Clearent is a complete payment processor that leverages its proprietary payments platform to make doing business easier and more profitable for its sales partners. Clearent’s commitment to honesty and transparency has made it one of the most trusted companies in the industry. Clearent is one of the fastest-growing credit card processing companies, processing $14 billion in annual transaction volume for 45,000 plus merchants nationwide.
|Early Termination Fee||$395|
|Contract Terms||3 Years|
Clearent is a merchant services provider headquartered in Clayton, Missouri. Founded in 2005, the company also has offices in Louisville, Kentucky, Salt Lake City, Utah, and West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2017, Clearent acquired Payment Alliance International (PAI), a smaller merchant services provider that had a large high-risk portfolio of firearms merchants. Although the merger has gone well for both companies, it hasn’t been so great for some of PAI’s former clients. Merchants who had previously been with PAI were unceremoniously switched to new contracts with Clearent, and many of them saw dramatic increases in their processing rates and account fees as a result. This has, in turn, led to a surge in complaints against Clearent with the BBB and on other consumer protection websites.
In March 2018, Clearent was itself acquired by Advent International, a global private equity investment firm. At about the same time, Advent also acquired FieldEdge, a field service management software company. FieldEdge and Clearent are now merged into a single business entity. With all this merger and acquisition activity, Clearent currently serves over 45,000 merchants and processes over $16 billion in transactions annually.
Clearent Pros & Cons
Interchange-plus pricing available
Full lineup of products and services
Three-year contract with early termination fee
Uses independent sales representatives
High complaint volume relative to size
Clearent Products & Services
Clearent offers a number of services for businesses, including credit and debit processing, virtual terminals and gateways for ecommerce and mail and phone order, electronic check and ACH processing, gift card processing, wireless options, recurring payments, and more. The company also boasts next day deposits of funds via ACH and offers information on topics such as chargebacks and surcharging.
Clearent has options for shopping carts, eCommerce platform integrations, and hosted payment forms. They also have a profit sharing program that claims to pay you for your work if you refer other clients to them.
Clearent Advertising & Sales
Clearent’s website has a modern, professional layout and is easy to navigate. However, as we’ve noted above, there’s no disclosure of any pricing information whatsoever. The site also lacks a knowledgebase or any helpful educational information. While there is some discussion of products and services, it mainly serves as a marketing tool to promote the company.
Inside/Outside Sales Team
Clearent appears to employ both in-house and independently contracted sales agents to market its services. As a general rule, the use of independent sales agents is usually tied to high complaint rates for a company because these agents tend to receive less training and oversight than W2-employed reps.
Positive Response to Criticism
One area where Clearent distinguishes itself is in its response to these complaints. Rather than holding merchants accountable for contract terms that they didn’t fully understand at the point of signing, Clearent consistently apologizes for agents’ failure to fully explain contract terms. The company usually attempts to resolve issues to the satisfaction of the merchant.
Truth in Marketing
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
|Public Pricing Available||No|
Clearent Pricing, Rates & Fees
Like many traditional merchant services providers, Clearent doesn’t disclose any information about fees or rates on its website. heir main reason for doing this is that processing rates are highly variable and need to be customized for each merchant.
Feedback from merchants indicates that Clearent primarily offers interchange-plus pricing to most of its customers. This is a very positive feature, as we believe interchange-plus pricing to be the most transparent and affordable pricing structure for businesses processing at least $5,000 per month.
A PCI non-compliance fee of $24.99 per month, an annual fee of $29.95 in the first year and $59.95 thereafter, and an interchange-plus pricing structure.
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Clearent also dedicates a portion of its website that advertises its virtual terminal and payment gateway. However, pricing for these services is not disclosed. The company’s terms and conditions reflect that merchants can utilize a 3rd party service for an online payment gateway. Additional rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
Pricing At A Glance
|Pricing Model||Interchange Plus|
|Mobile Payment Rate||Undisclosed|
|Virtual Terminal Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Payment Gateway Fee||Undisclosed|
|Early Termination Fee||$395|
|PCI Compliance Fee||None|
|Equipment Lease Terms||Undisclosed|
|Address Verification Service (AVS)|
|Account Setup Fee||$0|
|Gateway Setup Fee||Undisclosed|
|Annual Fee||$29.95 - $59.95|
Clearent Contract & Terms
The standard Clearent contract is a 3-year term through TSYS with an early termination fee of $395 per location or the maximum amount allowed by state law.
The company’s three-year contract with automatic renewal and a $49.99 regulatory fee is not competitive with terms offered by the cheapest merchant accounts.
Clearent Setup & Support
Clearent offers its own live phone and email support during business hours, but TSYS provides customer support for payment terminals after hours.
Training: In Person; Live Online; Webinars; Documentation
Support: Business Hours
Clearent Complaints, Ratings & Reviews
Clearent has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since April 2010 and currently shows an “A+” rating on its profile. The company has had 21 complaints filed in the past 36 months, with 10 of those related to the product or service and 11 due to billing and collection issues. 8 of these complaints were successfully resolved with BBB assistance, while 13 complaints either were not resolved to the merchant’s satisfaction or did not receive a final response from the merchant.
|BBB||BBB Ratings: A+ (21 Customer Complaints)|
|3 Stars / 45 Reviews|
|Total Online Reviews||100+|
|Total Online Complaints||15+|