Chase Paymentech Review
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- Date Established
- Dallas, TX
Headquartered in Dallas, Chase Paymentech is a serious contender in the processing industry. As an acquirer, it’s a bank that handles both the establishment of merchant relationships and the actual payment processing. All processors work through an acquiring bank, but not all processors are acquiring banks. Cutting out this middleman can, in some cases, translate to really high-quality services.
To give you an idea of how big they are, Chase Paymentech processed over $750 billion with more than 35.6 billion transactions in 2013. It serves more than 280,000 merchants. That is simply huge.
Chase Paymentech was originally Chase Merchant Services, which then merged with Paymentech, Inc. I guess they decided to try to get the best of both worlds in terms of brand recognition and simply sandwiched the two together. I don’t really think it has a ring to it, but hey — that’s why they make the big bucks.
For a company that has processed well over a trillion dollars in the past three years alone, I was surprised to find very few complaints and an overall downward trend in complaints. Chase Paymentech has hundreds of thousands of customers, yet the complaint numbers are lower than companies half its size. And since people are more likely to complain than praise, that’s really remarkable news. This tells me that they have a well-trained sales force and that independent agents are well-regulated.
The upside to going with Paymentech is that you’re going directly to the source. There will be no middlemen, which means you’ll be able to negotiate better rates. Remember to always ask about interchange-plus pricing and, for the best results, always make sure you’re dealing with Chase Paymentech directly, and not through a sub-ISO that’s reselling its services. While it looks like Chase’s resellers are doing a good job, you risk not getting the terms the parent company commits to.
Attention Canadian Merchants: I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Chase Paymentech Canadian branch. There are only a handful of Canadian merchant account providers (including Pivotal Payments, Moneris and Beanstream [e-commerce only]) and Paymentech is definitely a contender for the number one spot. So if you’re a Canadian merchant, check Paymentech out.
In general, I really like Chase Paymentech. The company has a solid reputation and overall decent business practices. While I don’t think it could possibly give you the level of personal attention you’d get from a smaller processor, the lower rates, and state-of-the-art technology might be enough to make up for it depending on your business and your ideals. I give Chase Paymentech 4.5 out of 5 stars for its excellent terms, solid business practices and the overall straightforward and fair approach.
If excellent customer service is what you’re looking for, check out our comparison chart for the best processors in each category.
Table of Contents
Products & Services:
- Merchant accounts
- Gateway/virtual terminal: Chase took home the Judges’ Choice Award for Best E-Commerce Platform/Gateway at the 2015 Card Not Present Awards. Just worth noting if you’re looking for a solution.
- Terminal rentals/sales: Chase offers credit card machine rentals, which are much better than non-cancellable leases. The company also sells equipment, including NFC- and EMV-capable machines. Make sure to shop around before you buy. You don’t have to buy a terminal through your processor if it’s not a good deal! Be aware that if you choose to rent your machine, you must return it promptly when your service ends or else you will be charged for the retail cost of the equipment.
- Support for Apple Pay and other NFC-based transactions: Chase Paymentech now supports Apple Pay for face-to-face transactions through its Future-Proof Terminal. For in-app sales, an Apple Pay SDK is also available.
- Online reporting: This is a pretty basic service, but it looks like Chase executes it well. Find out more here.
- Mobile processing: Use the Chase Mobile Checkout POS app and card reader for processing and reporting with your phone. Learn more here, but be sure to read that fine print at the bottom of the page when it comes to the “free” reader.
- Touchtone processing: When all else fails, Chase offers the capability to enter credit card info from any touchtone phone, no Internet required.
- PayPal processing: You can process payments from PayPal or PayPal Credit directly through your Paymentech merchant account.
- Level II/Level III business processing: See here for more info. Basically, it’s a way to get reduced rates for business-to-business (b2b) credit transactions.
- Gift card programs
- Recurring payments/account updating
- International payments: You can accept payments in more than 120 currencies, which is great for global retailers.
Fees & Rates:
Chase Paymentech has started disclosing some of its fees and rates on its website. Thumbs up for transparency — that’s what we like to see! Here’s what the page says about its simplified pricing structure:
- 1.65% + $.25 with your existing equipment
- Applies to Qualified Credit, Signature Debit, and Rewards Card swiped transactions
Note the word “qualified” there. That means you might still see higher rates on non-qualified transactions. But this is what Chase says about its pricing:
“With Chase Paymentech, credit card processing fees are easy to understand and it is simple to determine how much you are spending each month. We want to make sure you know what your processing costs are and how they are calculated. There are no hidden fees.”
It’s not uncommon for some of the shadier processors to advertise a flat rate but charge more than that thanks to various fees and hidden charges. However, we’re not finding any sort of evidence of this based on your remarks. That’s a good thing. I’m also a fan of the comprehensive how-to guide for reading Chase statements. This is an important issue for merchants, to ensure that you’re being treated fairly.
Also new to the site is the explanation of interchange-plus that we were hoping to see, but it’s a bit general. You can find that here. That said, Chase does offer interchange-plus plans and seasonal downtime to most merchants.
In keeping with its commitment to no hidden fees, Paymentech doesn’t charge any PCI compliance fees. This is good, as the PCI fees tend to catch merchants unaware and can be a point of contention.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee:
If you have an existing contract with Chase Paymentech, you probably have a three-year agreement with a $300 or $350 early cancellation fee. You’ll find this arrangement from most processors. Chase has also started offering month-to-month agreements, which means no cancellation fees! We are always happy to see this option. You’ll still sign a three-year agreement, but nothing is stopping you from terminating it. Just make sure you follow the steps for cancellation.
If you’re a higher-volume merchant, Chase might include an early termination fee in the contract as a trade-off to help you get the best rates, but that’s always negotiable. Still, be sure to ask about it and to review your contract carefully. Resellers and independent agents may tack on their own early termination fees, so we advise you go direct to the source — the corporate sales team.
Sales & Advertising Transparency:
Looking at Chase Paymentech’s site, you’ll see a clean-cut style without any flashy gimmicks or sales pitches. The advertising is contemporary, but sensible and pleasant in a way you don’t often see in this industry.
I’m impressed by the usefulness of Chase’s educational materials and resources. The company seems to really want you to know what you’re getting into with card processing, and I seriously commend its efforts here. Check out the Five Things to Consider When Choosing a Credit Card Processor for a great example of the kind of material I’m talking about.
The one semi-questionable ploy I see is the “free” Future-Proof Terminal. Nothing is really free, so make sure to get a full disclosure of terms associated with this offer. If you read some of the fine print, you’ll see:
“This offer is not available to existing Chase Paymentech customers. Receipt of free terminal is contingent upon the execution of a Merchant Application and Agreement with Chase Paymentech. Free terminal operates exclusively with Chase Paymentech’s processing services. Early termination of the Merchant Agreement may require the repayment of all or a portion of the free terminal’s value.”
Chase also offers a “free statement review.” This is a pretty common sales practice and is actually something that you can get for free in this industry. It does, however, give Chase the opportunity to see exactly what you pay currently, which is information you may or may not want to disclose right out of the gate.
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 trade that you’re likely to make to get lower rates and a larger infrastructure.
I can say, however, that Chase provides a 24/7/365 help desk, although it’s not clear if this comes from an in-house team or outsourcing (US-based or foreign).
I can also say that Chase makes a claim that might put you at ease:
Most of us have experienced that friendly sales person who walked into our business and sold us on their product only to disappear immediately after the sale. Not at Chase Paymentech. Your dedicated representative is an employee of Chase Paymentech, fully trained on our customer service philosophy and our products.
So while you won’t be able to get your account rep on the phone 24/7, it’s nice to know that the company still strives to provide a solid point of contact for merchants after signing. I also really like Chase’s many instructional videos, guides, and training materials. Sometimes these resources are actually the quickest, easiest way to solve a problem.
That said, it’s 2016. Why is there no search bar on the site? Seriously. Chase also has no Facebook or Twitter presence. It had a Twitter account once upon a time, but it’s closed the account and protected the tweets. The only active channel is LinkedIn, where it’s been merged with the Chase for Business page. It’s quite active there, publishing relevant content for merchants. It currently has almost 17,000 followers. There is also a link to the J. P. Morgan YouTube channel.
If you can substantiate or refute any of these claims, please leave a comment. Remember to check out our User Review and Comment Policy first, and please consider authenticating your review. It’s a huge help for me and allows us to provide the most accurate ratings possible.
Negative Reviews & Complaints:
Chase Paymentech doesn’t have a squeaky-clean record, but it’s pretty close, considering the number of merchants they serve. For instance, its parent company, JP Morgan Chase & Co., has over 2,000 complaints through the BBB in the past three years. Chase Paymentech has just 34 complaints (up from the 30), with only 12 in the last 12 months (up from 11). We’ve noticed a steady decrease in complaints over the past couple of years.
Chase Paymentech has just 19 complaints on Ripoff Report (mostly about sub-ISOs) and scattered complaints with other review sites.
I spend a good chunk of my day looking at complaints about businesses of all sizes. I can tell you for a fact that Chase Paymentech is doing a great job of disclosing contract terms and arbitrating complaints in-house to the satisfaction of customers. That’s basically the only way to maintain such a low volume of complaints on external sites with such a high volume of customers overall. Sure, there are plenty of processors with zero BBB complaints — but they aren’t handling three-quarters of a TRILLION dollars a year.
Of the complaints that do get out, these are the most common:
- Difficulty returning rental equipment: While it’s great to see that Chase no longer relies on non-cancellable credit card machine leases, merchants should still 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. A number of complaints via the BBB cite issues with the return process or being charged for the machine even after returning it. The good news is that Chase seems willing to offer refunds as long as the machine makes it back.
- Early termination fee: These complaints should be petering out now that Chase has started to offer month-to-month agreements, but for now the web has a few of these complaints still coming in. While there’s nothing you can do to get out of this if it’s in your existing contract, try asking for a compromise or look for a new processor who will buy out your existing contract for you. If you’re just signing with Chase, make sure you read your contract very carefully and review all of the terms.
- Bad post-approval customer service: Most of these larger organizations tend to have customer service issues. The smaller merchant processors have the ability to spend more time with you, but may not be able to offer the same kind of pricing that Paymentech might. I believe that, on average, you can receive an acceptable level of customer service through Chase. There are a number of major complaints floating around, but not a copious amount.
- Billing issues/withholding funds: These complaints come up with some regularity in our comments sections as well as on other review sites. Usually, funds are withheld because of an unusually large transaction or a string of unusual transactions, and it’s fairly common with most processors. The real problem is that Chase seems to, a) not give any warning about withholding funds or freezing accounts, and b) not provide the necessary customer service to quickly resolve these issues. This is really disappointing and unsettling to me, because (unlike contract terms) you can’t negotiate these problems away since they originate with the Risk Management department. Still, these problems are fairly 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 rep if it’s a concern.
On the issue of withholding funds, Paymentech provides the processing network for Square Register, 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 that fluctuate a lot may want to look elsewhere for their processing.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials:
You’ll find four video testimonials on Chase Paymentech’s Customer Stories page. They say that more are coming soon, so if you visit that page and find more than four, please let me know. There were two last time we checked, so I guess that’s progress. Chase is really focused on the mobile processing app, so those videos may or may not be relevant to your business.
I’d really like to see a better effort put forth here by Chase. It’s a huge company with hundreds of thousands of customers and massive resources. It should be able to give me a little more to work with than these four measly videos.
In the big processor category, I really like Chase Paymentech. I’ve never been crazy about personal banking with Chase, so my sentiments don’t come from any sort of brand loyalty. I’m impressed by its standard contract terms, services, and reputation. If I could get a bit more validation for customer support and independent sales practices, Chase Paymentech could venture into the perfect processor category.
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 big fluctuations may want to check out a different processor.
For its commendable efforts in complaint mitigation and month-to-month contracts, Chase Paymentech stays at the 4.5 stars we gave it last time. But until the company can prove that it’s offering solid customer service, it won’t hit that coveted 5 stars.
If you’re looking for the best customer service in the industry, check out Dharma Merchant Services.