The answer is most probably and predominantly YES. Banks sell credit card processing services and they are middlemen. They have contracted with another middleman, called an ISO, an Independent Sales Organization, who sells merchant services for a credit card processor, adding a second layer of middleman to the mix. The bank doesn’t provide technical support or customer service for merchants. Instead their bank clients are told to talk to the middleman who has the contract with the bank.
IF you signed up for processing by finding a merchant services company on the Internet, or if a salesperson stopped by your place of business and sold you credit card processing services, you have signed up with a middleman.
Should you consider going directly with a processor? The only way to do that is to work with a salesperson for the processor, another middleman. When you have a problem, you call the 1-800 number for the direct processor. You may be talking to someone from another country speaking English as a second language. The person answering the phone is never the same person you have talked to before. The person has no idea who you are or what your business is about. They are doing a job answering the phone and following a script on how to respond to questions. You will never hear from that salesperson again.
Most independent salespeople, who are also middlemen, additionally pass their clients’ support off to such a customer service number, which I have named, 1-800-IGNORE-ME. As a merchant, you will probably never hear from or talk to that salesperson again. His or her job is to sign you up and that is all. Of course, they all tell you how their support line is 24/7/365. Again, the people answering that line do not know who you are, nor will you ever talk to the same person twice. And their job and their salary does not depend on whether you continue to use this particular merchant services provider or not. The salesperson, on the other hand, receives a split on the residual income from the rates he sold you. The only time you may in fact hear from that salesperson is if you threaten to leave the lousy support service that you are currently frustrated with, because the people on the support line are instructed to notify the salesperson if they suspect you will leave.
Most independent salespeople also sign up their customers to a minimum of a 3-year contract with a termination fee. Some will tell you there is no termination fee, but if you read the fine print in the terms and conditions of the service, that there is a secondary, killer termination fee called liquidated damages. This means that should you leave their lousy service, you are required to keep paying them their profits as if you had stayed with them. The only way to get out of this is to change your bank account and deal with the hit to your credit report.
So, the question is not how to avoid the middleman and sign up direct, but how to choose a good middleman to work with. Does that middleman have their own technical support and customer service department? Does your salesperson give you his cell phone to call when you have a problem? Does the salesperson introduce you to the staff in his sales office so you can have a relationship with people who care about you when you need help, so you can talk to the same person you trust and feel comfortable with every time you call?
Electronic Money Company is such a middleman and has been specializing in customer support for over 20 years. Our customers never call the 800-support line to the end processor, because they have come to know and love our staff.
They know that we answer the phone live. They know we always respond to emails and chats the same day. They know we help them with their terminals, their POS tablets, and questions about their transactions, their deposits and their merchant statements. In short, they know that we fight like the 3rd monkey trying to get onto Noah’s ark to solve a situation for our merchants.
We decided a long time ago that we wanted to have a company that nurtured our clients. We decided it made sense to keep our merchant’s forever. We decided that we wanted to treat our merchants like family because we were in fact bringing them into our lives and keeping them in our hearts like family.
You will never want to shop again for merchant services.