KIS Payments Review
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- Date Established
- Nanaimo, British Columbia
- Month-to-month agreement
- Transparent cost-plus pricing
- Excellent customer service
- Limited pricing disclosed online
- Enrollment fee likely
While KIS Payments is relatively new on the scene, it stands out for several reasons, not the least of which are the relationships the company maintains with its clients. Being a small business itself, the company’s goal is to simplify payments for other small business operators through dedicated advisors so that no one ever feels lost in the crowd. And as I dig around, I’m pleasantly surprised.
KIS Payments began in 2017, is headquartered in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and is 100% Canadian owned and operated. KIS is steered by co-founder and CEO Rick Owen, who has years of experience in the industry and even authored a book on the subject, An Insider’s Expert Guide To Canadian Credit Card Processing.
I’m pleased to see that KIS provides flexible contract terms with cost-plus pricing and no early termination fees or long-term stipulations. Additionally, KIS offers a variety of options in retail, food service, eCommerce, mobile payments, and loyalty options, all with PCI-compliant, secure payment processing at the core.
For these reasons, I’m happy to give KIS a 5-star score with our full recommendation. My goal in this post is to relay what we’ve learned about this relatively new Canadian payment processing company, so you can decide if KIS is right for you. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Products & Services
When I spoke with our contact, he clarified for me that KIS works in somewhat of a brokerage capacity, searching different platforms to find the best set of solutions for its merchants — including proactively instigating new integrations and solutions between platforms as well.
Here is an overview of what you can find with KIS Payments:
- Merchant Account: KIS Payments provides a dedicated merchant account. KIS has a few different back-end processors it works with, including Elavon, Fiserv, and People’s Trust. No matter what processor is the best fit, you’ll still get care in-house, with Level 3 technical support provided by the platforms themselves. We’ll talk more about customer service channels in an upcoming section.
- Omnichannel Platform: KIS Payments customizes your merchant account with the tools you need, including a virtual terminal, and eCommerce solutions, including your payment gateway.
- MobilePOS: Clover is its most popular platform currently, so you’ll have the Clover Flex as an option that you can rent without a lease or buy outright. Additionally, KIS has reached out directly to negotiate deals with software companies, including Koomi, an integrated mobile ordering app geared for food service.
- POS Terminals: Because of their flexibility, KIS recommends and offers Android-based terminals, such as Clover or Poynt, but if an integrated system requires a specific device, the company works with you to find the best solution.
- Payment Gateway: KIS works with several gateway products, so you should have no trouble finding what you need as far as a compatible solution. Depending on the processing platform, you’ll have specific options, including Authorize.Net, Cybersource, Pay Flow Pro, NMI, Bambora, and USAePay.
- Integrations: My contact at KIS informed me that because there isn’t one platform in Canada that successfully provides all of the integrations a merchant may need, the company branches out and finds ad hoc solutions that fit its clients, including spearheading new integrations (e.g., between Zusa and Elavon).
- Invoicing & Recurring Billing: You’ll find several invoicing and recurring billing tools to fit your needs via a payment app based on the platform or a solution geared for eCommerce.
- ACH Processing: KIS Payments offers Bambora or NMI options for ACH.
- Gift Card & Loyalty: KIS Payments reaches out and negotiates relationships to provide a variety of loyalty and gift card options to merchants. You’ll find Ackroo and LoyLap, to name a few, with more built-in solutions and apps in the works — KIS is always scouring up and coming tech for newcomers.
- High-Risk Processing: KIS Payments works with People’s Trust and will work with travel, cannabis, and other Canadian high-risk companies.
KIS is an extremely proactive company when it comes to seeking out new relationships and staying one step ahead of new tech in the industry. With a wide range of solutions and platforms to choose from and a dedicated advisor that helps bring it all together, KIS provides excellent options in products and services.
Fees & Rates
While it doesn’t have a set rate for all merchants, KIS does disclose what the pricing structure is, which is the cost-plus (or interchange-plus) pricing model. Remember from the previous category section that KIS works with a variety of processors to find the best overall solution for each merchant. We prefer cost-plus pricing here at Merchant Maverick because it leaves little room for smoke and mirrors. You can read more about this pricing model in our post, Trading Ease For Transparency With Interchange-Plus.
Additionally, KIS guarantees that its charges will not increase, so while interchange fees may change, as they are based on the card brands, the company won’t pile on with its own fee increases, too.
In addition to payments, of course, there are a lot of other features and services you may need. Here are some additional costs to keep in mind as you build your services:
- Signup Fee: You will pay a one-time setup fee that’s typically charged at $99 to offset boarding costs, but you could see a charge as high as $299 at the company’s discretion. You’ll want to discuss these fees and see if you can negotiate, but if your merchant account is especially complex, the charge may be reasonable.
- PCI Compliance Fees: KIS only passes on this fee if it exists with the back-end processor. For instance, Elavon has mandatory PCI fees, but Fiserv does not. KIS does not add any fees from its end for security.
- Chargeback Fees: If a customer initiates a chargeback, you’ll pay based on the charges set by the platform, typically about $25 per occurrence. To boost your defenses against the dreaded chargeback, read The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Preventing Chargebacks (& 12 Tips For Fighting Chargebacks).
- Software Fees: Additional software fees are based on what is passed on by the SaaS platform (e.g., ACH, gateway, and POS), so consider any monthly fees for your POS or add-on integrations as you build your service out.
- Hardware Rental: A refreshing detail about KIS is that it does not do binding leases for equipment at all. You have the option to rent or buy equipment outright.
When we examine KIS Payments, the company certainly stands out from other Canadian processors by going above and beyond to keep costs low, earning it an excellent rating in this category.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
The KIS Payments website is comparatively minimal in that it doesn’t offer a lot of specifics, but that isn’t uncommon, and we can still glean quite a bit from what is there. And what we don’t see are some of the common red flags in the industry that come in the form of shady gimmicks (e.g., over-the-top claims or guarantees). These are all positive signs.
Another great thing KIS makes clear on its site is that a merchant’s contract terms will be month-to-month with no early termination fees, so again, we have a good amount of transparency as far as what to expect in contract flexibility. Regardless of what any website or salesperson claims, however, we always recommend reading your full contract and paying special attention to the terms of cancellation as well as rates and additional charges, if any. Those can often be negotiated, but you may not be aware of them unless you take a look at your contract (or your bill after the fact).
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
KIS Payments provides month-to-month billing with no long-term contract or termination fees, and that is excellent news. We see far too often that merchants get stuck in a binding contract with what can be hundreds of dollars of cancellation fees. Suffice it to say that we are not a fan of multiyear contracts. We encourage all of our readers to read their entire contract, however, so that all fees and terms are fully understood.
Customer Service & Technical Support
KIS merchants specifically called the company out for providing quality, local service, so I reached out to our contact to find out more details. Here’s how KIS handles your concerns and questions:
- KIS Advisors: If you have a question about your service, KIS Payments is your first point of contact through its in-house advisors. These advisors can be reached Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM PST. Should you have an issue requiring immediate support, however, they do utilize an answering service for time-sensitive issues. And you’ll also get a business card with your advisor’s phone number so that you can call them directly.
- Instructional Video Library: In some cases, the company will even create a quick informative how-to video on the fly to address any specific questions, but it does have an instructional library with tutorials and other how-to videos that will help you onboard.
- Technical Concerns: If you need Level 3 support that requires technical expertise, help can be reached 24/7 via email or toll-free numbers of the specific platform.
Because KIS offers extensive support options and provides personalized, responsive customer care in-house, I’m giving the company an excellent rating in the customer service and technical support category, with no lingering doubts that you’ll be taken care of well.
KIS Payments is a relatively new company and simply doesn’t have a large volume of reviews. However, it has already earned an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, which can be a great indicator of a trustworthy company. The other thing to point out is that the customer feedback you’ll find is overwhelmingly positive, and that is another fantastic sign. This does indicate that service and costs are consistent and that customers feel taken care of overall. Here’s what I found when I dug deeper:
Negative Reviews & Complaints
After checking the BBB, I found that KIS Payments had only one complaint in the last three years that has since been resolved. Upon checking around, I found no active complaints or reviews to date via any of the other major review sites. Of course, this lack of public reprimanding reflects well on the company. It shows that you probably won’t encounter some of the troublesome issues that are common with merchant account providers in Canada.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
What’s even better (and rarer) than a lack of negative reviews is for a company to have the number of positive testimonials that KIS already does have. And that the reviews are attributed to a company name and contact, which is important for validity’s sake.
The main thread that weaves through the positive testimonials is exactly what KIS claims to have: personalized service and an easy-to-use platform. Here is an example quote by Erwin from Bayside Press:
We have known Martin for a number of years and have found him to be pleasant and efficient to deal with. The switch over to a different credit card provider went smoothly and without any downtime thanks to his expertise. I would highly recommend his services. I also appreciate that Martin is local and available in person if required.
Because the positive reviews are glowing, attributed, and are well represented, I can easily give KIS an excellent in the User Review category.
KIS Payments is different from many of the Canadian processors (or really any processor) I’ve come across. That’s because the company’s focus is providing highly personalized and adaptive service based on the unique needs of any business. And that’s smart because today’s business needs to be adaptive now more than ever. As your business grows and shifts, you can feel comfortable knowing KIS can provide products for all of your omnichannel selling requirements.
The other thing that sets KIS apart is that merchants don’t exist as a number in the crowd among a massive aggregate or too-big-to-fail banking system. You’ll not only have a dedicated advisor, they learn your business model so that they can make the best recommendations, and you even have their phone number so that you can call them directly. While it’s true that KIS does local, personalized service well, don’t let that fool you. The company serves small to mid-sized businesses as well as larger enterprises and organizations and has the tools and features to help a wide variety of businesses, including international sales, high-risk, eCommerce, mobile, and more.
For all of these reasons, and for consistently rating highly in every category, I can confidently award KIS a 5-star score and our full recommendation in the Canadian payment processing space. Do you have experience with this growing company? We would like to hear from you in the comments below. Let us know what you think!
To learn more about how we score our reviews, see our Credit Card Processor Rating Criteria.