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Gravity Payments Review

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Gravity Payments Review

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Date Established
2004
Location
Seattle, WA

Overview:

Gravity Payments made a splash in national news in 2015 when the company announced that they would raise the “minimum wage” in the company to $70K per year, well above the industry average for entry-level positions. But what does all the buzz mean for business owners? Does all that revenue sharing come from the pockets of overcharged merchants? Or does their generous, fair behavior translate to great service for its customers? That’s what we’re looking to find out in this review.

Here’s what we know over one year and a lawsuit later: Gravity Payments is still going strong. According to this page, employee satisfaction is up and so is client retention. We’re still not sure what this means for prices at Gravity, but if you know something, let us know!

Based in Seattle, Washington, Gravity Payments was founded in 2004. They have a fairly small clientele with 10,000 current customers. This tells me that Gravity is focused, and more interested in honing their services than rapid national expansion. Along these lines, this company does not rely on a huge independent sales force the way many merchant services companies do. Large independent sales can often lead to a lack of consistency in the service along with unethical behavior or poorly trained sales reps. So I really like that they don’t rely on outside sales reps or independent contractors.

All of the Gravity Payments sales reps are W-2’d employees, and well-paid ones at that. Because of that, their sales process will be much more transparent and enjoyable than the industry average. While many merchant services sales reps will tell you that they have to “do what it takes” to close a deal in order to ensure they are paid a fair amount, Gravity has – in theory – eliminated the incentive for that by keeping its salespeople close, well-supervised, and taken care of.

Aside from payment processing, Gravity’s biggest proprietary draw is it’s reporting and analytics software, Gravity Analytics. I love to see this sort of built-in software, and I really believe that quality analytics is going to be an incredibly important asset in the merchant services industry’s future. The kind of features Gravity offers is reminiscent of Swipely and Square, both of which I consider at the forefront of affordable yet uniquely valuable merchant services.

Beyond the analytics, Gravity will help you choose a POS. (They claim that they are “POS agnostic,” meaning that they don’t care which system you use as long as it’s the best one for you.) They can also get you set up with a gift card/loyalty program (again, via a partner), as well as PCI compliance services and working capital.

Overall, I like the look of this company. Gravity Payments has an excellent track record, clean reputation, and sensible advertising. They don’t disclose any pricing information at all, and they don’t explain much about payment processing on their site (which is not ideal), but based on everything I’ve heard and experienced their pricing seems fair. Although maybe not the cheapest around, they’re definitely worth your consideration in terms of overall value, service quality, and trustworthiness.

See the full review below for more information or some of our other top rated processors.

Products & Services:

  • Payment processing: Gravity appears to use First Data and Cynergy Data for processing on the backend. This gives them good compatibility and versatility.
  • Reporting and analytics: Aside from the payment processing itself, this is the key feature for Gravity Payments. This includes marketing, social media management, loyalty, customer management, various sales reports, and more all displayed very nicely via the online software. You can track new vs. repeat customers, marketing payoffs, and other actionable information. Check out a demo here.
  • POS systems: You won’t find any particular hardware or software advertised. Make sure to do your own research for reviews based on Gravity’s recommendations.
  • Gift card/loyalty programs: Again, this will come through a third-party.
  • PCI compliance services: Some businesses need help with PCI compliance, others don’t. If you don’t need the service, don’t pay for it.
  • Working capital: This is a cash advance program which provides a loan against a percentage of your projected revenue. These things can be good or bad, so always be sure to talk it over with a financial advisor before committing.

Fees & Rates:

Unfortunately absolutely no rates or fees are disclosed regarding any services provided by Gravity Payments. This means that everything is negotiable and variable, which can be good news. I would encourage you to compare a Gravity quote to at least one other provider, though, to make sure you are getting a fair deal in terms of overall value. I would also encourage you to insist on interchange-plus pricing, no early termination fee, and no monthly minimum.

The good news is that I have heard virtually no complaints about the rates charged by Gravity. At this point I have every reason to believe that they are setting up fairly priced accounts.

Contract Length & Early Termination Fee:

While Gravity Payments doesn’t make any specific claims about early termination fees, there is not a single complaint about this on the web. This likely means that they are sure to disclose the fee when it is present, and that in many cases no early termination fee is included in the contract.

Since they don’t make any standardized claims, you will have to check your own contract to make sure.

Sales & Advertising Transparency:

There’s not much to say in this category because very little is said in Gravity’s public marketing. Even so, I’m actually glad to see that they don’t make any major promises and don’t use any sales gimmicks. The truth is that the pricing on merchant services is highly variable and negotiable based on your sales volume and needs. So while I’d like to see a little bit more in terms of public information regarding how pricing works generally at least, there isn’t exactly a lack of transparency as it stands today.

The fact that sales are handled in-house, instead of via a loose network of independent agents, also helps Gravity’s cause in this department. A more centralized sales force almost always performs with greater consistency and quality on the whole.

Customer Service & Technical Support:

Do you have experience with Gravity Payments customer service? Please leave us a comment with your thoughts in the comments section below. We weren’t able to find many user experiences regarding customer support, so any insight would be appreciated!

Negative Reviews & Complaints:

Gravity Payments has a really clean reputation on the web. They only have two complaints in the past three years at the BBB, alongside an A+ rating. We weren’t able to turn up many other complaints elsewhere, either. All of the complaints listed at the BBB had lengthy responses from Gravity. The company really does seem to want to make things right when an issue comes up.

The one noteworthy complaint that came up a couple of times is difficulty cancelling the service. Like almost all merchant accounts, you will have to send in a signed request for cancellation with 30 days notice. You will also have to cancel your gateway account separately if you wish to close that account as well.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials:

You’ll find a page dedicated to user comments and positive press here. The BBB also has one positive review as well. We’ll have to wait for more user experiences to be published independently before we can say anything for sure.

Personally, I really like the look of their Gravity Analytics software. That would be a selling point for me.

Final Verdict:

All in all, Gravity Payments is a high-quality provider for merchant services. They aren’t flashy, but they are very practical. I like that they aren’t trying to force feed you anything, and help you to examine your POS options as unbiasedly as possible. (Still, be sure to check out our reviews before committing to anything.) Their analytics software adds some serious value to the service, if fully utilized.

Gravity seems more interested in brick-and-mortar businesses than e-commerce (for e-commerce, check out CDGcommerce). I like to see specialization, so this isn’t a problem. I don’t think they will serve very low volume startups as well as other options might in terms of overall cost, but for a growing storefront – you should seriously consider this service. (Have a very low sales volume? Check out our suggestions.)

I would have liked to see a little bit more information on general pricing considerations publicly marketed, but the lack of this is not a dealbreaker. Just be sure to make some comparisons and ask about interchange-plus pricing. Having no monthly minimum or early termination fee would be a plus too, so ask about that as well.

So give Gravity Payments a shot. It looks to me like they are moving in the right direction and that they act ethically in terms of how they treat both employees and business owners alike. I’ll be keeping an eye on them in the coming months!

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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7 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.

    Noreen

    Our small Mom & Pop photography biz on the beautiful beaches of Lower Alabama has been using Gravity for nearly 2 years now. I’m totally pleased with their fantastic customer service and the great way they customized our processing. We “shoot” tourists (our company motto) so I key in all transactions, as we work with customers we only see on the beach. My husband tells the millions of telemarketers who call us about changing processors to go to work at Gravity because they’re not being paid enough, lol! Haven’t had a single problem yet. Gravity works great and costs us so much less than what we’ve paid in the past. It feels good to be working with a company whose CEO is a such a great leader!

    5
      Liz Norton

      The software is very easy to use, it just takes time to learn it like any other thing in life, but I would recommend it to any business. Charlie C has amazing customer service and has exceed all my expectations! He has put up with me while maintaining professionalism at all times.

      5

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

        Allison Foil

        March and April are busy months for my company so I didn’t even notice until late April that the credit card payments from my customers were not getting deposited into my bank account. I called in and talked to “Luke” who said their had been a freeze on my account since February because One of my customers was charged 6 times for the same service and I had to have them credit her card for these charges. I have no idea how this happened in the first place because I had 1 confirmation # on that transaction. Long story short, they owe me $9096.00 total for 22 payments. Luke said the money would be in my account by Wednesday. It is now Friday and I called in to check the status of this issue. GUESS WHAT! The phone number is out of service!

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

          David

          Any update on this? I’m looking, but may stick to Square after all.

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

            Allison Foil

            It’s been a complete nightmare. They said that some cards were denied after they went into “limbo”. And I remind you that this initial issue was their fault in the first place so why put my account on hold. .without telling me. Now I have a client that I charge $1000 for services, and she has an additional charge on her account for $615.00. They still have not compensated her for that. I am turning this over to my attorney.

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

              Gravity Payments

              We sincerely apologize for any delay in business Allison may have experienced during this time. We’ve taken steps with her and her accountant in order to resolve this issue. Those steps have included:

              1. Fixing the issue
              2. Putting fail-safes in place to make sure this issue won’t happen again
              3. Setting her up with a system better suited to her business and providing her with technology at our expense

              We feel both parties have come to a happy resolution, but if she should find this to be unacceptable, we’ve provided her with the supervisor of our Support department’s direct line.

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

                Paul Shepherd

                I’ve cycled through lots of merchant service providers over the last 20 years of retail, and have been very pleased with Gravity. I’m sticking with them. Good service, and they reduced my rates quite a bit.

                5

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

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