Electronic Merchant Systems is best for small to mid-sized merchants for low and high-risk payment processing.
Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) offers merchant accounts services for all major debit and credit cards. The company enables merchants to accept payments via EMV-enabled cards and NFC payments. The company primarily works with merchants in the auto-repair, restaurant, and manufacturing industries, but will work with merchants of all sizes and risk levels. The company offers a phone number, email, and chat for 24/7 support. EMS leases both traditional and mobile POS equipment and also eCommerce options.
Setup Fee: $0
Monthly Fee: $0
Swipe Rate: 1.00% - 4.99%
Keyed-in Rate: 1.00% - 4.99%
Early Termination Fee : $595
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.
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.
Merchant Provider Risk Tolerance
Zero account setup fee.
No monthly fee
Merchants can accept payments via EMV enabled cards and NFC payments.
Works with merchants of all sizes and risk levels.
Offers a telephone number, email and chat for 24/7 support.
Early termination fee.
One year contract term.
Equipment leases are of a long duration and are not cancelable.
Tiered pricing structure for 18 month periods with an auto renewal structure built in.
Employs outside sales teams.
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.
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.
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.
The company offers web design and hosting services and can establish an eCommerce store for merchants.
Value-Added Services. Assigned EMS Rep - each merchant is assigned a rep to help navigate annual PCI compliance and account review. This Personalized Experience Service is a staple for their approach to customer service.
Discloses All Important Terms
Public Pricing Available
EMS offers tiered pricing and charges 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 insurance – $6/month
PCI non-compliance fee – $50/month
Monthly minimum – $0/month
Chargeback fee – $25/occurrence
Equipment cost - $0
Monthly Access (including mailed statements) - $6/month
1.01% + $0.10 debit
1.59% + $0.10 Qualified MC/Visa/Discover
2.09% + $0.10 Mid-Qualified
2.89% + $0.10 Non-Qualified
All merchants are charged a semi-annual tech fee of $25.
1.00% - 4.99%
1.00% - 4.99%
Mobile Payment Rate
Virtual Terminal Rate
1.00% - 4.99%
Payment Gateway Fee
Early Termination Fee
PCI Compliance Fee
Equipment Lease Terms
No cost equipment available
Address Verification Service (AVS)
Account Setup Fee
Gateway Setup Fee
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.
Early Termination Fee
EMS setup time varies depending on the services acquired. The longest wait is for equipment to arrive.
Underwriting is listed as being same day, meaning a merchant can have their accounts up and running as soon as they have their equipment plugged in. For merchants utilizing eCommerce gateways and apps, an applicant could accept credit cards the same day.
Support is listed as phone, email, and chat. They are all available 24/7 and there are no complaints pertaining to struggles contacting EMS for tech support.
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.
A+ and has been Accredited since 2017. (148 Reviews; 78 Complaints)
4.7 Stars / 941 Reviews
Total Online Reviews
Total Online Complaints
If you're in the market for a merchant account provider, be sure to check out our user reviews, our merchant accounts guide and our top popular merchant provider picks