Processing $5,000 per month or less in card payments?
- Date Established
- Atlanta, GA
- Large international processor
- Interchange-plus pricing available
- 24/7 customer support
- Early termination fee of up to $295
- Three-year contract
- Misleading “free” terminal offer
Worldpay (formerly known as RBS Worldpay) is a worldwide payment processor with locations across the globe. The company has been in business since 1989 when it went by the name Streamline. It helped pioneer internet-based payments way back in 1994 — one of the first in the market for this service. In 2001, Worldpay opened its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. The company was acquired by Vantiv in January 2018, but will retain the Worldpay name going forward. This merger creates one of the largest payment processors in the United States and, indeed, the world. Unless otherwise noted, this review will focus on aspects of the company’s US-based services.
Worldpay was already a major powerhouse in the processing industry, serving over 150,000 businesses in the United States alone. The new, combined Worldpay-Vantiv organization will be even bigger — large enough to claim the title of number one Global Merchant Acquirer. Available in 146 countries, the company will process 40 billion transactions annually in 126 currencies. The company’s payment volume is estimated at $1.5 trillion annually.
When you see these types of numbers, you naturally expect to see a very high number of merchant complaints. However, relative to the company’s size, the Worldpay complaint count is actually less than you would think. Nonetheless, the nature of those complaints raises some significant issues about the company’s service.
One issue that stands out about Worldpay is that many merchants are unhappy about the early termination fee. While Worldpay previously charged a flat $495 if you broke your contract before the three-year term was up, in 2012 the company lowered that amount significantly and introduced some proration of the overall fee. A few merchants have complained of early cancellation fees even higher than that. The best way to avoid an early termination fee is to ask your Worldpay sales agent to waive it for you — but there may be some trade-offs for doing this.
Worldpay currently earns a merely average 3 out of 5 stars rating. The company continues to struggle in the areas of customer service and support, as well as advertising transparency. Like most traditional processors, Worldpay is a financial services company at heart, not a tech company. Everything tech-related, from designing their website to producing their mobile apps, is contracted out — and it shows. Worldpay’s site comes across as the online version of a slick advertising brochure: lots of pretty pictures and touted benefits, but few details about the actual products and services (or their prices) themselves. Although it’s been nearly a year since the Worldpay-Vantiv merger, the company’s website is still a mess. While you’ll find a Worldpay website, most of the links redirect to the old Vantiv site. This site is currently a nightmare to navigate and is in desperate need of a reorganization.
Read on for more information about Worldpay and what they have to offer, and be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts!
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Table of Contents
Products & Services
Worldpay has pretty standard offerings regarding products and services, although with the merger it’s difficult to find much information about many of them. Integration with third-party bookkeeping and point-of-sale (POS) software is a notable strength. (We also review POS and accounting software, so make sure you check out our reviews before making any decisions). Overall, I have no major complaints here. Products and services include the following:
- Merchant Accounts: One significant advantage Worldpay offers is that it is a direct processor, meaning the company processes all transactions in-house rather than utilizing a third-party processor. Vantiv is also a direct processor, so this relationship will not change once the merger is finally sorted out.
- Credit Card Terminals: Worldpay offers several of the more popular countertop terminals, including the Verifone Vx520 and the Ingenico iCT220 and iCT250 models. These all include EMV capability. Pricing is not disclosed, but we strongly recommend that you buy your terminals outright rather than lease them. Check out our article, Need A Credit Card Machine For Your Small Business? Don’t Lease!, for an in-depth explanation of the pros and cons of buying and leasing terminals.
- Payment Gateway: Worldpay supports eCommerce by offering a payment gateway, but they don’t tell you much about it on their website. Pricing is not disclosed for this option.
- Virtual Terminal: The company now offers Vantiv’s Virtual Terminal Plus. Like any virtual terminal, it allows you to turn your computer into a credit card terminal. Transactions can be keyed in manually or swiped using a USB-connected card reader. An EMV-compatible reader doesn’t appear to be available at this time.
- Mobile Payments: Worldpay uses the SwipeSimple mobile payments app. An EMV-capable card reader is required as part of this system. We’re happy to see the company offer EMV capability, but their current reader lacks Bluetooth connectivity and requires an audio jack (or adapter) to physically connect to your smartphone or tablet. SwipeSimple is a third-party product offered by many merchant account providers. For an in-depth overview of the app’s capabilities, check out our Payment Depot Mobile (SwipeSimple) review.
- Integrated Cash Register/POS Options: The company offers integrated software that will run on several third-party POS providers. Further information can be found on the Partner Payment Processing Solutions page of Vantiv’s website.
- QuickBooks Integration: Worldpay offers a plugin that integrates payment processing data with QuickBooks.
- Security Suite: Worldpay’s OmniShield Assure suite of services helps secure your account and protect you from fraud. Features include EMV assurance, point-to-point encryption, PCI compliance services, and data breach insurance. The insurance covers up to $100,000 per merchant location and up to $500,000 per event involving multiple locations. It will also pay up to $25,000 for hardware and software upgrades to prevent a second data breach. It’s not clear whether this is a standard feature of every merchant account or an option for which you’ll have to pay extra.
Worldpay also offers numerous “value-added” services, including loyalty programs, gift cards, ATM services, reporting and analytics, and others. With the merger, many existing Vantiv products and services are being re-branded under the Worldpay name.
Fees & Rates
Until recently, Worldpay hasn’t disclosed any pricing information on its website, instead offering a combination of both tiered and interchange-plus pricing plans with rates that varied depending on a merchant’s average monthly processing volume, processing history, and other factors. Now, however, they’re advertising an in-store (i.e., card-present) rate of 2.90% + $0.30 per transaction. They also mention that higher volume merchants may qualify for card-present rates as low as 2.70% + $0.10 per transaction. As is often the case, there’s an asterisk attached to this quote, so it’s important to read the fine print:
* The rates are subject to change from time to time after a merchant begins processing with Worldpay. Merchant must be new to Worldpay, be approved (by credit and underwriting) for processing by Worldpay, and execute a three year card processing agreement with Worldpay. Merchant may be subject to other fees including but not limited to non-compliance or regulatory fees as specified in the card processing agreement application. Additional fees also apply for optional services or equipment selected or used by Merchant. Higher volume means that merchant has $40,000 or more in card volume annually. Other terms, conditions, and restrictions may apply. This rate offer may be amended or discontinued at any time without notice.
There are several problems with this rate quote. First of all, it’s not entirely clear whether the rate is a true flat rate that applies to all transactions, or if it’s a “qualified” rate under a tiered pricing plan. If that were the case, you should expect to pay significantly higher rates for “mid-qualified” or “non-qualified” transactions. Unfortunately, relatively few transactions fall under the “qualified” tier these days thanks to the popularity of credit cards that offer cash back, frequent flier miles, or other forms of rewards.
We’re also concerned with the “rates as low as…” claim in the rate quote. This is a common misleading sales tactic used by merchant services providers who only disclose the absolute lowest rate available without mentioning that it only applies to certain specific types of transactions and is only available to merchants with a very high monthly processing volume. In this case, the quoted rate of 2.70% + $0.10 per transaction isn’t really all that low. This strongly suggests that Worldpay is charging the same rates for debit card transactions as they do for credit cards, even though interchange rates are much lower for debit cards. In other words, you could be seriously overpaying for your debit card transactions. We highly recommend that you obtain rate quotes from several providers before choosing one. If your business has a high monthly processing volume, you can almost certainly get a lower rate from one of Worldpay’s many competitors.
Although none of them are disclosed on Worldpay’s website, you can also expect to pay a number of monthly and annual fees to maintain your merchant account. Fees appear to be highly variable, especially if you add on optional services such as payment gateways or lease any of your equipment. At a minimum, expect to pay a monthly account fee or statement fee, as well as a PCI compliance fee. Chargebacks will also incur a fee when they occur. Worldpay doesn’t appear to charge application fees or account setup fees, but we’ve seen reports of PCI non-compliance fees as high as $69.00 per month.
For general processing fee questions, please refer to our Complete Guide to Credit Card Processing Rates & Fees or our handy infographic.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
Worldpay offers a standard three-year contract term with an automatic renewal clause for one-year terms after that. Unlike most other processors, the company provides a prorated early termination fee schedule, rather than charging you the full amount regardless of when you close your account. The following fee disclosure is taken directly from the Worldpay Customer Processing Agreement:
(a) $295.00 per location if such Early Termination occurs on or prior to the first anniversary of this Agreement,
(b) $195.00 per location if such Early Termination occurs after the first anniversary of this Agreement and before the second anniversary of this Agreement, or
(c) $95.00 per location if such Early Termination occurs on or after the second anniversary of this Agreement and before the third anniversary of this Agreement.
While this is a better deal than the industry standard (usually a flat $495 fee), it’s worth asking to have your ETF removed entirely when negotiating your contract. Many competing merchant account providers no longer charge any early termination fee, so it’s a reasonable thing to request. Just be sure to get it in writing. Vantiv charges a flat $295 early termination fee with no proration, so it’s unclear how the recent merger will affect this fee going forward.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
In the past, Worldpay had run a free terminal offer to new customers. If you signed up for their standard three-year contract (including the prorated early termination fee), you’d receive your choice of either a free Verifone Vx520 terminal or a refund on a mobile card reader. While the Vx520 is a good terminal with both EMV and NFC capabilities, you can buy one outright online for about $120. Although you’d have to pay to have it re-programmed to work with your account, this would save you from all the stipulations that came with Worldpay’s “free” terminal. A particularly egregious term in the fine print specified that you would have to pay a $499 fee (per terminal) if you didn’t actually use the equipment or closed your account within the first year.
Worldpay no longer advertises this offer, but it’s possible that sales representatives are still using it to lure in unsuspecting merchants who don’t want to pay full price for their terminals. We strongly advise you to buy your terminals rather than leasing them, and “free” terminal offers usually aren’t such a great deal once you read the fine print. At the least, read your contract documents very carefully before signing up and decide if any “free” terminal offer is really going to benefit your business.
With the Worldpay-Vantiv merger still being finalized, the company’s websites are kind of a mess. You’ll find a Worldpay site, but most of the links relating to products, services, and pricing redirect to Vantiv’s site. With the decision to retire the Vantiv brand name, we anticipate that this issue will eventually be resolved and you won’t have to hunt back and forth across two different websites to find the information you need.
With no disclosure of processing rates or fees on their website, Worldpay doesn’t offer much in terms of advertising transparency. However, they do include a large volume of educational material. While this is a valuable resource for new merchants who want to learn about how credit card processing works and what to look for in a merchant account provider, it’s a poor substitute for specific disclosures regarding pricing and contract terms.
The company employs a combination of in-house sales staff and independent agents. The in-house team seems to do a reasonable job, but the same cannot be said for the independent agents. We’ve seen many complaints alleging misleading and dishonest sales practices on their part, including the failure to disclose important contract terms (such as the existence of an early termination fee). We recommend that you contact Worldpay’s sales team directly rather than work with an independent agent, if possible.
Worldpay has an active social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. While many of the posts are duplicated on each site, Worldpay seems to excel on LinkedIn. This makes perfect sense, given that Worldpay is a B2B service and LinkedIn is a great B2B platform.
The Featured Insights section of Worldpay’s website also offers additional educational reports and infographics, as well as blog posts. Be aware that some of the material in the Insight section requires you to provide some personal information (including your email address), which will undoubtedly result in follow-up solicitations from the company’s sales agents if you’re not already a customer.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Worldpay offers 24/7 customer support via telephone and email. We contacted the support team at midnight PST to see if we could reach a real, live human being. Thankfully, we did. You can also access your account through Worldpay’s Online Merchant Portal.
Based on the comments of our readers, many merchants seem to get sub-par customer service from Worldpay, including unresponsive account representatives and unhelpful customer support staff. Customer service is a common source of complaints about Worldpay, both through the BBB and other consumer protection sites. If you’ve had experience with Worldpay’s customer service, please let us know.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Worldpay has been accredited by the BBB since 2010 and currently has an A+ rating. Although the company has a large number of complaints filed against it, the overall number of complaints is relatively low for a company as large and with as many merchants as Worldpay. Better yet, the total complaint volume has been gradually decreasing over our last several review updates.
Worldpay currently has 180 BBB complaints filed against it within the past three years, down from 199 complaints at our last review update. Only 45 complaints have been filed within the past 12 months, a decrease from the 52 complaints filed over the same period at our last update. We’re encouraged to see that the volume of complaints since the Worldpay-Vantiv merger is continuing to decrease.
On the other hand, only 39 of those complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of the customer – less than one-quarter of all complaints. Worldpay deserves credit, however, for responding to every single complaint. This is something a lot of processors don’t always bother to do.
There are an additional 87 complaints against Worldpay on Ripoff Report, mostly involving the same issues. Again, Worldpay has offered a rebuttal to most of these complaints in an attempt to resolve the situation.
Common issues in these complaints include the following:
- Non-Disclosure Of Contract Terms: Most non-disclosure complaints relate to either the early termination fee or the auto-renewal clause that can trigger the ETF even after the initial three-year term is up. This issue usually occurs when dealing with independent sales agents, who either don’t fully understand the contracts they’re selling or deliberately withhold this information in order to make a sale. Quite frankly, however, the merchant is also at fault when this happens. Both the early termination fee and the automatic renewal clause are clearly spelled out in Worldpay’s Customer Processing Agreement, and it’s critically important that you read the entire agreement thoroughly before signing it.
- Withholding Of Funds/Termination Of Accounts: This can happen for several reasons. Chargebacks and suspicious charges can easily raise a red flag that will either get you suspended or shut down. You’re going to want to learn how to avoid holds and minimize chargebacks if you plan on signing up with Worldpay.
- High Cancellation Fee: Until fairly recently, Worldpay charged a flat $495 fee for closing your account early. The company has now lowered their ETF to $295 and prorated it so that you’ll pay even less in the second and third years of your contract ($195 and $95, respectively). If you don’t need any free equipment, you can often get this fee waived. Complaints about the ETF appear to be decreasing since Worldpay instituted these changes.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
You’ll find a few video testimonials on Worldpay’s YouTube channel, some of which feature merchants who seem like genuinely satisfied customers. Others seem awkwardly scripted. I’m not saying that these Worldpay reviews are falsified in any way, just a little too tightly-controlled for my preference. I’d rather hear from the merchant in his or her own words. Still, it’s nice to see a small collection of video-based reviews. These testimonials are also available through the Worldpay Reviews and Customer Testimonials page on the company’s website.
Scattered throughout Worldpay’s website you’ll also find the occasional case study relating to Worldpay’s merchant services. It would be fantastic if these were all collected in a single place — but they’re not.
If you’d like a little more endorsement than what’s available, try to ask your sales agent for references, specifically from businesses that operate in your industry. They should give you information for merchants they have personally signed up.
With newer, tech-focused merchant account providers coming on the scene, traditional processors like Worldpay are having a hard time competing. As the industry shifts toward more transparency and fairer pricing, Worldpay’s “take it or leave it” approach to sales, contracts, and billing falls short of what merchants can get elsewhere. The company’s recent merger with Vantiv suggests that it will continue to cater to the needs of large, established businesses while ignoring the requirements of small businesses and startups.
To improve its business practices (and also its score on our review), Worldpay needs to increase its advertising transparency. Less dependence on sales gimmicks would also be a step in the right direction. Older, traditional processors like Worldpay usually see their websites as merely an advertising venue, and nothing more. They tout features and benefits and make vague promises about the quality of their services, but fail to provide any concrete details. I’d rather see their site include more educational information that would be helpful to prospective and existing customers. Disclosing some of their standard fees and talking about processing rates – especially interchange-plus plans – would be a great step in the right direction. Currently, the company does a good job of telling you what features to look for in a merchant account provider, but doesn’t disclose whether they actually offer those features.
Worldpay also needs to make some real improvements in the quality of their customer service and support. Less dependence on independent sales agents would also help to improve their overall rating. For now, though, Worldpay earns a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. While this isn’t terrible, it indicates that the company merely meets the industry standard. Unfortunately, the “industry standard” in the merchant processing field is pretty disappointing, with long-term contracts, overpriced equipment leases, and expensive processing rates and account fees. If you’d prefer to do business with a company that offers better terms and fairer pricing, check out our top-rated providers side-by-side on our Merchant Account Comparison Chart.
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