- No application or account setup fees
- Month-to-month contracts with no early termination fee
- Interchange-plus or subscription-based pricing available
- Offers EMV-compliant, Bluetooth-connected mobile card reader
- Minimal pricing disclosures
- Relatively new company
ProMerchant is a merchant account provider headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 2018, and as of this writing has been in business for a little over one year. That doesn’t mean they don’t have experience in the processing industry, however. The company is the brainchild of several former executives from other merchant account providers, so you can rest assured that they have extensive experience in running a merchant services company.
So, will ProMerchant shake up the world of credit card processing by offering merchants a better deal than most of their competitors? Or will they turn out to be just another run-of-the-mill provider that suffers from the same problems that continue to plague the industry? Well, the jury is still out on that question. With just a little over a year in business, this is a new company without a long-term reputation. However, we’re highly encouraged by some of the features they offer, such as month-to-month accounts that don’t come with an early termination fee and a choice between interchange-plus and subscription-based pricing. We’re also encouraged by their mission statement, which establishes a goal “[t]o change the world of payment processing, by delivering expert guidance, transparent low rates and best in class support to all merchants.” At this point, the company seems genuinely focused on providing merchants with a different (and better) experience than they often encounter with credit card processors.
Because the company has been in business for such a short time, there’s very little feedback available from merchants who have actually used their services. We found a few positive testimonials on the company’s website and several generally upbeat reviews scattered around the web, but that’s about it. While it’s inevitable that the company will attract its fair share of criticism, we’re hopeful that they’ll garner some substantial praise from customers as well.
For now, we’re awarding ProMerchant a slightly-above-average rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. While the company doesn’t appear to have any glaring weaknesses at this point, they don’t have any outstanding features that separate them from their competitors, either. If you’re interested in the benefits of subscription-based pricing, ProMerchant is worth a look. At the same time, you’ll want to compare any quote you receive from them against what a highly rated provider can offer you.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
Although they’re a new company, ProMerchant appears to offer all the standard products and services that you’ll need to run your business. Here’s a rundown of what they offer:
- Merchant Accounts: ProMerchant is not a direct processor, but they don’t disclose which company (or companies) they use to process your transactions. This information will be available to you in your contract documents, so be sure to review them thoroughly before you sign up. You’ll rarely have to deal with the backend processor anyway, as customer service is provided by ProMerchant. The company also advertises account approval in 24 hours or less, which may be useful if you need to get up and running in a hurry. At the same time, be aware that rapid account approval is not always a good thing! If your provider cuts corners to get your account approved in such a short timeframe, there may be an increased risk of a sudden account freeze or termination later on.
- Credit Card Terminals: The company offers several credit card machines, including the Verifone Vx520. This rugged unit offers both EMV compatibility and the ability to accept NFC-based payment methods (such as Apple Pay and Android Pay). For the majority of restaurants and retail businesses, it’s really all you need. Although pricing for the Vx520 is not disclosed, you’ll have to option to either buy your terminal outright or receive a “free” terminal with your account. The latter option will obviously save you a lot of money, but be aware that the provided equipment isn’t yours to keep forever and ever. You’ll have to return it promptly if you later decide to shut down your account or switch processors. The advantage of buying your equipment outright is that you can keep it and have it reprogrammed if you later decide to switch processors. Either option is a much better choice than leasing. We highly recommend against leasing, as you’ll be trapped in a noncancelable, long-term contract and will end up paying many times more than what the equipment is worth. Note that ProMerchant does not offer terminal leases – another very positive point in their favor.
- Payment Gateway: For eCommerce merchants, the company offers the Authorize.Net (see our review) payment gateway, which is probably the most popular gateway in use today. Authorize.Net includes just about every feature you’ll need to run an online business, including seamless integration with a huge variety of shopping carts, a customer information database, support for recurring billing, automated fraud detection, and many other features. Although ProMerchant doesn’t disclose any pricing information, resellers can often get you set up with Authorize.Net for a lower overall cost than you’d pay if you went through the company directly. In most cases, you’ll also be able to keep your Authorize.Net service (and your customer data!) if you later decide to switch to a different processor.
- Virtual Terminal: ProMerchant offers mail order/telephone order businesses a choice between either Authorize.Net or the MX Quick Pay virtual terminal for manually keying in transactions. Authorize.Net is a better choice if you have a website and need the expanded capabilities of a full-service payment gateway. If you don’t have an online presence, MX Quick Pay is all you need. In addition to accepting manual transactions, it can support recurring billing and has several basic reporting functions.
- Mobile Payments: ProMerchant uses the MX Merchant Express app in conjunction with an EMV-compliant card reader to provide a mobile payments capability for smartphones and tablets. The card reader connects via Bluetooth, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues if you have a newer device that lacks a headphone jack. Although EMV payments have been around for several years now, many merchant services providers still offer magstripe-only mobile card readers. We’re glad to see that ProMerchant offers the latest in mobile processing technology rather than providing you with outdated hardware that is essentially obsolete at this point. While the company doesn’t disclose pricing for either the card reader or its mobile processing services, it will be significantly less expensive than buying a traditional countertop terminal.
- Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems: If you’d like to integrate inventory management and a host of other features into your payment processing system, ProMerchant offers the Clover lineup of POS systems. Models advertised on their website include the Clover Station (see our review), Clover Mini (see our review), and Clover Flex. Pricing is not disclosed for any of these options.
Fees & Rates
Most traditional merchant services providers disclose absolutely no information about their fees or rates on their websites, so it’s refreshing to see that ProMerchant offers some pricing information. All of their processing rate plans are based on the interchange-plus pricing model, which we feel is the most affordable and transparent option for most merchants who process over $5,000 per month in transactions. ProMerchant gives you a choice between two plans:
- Interchange Plus Fixed Rate: With this plan, you’ll pay both a fixed percentage markup and a flat per-transaction fee for each transaction you process in addition to the interchange costs charged by the credit card associations. ProMerchant doesn’t offer any rate quotes on their website, so you can expect to be offered a rate that’s based on your average monthly processing volume, your processing history, and several other factors. We’ve seen a rate quote under this plan of interchange + 0.50% + $0.15 per transaction, which is rather high in comparison to what many other providers charge. However, it’s likely that this rate represents the company’s highest available rate, and high-volume businesses will receive a substantially lower quote.
- Interchange Plus Flat Monthly Fee: Your other alternative is a rate plan that substitutes a fixed monthly fee for the per-transaction percentage charge. Under this type of plan, your rate would presumably be interchange + 0.00% + $0.15 per transaction – or lower. Of course, you’ll also be paying a flat monthly fee, so you won’t necessarily save money with this plan. While ProMerchant insists that this isn’t a subscription fee, it appears to operate in the exact same manner as subscription-based pricing plans from other providers. Again, the company does not disclose any information about its monthly subscription fees, but competitors using this pricing method typically charge around $49.00 – $99.00 per month, depending on your processing volume.
ProMerchant claims that their sales representatives will work with you to choose the pricing option that will be most affordable for your business, but we highly recommend that you run the numbers yourself and don’t rely on them to decide for you. Subscription-based pricing can offer significant savings over traditional interchange-plus pricing for an established business with a predictable monthly processing volume, but it’s a poor choice for a small business or a new startup. If you’re not sure which plan is right for you, we recommend sticking with the Interchange Plus Fixed Rate plan.
ProMerchant advertises that they do not charge any account setup or application fees. We consider these fees to be “junk” fees – at least for a traditional, low-risk business – so we’re glad to see that you won’t have to pay them. At the same time, most merchant services providers have dropped these fees in recent years, so you’re not really getting a special deal here.
The company makes no other disclosures regarding account fees, other than the standard claim that they don’t charge “hidden” fees. There’s no information regarding monthly account fees, annual fees, PCI compliance fees, a monthly minimum, or any other types of fees. You’ll want to ask your sales representative about these fees when negotiating the terms of your contract, but don’t accept their verbal assurances as the final word. There are always additional fees, even if they’re just incidental fees that you only occasionally have to pay. These fees will be disclosed (often in very fine print) in your contract documents, so be sure to review them thoroughly before you sign up for an account. For more information on what types of fees you can anticipate, check out our article, The Complete Guide to Credit Card Processing Rates & Fees.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
ProMerchant advertises that all their contracts are month-to-month with no early termination fees. This is the best and most flexible arrangement you could hope for, and it’s becoming increasingly common throughout the processing industry. Nonetheless, there are a few things to look out for when it comes to contract length.
You’ll want to review your contract documents very carefully before you sign up to ensure that they include verbiage specifically indicating that your contract will continue indefinitely on a month-to-month basis. Some companies are waiving their early termination fees while keeping the multi-year terms and automatic renewal clauses in their contracts, and then advertising them as being “month-to-month.” This is not the same thing as a true month-to-month contract. While you might avoid being charged an early termination fee under this type of contract, it could also lead to being automatically charged monthly account fees after you close your account early.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
ProMerchant’s website features an elegant design and a fair amount of information about its products and services. It’s also easy to navigate – primarily because there isn’t all that much information on it. Because the company has been in business for such a short time, we anticipate that the site’s content will grow over time. We’re glad to see that they’ve included a discussion of interchange-plus pricing. We’d like it even better if the company included some actual pricing disclosures. Many of our favorite merchant services providers fully disclose their processing rates and account fees right on their websites, and if ProMerchant wants to compete with them, they’re going to have to step up their game in this area.
Unlike many merchant account providers, the company does not use any independent sales agents to market their accounts. This is a very good thing, as the use of independent agents has led to a number of problems within the processing industry, and they have a poor reputation due to inadequate training and supervision. Instead, ProMerchant has a dedicated team of in-house sales representatives to help you set up your account. In-house sales representatives generally receive much better training and will, in most cases, provide much better service to their customers. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should trust them blindly! Read every single word of your contract carefully before you agree to sign up, and be very wary of any sales representative who tries to pressure you into signing a contract before you’ve had a chance to do so.
As a very new company, ProMerchant has a fledgling presence on social media, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. There isn’t much content there yet, but hopefully, more will be added as the company continues to grow.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Maintaining a merchant account invariably requires a higher level of customer support than, say, maintaining your checking account. Problems arise frequently, and in many cases you as a merchant won’t be able to solve them without help. Most providers in the industry follow a traditional approach to customer support, maintaining a team of representatives that can be reached via telephone, email, and sometimes through a chat function on the provider’s website. This approach allows 24/7 coverage, but you’ll usually end up talking to a different representative each time. Telephone support during non-business hours is particularly problematic, as it’s often outsourced to third-party companies whose representatives lack the authority and training to help you with anything beyond a simple technical problem.
A growing trend within the processing industry is to assign each merchant a dedicated account representative. This approach has the advantage that you’ll be able to work with the same agent each time you encounter a problem. Your agent will, in turn, develop a much better working knowledge of you and the unique needs of your business. At the same time, such agents aren’t available 24/7.
ProMerchant uses a unique approach to customer support that attempts to combine the advantages of both of these approaches. The company employs a dedicated support team, so you’ll be able to reach someone at any hour of the day. However, your primary point of contact will be a dedicated account manager, who’ll be assigned to you when you set up your account. Naturally, we recommend that you try to contact your account manager during business hours, if at all possible.
How well does this approach work in actual practice, though? At this point, we can’t say for certain. ProMerchant is such a new company that we haven’t received enough feedback from merchants to pass judgment. Customer support is always a tricky area for merchant services providers, and even the largest companies often fail to get it right. Hopefully, we’ll have more information to share in our next review update.
We’d also note that, while rather impersonal, email can be a convenient and effective way to resolve customer support issues. It’s particularly well-suited to resolving relatively simple technical problems. For more complicated issues (such as a hold or freeze on your account), it’s not so great, and you’ll want to contact your account representative by phone.
Have you had any experience with ProMerchant’s customer support? If so, please be sure to tell us about it in the Comments section below.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
At the time of this review, ProMerchant has been accredited by the BBB for less than a month. The company nevertheless has an A- rating, based mostly on its brief time in business. There are currently no complaints against the company with the BBB. Likewise, there are no complaints on Ripoff Report.
Ordinarily, we take a lack of complaints against a processor as a very good sign that they’re providing high-quality service and keeping their customers happy. While this may very well be the case with ProMerchant, we really can’t be sure due to the company’s very short length of time in business. Merchant services providers inevitably receive their fair share of complaints and criticism from users, no matter how good of a job they’re doing overall. It’s simply not possible to make everyone happy, and sooner or later a merchant will have a bad experience and will make a complaint against the company.
As always, we encourage readers who have had any experience with ProMerchant – good or bad – to leave a review in the Comments section below. With such a new company, it’s particularly important for us to hear from actual users of their products and services. This allows us to pinpoint specific problems that occur frequently and identify trends that you should be aware of if you’re considering signing up with ProMerchant.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
As we’ve noted above, ProMerchant is a very new company, and feedback from merchants has been limited so far. There are currently two testimonials from merchants posted on the company’s website. While they’re naturally very positive, we felt that they were effective in identifying particular aspects of the company’s services that were praiseworthy.
We also found one positive review on ProMerchant’s BBB profile and five 5-star reviews on TrustPilot. These reviews were all left by merchants who had recently signed up with the company, and they mostly highlight the positive experience they had with the ProMerchant sales team. We’re hopeful that this positive trend will continue in the future.
Again, if you’ve had any positive experience with ProMerchant, please leave a detailed review in the Comments section below. Feedback from our readers is critical in identifying a company’s strengths and weaknesses, and helps us to offer the best advice as to whether a provider is worth doing business with or not.
Brand-new companies usually go out of their way to make a good first impression, and ProMerchant is no exception. We’re very impressed that they offer month-to-month contracts as a standard feature and don’t charge early termination fees. We’re also pleased with their use of both interchange-plus and subscription-based pricing. As we’ve noted above, interchange-plus pricing is usually the most transparent and cost-effective pricing model for most merchants. However, established businesses with a stable, predictable monthly processing volume can save a significant amount of money on processing costs through a subscription-based pricing plan. ProMerchant will work with you to identify which pricing plan is best for your business.
At the same time, we would definitely like to see some more transparency on some issues. We’d like to see the company disclose more information about its actual processing rates, for one thing. Also, we don’t see how any merchant would want to decide on a subscription-based plan when the company doesn’t disclose any information about its monthly subscription fees. Virtually all other providers that offer a subscription-based pricing model disclose this information. We’d also like to see some more transparency regarding account fees. Again, many of ProMerchant’s competitors freely post this information right on their websites.
For now, ProMerchant earns a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Month-to-month billing and interchange-plus pricing put them ahead of the industry average, but without more information, we can’t offer a solid recommendation. If you’re interested in signing up with ProMerchant, we recommend that you get a quote with some actual pricing information and compare it to what other providers can offer you. We also recommend that you review your contract very thoroughly before you sign on the dotted line. Many of the bad experiences merchants have had with processing companies could have been avoided entirely if they had taken this simple step. We’ll update this review and provide a more definitive recommendation as feedback from ProMerchant’s users comes in. In the meanwhile, if you’re looking for a merchant account and want to compare some of the best providers in the industry side-by-side, check out our Merchant Account Comparison Chart.
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