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Review of: First Data

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On August 7, 2018
Last modified:October 4, 2018


First Data is one of the largest wholesalers on the market, working with such a large processor has many plusses but also comes with some warning flags

First Data

First Data Merchant Services was founded in 1971 making them one of the oldest processors around and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1998 they began offering their services outside the United States and today is one of the largest payment processing firms in the world. It’s important to understand that First Data is an actual processor, not just a merchant service provider which means their buy rates are lower than most other merchant service providers making them a must shop for any large business. For small to medium sized businesses, First Data might be competitive but don’t expect to see the lowest rates coming from them as their low markup above interchange is generally reserved for larger corporations.

First Data Merchant Services is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating with them. Over the past three years, they have had 636 complaints filed against them, with 197 closed within the past twelve months. A whopping 113 of the customers whom filed complaints 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. It’s very surprising to see that First Data has an A+ rating as 636 complaints in an extremely high number and 113 unsatisfactory responses reflects very poorly on their customer service. This could be due to the fact that Fist Data primarily relies on other merchant service providers to sell their services meaning the complaints filed could be coming from a number of other MSPs but filed directly under Fist Data.

As mentioned above, First Data is a direct processor meaning that they mostly rely on other merchant service providers to sell their products and services. They do have a small inside sales team, however most of their business comes from outside sources. In fact, some of the biggest merchant service providers in the industry use First Data as their back end processor. Obviously debit and credit card processing is part of their portfolio, but they also offer other value added services like pre paid cards and payroll services. On top of their strong MSP partnerships, Fist Data also uses independent agents and affiliates that refer their business over.

Since First Data is a direct processor, their rates highly depend of what merchant service provider the business is getting a proposal from. Going directly through First Data might cut out the middle man, but doesn’t necessarily mean lower rates. Going directly through First Data would only be advisable for large businesses with a prior processing history of 100k plus. And as always, the rates highly depend on the business type so it’s advised to call them directly and read the contract in its entirety before signing up.



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