Vantiv Integrated Payments (Mercury Payment Systems) Review

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Date Established
2001
Location
Durango, CO

Overview:

We’ve had a complicated relationship with Mercury. We thought it was a promising company — it had everything that merchants needed. But the service was, by all accounts, terrible, and far too many merchants were locked into expensive contracts with hidden fees. We rated Mercury Payment Systems 3.5 stars because we believed that while the quality of offerings was there, the support was lacking — but you could still potentially get a good deal.

Mercury Payments changed hands in 2014, acquired by Vantiv for a whopping $1.65 billion. Until recently, it was pretty much business as usual. But now, Vantiv has absorbed Mercury and another company, Element Payments, and melded them into one new branch of its service — Vantiv Integrated Payments. Now, Mercury and Element are both the vehicle for all of their parent company’s integrated processing solutions. If the POS comes pre-built with Vantiv processing, or you can program Vantiv processing directly into the POS, you’re dealing with Vantiv Integrated Payments.

It makes a lot of sense. Mercury already had existing partnerships with dozens of POS offerings. However, this also means the end of “business as usual” — looking at the company now, we have to see it as a separate entity, a new branch of Vantiv.

Initially, I was hopeful this meant an end to Mercury’s terrible reputation for service and hidden fees. However, Vantiv has its own issues, namely a contract stipulation that allows the company to collect liquidated damages from merchants who cancel their contracts. That is firmly in the “bad news” category. In addition, consumer reviews indicate Mercury’s parent company has the same sort of terrible customer service — long hold times, getting shuffled from one department to another, not being able to resolve problems.

The challenge in evaluating Mercury/Vantiv Integrated fairly is deciding what still applies to the company and what doesn’t. There’s just not a lot of up-to-the-minute information out there, so we’re having to look back at how Mercury and Vantiv have both fared in the past and look for similarities. Remember, Mercury was owned by Vantiv for almost 2 years before the rebranding, so I think it’s likely that its support system is integrated with, or at least modeled after, Vantiv’s primary support system. But a rebranding is a great opportunity to shake up things like contract terms and pricing and general business practices, even if it doesn’t look like Mercury is rolling out any new services at the moment. Will that change? Hard to say.

If you are now processing under Vantiv Integrated Solutions, please leave a comment on this review! Your insights and comments — about the transitions, about your rates and fees, the quality of service, and what it’s like to try to leave Vantiv/Mercury — are crucial to us in evaluating the company most accurately and fairly.

Vantiv is a large company but from what we’ve seen, the biggest issue is service. Of course the company does use ISOs and a huge network of resellers, so there’s bound to be inconsistency. Mercury, historically, has had as many, if not more problems with lack of transparency and service. At this point, I don’t feel comfortable raising Mercury/Vantiv Integrated above 3.5 stars, even if Vantiv itself has a 4-star rating. It’s one thing to look for a merchant account/payment processor. It’s entirely different to look for an integrated payment processing solution.

While there are some signs of improvement, the major X factors are quality of service and rates, and I’d like to see some more solid evidence and customer testimonials before we even think of throwing our weight behind this new brand.

We’ll be monitoring this company very closely to see what it does in the coming month, and what its customers are saying. In the mean time, check out our full Mercury Pay review for more details, or take a look at the best of the best in processing!

Products and Services:

Mercury has become Vantiv’s service branch dealing specifically with integrated systems — the company promises you can integrate with virtually any POS as well. The rest of Mercury’s offerings appear to be essentially the same, even using the old Mercury name:

  • Terminal leases/sales:  Mercury/Vantiv promises your choice of devices that meet your needs, including devices capable of supporting EMV and mobile payments. Mercury’s brochure promises electronic cash registers with “no upfront cost,” which sounds an awful lot like a lease. However, I’m not a fan of terminal leasing because it almost always winds up being a terrible deal for merchants. Despite what they might lead you to believe, you don’t have to buy or lease through the account provider. Read our article about it.
  • Mercury Stand-In: Allows you to process transactions even during network outages. When this happens, they assume all risk associated with declines, guaranteeing no loss for you. Skeptical as I am about Mercury on the whole, this is worth noting.
  • Gift cards: This includes free gift card processing, custom designs, and the ability to handle gift cards online or in a mobile app. That’s a pretty good deal.
  • Loyalty/rewards card program: This is a stored value program with elements of a gift card program. You can offer incentives and cash-back rewards for repeat customers. There’s an option for physical or digital cards as well.
  • Online reporting system: By this point, you should expect nothing less, but it bears mentioning.
  • Same-day and next-day funding: Having your funds within 48 hours is pretty standard among merchant processors. But having them with 24 hours is even better, and not many other companies offer that. Just know that you’ll likely pay a higher cost for same-day funding.
  • 24/7 live support: In theory, this sounds great. Unfortunately, Mercury/Vantiv seems to be failing in the execution of it.
  • E-commerce solutions: Sell in person and online.
  • Mercure SecureAssist: Tools designed to help with PCI compliance.

Fees and Rates:

There’s no reference at all to fees and rates on the Mercury/Vantiv Integrated site, which is separate from the Vantiv main site. There’s not even the old promise of “affordable” processing (which is a vague and deceptive statement anyway).

We do know that you’re most likely to be offered a tiered pricing plan. If you have a large enough volume, you can probably get interchange-plus pricing, but you’ll have to ask and negotiate for it. You can expect an annual fee, a PCI compliance fee, and other industry-standard charges, as well as an ETF to the tune of $295. We’ve also mentioned the liquidated damages provision in the standard Vantiv contract (read more about that at our full Vantiv review), which could leave you with thousands of dollars in fees to get out of your deal with Vantiv. However, this particular clause seems to be enforced inconsistently. You may be able to convince your sales rep to waive both the ETF and liquidated damages clause, but don’t sign any contract unless you actually see and sign that waiver.

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

Vantiv favors the old 3-year, autorenewing contract with an ETF to the tune of $295, and I doubt that will change (but I can hope, right?) Some people have reported difficulties cancelling their contracts with both Vantiv and Mercury, so read your contract and familiarize yourself with what’s required to begin the cancellation process. Go through Vantiv Integrated directly, even if you set your contract up with an independent sales rep. You will have to sign some paperwork; it’s not something you can just pass off and call it done.

Be sure to review your contract in detail before you sign. Make careful note of all the fees listed, as well as the cancellation process. Again, if your rep promises to waive the ETF or liquidated damages provision, make sure that waiver form is attached and signed! Verbal agreements aren’t enforceable, so you absolutely need to get it in writing.

Let us know if you need help with reviewing your contract and getting it squared away.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

I like that Vantiv isn’t using any shady gimmicks to market its MercuryPay/integrated solutions. Too-good-to-be-true offers are almost always precisely that: too good to be true. You’ll wind up paying more in the long run on those situations. The web copy on the Mercury site is a bit generic but it spells out the features and benefits of choosing Vantiv Integrated Payments and covers a variety of industries. That’s the good news.

The bad news is Mercury’s salesforce was large, and honestly, with it coming more fully under Vantiv’s auspices, I expect that to grow. The problem is that the sales force will consist of ISOs and sales reps who aren’t actually directly employed by Vantiv. And that almost always leads to problems with undisclosed terms or nasty surprises (like ETFs) down the line. You can request information on the site, but most likely you’re going to end up with a local sales rep who wants to schedule an in-person demo to talk to you face to face.

Then there’s the issue of the network of resellers. You might not even be aware that the POS you’re interested in comes with a Vantiv account unless you ask your rep. And not all of Vantiv’s software agreements are exclusive — so it really can vary from one sales rep to another. Nor is there a big long list of POS systems that integrate with Vantiv publicly available. You just kind of have to ask around and search. Vantiv’s site isn’t exactly forthcoming about which POS systems it has partnerships with, either.

If you really want Vantiv in your POS, this whole setup is in your favor. If you just want a great POS, you may not be getting the best deal. Getting locked into a processor because of your POS can lead to all sorts of problems — and a POS is a significant investment, to be sure.

Vantiv does maintain active Facebook and Twitter accounts under the Mercury name, though the profile images have been updated with the Vantiv Integrated Payments logo. Their customer service team seems to have stepped up and begun responding on Facebook, and I’m seeing fewer complaints about the awful customer service on Twitter. I’m optimistic about that, but it’s nothing conclusive. There’s also Vantiv’s own social media channels.

You will also find some resources for merchants, including videos, infographics, and e-books, so long as you’re willing to shell out a bit of information to get them. Vantiv also has a YouTube channel, though it’s not dedicated to its integrated payments branch exclusively. (The MercuryPay YouTube channel hasn’t been updated in 8 months.) The few written testimonials I’ve seen on the MercuryPay website are rather short and general. However, there is a blog and it’s updated regularly with important topics.

Overall, Mercury and Vantiv could use a little bit of work in this category. I think it’s great that they’re trying, and tailoring content specifically for small businesses and new merchants, but I think they could be more detailed and finesse the execution a bit more. I’d love to see more solid numbers cited explicitly. Still, something is better than nothing, and Vantiv seems to be doing a lot better than a LOT of companies out there. I suspect we’ll get more content in the coming months as the rebranding continues. So once again, I find myself hopeful that this is real progress.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Mercury Payment Systems has a lot of pride in its customer support service, and the company uses it as a selling point. It’s even won awards for its quality of service (check it out here and here). You’ll get 24/7/365 live, US-based customer support by phone, including technical support. On paper, that is akin to the holy grail of customer support.

The problem is, those awards don’t actually seem to reflect the experiences many merchants are having. One of the most consistent complaints about both Mercury and Vantiv is that wait times are ridiculous and customer support is ineffective. Those who escalate their problems to a supervisor are directed to leave a voicemail but do not get called back. That is absolutely unacceptable.

Want to weigh in with a recent experience? Have first-hand knowledge of what Vantiv Integrated’s support is like? Leave your review at the bottom of this page!

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Mercury’s BBB page has just been renamed Vantiv Integrated Payments. It still has all the previous complaints on file. The company has an A+ BBB rating, with 90 complaints (up from 79 at our last check-in, three months ago) in the past three years. 32 of them were closed in the last year. Vantiv’s BBB page has another 100 complaints in the past 3 years (54 in the past we months).

Mercury also has 9 complaints on Ripoff Reports, 3 of which date from 2015. The rest of which are from 2012 or earlier. There are no complaints for “Vantiv Integrated” and only 5 for “Vantiv” — two from 2014, one from 2015, and two from 2016. Our own comments section has a number of complaints as well.

Numbers are meaningless without context, so let’s take a moment to reflect. Last time we looked at Mercury, we noted that the BBB complaint volume had only increased by eight. This time, we have 10 complaints in 6 months. Multiplied by 2 and assuming a constant rate, that would be 20 new complaints in the next year — that’s a lot, but it’s not a doubling of complaint volume. Whether you’re looking at percentages or the straight numbers, it’s a decrease from our last check-in, assuming the volume holds steady for the year.

In addition, Vantiv’s overall complaint volume is quite low for a company of its size.  While I suspect there are probably more complaints lurking out there under the name of Vantiv’s MANY POS partners, we can’t prove that. And a lot of Vantiv’s complaints do not necessarily pertain to their integrated division.

Right now there are very, very few complaints about the entity “Vantiv Integrated.” The few we found deal primarily with contract issues and service. That will change as time goes on, and that will make it easier for us to really gauge what this newly rebranded arm of Vantiv is really like. At the moment we’re going to leave it at this: the complaint volume is relatively low for both Vantiv and Mercury, but we’re wary…especially because despite the low numbers, the complaints about the quality of service are quite severe and there are some common threads among them.

Your insights are a crucial part of how we evaluate merchants, so if you have experience with Mercury, leave us a comment!

Common complaints include:

  • Customer service issues: I’m disappointed to hear about rudeness and ineptitude from Mercury support staff since support is a major selling point for the company. Another consistent complaint across every channel we’ve looked at is high wait times, in excess of an hour. Others have been told to leave voicemails and never receive calls back. Vantiv’s BBB page and comments on other review sites point to the same sort of issues and the recent complaints that pertain specifically to “Vantiv Integrated” also bring this up.
  • Early termination fees: The ETF itself is not the problem (while we’re always disappointed when we see one). The problem is some people may not realize they have one, or might not realize that if their contract is several years old and auto-renews, they could still wind up paying $295 (or more) if they don’t cancel their contract in the appropriate time window. This comes up often with a LOT of processors, and it’s no surprise with Vantiv, given how large the company is and how much it relies on its extensive partner network.

Frankly, it seems like the best way to get Mercury/Vantiv’s attention is to file a complaint with the BBB. It looks like the company genuinely tries to work with merchants to solve the issue. However, a fair number of merchants don’t bother to indicate whether the issue has been fixed — and then Mercury steps in and says “Yes, we’ve addressed the problem and we’ll keep working with them to find an agreeable solution.” That makes me skeptical, but overall, I think you have a good shot of getting a solution.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Some testimonials are sprinkled across the site, and you can also find a few case studies, such as this one here and this one. The quality is questionable in my eyes — one cites no hard numbers at all. There are more general case studies on the Vantiv YouTube channel — but they aren’t about Vantiv Integrated.  We’ll probably see more content later on.

You can find a few case studies on the press page, as well as other resources.

Final Verdict:

The problem with Mercury Pay (now Vantiv Integrated Payments) wasn’t in its services. In fact, Mercury genuinely seems to have a solid grasp on what products merchants need. It’s keeping up with industry trends and giving store owners the tools they need to compete against big box retailers, with loyalty programs and gift cards suited to the digital space. And Vantiv is building on that — which is good.

The problem is in the quality of service. The company is fairly large, owned by an even larger company, and uses independent resellers, which almost always translates to a lack of transparency and shady practices designed to close a sale. Something is horribly wrong on the customer service front, too, with very long wait times and a lack of response from higher ups. That was true of Mercury, and still true of Vantiv.

There’s no information about Mercury’s rates, which is another big issue. It’s pretty common because these companies usually want to negotiate with you directly, and there are a lot of factors that go into credit card processing rates. However, the complete lack of any information leaves merchants unprepared and not knowing what to expect. I like that Vantiv Integrated seems committed to putting out educational content for merchants. But I think the company could do better.

The final concern is that some merchants may not be aware of what they’re signing up for when they pick a POS that’s integrated with Vantiv. This is true of the company at large, but especially relevant when dealing with this integrated payments division. And remember, some software agreements are not exclusive, so Vantiv may just be one of several options available. We are sure that it is possible to get a good deal, and possibly good service, from Vantiv. But you’re going to have to advocate for yourself and negotiate to get terms that work for you and trust that your representative has your best interests at heart.

If you can substantiate or refute any of these claims, please leave a comment. Remember to check out our review policy first, and please consider authenticating your review. It’s a huge help for me, and allows us to provide the most accurate ratings possible!

We’re leaving Vantiv Integrated Payments 3.5 stars because I’m not fully sure, yet, that the company is substantially different from the old Mercury. When we see a change, we’ll be happy to adjust the rating — for better or worse.

For the absolute best processing experience, check out our favorite processors via this handy comparison chart or let us help you find a processor.

Tom DeSimone
Tom loves asking tough questions and getting straight answers, so he has a lot of fun calling payment processors for Merchant Maverick to cut through their smoke and mirrors and find the real deals. He has run a full-time editorial business from his home in New York’s Hudson Valley since 2010 and could not imagine a better job. When not busy writing and keeping credit card processors honest, Tom enjoys backpacking in the mountains.
Tom DeSimone
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45 Comments

    Mark Eyler

    Mercury/vantiv Is the worst credit card processor you could possible choose. They have hidden fees they don’t disclose. At one point I was paying 10% card fees. The lowest I paid was 5% after many phone calls to Ryan Bates. Beware, do not use this company for your credit card processing. Use Square as they are a straight 2.75% or call EMS. My question to Ryan Bates was “what is the % charge for credit card processing” his answer was under 1%, but did not tell me about all the hidden fees. Please stay away for this company. I am now using EMS which is a straight up processor.

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

    Jeffrey

    I purchased Revention POS system and to run the cards through the system I have two choices. 1 is to pay Vantiv a gateway fee of approximately $40 per month(fee based on volume or transactions) and use a processor of my choice and not be able to use the chip reader and be EMV compliant. 2 is to let Vantiv process my credit cards and they won’t charge the gateway fee and I can use the chip reader and be compliant. That sounds like extortion to me. Vantiv also wanted a 3 year auto renewing contract that includes ETF. Revention had a good thing going but they have ruined it with the exclusive processing partnership with Vantiv. I won’t do business with Vantiv. They just come across as people telling you half the truth to get you as a customer.

    1

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

    CAnne

    Since Mercury switched to Vantiv…horrible. Server in the last 5 weeks going down for periods of time. Rates went up almost $300 a month from Mercury, now Vantiv. Never had a problem with Mercury except for the working situation between them and CAP software. Looking to find a more reliable processor.

    1

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

    Roger Richards

    Pretty good customer service when CC transaction issues come up but when I needed to switch processors, they said I would be charged 10% of outstanding balance for gift cards! This is a combination of gouging and extortion. I can run a report of the gift card liabilities / current balances but they XXX out a large part of the card number so that you can’t port the numbers out. The only reason they do that is so they can charge you the 10% if you want the data. This is not the kind of company I (or you) want to work with.

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

    Brenda

    Yes, the same thing happened to us. We were forced to stay with them or be charged 10% on our gift card liability which, with seven locations, was substantial at the time.

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

    Roger Richards

    Pretty good customer service when CC transaction issues come up but when I needed to switch processors, they said I would be charged 10% of outstanding balance for gift cards! This is a combination of gouging and extortion. I can run a report of the gift card liabilities / current balances but they XXX out a large part of the card number so that you can’t port the numbers out. The only reason they do that is so they can charge you the 10% if you want the data. This is not the kind of company I (or you) want to work with.

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

    clint

    Mercury got bought out and is now known as “Vantiv Integrated Payments”

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

    DJ Armstrong

    ***YES….. HIDDEN FEES AND TERMINATION COSTS ARE ALL TRUE***

    I will never use, nor recommend Mercury Payment, Global Payment, Vantiv Corp. or Comcash POS Systems to any merchant or professional person asking for my help.

    With terminology in reviews such as “rip off, worst company, loads of hidden fees, terrible company, don’t do business with Mercury Payment Systems, stay away from Mercury, crooked company, unethical, deceptive, unscrupulous” just to name a few. Now, a Class Action Suit? Wonderful.

    BOTTOM LINE…..DON’T DO IT.

    1

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

    Renee M.

    Wish I did more research on this company before signing up through SalesVu. Worst customer service ever! Closed 2 of my 4 restaurants signed up with them. Called to see what paperwork they needed from me and was asked “What date would you like to use in the closing paperwork?”. I say, “well today I guess”. Got 2 – $295 charges in my account. Followed up as to why and the rude lady on the phone says, “Guess you should read your contract”. Really? Total crooks!

    1

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

    chris hursey

    Very poor customer service. I can not say its the worse I have ever had because I can not get anyone on the phone. I have only been on hold for 3 hours over the last week, left countless messages, sent emails, and waited for the “live chat” for hours. They do not mind taking money out of my account every evening but they sure do not want to answer a simple question.

    1

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

    Dell

    Mercury is the pits. They are getting sued:

    http://www.dailyreportonline.com/id=1202740827994/Small-Merchants-Claim-Credit-Card-Processors-Add-Junk-Fees?slreturn=20150928151518

    Might want to call that firm to get involved, webbllc.com

    1

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

    Erin

    Mercury is THE WORST payment processing company I have ever dealt with. We have been with them for only 2 weeks and the error messages, mess-ups and insane amount of issues we have had to contact their technical support for has near incinerated my phone line. From being sent dirty refurbished machines to machines that give me daily errors to at least one of the terminals ALWAYS being down and unable to process… and, oh there’s more… to the few days where all my debit transactions were declined but then actually debited from my customers accounts (with no credit to my account). I am dealing with a payment processing nightmare. I have actually lost customers due to the wait on an approval code taking SO long… and now I am afraid I will lose more b/c of this latest debit debacle. Mercury is completely unapologetic and is saying it could take up to 6 weeks for my customers to get their money refunded. I actually set up a new account with a different processing company and unplugged Mercury’s terminals before closing with them. Mercury’s fees do not even come close to touching the business I have lost because of them. I’d gladly swallow any fees they have in order to NEVER have to deal with them again.

    1

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

    kenji matsuda

    have been with them for over 3 years. asked for termination form due to time i had to wait many times to get to customer service and i also got better rate with another company. In that form i misread and thought that i could terminate before 20th of the month for no payment and since i didn’t give them 30 days( i gave them 18 days) i am stuck with $295 cancellection fee. Female customer service lady told me a lot of merchant do this. Why would i pay $295 when i can give them another 13 days and pay $32.95 minimum fee??????

    i would not recommend this company what so ever.

    1

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

    Scott Champ

    My company has been with Mercury for a very long time. We knew we were paying a very high rate on card processing, but the “free gift card processing” pretty much had us stuck with them. We had asked to have our rates reviewed but our rep said they could not reduce our rates (this was back in January). I also asked why we were being charged rates higher than what they are claiming our current rates are set at. My rep spent 15mins trying to tell me that I do not understand how the rates/fees are calculated and that the math I was doing was incorrect. First off, I know how the calculations are done. Second, I know how to do the math to figure out the actual rate we are being charged, and I KNOW Mercury was over charging us on several different card types/categories.

    Recently we found a processor that will also handle our gift cards for “free” and will give us MUCH lower rates. I had been attempting to contact our rep for MONTHS to get a few questions answered with no response. Only after we called and spoke with a supervisor/manager to request account closure paperwork did we hear from our rep. And only then did Mercury offer to lower our rates. This was the worst customer service I have ever experienced.

    We were warned by our new processor that Mercury may try to charge us a small fortune to have a gift card report prepared that a new processor can import to transition the data to a new company. Here is a tip to anyone else Mercury attempts to extort for the release of gift card information… Most processors can pull the information about your gift cards they need directly from http://www.mercurypay.com. So do not allow Mercury to charge you 10% plus an hourly fee for something that can be done in minutes. Our new processor pulled the information they needed at no cost to us.

    1

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

    Brenda

    Scott
    What gift card processor did you use that was able to pull the full card numbers off he mercury site. I am having a nightmare with Mercury because they no longer support our version of Aloha and I am forced to change credit card processing companies and gift cards and know I’m forced to pay the 10% of the gift card liability. I need a new gift card processor and would like to go to one that knows how to get this information. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

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

    Brenda

    Scott,

    Any chance I could find out from you what processor it was that was able to retrieve that information for you?

    4

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

    John Richardson

    Mercury is a ripoff company. We have been with them for over a year and they overcharged us compared to other companies by over double. We closed our business on April 4th 2015 and contacted them and they have continued to charge us up to now monthly when we aren’t even processing credit cards. In addition the “friendly” woman on the phone today said that do to “fine print” and not filling the closing paperwork out properly we would be charged a $295 early termination fee.
    I would stay away from this company ant all costs. They are crooked and overcharge.
    From every opportunity they had the worst customer service imaginable.

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

    RUTH SIEGEL

    I have been waiting for over an hour for a callback. I have had problems with my POS processing over the year and today cannot charge credit cards. I have left numerous messages. When it works, it works; when it doesn’t it is really bad! I don’t know if any of these companies are problem-free, but today is just not their day!

    1

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

    Andrew

    Hey Tom, if you did ANY research past just looking on their website, you would see that Mercury Payments is an Independent Service Organization of Wells Fargo, who themselves are an ISO of FirstData.

    Do you work for Mercury or something?

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

    Tom DeSimone

    Actually Mercury was acquired by Vantiv in 2014. Wells Fargo does own Vantiv, and Wells Fargo is in a joint venture with First Data. But this has less of an effect on the service itself than you might imagine. If I worked for Mercury, I assure you they would have received a more favorable review.

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

    clint

    HUGE WARNING!
    I have been a customer with mercury for almost 2 years now. for the past few days I have not been able to check anything in my account. Every time I would try to check -anything- their website would throw up an error message. Finally after days of this I had enough and contacted customer support. Then, and ONLY THEN was I informed that their portal was no longer compatible with firefox. Their suggestion was to (obviously) use a different browser. There were several problems with this.

    1. I was NEVER informed of this prior to my contacting them. That left me, and probably thousands of others, trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

    2. There was never any kind of notification, message, warning, nothing, when logged into the portal. There is a message section in your portal, for important messages. For whatever reason, mercury felt that this crippling error was not worth even mentioning to their customers.

    3. The customer support agent was rude and gave me the impression that it was perfectly acceptable that there was no warning or notification about this crippling error ANYWHERE in the portal, or via message, or anything.

    I had read that mercury got bought out some months ago, I am starting to wonder if this is a sign of how they plan on continuing their business going forward. As it is, I am absolutely disappointed in how mercury has handled this situation.

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

    Lisa

    Don’t be fooled by their “free gift card processing”. They do hold you hostage! Once I knew I was paying a high rate for cr card processing, I notified M in the proper amount of time via my contract that I was leaving. I would then be responsible for gift card transition to another co. which was fine, but ending my contract with M meant they would take down the server for gift card balance inquiries for my outstanding gift cards. The only way I can get balances with card numbers is to pay Mercury for a report. They want 10% of outstanding balance and $75/hour to generate the report which they estimate to be 3 hours! That’s 10% of 55,000.00 plus 3 hours to push a button! Highway robbery and BAD business Mercury!

    1

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

    Kelly Rees

    Horrible company. Hidden fee’s and charges everywhere. Charged me $150 to prepare my 1099, $80 for PCI compliance paperwork, $169 to keep my data safe on their server. Fee’s constantly going up every month, $495 to cancel with 10 months left. Absolute sham of a company. Paypal… yes paypal is cheaper to process through. Thats a scary thought isnt it?

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

    Margaret Giacomini

    I am not pleased with Mercury. I spent hours trying to either get through to someone or get results from someone. Our company noticed on our bank statement that we had been charged fees for an account that we had closed. Although they did refund one payment, the rest (totalling at least $600) has not been refunded though they told me it would be. I have been dealing with them for about a month. I have no confidence that they will ever refund the money. We had an active account with them which I requested be closed. I’m not even sure I trust that they will do this. I would stay away from this company. I am seeking legal action and reporting them to the BBB.

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

    Margaret Giacomini

    I just spoke to Mercury and they are not going to refund our money. They said they would if we would continue our existing account with them. I just don’t trust this company, so I am not continuing to do business with them even though I won’t get the money reimbursed to us.

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

    Art

    Has there been any update on the lawsuit or do you have any thoughts on the claims about fees?

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

    Archer Bagley

    Mercury Payment System is an organization of Professional Thieves. Do not do business with Mercury Payment Systems. Mercury will not honor their own contract and will overcharge you all sorts of fees that were never disclosed. Mercury stole over $600 from Archers BBQ over a 1 year period.

    I would suggest Heartland Payment Systems.

    Archer Bagley
    Archers BBQ

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

    Jessica Litton

    I am very dissapointed with the customer service the we have been given from Mercury. We haven’t processed a payment through them for about 7 months because we found a simpler, less expensive way to process them…(I won’t say which service because I don’t want people to assume that I am advertising someone else, this is purely a review). We were charged about $37 a month for not using them (which is on us since we didn’t cancel sooner). Then when we called to cancel we were told that we would be charged over $200 to cancel our service if we didn’t send them written notice one month in advance. SO, we sent in written notice and cancelled a month later. In the meantime our monthly service fee for that month went up to $106 and the following month we were charged an “annual service fee” of $222. This was nowhere in our service agreement with them. We called to get reimbursed, were on hold for nearly an hour and then sent to a voicemail which was never returned. RIDICULOUSLY SLIMY!!!!!

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

    Mike

    Oops, here is the link: http://www.merchantservicesdefense.com/spotting_false_charges/

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

    Mike

    If you are not aware, Mercury is padding an extra .04 cents into every transaction and passing it off as MC NABU and VISA APF fess. Interchange is .0195 and .0155 while MPS charges .0595. Funny how this bogus up-charge is not in their contract. Here is the link to show you where to look on your statement. And no, I do not work for Heartland. They have a fee that is not exactly upfront with their customers either. It is the Monthly Settlement Discount of up to 5 basis points.

    1

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

    Marcia West

    Four stars for a company that is being sued by another processor for padding interchange rates? I’ve seen it myself on NABU and other supposedly pass-thru fees. We call this deceptive.

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

    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Marcia,

    Thank you for this comment. Heartland’s lawsuit was filed in late January and we have not updated this review since then, but I am making this a high priority and will definitely be mentioning the pending suit in the forthcoming updated review. If these allegations end up verified, this is way more than deceptive – it’s systemic fraud, and a serious coffin nail in my already waning goodwill toward Mercury.

    Thank you again for the comment.

    All the best,
    Tom

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

    DLS

    they have been charging excessive fees and now someone is looking at a class action
    http://www.consumerclassactionlawyers.com/mercury-payments-systems-excessive-fees.html

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

    just_a_user

    Mercury Payment Systems.. what a joke.

    Its a pity more people don’t look at thier statements, although it won’t matter if you don’t know how to decipher it. Mercury and many others make the charges impossible to calculate properly.

    Last year we were charged, in fees which included the card associations fees as well as mercuries fees, %7.01! True story. Thier math is often wrong on thier reports as well. I informed them of 3 different mistakes but never did see a correction.

    And finally they hold you hostage if you use gift cards. The gift card # is conveniently hashed out on the report that shows you current balance. This makes leaving them difficult because you must know what the balance is on every gift card. If you want the actual balance that will show the full gift card # you must get the complete “activity” report. You will have to do the math on it but it will give you the correct balance. Luckily I know how to manipulate databases pretty well so I imported it into access and wrote my own program to give me the balances. Then I was free to leave mercury behind and save some money!

    Bottom line is anyone dealing with card processors should know what interchange is, what fees to not be contracted into and to demand a transparent statement that lets you actually hold your processor accountable.

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

    Rahul Desai

    I have been working with Mercury for over a year now and the rates just keep getting higher and higher – around 3.9% now. Plus they just charged me a $169 data security fee last month for what? I asked and they said dont worry it’s only $18/month. These guys hook you in by being pre-programemd into the software (I use Retaurant Pro Express) and then squeeze the maximum possible. Avoid at all costs!

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

    Jodi Mavrantzas

    I am a Canadian company that uses Mercury Payments as they are currently the only company that allows integrated payment through our Digital Dining POS system. Since siging with them in 2009 ( at which time the “Canadian rep”) was very accomodating) we have had nothing but problems. They over charged me on multiple occassions for pin pad rentals and when you call them they constantly have different reasons always stating that they have not overcharged me despite the fact that I have all of my back statements showing otherwise. They do not call back, supervisors are unwilling to speak to you and as many others have said they stonewall and make up varying excuses as to why the extra charges. Last year they started charging me a $40 security fee and their rates are not competitive when you actually compare the rates charged on the most popularly used credit cards. They give you you a base rate on a visa card that seems cheap but the fact is the 1 in 1000 people actually use that card. I am very unhappy with their service and am at the point that I am going to leave and go back to non integrated payments simply to stop having to deal with these people. every call into them just makes me want to scream and as a small business owner I do not have time to deal with companies who are trying to rob me, I need to focus on my customers and promoting my business. If anyone is intending a lawsuit or group complaint with the state’s attorney general I would eagerly participate.

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

    Nitin Jain

    I have been with Mercury since I opened my business in February 2006 as it directly integrated with my POS software (Comcash; I am sure they have a back end deal with Comcash). I have to say, not knowing much about processing cards and being a new business in 2006, Mercury was easy to deal with and setup our account. Since then, however, their service has gone considerably downhill.

    As most merchants will attest, I am constantly solicited by other payment processors offering better rates. I usually have them analyze my statements and respond with their competing bid, at which point I have Mercury review and usually beat these rates. Well, fast forward a couple of years and let me take you to February 2010. I learned of interchange plus pricing through another processor and decided to contact Mercury at which point I began discussions with my account rep. After many days and an “analysis” on their end, they quoted me new terms, requested a 3 year contract, and explained I would be saving $40 bux a month. To this, I responded that I was not impressed and the rep told me that Mercury doesn’t make money on my account and that is the best they could do; I spent $9583 in processing fees in 2009 and in 2010 I have spent $11232, though my overall business is flat to down. Additionally they are very secretive about the extra fees I am often charged through a cryptic account statement that seems to almost always include 3 pages of fine print. After getting very frustrated, I decided to do nothing and not extend my contract but instead, continue processing with Mercury as I didn’t want to make my decision in a moment of frustration. My fees continued going way up and of course the PCI fee of $150 charged in September and on and on it went.

    Fast forward to November 2010, and once again, I get solicited, this time by US Merchant Systems and their analysis leads to an annual savings of $2400! Up until then, with an average ticket of $15, I was always told that pin based debit was cheaper than swipe debit. After reviewing my statement, my rep at US Merchant told me this was completely wrong and the price point is $30 for it to make sense to use pin based debit! (We made the switch in 11/04/10 to process all transactions under $30 as a swipe and over as a pin based debit, and according to the rep at US Merchant, this saved my company $110 in November.) So, armed with this info, I start talking to a different account rep at Mercury and get nowhere yet again. This drags on through the month of November into the month of December. Once again, my fees went up on lower sales and I became even more agitated.

    Today, I have a conversation with my rep at Mercury and it becomes blatantly obvious that they don’t care for my business and fabricate reasons as to why every other processor is lying, but they are telling me the truth. Additionally, they go so far as to inform me that based on the types of cards that I process, I should be using pin based debit. Now, I know I was born yesterday, but I certainly wasn’t born last night. After a careful analysis, I fully am aware that using pin based debit on low tickets is prohibitive and very expensive. Bringing this up to my rep, got the response that it isn’t an apples to apples comparison and there are too many rewards on the cards I process, probably because of a local bank in my area! I mean, wtf, really? Most of my customers use Bank of American, Wells Fargo and the other large banks. Once I ended the conversation with [name removed] at Mercury, I called my rep at US Merchant and sent him my Nov. statement. Not only did I save $110 by using swipe vs pin on transactions less than $30 (something he didn’t need to tell me, but did as he is far more forthcoming), I would have saved an additional $80 on interchange plus according to his analysis (whereas [name removed] told me overall I would save $42 a month under an interchange plus vs my current tiered setup).

    Long story short, Mercury likes to dangle the carrot of lower introductory prices but don’t tell you about how they downgrade your cards to increase the surcharges they are collecting., so my 1.55% actually is more than 2.15%! I certainly can’t fathom how much money I have left on the table by using Mercury, but will certainly be going elsewhere and utilizing Pc Charge or the like with Comcash. If nothing else, I hope my review of Mercury has others thinking twice before you sign up with them. They are very deceptive in their business practices and deciphering their cryptic statements a complete chore for even the most seasoned industry vet. I wouldn’t even give Mercury 1 star!

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

    Erick

    I’m going to simply echo Dawn’s sentiments. We’ve been getting stonewalled by Mercury Payment systems in the exact same way as described by Dawn. All with the exact same type of mystery charges, such as the $150 PCI compliance thing that they’re telling us it is a post charge for the prior year.

    I’m looking for a new merchant service provider now and wondering if this person from United Bank Card can be trusted.

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

    Bruce

    I’m wondering if United bank Card can be trusted as well!

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

    Sandie

    I used to work for United Bank Card . . . They have the PCI compliance fee as well . . . Most do

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

    Dawn

    I have been with Mercury for a little over 2 years, and in that time my rates have gone up over 50% with no prior notice. In January of this year they charged me a PCI Compliance fee of $95. Then in September they charged me a PCI Compliance fee of $150. When I called to talk to them about it they kept saying “it was disclosed on your last bill.” After 30 minutes of reading through 6 pages of disclosures, most of which were for restaurant and petroleum customers, I found the disclosure in the middle of a half-page paragraph, stating that a fee of “up to” $150 might be charged. None of these disclosures are available in the online versions of their billing, nor are they to be found anywhere but in the small print on the bill.

    Their bills are hard to read and extremely misleading. They charge two monthly fees, one for statements, and one for monthly maintenance. In addition, I nearly always get charged a fee for not meeting the $25 minimum, even though my bills are always about $200. The charges for credit and debit cards are charged twice in two different pages on the bills to disguise the fact that I am actually paying $.41-.49 per swipe PLUS 3.2-3.9%. Debits are charged at $.45-.52 PLUS .8-1.5%.

    When I asked them to discuss the fees, they claimed that they only make the $7.95 monthly maintenance fee off of my account. Really? You charged me $350 this month and you only made $8? You expect me to believe that? When I asked about the enormous hike in my rates, they said, and I’m not kidding, “You are too small and are not a valuable account to us, so stop complaining.” I am not Walmart, but how does that make me not valuable? I’d wager out of my monthly $200 bills they probably take at least half of that to themselves.

    I find it hard to believe that Mercury got a 4.5 rating because they are crooks and do their darndest to hide how much you are paying. And when you have the temerity to ask why your bills have nearly doubled while sales have been stable, they stonewall and tell you you aren’t important.

    I’m moving as fast as possible to get away from these reprehensible beings. Unfortunately, I’m finding that most processors do things this way. How sad that you’re reduced to rating the best of the worst.

    1

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

    Merchant Maverick Admin

    Dawn,

    Thank you for the thorough review. These are the types of user reviews that I love. Rather than saying that MPS “sucks” or throwing any ALL CAPS letters my way, you were very professional and detailed. Bravo!

    With that said, please believe that user comments, just like the one that you have written here have a big effect on my rating of a provider. MPS used to be a 5 on my site, but ever since the first complaint that was not responded to (apparently they don’t feel like they need to submit rebuttal’s), their score came down to a 4.5. Now that they’ve racked up a few similar complaints, you better believe that their score will go down even further.

    Thanks again!

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

    julee

    I have used Mercury for over 2 years now. I am a small business and they seemed very willing to accommodate at first. In the past year the have slid in two separate $150+ charges to my bill for “additional security” and “PCI compliance”. I have called them and their reply was they told me about it in my previous statement. I said I will be shopping for another merchant provider, lets see if they care.

    1

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

    cuong

    I talked with a sale rep. over the phone requested a pricing schedule, and was quoted a 1.99% MOTO rate. I received the email without any pricing schedule but a “required” inspection where – “We will send a representative to your address with instructions to confirm that a business is being conducted there. That site visit costs $100 and we bill you for that.”

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

    Charlie

    So I had a really bad experience with Mercury. They convinced me to switch because they were vertically integrated with my POS software and they promised me better rates than my current processor (this was after I sent them a copy of my statement to make sure).

    Lo and behold, after I switched, I discovered all sorts of hidden fees:
    – Statement fee – WTF?
    – Decline Auth Fee???

    Plus their statements obscure the interchange rate versus their own fees – not to mention the fact that when all was said and done, I was paying nearly 1% more than my old processor!

    So I decided to end my contract with them. And I had read my contract very carefully (to address the comment about “lazy” merchants. I contacted Mercury 30 days in advance and asked where to send my written notification for termination to avoid my termination fee. AFTER they received it, their “termination rep” informed me I would be charged the termination fee anyway. When I asked why, the reasons kept changing:

    1. First, they said it was because I had “verbally” terminated when I called to tell them I wanted to close my account and where to send the paperwork. WTF?!?! Plus, their contract explicitly states I can only cancel in writing, so how can I cancel verbally?!

    2. Then they say because I switched over to my original processor within the 30 days, I was in default and therefore liable to the termination fee, because that was when I “terminated” the contact. Except:

    a. Termination does NOT equal default. The two are separate.
    b. Even in that case, their OWN CONTRACT states they can’t charge me a termination fee for that reason.

    3. When I point out to them the contract I have with them doesn’t allow them to charge me the fee, they tell me it is their “corporate policy” to consider them the same. I don’t care what the policy is, I agreed to a contract. That’s what they have to live up to!

    I spoke with the rep and her supervisor, both gave me the same cock and bull story. I showed my contract to an attorney friend of mine who specializes in contract law, who said it was one of the worst contracts she had ever read, and probably mostly unenforcable. She also said I was 100% right in my interpertation.

    Then they tried to tell me that I could only escalate further by having my attorney contact their legal department. I’m sure they do this since for most folks the cost of the attorney would be more than the fee! I refused, and told them to have their attorney contact me directly, they said they would call back in 1-2 days.

    In the meantime, I filed a complaint with my state Attorney General’s office.

    After 4 business days, I still hadn’t heard back from Mercury. On the 4th day, the state AG’s office contacted Mercury regarding my complaint.

    Wahlah! Magically, on the 5th day, the same supervisor calls me and tells me that after further “review”, they would be “able” to refund me my termination fee (that they had already taken out of my bank account!). I’m 100% certain it was only because they were contacted by the Attorney General’s office.

    So in short, I think Mercury is highly slimy. I’m sure many folks have had great experiences with them, maybe I’m just unlucky. But I’m back to a lower rate and better (and more honest) customer service. And at least their corporate policy doesn’t explicitly contradict their contract.

    I sincerely believe that Mercury has a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen with how they treat customers attempting to cancel their contract. They are dishonest and weasely in what they say and do.

    Oh, and a couple of other corrections to this review:

    1. The contract is NOT month-to-month. It’s annual, minimum 1 year. Make sure your contract is for 1 year! Because if you are more than 1 year you HAVE to pay a termination fee if you leave early, no exceptions.

    2. Cancellation fee – good luck getting them to honor the waiver clause. Don’t be afraid to fight for your rights here.

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

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