Easy Pay Direct Review
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- Date Established
- Austin, Texas
- Good for high-risk industries
- Free gateway
- Free virtual terminal
- Trusted by consumers
- Inexpensive hardware
- Untransparent tiered pricing
- No pricing disclosed online
- $99 account setup fee
- A three-year contract with an automatic renewal clause
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 its primary product, with associated merchant accounts provided through partnerships with numerous major US and international processors and banks. It’s also possible to use the gateway with your existing merchant account if you already have one. Easy Pay Direct primarily markets its products and services to high-risk merchants, which means if you’re a gun merchant, CBD seller, nutraceuticals vendor, or “adult” product business, your day has finally come! Lower-risk businesses can probably find a better deal elsewhere, but Easy Pay Direct does have several features that might be of interest to non-high-risk businesses as well. Because the company relies on so many different back-end processors, it does not list an acquiring bank on its 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 the merchant is that you’re much more likely to be approved for a merchant account. Not only that, but the practice of load balancing — hooking up a single merchant with multiple accounts — means that you won’t lose your ability to process payments if one of your accounts experiences a hold or freeze. 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 its website.
There’s a lot to like about Easy Pay Direct. Its 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. The company offers 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 the company provides reliable service and is keeping its 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 it’s not quite perfect, it compares very favorably with other providers that specialize in serving the high-risk sector.
Table of Contents
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 Fiserv, 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 since Easy Pay Direct is negotiating contracts on a case-by-case basis.
- 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, it’s now also offering accounts to CBD merchants, making the company one of the first high-risk specialists to serve this rapidly growing industry. One unique feature it offers is load balancing, where a single merchant is provided with multiple merchant accounts. You can specify what 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 redirected 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, echeck (ACH) payments, and online 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. That 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 it offers, but the company includes EMV-compliant models. Some terminals support Apple Pay and Android Pay. The company will also sell you its 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 reprogramming fee to make it compatible with the company’s 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 Fiserv. These systems feature built-in EMV and NFC capability, plus access to the Clover App Market, which allows you to add apps, such as analytics, gift cards, and loyalty programs, and integration with third-party accounting systems, such as QuickBooks, to your Clover system. 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 the company’s website, it doesn’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 its website, so you’ll want to discuss it with the sales team before signing up if you need this capability.
- Shopping Cart Integration: Easy Pay Direct offers its proprietary Quick-Click shopping cart, which is built directly into its 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, the gateway is compatible with over 150 shopping carts (see the company’s 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 some APIs and SDKs to help you do this. Documentation is available directly from the 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 such as Easy Pay Direct that uses so many different back-end processors, it’s just not practical to list every possible rate and fee. The company does post some rate information, but it’s only the lowest available rate and doesn’t reflect what most merchants actually pay for the majority of their transactions. This is a typical drawback of the tiered pricing system, so understand that this is just the best deal you can get per swipe.
- Swiped Card Rate: 1.59% + $0.17
- Online Card Rate: 2.39% + $0.29
- ACH/eCheck Rate: 1.6% + $0.29
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 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 back-end 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 them 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 the 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 back-end 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 also be charged monthly fees if you don’t close your account correctly. 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 approach to its website is a little funky. There’s a decent amount of information on there, but it’s not laid out in a particularly intuitive way, so expect to spend a little time hunting to find what you’re looking for. FAQs lead to some dead entries. Navigation headings such as “Who We Are” and “Who We Serve” only give you a vague sense of what you’ll find under them. Normally, I’m not too impressed with the blogs these kinds of companies provide, but Easy Pay Direct’s is worth keeping an eye on. With high-risk payment processing being as volatile a niche as it is, you may appreciate how Easy Pay Direct strives to keep its customers up to date on changes in the industry. 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. As mentioned earlier, Easy Pay Direct doesn’t disclose pricing on its site, but I’m going to cut the company some slack, given that its business model doesn’t make that easy to do.
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 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 it way ahead of most of its 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 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 AM to 5 PM (CDT), Monday through Friday. Outside of those hours, you can still access support for merchant account-related issues through your back-end processor. The company will also provide training for new customers who sign up for one of its accounts. It’s 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 most rudimentary of 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 its services, this is a good indication that it provides high-quality customer service and support.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Easy Pay Direct received BBB accreditation in 2015, but it 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 it 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 its 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 back-end processor that will be processing your transactions as well before you open an account.
- Customer Communication: A complainant claimed to have issues getting passed around to multiple parties before getting a satisfactory answer.
- Hard To Cancel: While there isn’t a cancellation fee, customers have reported having difficulty getting out of their contract.
- Opaque Rates: Tiered pricing can be tough to understand for some customers.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Easy Pay Direct now has a full Testimonials page on its website, featuring 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 discernible way. All in all, customers seem to be quite happy with the service they’ve received from the company.
- Excellent Customer Service: While complaints do exist, many customers seem pleased with the customer care they received.
- Easy Application Process: Merchant accounts applications can sometimes be arduous, but Easy Pay Direct seems to do a lot to make them easier.
- Load Balancing: Overall, load balancing seems to be a big hit with Easy Pay Direct’s customers.
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. The 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 EPD Gateway’s features 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 it provides — 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 the company 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 Easy Pay Direct 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!
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