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Easy Pay Direct Review

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Easy Pay Direct Review

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Date Established
2000
Location
Austin, Texas

Pros

  • Accepts a wide variety of high-risk industries
  • Load balancing feature for high-risk merchants
  • No equipment leases
  • No early termination fees for most merchants
  • In-house sales team

Cons

  • $99 account setup fee
  • Three-year contract with automatic renewal clause

Overview

Easy Pay Direct is a payment gateway and merchant account provider headquartered in Austin, Texas. The company also has a second office in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded in 2000, Easy Pay Direct serves over 60,000 clients, making it a mid-sized provider.

The company’s EPD Gateway is their primary product, with associated merchant accounts provided through partnerships with a large number of major US and international processors and banks. It’s also possible to use their gateway with your existing merchant account if you already have one. Easy Pay Direct primarily markets their products and services to high-risk merchants, but they have several features that might be of interest to non-high-risk businesses as well. Because the company relies on so many different backend processors, they do not list an acquiring bank on their website the way most merchant account providers do.

Having an extensive network of processors is a common strategy among high-risk providers. The advantage to you as a merchant is that you’re much more likely to be approved for a merchant account. At the same time, it also means that processing rates, account fees, and contract terms will vary widely from one merchant to the next. Because of this, Easy Pay Direct doesn’t offer very many specific pricing disclosures on their website. At the same time, having flexible pricing and contract terms can give you some leeway to negotiate your rates and terms when working with the company’s sales team. Be aware, however, that if you’re a high-risk merchant, you will – in almost all cases – have to pay higher rates and fees than low-risk merchants do.

There’s a lot to like about Easy Pay Direct. Their EPD Gateway is a solid, feature-packed product that’s compatible with most online shopping carts and provides top-notch Level I PCI-compliant security. They offer a broad selection of both wired and wireless terminals, POS systems, and mobile payment systems, and will sell them to you at wholesale prices rather than sticking you with an expensive equipment lease. The company’s perfect record with the BBB is another strong indication that they provide a reliable service and are keeping their merchants happy.

At the same time, you should be aware of a few minor shortcomings. The company primarily charges processing rates under a tiered pricing plan, and you will likely have to agree to a three-year contract rather than being billed month-to-month. The lack of an early termination fee (in most cases) takes a lot of the sting out of the long-term contract, but you might still run into problems if you try to close your account early. You can also expect to pay a $99 account setup fee when you first sign up. All these issues are relatively common among high-risk providers. In fact, Easy Pay Direct is probably less expensive overall than most other high-risk providers in the industry. All things considered, the company qualifies for a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating. While they’re not quite perfect, they compare very favorably with other providers that specialize in serving the high-risk sector.

Products & Services

Whether your business is strictly retail, eCommerce, or a hybrid of the two, Easy Pay Direct has a full line of services to fill your needs. Offerings include the following:

  • Merchant Accounts: Like most merchant account providers, Easy Pay Direct is not a direct processor. Merchant accounts are offered through numerous partnerships with processors and acquiring banks, including First Data, EVO Payments International, and many others. The company also partners with several offshore banks to provide accounts to merchants located overseas that do business primarily in the United States. Be aware that pricing and contract terms might be different from what you would get if you signed up directly with any of the company’s partners.
  • High-Risk Specialization: As we’ve noted above, Easy Pay Direct specializes in providing accounts to high-risk merchants, including (but not limited to) information products, firearms, and nutraceuticals. As of November 2018, they’re now also offering accounts to CBD merchants, making them one of the first high-risk specialists to serve this rapidly growing industry. One unique feature they offer is load balancing, where a single merchant is provided with multiple merchant accounts. You can specify which percentage of your sales will go to each account. This redundancy helps to avoid the risk that an account hold or freeze will leave you unable to process credit cards until the hold is lifted. Payments can be automatically re-directed to a different account if one of your merchant accounts has a hold placed on it.
  • Payment Gateway: The Easy Pay Direct Gateway is the company’s primary in-house product. It allows you to accept credit and debit cards, as well as eCheck (ACH) payments. Among its many features is a Customer Vault that securely stores your customers’ sensitive payment data. The gateway meets Level I security standards for PCI compliance. This is the highest level of security available, although these days almost every payment gateway on the market offers it. A free virtual terminal is also available with the gateway for mail order and telephone order merchants.
  • Credit Card Terminals: Easy Pay Direct doesn’t provide much specific information about the credit card terminals they offer, but they include EMV-compliant models. Some terminals support Apple Pay and Android Pay. The company will also sell you their terminals at wholesale prices, rather than trap you in an expensive, long-term lease. Feel free to shop around, but this is likely to be cheaper than buying a terminal on your own and paying a re-programming fee to make it compatible with their system.
  • Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems: Easy Pay Direct also offers the Clover Mini (see our review) and Clover Station (see our review) POS systems through a partnership with First Data. These systems feature built-in EMV and NFC capability, plus access to the Clover App Market, which allows you to add apps to your Clover system such as analytics, loyalty and gift card programs, and integration with third-party accounting systems such as QuickBooks. Again, these systems are sold outright rather than provided through a lease.
  • Mobile Payments: While you’ll find pictures of Easy Pay Direct’s gateway running on smartphones and tablets on their website, they don’t offer a dedicated mobile payments app in either the iOS App Store or on Google Play. Instead, you’ll probably have to run the EPD Gateway through the browser on your mobile device. You’ll also need a compatible mobile card reader to swipe your customers’ cards. The company doesn’t provide very much information about this feature on their website, so you’ll want to discuss it with their sales team before signing up if you need this capability.
  • Shopping Cart Integration: Easy Pay Direct offers their proprietary Quick-Click shopping cart, which is built directly into their EPD Gateway. It’s a very basic cart, and the company admits that it requires technical proficiency on the part of the user to set it up correctly. Fortunately, their gateway is compatible with over 150 shopping carts (see their website for a partial list). The gateway also includes an emulator mode for Authorize.Net (see our review), in case you want to use it with a shopping cart that isn’t certified as being compatible.
  • Developer Resources: If you need to customize the interface between your website and the EPD gateway, the company offers a number of APIs and SDKs to help you do this. Documentation is available directly from their website.
  • Merchant Cash Advances: If you need some extra money to start up or expand your business, Easy Pay Direct works with a network of 20 third-party lenders to get you the cash you need. You can borrow up to 125% of your monthly processing volume. Repayment terms range from six to 24 months. Before you take the plunge, be sure to check out our post, How To Get A Good Deal On A Cash Advance Loan, for some pointers on how to avoid getting ripped off.

Fees & Rates

We generally like to see as much transparency as possible from providers when it comes to the costs associated with their services. However, for a company like Easy Pay Direct that uses so many different backend processors, it’s just not practical to list every possible rate and fee. While the company has posted some rate information in the past, it was only the lowest available rate and didn’t reflect what most merchants actually pay for the majority of their transactions. Only listing the lowest rate is a common – and very misleading – sales gimmick in the processing industry, and we’re glad Easy Pay Direct has dropped it. This appears to have been a relatively recent change, as there are still Pricing pages on the company’s website that now re-direct to a contact form.

At this time, the only specific disclosures regarding pricing are some special terms that apply only to CBD oil merchants. As of November 2018, Easy Pay Direct now accepts CBD oil merchants and offers the following pricing disclosures:

  • $29.99 monthly account fee
  • 95% + $0.25 per transaction (lower rates available for high-volume businesses)
  • EPD Gateway included in the monthly account fee

These are actually very competitive rates for an industry that’s as unusually high-risk as CBD oils. However, if you’re in the CBD business, you’re probably already aware that the 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed into law in late December 2018, deregulates hemp-based products (including most CBD oils) under Federal law. Because of this significant change, it’s going to be much easier for merchant account providers to accept CBD oil businesses going forward, and this should eventually translate into lower processing rates throughout the industry. For now, Easy Pay Direct rates as one of the best CBD oil merchant account providers in the processing industry.

If you’re not in the CBD oil business, you’ll have to contact Easy Pay Direct’s sales team and obtain a rate quote tailored to your business. The company currently advertises that interchange-plus pricing is available to all businesses, but we’re not sure if that includes high-risk companies or not. Be aware that most high-risk providers only offer a more expensive tiered pricing plan to their high-risk clients. Regardless of which pricing plan you receive, as a high-risk merchant you should expect to pay significantly higher rates than a comparable low-risk enterprise. You can always try to negotiate a lower rate, but as a high-risk business, your negotiating power will be pretty limited unless you have a very high monthly processing volume and a long, stable processing history.

The company also doesn’t disclose any of its account fees, so you should expect quite a bit of variability there, too. One fee that apparently applies to all merchants is a $99.00 account setup fee. While this is a one-time fee, we generally don’t like it, and most processors no longer charge it. However, setting up a high-risk merchant account requires a much more in-depth credit check than a non-high-risk account, so under the circumstances, this fee is not unreasonable.

You’ll also usually pay $24.95 per month to maintain your account. The amount of this fee might be higher (or lower) depending on which backend processor is servicing your account. It’s not clear whether this fee includes PCI compliance, or if it’s billed separately.

One last bit of advice: Review your contract documents very thoroughly to determine what other fees you’ll be paying before you sign up. While we receive frequent complaints from merchants about providers charging “hidden” fees, the truth is that most, if not all, of these fees are disclosed in your contract documents. Poring through pages and pages of fine print is never easy, but it can save you from an unpleasant (and expensive) surprise later on. Fortunately, Easy Pay Direct’s fees and rates appear to be in line with industry averages for high-risk merchant account providers. The fact that none of the company’s 60,000+ customers has complained about them is a good indication that their prices are fair and reasonable.

Contract Length & Early Termination Fee

Like most providers, Easy Pay Direct doesn’t disclose its contract terms on its website. Most contracts appear to be for three years, which is the industry standard. Depending on which backend processor you’re set up with, your contract term might be shorter or longer. You can also expect that your contract will include an automatic renewal clause, usually for successive one-year periods.

The good news is that the company does not charge an early termination fee (ETF) for most merchants. In other words, you won’t be hit with a costly penalty if you close your account before the contract term expires. This is a nice feature because most high-risk providers still charge an ETF (usually around $200-$500). However, be aware that it’s not quite the same thing as having a true month-to-month contract. You’re still obligated to keep your account open for three years (or longer if it’s auto-renewed), and you might still be charged monthly fees if you don’t close your account properly. Read the instructions for closing your account very carefully, and follow them to the letter if you decide to do this. Also, note that while most merchants won’t have an early termination fee, the company discloses that offshore accounts often include an ETF. For US-based merchants, we highly recommend that you obtain a domestic account, if at all possible.

Sales & Advertising Transparency

Easy Pay Direct’s website is generally well-crafted and provides a fair amount of useful information for the prospective customer. While it doesn’t disclose much pricing data, it offers a lot of valuable information about the company’s EPD Gateway and the other services that tie into it. There’s also a useful FAQ and a full-blown Testimonials page featuring numerous testimonials from actual clients. At the same time, site navigation is a little awkward, and some valuable information can be hard to find. There are also a few dead links, notably in the section covering the Clover POS product lineup. While you won’t have any problem finding this information elsewhere on the web, we’d like to see the company clean up its site a little and maybe add either a site map or a search function. Easy Pay Direct also offers a free report entitled 4 Easy Steps to Avoid Merchant Account Collapse in exchange for your email address. While this is a useful resource, you can expect a follow-up contact from the company’s sales team if you download it.

The website includes numerous ways to communicate with the company’s sales representatives, who are all in-house employees. There are no indications that Easy Pay Direct uses independent agents to market their accounts. This is a good thing, as this practice often leads to complaints about unethical behavior on the part of independent agents, including failure to disclose important contract terms and sometimes even to lie about them. We haven’t found a single complaint related to the company’s sales practices, which puts them way ahead of most of their competitors in the processing industry.

Payment gateway providers are more tech-savvy than most traditional processors, and usually have a more robust presence on social media. Easy Pay Direct is no exception, with active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Most of the content on these accounts is derived from the company’s blog and is frequently updated. The company also maintains a YouTube channel, where you’ll find a few tutorials and marketing videos, as well as several customer testimonials.

Customer Service & Technical Support

Easy Pay Direct offers customer support through telephone, email, text, and live chat. Support is available from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (CDT), Monday through Friday. Outside of those hours, you can still access support for merchant account-related issues through your backend processor. The company will also provide training for new customers who sign up for one of their accounts. This is a good way to get you and your employees up to speed on how to use the EPD Gateway.

The company also provides an FAQ on its website that can help to answer questions about common problems you might encounter. However, it’s not nearly as in-depth as a full knowledgebase. You’ll have to contact customer support for all but the simplest problems.

Poor customer support is a common problem in the processing industry, so it’s good to see that Easy Pay Direct doesn’t have any complaints about this issue. Given the size of the company and the number of merchants using their services, this is a good indication that they provide high-quality customer service and support.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

Easy Pay Direct received BBB accreditation in 2015 but appears to have recently dropped it. Although no longer accredited, the company still has an A+ rating. Even more impressive is the fact that the company has zero complaints, despite being in business for over eighteen years and serving over 60,000 merchants. There are also no complaints against them on Ripoff Report.

This, of course, is very commendable and a strong indication that you will receive outstanding service from Easy Pay Direct. There is one caveat, however. Payment gateway providers rarely receive very many complaints, while merchant account providers are often the target of a high number of them. Although merchants seem genuinely happy with Easy Pay Direct and their payment gateway, that doesn’t mean they’re equally satisfied with the processor that’s underwriting their merchant account. If you’re considering signing up with the company, be sure to research the backend processor that will be processing your transactions as well before you open an account.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Easy Pay Direct now has a full Testimonials page on its website, featuring 26 testimonials from actual clients. Most of these are brief (usually just a paragraph or two), but they highlight several of the company’s features that customers find most useful. There are also a few more in-depth interviews with customers on the company’s YouTube channel. Naturally, positive feedback that’s distributed by the company isn’t going to include any complaints or criticism. Nonetheless, the testimonials that Easy Pay Direct provides appear genuine and don’t seem to be scripted or edited in any apparent way. All in all, customers seem to be quite happy with the service they’ve received from the company.

Final Verdict

If you’re a high-risk merchant, getting approved for a merchant account can be an expensive and challenging proposition. There are plenty of less-than-reputable providers out there that deliberately market to high-risk businesses that are desperate to get a merchant account, only to rip them off with high rates and fees and expensive long-term contracts. We’re always pleasantly surprised when we find a high-risk provider that offers a fair deal at a reasonable price, which is exactly what Easy Pay Direct does.

The company’s partnership with so many different processors means that you have a much better chance of getting approved for an account than you would with most other providers. Their lack of an early termination fee (in most cases) is also a welcome option, giving you the flexibility to switch to a different provider if things don’t work out. Interchange-plus pricing, while not available for all clients, is also a rarity in the high-risk sector and a welcome option. We’re also impressed by the features of the EPD Gateway, as well as the remarkably clean online reputation the company has managed to maintain despite its size.

Although Easy Pay Direct rates very favorably in comparison to most other high-risk providers, things aren’t quite perfect. We’d like to see the company offer some more specific information about the credit card terminals they provide – including prices. We’d also like to see a more robust knowledgebase on the company’s website, so merchants could diagnose and solve some of the more common issues without having to contact customer support for help. Lastly, we’d be happy if Easy Pay Direct would introduce a full-fledged mobile processing app (with an EMV-compliant card reader) for merchants who need a mobile processing solution or just don’t want to deal with a stand-alone countertop terminal.

Overall, Easy Pay Direct receives an excellent rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. We consider them to be one of the best high-risk merchant account providers (and one of the best CBD oil providers) in the industry. If you need a payment gateway and a merchant account, and you’re in the high-risk category, we have no problem recommending them for your consideration. As always, we encourage you to shop around before settling on a particular provider. Obtain quotes from several providers and compare their overall costs against how well their features match up with the specific needs of your business. Lastly, if you’ve had any experience with Easy Pay Direct, be sure to tell us about it in the Comments section below. Thanks!

Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl has been writing about merchant services, payment gateways, and international money transfer services since 2015. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State and a Juris Doctorate from the Ventura College of Law. After a long and enjoyable career of traveling around the world as an Air Force navigator, he’s comfortably settled down in the wine country town of Paso Robles in California’s scenic Central Coast region. He enjoys reading, photography, hiking, and numerous other outdoor pursuits.
Frank Kehl
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