Leaders Merchant Services Review

7 Rates & Fees Average
7 BBB Rating & Complaints Average, Resolving complaints-Good
7 Terms & Contract Average
7 Competitive Advantages Average

Updated on November 22, 2021

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About Leaders Merchant Services

Leaders Merchant Services, established in 2000 with their corporate headquarters located at 725 Via Alondra, Camarillo, CA 93012 and is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA. Leaders is a merchant services provider that primarily serves retail, E-commerce, mobile and phone order businesses.

Their website: www.leadersmerchantservices.com states they’re committed to excellence in all aspects of their merchant services relationships and have competitive rates and a wide variety of terminals for your credit card processing needs. While there are some reviews sites that are liberal with their rating system and have no rhyme or reason for their high marks, we analyze merchant service providers and hold them to a higher standard. To be fair and objective we dug deeper and this is what we found.

Rates and Fees: Rating 7/10

♦ Set up fee: None!

♦ Annual fee is $99.00

♦ Monthly fee we found to be anywhere from $7.95 to $15

♦ Monthly minimum: $25.00 but could be lowered to $20.00

♦ PCI compliance fee: $129.00 (high compared to many)

♦ Non-PCI compliance fee: $40 (very high)

♦ Early termination fee ranges from $250-$350

♦ Swipe rates are as low as 0.35% typically offline debit

♦ Keyed in rates as low as 1.79%

So let’s break these down. Obviously the $0.0 set up fee is great and that’s the way it should be. Annual fee is not typical for most merchant services providers and if you can get a monthly fee for around $7.95, we would consider this a decent deal. Monthly minimums are usually a way for the provider to make money on the account when the merchant isn’t processing very much credit and debit volume and is acceptable in the industry as long as you know what you’re getting into. As far as the PCI compliance goes, the $129 fee is a little above the norm as we see most providers offer the same service for anywhere from $39 to $99 while a few providers charge nothing and others are charging as much as $185. The $40 non-pci compliance fee is double what most payment providers charge in the industry so it would be in your best interest to see if you could negotiate that down to $19.95 and make sure you complete your annual SAQ questionnaire to avoid any additional monthly pci non-compliance fees. Many processors still charge an early termination fee to make up for the customers they lose in a year’s time. Okay so let’s get to the rates. A swipe fee of 0.35%, wow sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Careful, you could be falling for the carrot rate, why? You must understand that is typically only for your offline debit transactions on regulated debit cards. Unless you get it in writing it won’t be your qualified rate, mid-qualified or non-qualified rates which will be much higher on their go-to-tiered pricing plan. Keep in mind you can always ask for interchange-plus pricing where you only pay a small percentage above the interchange cost for each transaction. Another thing you may want to consider is asking if you are auto-enrolled into any programs that have additional monthly fees and decide if those programs are right for your business. If they’re not, simply ask to be opted-out and you won’t be charged.

Leaders does rely on its sales agents to price each client and is probably the main reason why it varies so much on pricing. All we can say is there are options for you if you want things like: month-to-month agreement, no cancel fee, no monthly minimum, no annual or pci compliance fee, free virtual terminal and interchange-plus pricing. If you like the sound of that, we recommend you compare with one of our preferred providers, CDGcommerce.

BBB Rating and Complaints: Rating 7/10

We really enjoy when we’re able to say zero complaints, but it’s just not the case with Leaders Merchant Services, also known as RockBottomMerchantAccounts.com on the web or at least another URL that is connected to the company. The Better Business Bureau has the company listed with an A rating consisting of 222 complaints in the last three years and of those, 222 were closed which means Leaders is making an effort to resolve issues. With ratings being so important to a company’s online presence it’s a good thing they’re making such an effort but you have to admit that’s a lot of complaints in a three year span. Out of those 222 complaints they were broken down into three categories; 48 advertising/sales, 93 billing/collection issues, and 80 problems with product/service. Most of the complaints seem to be coming from deceptive sales practices from independent agents. If you deal with the company direct versus going through an independent agent you probably have a much better chance of getting the answers and agreement you desire. We would like to note that Leaders Merchant Services has over 100,000 customers and if you do the math, the complaint ratio is about 0.002% so we do give good marks for making an effort to resolve all complaints. While other review sites try to bash a provider for the number of BBB complaints, we applaud this company for resolving all complaints. That being said we’d still like to see this provider get a handle on these issues before it’s elevated to a complaint stage and for that reason we give Leaders a 7/10 rating.

Terms and Contract: Rating 7/10

Leaders Merchant Services offers a standard 3 year contract with a merchant account and typically will charge $350 if cancelled within the first year and $250 if cancelled within the second or third year. Here’s the kicker, if you’re not aware of the auto-renew feature it can really hurt if you’re considering switching because of rates, service or any issues you may have experienced. We recommend you find out when the auto-renewal date is and mark on your calendar in case your circumstances change and need to get out. What you will find in today’s marketplace is providers that offer month-to-month agreements with no early termination fees and interchange-plus pricing. If interested you can click here to find merchant service providers with these customer oriented terms.

Competitive Advantages: Rating 7/10

Leaders Merchant Services does offer a free terminal program and has low rates for debit card transactions, which is always great. We also liked their Instant Accept program for QuickBooks integration but outside of the standard features and services that most providers offer, we really couldn’t find anything else that would be considered a competitive advantage.

Products and Services

Leaders Merchant Services does offer the latest EMV equipment for their merchants, something that we really like to see considering it’s probably our only hope of getting away from all of the breaches that have happened the last few years. Other products and services offered are: Apple Pay, Instant Accept, a integration solution for QuickBooks, StampMe, a loyalty card app for merchants and their customers, SimplyPaid, a direct deposit program that eliminates paper checks, Open Dining Network, a custom branded mobile app that allows restaurants to take orders on their mobile devices. Leaders Merchant Services also has Leaders Funding for both business loans and merchant cash advances and iAccess, a tool that allows merchants to view all of their transaction activity, batches, statements and deposit history.

Customer Service

Leaders Merchant Services does offer phone support 24/7 and rightly so, when a business needs help with their account or tech service, it’s important to get through quickly. Based on the third-party reviews on the web the company has had some issues with support and is working hard trying to improve their support methods.

Closing Thoughts

It’s tough to give Leaders Merchant Services a good rating considering all of the complaints they have combined with their overall strategy and misleading sales tactic complaints. Usually this type of an issue pops up when a provider has a few reps not properly explaining the terms and just focused on making the sale, something we hope has been fixed. Our opinion is unless you can get what you want in writing, get some comparisons and see what the differences are. I’m sure they have happy customers like most providers, however do your due diligence and read your agreement before signing. If you’re considering doing business with Leaders, we would recommend you take a look at different and better options to compare before signing.

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