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Forte Payment Systems Review

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Date Established
1998
Location
Allen, Texas

Overview:

You may have heard the term “omnichannel payments” thrown around lately, and maybe you’re wondering if it’s a solution you need or just a marketing buzzword to get you to sign up for more services. Well – I guess it’s a little of both, and Forte Payments is a prime example of omnichannel payment processing in action. Formerly known as ACH Direct, established in 1998, this company rebranded itself as Forte Payment Systems – stylized as { forte } in 2013 as part of a new marketing direction and service offering. At one point they also did business as Federal Payments, but I’m not sure where that fits in the timeline. All of the following web addresses are currently linked to the main Forte site:

  • PaymentsGateway.net
  • ACHdirect.com
  • FederalPayments.com

Forte uses the term “omnichannel” to describe their multi-faceted approach to providing payments. All of their users get access to a payment gateway, shopping cart, virtual terminal, and mobile processing app, allowing merchants to accept payments on the go, in person and online at with no additional fees.

Aside from card payments, users can also accept e-check payments (ACH) via every channel, even mobile. (I particularly like being able to accept ACH payments in a mobile app, so big kudos for this.) Along with this, Forte provides tools for verifying ACH accounts and resubmitting bounced transactions to collect on payments that don’t go through, making ACH payment safer for merchants. They also offer a bill presentment service where customers can pay online, via mobile, or through an IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition) system. This comes at an extra cost but could be worthwhile especially due to ease of integration.

Overall, I’m not crazy about user interface offered by Forte (which comes through the paymentsgateway.net domain). Furthermore, developer-friendly services like this (a la Stripe, Braintree, Balanced) tend to thrive based on the community of developers that use them. Forte doesn’t have a very active community at the moment, which is somewhat worrisome to me. I haven’t been able to get in touch with developers using Forte yet. If you have developer-end experience with Forte, let us know!

Forte has two things I don’t care for: an application fee ($75) and an early termination fee ($99). The $99 early termination fee isn’t terrible, especially with just a one-year term, but I’d much prefer no early termination fee at all. Their pricing is fair enough, though not the standard interchange-plus we prefer to see across the board.

Forte really does shine in at least one sense, however: quantity of offerings, of true value-added services that add value but not expense. Forte’s forte is its “omnichannel” payments experience, allowing merchants to accept and collect payments reliably and securely through basically any avenue you could want. If you are going to utilize these offerings, I think Forte could be well worth it. Their pricing is fair and their products have good potential.

This has earned Forte Payment Systems a solid 4 stars for this initial review. I’ll look forward to revisiting them soon to see how the Forte brand shapes up! See more information below, check out our top rated merchants, and please comment with your insights!

Products & Services:

For some services, Forte provides a ton of useful public information. But for others – it seems like things are still under construction. To get the most up to date and accurate information, it’s always important to ask a representative from the company. Here are the essential details about Forte’s payment offerings:

  • Credit card/ACH processing: Forte is not a direct processor, and uses a few different processing companies depending on the merchant’s needs.
  • Payment gateway: Called PaymentsGateway.Net, this is the keystone for Forte Payments. It includes access to a virtual terminal for accepting payments from any internet-connected computer, plus recurring billing capabilities. You can get a gateway-only account, but it will cost you $50 per month plus a per transaction fee. It will generally make more sense to use Forte’s payment processing instead.
  • Mobile payments: Forte’s payment app (named Forte Mobile Payments) has some nice features, but isn’t too fancy. My favorite thing about it is its ability to process e-checks. You can run a transaction using your customer’s routing and account numbers, no scanning required. If you use their “Merchant+” plan, e-checks process for just $0.25. You also have the option of charging a convenience fee, either as a percentage or a fixed amount. No free card reader here, though. You’ll have to buy an iDynamo reader for $99 to swipe transactions(or check out our suggestions).
  • Shopping cart: Forte offers Checkout at no additional charge, including support for integration using their API.
  • Check verification: This validates the bank account information at the point of capture, and costs $0.25 per transaction.
  • NSF check recovery: Included at no extra charge, this service will reattempt to collect on ACH transactions returned due to non-sufficient funds. After the transaction bounces the first time, it will be processed again twice more in the following weeks.
  • Bill presentment: Branded as BillPayIt, this billing system allows customers to pay via mobile, online, or through hosted IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition).

Other Features:

  • Online reporting
  • Payment tokenization
  • Identity Verification

Fees & Rates:

There are good things about the Forte pricing model, but also some not-so-good things. First and foremost, I don’t like that they charge an Application Fee of $75. On one level I totally get this – processing an application costs them money (with no guarantees of profit), so they are trying to minimize their risk here. But on the other hand, most providers don’t charge application fees these days, so it’s kind of hard to stomach a $75 fee in this case. Forte Payments offers two different plans:

Standard (tiered pricing)

  • $24.95 monthly fee
  • Gateway included
  • Card: 2.75% (3.50% for American Express) + $0.25
  • eCheck processing at $0.25 per transaction

Select+ (interchange-plus)

  • Cost-plus pricing
  • Gateway included
  • Fees and rates vary

Other fees
I’ve seen a few complaints about what appears to be a standard 10% cash reserve withheld by Forte at all times, releasing these funds after 90 days.

  • PCI compliance fee – $7.99 monthly
  • PCI non-compliance fee – $29.99 monthly

You can avoid the non-compliance fee by completing the self-assessment questionnaire and following all of the necessary PCI compliance guidelines outlined there.

Contract Length & Early Termination Fee:

To quote the site:

We do charge a $99 early termination fee, but you’ll probably never see this since there’s never any reason to leave!

Cute… but not exactly what I’m looking for. So the early termination fee is $99, and the contract term is just one year. While no early termination fee is ideal, I think that this is fairly reasonable for most merchants, and much better than the industry standard. You can try to get it waived, but this will depend on your sales rep and your business.

Sales & Advertising Transparency:

Overall I really like the contemporary look and trustworthy feel of Forte’s website and marketing. It’s laid back and not at all pushy, inviting you to learn more but not trying to coerce you in any way. I do have one gripe, though. While basically all of the important information is accessible, some of it is tucked away in an FAQ listed below the upfront pricing info. It’s in this FAQ section that they bring up the application fee, early termination fee, and tiered pricing surcharges. But on the bright side at least they do bring these considerations up in a relatively accessible way. Also when you speak with a sales rep, they will go over all of this information with you.

Some of the marketing is mildly deceptive and not very useful. For instance, their comparison chart featuring PayAnywhere, Intuit Payments, PayPal and Square versus Forte leaves out important pricing information such as surcharges, monthly fees, and other pricing options. Also Forte uses its qualified swiped and keyed rates in this chart when in reality its flat rate 2.9% + $0.25 would make more sense when compared to pay-as-you-go mobile processors like Square. The PCI compliance and non-compliance fees ($8 and $30 per month, respectively) are not disclosed at all in the public marketing. I’d like to see these fees mentioned at least in the FAQ. I do like the fact that the PCI fee is prorated monthly though.

Customer Service & Technical Support:

Based on the lack of complaints around the web, I believe that Forte Payment Systems is doing a good job of keeping customers happy and addressing complaints and issues effectively. The only way to keep a good reputation these days is to nip complaints in the bud as soon as the customer expresses dissatisfaction.

Forte offers live customer service by phone, email, or chat. I tested all three and was met with useful, fairly speedy answers on all counts. We are not able to test out customer service for complex account specific issues, so I’d love to hear from you if you’ve dealt with Forte’s customer service in-depth! Just leave us a comment. You can also find Forte via social media. They have a very active Twitter account, which can serve as a great quick point of public contact.

Negative Reviews & Complaints:

Forte Payment Systems has 6 complaints at the Better Business Bureau in the last three years, with only two of those complaints occurring in the last year. I consider this a very clean track record for a business of this size. You can find a few other complaints around the web under the Forte’s former ACH Direct brand name, but nothing serious. Overall I liked that a company representative is always on the scene with a fairly kind and reasonable response to complaints. The company is not ignoring negative reviews, and I consider that a very good sign in terms of overall customer satisfaction.

The complaints themselves cited billing issues and withheld funds.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials:

While I couldn’t find any positive reviews or testimonials for Forte Payment Systems, their website does advertise a few of Forte’s more prominent clients, including LA Fitness, Virgin, Geico, Progressive, Verizon Wireless, and NEC. Of course, most of these merchants probably began processing with this company before it was called Forte. In fact, the recent name change, new marketing approach, and rebranding make locating accurate and up to date reviews somewhat difficult. If you have used Forte either in their current incarnation or when they were called ACH Direct, or even as Federal Payments, please leave us a comment with your review or your impressions. Our readers help us to keep these reviews as complete and as accurate as possible!

Final Verdict:

Forte Payment Systems provides an above-average processing experience with reasonable costs. I’m not crazy about their $75 application fee or the $99 early termination fee (1-year term), but I’m not altogether horrified by these fees either. If you’re serious about bringing your business to Forte, you may be able to negotiate these fees away. And while the idea of tiered pricing makes me a little uneasy, Forte’s rates aren’t outrageous. Depending on your volume, you may qualify for their interchange-plus pricing (Enterprise).

The rates from Forte are fine, but the real draw for this company is its service offerings. Forte gives a true omnichannel experience for sales via mobile, online store, and in-store. These services come at no additional cost (aside from hardware). Bill presentment is another nice feature, with payment options via online, mobile and the IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition) system. I’m also a fan of Forte’s e-check (ACH) acceptance features, including account verification and NSF check recovery. The fact that you can accept ACH payments within the mobile app is a nice bonus. I’m eager to hear from developers who have used Forte’s documentation and gone through the integration process. Right now, it seems like other developer-friendly options (like Stripe and Braintree) have more intensive support, but I’m certainly not writing off Forte just yet.

This company has some very unique offerings and I’m excited to see how things shape up over the next year. With a strong initial rating of 4 stars, I’m comfortable telling you to go check them out or find a processor that better meets your needs! Let us know how it goes. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to comment with your insights.

Tom DeSimone
Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Tom has written for Merchant Maverick since 2013 and currently serves as the website’s managing editor for payment processing content. His work is cited by publications including TechCrunch, Washington Business Journal, and Bank Advisor. Press seeking expert comments for stories related to credit card processing can reach him via LinkedIn for a prompt reply.
Tom DeSimone
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26 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Dave G

    Organization Name: Loop Condo Management, LLC.

    While Forte works fine in collecting ACH rents from tenants, the slow turnaround has become one of the most stressful aspects on managing rental property. Rents paid on the 1st are still not in my account on the 4th. If I get them by the 5th, I can pay my clients (the owners) who won’t receive their rent until the 6th. This makes my collecting rent a slowdown in their getting paid and diminishes my value as a business. I owe this to Forte. If I had other options through my Property Management software, I’d exercise them by leaving Forte for a company who has a turnaround that adds value to my services for my clients. My other option is to leave six figures of cash to lay dormant in my client account to cover the gap in when the rent hits my account from Forte and when I can pay my clients. Neither of these scenarios are helpful.

    2
    • Organization Name: Loop Condo Management, LLC.
    Michael

    Organization Name: ExecuServices

    Charge fake “PCI compliance” fees to upcharge customers for payment gateway integrations Use Zoho Books to bill clients. Forte has a payment gateway through them. Average pricing, not awful. BUT they hit me with a PCI compliance failure fee, for $30 per month. When I reached out to them to see what that was about, and to let them know that I provide PCI compliance for MY customers, and that I only accept payment through Zoho, so only Zoho needs to be PCI compliant, they passed the buck to Zoho, and said they need to provide PCI compliance!!! Which is ridiculous, obviously they are PCI compliant, but I verified with them anyway. Of course they were. Forte just gives me a run around with people who do not even know what PCI compliance is, much less how you would comply with it, or who actually needs to comply, there isnt even anything I could do to prove that I was compliant through Zoho other than the fact that Zoho is compliant. It is clear that this company just hits everyone with whatever fees that they can get away with.

    1
    • Organization Name: ExecuServices
    Brittney Petties

    Organization Name: Forte Payment Systems

    Hi Michael,
    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your concerns. My name is Brittney Petties, I am the Sr, Director of Support Services at Forte. I apologize that you had a challenging experience with Forte, and were not provided the insight you needed relate to PCI. I am interested in learning more about your experience, so that we ca better understand your situation and look into available options to assist you. Please feel free to contact me directly at 866-290-5400 ext 729, email Brittney.Petties@forte.net, or our Support Manager, Jennifer Frazier, at ext 780, email Jennifer.Frazier@forte.net. We look forward to speaking with you and working together to resolve any concerns that you may have.

    Sincerely,
    Brittney Petties
    Sr. Director, Support Services

    • Organization Name: Forte Payment Systems
    Jesse Dunbar

    Communication is very poor with this company. Don’t use this merchant if you need quick turnaround on your money via ACH transfer. I run a small business that is trying to replace credit cards with ACH to save some money. I signed up with Forte and after signing up and reading more about what I signed up for, I realized that the deposit timing for ACH was 4 days. After finding this out, I was ready to cancel our service as this doesn’t work for me. When I called to cancel, I was told that I could apply for “Faster Funding” to get to next day deposits. The customer service agent didn’t explain any of the particulars and made it seem as if getting the next day funding was as easy as waiting a bit of time. It ended up taking me several months to have the time to fill out the application and prepare all of the documentation that was required for the application. I sent the application in on 11/28. On 11/29, I received an email back asking me for the application that I already had sent the day before. Within 2 minutes, I sent the same application that had already been sent and began to wait. I then had to wait over 13 days for any sort of communication on the process. I checked in via email directly to the person that emailed me on 11/30 with no response. I didn’t hear anything by Wednesday 12/6 afternoon so I emailed both the customer service email and the person that emailed me and didn’t get a response. I emailed again on Thursday both parties. No response. I emailed again on Friday 12/7 with no response. On Friday afternoon, after still not getting a response I called their customer service line. I was told that the person that made the decision wasn’t around and that they would take my info and call me as soon as they had an answer. I didn’t get a call back. I didn’t get any communication on Monday 12/10 so I decided to call on Tuesday 12/11. I talked to a customer service agent that was finally able to get in contact with someone in this department who told me that this request was approved. Please note, I applied for “next day” funding. When I was told that this request was approved, I was not told of any exceptions in my application or approval. I was only told that it was “approved”. Based on that information, I started to roll out ACH to my 200+ customers which was my mistake. I should have asked more questions… Later on Tuesday, I received a notice that my customer service ticket was closed. On Wednesday 12/12, in the morning, I received an email from Forte stating that my hold days had been reduced to 3 days from 4 which is not at all what I had applied for. I called on Wednesday 12/12 to ask what I needed to do to get approval for next day ACH. Again, the agent put me on hold, attempted to contact the correct department. After a few minutes, she came back and told me that they were again not available and that they would take my information and call me back. I was never called back. On Thursday 12/13, I called back again and asked again, what would it take for me to get approval for next day processing. The agent put me on hold and was gone for a while. When they came back they told me that we were not approved for any more than 3 day processing because we don’t have enough in our bank account to cover this type of transaction. In a bit of condescending tone telling me that they were being nice by giving us 3 days instead of just denying the request. When I asked the agent on the phone how much I would need to have in my account to cover this she responded with “She didn’t give me details.”I am very frustrated with the overall lack of communication from this company. From the complete lack of follow up from call center agents to both the main customer service email and the specific person’s email not being responded to for 13 days. Along with the lack of explanation that my application was approved with conditions. It’s clear this company doesn’t value clear communication or customer service. If you are looking for a true partner in your processing needs, you might want to look elsewhere.

    1
      Jennifer Frazier

      Organization Name: Forte

      Jesse, Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns with us. We do strive to provide excellent customer service. I have researched your unique situation and it looks like we fell short on this. I do apologize for your experience and that you were not responded to in a timely manner. If you are open to speaking more about your experience, please feel free to contact me at 866-290-5400, Option 1 or by sending an email to customerservice@forte.net. My team will ensure that your call and/or email is forwarded to me directly. I look forward to hearing from you.

      Sincerely,
      Jennifer Frazier
      Manager, Customer Support

      • Organization Name: Forte
      Elizabeth Finan

      Organization Name: Lakeview Property Rentals

      On 9/4/18 we had 65,000 pending payments which were rents paid into Buildium and processed by Forte. The transaction is correct on the Buildium side but Forte only funded $4100 of the money and have shorted us $61,000. Buildium won’t help me and I can not reach anybody at Forte. This is horrifying.

      1
      • Organization Name: Lakeview Property Rentals
      Jennifer Frazier

      Organization Name: Forte

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about your experience. After researching your account, it looks like your issue was resolved with Buildium. However, I would love to speak with you to gain a better understanding of your particular experience with Forte so that we can address any outstanding issues and improve the level of service that we provide.
      Please feel free to contact me at 866-290-5400, Option 1 or by sending an email to customerservice@forte.net. My team will ensure that your call and/or email is forwarded to me directly. I look forward to hearing from you.

      Sincerely,
      Jennifer Frazier
      Manager, Customer Support

      • Organization Name: Forte
      Thomas starks

      Organization Name: Starks Produce

      This business is awful. I’ve received incorrect information from them three times in relation to a funding hold. Don’t do business with these clowns. They can’t send and receive secure information with their sister company and it creates weeks long delays in receiving your funds. They’re just clowns.

      1
      • Organization Name: Starks Produce
      Jennifer Frazier

      Organization Name: Forte

      Hi Thomas,
      Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. We do strive to provide superior customer service. I have researched your unique situation and it looks like we fell short on this. I do apologize for your experience. If you are open to speaking more about your experience, please feel free to contact me at 866-290-5400, Option 1 or by sending an email to customerservice@forte.net. My team will ensure that your call and/or email is forwarded to me directly. I look forward to hearing from you.

      Sincerely,
      Jennifer Frazier
      Manager, Customer Support

      • Organization Name: Forte
      DS

      We have been using PaySimple as our processor for about 8 years now, and processing ACH with them for about 5-6 yrs, and out of the blue they froze our ACH account. Upon contacting PaySimple, they passed the buck to Forte, which said our business was “high risk” and we were in violation of NACHA rules or something like that. I inquired as to specifically what rule, and why, to which they replied “high risk” and they chose to close it, and hold the money. When PaySimple went to bat for us and explained that our account was in great standing and has been for 8 years, we have an A+ rating at BBB for 16 years, but no, Forte just arbitrarily decided to shoot our business for no reason. Avoid this processor at all costs unless you want to open up your business to the whims of company that could care less about you and your business. Chose wisely people.

      1
        Jennifer Frazier

        Organization Name: Forte

        Hi DS,
        Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback regarding your experience with our company. I apologize that we were not able to continue our business relationship.
        Your situation sounds pretty unique. If you are open to discussing the specifics of your situation, I would love to speak with you to gain a better understanding of your particular experience so that we can address any outstanding issues and improve the level of service that we provide.
        Please feel free to contact me at 866-290-5400, Option 1 or by sending an email to customerservice@forte.net. My team will ensure that your call and/or email is forwarded to me directly. I look forward to hearing from you.

        Sincerely,
        Jennifer Frazier
        Manager, Customer Support

        • Organization Name: Forte
        Marcella Gonzalez

        Organization Name: Marcella Gonzalez

        Horrible Company,They did a credit check, authorized me to use them and then came back with a long list of items after the fact. They should not allow us to use the system until we are fully authorized. They asked for these items days after and are holding on to my money. They are requesting a copy of the leases for every client now. I have a feeling they are in financial trouble and this is why they are using these tactics. I already complaint to the property management company Buildium about this. Note: long delay when I am asking for their written policies and the agreement i agreed to when I signed up! Love Buildium, but this will not do.

        1
        • Organization Name: Marcella Gonzalez
        Jennifer Frazier

        Organization Name: Forte

        Hi Marcella,
        Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback regarding your interaction with our team. I do apologize that we did not meet your expectations.
        In an effort to make sure our merchants are in compliance with NACHA rules and regulations, our Risk team does perform random checks of our merchants to make sure that they have the proper authorization for their customers.
        We do strive to provide superior customer service and if that was not your experience, then I would love to hear from you so that we can take corrective action to make it right.
        Please feel free to contact me at 866-290-5400, Option 1 or by sending an email to customerservice@forte.net. My team will ensure that your call and/or email is forwarded to me directly. I look forward to hearing from you.

        Sincerely,
        Jennifer Frazier
        Manager, Customer Support

        • Organization Name: Forte
        Nik P

        I wish I can give any negative star for this company. I have started the service in end of April, 2018. They charge Monthly 24.95 and ask you to get PCI compliance fee $7.99 (Which never tell you when you start service). I have start processing payment on May 2nd. I have client who authorize payment on phone that is purpose of doing web Payment. Risk Analysis team ask me for recording phone call with customer if I have authorize to take payment. I said I don’t have recording and wait for my money to deposit into my account. No response for that email chain. I did ACH processing after few days, they ask me if I have written authorization from my client which I provided them. Then Risk Analysis team ask me Invoices for my clients who give me authorization to understand what kind of business I am doing. This has to been done before you approving my account. I have contacted Risk Analysis manager they said if I don’t wish to provide invoice they have no other choice than closing my account. I am ok to close my account as I have many customers and if they ask me for detail for my customer, I have no other business work to just get them for all invoice. I got the account closing notice in few minutes as soon as I hang up call. When I ask to return money either to client account or deposit to my account. they want me to wait for 90 days. Please please stay away from this company if you wish to save your time.

        1
          Jennifer Frazier

          Organization Name: Forte

          Hi Nik,
          Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. I do apologize for the frustration you experienced while working with our team.
          In an effort to make sure our merchants are in compliance with NACHA rules and regulations, our Risk team does perform random checks of our merchants to make sure that they have the proper authorization for their customers.
          Again, I apologize that we were not able to continue our business relationship, but if you are open to discussing your unique situation, I would love to speak with you about it.
          Please feel free to contact me at 866-290-5400, Option 1 or by sending an email to customerservice@forte.net. My team will ensure that your call and/or email is forwarded to me directly. I look forward to hearing from you.

          Sincerely,
          Jennifer Frazier
          Manager, Customer Support

          • Organization Name: Forte
          dan

          Forte has been very difficult doing business with. They were the underwriter for Pay Simple and it took me over 1 month just to get approved for their ACH service. It wasn’t my plan to go through them but since Pay Simple uses them I had no other options besides manually taking payment transactions and getting a 3% hit per each credit card. Other companies that I’ve used such as Stripe, Square, Mind body were painless, effortless and took no more than 1-3 business days to get approved. With these guys, it was like they were playing games with me in a sadistic way and I had to prove that I was worthy enough just to do business with them. First, they ask for my home address, then a week later, they ask for a blank check, then another week later, they ask for my driver’s license, and finally they asked me why my DL was going to be expired in a few month. Well, hello! You should be able to figure that out. DL do expire. Why couldn’t they just ask for these info in one go? Because of them, I couldn’t process any transactions for more than a month and had to give my clients 10% off their payments which costed me more than a few hundred dollars. These guys seem very unprofessional.

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

            Brittney Petties

            Dan,Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns. I apologize for any inconvenience that our underwriting process may have caused you. Generally, our underwriting turnaround time is within a 24-72 hour window. While I am unsure of the specifics of your unique situation I would be happy to speak to you about it, so that I can better understand what took place and take the necessary steps to make it right. Our goal is to provide our customers the highest level of service in the most time efficient manner. Again, I apologize that this was not your experience, and hope that you will allow me the opportunity to address your concerns and improve your experience with us. Please feel free to contact me at 866-290-5400, Option 1 or by sending an email to customerservice@forte.net. My team will ensure that your call and/or email is forwarded to me directly. I look forward to speaking to you soon.Thanks,Brittney PettiesDirector, Customer Support

            5

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

              Brady Friedrich

              This company will take your money and hold it hostage. I would not recommend doing business under any circumstance!Our accounting service, (Xero) uses Forte to process all of their direct deposits for payroll. TO begin, it is a 7-day approval process. After we received the message indicating we were approved, We ran our first payroll to the employees. Three days later, we heard from a representative at Xero informing us that our direct deposits have been placed on hold pending review by Forte (after they have already taken the money from our account).It has now been another 7 days and they still have our money and refuse to pay the employees until we provide them with the trade secrets of our business. They insist that to ensure the business is not breaking any of their regulations, they must know who all of our suppliers are.I’ve attempted to call our case manager 5 times. I’ve left three voicemails. I’ve emailed three times. Do you want to guess how many times she has answered her phone or returned a phone call or email? Not once.

              1

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                Brittney Petties

                Hi Brady,
                I received a notification regarding your concerns related to your account. After researching your account, I found that this matter has been addressed today by our Credit and Risk manager. While I am not aware of all the details related to your account, I do want to apologize for the experience you have encountered related to our underwriting criteria, the related process and follow up delays.

                It is our goal to minimize the steps that our merchants have to take during the enrollment process, but there are occasions that an issue arises that requires us to place an account on hold until we can work with the merchant to resolve them. I am happy that we were able to work through those issues with you today, and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that this may have caused you.

                Please note that we are also taking steps to address any delays in response times, so that we can ensure that our customers are receiving the appropriate level of attention when they need to reach us. Thank you for taking the time to reach out regarding your concerns, we do appreciate your business and value you as a customer.

                Thanks,

                Brittney Petties
                Director, Customer Support

                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                  Mark

                  I have to work with these guys as they are the processor for a system I use. I’ve experienced the worst customer service, over and over. They are dummies over there at Forte Funding. They constantly make mistakes, and good luck trying to get through to them, they ignore phone calls.

                  1

                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                    Brittney Petties

                    Dear Mark,

                    I recently reviewed your feedback regarding your experience, and I want to personally apologize for the poor customer service you have received. As the Director of Customer Support, your feedback is incredibly valuable to me, and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to express your concerns.

                    While we do strive to keep our tens of thousands of satisfied merchants truly satisfied, we have missed the mark here. We are taking every step possible and making every effort to improve in these areas.

                    In order for us to do so, it is important for us to gain a better understanding of your particular experience so that we can address any outstanding issues and improve the level of service that we provide.

                    Please contact me to discuss your concerns by calling Customer Service at 866-290-5400, Option 1, or by sending an email to customerservice@forte.net. My team will ensure that your call and/or email is forwarded directly to me.
                    It is our goal to provide superior service to our customers and, if this has not been your experience, it is important we take corrective action immediately. I look forward to hearing from you and improving our business relationship moving forward.

                    Thank you for your time,

                    Brittney Petties
                    Director, Customer Support

                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                      john

                      I gotta be honest…I rarely complain and, when I do, I never go out of my way to a comment board.But I will be very brief…I had to beg Forte to even respond. When they did, they never answered my questions on point. When I would follow back up as to the parts of my questions that were not answered, I got a “we answered your numerous questions.” When I asked if I could speak to a sales rep, they emailed me back that someone would call me the next day. After 3 days of waiting to be called, I contacted them again. Was told the specific name of the gentleman who would be calling me the next day. After another 3-days of no call, I went to their site and requested to be contacted by their sales department…you know what I’m going to say…again no phone call.I cant even begin to tell you on the business side if it is a good company or not…they never called me.John

                      1

                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                        Brittney Petties

                        Dear John,

                        Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback. Your experience with Forte is very important to us, and I sincerely apologize that you were not contacted in a timely manner on more than one occasion.

                        As Director of Customer Support, I would like to learn more about your interaction with our staff so that we can take the necessary steps to improve these (and any other) vital areas. We pride ourselves on our service but acknowledge when we fail to meet expectations.

                        Let’s discuss this further and get you connected to the appropriate person. Please feel free to contact me at 866-290-5400, Option 1, or by email at customerservice@forte.net. My team will forward your message directly to me.

                        We have a comprehensive suite of products and services that may fit your needs. Please allow us the opportunity to make this right. We apologize for dropping the ball, but we look forward to creating a better customer experience for you.

                        Thank you for your time,

                        Brittney Petties
                        Director, Customer Support

                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                          eric webb

                          Forte has been very difficult to work with according to our developers. Our weekly calls lament how unfriendly to developers the tool is. It’s taken months to get the integration right and the virtual terminal uploading of data is very difficult for our clients. We ended up using Stripe.com for credit card processing and had it up in a week or so. Forte is just not that easy to use or develop for. We’ve had to just treat it as a dumb-processor and have our system initiate every order and are building another interface to help clients so they don’t have to use Forte directly. For example, when a client uploads data and something is not right with it, all the system tells you is there’s an error; not any information that helps identify what’s wrong just that it won’t work. With thousands of records to upload and rows to check, it’s crazy to think they don’t have some type of tool to just help clients make the data and format right or to at least determine what is wrong.

                          1

                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                            Amanda

                            Hi Tom,
                            Thank you so much for this website. I read many of your other reviews, and they have prompted me to post my own question.
                            A brief background: I do a lot of research because I don’t want to change things down the line (unless absolutely necessary). On the other hand, once I get a good feeling about a company, I tend to be more biased against other options.
                            I’m looking to start a multivendor ecommerce with Prestashop and add-ins. Originally I was going to use paypal, but I didn’t want people to leave my site. Then I found forte because of check processing, and I liked their out-of-the-box Checkout software. Their rates were good, too.
                            Someone recently mentioned stripe as the new hot thing, and suddenly I’m back to reading about merchant accounts, and happened (fortunately!) upon this website.
                            As far as I’ve read, PCI compliance never goes away, but you can reduce your scope with different processors and carts. I looked at Helcim, and I like them, but I’m not an uber developer to make it happen. And it doesn’t make sense to buy a shopping cart unless it integrates with Prestashop, otherwise you’re paying a premium for Authorize.net.
                            So amongst my rambly post…
                            Do you have any feedback about integrating either Helcim or CDGcommerce API’s?
                            Other than the setup fee, do you think forte would be a good solution for my business?

                            Greatfully,
                            Amanda

                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                              Tom DeSimone

                              Hi Amanda,

                              I’m glad you’re doing so much research early on. Switching gateways midstream is no fun at all, nor is committing to a service only to find out the gateway isn’t compatible with the system you want to set up.

                              The fact that yours is a multi-vendor site might complicate this somewhat, but here are my thoughts about easy integration with PrestaShop:

                              The Helcim gateway supports Authorize.Net emulation, which means you can use it in most instances that Authorize.Net can be used. I haven’t heard from anyone who used it for PrestaShop specifically, but I’d imagine integration would be smooth. I’ve never heard any complaints about the API. Actually, I just looked into it and Presta has a module for the gateway Helcim uses.

                              The CDGcommerce gateway is basically the same deal. The Quantum gateway emulates Authorize.Net.

                              Another company to consider is Payline Data. They have a PrestaShop module (about $200), and use an in-house gateway that has great compatibility. A really solid company, and I know they support payment facilitator (multi-vendor/marketplace) sites.

                              I don’t see any reason why Forte wouldn’t work for you. I haven’t spoken to many merchants about their API experience, but it seems well-supported.

                              Exactly how this all works out will depend on how your marketplace-style site is constructed and what add-ons you use to make it happen. Before you commit to any gateway, you should talk to reps at Payline, Forte, and Helcim specifically about their support of multi-vendor/marketplace sites via PrestaShop.

                              Hope this helps,
                              Tom

                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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