Chase Merchant Services Review (Formerly Chase Paymentech)
- Large direct processor
- No monthly fee with a standard account
- No terminal leases
- Month-to-month billing available
- Interchange-plus pricing available upon request
- Next-business-day funding for Chase business checking customers
- No pricing information disclosed on the website
- “Free” credit card terminal requires a long-term contract
- NFC-based payments not yet available
Chase Merchant Services is the merchant services subsidiary of mammoth JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Initially 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, it functions as an acquiring bank, able to establish merchant relationships and process 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. The current total of 36 complaints with the BBB in the last three years represents a mere 0.008% of the company’s customer base. This remarkably low rate has been consistent throughout our previous review updates. It’s a good indicator that the company trains its 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. Note that these advantages apply mostly to larger, more established companies that have the leverage to squeeze out a few concessions in order for Chase to get their business. Fortunately, Chase is one of the few direct processors that also offers a basic processing service with flat-rate pricing and no monthly account fees that can work very well for small business owners.
Chase no longer discloses any of its processing rates on its website, but the company offers a choice of either flat-rate pricing or interchange-plus. Its 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 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. These sub-ISOs have a terrible reputation for adding on additional fees to your account and using independent sales agents to sell their services.
Overall, we’re quite pleased with Chase Merchant Services. The company has a respectable reputation and fair business practices. While you probably won’t receive the same level of personal attention you’d get from a smaller processor, the competitive rates, fair contract terms, and reasonable fee schedule might be enough to make up for it, depending on the needs of your business. Chase Merchant Services earns a 4 out of 5 stars rating for its excellent terms and solid business practices.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
- Merchant Accounts: As noted above, Chase is a direct processor, which means it will 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. In addition to the United States, Chase also serves merchants in Canada and several European countries.
- Credit Card Terminals: With Chase, you can either buy your terminal outright from the company or have your existing equipment reprogrammed to work with its processing network. You also have the option of including a “free” terminal with your account. However, this offer is limited to one terminal per merchant account and also requires you to agree to a long-term contract instead of month-to-month billing. Canadian merchants also have the option of renting their equipment on a month-to-month basis. This 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 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. While these terminals have NFC capability built into them, Chase lists tap-to-pay support as “coming soon” on its website. We’re a little disappointed that such a large processor hasn’t yet offered support for this type of payment method, as it’s already widely available from almost every other merchant services provider in the industry.
- Payment Gateway: For eCommerce merchants, the company offers its 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 (see our review) and many other third-party gateways are also compatible with the company’s system.
- Virtual Terminal: Chase Merchant Services also offers its 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: Merchants who need a smartphone or tablet-based processing system can use the Chase Mobile Checkout app (available for both iOS and Android) and eDynamo card reader for processing capabilities and reporting functions. 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: For businesses where cash flow is critical, next-business-day funding is available. However, you’ll also have to have a Chase business bank account to take advantage of this feature. Otherwise, funding from your processed transactions typically requires two to three business days.
The company also offers several ancillary services, such as online reporting, gift card programs, and echeck (ACH) processing. There isn’t a lot of detailed material about these services on the Chase website, so ask your sales agent for more information if you need one of them.
Fees & Rates
Chase Merchant Services offers a special plan that’s designed especially for small business owners. Unfortunately, pricing details have disappeared from the company’s website, so you’ll have to ask your sales agent about it if you think it will be more cost-effective for your business. This plan includes the following main features:
- 2.60% + $0.10 per transaction for card-present transactions
- 3.50% + $0.10 per transaction for card-not-present transactions
- No monthly account fee
- Month-to-month billing with no early termination fee (ETF)
For larger businesses, the company offers a traditional interchange-plus pricing plan. Account fees start at $10 per month, and there are several other recurring and incidental fees that you should also consider. While your agent should explain these fees when setting up your account, we highly recommend that you read your contract thoroughly before signing up to confirm this information. If you buy your terminals outright from Chase or use your preexisting equipment, your contract should include month-to-month billing and no early termination fee (ETF). However, including a “free” terminal with your account will usually require you to accept a traditional three-year contract that includes an ETF.
With interchange-plus pricing, your processing rates will be subject to negotiation and based on various factors, such as your average monthly processing volume and length of time in business. Chase offers very reasonable prices on its equipment, so we recommend that you buy your terminals outright. You’ll save money overall, and you won’t have to accept 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. 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 (ETF) or a long-term contract for new merchants who sign up under the standard flat-rate or interchange-plus pricing plans. Be aware that in some cases, Chase might require an early termination fee in your contract in exchange for a specific benefit — usually a “free” credit card terminal. Lower interchange-plus processing rates than you would otherwise receive might also require a long-term contract. 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 the 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 getting started 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 adequately 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 agreement 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; 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 more extensive 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 its 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 allegations 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 its size suggests that most customers have a positive experience when dealing with customer support. You’ll probably improve your chances of having a positive experience with customer service if you contact them during regular business hours.
Large, direct processors inevitably receive a high volume of complaints due to the huge number of merchants using their services. Chase Merchant Services bucks this trend, however, with what is probably the lowest complaint volume we’ve seen for a company of this size.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Chase Merchant Services is not accredited by the BBB and currently has a B- rating. The company has a separate profile on the BBB website (which is still listed as Chase Paymentech) from that of its parent company, JP Morgan Chase & Co. Chase’s BBB profile currently includes 36 complaints filed within the last three years, with 15 of those complaints being filed within the previous twelve months. Out of 18 reviews posted by customers, there were fifteen 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 29 complaints on that site under the old Chase Paymentech name. Again, this is a remarkably low number of complaints about 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 they 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 substantial 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 (see our review), 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
There used to be four video testimonials on the Customer Stories page of the company’s old Chase Paymentech website, but they haven’t found their way over to the new site. While you can probably track them down on Chase’s YouTube channel, be aware that this channel is for JP Morgan Chase & Co. and contains dozens, if not hundreds, of videos.
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. We’re impressed by Chase’s standard contract terms, services, and overall reputation. Its customer support doesn’t have as stellar of a 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.
Another significant advantage of Chase Merchant Services is the ability to bundle your merchant account with a wide variety of other Chase business services. In addition to the next-day funding option available to Chase banking customers, the company also offers business loans and several business credit cards.
Overall, we’re comfortable recommending Chase Merchant Services to most businesses, and the company earns a score of 4 out of 5 stars. As always, we recommend shopping around and comparing quotes very carefully before choosing a merchant services 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.