Chase Merchant Services (Formerly Chase Paymentech) Review
- Large direct processor
- Few complaints compared to size
- No monthly fee with standard account
- Month-to-month billing available
- No terminal leases
- Next-business-day funding for Chase business checking customers
- “Free” credit card terminal requires long-term contract
Chase Merchant Services is the merchant services subsidiary of mammoth JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Originally established in 1985 as Chase Paymentech, the company is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. A European office is located in Dublin, Ireland. The company is one of the largest processors in the United States, serving over 480,000 businesses and processing over $1 trillion annually. Naturally, they function as an acquiring bank, able to establish merchant relationships and process their own transactions. This type of business entity is also known as a direct processor, as you won’t have to deal with any middlemen when using your merchant account.
For such a large company, Chase has received remarkably few complaints from merchants. Their current total of 35 complaints with the BBB in the last three years represents a mere 0.007% of their customer base. This remarkably low rate has been consistent throughout our last few review updates and is a good indicator that the company trains their sales force well and generally provides quality customer service after the sale.
The main advantage of going with Chase is that you eliminate the middleman and deal directly with the company that will be processing your transactions. You may be able to negotiate better rates and contract terms, and you won’t get the run-around between your merchant account provider and your processor in the event of a chargeback or account freeze. They’re both the same company.
Chase no longer discloses any of its processing rates, but they offer a choice of either flat-rate pricing or interchange-plus. Their flat-rate pricing plan is designed for small businesses, and the rates are comparable to those charged by Square. You’ll have to ask if you want interchange-plus pricing, and you’ll probably also have to meet a certain (undisclosed) minimum monthly processing volume. Note that the flat-rate pricing plan does not include a monthly account fee, while you’ll have to pay $10.00 per month for the lower interchange-plus rates. We also recommend that you avoid dealing with the company’s sub-ISOs, if at all possible.
Overall, we’re quite pleased with Chase Merchant Services. The company has a solid reputation and ethical business practices. While I doubt they can give you the level of personal attention you’d get from a smaller processor, the competitive rates, fair contract terms, and state-of-the-art technology might be enough to make up for it, depending on the needs of your business. Chase Merchant Services earns a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating for its excellent terms, solid business practices and up-to-date processing hardware.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
- Merchant Accounts: As noted above, Chase is a direct processor, which means they’ll manage your merchant account and process your transactions. You’ll have a single point of contact for any issues that arise, such as chargebacks or account freezes.
- Credit Card Terminals: Chase gives you the option of either buying your terminal outright or renting it on a month-to-month basis. The latter is a much better deal than the awful, noncancelable terminal leases many providers try to sell you. The company offers a full lineup of EMV-compliant, NFC-capable terminals, including the popular Verifone Vx520 and Ingenico iCT250 models. Wireless terminals are also available. Pricing is not disclosed, so shop around online before buying a terminal from Chase.
- Payment Gateway: For eCommerce merchants, the company offers their proprietary Orbital Payment Gateway, a highly-rated payment gateway that won the Judges’ Choice Award for Best E-Commerce Platform/Gateway at the 2015 Card Not Present Awards. Authorize.Net and many other third-party gateways are also compatible with the company’s system.
- Virtual Terminal: Chase Merchant Services also offers their Orbital Virtual Terminal, which allows you to turn your computer into a credit card terminal and enter transactions manually or with an optional USB-connected card reader. The web-based virtual terminal is free, but you’ll have to pay extra for the card reader. It’s a worthwhile investment as you’ll save money on processing costs with lower card-present rates.
- Mobile Processing: If you need a smartphone or tablet-based processing system, you can use the Chase Mobile Checkout app (available for both iOS and Android) and eDynamo card reader for processing and reporting with your phone. The card reader is EMV-compliant and connects via Bluetooth. Be sure to read the fine print in your contract regarding the “free” reader.
- Level II/Level III Processing: If you process a lot of B2B transactions, you can save money through lower interchange rates using Level II and Level III data. Don’t sign up for this feature if you don’t need it, however, as you’ll usually incur an additional monthly fee for this option.
- International Payments: As a global processor, Chase supports payments in more than 120 currencies from around the world.
- Line Of Credit: If you need to establish a line of credit to start or expand your business, Chase Merchant Services can help. See our post How To Get A Small Business Line Of Credit for more information on how this process works.
- Business Credit Cards: If you need a credit card for your business, Chase offers several excellent cards, including numerous versions of the Chase Ink Business credit card.
- Next-Day Funding: If cash flow is important to your business, you can get next-business-day funding from your transaction, but only if you also have a Chase business bank account. Without this feature, funding normally requires 2-3 business days.
The company also offers several ancillary services, such as online reporting, gift card programs, and eCheck (ACH) processing.
Fees & Rates
While Chase no longer advertises their small business plan on their website, it’s designed for new or small-volume businesses, and includes the following features:
- 1.99% + $0.15 per transaction for card-present debit cards
- 2.99% + $0.15 per transaction for card-present credit cards
- 2.90% + $0.25 per transaction for card-not-present credit and debit cards
- No monthly account fee
- Month-to-month billing with no early termination fee (ETF)
Larger businesses may take advantage of interchange-plus pricing for a $10.00 per month account fee. Actual rates will be subject to negotiation and based on factors such as your average monthly processing volume and length of time in business. While most of these accounts also feature month-to-month billing with no early termination fee, you may have to agree to a long-term contract (with an ETF) if you accept a “free” terminal. Chase offers very reasonable prices on their equipment, and we recommend that you buy your terminals outright. You’ll save money overall, and you’ll avoid being stuck in a long-term contract.
Check out our article The Complete Guide to Credit Card Processing Rates & Fees for an idea of what types of fees you should expect, and how much they’ll cost. As always, it’s critically important that you review your entire contract before signing up for an account. All recurring and incidental fees should be spelled out in your contract, even if you have to wade through a lot of fine print to find them.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
As we’ve mentioned above, Chase Merchant Services generally does not impose an early termination fee or a long-term contract for new merchants who sign up under their standard (i.e., flat-rate) processing plan.
Be aware that in some cases, Chase might require an early termination fee in your contract in exchange for a specific benefit. This benefit might be a “free” terminal or lower processing rates than you would otherwise receive. If you’re dealing with an independent sales agent or one of Chase’s resellers, be aware that they might tack on an early termination fee, also. If they do, there’s a chance that they won’t tell you about it. Once again, reading your entire contract before signing up is your best defense.
Chase makes the following disclosure about the contract terms:
Certain restrictions may apply. Not all businesses may qualify for Month-to-month or No Long-Term Contract, such as businesses who: require processing capabilities in multiple currencies, process over $5 million in annual credit/debit card sales or have certain software or connectivity requirements. Qualifying business may terminate their contract at any time by providing 30 days’ written notice. Businesses who do not qualify for the No Long-Term Contract may be subject to additional terms and conditions, including a defined initial term and early termination fees.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Chase Merchant Services has recently migrated the content from their old Chase Paymentech website to a new site. Unfortunately, a lot of older information has disappeared in the process. The new site has far fewer specific disclosures than the old one. We’re hopeful that eventually, all the useful content from the old site will find its way onto the new one.
One thing that has made its way over to the new site is an impressive variety of educational materials and resources. While you won’t learn everything you need to know about credit card processing from the collection of articles on the site, it’s still impressive. We highly recommend that you check it out before contacting the company for a rate quote, especially if you’re just starting out in business and are new to credit card processing.
Chase Merchant Services uses a combination of in-house sales staff and independent sales agents. As you might expect, the use of independent agents has generated a few complaints. Merchants allege that they weren’t properly informed of the terms of their contract before they agreed to sign up. Because the company uses both month-to-month billing and long-term contracts, it’s imperative that you review your contract thoroughly before signing anything. While the number of complaints regarding this issue is quite small in comparison to the overall number of merchants using Chase, you’ll still want to protect yourself from the possibility of working with a dishonest sales agent by reading your contract yourself. The problem appears to be more common among the numerous sub-ISOs that market Chase’s accounts.
The company also has a very active social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and others. Unfortunately, these accounts are for the main JPMorgan Chase banking organization, and Chase Merchant Services doesn’t have discrete accounts of its own. While you’ll have to do some searching to find what you’re looking for, the Chase YouTube channel does include quite a few educational videos for merchants.
Customer Service & Technical Support
When you deal with a company as large as Chase, you probably won’t get the same level of support you would from a small-time processor. It’s just a tradeoff that you have to make to get lower rates and a larger infrastructure.
Chase does, however, provide a 24/7/365 help desk, although it’s not clear if this comes from an in-house team, outsourcing (US-based or foreign), or a combination of both. Most merchant services providers tend to use in-house experts during regular business hours and outsourced agents during the evenings and weekends. The company also provides an impressive Merchant Support Center on their new website with numerous FAQs and educational materials. This resource should be your first stop if you encounter a technical problem and might allow you to fix the issue yourself without having to get customer service involved.
We also note that many of the complaints against Chase allege poor or indifferent customer service. While we’re always concerned about any allegation of inadequate performance or lack of professionalism on the part of a company’s customer service representatives, Chase’s remarkably low complaint volume relative to their size suggests that most customers have a positive experience when dealing with customer support. You probably improve your chances of having a positive experience with customer service if you contact them during regular business hours.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Chase Merchant Services is not accredited by the BBB and currently has a “Not Rated” designation. They have a separate profile on the BBB website (which is still listed as Chase Paymentech) from that of their parent company, JP Morgan Chase & Co. Their BBB profile currently includes 35 complaints filed within the last three years, with 27 of those complaints being filed within the last twelve months. Out of 17 reviews posted by customers, there were fourteen 1-star reviews, one 2-star review, one 4-star review, and one 5-star review.
These numbers are more or less equal to the number of complaints we found during previous review updates, with no noticeable upward or downward trend. For a company that serves around 480,000 merchants, this is a remarkably clean record.
The company also has five complaints on Ripoff Report, with an additional 28 complaints on that site under the old Chase Paymentech name. Again, this is a remarkably low number of complaints for a company of this size. Many of these complaints are actually filed against sub-ISOs that are reselling Chase’s services.
Common issues raised by these complaints include the following:
- Difficulty In Returning Rental Equipment: While it’s great to see that Chase no longer relies on non-cancellable credit card machine leases, merchants should keep a careful eye on their bank accounts when canceling their Chase merchant accounts if they opted for a rental machine. Unlike leases, rentals do not come with long-term contracts, but merchants will be charged for the machine if Chase does not receive it back promptly upon cancellation. Several complaints cite issues with the return process or being charged for the terminal even after returning it. The good news is that Chase seems willing to offer refunds if the machine is returned.
- Bad Post-Approval Customer Service: Most of these larger organizations tend to have customer service issues. The smaller merchant processors can spend more time with you but may not be able to offer the same kind of pricing that Chase might. Despite the complaints, most merchants will receive an acceptable level of customer service from Chase Merchant Services.
- Billing Issues/Withholding Funds: These complaints come up regularly in our comments, as well as on other review sites. Usually, funds are withheld because of a single very large transaction or a string of unusual transactions, and it’s fairly common with most processors. The real problem is that Chase seems to 1) not give any warning about withholding funds or freezing accounts, and 2) not provide the necessary customer service to resolve these issues quickly. This is really disappointing, because (unlike contract terms) you can’t negotiate these problems away since they originate with the Risk Management department. Still, these problems are relatively few and far between when compared to other processors, so I think Chase is doing at least an average job here. To avoid this, be sure to have an accurate average ticket/high ticket listed in your application and to contact your processor when you ring up an unusually large transaction. Also, make sure to discuss it with your sales representative if it’s a concern.
On the issue of withholding funds, Chase provides the processing network for Square, the popular mobile processor with a bad reputation for withholding funds and freezing accounts. This may indicate that Chase has a conservative Risk Management department, so high-risk businesses or businesses whose processing volume fluctuates a lot may want to look elsewhere for their processing.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
You’ll find four video testimonials on the Customer Stories page of the company’s old Chase Paymentech website. They’re very professionally made, but the merchants speak in their own words rather than following a script. We’re a little surprised that the company doesn’t offer more testimonials like these, given their huge size.
We’ve also found a few positive reviews of Chase Merchant Services scattered around on the internet. People are far less likely to take the time to post a positive review than they are to complain, so even a few positive reviews have a significant impact. If you’ve had a good experience with Chase, be sure to tell us about it in the Comments section below.
For such a large processor, Chase Merchant Services does a surprisingly good job of serving the needs of all businesses, regardless of their size. I’m impressed by their standard contract terms, services, and overall reputation. Their customer support doesn’t have such an excellent reputation, but most customers seem to be satisfied with it.
A company this big is never going to be able to satisfy every merchant, but it does seem to do pretty well with what it’s got. When an issue does arise, Chase certainly has more leeway to come up with an amicable solution than a smaller processor might. It seems to lean on the conservative side when it comes to risk management, so high-risk businesses or businesses prone to significant fluctuations in their monthly processing volume may want to check out a different processor.
Overall, we’re comfortable recommending Chase Merchant Services to most businesses, and the company earns a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. As always, we recommend shopping around and comparing quotes very carefully before choosing a merchant account provider. Chase is about as good as it gets for a large, direct processor, but there are other, smaller companies out there that can do even better.
To learn more about how we score our reviews, see our Credit Card Processor Rating Criteria.