First Data

First Data
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3 stars
  • Good

  • First Data
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: August 18, 2015
  • Disclaimer

Review Summary:

Our advice is that unless you are a big enough company (with greater than $10 million in sales a year) you are likely going to receive better pricing by working with one of our preferred processors.

First Data
  • First Data
  • Rating: 3
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on: February 25, 2015
  • Last modified: August 18, 2015

Review Summary:

Our advice is that unless you are a big enough company (with greater than $10 million in sales a year) you are likely going to receive better pricing by working with one of our preferred processors.

View our Top Ranked Processor

This review is focused on First Data as a credit card processing provider for individual businesses. This distinction is important as First Data, contrary to almost all of the merchant service providers we have reviewed on this website is responsible for all of the transactions themselves. Most of the processors we have reviewed are called ISOs, or Independent Sales Organizations, that resell the service, often from First Data. As a result many of the complaints that are levied against some processors are actually complaints against First Data as the underwriter, and in some cases the opposite is true. For the purposes of this review we will solely be focusing on First Data as the processor.

Should you work with First Data?

For many merchants they look at working with the processing company (First Data) directly as being a cost saving move. It makes sense on why, by working with the actual processor directly you are cutting out the middle man. This would be the equivalent of buying a TV directly from Sony as opposed to visiting a local store – less hands involved in the process and your costs should be lower.

Before You Sign A Contract!

We recommend that all merchants speak with at least 2 processors before signing their contract. Why?…

First – You should feel comfortable with the sales representative, if you’re feeling pressure on the call or feel as though you are not a focus, it’s unlikely your experience will improve after signing your contract!

Second – Be wary of introductory rates (specifically qualified rates) in the initial pitch – each business is unique and the rates/fees that will actually save your business the most, are only available once the sales representative has learned about your business.

We currently have Cayan listed as our top ranked merchant service provider. However if they do not fit your needs, you can look through our full list of processors and find the one that is right for your business here.

However similar to buying a TV there are reasons you don’t go directly to the manufacturer and continue to buy from local stores. Customer service and who to talk to if you have an issue are items that quickly become big deals if a problem ever arises. The same is true with merchant services, while they are the ones processing most transactions First Data is not singularly focused on handling customer issues, in fact as nearly all of their business is handled by ISOs they allow those ISOs to focus on providing the ancillary services such as customer support.

In addition while you may think that you can receive a better deal in fact in our research we have found that very often their resellers offer better pricing. How is this possible? Similar to our TV analogy it is why wholesalers such as Costco and BJ’s are able to offer such steep discounts, by buying in such large quantities they are able to get better pricing than an individual would, and then pass those savings on to their customers.

So while in theory working directly with a processor should represent cost savings, our advice is that unless you are a big enough company (over $10 million in sales a year) you are likely going to receive better pricing by shopping around between resellers. At which point you are also looking for items like customer service and other benefits that are included from reputable providers.

About author

SMB Reviews
SMB Reviews 473 posts

SMBReviews is committed to providing small and mid-sized business owners with the information and resources they need to select the best service or product for their company.

Editor review

Costs
2.5/5
Sales
2/5
Customer Service
3/5
Ratings
3.5/5

2.75

Average
2.75
Summary

Our advice is that unless you are a big enough company (with greater than $10 million in sales a year) you are likely going to receive better pricing by working with one of our preferred processors.

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3 Comments

  1. rick
    July 14, 14:52 Reply
    i am first-data customer , the customer service they provide is ridiculous ,i had a issue in batch-report call for it had transferred to 9 different people hold for 55 min. had been calling them from last one month having a case number 11234699 , looks like they dont value our time also dont value our business .
  2. ernest
    September 25, 16:11 Reply
    Bad experience with first data. They closed my account out improperly and caused me to lose a payment. Not one person in this company offered to help me get my money unless I reopened the account. Since it was a new month I would incur all the monthly fees. What a racket! The transaction happened on 8/27/15. It is 9/25/15 and it is still showing as a pending charge on the customer's credit card. Get with it last data. I need to gargle to get the bad taste out of my mouth.
    • SMB Reviews
      September 29, 05:13 Reply
      Ernest, thank you for sharing your experience with us and I'm sorry that you're dealing with this issue. The lack of assistance with resolving an issue that occurred while you were a customer is clearly cause for concern for any future potential customers. Good luck with getting the issue resolved, please let us know how things go moving forward!
  3. christa ready
    October 29, 20:19 Reply
    first data is a scam... do not use them they will get u in a contract that they lie to get you in... and then you have to pay them thousands of dollars to cancel something you didn't agree to...
  4. Lewis Yacko
    May 11, 21:51 Reply
    i was set up to batch fees at end of the month. they'd changing it to per transaction i would call and had to wait for new month to take effect then back to same routine the next month. and when i would call always a lousy connection and i would go through same clearance check i need password account number,ein number billing address so after 10 minutes of that i would get transferred and start all over again i'm dropping them end of the month
  5. Morry
    June 20, 22:05 Reply
    First Data is a pathetic excuse for a processing company. Nearly impossible statements to read, terrible customer service. I cancelled service with them in Jan '16 and they still charged me a fee for six more months. RUN, don't walk from First Data!!! I was told in no uncertain terms.....too bad!

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