to pay attention to but has to disclose. Good processors don’t usually have to throw fine print everywhere becase they can be transparent and still win over customers. That doesn’t seem the case here.
Lastly, my impression is that Bank of America doesn’t want you to rely on the website. It wants to get you into a live chat or on the phone or submitting information via email so that its sales reps can work their “magic.” For example, the only item that BAMS gives information in FAQ for merchant costs is this short explanation of a chargeback. You’d think this would be a good spot to explain the myriad of other fees you’ll incur with a BAMS account, but no.
As far as other points of connection, their social media channels are limited. Bank of America Merchant Services has a dedicated LinkedIn and Facebook page. Both appear to be updated regularly, but that’s about it. Facebook’s page favors the Call Now action button, meaning that you shouldn’t count on a timely response if you message them on Facebook.
BofA has a Twitter feed, as well as dedicated news and help Twitter channels; however, remember that Merchant Services is a different company. All in all, you’re better off trying to go through the official support channel (a phone line) than getting help on social media.
For a company that claims to tailor itself to small business, I find this extremely disappointing. Things work differently in an enterprise environment, where doing business usually involves sales calls, presentations, reps visiting on site, meetings to discuss the decision, etc. Small businesses just don’t operate like that and so to see such a disappointing site and nonexistent social media (and minimal educational content) leaves me disheartened. A company as large as Bank of America can certainly do better — it just has to want to. And sadly, I don’t think it does.
Many reviewers complain about non-disclosure of important contract terms, misleading fee/rate explanation, and overall poor sales transparency during consultations. Although it looks like most, if not all of the BAMS sales reps are company employees and not independent agents, this doesn’t guarantee a good sales experience.
One thing I often do when reviewing a company is check out an employee review site to see what people say. Sales agents are particularly great about leaving reviews, so this gives me some helpful information (like whether the agents get a base pay plus bonuses or work solely on commission). I checked out Bank of America Merchant services from the employment review site, Glassdoor. Here, employees can leave reviews anonymously, so it’s likely going to represent a balanced view of leadership and working conditions. As of spring 2019, BAMS has a 3.2 out of 5-star rating from employees, with 58% of employees who would recommend the job to a friend.
For the most part, the biggest pros seem to be good work balance, good base reimbursement, and potential for good earnings. However, the cons seem to be issues with poor management, pressure to upsell to merchants who may not need the products or services, and outdated technology. Those are just not things we should be hearing from a leading entity with billions of merchants under its belt. It definitely seems that these issues affect merchants (especially that pressure to upsell!).
When dealing with Bank of America, I urge you to proceed cautiously and don’t sign anything until you’ve read it carefully. Be very thorough in asking questions and make sure that what you’ve been told lines up with what your contract says. If you’re worried about a pushy sales person, you can and should certainly consider walking away — you can contact the company again later and try to get a sales rep who isn’t quite so aggressive. High-pressured sales tactics lead to spur of the moment decisions that put you potentially in a bad spot — you don’t want to sign something because there’s a “limited time deal” only to find out that you’re now trapped in a contract. If you need help understanding your contract, reach out to us.
Customer Service & Technical Support
While the customer support is decent, I’m left feeling underwhelmed concerning the overall support services and self-serve information offered at BAMS. It’s good to see that you can at least access help 24-hours a day, though the help itself has a mixed bag of reviews as far as quality is concerned.
At BofA, you’ll find:
- Phone Support (Payment Processing): Offered 24/7. This seems to be the sole means of support from actual BAMS agents. On the one hand, being able to talk to a live person is great. On the other, some people (myself included) loathe getting on the phone if we can get an answer another way (email or live chat).
- Small Online FAQ: This self-help section is bare-bones, and I am quite disappointed by it. Then again, if BofA signs most merchants up with Clover, the Clover FAQs (which you can find on the Clover site) will address most of the software and hardware problems.
- Clover Device Support: Phone and email support are available directly though Clover if you have technical issues. This is a pretty standard practice with any First Data reseller — Clover’s reps are going to be the most knowledgeable about the products and how to troubleshoot them. The good news is Clover’s support is 24/7.
- CyberSource Support for eCommerce: Offered 24/7 through the Cyber Business Center app.
- Payeezy Gateway Support: Offered for activation and password assistance online.
If you’re not signed up with Bank of America yet, you can also access a separate phone line, live chat, or an email inquiry form to start the application process or ask questions before you sign up. The live chat feature was responsive and generally helpful. However, they definitely want to get your information passed off to a sales rep who can talk you into signing. After I explained I wasn’t going to share my phone number or business name, I was told their help for me was limited.
If you have experience using the BAMS customer service options, please leave your thoughts in our comments section. Thank you!
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Since Bank of America doesn’t have a separate BBB profile for Bank of America Merchant Services company, we don’t have that resource to draw from in this case. However, elsewhere the web is populated with complaints against BAMS. When searching the company by name in Google, we found that Bank of America Merchant services has 82 Google Reviews with a 1.4 out of 5-star rating as of May 2019. Upon further inspection, it was fairly simple to pinpoint major problems, given how numerous and explicit they are. Here are the common issues:
- Expensive Terminal Lease Contracts: Some merchants have complained about not being aware that they were signing a non-cancellable terminal lease. The whole “not being aware” part can be chalked up to some merchants not fully understanding how leasing works, but I think more likely it’s sales reps being dodgy about explaining the terms. Terminal leasing is unnecessary to begin with. And First Data’s insistence on leasing is a huge mark against the whole Clover system, as well as the inconsistency in pricing from one reseller to the next.
- Withholding 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. Both First Data and Bank of America have been known to be a bit trigger-happy when it comes to holding funds, and sadly merchants are having trouble getting funding from legitimate transactions. You’re going to want to learn how to avoid holds and minimize chargebacks if you plan on signing up with BofA.
- High Cancellation Fee: If you want to cancel before your contract is up (three years), then Bank of America will likely charge you a $500 cancellation fee. That’s pretty steep considering there are plenty of other providers that don’t charge a fee at all and the industry standard is usually about $300. On top of that, we see multiple reports of BofA continuing to charge for services after cancellation and customers have trouble cancelling the contract in general!
- High And/Or Hidden Fees: You’ll see first that Bank of America isn’t great at disclosing fees, and that’s likely because they are quite high. In addition to setup, monthly, and PCI compliance fees (not to mention the ETF) you could also be hit with annual fees. Merchant complaints aren’t clear what other kinds of fees they encounter, just that they sometimes can amount to almost 10% of a single transaction. Related to this, you’ll see general complaints that Bank of America is expensive — and that may be as a result of high processing rates and all the assorted other fees BofA charges.
- Poor Customer Service: While even a big company can give you a nice, personal experience via friendly and dedicated account reps, this doesn’t seem to be the case with Bank of America. One reviewer pointed out that they are “hands on” when they are working with you to get you to sign their contract, but aren’t helpful when merchant issues arise. While they may have 24/7 phone support, that doesn’t mean it’s good quality. Complaints specifically focus on equipment issues, long hold times, being shuffled around from department to department without a solution, and outright rude and even condescending support reps.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Google Reviews seems to be the largest pool of reviews for the actual Bank of America Merchant Services wing, rather than a general BofA customer base. Here it’s clear that things are focused on merchant accounts, and at 1.4 out of 5 stars, you can imagine that it’s not very good. However, after filtering it for only positive reviews, I found just seven 5-star reviews out of the 82. Five of those reviews had no text and were also from people who have only filled out only one Google review, and it was for BAMS. I’d imagine out of the hundreds of thousands of users, if the service was exemplary, we’d hear some details about it somewhere — however that just doesn’t appear to be the case, and I’m left with serious doubts on the validity of those reviews.
Bank of America doesn’t appear to have any testimonials on its own merchant services website, which is disappointing, because BAMS definitely has the resources to put them together. The closest we get is this claim about serving about half of the the major brands in various categories:
This sounds pretty great — it makes BAMS seem like a trusted brand. But keep in mind these clients are definitely getting the special A-lister treatment, which you may not qualify for as a small business.
Otherwise, positive reviews are pretty hard to come by. There is one place where positive reviews might lurk — amid the reviews of Clover products. The Clover reviews seem to be a dumping ground of reviews from all of First Data’s many resellers. Unfortunately, weeding through them all and figuring out which sales reps work for which company is nigh impossible. And this kind of ties into an important idea: BAMS has great products. After all, Clover POS is a powerful piece of software. The problem is with the terms and services Bank of America offers to merchants.
Nothing that Bank of America offers is anything you can’t get elsewhere. Plenty of merchant service providers offer (free) next-day deposits regardless of who you bank with (Fattmerchant comes to mind), and that’s the biggest standout feature. And as I hope I’ve conveyed to you here, Bank of America doesn’t offer competitive pricing for its services or its hardware. In fact, its outsourced terminal lease program (through First Data) is hugely problematic. A company as large as Bank of America Merchant Services can and should do better than just repackaging another processor’s goods for high prices and poor customer support.
If I had to guess, I’d say that the customers of Bank of America Merchant Services likely signed up thinking that they were playing it safe with a big-name bank. But name recognition shouldn’t be the reason you choose a credit card processor.
Because BAMS could improve so much in regards to its services, but it still covers the basics, I’m leaving the Bank of America Merchant Services review at 3.0 stars. While I’m not exactly saying to run for the hills, I recommend that you seriously consider other vetted options before jumping on board with BAMS. Other credit card processors manage to provide transparent pricing and much better support, and you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice next-day deposits. And quick side note: if you’re paying $30/month for business checking through BofA, then maybe you should also look at another bank or credit union (even though I’m not actually reviewing BofA’s checking services).
In closing, if BAMS showed any sort of commitment to improvement in any regard, I’d happily raise the rating. Until we see better customer service, better leasing terms, or even just an improvement in transparency on the website, Bank of America Merchant Services will stay right where it is in my books.
If you have experience with or insight into BofA Merchant Services, leave your thoughts in a comment! Thanks for reading and good luck.
Our Top Picks For Credit Card Processing
To learn more about how we score our reviews, see our Credit Card Processor Rating Criteria.