Flagship Merchant Services Review

9 Rates & Fees Good - Needs more transparency
7 BBB Rating & Complaints More than average complaints
10 Terms & Contract Excellent
9.5 Competitive Advantages Free terminal / No contract

Updated on November 22, 2021

Flagship Merchant Services is a credit card processor with a low monthly fee and no lengthy contract. Read full Flagship Merchant Services Review to learn more.

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Flagship Merchant Services, established in 2001 with their corporate offices located at 100 City Square, 4th Floor, Charlestown, MA 02129 is a large merchant service provider that services over 200,000 clients. They offer payment processing that falls within the business categories of retail, wireless, moto, e-commerce, restaurant, mobile, payment gateway and merchant cash advances.

Their website: www.flagshipmerchantservices.com states they were voted #1 merchant account provider for 8 years by top ten reviews. After looking at that particular reviews site, we notice their ratings are based on services and features   that every merchant account provider has and are basically the same with everyone, nothing that really sets them apart or would make a difference when deciding. Hum, that’s strange, anyway back to Flagship. They’re offering a free mobile card reader, free EMV/NFC terminal and rates that start as low as 0.38%. When researching we see everything from 2 stars to 5 stars, good reviews and bad reviews, so let’s dig in and see if we can come to a fair and objective conclusion.

Rates and Fees: Rating: 9/10

♦Set up fee: None!

♦Annual fee: None, but agents can charge annual fee

♦Monthly fee: $7.95

♦Monthly Minimum: $25

♦PCI compliance fee: $99

♦Non-PCI compliance fee: $19.95 per month

♦Early termination fee: None

♦Swipe rates: list rates as low as 0.38%

♦Keyed-in rates: Not listed

♦Interchange-Plus: Available

♦Mobile swipe fee: Not listed

Okay, so let’s break these down. The no set up fee is always a good thing as it’s usually only a profit maker for the processor and or agent. The zero annual fee is the way it should be, just be careful if you’re dealing with an agent that wants to charge this fee. Monthly fee is set at $7.95 and is reasonable and pretty standard in the industry. We like to see a no monthly minimum on merchant accounts because it’s usually a profit generator for lower volume accounts. The PCI annual compliance fee is on the high end of the spectrum as we see them anywhere from $39-$99 so we would recommend to see if you could negotiate this fee down. We really don’t like the pci non-compliance fee at all but most processors are charging this fee, just remember to fill out your SAQ form once per year and this can be avoided. Flagship now has a no cancel or early termination fee which does show they’re working hard at earning their customers business one month at a time which we do give high marks for. Now the swipe rates are a bit suspicious because when all you see is the one fee listed, it indicates that this is for your offline debit transactions and not your qualified, mid-qualified or non-qualified charges. Note that there are very few qualified cards in the marketplace and most are downgraded to mid or non-qualified charges and this is where you see the real profit for most processors. Since the keyed-in and mobile swipe rates aren’t listed, we assume it’s a marketing ploy to get you to call in to find out. We do like the fact that interchange-plus pricing is available and something you should always ask for with any provider. If you are not satisfied with Flagship for any reason or you’d just like to work with a processor that has transparent interchange-plus pricing along with month-to-month agreement, no cancel fee and no pci compliance fee, we suggest you check out one our premier providers CDGcommerce. For an overall rating on rates and fees, we give this provider a 9/10 rating.

BBB Rating & Complaints: Rating 8/10

Flagship Merchant Services maintains an A- BBB rating and has been accredited since May, 2015. Over the last three years, Flagship Merchant Services has had 142 complaints and 142 closed, 50 closed within the last 12 months. So basically they are averaging roughly 47 elevated complaints per year. The way these complaints were broken down is advertising/sales 31, billing/collection 84, delivery issues 3, and 24 problems with product/service. On the Better Business Bureau reviews board there were 49 with a positive experience, 6 that were neutral, and 55 that had a negative experience. Putting things in perspective, this is a massive company and the complaint ratio is probably around .0009%. That being said, until we see this provider get a handle on complaints before they’re elevated we give this processor an 8/10 rating.

Contract Terms: Rating 10/10

It is important to note that Flagship Merchant Services;

• Does not charge a cancel or termination fee

• Offers a free EMV/NFC processing terminal

• Offers a free card reader when you sign up for mobile processing

• Free online sales reporting and tracking

We do give high marks for being transparent with no contract or cancel fees. This should give potential clients a good feeling knowing that if something goes wrong they can cancel and switch at any time. We always suggest caution when signing a contract and advise you should read your agreement so you won’t be surprised by any unexpected fees or expectations on your part.

Competitive Advantages: Rating 9.5

Flagship Merchant Services offers several competitive advantages, most of which is listed in the contract terms above.

All in all we’d say they are pretty competitive in those aspects but would really like to see a more transparent pricing structure and for that reason we give a 9.5/10 rating.

Products and Services

Flagship Merchant Services claims that their equipment is provided free of charge as long as you return it in good working condition.

Products and services to meet their customers demand:

  • Free credit card reader for mobile phone
  • Free authorize.net gateway set-up
  • Free shopping cart set-up
  • Free American express set up
  • e-Commerce payment gateway for websites
  • Web based credit card processing for manual or telephone orders
  • Retail processing
  • Mail/phone order processing
  • e-Commerce or website processing
  • Mobile payments
  • POS system
  • Digital loyalty program
  • Check processing
  • Fraud and risk management

Customer Service

Flagship Merchant Services has a dedicated in-house customer service team that seems to have good reviews from most. You can contact them directly by phone or email and can call 24/7 for support. The not so great reviews seems to come from afterhours issues that merchants may have. During regular hours you’ll get in contact with their in-house customer support team but afterhours it goes directly to another paid for service or to the processor, iPayment.

Technical Support

Technical support is staffed in-house for Flagship Merchant Services and sometimes may be routed to the processor, iPayment.

Closing Thoughts

Flagship Merchant Services seems to have good value especially with the no contract, no cancel fee policy. We also like the fact they offer their clients a free EMV/NFC terminal as customers will have the need to feel safe when using their new chip card credit cards expected to be rolling out soon by the card issuers.

While the company had many negative reviews in the past, the future may be brighter as they focus on getting a handle on complaints before its elevated. We feel it’s certainly not a company you should stay away from but also would give you caution and make sure you read all the fine print as you should with any contract. If it wasn’t for the lack of pricing transparency on their website, they would have received higher marks. Flagship Merchant Services is a solid processor and one you should consider when choosing a credit card processor.

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