Leaders Merchant Services: Processor Spotlight

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Leaders Merchant Services is a fast-growing, California-based merchant account provider that caters to businesses of all sizes, including thousands of merchants in all 50 states. Established in 2000, the company focuses on small to mid-sized retail, home-based, mail order, and eCommerce accounts, offering merchants the technology to process “swiped” transactions, as well as card-not-present transactions.

Leaders Merchant Services gives merchants options by providing Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems, Credit Card, and PIN Debit Terminals from Clover, Verifone, First Data, and PAX. They also offer NFC-capable terminals that accept touchless electronic wallet payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. 

Besides processing face-to-face transactions with credit and debit cards, merchants can securely accept payments online using smartphones or tablets. Leaders Merchant Services also offers a complete line of business solutions and services to help merchants streamline their day-to-day operations, allowing them to spend more time marketing and interacting with customers. Additional services include; offering and redeeming gift cards, building customer loyalty programs, guaranteed check acceptance, and easy QuickBooks integration.

Finding working capital for small businesses can be challenging, so Leaders Funding was created to make it easier. Leaders Funding offers financing solutions that merchants need to continue to operate or expand. Whether your business needs short-term financing to respond to the loss of business due to the pandemic, or you need cash to make repairs or accommodate expansion, Leaders can work with you to get the funds that you need.

Who owns Leaders Merchant Services?

After acting as an independent sales organization for a large merchant account provider called iPayment for over ten years, Leaders Merchant Services was purchased by them in 2017. The following year, a UK-based firm, Paysafe, acquired iPayment to expand its business opportunities in North America. Even though Paysafe is the parent company, Leaders Merchant Services continues to operate under its original brand name.

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Leaders Merchant Services Products and Services

  • Customer-Friendly Payment Options: provides POS Systems, Credit Card, and PIN Debit Terminals from Clover, Verifone, First Data, and PAX.
  • Mobile Processing: offers the Walker 2.0 EMV mobile, an audio jack or Bluetooth enabled reader that integrates with multiple POS systems and payment apps. 
  • Payment Gateway: uses the popular Authorize.Net payment gateway for online payment processing. 
  • Shopping Cart Integration: provides easy-to-integrate shopping cart solutions with CartManager. 
  • Check Processing: Verify customer checks using the Magtek Mini-MIRC paper check reader.
  • Business Lending Services: Through a program called Leaders Funding, Leaders Merchant Services offers merchants $5,000 to $500,000 in cash advances and up to $1 million for business loans. Both use your company’s projected sales to determine funding limits and only require you to have been in business for six months.
  • InstantAccept QuickBooks Integration: A virtual terminal allows merchants to process payments from a computer where QuickBooks isn’t installed and then syncs the transaction on the back end.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Caters to a wide variety of industries
  • Accepts high-risk merchants
  • Verifies customer checks
  • Accepts a variety of popular payment options
  • Provides merchant cash advances and lending services

Cons

  • Aggressive sales tactics
  • Misleading tiered pricing structures
  • Early termination fees ranging from $250-$350
  • A high fee structure that may be difficult for low-volume merchants
  • Numerous complaints on public venues

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Leaders Merchant Services Pricing

On LeadersMerchantServices.com, the company boasts it can meet or beat your current pricing. If they can’t, they’ll give you a $200 Gift Card for just letting them review your current pricing.*

*Our “meet or beat” offer will be based on an analysis of your two most recent monthly processing statements. Whether we can “meet or beat” your current pricing will be based on a comparison of your current overall monthly costs (a combination of rates, fees, and monthly charges) with LEADERS’ proposed rates, fees, and monthly charges. Each of the merchant’s two most recent processing statements must show a minimum monthly processing volume of $2,000 in Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit card transactions (excluding PIN Debit). Our $200 Assurance is payable only if LEADERS’ analysis shows that we cannot match your current rate structure and processing profile. Actual costs for months in which the merchant processes with Leaders may vary from month to month depending on processing volume and profile. Savings from your current rates are not guaranteed. This offer does not apply to high-risk merchant types or merchants with poor credit.” (From their website.)

The standard Leaders Merchant Services contract extends for three years and includes:

  • An annual PCI compliance fee of $129
  • A monthly service charge of $7.95 
  • A $40 monthly non-compliance charge 
  • An early termination fee of $250 to $350, depending on when the merchant cancels. 
  • A Leaders Merchant Services fee that appears to waver between $20-$25
  • Many merchants report paying higher rates on their swiped transactions than they were initially quoted. 
  • Leaders advertises rates as low as 0.15% plus $0.18 for transactions, but many merchants claim they have been charged as high as 11%. 
  • The company also advertises a multitude of payment processing equipment options and actively promotes Clover POS systems. 
  • The company gives you the option of buying or leasing their terminals.

In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Leaders Merchant Services also advertises virtual terminal and payment gateway services provided by Authorize.Net. A typical merchant agreement through Authorize.Net includes a transaction rate of 2.90% plus $0.30, a gateway fee of $25 per month, and a batch fee of $0.15. However, as a reseller of its services, Leaders Merchant Services reserves the right to alter these terms and conditions.

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Leaders Merchant Services Reviews

“Crooked”, “thieves”, and “scam” are words you never want to see in your customer reviews.

On consumeraffairs.com, you can click through page after page of 1-star ratings, along with blistering commentary on everything from shady sales tactics to reports of fraudulent charges on merchant’s bank accounts. Occasionally, a 5-star review pops up with a glowing review, and many of them come from “merchants” within close proximity of company headquarters. Those may be planted by an outside agency hired to boost the reputation of Leaders Merchant Services.

It’s also noteworthy that Leaders Merchant Services has not been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2004. 

It’s easy to find a number of negative reviews on various online venues. The most common merchants’ complaints include; misrepresentation of rates, hidden fees, long waits for customer service representatives, unauthorized debiting of accounts, and funds being held without notice. 

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Another common complaint concerns the fact that Leaders Merchant Services appears to outsource telemarketing services and hires independent sales agents to market its services. The use of unaffiliated sales agents often results in complaints about deceptive rate quotes, nondisclosure of fees, and aggressive sales tactics. 

Leaders Merchant Services advertises “rates as low as 0.15%” on its website and in Google search results. These ads fail to mention that the vast majority of their transactions are not eligible for this rate. 

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The Payline Data Advantage 

A guaranteed transparent pricing structure and a dedicated customer representative ensure that Payline customers will know exactly what to expect regarding costs and available services. Nobody likes surprises or hidden fees. Your payment expert is not motivated by commissions, so they will never try to sell you products and services you don’t need. Talk to a payment expert now for detailed information about services and benefits.

 

It’s more important than ever to choose a professional and reliable credit card processing provider who will be available when you need assistance. You want an accessible partner who understands your industry and listens carefully to understand your specific business needs. The payment processing industry is a crowded space, filled with slick presentations and subject to some questionable sales tactics. Choose a company that will take the time to assess your unique needs. Payline pairs you with a dedicated customer service agent who will take the time to explain the terms and conditions of your contract carefully. We have nothing to hide.

Payline Credit Card Processing

Payline offers all the features you need to take care of all your payment processing needs

  • Complete POS Systems
  • Simple, transparent pricing with no long-term contracts
  • A dedicated account manager
  • Seamless Integration with your existing systems 
  • Your Software, Our Hardware
  • A virtual terminal and reporting dashboard that syncs in real-time. 
  • A retail POS system connects your products and schedule on the frontend, your accounting on the backend, and more. All are included in your suite of tools.
  • From startup to enterprise, our devices allow you to own your client experience while taking care of the compliance, updates, and support.
  • Robust fraud protection and fewer chargebacks

Payline Pricing

Payline is committed to offering the lowest pricing plans while providing you with software that performs all the functions you need to run a successful business, such as invoicing, recurring billing, ACH payments, and a payments page. Easy plugins connect to Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems, shopping carts, Quickbooks, and the card reader of your choice. 

Swiping in-person costs 0.2% plus 10 cents and a monthly flat fee of $10. The credit card not present or online purchase costs 0.4% plus 20 cents and a monthly fee of $20.

Interchange refers to the fee collected, per transaction, by the customer’s credit card bank (Visa, MasterCard, Amex, etc.) These rates are set by credit card companies and are standard in the payment processing industry. Interchange rates are part of Payline’s interchange-plus pricing plans. We pass on the wholesale cost from the card issuer and then add on a small disclosed fee. 

Your first month with Payline is FREE. No risk, no upfront fees, and no cancelation fees. No hidden fees, no contract double-speak, and no surprises! Click here to calculate what you’ll pay using our payment calculator.

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