Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Review
EMS is an ISO/MSP of multiple partner banks, including Chesapeake Bank, BMO Harris Bank, Esquire Bank, and Merrick Bank.
The company was established in 1987 in Cleveland, Ohio, and EMS’s CEO is Dan Neistadt.
|Swipe Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Keyed-in Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Early Termination Fee||$595|
|Contract Terms||1 Year|
Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Overview
EMS has over three decades of experience in payment processing; founded in 1987 and is currently led by CEO Dan Neistadt. The company’s headquarters are in Cleveland, Ohio.
EMS’s products include merchant account solutions for both low and high-risk merchants. With over 35,000 merchants as customers, the company has grown into a ‘direct provider’ over the last 34 years and is one of the country’s larger payment processors. EMS offers a tiered pricing structure for 18-month periods with auto-renewal clauses built-in. The company also charges a hefty early termination fee of $595. The company also provides non-cancelable long-term equipment leases that have been the subject of many online complaints.
As of this writing, EMS is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has had an A+ rating. However, the company has had 79 complaints filed against it in the last three years and 25 during the previous 12 months. The company has tremendous capabilities to offer to new merchants and sneaks in very pricey terms, such as long-term contracts with high termination fees and non-cancelable equipment lease agreements.
Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Pros & Cons
Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Products & Services
Payment Processing: EMS is a direct provider of payment processing services and caters to low and high-risk merchants for debit/credit card, EMV-enabled, and NFC payments.
Point Of Sale (POS) – EMS offers POS terminals in partnership with MaxxPay. These traditional and mobile Android-based POS terminals run can accept magstripe, EMV, and NFC payments, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
With the company’s acquisition of Total Touch, EMS acquired a Window-based POS solutions provider focused on the restaurant industry.
Surcharging – EMS offers a service to lets merchants charge a surcharge to clients paying with credit cards to cover interchange fees. Surcharging is a relatively new product iteration being offered by merchant account providers. Although surcharging is gaining popularity as more payment processors and fintech companies start offering the solution, merchants need to be careful as surcharging is still relatively new, comes with many restrictions and prerequisites.
Payment Gateway / Virtual Terminals – EMS offers its own internally developed payments gateway and virtual terminal that integrates with many eCommerce shopping carts. Virtual terminals can also be used as a standalone for Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO) transactions.
eCommerce – The company offers web design and hosting services and can establish an eCommerce store for merchants.
BizFunds – merchants can benefit from EMS’s cash advance program, set up as receivables financing program where EMS purchases merchants’ future credit card receipts.
Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Advertising & Sales
There have been many complaints against EMS on BBB and many other online forums and review sites. One of the consistent and recurring complaints against the company is the lack of disclosure and hidden fees against merchants. EMS utilizes
outside sales teams (ISOs), and many of the complaints lodged are consistent with ISO teams, aggressive selling tactics, lack of disclosure on pertinent costs, and long-term noncancelable lock-ins for equipment leases on new unsuspecting merchants.
Truth in Marketing
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
|Public Pricing Available||No|
Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Pricing, Rates & Fees
EMS offers tiered pricing and charges a slew of fees. These costs can further compound if merchants enter into expensive lease agreements with the company.
Swiped Rate – 1.00% – 4.99%
Keyed-in Rate – 1.00% – 4.99%
Contract term – 18 months
Early termination fees – $595
Data breach insurance fee – $15/month
Account fee – $15-$30/month
PCI compliance fee – $75/semi-annually
PCI non-compliance fee – $50/month
Monthly minimum – $25/month
Chargeback fee – $25/occurrence
Pricing At A Glance
|Pricing Model||Tiered Pricing|
|Swiped Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Keyed-in Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Mobile Payment Rate|
|Virtual Terminal Rate||1.00% - 4.99%|
|Payment Gateway Fee||Undisclosed|
|Early Termination Fee||$595|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$75 Semi-Annually|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Month (locked)|
|Address Verification Service (AVS)|
|Account Setup Fee||$0|
|Gateway Setup Fee|
Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Contract & Terms
EMS is a direct provider or merchant processing services with an 18-month initial agreement with a $595 early termination fee. The deal carries an auto-renewal clause of one year. EMS also has a long-term non-cancelable equipment lease agreement POS equipment that is offered at a hefty premium.
Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Setup & Support
EMS has a phone number listed for 24/7 phone support, along with chat and email support. However, another consistent and recurring complaint against EMS is the company’s insufficient customer support levels.
Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Complaints, Ratings & Reviews
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) lodged a complaint against EMS and four other payment processors in March 2015 regarding a “phantom debt” scheme that sought to collect outstanding debts from consumers that did not exist. The complaint was later dismissed 0in 2017 by the judge presiding over the case due to technicality where CFPB did not abide by the judge’s specific instructions.
The BBB website lists 79 complaints against EMS in the last three years and 25 complaints in the previous 12 months.
|BBB||A+ and has been Accredited since 2017. (148 Reviews; 78 Complaints)|
|4.7 Stars / 941 Reviews|
|Total Online Reviews||300+|
|Total Online Complaints||70+|