First Data Review
First Data Merchant Services Review (Now Fiserv) is a financial services and merchant services provider headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Founded in 1971 in Omaha, Nebraska. After several mergers the company has grown to be a major player in the merchant services industry.
|Early Termination Fee||$250+|
|Contract Terms||No Contract Required, Month-to-month, 1 Year, 3 Years|
First Data Overview
First Data is a full service merchant account provider that has been in business since 1971. In 2019 they were acquired by Fiserv. Hence why the First Data website says they are now Fiserv. They are one of the largest merchant services companies in the world due to their numerous partnerships with Bank of America, Wells Fargo, third party resellers and sub-ISOs. It has been stated that 45% of credit transactions in the U.S. are processed by First Data, and they boast 6 million merchants worldwide.
First Data provides processing solutions for education sectors, government, healthcare, human services, financial institutions, and small & large businesses in several industries.
They offer solutions for almost every conceivable product and service a merchant may need. However, pricing for First Data and their resellers is not widely advertised, and varies greatly depending on merchant business details and which reseller the merchant is working with (if they are not working directly with First Data).
First Data also offers strategic partnership programs.
First Data Pros & Cons
Full line of Clover terminal, mobile, and POS systems
Competitive interchange-plus rates available to high-volume businesses
Extensive online knowledgebase
Numerous incidents of dishonest business practices with ISOs/resellers
High recurring account fees
Overpriced equipment leases
A four-year standard contract with liquidated damages clause
First Data Products & Services
First Data claims to offer highly customizable solutions and low credit card processing rates for its merchants. First Data offers the full line of Clover products along with equipment from several other brands including Pax, Verifone, and of course their own First Data (FD) products. They are also compatible with hundreds of brands and software if a merchant wants to keep existing equipment and simply integrate it onto the First Data platform. Ecommerce solutions are offered in the form of virtual terminals, payment gateways, and integrations for businesses large and small. Additionally they offer ATM solutions for ATM ISOs. Pricing for physical terminals and eCommerce solutions will vary depending on which channel you go through to purchase.
First Data has several programs including gift card & loyalty, cash advance, cash discount, payroll, check acceptance & digital ACH, franchise solutions, B2B enterprise payments, and student loan technology solutions.
First Data merchants will enjoy access to multiple online databases and platforms where they can do everything from running business analytics and fighting chargebacks.
First Data Advertising & Sales
First Data as a company does not appear to be using any misleading advertising or deceptive marketing through its own in-house sales force.
However, most of their very large sales force is made up of ISOs and independent sales agents. In general, this is a red-flag that you are dealing with an individual more concerned with closing deals and obtaining commissions than representing the company ethically. Due to extensive public complaints regarding this issue, it appears that First Data has dropped the ball when it comes to monitoring & supervising these ISOs and sales agents. Thus, making their marketing, pricing, and selling techniques appear deceptive.
Truth in Marketing
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||Possibly|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
|Public Pricing Available||No|
First Data Pricing, Rates & Fees
First Data’s pricing structure is not publicly available on their website which is common to the merchant processing industry.
In general, rates and account fees will depend on your business type, sales volume, processing history, credit history, etc.
First Data’s bread and butter comes from resellers and ISOs. These resellers and ISOs have different agreements with First Data about pricing, and can make up their own pricing as long as it fits within the agreed upon guidelines. The First Data in-house team, resellers, and ISOs will all have access to the various pricing models that are out there, so you can benefit from pricing that is tailored to your exact business.
Merchant reviews suggest that several merchants have been dissatisfied with the pricing First Data offers claiming hidden fees and misrepresentation of pricing.
Pricing At A Glance
|Pricing Model||Interchange Plus, Tiered Pricing, Flat Rate|
|Mobile Payment Rate||Same as countertop POS system|
|Virtual Terminal Rate||Variable|
|Payment Gateway Fee||Variable|
|Early Termination Fee||$250+|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$79 Annually|
|Equipment Lease Terms||Variable|
|Address Verification Service (AVS)|
|Account Setup Fee||Free|
|Gateway Setup Fee||Variable|
First Data Contract & Terms
First Data does not publicly disclose their merchant application or contract terms & conditions. First Data has a wide range of contract terms and lease lengths, all of which allows their resellers and ISOs to decide the details. Contracts can range from month-to-month all the way up to 5 years. Depending on the reseller/ISO cancellation fees and contract conditions will vary greatly. If a merchant has a cancellation fee associated with their account, the least expensive fee found is $250.
We always encourage merchants to read applications and contracts carefully.
First Data Setup & Support
First Data has 24/7/365 technical support for all equipment/gateways. The phone support is offshore unless you specify you want to speak with someone domestically in the U.S. They also have several FAQ sections on their website with tutorials and videos if you do not wish to get on the phone. You can submit questions to their support department on the website as well.
All merchants have free online access to real time analytics and sales data in First Data’s platform called AccessOne. First Data has their own dispute manager platform to help merchants manage and respond to chargebacks; merchants are alerted and can respond within the platform. The ISO or sales agent will be able to set merchants up with either platform if they wish to use them.
Due to the fact that there are so many resellers and ISOs working under First Data, merchants may experience varying degrees of customer support and satisfaction. Most complaints about setup/support are about ISOs/resellers, not the in-house First Data sales and support team. However, there is positive feedback about certain ISOs and resellers, not all are bad.
As far as setup for physical equipment, this will depend on what ISO you work with. Some of them will program everything for you before sending it out so all you have to do is power on, while others will send you hardware and walk you through programming over the phone. It is best to consult with your ISO or sales agent on the details regarding this.
First Data Complaints, Ratings & Reviews
First Data typically receives a rating of 1-3 out of 5. There are some happy customers peppered in with several bad reviews. This is probably due to the high number of ISOs and lack of dealing directly with First Data, every ISO is giving their merchants a very different customer experience. It seems First Data has been, and is still, having a major issue managing their ISOs and independent sales agents.
The BBB gives First Data a “B” rating with almost 300 reviews. The BBB also reports over 800 complaints against First Data, and these, unfortunately, do not seem to be isolated incidents.
We did find a handful of lawsuits and several hundred online complaints about First Data and their resellers. These are mostly related to hidden fees and dissatisfaction with leasing and pricing from ISOs licensed under First Data. A recent class-action lawsuit or FTC complaint filed against First Data that states an independent sales agent (ISO) was laundering. It appears that First Data either looked the other way, or let this agent fly under their radar which in turn hurt merchants. The settlement is for over $40 million and requires First Data to screen/monitor high-risk merchant-clients as well as implement an oversight program to monitor wholesale ISOs. Hopefully this will help them more strictly regulate their ISOs/resellers in the future.
|BBB||B (288 reviews)|
|Total Online Reviews||1,000+|
|Total Online Complaints||1,000+|