First Data Reviews

posted in: Merchant Accounts | 2

First Data Overview

First Data is one of the largest merchant account providers in the world. First incorporated in 1971, the company has been since been acquired and spun off by various entities, including American Express and the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravitz Roberts. First Data is currently a publicly traded company following a $2.56 billion IPO in October 2015.

First Data is the backend processor for many large and small independent sales organizations, which gives it a huge market share within the credit card processing industry. These processors include iPayment, Bank of America Merchant Services, and Sam’s Club Merchant Services. The company’s leasing subsidiary, First Data Global Leasing, has an equally large footprint when it comes to long-term credit card terminal leases.

In a recent Fortune magazine feature article, First Data CEO Frank Bisignano discussed the company’s goal of transitioning its products and services from traditional “dumb brick” terminals to smart point-of-sale systems that can provide deep business analytics and greater device flexibility. This means that First Data will be competing both with other large processors that have already entered the business analytics space and with smaller tech-oriented companies like Square, ShopKeep, and Revel Systems. As the centerpiece of this strategy, the company is placing a heavy marketing emphasis on its “Clover” point-of-sale system, which offers proprietary hardware and third-party software combinations for traditional and mobile businesses.

First Data Logo
First Data Logo

At a glance

Founded: 1971

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Acquiring bank: Wells Fargo

Website: firstdata.com

Phone number: 1-404-890-2000

E-mail: Contact form here

 

 

First Data Promotional Video

Online reputation and reviews

Due to its incredible size and market share, First Data is the subject of thousands of complaints on various consumer protection websites. Negative reviewers mention long-term contracts, hefty cancellation penalties, non-cancellable leases, undisclosed fees, and poor customer service. Generally speaking, the company appears to receive negative feedback from smaller merchants, while having a much higher success rate with large businesses.

Legal actions and lawsuits

There are no outstanding or recently resolved legal actions related to First Data at this time.

Have you used First Data for your business? Rate the company at the top of this post and tell us about your experience in the comment section below:

2 Responses

  1. Irvin Zimmerman

    Sounds so familiar, almost word for word to my experience, what a bunch of crooks!

  2. Bjorn

    United Card Solutions and First Data Global Leasing can be summed up as a gang of thieves in my opinion. I own and operate a specialty ethnic grocery store/gift store and café in Seattle. Anybody who runs a small business knows how enticing saving money can be and how valuable your time is. I am sad to report that I have wasted much of both on these fraudsters.
    They solicited my business in May of last year. After spending considerable time with a Chris Boltz, both on the phone and via email, I agreed to change processors and take advantage of their great offer. Going over my processing statement item by item with Chris he was able to convince me that I would cut my fees in half. On an average month that would mean 600$ in savings, during the Holidays it would have come to several thousand saved. I reviewed very closely all parts to the agreement. The only thing that caused me to pause for a moment was the fact that they wanted a 48 month commitment. I had been with my previous processor for over 10 years so I figured I wouldn’t mind committing to four years if I was saving this much money. Chris also made a few generous offers, one to waive my cancellation fee with my former processor, Axia, who I now highly recommend, and the other was to drop my monthly equipment fee in half. As he explained the equipment rental was where they could actually make some money since their offer was so low. They used a third party to govern the rentals and that was FDGL. This made sense to me and also cleared up why they wanted a commitment. I was genuinely excited to see my rates cut so dramatically. When I say I reviewed the terms to the agreement I mean that I read every line and every detail of charging structures provided and asked them to help me define it if it seemed vague. Everything looked solid.
    Until the first bills started arriving. First was the equipment lease bill, which was for 399$ plus tax instead of the 199$ that Chris had promised. I called and called and called, no answer. Instead, the line which had he told me was to his cell phone, was eventually picked up by some “Sr. Manager”, named Trevor or Tyler, who assured me Chris was just very busy but that he would get back to me promptly. Nothing. Next was a small bill for other assorted fees. This bill covered the end of May. I had agreed to start using their service in June and hadn’t even connected their machines until the 1st of that month. So they were going to nickel and dime me? Well, I thought, maybe another 40$ wasn’t a big deal if I was going to save hundreds. I wish that had been the case.
    I reached out several times during June to have Chris address these issues. No response. Then I received the June bill. It was about 600$ MORE than what I formerly paid for the same amount of business and number of transactions! WTF? I really started to rattle the chains then. Finally, in that second week of July Chris sent a quick email response saying he was sorry about the rental fees and that they should be less as we agreed. He also confirmed that my former processor arrangement was cancelled. Well now I felt like I had to ride this out since I didn’t have someone to turn to as a back up, so I sat tight for the next two weeks. In the last week of the month I got the next rental bill again and it hadn’t changed. I was flabbergasted that I had been so obviously lied to and that I was being taken advantage of. That was it. I quickly called Axia and asked for them to take me back. They were happy to inform me that my service with them had not been altered and nobody from UBCS or FDGL had contacted them. I plugged their terminals in the next week and have been happily paying the fees I was familiar with since then.
    Except… here it gets better. FDGL refused to cancel my lease. They said I had committed to 48 months and that they would charge me over 1000$ to cancel. I responded that since I had been lied to since the outset they should just cancel my lease, refund me for the overcharged fees, which I had not agreed to, and we could all move on. I even told them that the two months I had been overcharged could just remain as a reminder to me to not trust anybody in the processing industry. I had already paid it and would chalk it up as a loss. They refused again. Finally, after threatening to sue, they said a senior manager was personally cancelling my account and that things would be settled in September.
    That didn’t happen. Since then I have exchanged weekly emails with an Ashley who has assured me that my lease is being cancelled. I told her that not only did that need to happen but all fees assessed since August 1st needed to be refunded in entirety. Guess who keeps getting the leasing and assorted fees bills extracted from their account? Me! What a scam!
    Just like Chris did to me right after I signed up now these clowns at FDGL have continued ignoring me.
    I am proceeding with a small claims court suit against both firms for all of the back lease charges and the fraudulent costs that came of this deal. Fortunately they are in OR so I am suing for my attorney fees as well. I have no doubt that I will prevail. But what a terrible waste of my time! This has been ridiculous. I have never been so poorly treated by a business. I have never been directly lied to by a US business. These people deserve a special place in hell, if there is one.
    Stay away from anything to do with either of these firms. If you are also a victim please accept my deepest empathy. I suggest you sue them as well.

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