Providing Fast and Dependable Solutions for Card Not Present Orders. Gregory Bair

The payment processing industry is always changing. For mail order and telephone order (MOTO) merchants Benchmark Merchant Solutions (BMS) offers the services, technology and education MOTO merchants seek. BMS believes in building their business one merchant at a time, from the multi-million dollar business, to the small business owner (SME). They believe in educating a customer about the payment industry, their processes and available options. They have invested the resources necessary to upgrade merchant technologies by reprogramming and installing all types of credit card systems, examining processing statements for savings, troubleshooting technical difficulties, fighting fraud and chargeback problems. One sales representative is assigned to each MOTO merchant account.

Introduction

BMS has been in the business of credit card processing, as well as financial and other business services for over 15 years. They are headquartered in New York, with a specializing office in Los Angeles to handle accounts categorized as high risk. BMS works with virtually every type of merchant from restaurants, hotels, retail, professional, and mail order. Whether a traditional business or an online merchant, BMS, likely has an answer. They offer small and mid-sized businesses Credit and ATM/Debit card Processing, Cash Advance Products, EBT Processing, Check Guarantee Services, Prepaid Services, Bill Pay Services, Gift and Loyalty Programs, ACH set-ups, and Internet electronic commerce capabilities.

The Company focuses on quality relationships and provides individualized assistance to every new customer. They pride themselves on providing:

  • No Application Fees
  • No Setup Fees
  • No Programming Fees
  • Great Customer Service
  • Easy Setup
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BMS

BMS consistently states their “rates, fees and equipment pricing are one of the most competitive in the business.” They provide state-of-the-art point-of-sale terminals, including wireless models and internet compatible machines. They also offer personal hands-on support, equipment training, and on-going lifetime support on all processing programs.

PCI Compliance is very important to BMS and the regulations and fees are constantly changing. The professionals at BMS are committed to assisting merchants stay in compliance, and helping them qualify for the best pricing available.

Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO)

The global mail order industry is expected to top $835 Billion by 2015. The global mail order market is rapidly growing at a rate driven primarily by the growing preference of time crunched consumers who want to shop from the convenience of their home. Additionally, low investment, quick setup and easy availability to capital further stimulate the distribution of a wide range of goods through non-store retail channels, thereby offering a wide and diverse choice of products to consumers.

Many MOTO customers are on fixed incomes, still use land-line touch-tone phones and do not use much in the way of modern technology. But they have grandkids who they desperately want to shower with gifts, they need medicines and wish to have them delivered, they still collect items they have been collecting for decades. They like getting catalogs in the mail. They need and want a MOTO solution, and it’s primarily a large baby-boom generation that still uses MOTO.

Why not offer this service to glean extra profit, serve a customer base that is underserved in this modern age, and pay little to do it all?

BMS is here to help the MOTO merchant navigate the old and new ways of business, and meet all the needs of every segment of their customer base. They allow merchants to submit transactions manually by entering a customer’s payment information into an online terminal.

Security and mobility are the primary advantages of MOTO processing as most cardholders remain skeptical of providing personal data and credit card information to small stores with plain websites. This fear may result in the loss of a sale. BMS’ effort toward merchant education leads to informed Mail Order Telephone Order processing for the vendor and increased revenue.

Products and Services

BMS has serviced many different merchants from all kinds of businesses, small or large, in the restaurant industry, hospitality industry, retail establishments both brick and mortar and online, as well as professional businesses selling services. With all the processing industry changes every year, BMS strives to help their merchant partners to stay PCI compliant, because they believe that well finance-educated customers are the best to work with.

Secured Credit/Debit Card Processing

Benchmark Merchant Solutions provides services to a broad range of merchants in almost every industry. Whether you’re a traditional brick and morar business or an online merchant, they can help you. From independent retailers to national accounts, BMS has the knowledge and expertise to meet the demands of an ever changing marketplace.

They offer small and mid-sized businesses these services:

  • Credit and ATM/Debit card Processing
  • Cash Advance Products
  • EBT Processing
  • Check Guarantee Services
  • Prepaid Services
  • Bill Pay Services
  • Gift and Loyalty Programs
  • ACH set-ups
  • Internet electronic commerce capabilities

Credit/Debit Card Processing Merchant Solutions

For new businesses new and current businesses they offer state-of-the-art point-of-sale terminals, including the newest wireless models, and internet compatible machines. They also offer personal customer and technical support, equipment training, and on-going lifetime support on all programs offered by our company.

High Risk

In addition, BMSLA specializes in high risk industries. If you have had a difficult time attaining a merchant account, due to your business model or Industry, they can help.

BMSLA offers these services

  • Credit Card Processing
  • Check Services
  • Gift Cards
  • ACH Services.

Rates and Fees

There are many different rates structures available in the market today. Whereas, BMS does not publish their rates, they do claim that they are highly competitive. You will have to contact them to see how competitive they are. From their website:

Our rates, fees and equipment pricing are one of the most competitive in the business. If you already have a business and are looking for a better rate, you’re in the right place – just contact us and we’ll be glad to help.”

They will make the effort to first fully understand your business and provide the best merchant account technology and strategy for each merchant. This is far better than simply offering generic rates to fit all businesses. BMS believes this will build confidence with merchants that they are associating themselves with one of the best merchant account providers in the United States who has the merchants best interests at heart.

Contract Terms

BMS does not provide contract terms with first analyzing a merchant’s needs. However they have clearly stated there is no expectation of a long term contract. There are no professional reviews online of BMS from referral services either. As they are still in business they are probably pretty standard contracts you find with many of these companies.

Customer Service

BMS provides all merchant accounts with prompt and thorough assistance to resolve processing issues. Customer reviews were all highly positive and those few issues that arose were resolved by the Company. BMS customer service agents were praised for being professional, on time, helpful, honest, straightforward and hardworking.

Technical Support

BMS will ensure a merchant’s technology issues are resolved quickly in an effort to ensure there is little to no business interruption. The Company stays on the cutting edge of technology and offers each merchant with a “personalized” technology strategy that helps the merchant quickly process transactions.

They provide new merchants with a proprietary CRM system catering specifically to the needs of Cash Advance companies of all sizes.

Some key features will include:

  • Daily transaction tracking with payback rate history

  • View your entire merchant portfolio at a glance

  • Issue Tracking

  • Customer Management

  • Email Reporting

Reviews / Testimonials

Most customer reviews were positive and praised the Company for their industry leading rates and customer service efforts. These include:

  • I have been with Benchmark since mid-2009. Their rates and customer service are top notch, but even more impressive is their knowledge of the industry and willingness to share that knowledge!
  • I have been using Benchmark since 2009. Ever since the exact day i signed up I have been extremely satisfied. I used to pay over 3.5% for processing and i thought that was a good rate. I spoke with Ari at Benchmark and he signed me up with 1. no problem. 2. no questions and 3. amazing savings. The one thing i HATE about processors is that when things get ugly, THEY ARE NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!!!!!!!!! I have called Benchmark over 100 times in the last 12 months and EVERY SINGLE TIME THEY ANSWER WITH A HAPPY GREETING!!!! I don’t care what anyone says about any other processor. I have never in my life received such great customer service and such great reponse times. now here’s the greatest part, as i said above, i used to have a 3.5% for my proccessing. Now, and ever after fee’s, my end percentage with visa / MasterCard is 2.2% AND IM A HIGH RISK BUSINESS!!!!!!!!!! So to Ari and the entire staff of Benchmark, THANK YOU!!!
  • These guys are great! I highly recommend them to anyone looking to save money on their credit card processing.
  • Benchmark Merchant Solutions is a great company to do business with. Their agents establish long-term relationships with their customers putting them at ease. They provide great rates for merchants and great customer service. There is always someone there to guide you step by step through any issues you may face. I recommend Benchmark Merchant Solutions above all others when it comes to processing. You won’t find a better company to do business with.
  • I had a phenomenal experience with their customer service. They were patient and eager to help me understand the fees on my monthly statement. They were also able to create a comparison showing me the difference between their rates and that of my previous merchant services company. I am very satisfied with the service and the pricing.

Complaints

The BBB Business says that MBSLA is not BBB accredited. It has received a C- rating the BBB. There have been 14 complaints in the last three years, with 10 of them being serious billing/collection issues. The company has raised their rating to the C- by responding to the complaints and resolving some of them.

Benchmark Merchant Solutions has responded to these complaints by cancelling contracts and in some cases refunding consumers. The company also took action to adopt a mandatory consumer service policy required for their independent sales offices prohibiting misrepresentation or misleading representations as to advanced terms and requiring full disclosure that the customer is switching services to Benchmark Merchant Solutions. The company also implemented a complaint department to promptly address customer complaints.

Conclusion

I believe BMS is a strong processing firm and feel they provide an excellent option for merchants seeking a firm who uses the latest technology combined with a focus on training and education. Although there are a few complaints, I feel strongly the Company has worked hard to resolve them. They have the advantage of being in business for more than a decade and have a large number of existing customer who have continued to stay with them over time. Another great sign. Additionally, BMS offers multiple processing products and services which have received glowing reviews.