- Sales Experience
Flagship Merchant Services was founded in 2001 and is based out of Charlestown, Massachusetts. They are one of the fastest growing Merchant Service Providers in the United States and offer both card present and card-not-present solutions as well as cash advances, e-checks, and gift card services. They use First Data as their processor and are a registered Independent Sales Organization for Wells Fargo.
Flagship Merchant Services is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has a B+ rating with them. Over the past three years, they have had 37 complaints filed against them, with 25 closed within the past twelve months. One customer whom filed a complaint felt that the response they received was unsatisfactory. The majority of the complaints filed cited billing/collection issues as well as problems with product/service. Under the “customer reviews” section of the Better Business Bureau website, they’ve had zero positive reviews, zero neutral reviews, and five negative reviews. Flagship does allow for anyone to read the complaints filed against them and seem to do a pretty good job of responding to the issues. Unfortunately for Flagship however, it can be argued that having a B+ rating might as well be an F since there are an abundance of similar sized merchant service providers with an A+ rating to choose from. In addition there is evidence that the company has reincorporated numerous times, while this does not necessitate any major issues, reincorporation can be one tactic that companies use to avoid having bad reviews and customer service follow them. One thing to look for is that the years they have been operating does not match the total number of years detailed in their BBB profile.
Unlike most merchant service providers of their size, Flagship seems to have a large inside sales staff and minimal independent agents and other their party sales organizations. This can be very beneficial to a merchant as it makes for a very uniform and controlled sales experience. Flagship does have some big name clients that they advertise on their website like Subway and H&R Block, however this likely points to having signed a franchise operation rather that being the exclusive merchant service provider for these companies. One of their most recent marketing campaigns is their mobile processing solution ROAMpay. They advertise a free attachment for a smartphone which puts them in direct competition with Square and Intuit GoPayment, but with seemingly better rates.
Flagship offers “rates starting at 0.38%” on their website. Although this sounds great, this rate would only cover “qualified” debit card transactions from a regulated bank. They also advertise “free Authorize.net payment gateway set-up” for e-commerce merchants, which means that they will set up Authorize.net for free. However, beware that Authorize.net does charge about $10 a month for their gateway and Flagship does not have to include that charge on their merchant application. Since they are one of the fastest growing merchant service providers in the United States, they can typically compete with other large merchant service providers for any business that has a large monthly processing volume. However we have seen varying PCI fees levied against their customers, with some merchants finding that they were paying over $200 and in some cases over $300 in fees; with this in mind we highly caution merchants to perform their due diligence, and always receive a full schedule of rates and fees, ideally working with a 3rd party to look through it if you are new to the industry or want confirmation that your bills will match your expectations.