Total Merchant Services Review

9.1
9 Rates & Fees Good / Interchange-plus available
8 BBB Rating & Complaints Good with exception
10 Terms & Contract Month-to-Month / No cancel fee
9.5 Competitive Advantages Free terminal / Free loyalty program

Updated on November 22, 2021

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Intro

Total Merchant Services is a North American merchant services provider that offers payment solutions to a variety of businesses. Incorporated in 1996, Total Merchant Services now operates out of Woodland Hills, California. With 19 years of experience, the Company is especially equipped to address client needs with an emphasis on cost-efficiency, safety, and reliability.

Although experienced and well-known in the industry with over 100,000 clients, Total Merchant Services has received a large amount of bad reviews and complaints. 90% of these issues appear to have been resolved, and the Company maintains an A+ BBB rating. Keeping that in mind, Total Merchant Services has several “freebies” that could potentially save clients a fair amount of money and keep costs low for the Company. Are these attractive enough to negate previous issues? Read on to find out.

Rates and Fees: Rating 9/10

Total Merchant Services lists the following rates, but it is prudent to check with the company. TMS does offer interchange-plus pricing when requested.

  • Wireless Service
    • Annual Fee – NONE
    • Monthly Fee – $10 + Wireless Access Fee – $15
    • Monthly Minimum – $25
    • PCI – $4.95 month
    • Non-PCI compliance – None listed
    • Termination Fee – NONE
    • Swipe Rate – 1.49% + $.08, Debit Card Rate – $.30 + 0%
    • Keyed-in Rates – None listed
  • Retail
    • Annual Fee – NONE
    • Monthly Fee – $5
    • Monthly Minimum – $0.00
    • PCI – $4.95 month
    • Non-PCI compliance – None listed
    • Termination Fee – NONE
    • Swipe Rate – 1.39% + $.06
    • Keyed-in Rates – None listed
  • Internet
    • Annual Fee – NONE
    • Monthly Fee – $5
    • Monthly Minimum – $25
    • PCI – $4.95 month
    • Non-PCI compliance – None listed
    • Termination Fee – NONE
    • Swipe Rate – 1.81% + $.08
    • Keyed-in Rates – None listed
  • Check Services – $10
    • Annual Fee – NONE
    • Monthly Fee – $10
    • Monthly Minimum – $15
    • PCI – $4.95 month
    • Non-PCI compliance – None listed
    • Termination Fee – NONE
    • Swipe Rate – 1.46% + $.17
    • Keyed-in Rates – None listed
    • When looking at the rates and fees, compared to many TMS has reasonable rates and does offer interchange-plus pricing upon request. It is important to ask if you are auto enrolled in any programs that have additional monthly fees and opt-out if it’s not a program you desire. Another important factor is to ask what your mid-qualified and non-qualified transaction rates will be if choosing to be on their tiered-rate program. With no early termination fee and low cost pci-compliance fee, we feel this company is on the right track and for that reason we give Total Merchant Services a 9/10 rating for this category.

BBB Rating & Complaints: Rating 8/10

As stated in the introduction, Total Merchant Services maintains an A+ BBB rating. BBB has accredited the Company since 2013, even in the wake of complaints. 128 complaints were closed with BBB within the last 3 years, 78 in the last 6 months. The BBB website claims that the Company has still earned their rating based on some of the following factors:

  • Length of time business has been operating
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
  • Response to 132 complaints filed against business
  • Resolution of complaints filed against business

On the BBB website, the majority of the complaints listed were related to problems with products and/or service.  After that, billing and collection issues were listed, then advertising and sales issues. Putting things in perspective, when you do the math of over 100,000 clients and number of complaints, it comes out to be about .0013%. We do congratulate TMS for resolving all complaints but would still like to see most if not all complaints handled before it gets elevated to where the customer feels they should complain to the BBB. For that reason we give TMS an 8/10 rating in this category.

Click Here to see Better Business Bureau report for Total Merchant Services.

Contract Terms: Rating 10

It is important to note that Total Merchant Services;

• Does not charge a termination fee of any kind
• Offers free credit card readers and terminals
• Connects clients with Groovv—a successful and user-friendly marketing company
• Provides a free card swiper and software when you sign-up for mobile processing
• Offers Internet Processing with specialized client pathways and fraud protection tools
• Merchant Advantage Program – Free for the first 3 months (normally $9.95 a month)
• Other exceptional processing services such as gift card acceptance, loyalty program accessibility, cash advance, and check acceptance

While many companies prefer to keep the majority of their contract terms a secret, Total Merchant Services appears to be transparent and honest with their terms. This is comforting to potential clients, but should be approached with caution. All contract details should be discussed thoroughly with an agent and recorded in writing for each client to insure that everyone is on the same page and will not be surprised by unexpected fees or expectations.

Competitive Advantages: Rating 9.5/10

Total Merchant Services offers several competitive advantages, most of which were listed in the Contract Terms above.

  • Does not charge a termination fee of any kind
  • Offers free credit card readers and terminals
  • Connects clients with Groovv—a successful and user-friendly marketing company
  • Provides a free card swiper and software when you sign-up for mobile processing
  • Offers Internet Processing with specialized client pathways and fraud protection tools
  • Merchant Advantage Program – Free for the first 3 months (normally $9.95 a month)
  • Free QuickBooks and USB reader

Other advantages that set the Company above the crowd include;

  • Merchant Service Agent Program – a specialized program created to give new sales agents in-depth training and support
  • Merchant Level Sales Partner Program – an incentives program that gives merchant clients bonuses for recommending and securing new clients to the Company

The Company website also boast “World Class Customer Service” available 24/7

Products and Services

Total Merchant Services claims that all their equipment is provided to merchants free of charge, if returned in working condition within 10 days of the due date. These fees are different for each item and will be automatically deducted from the merchant’s account if found delinquent.

According to their website, Total Merchant Services operates in varying ways to meet consumer demand:

  • eCommerce
  • Debit and Credit card processing
  • Multi-Currency Processing
  • ACH and E-Check Services
  • Domestic and Off-shore accounts
  • Remote Deposit Capture (RDC/RCC)
  • Online payment gateway
  • Web design and SEO services
  • Mobile Payments
  • Fraud and Risk Management
  • PCI Compliance
  • Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO)
    • Service offered to merchants in telemarking and direct mail campaigns
  • Retail
    • Wide-range of different terminal choices, free unless returned late
  • Mobile
  • Check Processing
  • Fraud and Risk Management

Customer Service

Total Merchant Services makes service easily available to clients and potential clients via their website or telephone number. They also provide a section of the website called Merchant Support that allows client to;

  • View their statement online
  • Access reference links
  • Look through equipment reference guides
  • Check out forms
  • Peruse a FAQ section

Technical Support

Technical support is staffed in-house for Total Merchant Services and has received no negative reviews.

Reviews / Testimonials

Total Merchant Services has mixed reviews. The Better Business Bureau website lists the Company with an A+ rating, but 3 of the 4 reviews on the website are negative. The positive review is listed below, posted April 23, 2015.

  • I read the 2 negative reviews of the company, but in all fairness, I have to say my experience has not been that way at all. When I contacted customer service in April 2015, my call was answered quickly, and the tech assistant answered my question quickly and correctly. Having said that, my only concern was that the device was shipped without complete usage instructions. They have instructions in a brochure, and I was able to figure out what to do—with the only exception of the one question which was promptly answered by the tech At this point, I have no problems. The charge card device is really easy to operate, and is state-of the-art. I am looking forward to this to help increase my company sales, instead of just a cash or check business. My advice is to try it to see if it works for you. ** Boynton Beach Fla

Closing Thoughts

Merchant service companies are often clothed in secrecy and mystery when it comes to contracts and fees, but Total Merchant Services clearly and succinctly list their contract and fee information. Total Merchant Services also has worked to resolve issues with clients and adapt to the changing market.

While this Company had many negative reviews in the past, the future could be turning brighter for them. By retaining over 100,000 clients, offering cost-efficient incentives, addressing the majority of complaints against Total Merchant Services, and keeping their website stocked with helpful information and accessibility, Total Merchant Se