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Worldpay (formerly known as RBS Worldpay) is a worldwide payment processor and acquirer with locations all 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, being one of the first in the market for this service. In 2001, Worldpay opened its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Today, the company is owned by Advent International and Bain Capital. While Worldpay processes all over the world (as the name suggests), I’m going to be focusing on its US-based services for this review.
Much like Elavon, First Data and Chase Paymentech, Worldpay is a very large processor. The numbers are not easy to find, but if you know where to look, you can cobble together an idea of how big the company is. According to a March 2015 press release, Worldpay processed 10.7 billion transactions, valued at more than $500 billion — or, you know, half a trillion dollars — in 2014. That’s a LOT. If you check out the rather lackluster testimonials page, you’ll see that Worldpay claims to service more than 150,000 businesses in the U.S. alone — not counting its massive international client base.
Generally, when you see those types of numbers, you expect to see a ton of complaints, but Worldpay surprised me. Relative to the company’s size, the Worldpay complaint count is actually less than you would expect. Nonetheless, the complaints raise some significant issues about the company’s service.
One issue that stands out about Worldpay is that many merchants were 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 are some trade-offs for doing this.
While we’ve previously awarded Worldpay a higher grade, the company currently earns a 3.5 out of 5-star rating. Although this is still a respectable score, Worldpay 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 website 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.
While it’s not unusual for processors to avoid discussing rates and fees on their websites, it’s getting harder to justify this practice when there are plenty of highly-rated processors out there that fully disclose this information.
Read on for more information about Worldpay and what they have to offer, and be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts!
Products and Services:
Worldpay has pretty standard offerings in terms of products and services. I like the bookkeeping and POS software integration. (We also review POS and bookkeeping services, so make sure you check out our reviews or finder tool 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.
- Terminal leases/sales: Worldpay can offer you a free terminal, but make sure you understand all stipulations surrounding this deal, some of which I cover later in this review. Also check out our article on 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. Options apparently include either a proprietary offering or Authorize.Net. Pricing is not disclosed for this option.
- Mobile payments: Worldpay used to offer Worldpay Mobile, a mobile payment system for Android and iOS that featured a free magstripe card reader and a companion app. However, the app is no longer available on either the iOS App Store or the Google Play store. Hopefully, the company is planning to replace it with an EMV-compliant solution soon.
- Integrated cash register/POS options: To check out your POS integration options with Worldpay, see the list of registered partners here.
- QuickBooks integration: Worldpay offers a plugin that integrates payment processing data with QuickBooks.
- EMV Processing: Being a large multi-national corporation, Worldpay was relatively prepared for the implementation of chip cards in the U.S. with several processing methods for merchants. But, while Worldpay offers a “free” terminal (see below), we’d suggest checking out our advice on picking hardware.
Worldpay also offers numerous “value-added” services, including loyalty programs, gift cards, ATM services, reporting and analytics, and others.
Fees and Rates:
Worldpay doesn’t disclose any processing rates or fee information on its US website (the UK website does provide some pricing information). However, if you’ll look at the Worldpay Customer Processing Agreement (which I highly recommend), you’ll see that the company offers a combination of both tiered and interchange-plus pricing plans. It’s up to you to negotiate the best deal possible, but you’ll want to go with interchange-plus pricing if it’s an option.
The company also has a special offer of three years of guaranteed pricing to new merchants. Here are the rates available under this offer:
- Signature debit transactions: 0.99% + $0.20 per transaction
- Standard credit transactions: 1.99% + $0.20 per transaction
- Rewards credit transactions: 2.60% + $0.20 per transaction
- Corporate/T&E/keyed credit transactions: 3.30% + $0.20 per transaction
Naturally, there’s always some fine print that goes with an offer like this, and it’s worth reading:
*Offer expires December 31, 2016. Customer must be new to Worldpay. Requires execution of Worldpay’s standard 3-year Customer Processing Agreement and related Addendum. Subject to credit review and approval. Offer available only to merchants who have processed less than $5,000,000 of credit and debit card transactions in the previous 12 calendar month period. Offer applies only to Worldpay rates for Visa®, MasterCard®, Discover® and PayPal™ credit and signature debit, along with certain other specified fees. Other fees apply and are subject to change. Additional detail, terms and conditions, including early termination fees, are set forth in the related Addendum.
On the plus side, this offer is very transparent. There’s no misleading “rates as low as…” promise that neglects to tell you that only a small fraction of your transactions will qualify for this rate. However, the expiration date on this offer has been extended multiple times since we first reviewed Worldpay several years ago. While it’s presented as a limited-time offer to make you feel a sense of urgency, it’s pretty clear at this point that this is a standard offer that’s going to be extended indefinitely.
Although none of them are disclosed on Worldpay’s website, you can 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, and also a PCI compliance fee. Chargebacks will also incur a fee when they occur. Worldpay doesn’t appear to charge application fees or any other type of “junk” fee, for that matter.
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:
Worldpay offers a standard three-year contract term with an automatic renewal clause for one-year terms thereafter. Unlike most other processors, the company offers 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 ask for. Just be sure to get it in writing.
Sales and Advertising Transparency:
Sales gimmicks and fine print are two misleading tactics that almost always appear together, where they significantly reduce advertising transparency. Beware of the asterisk (*), and be especially skeptical when you see an asterisk but can’t seem to find the fine print footnote.
Worldpay is currently running a free terminal offer to new customers. If you sign up for their standard three-year contract (including the prorated early termination fee), you’ll receive your choice of either a free Verifone VX 520 terminal or a refund on a mobile card reader. While the VX 520 is a good terminal with both EMV and NFC capabilities, you can also buy one outright online for about $120. Although you’ll have to pay to have it re-programmed to work with your account, this will save you from all of the stipulations that come with Worldpay’s “free” terminal. Note the following “fine print” provisions:
Limit of one free terminal per physical location, not to exceed five free terminals in total.
A $499 per terminal fee shall apply in the event (a) customer fails to activate a terminal within 60 days of signing the Customer Processing Agreement by processing at least $20 of transactions during such period for the location receiving the terminal or (b) if customer terminates within one year.
As for the mobile card reader, magstripe-only readers are so inexpensive that Square and PayPal literally give them away – without requiring you to sign a long-term contract. They’re also fast becoming obsolete, as they don’t support EMV payments. Nonetheless, there are stipulations on this offer as well:
Customers will receive a $30 statement credit for their first card reader on the statement following their first full month of processing. Credits for additional readers may be available based on customer’s first full month of processing volume but will not in any event exceed $600. Does not include terminal or smartphone. Neither data nor wireless plan included.
For either offer, you’ll still have to pay the shipping fees. More importantly, this offer is not available if you sign up for Worldpay through an independent sales organization. Overall, you’re probably better off buying your own equipment, especially if you’re not 100% certain that you’ll want to stay with Worldpay for the full three years. This offer is also advertised as expiring on October 31, 2016. However, Worldpay seems to be extending it indefinitely by frequently updating the expiration date.
With no disclosure of processing rates or fees on their website (except for the three-year guaranteed pricing offer), Worldpay doesn’t offer much in terms of advertising transparency. However, they do include some educational material – and a search function to help you find it.
Worldpay has an active social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, 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 Insight 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-on solicitations from the company’s sales agents if you’re not already a customer.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
Worldpay offers 24/7 customer support via telephone and email. We personally contacted the support team at midnight PST to see if we could reach a real, live human being. Thankfully, we did. You can also use live chat during business hours.
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 and 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 actually relatively low for a company as large and with as many merchants as Worldpay. Better yet, the overall complaint volume has been decreasing over our last two review updates.
Worldpay currently has 213 BBB complaints filed against it within the past three years, which is down slightly from 233 complaints at our last review update. Only 57 complaints have been filed within the past twelve months, a decrease from 65 complaints over the same time period at our last update. That’s a promising trend.
On the other hand, only 55 of those complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of the customer – about one-fourth of all complaints. Worldpay deserves credit, however, for responding to every single complaint. This is something a lot of smaller processors don’t always bother to do.
There are an additional 61 complaints against Worldpay on Ripoff Report, mostly involving the same issues. Again, Worldpay has offered a rebuttal to the majority 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 triggers 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 a number of reasons. Chargebacks and/or 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 or a sign-up bonus, you can certainly get this fee waived. Complaints about the ETF appear to be decreasing since Worldpay instituted these changes.
Positive Reviews and 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.
Scattered throughout Worldpay’s website you’ll also find the occasional case study relating to Worldpay 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.
Final Verdict on Worldpay:
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.
To improve its business practices (and also its score on our reviews), Worldpay needs to increase its advertising transparency. Less dependence on sales gimmicks and “special offers” that aren’t really very special would be a step in the right direction. Older, traditional processors usually see their websites as 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.
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 keeps a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Whatever payment processor you choose, be careful and remember that you have negotiating power, no matter how small your business is. At the risk of being mistaken as dating advice, keep this in mind: If Worldpay can’t meet your needs, someone else can. We recommend you check out our top-rated processors or find one that best fits your requirements.