- Sales Experience
Wells Fargo is an acquiring bank and has many Independent Sales Organizations relationships but also advertises merchant services directly. Wells Fargo founded its’ merchant services division in 1998 and in based out of Colorado. They use First Data as their processor which means rates and fees and risk related issues can be affected by First Data’s policies. Going straight through Wells Fargo to sign up for a merchant account does not guarantee lower rates and fees. Businesses with a large prior processing history might see that Wells Fargo has lower buy rates on interchange, but this does not apply to new businesses.
Much like another large acquiring bank, Wells Fargo does not have a Better Business Bureau rating for the merchant services division. Their headquarters has about 5,400 complaints, but it’s impossible to determine exactly how many have to do with merchant services. There are however, hundreds of complaints filed on other complaints boards and reviews. The biggest complaint being a three year contract with a $500 cancellation fee. Several complaints cited that the cancelation fee was nowhere to be found on the contract nor was it discussed on the telephone. The cancelation fee is in the program guide, but the problem is the program guide is 52 pages long. Most do not read the program guide assuming all of the relevant information is in the contract itself. If a merchant service provider has a program guide it is advised to read it, no matter how long it may be. At the end of the day, you are legally bound to the continents in the program guide since you have to acknowledge that you read it when signing the contract.
Since Wells Fargo is an acquirer, their marketing is a little different than most ISOs. Most ISOs will seek out an inside sales force and independent contractors to sell their services. While Wells Fargo does this, they also market and acquire other Independent Sales Organizations. They offer the usual means of credit card processing, e- commerce, phone orders, and retail but also market their other solutions for businesses like payroll and insurance. It also looks like they’re trying to get into the mobile payments market, with their introduction of their NFC device in 2011.
As stated above, Wells Fargo have a three year contract with $500 cancellation fee even if not specifically stated in the contract itself. It also seems like they lease their credit card terminals which is recommended to avoid with a merchant service provider because it’s more expensive in the long run. There are also ongoing complaints that Wells Fargo raises their fees while a merchant is under contract, making paying a cancelation fee or the higher rates the only two options.