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- Date Established
- Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Offers integrated payroll and HR services
- Contract documents disclosed on website
- Very low complaint volume relative to size
- Three-year contract with automatic renewal clause
- Liquidated damages clause
- Tiered pricing plans for most merchants
JetPay Merchant Services is a merchant services provider headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Additional offices are located in Pensacola, Florida and Addison, Texas. The company is a division of JetPay, Inc. (NASDAQ symbol: JTPY), a business services company that also offers payroll and human resources services for a wide variety of industries. While JetPay has been around for several decades, they only began offering merchant accounts in 2012. The company was acquired by NCR Corporation in October 2018.
JetPay specializes in serving ecommerce and other card-not-present businesses (such as mail order and telephone order companies). They also offer an impressive array of services for traditional retail businesses, such as cutting-edge terminals and point-of-sale (POS) systems. The company serves merchants in both the United States and Canada.
While we’re very impressed with JetPay’s lineup of products and services, we can’t say the same about their pricing or contract terms. To their credit, the company discloses their standard contracts on their website. Unfortunately, their standard Terms and Conditions include a three-year contract which automatically renews for three-year periods and a liquidated damages clause that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars if you close your account early. They also appear to offer expensive tiered pricing plans to most merchants, although interchange-plus pricing might be available – if you ask for it.
At the same time, JetPay seems to be keeping most of its customers happy, despite onerous contract terms and expensive processing rates. The company has a remarkably low complaint volume relative to its size, which is a good indication that it is satisfying the needs of the merchants who use them.
We’re awarding JetPay a mediocre 3 out of 5 stars overall, as their pricing and contract terms make them a poor choice for the small business owners who constitute a majority of our readership. However, if you’re a larger, well-established business that can negotiate an interchange-plus pricing plan and a waiver of the liquidated damages clause, this provider would probably earn closer to a 4-star rating. For larger businesses, the possibility of having your payroll, HR services, and credit card processing all handled by the same company might be very tempting. While we’ll only be covering JetPay’s merchant services in this review, we haven’t heard anything negative about the company’s other services. For small business owners looking for a more flexible and affordable option, check out our Merchant Account Providers Comparison Chart.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
JetPay provides a full range of features for both retail and online businesses, although their primary focus is ecommerce. Here’s an overview of what they offer:
- Merchant Accounts: JetPay offers traditional full-service merchant accounts, complete with a unique merchant identification number. The company is a direct processor, so they’ll process your transactions and handle all customer service issues regarding both your merchant account and any ancillary services you’ve added. You won’t have to deal with a third-party backend processor in the event of an account hold, freeze, or termination.
- Credit Card Terminals: The company advertises the Verifone Vx520, Ingenico iCT220, PAX S80, and several other models on their website. These are all modern terminals with magstripe and EMV capability, and some models also support NFC-based payment methods, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. Although JetPay provides data sheets for every model available, pricing is not disclosed. All terminals appear to be available through either direct purchase or a leasing arrangement. We highly recommend that you avoid leasing your equipment and buy it outright instead. You’ll save hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars over leasing, and you’ll be able to take your equipment with you if you later decide to switch processors.
- Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems: If you’d like to integrate business management and payment processing into a single device, JetPay can set you up with either the Mynt POS system or the Poynt POS terminal. Both systems are available in either a Pro (five or fewer registers) or Enterprise pricing plan. However, pricing information is not disclosed. Again, we recommend that you buy your equipment outright rather than agreeing to a lease. You can also expect to pay a significant monthly fee for the use of either POS system.
- Payment Gateway: For ecommerce merchants, JetPay appears to offer a proprietary payment gateway. However, they don’t provide much specific information about it on their website. Major features of their gateway include support for recurring billing, Level I PCI compliance, an automatic account updater, tokenization, and a transaction recycler feature that automatically re-submits declined transactions for up to 12 days. No pricing information is disclosed, but you can expect to pay a monthly gateway fee and possibly a one-time gateway setup fee as well.
- Virtual Terminal: Designed primarily for mail order and telephone order businesses that don’t need a fully-featured payment gateway, JetPay’s VT Solution virtual terminal software can turn your desktop or laptop computer into a credit card terminal. In addition to being able to key in card-not-present transactions manually, you’ll also be able to accept physical cards with the optional Swift B250 card reader, which connects via Bluetooth and can process magstripe, EMV, and NFC-based payment methods.
- Mobile Payments: JetPay offers two mobile processing systems: a stand-alone service called MyMobileMoney, and SwipeSimple, a third-party service that integrates with your merchant account. MyMobileMoney features flat-rate pricing and is similar to Square (see our review). You’ll need both the MyMobileMoney app (available for both iOS and Android devices) and a card reader. The card reader appears to be magstripe-only and connects via your device’s headphone jack (if you have one). Android users should check the list of compatible devices posted on JetPay’s website. SwipeSimple uses the Swift BT250 card reader described above, and processing rates will be the same as those charged under your merchant account’s pricing plan.
- eCheck (ACH) Payments: The company offers an eCheck (ACH) payments service, but the single page they devote to it on their website is long on marketing hype and short on details. You can expect some upfront and recurring costs to add this to your merchant account, especially if you need a paper check scanner.
- Cash Discount Program: JetPay also offers JetX, their “cash discount” program, and advertises it prominently on their website. Despite the marketing doublespeak, this is really just a surcharging program. Although this program is perfectly legal and includes the required notices to consumers, the JetX FAQ makes clear that merchants will advertise their cash prices, even though those discounted prices are only available to customers who skip the plastic and pay in cash. Processing costs, if any, are passed on to customers using credit or debit cards. Unless you are in an industry where surcharging is customary and your competitors are already using it, this program is likely to lead to lost sales. There’s also a monthly fee (which is not disclosed) for participating in the program which will cost you even more money. Most retail and ecommerce merchants will want to pass on this one.
- Online Reporting & Analytics: To keep track of how your business is doing, JetPay offers JetPay Insights, a reporting and analytics program that’s provided through a partnership with Womply. While this is a fairly standard feature these days, it’s probably not free. Expect to pay a small monthly fee if you want to use this service.
- Integrated Payments Platform: The company also offers the MAGIC platform, which is designed for government agencies, utilities, political organizations, and non-profits. MAGIC includes a number of communications and payment processing features and can run on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. It includes many of the features previously described, including a virtual terminal, support for recurring billing, and payment tokenization.
- Merchant Preferred Program: This optional program gives you access to a variety of discounts offered by a number of third-party vendors. You can save up to 85% on office supplies, shipping, car rentals, and more. There is an undisclosed monthly fee for this service, so you’ll want to ensure that you can offset that expense with actual savings on things your business needs before you decide to sign up.
- Business Loans: JetPay also offers business loans through a partnership with Biz2Credit.
Fees & Rates
Like many merchant account providers, JetPay does not disclose any account fees or processing rates on their website. The main reason for doing this is that these expenses are tailored to each individual merchant, and aren’t standardized. While this isn’t so great from a transparency standpoint, it does give you some room to negotiate and possibly save money overall when setting up your account. Like it or not, your negotiating power will depend a lot more on your monthly processing volume and your processing history than anything else. Being a skilled negotiator certainly helps, but businesses that are seen by a provider as being a “safe bet” and are more likely to be profitable (to the provider) have a definite advantage when it comes to negotiating. If you’re running a new startup, you’ll have little or no negotiating power with JetPay (or any other provider), and will probably have to take what you can get – at least until your business grows to a higher level.
Although JetPay doesn’t make any disclosures on its website, the company does include a link to their current Terms and Conditions. This may not seem very useful, but it’s a significant disclosure and one that very few providers offer. While the Terms and Conditions document doesn’t disclose any actual processing rates, it does reveal that JetPay primarily offers tiered pricing to most of its merchants. We dislike this type of pricing plan because it obscures the processor’s markup and almost always ends up costing more than interchange-plus pricing. Although they don’t advertise it, merchants with a solid processing history and sufficiently high monthly processing volume may be able to get interchange-plus pricing. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
If you’re stuck on a tiered pricing plan, pay particular attention to the nonqualified transaction rate that will be listed on your Merchant Application. Despite what any sales representative tries to tell you, the majority of your transactions will end up being either mid-qualified or nonqualified. Nonqualified rates can be two or even three times higher than qualified rates. The main reason so many transactions are considered nonqualified these days is because more and more consumers are signing up for rewards credit cards, and these cards are processed at a higher rate than non-rewards cards to offset the cost of the additional benefit (i.e., frequent flyer miles, cash back, etc.) conferred by using these types of cards. In other words, you (yes you, the merchant) are the one actually paying for those frequent flier miles.
If you don’t like the idea of funding that trip to Hawaii your customer is saving up for, you can consider signing up for JetPay’s JetX cash discount program. As we’ve discussed above, the term “cash discount” is a little misleading here, as you’re really surcharging your customers who choose to pay by credit or debit card. Although surcharging is legal, it’s usually a bad idea unless you’re in an industry where the practice is commonplace. The additional fee for participating in the program and the likely lost sales will make this a money-losing proposition for most merchants.
JetPay used to advertise flat rates of 2.5% for swiped transactions and 3.5% for keyed-in transactions for users of their MyMobileMoney mobile processing system. These rates are no longer disclosed on the company’s website, so you’ll want to ask a sales representative for updated information about their flat-rate pricing if you’re thinking about signing up for this service.
Although JetPay provides copies of their contract documents on their website, you won’t find any disclosures of specific account fees. These fees are listed on Schedule A of their contract, but this is merely a blank form that lists every possible fee you might be charged. Fees will vary widely from one merchant to the next, but you can expect to pay a monthly account fee at an absolute minimum. You’ll probably also have a monthly minimum, although the amount will be set by the sales representative who sets up your account. Be sure to review the filled-in Schedule A of your contract before you sign up for an account, as it lists all your account fees, including both recurring and incidental fees, in one convenient document.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
While we’re pleased that JetPay discloses its contract terms on its website, we’re not so happy with the terms themselves. Their standard contract imposes an initial term of three years, with an automatic renewal clause that renews the contract for additional three-year periods after that. Here’s the full provision:
7.1 Term. This Agreement shall begin on the Effective Date and shall remain in full force and effect for an initial term of three (3) years (“Initial Term”). This Agreement shall be automatically extended for successive three (3) year periods (each a “Renewal Term”) unless Merchant gives written notice of termination of this Agreement to Processor at least ninety (90) days prior to the expiration of the then-current Term, in which case this Agreement will terminate at the end of the then-current Term.
There’s also an early termination fee (ETF) that will cost you at least $550 if you close your account early. To make matters worse, the ETF is imposed in the form of a liquidated damages clause, as shown here:
7.3 Liquidated Damages. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, if this Agreement is terminated prior to the end of the then-current Term, the Liquidated Damage Amount shall be immediately due and payable by Merchant to Processor. The “Liquidated Damage Amount” is an amount equal to: (a) the average monthly Profit received and calculated by Processor in connection with Merchant’s account, as measured over the six month period immediately preceding such termination (or, as measured over the six month period prior to Merchant’s ceasing to use the Services or breach of this Agreement, if applicable), multiplied by (b) the number of months remaining in the then-current Term. “Profit” shall mean the sum of all amounts billed to Merchant, less interchange, dues and assessments from the Networks, and Third Party Fees. The payment of such Liquidated Damage Amount as described in this Section is not a penalty, but rather is agreed by the parties to be a reasonable amount of liquidated damages to compensate Processor for its termination expenses and damages under the circumstances when such amount would be payable. Such amounts shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other damages to which Processor may be entitled and all payment obligations for the Services provided to Merchant or other Fees or amounts due from Merchant under this Agreement, whether arising before or after termination of this Agreement.
That’s a lot of legalese to wade through, but the main point is that you’ll be on the hook for damages for every month remaining in your contract period. If you sign up for JetPay and then decide after just a few months that it isn’t working out, closing your account early could potentially cost you thousands of dollars. Liquidated damages clauses are understandably very unpopular with merchants, and we generally recommend that you avoid doing business with providers that include them in their contracts. However, these clauses are so unpopular that providers will often waive them – if you ask in advance. Be sure that any waiver is in writing, and keep a copy for your records in case you run into problems later on.
As noted above, JetPay requires 90 days’ notice from you to cancel your account without penalty. You’ll need to time this to coincide with the end of your current contract term. We recommend padding the notice period as much as you can to avoid having your contract automatically renewed for another three years. It’s also critically important that you follow the account closure instructions included in your contract to the letter. You’ll need to provide written notice, and often it will have to be on a special form that you’ll need to obtain from JetPay. Whatever you do, do not make the mistake of thinking that you can successfully close your account with just a phone call. You can’t.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Have you ever watched a television commercial and realized that, while it may have been humorous or entertaining, it didn’t actually tell you anything about the product being promoted? Surfing through JetPay’s website is just like that – a lot of marketing fluff, but very few actual disclosures. Now, we did appreciate the data sheets on the company’s lineup of terminals and POS systems, and including the standard contract was very helpful. However, it would have been much more useful if JetPay had disclosed the prices they charge for their equipment. Many of their competitors include this information, and it would help prospective clients make more informed decisions about the hardware they want to include with their accounts.
We couldn’t find any evidence that JetPay uses independent sales agents to market their accounts, and there were also no complaints from merchants about the sales experience in general. Overall, they seem to be doing a good job in this area. If you’ve had any experience with the company’s sales team, please be sure to tell us about it in the Comments section below.
JetPay has a robust social media presence, with active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These accounts are frequently updated with new content, including posts from the company’s blog and third-party content that will be useful to their customers. They also have a presence on YouTube, but it’s somewhat fragmented, with separate channels for their payment processing services and their HR/payroll services.
Customer Service & Technical Support
JetPay offers customer service via both telephone and email. While the company claims that support is available 24/7, 365 days a year, we wouldn’t be surprised if that support is outsourced on weekends and during the evenings. You can expect to have the best customer service experience if you call during regular business hours, when the company’s in-house support team will be handling your call.
We’ve received very little feedback – good or bad – regarding the quality of JetPay’s customer service. This is actually a good indication, as poor customer service is rampant within the processing industry and most companies have racked up numerous complaints from unhappy merchants. As always, we encourage you to share your personal experiences with JetPay’s customer service department in the Comments section below. Thanks!
Negative Reviews & Complaints
JetPay currently has multiple profiles on the BBB’s website, covering each of the company’s locations. Their Pennsylvania office shows their BBB accreditation as “pending,” probably due to the relocation of the company’s headquarters from Texas to Pennsylvania following their recent acquisition by NCR Corporation. All offices have an A+ rating. Although there are two complaints against JetPay’s payroll division within the last three years, no complaints have been filed against their credit card processing division. There is, however, a single 1-star review that alleges poor customer service and difficulty in closing accounts.
We couldn’t find any other negative reviews or complaints on Ripoff Report or any other consumer protection websites. Considering JetPay’s large customer base, this lack of negative feedback is a strong indication that the company is providing good service to its merchants.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Most merchant services providers include at least a few testimonials on their website from actual customers. JetPay, however, doesn’t have any endorsements on either their website or their social media accounts. Now, we realize that company-produced testimonials tend to be heavily scripted and never include any negative information. However, a well-produced testimonial that comes across as genuine and includes references to features that the merchant is actually using can send a powerful message about the quality of the provider’s services. We’d really like to see JetPay include this kind of testimonial in their future marketing efforts.
For some businesses, the possibility of obtaining payroll, HR, and payment processing services from a single provider might be very tempting. In fact, JetPay’s ability to provide all these services in a single, integrated platform is perhaps its strongest feature.
At the same time, there’s no need to overpay for processing services or to lock yourself into a long-term contract that may be extremely expensive to get out of. JetPay’s use of tiered pricing, their three-year contract renewal periods, and their imposition of liquidated damages for closing your account all make it impossible for us to give them a positive recommendation. Although we’re genuinely impressed by their products and services, as well as their very low complaint volume, we don’t think it’s worth the high price you’ll have to pay.
Long-term contracts, tiered pricing, and hefty penalties for closing your account have long been the norm in the processing industry. However, today there are many new companies that can offer you a better deal, and JetPay’s standard terms simply aren’t competitive anymore. If you run a large, established business, using JetPay might make good financial sense – if you can negotiate an interchange-plus pricing plan, buy your own equipment, and get the liquidated damages clause waived. For everyone else, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
For the reasons discussed above, we’re rating JetPay at 3 out of 5 stars overall. Small business owners with less negotiating leverage should definitely steer clear of the company, as the liquidated damages clause alone could seriously threaten the survival of your business if things don’t work out to your satisfaction. Believe it or not, there really are high-quality providers who will offer you month-to-month billing and interchange-plus pricing as standard features. For a side-by-side comparison of several of our top-rated providers, check out our Merchant Account Comparison Chart.