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- Date Established
- Toronto, ON
- Full range of hardware available for rent or purchase
- Interchange-plus pricing available upon request
- Extensive online knowledgebase
- Three-year standard contract
- $300 early termination fee per location
- Reports of poor customer support
Moneris is a Canadian-based merchant account provider and processor headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The company formed in 2000 from a merger of the payment processing divisions of the Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank of Canada. This merger also included the Harris Bank in Chicago, Illinois. The company operated in the United States as Moneris Solutions USA until December 2016, when Vantiv (now WorldPay) acquired Moneris Solutions USA, and all US accounts were transferred to that company. Today, Moneris operates only in Canada.
Canadian merchants probably already know that Moneris is the largest processor in their country. There are some advantages to this, as the company has more investment capital, wider margins, and more experience in the industry than its smaller competitors. Depending on the nature and size of your business, this could translate into lower processing rates and a wider variety of services. At the same time, large processors generally don’t do a very good job of tailoring their services to the needs of small businesses, and Moneris is no exception in this regard.
The sale of the United States’ side of Moneris’ business seems to have had a positive effect on the company’s overall reputation. It’s now been more than three years since the divestiture of the company’s US office. Hence, BBB complaints from American merchants (of which there were many) have been removed from the company’s profile, leaving a much lower overall complaint volume. However, we still have concerns about the company’s early termination fees, automatically renewing contracts, and reputation for poor customer service.
While we have objections to some terms in the company’s contracts, overall, Moneris rates a respectable 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a decent choice for a mid-sized or larger Canadian business. However, you’ll certainly want to negotiate for the best rates and terms you can get and review your contract thoroughly before you sign up.
Canadian merchants don’t have as many providers to choose from as their US counterparts, but Moneris isn’t the only game in town. For smaller businesses — or any company looking for a more transparent sales experience — we highly recommend both National Processing and Helcim as the best all-around providers available in Canada. It pays to shop around, but most merchants will find the overall cost of maintaining a merchant account to be lower with either of these two companies.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
Moneris offers an enormous number of products and services, ranging from merchant accounts to office supplies. Here’s a rundown of the company’s primary offerings:
- Merchant Accounts: Moneris is a direct processor, meaning it processes all transactions in-house rather than relying on a third party for this service. For merchants, this means you’ll always be dealing with the same company, especially when faced with a held transaction or an account freeze.
- Credit Card Terminals: The company offers several countertop and wireless terminals, but it doesn’t disclose much information about specific models or capabilities. Some models support NFC-based payment methods, such as Apple Pay or Android Pay. EMV-compliant terminals are also available and should be your minimum requirement if you’re buying new equipment. While pricing is not disclosed, you should have the option to purchase your equipment. Because EMV credit card machines in Canada are not designed to be resold, Moneris will rent you an EMV terminal if you don’t want to incur the expense of buying one. While you’ll have to return your equipment at your own expense if you close your account, this is still a much better deal than leasing a terminal.
- Smart Terminals: In addition to more traditional countertop terminals, Moneris offers two “smart” terminals that feature color touchscreens and the ability to load additional software applications. These terminals use the Moneris Core software app to add advanced functionality to your terminal. The company currently offers the Desk/5000 and Verifone V400c terminals, but it does not disclose pricing information.
- Point Of Sale (POS) Software: Rather than partner with dedicated POS terminal providers, Moneris offers its proprietary PAYD Pro Plus® app. This app-based system turns your iPad into a fully-featured POS terminal (it doesn’t appear to support Android tablets). You’ll get all the standard features you would expect, including payment processing, customer information management, and inventory tracking. Licensing fees start at $44.95 per month for a single user. This plan supports up to 1,000 products. For $74.95 per month, you can have up to ten users and track up to 10,000 products. For larger businesses, there’s a $99.95 monthly plan that allows you to have up to 100 users and track up to 50,000 products. You’ll need to rent either the wired iPP320 PIN Pad or the e355 wireless pad to accept payments. Either model will cost an additional $19.95 per month. Retail merchants should also consider an optional retail kit; pricing starts at $749 for an iPad stand, cash drawer, and receipt printer. Note that this doesn’t include an iPad! Installation and on-site training plans, while optional, start at $700. These costs all add up to a very significant expense, and you’ll want to evaluate the pros and cons carefully before investing in a Moneris POS system.
- Payment Gateway: For eCommerce merchants, the company offers its proprietary Moneris Gateway. You can set this up for access via a hosted payment page or use the API to integrate it directly into your website. Note that the latter option will usually require the assistance of a developer unless you have coding skills. The Moneris Gateway includes all the standard features you would expect in a payment gateway, including a Vault to store recurring customer data, shopping cart integration, tokenization for security and PCI compliance, and support for Levels 2 and 3 payment processing data. There’s also a virtual terminal that can be used with or without the gateway.
- Mobile Payments: If you need to process on the go, Moneris can set you up with its PAYD® mobile processing system. This setup consists of the free PAYD app and a PAYD Roam Reader magstripe card reader that plugs into your smartphone’s (or tablet’s) headphone jack. The PAYD app is compatible with both iOS and Android. Your first card reader is free, and additional readers are available for $29.95 each. If your phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, or you want to add some extra payment features, you’ll need to upgrade to PAYD Pro, which uses the e355 PIN Pad. This EMV-compliant unit connects via wireless or Bluetooth and rents for $19.95 per month. Processing rates for the PAYD system are fixed at 2.65% for card-present transactions and 2.85% + $0.15 per transaction for card-not-present sales. Users of the basic PAYD system are limited to processing $5,000 per month in transactions. While there’s no monthly fee for using the PAYD system, you will need to have a merchant account through Moneris, and this usually comes with a monthly account fee.
You’ll also find online reporting via the company’s Merchant Direct website and a developer portal where you can access API SDKs and software documentation.
Moneris rates an “excellent” in this category due to its extensive lineup of services and products. However, many of its offerings are not competitively priced for small business owners. The iPad POS system, for example, can run you nearly $1,500 in upfront costs, plus an additional $65 per month — and that’s not including the iPad you’ll need to make the system work!
Fees & Rates
One advantage that Canadian merchants enjoy is that the Canadian government has issued an official Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada. The Code of Conduct aims to protect businesses from some of the more unscrupulous practices that are common within the credit card processing industry. Although it isn’t legally binding, Moneris has pledged to abide by the Code and provides a Code of Conduct Complaints Resolution page on its website where merchants can file complaints. Major provisions of the Code include the following:
- Clear information regarding fees and rates
- A minimum of 90 days’ notice of any new fees or fee increases
- The ability to cancel contracts without penalty if fees rise or new fees are introduced
- New tools to promote competition, particularly the freedom to accept credit payments from a specific network without the obligation to accept debit payments and vice versa
Despite this commitment, Moneris discloses very little specific information about rates or fees on its website, so you’ll have to obtain a quote from the company to get an idea of what your costs will look like. It does provide an Interchange FAQ, but that’s about it. Like many other providers, Moneris appears to offer a combination of interchange-plus and tiered pricing plans. Processing rates will vary, depending primarily on your average monthly processing volume, and are negotiable. Don’t blindly accept the first quote offered to you! You should also explicitly ask for interchange-plus pricing, although newer businesses with little or no processing history might not be able to get it.
Moneris also reveals very little information about account fees. While these fees are also somewhat negotiable, you can expect to pay a monthly account fee, a gateway fee (if you need the payment gateway), equipment rental fees, and possibly PCI compliance fees. Other incidental fees might include Address Verification Service (AVS) fees, chargeback fees, and more. As always, it’s critically important that you thoroughly review all contract documents before you sign up.
We’ve also seen reports of Moneris charging some merchants as much as $300 in application and account setup fees. Do not accept this when setting up your account. They’re mostly junk fees and can usually be waived if you insist on it.
Moneris only earns a “fair” rating in this category due to the lack of pricing disclosures on its website. However, you shouldn’t be discouraged by this. With a little negotiation, there’s no reason why you can’t obtain competitive processing rates and fair account fees.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
Moneris posts the Terms and Conditions of its merchant accounts on its website, so it’s a good idea to review this document before contacting the sales department. According to the latest version, the following conditions apply:
17.1 Term (including Renewal Terms). The Initial Term of the Agreement will begin on the Effective Date and will continue for 3 years and the Agreement will automatically renew for successive Renewal Terms of 6 months each unless any party notifies the others at least 90 days before the end of the Initial Term or Renewal Term, that it wishes to terminate the Agreement, such termination to be effective at the end of the Initial Term or Renewal Term, as the case may be. As used in the Agreement, “Term” means the Initial Term and any subsequent Renewal Terms.
Three years is the industry standard for an initial merchant account contract. However, automatic renewal periods are limited by Canadian law to no more than six months at a time. Because the agreement requires 90 days’ notice to cancel, you’ll have to pay close attention and submit the necessary documentation to close your account long before your current term expires. You can — and should — attempt to negotiate a waiver of the early termination clause. While your contract won’t be quite the same as a month-to-month agreement, it will save you from having to pay the ETF if you need to close your account with less than 90 days’ notice for any reason.
As mentioned above, Moneris also charges a “deactivation fee” (i.e., an early termination fee or ETF) of $300 per location if you close your account early. Again, you can sometimes get this fee waived if you firmly negotiate when setting up your account. If you’d prefer not to have to deal with lengthy contract terms or early termination fees at all, we recommend that you take a look at National Processing. It offers month-to-month contracts to all its merchants and never charges an ETF.
With an industry-standard three-year contract and an early termination fee, Moneris only earns a “fair” rating in this category. Be sure to request a waiver of the ETF — and get it in writing!
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Moneris’ website is impressive. It’s one of the most thorough, polished, and generally good-looking sites we’ve seen from a payment processor. The site presents a ton of useful information, including an in-depth knowledgebase with guides to the company’s equipment and software. It’s not perfect, however, as very little pricing information is disclosed. While a few fixed costs (such as some terminal rental fees) are disclosed, there’s no mention of processing rates or account fees. Moneris does provide a copy of the Terms and Conditions that apply to all merchant account holders, however. A few of the standard fees are buried in the fine print of this document.
The company’s current website no longer includes any of the misleading sales gimmicks that we’ve criticized it for in the past. You won’t find any of the “special offers,” rebates, or “free trial” periods that try to fool you into thinking you’re getting something for nothing. Instead, the website presents a simple, no-nonsense approach to describing the company’s products and services, plus a wealth of useful education and self-help resources. Overall, it’s a notable improvement over previous versions.
Moneris also has a robust presence on social media, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. These accounts are updated fairly often and are mostly used to publicize the company’s blog. The company’s YouTube channel includes dozens of videos, including testimonials, equipment tutorials, and educational clips. Videos are in both English and French.
We’re awarding Moneris a “good” rating in this category due to improvements in the company’s website and the removal of misleading sales gimmicks. While we’d still like to see more transparency regarding account pricing, the site is still very useful for both prospective and current customers.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Moneris offers 24/7 customer support by phone or through its website. There is also now a Live Chat option that’s available from 8 AM to 4 PM Eastern, Monday-Friday. If you’re just having a technical problem, there’s a wide range of manuals, troubleshooting guides, installation instructions, and more available through the company’s Support page. This knowledgebase is very impressive and one of the better ones we’ve seen.
You can also contact customer service via Facebook or Twitter from 8 AM until 8 PM Eastern during the workweek. It’s a novel way to provide support and can save you from having to wait on hold for a long time on the telephone, but we’re not sure it’s all that useful for solving complex problems.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen quite a few complaints from merchants alleging they received poor customer service from Moneris. This is a common problem among many of the larger processors due to not putting the resources into hiring adequate support staff and providing them with the necessary training to do their jobs properly. Our recommendation is to make every effort to resolve your problem using the company’s knowledgebase before you try to contact customer support.
Have you worked with Moneris? Feel free to leave us your review. Don’t forget to read the User Review and Comment Policy.
Moneris earns a “good” rating in this category. While the company provides an excellent array of customer service options, persistent complaints from merchants about the quality of the support kept it from earning the highest grade.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
While Moneris has received its fair share of criticism from merchants over the years, the company’s overall complaint volume is quite low relative to its size. Despite being a large direct processor, Moneris is not accredited by the BBB. The company currently has an A+ rating, with five complaints filed within the last three years. Only three of those complaints were filed within the past twelve months. This represents a significant drop-off in complaints against the company, which we attribute to the fact that it’s now been over three years since Moneris closed its office in the US, and the complaints from American customers have now disappeared. The company also has five reviews posted with the BBB, including one 2-star rating and four 1-star ratings. Several of these complaints are from American customers whose accounts were transferred to Vantiv in 2016.
Ripoff Report shows an additional 20 complaints dating back to 2006. Note that many of these complaints are for the old American office. In reviewing these complaints, you’ll want to focus on those for the Canadian office, as the company apparently had different business practices in the United States than it has in Canada.
For a company that processes more than 3 billion credit and debit card transactions a year and serves over 350,000 merchant locations, this complaint volume is actually better than average. Moneris also responded to almost all of its BBB complaints, usually offering refunds or trying to resolve the situation appropriately. Issues that came up frequently included the following:
- Nondisclosure Of Early Termination Fees: As with most payment processors, the number one complaint you’ll see has to do with allegedly undisclosed early termination fees. Do not rely on your sales agent to disclose this information voluntarily, as they know that it makes it harder to sell you an account. Review your proposed contract thoroughly, and negotiate to have the early termination fee waived before you agree to sign up with Moneris.
- Undisclosed Automatic Renewal Of Contract: Again, this comes up with a majority of processors. It happens for two reasons. First, it occurs because auto-renewal is the industry standard, and almost all processors have this as part of their standard merchant agreements. Second, it happens because many sales agents just want to get you signed up while disclosing as few potential sticking points as possible. The problem is that unsatisfied merchants are waiting patiently for the three-year contract to be up, so they won’t have to pay the termination fee. They wait and wait, and when it’s time for the contract to expire, they call to cancel — only to find out they are stuck for another six months. In case you were wondering, this makes merchants very angry. While I understand why it does the auto-renewal (it saves time and makes the company money), Moneris needs to do a much better job of informing merchants about it.
- Poor Customer Service: Merchants continue to complain about dealing with rude customer service representatives, especially when it comes to handling more complex problems or trying to close an account. While the overall volume of complaints about this issue is quite low, it’s still concerning whenever a company’s representatives behave in an unprofessional manner.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Moneris has several testimonials on the Featured Customers website. The company’s profile includes 12 case studies, 11 customer testimonials, and one customer video. Unfortunately, only a few of these testimonials are publicly viewable. While unsolicited positive feedback from a customer will always be more compelling (and honest) than a company-produced infomercial, they’re not bad.
The company also has a nice section called Success Stories on its Insights blog, which features testimonials from some of its more satisfied customers. Rather than the usual quick blurb that most processors provide, these are in-depth articles and videos showing how customers are using Moneris products and services in the day-to-day operation of their businesses. While any testimonial featured on a company’s website is naturally going to be very one-sided, it’s nonetheless an impressive presentation. Success Stories continues to be updated with fresh, new testimonials from Moneris customers. Videos from the Success Stories are also available on the company’s YouTube channel.
Overall, Moneris earns a “good” rating in this category. Its complaint volume is relatively low for a business of its size, and the case studies that it offers are more compelling and detailed than we usually see in company-produced testimonials.
Moneris offers an impressive lineup of products and services. It provides just about every kind of hardware and software product you would need to run either a retail or online business. However, the company’s lengthy contracts and hefty early termination fees bring it down a notch. Its frequent failure to disclose essential contract terms — either verbally or on its website — lowers its score even further.
Like so many other large processors, Moneris’ pricing and contract terms are geared more toward large businesses rather than small startups. Pricing for the company’s iPad-based POS system is particularly eye-popping. We’re glad to see that it offers equipment rentals rather than leases, but this appears to be mostly because EMV-compliant terminals cannot typically be resold in Canada. We still recommend buying your equipment outright, as this will be more cost-effective in the long run. The Code of Conduct imposed on Moneris by the Canadian government also seems to prevent some of the unethical business practices that are so common among American providers.
Moneris earns an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. While the company’s complaint volume has dropped off following the divestiture of its American division, its restrictive contract terms, the high rates and fees, and a poor reputation in the area of customer support prevent it from receiving a higher score. When reading complaints and reviews about Moneris, be cautious, as many of the older complaints don’t specify whether the merchant was dealing with the American or Canadian side of the company.
While Moneris rates as a slightly better-than-average processor, it’s best suited to medium-sized and larger businesses. For Canadian small business owners, we highly recommend either National Processing or Helcim. National Processing provides pay-as-you-go accounts with flat-rate pricing and is an excellent choice for smaller businesses. Larger businesses needing more advanced services should check out Helcim, which offers interchange-plus pricing and also has no long-term contracts. You can also check out our article, The Best Merchant Account Providers For Canadian Small Businesses (& The One Company You Should Avoid At All Costs), for some other recommendations.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.