USPAY Group Review
- Interchange-plus pricing available
- Offers 24/7 customer support
- Tiered pricing for most merchants
- Three-year contract with early termination fee
- Pattern of misleading sales practices
- Website offers very little information about products and services
USPAY Group Overview
Headquartered in Levittown, New York, USPAY Group is a small merchant account provider that specializes in serving the health care industry. The company was originally founded in 2005 as Premier Merchant Processing but changed its name to USPAY Group several years ago. While we’ve seen providers change their names in an attempt to dodge controversies arising from their business practices, that doesn’t appear to be the case with USPAY Group. Instead, they seem to have suffered from being confused with other businesses that have very similar names. I’m not sure how changing from one very generic business name to another helps them, but it does seem to have been effective.
USPAY Group currently has over 25,000 clients, most of them being hospitals, physician practices, and other healthcare-related businesses. The company also serves the retail, ecommerce, restaurant, and entertainment sectors. Except for their USPAY Payment Gateway, they don’t offer any unique in-house products or services that set them apart from other providers. Instead, they rely on a network of partnerships with other companies to provide all of their services. Some of these associations, like their mobile payments system, are disclosed, while others — particularly their relationship with credit card terminal leasing companies — are not.
While the company is a suitable fit for any business in the healthcare field, they’re a pretty mediocre provider overall. You’ll be locked into a three-year contract with an early termination fee (ETF), and, in most cases, you’ll also be saddled with an expensive tiered pricing plan. Things get even worse — much worse — if you agree to lease your equipment. I’m not sure USPAY Group would be a good choice at all for other business sectors, particularly ecommerce. The company either fails to disclose or simply lacks important features such as developer tools and shopping cart integrations. While you might be able to cobble something together from the products they offer, you’re probably going to be better off with a provider that specializes in serving online businesses.
Overall, USPAY Group rates a mediocre 3 out of 5 stars. While there’s nothing particularly terrible about their service, there’s also nothing special that distinguishes them from the dozens of other providers in a very crowded and competitive market. If you’re looking to sign up with the company, it’s possible to avoid some of the downsides of their service by buying your own equipment and negotiating better contract terms. Or, you could just go with a better provider. It’s up to you. For a side-by-side comparison of our top-rated providers, check out our Merchant Account Comparison Chart.
Table of Contents
Products & Services
USPAY Group offers most of the essential services you’ll need to set up a merchant account, including the following:
- Merchant Accounts: USPAY Group is not a direct processor. Rather, they rely on a partnership with Paya (formerly Sage Payment Solutions) to underwrite accounts and process transactions. While you’ll still receive customer service and support from USPAY Group, you may have to work with Paya directly in the event of an account hold, freeze, or termination.
- Credit Card Terminals: The company can set you up with terminals if you need them, but it doesn’t provide any information about specific models. Unfortunately, terminals appear to be available only through a leasing arrangement — something we highly recommend against. In the past, USPAY Group has used Northern Leasing — one of the worst credit card terminal leasing companies in the industry. While they no longer list Northern Leasing as one of their partners, most other leasing companies are just as bad. You’ll be stuck in a noncancelable four-year lease, and the monthly payments will add up to many times more than what the equipment is actually worth. To avoid getting ripped off, we highly recommend that you buy your own hardware. Prices for credit card terminals have come down dramatically in recent years, and there’s simply no benefit to signing up for a lease.
- Mobile Payments: USPAY Group uses the third-party iProcess app (available for both iOS and Android) to provide a mobile payment solution. iProcess requires a compatible encrypted card reader that plugs into your headphone jack. Unfortunately, the current reader is just for magstripe-only cards. Not only does this mean that it can’t process EMV transactions, but it also means you could be liable for any fraud that occurs if you swipe the magstripe on a customer’s EMV card. While the app is free to download, pricing for the card reader is not disclosed. It’s also not clear if USPAY Group charges an additional monthly fee for this service.
- POS Systems: USPAY Group doesn’t have anything to say about POS systems on their website, but as a reseller, their service should be compatible with major countertop and tablet-based systems. Check with your sales agent to ensure compatibility, and don’t get talked into a lease!
- Payment Gateway: The USPAY Gateway (formerly branded as the LUCY [Let Us Connect You] Gateway) is one of the company’s primary features, and it also includes a virtual terminal that can process card-present transactions with an optional USB-connected magstripe card reader. Authorize.Net (see our review) is also available if you’d prefer to use that gateway instead.
- Shopping Cart Integration: USPAY doesn’t provide a list of online shopping carts that are compatible with the USPAY Gateway, but it appears to integrate with Magento and probably several others. Contact your sales agent for more details if you’re interested in this option.
- Online Account Reporting & Management: Almost all merchant services providers have switched to web-based account management systems by now, and USPAY Group is no exception. Their VIMAS system allows you to log into your account from any connected device with a browser. In addition to real-time reporting, you can review up to twelve months of account statements, as well as daily transactions and payments.
- Check Processing Services: USPAY Group provides several ways for merchants to accept paper checks electronically. Most of these offerings require the use of an optional check scanner. You can also process ACH debit payments through the USPAY Gateway. Pricing for this service is not disclosed.
- Data Breach Insurance: All merchant accounts are covered by $100,000 in data breach insurance from ControlScan. Premiums for this insurance are included in the $99 annual PCI compliance fee that the company charges.
Fees & Rates
Like all too many merchant account providers, USPAY Group discloses very little information about pricing on their website. The main reason for this is that processing rates and account fees will vary from one merchant to the next, with factors such as monthly processing volume, processing history, and type of business affecting what pricing terms you will be offered. Negotiation also plays an important role here, and you should never simply accept the first offer a sales agent tries to push on you. It’s always in your best interest to ask for lower rates and better terms.
Unfortunately, USPAY Group seems to offer tiered pricing as their default option. Remarkably, they actually disclose this fact, listing “aggressive tiered pricing” as one of their positive features. We have to question whether their prices are “aggressive” at saving you money or at making more money for them. Either way, they deserve some credit for being honest about it. What they don’t disclose, however, is that they also apparently have interchange-plus pricing available as well. You’ll have to ask for it, and there are probably minimum monthly processing volume requirements to meet in order to get it. However, despite the bewildering variety of interchange rates your transactions might fall under, you’ll almost always save a significant amount of money in processing charges by using interchange-plus pricing.
When it comes to account fees, we’ve found that USPAY Group discloses some fees while leaving you in the dark about others. For example, you’ll pay $99 per year for PCI compliance, which is roughly the industry average. If your account isn’t compliant (usually because you haven’t filled out the Self-Assessment Questionnaire [SAQ]), you’ll pay an additional $19.95 per month for every month that you’re out of compliance. This fee is easy to avoid by completing the SAQ on time every year. The company also discloses that they charge the following fees, although they don’t specify how much they are:
- Voice authorization fees
- Address Verification Service (AVS) fees
- Retrieval request fees
- Chargeback fees
- Statement fees
- Incidental fees (e.g., batch fees, cross-border fees, etc.)
They also disclose the existence of a monthly minimum but don’t tell you how much it is (the industry average is $25 each month). You’ll also pay higher processing rates for non-qualified transactions if you’re on a tiered pricing plan.
While USPAY Group doesn’t disclose it on their website, we’ve heard reports from merchants that there’s also a $79 annual account fee. While it’s far from certain that you’ll receive any benefit from paying this fee, it is in line with industry averages.
Overall, the company’s fees and rates are close to the industry average. Be aware, though, that many of these charges could add up very quickly, especially for a small, low-volume business.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
Almost no provider discloses the length of their contracts online (unless they’re month-to-month), and USPAY Group is no exception. We weren’t able to locate a copy of their current Terms and Conditions, but the reports from merchants that we found indicate they have a standard 36-month (three-year) contract. These contracts presumably also include an automatic renewal clause that will extend your contract for periods of at least one year at a time and possibly longer.
The company also charges an early termination fee (ETF) if you breach your contract by closing your account before the end of the current term. Reports from merchants indicate that this fee ranges between $250 and $495. In other words, there is some proration, and the closer you are to the end of your contract term, the less you’ll have to pay.
Can you get out of having to pay an early termination fee? Well, yes, in some circumstances. With more and more providers now offering true month-to-month contracts with no early termination fee, traditional merchant account providers like USPAY Group are often willing to waive the early termination fee when setting up your account. The problem is that sales agents can verbally promise you a waiver, but if it isn’t in writing, you’ll likely be stuck paying the ETF anyway. Even if you do get it in writing, the waiver often isn’t communicated to the billing department, in which case you’ll automatically be charged the ETF and will then have to prove that you had a written waiver to get a refund.
Obviously, the best way to avoid this headache is to sign up with a different provider — one who will offer you a true month-to-month account with no ETF. If you end up with USPAY Group or any other provider that charges an ETF, be sure to get any waivers in writing and keep a copy in case you need it later. Also, it’s critically important that you thoroughly review your contract from top to bottom before signing up for an account, so you’ll know how long it’s for and what the ETF is. Sales agents often won’t disclose these terms, and you really can’t trust them to be completely honest about the terms even if you ask. Lastly, follow the instructions for closing your account to the letter to avoid paying the ETF. Providers go out of their way to make it difficult to close an account and usually require written notice (often on a special form) at least 30 days before the contract term expires.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
First impressions count for a lot, and in today’s business environment, a company’s website is usually where that first impression is made. Unfortunately, USPAY Group’s website is somewhat disappointing. While it’s quite easy to navigate, that ease mostly comes from a lack of content. The company simply doesn’t tell you very much about what it has to offer. As we’ve noted, there’s no mention of compatible hardware such as terminals and POS systems. The site does have a decent FAQ and a helpful page that explains PCI compliance, but other than that, it’s very short on the kind of details that a merchant would want to know before contacting the company’s sales team. You also won’t get a warm fuzzy feeling about the company keeping up on the latest tech developments if you watch their LUCY Gateway (now USPAY Gateway) demo video, with its amateurish narration and use of Internet Explorer (and a very old version at that!).
USPAY Group’s sales team is apparently made up entirely of in-house employees. There’s no indication that the company uses independent sales agents. This is a good thing, as independent agents frequently receive inadequate training and little oversight from the company they’re representing. Together with the fact that they usually work on a commission-only basis, independent agents have earned a bad reputation for dishonesty and high-pressure sales tactics to sell accounts.
While you should receive much better treatment from an in-house sales team, that isn’t always the case. USPAY Group’s Glassdoor profile is full of reports from former sales agents that paint a very negative picture of the company’s treatment of its agents. While sales agents receive a base salary, it’s barely above minimum wage. They do receive commissions on accounts they sell but there’s also a quota. Agents who fail to meet their quota are quickly terminated, resulting in a very high turnover within the sales team. Reports indicate that new hires are brought on at the same time that under-performing agents are being let go — a clear sign of a “churn and burn” strategy that causes the same kinds of problems that plague companies who rely on independent sales agents.
Social media is also increasingly important in marketing a company’s services today, and USPAY Group is far behind its competitors in this area. Yes, the company has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. However, there’s no original content on any of them. Their Facebook page includes links to some third-party content but that’s it. Their LinkedIn account consists of the same company information found on their website, plus a more-or-less permanent job opening for an inside sales representative. Their YouTube channel currently has only one video — the aforementioned LUCY Gateway demo video from back in 2013.
Customer Service & Technical Support
USPAY Group offers 24/7/365 customer support via telephone and email. They also have a “live chat” feature, but it isn’t really “live.” You can only use it to leave a message and hope that someone at the company will get back to you. Having a live representative available by phone at all hours is, of course, an excellent feature. However, be aware that most companies offering around-the-clock support usually rely on outsourced agents outside of regular business hours. While we haven’t seen any complaints about the company’s customer support, you can expect the quality of support to be better during regular hours of operation.
The company will also assign you a Dedicated Relationship Manager when you set up your account. It’s not clear whether this person is your sales agent or a representative of the customer service department. Dedicated representatives can provide superior service, as they’ll be more familiar with your business and any unique needs you might have. At the same time, they aren’t always available, and with the high turnover in USPAY Group’s sales department, they may not even still be working for the company when you need them.
Self-service options are somewhat limited. The VIMAS system allows real-time access to your account, and there is an FAQ available on the website, but that’s it. There’s no knowledgebase that will enable you to troubleshoot and resolve common problems.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
The company’s old Premier Merchant Processing BBB profile has been replaced by a profile under the name USPAY Group, LLC. It’s been more than three years since the name change, so complaints filed against the previous business name have been removed from the profile. USPAY Group has been accredited by the BBB since 2010 (under their previous name), and it currently has an A+ rating. They have three complaints filed within the last three years, with two complaints being filed within the last 12 months. One of these complaints was resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, while the other two were not. Although details are only available for two of the three complaints, they both allege a disturbing pattern where sales representatives failed to fully disclose account fees and terms, and in some cases, they appear to have deliberately withheld contract documents from merchants. Responses from the company have been professional in tone, and in at least one case a refund of undisclosed fees was offered.
USPAY Group has no complaints on Ripoff Report under either its current or former business names. The few complaints we’ve found scattered around the web were mostly from merchants upset with the company’s use of telemarketers to sell their accounts — a practice that seems to have been discontinued in recent years. As we’ve mentioned, there are also a lot of complaints from former sales agents on Glassdoor. Complaints from within the company itself are always concerning, and the way USPAY Group manages its in-house sales team should be of concern to anyone looking to do business with them.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
USPAY Group doesn’t provide any testimonials from its customers on its website, and we couldn’t find any positive reviews elsewhere on the web, either. The company does, however, tout its #1 ranking in both the Merchant Services and Payment Gateway categories on a website called TopCreditCardProcessors.com. Given the limited information provided on this site’s review of the company, it doesn’t appear that USPAY Group was subjected to a rigorous review process in earning this distinction.
Have you had any experience with USPAY Group? Please leave us a review in the Comments section below.
There are a lot of resellers in the merchant services industry and very few direct processors. Some of those resellers are excellent, offering you better rates and terms than what you might get if you signed up directly with one of the big processors. Others, however, are terrible. Lengthy contracts, expensive termination fees, high tiered processing rates, etc., add up to an overpriced (and undervalued) experience. USPAY Group falls somewhere in the middle. Their overall services fall far short of what you’ll receive from top-notch resellers like Dharma Merchant Services (see our review); but at the same time, they aren’t as bad as some of the real bottom-feeders in the industry, either.
For a small healthcare practice that only needs a basic payment gateway and a single credit card terminal, USPAY Group offers acceptable service — if you buy your own terminal and can negotiate an interchange-plus pricing plan. Traditional retailers and ecommerce merchants, however, should probably steer clear of this company. Their services are just too limited and too outdated to be a good fit for these business sectors.
Your experience with USPAY Group (or most other resellers, for that matter) is going to depend heavily on your ability to negotiate. If you just blindly agree to whatever the sales agent offers you, you’ll find yourself stuck in a long-term contract that’s hard (and expensive) to get out of, and you’ll be paying higher rates for processing than you should. If you agree to lease a terminal, your long-term costs will go up even further.
USPAY Group rates a mediocre 3 out of 5 stars overall. There are a few things we genuinely like about the company, such as interchange-plus pricing (if you can get it) and 24/7 customer support. However, negative factors such as three-year contracts, an early termination fee, and tiered pricing for merchants who don’t insist on something better all weigh against the company. The USPAY Gateway, while it seems functional enough for businesses who don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, is also pretty dated at this point.
We suggest that you check out our Merchant Account Comparison Chart to see what the really great providers in the industry can offer you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.