Paymentsense Merchant Services Review
Paymentsense is a UK-based merchant service provider, offering card payment solutions to more than 50,000 merchants in the UK.
While recently founded in 2010, Paymentsense has since grown to be one of the fastest growing UK merchant service solutions, with card machines, merchant accounts, payment gateways, and virtual terminals available.
They also have a lot to offer:
- Flat-rate yearly fees based on transaction volume
- Contracts starting from 3 months
- Virtual terminal, payment gateway, integrated payments, and merchant account services
- A full range of card machines available
- 24/7 customer service
So let’s drive in to the full Paymentsense review now
With a range of services and solutions, Paymentsense does look attractive to small and medium size businesses. However, it’s still important that you know exactly what they offer, any hidden fees, and can compare the company to their competitors. For example, as an ISE (Independent Service Provider), Paymentsense doesn’t actually provide you with merchant accounts themselves, they simply act as a middleman, and you may be wondering if this increases costs or works in your favour. This Paymentsense merchant services review covers everything you need to decide if the company is right for your business.
How Does Paymentsense Actually Work?
Paymentsense is not a banking organization, instead they operated as an Independent Service Provider. This means that the company works with banking organizations to connect you to the services you need, such as a merchant account. Paymentsense is a middle man which connects customers to their partner firms and banks and provides the payment process and technical support to their clients.
This is a fairly common business module, because it allows micro, small, and medium businesses without the transaction volume to either qualify or negotiate a merchant account or fair rates to do so through a third party. The goal is also to benefit both organizing banks and business clients by offering more customised and tailored service than the large bank could themselves, while driving a large volume of business for the bank.
However, Paymentsense also plays another role. As a small organisation, you cannot typically negotiate fair transaction rates. Because Paymentsense negotiates based on their total transaction rate from all their clients, they are able to acquire much better rates than you could yourself. However, it is still important to compare Paymentsense to other similar organisations and small-business based merchant accounts. You can also expect faster setup, with most accounts taking less than 5 days before they can begin accepting payments.
Despite these potential benefits, actual costs and fees are likely your highest priority.
Paymentsense Costs and Transaction Fees
Paymentsense promises to negotiate lower transaction rates and fees than you could get on your own. However, it can be difficult to determine pricing in advance, because Paymentsense offers a variety of features, and works with multiple merchant account providers and banks. Therefore, your transaction rates and actual payments may vary depending on your final contract package.
Paymentsense offers three basic packages with a monthly fee:
|Package||Monthly Fee||With 12-Month Contract||Transaction Volume|
With a minimum contract of 3 months, this means that your basic pricing starts at £29.85 for the starter package. You can further reduce rates by agreeing to a longer contract – which extends up to 5 years.
Each of these packages include access to one of Paymentsense’s offerings including merchant account, payment gateway, and virtual terminal. This means that if you want a merchant account and a payment gateway, you’ll have to double the listed amount. However, you may get a custom package price based on your specific needs.
What About Transaction Fees?
Paymentsense offers custom transaction fees based on your package, total business transaction volume, and other details. This means that you have to call to request a quote for your business.
During business hours, Paymentsense calls back within 5 minutes to request additional details for your business and then sends a quote card via email. Some clients report getting rates of around 1.1% + 13p for credit card transaction fees. We were quoted 3p + interchange on the phone, which is very low, but with no contract, not a guarantee.
Paymentsense has a lot of fees involved with their accounts, but you do have to contact and request a specific quote based on your business.
|PCI DSS Compliance||£5.94 per month|
|Mangement Fee||£4.95 per quarter|
|Account on file charge||£47.99 per year|
|Authorisation fees||3.85p per transaction|
|24-hour terminal replacement fee||£1.84 per month|
|Payment gateway configuration charge||Bespoke|
|Payment gateway fee||Monthly|
|Non-qualified transaction charge||Bespoke|
|Credit Card Transaction Fee||Interchange +|
|Debit Card Transaction Fee||Flat Rate|
|Refund Fee||Flat Rate|
|Merchant Account Charges||Monthly or yearly fees from merchant account bank|
|Terminal Fees||Monthly flat rate|
|Early Terminal Cancellation Fee||£200|
|Early Contract Cancellation Fee||Pay-out of full contract (monthly rate x number of months remaining on contract)|
|Charge for Client Services||Bespoke (based on using customer support to access reports, etc.)|
This adds up to quite a lot of fees, most of which are well in excess of the listed monthly rate per service.
*Most businesses are quoted different fee rates. These are ballpark estimates only based on rates given to previous customers
Paymentsense Services and Offerings
Paymentsense offers a full range of merchant account services including merchant account, card machines, payment gateway, virtual terminal for MOTO payments, and integrated payments. All users also have access to online terminals for reports.
Paymentsense connects you to one of their merchant account providers, speeding up the account process and working to reduce transaction costs.
Paymentsense provides a range of card machines including mobile, portable, and countertop devices from brands including Spire and Ingenico.
- Spire Desktop Terminal T42220
- Spire Bluetooth Terminal M4240
- Spire GPRS Terminal M4230
- Ingenico Mobile Terminal IWL221
- Ingenico Portable Terminal IWL222
- Ingenico Portable Terminal IWL252
- Ingenico Desktop Terminal ICT220
- Ingenico Desktop Terminal ICT250
Paymentsense offers a fully secure online payment gateway, which you can use to sell online. The system includes fully customisable checkout pages, online reporting, and full PCI DSS compliance. You can also choose between fully hosted or integrated solutions and develop through an API.
A virtual terminal service allows you to accept online, email, phone, and in person credit card payments. Paymentsense offers an online terminal with a payment gateway, fraud screening, and email reports to reduce the risk of transaction fraud.
Integrated payment solutions connect electronic point of sale with physical and virtual payment terminals.
Accepting Online Payments
Paymentsense offers a lot of support for e-commerce and other online businesses, with custom buttons, multiple online payment solutions, and other features. For example, virtual terminals and integrated solutions make it easier to link all payment solutions into the sale ePOS. Paymentsense also integrates directly into 40+ existing e-commerce platforms, supports pre-approved payments and recurring payments, and offers branded checkout pages.
Customer Service and Support
Paymentsense offers 24/7 online support for customers, and was nominated for the Customer Focus Award 2017 offered by the National Business Awards. The company offers fast support, 24-hour terminal replacement, and a full range of technical support for customers.
However, there are some complaints regarding customer service representatives being unhelpful or not solving problems.
Online Reviews and Reputation
Paymentsense has a lot of negative reviews regarding their contract length, as many people find that contracts are longer than they thought and they are unable to get out.
Nearly everyone is charged hidden fees, which are added on a weekly basis, including maintenance, chargebacks, authorisation, and much more. Some users complain of extremely high hidden fees, with rates like £30+ PCI non-compliance charges and debits made without explanation or notification.
No Paper Contract
The Paymentsense sales team typically asks you to e-sign the contract before sending it to you, but most people never receive it. If you choose to follow through on a contract with Paymentsense, make sure you sign the contract in person and that you read it first.
Contract Length and Termination Fees
Paymentsense offers short-term contracts with lengths starting at rolling 3-month contracts. However, most rates are listed for 12-60-month contracts, and shorter contracts are more expensive. Because many Paymentsense sales representatives don’t immediately clarify the length of the contract, you will have to do so yourself and get contract length in writing before signing anything.
Paymentsense also lists that there are no early termination or cancellation fees for merchant accounts. While this is technically true, there are other termination fees.
For example, if you cannot cancel your Paymentsense contract. If you attempt to quit, you will be forced to buy out the remainder owed on the contract. For a 60-month contract this can be extremely high. If you have 40 months remaining on a 60-month Pro contract, your buy-out will be £798. For this reason, you are strongly advised to thoroughly review their offerings and rates before signing onto a long-term contract.
Is Paymentsense Secure?
Paymentsense offers Tier 1 PCI DSS compliance. However, you are expected to ensure that your own facilities are PCI compliant on your own. This means that you are in charge of PCI compliance in your business and on your servers and will have to handle these costs on your own. In addition, you can expect to pay a PCI non-compliance fee if your establishment is not PCI compliant.
Comparing Paymentsense With Other Top Providers
Paymentsense is an ISE offering small-business merchant accounts and card processing. Their nearest competitors are other small-business focused merchant account providers.
|Merchant Account||Paymentsense||Sage Pay||HSBC||HandePay|
|Transaction Fee||Bespoke||1.9% credit cards/40p debit cards||2-1.6% credit cards / 25-17p debit cards||2.5% +|
|Payment Processing Time||3 days||2 Business Days||3-10 Days||N/A|
|Set Up Fee||None||None||Bespoke||£15 +|
|Termination Fee||Remainder on Contract||Yes (Varies)||Yes (Varies)||Yes|
|Contract Length||3-60 months||Monthly-36 Month||12 Month +||12-36 Month|
Overall, Paymentsense offers good rates upfront that are sometimes as much as half that of competitors. However, with hidden fees, this does balance out a great deal once you sign a contract.
Who Should Use Paymentsense?
Paymentsense has a lot to offer, most notably a low-cost full-service solution. If you’re selling brick and mortar as well as through a webshop, you can source everything you need through one provider. As a small-business oriented service, it may also save you significantly over negotiating a contract with a larger company – especially if you have a very low transaction volume.
That makes Paymentsense very attractive to a wide range of retailers and sellers, despite the issues and complaints about sales tactics and fees. However, Paymentsense isn’t the only solution to offer small business merchant accounts and you should compare your options.
Paymentsense is an award-winning merchant account and card machine provider, and has been shortlisted on numerous awards lists, including the National Business Awards, INC 5000’s Fastest Growing Business list 2017, and the LLoyds Bank National Business Awards UK. The company is reputable, but like many other fast-growing businesses, they seem to be having a lot of growing pains.
The company offers stellar services, very affordable card machines, and a full-service package, available fairly cheaply when compared with other services. However, when you calculate hidden fees and extras into the deal, you may find that you are not saving much over a traditional merchant account. Therefore, you are strongly advised to compare your options, go over fees with a sales agent very carefully, and get any contract in paper before signing.
Paymentsense has a lot to offer, but with plenty of negative points as well, you should proceed with caution.