Moneris Solutions Review
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- Date Established
- Toronto, ON
- Interchange-plus pricing available upon request
- Full range of hardware available for rent or purchase
- Extensive online knowledgebase
- Three-year contract
- $300 early termination fee per location
- Poor customer support
Moneris Solutions is a Canadian-based merchant account provider and processor headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The company was 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, and the company operated in the United States as Moneris Solutions USA until just last year. In December 2016, Vantiv acquired Moneris Solutions USA, and all US accounts were transferred to that company. Today, Moneris Solutions operates only in Canada.
Canadian merchants probably already know that Moneris Solutions 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. Naturally, we’ve seen a significant drop in the overall number of complaints against the company, although many older complaints are still posted online. Moneris also seems to have dropped the liquidated damages clause from its contracts, which previously was one of our biggest criticisms of the company. Nonetheless, we’re still concerned 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 Solutions rates a respectable 4 out of 5 stars. They’re a decent choice for a mid-sized or larger Canadian business. However, you’ll certainly want to negotiate 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 Helcim as the best all-around provider north of the border. It pays to shop around, but most merchants will find the overall cost of maintaining a merchant account to be lower with Helcim.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
Moneris Solutions offers an enormous number of products and services ranging from merchant accounts to office supplies. You can check out their full range of hardware products at ShopMoneris.com. Here’s a rundown of the company’s primary offerings:
- Merchant accounts: Moneris is a direct processor, meaning they process 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 you’re faced with a held transaction or an account freeze.
- Credit card terminals: The company offers several countertop and wireless terminals, but 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 re-sold, 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.
- Point-of-sale (POS) software: Rather than partner with dedicated POS terminal providers, Moneris offers their proprietary PAYD Pro Plus® This app-based system turns your iPad into a fully-featured POS terminal (Android tablets do not appear to be supported). 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, $99.95 per month allows you to have up to 100 users and track up to 50,000 products. To accept payments, you’ll need to rent either the wired iPP320 pin pad or the e355 wireless pad. 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 their proprietary Moneris Gateway. You can set this up for access via a hosted payment page or use their API to integrate it directly into your website. Note that the latter option will usually require the assistance of a developer unless you have the requisite 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 Level 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 their PAYD® mobile processing system. This setup consists of the free PAYD app and a 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.
In addition to these basic services, 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.
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, which 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 their 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 should fees rise, or new fees be 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 their website, so you’ll have to obtain a quote from them to get an idea of what your costs will look like. They do 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 that you are offered! 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 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 others. 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.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
Moneris posts the Terms and Conditions of their merchant accounts on their website, so it’s a good idea to review this document before contacting their 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.
While three years is the industry standard for an initial merchant account contract, the automatic renewal period of only six months is shorter than most providers will offer you. At the same time, requiring 90 days’ notice to cancel means that you’ll have to pay close attention and submit the necessary documentation to close your account long before your contract expires. Note that you might be able to negotiate a waiver to the three-year term entirely, in which case your contract would effectively be month-to-month.
Moneris also charges a “deactivation fee” (i.e., an early termination fee (ETF)) of $300 per location if you close your account early. Again, you can sometimes get this fee waived if you negotiate firmly 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 Helcim. They offer month-to-month contracts to all their merchants, and they never charge an ETF.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Moneris Solutions’ 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 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, and a few of the standard fees are buried in the fine print of this document.
Unfortunately, the site also features a number of sales gimmicks designed to entice you into signing up for a Moneris merchant account. In the merchant services industry, these kinds of “freebies” are never really free. There’s always some fine print (disclosed or not) that limits the value of whatever reward is being offered, making the offer far less valuable than it appears. For example, Moneris is currently promoting an offer where you can get a rebate of up to $500 if you sign up for an account. Although they note that this rebate does not apply to Moneris PAYD® products, other caveats are not disclosed. You can rest assured that a merchant would have to process a very high amount in transactions to get the full $500 rebate. In most cases, your rebate, if any, will be much smaller.
Moneris also touts a free trial period, but doesn’t provide specifics. Since your three-year contract begins the moment you sign up, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be able to process any live transactions during this trial. At best, you’ll be able to log into your account and play around with some of the reporting features. That’s about it. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be fooled by any of these gimmicks. There will always be a catch, usually buried in the fine print of your contract documents, that lessens or eliminates the value of the offer.
Moneris Solutions also has a robust presence on social media, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These accounts are updated fairly often and are mostly used to publicize the company’s blog. Their YouTube channel includes dozens of videos, including testimonials, equipment tutorials, and educational clips. Videos are in both English and French.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Moneris offers 24/7 customer support by phone or through their Merchant Direct Secure Message Center. You’ll also find a wide range of manuals, troubleshooting guides, installation instructions and so on through their 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. While this is a novel way to provide support and can save you from having to wait on hold for a long time on the telephone, 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, who simply don’t put the resources into hiring an 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 their knowledgebase before you try to contact their customer support.
Have you worked with Moneris Solutions? Feel free to leave us your review. Don’t forget to read the user review and comment policy.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Despite its size, Moneris Solutions is not accredited by the BBB. The company currently has a B rating, with 27 complaints filed within the last three years. Six of those complaints were filed within the last twelve months. The company also has nine reviews posted with the BBB, and all nine of them are negative. Note that these complaints and negative reviews are all from the company’s Canadian office. Additional complaints from the company’s Illinois office are still posted, but it’s now listed as no longer being in business.
Ripoff Report shows an additional 32 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 did 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 across North America, this complaint volume is actually better than average. Moneris also responded to almost all their 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. You don’t have to worry about this, of course, since you will make sure to bring this up in negotiations and you will not sign the contract until their ETF clause is amended to your satisfaction – right?
- Liquidated damages: Many merchants also have complained in our Comments section and on other review sites about being charged liquidated damages as a part of their early termination fee. For some merchants, this translates into thousands of dollars owed upon closing, which Moneris automatically takes from their accounts. Some complaints assert that these damages are equal to the three highest months of processing fees combined, with a bottom limit of $250. This practice seems to have been limited to the American office, and is no longer an issue.
- 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 95% of 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 then 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 they do the auto-renewal (it saves them time and makes them money), Moneris needs to do a much better job of informing their merchants about it.
- Poor customer service: A few merchants have complained about dealing with rude customer service reps, especially when it comes to handling more complex problems. I’d like to hear some more opinions on this, as it’s difficult to tell based on a few anonymous complaints. If you’ve dealt with Moneris Solutions’ customer service department, please let us know how you’ve been treated. Authenticated reviews will, as always, be heavily considered in future updates.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Although it’s not easy to find, Moneris has a nice section called Success Stories on their Insights blog which features testimonials from some of their 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.
You’ll also find a few testimonials on the company’s YouTube channel and scattered throughout their website. If you’ve had a positive experience with Moneris Solutions, please feel free to tell us about it in the Comments section below.
Moneris offers an impressive lineup of products and services. They provide just about every kind of hardware and software you would need to run either a retail on online business. However, their lengthy contracts and hefty early termination fees bring them down a notch. Their failure to disclose essential contract terms – either verbally or on their websites – lowers their 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 their iPad-based POS system is particularly eye-popping. We’re glad to see that they offer 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 amongst American providers.
As it stands, Moneris Solutions earns a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. This is a higher rating than we’ve given them in the past, and the improvement is mostly due to the divestiture of their American division. Be wary when reading complaints and reviews about Moneris, 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 better-than-average processor, it’s not the best choice out there. For Canadian merchants, we highly recommend Helcim, a company that provides the best overall combination of pricing and service of any Canadian-based provider. You can also check out our article The Best (and Worst) Canadian Merchant Account Providers for some other recommendations.