Heartland Credit Card Processing Review: What Merchants Say
In the world of credit card processing systems, Heartland Payment Systems is a major player with customers in numerous industries. Established in 1997, Heartland is the fifth-largest United States card processor. Global Payments acquired the company in December 2015, and there haven’t been any major operational changes since then.
Heartland Payment Systems Background
Heartland maintains a well-constructed merchant services platform. Businesses in many industries and product niches have access to multichannel selling along with customized options for their specific needs. That expansive market reach is relatively rare among the larger credit card processing companies.
Heartland encountered a “make or break” moment in 2008. The company’s computer systems were hacked, and 130 million credit card users’ data was stolen. To its credit, Heartland immediately repaired the damages and installed software to prevent repeat occurrences. Today, Heartland is diligent about updating its security systems. The company goes to great lengths to educate merchants about payment processing services.
Heartland Products and Industries Overview
Heartland Payment Systems’ products and services include card processing, micropayments, Ecommerce, and mobile payment acceptance services. To augment those offerings, Heartland offers virtual terminals and gift cards, along with business loans and payroll services. Finally, specific industries benefit from targeted solutions that address common business needs.
Card Processing Services
By using the Heartland financial credit card processing system, merchants can accept major credit and debit cards. Heartland credit card processing merchants will choose from varied EMV-enabled terminals, and contactless payments are also accepted via standard terminals and mobile card readers. Heartland offers secure, PCI-compliant payment processing that minimizes the risks of card-present fraud and data breaches.
Heartland also offers the following related products and services:
- Micropayments Acceptance
- Ecommerce Online Storefront
- Mobile Payments Acceptance
- Virtual Terminals
- Capital Services
Heartland Credit Card Processing Fees
The Heartland Payment Systems website contains zero pricing information. For detailed pricing structure and fee information, you need to review the Heartland Payment Systems Merchant Agreement.
Heartland appears to use the interchange-plus card processing structure for its customer transactions. Here, the merchant can easily see the different processing cost components, which can result in lower costs compared to other transaction pricing methods.
Adding more services, or being assessed additional costs, will increase your Heartland credit card processing fees. Merchants who request monthly billing, rather than the default daily billing, will also see several basis points added to their rates.
Heartland offers its customers a 36-month service agreement, although a month-to-month plan is also an option. Your contract is renewed automatically, and you must give Heartland a 60-day notice if you decide to switch to another card processor.
If a merchant cancels their agreement before it’s fulfilled, they’ll be assessed a $295 early termination fee per business location. If a business has multiple locations, that could result in a big dent to the checking account. To make matters worse, Heartland will deduct the fee in one lump sum, potentially causing more problems. Although some merchants have reported early termination fee waivers, there are no guarantees.
To promote transparency and fairness to merchants in the card processing industry, Heartland Payment Systems created The Merchant Bill of Rights. This initiative informs business owners about all aspects of card processing and its relevant costs.
Heartland Credit Card Processing Hardware
Heartland’s hand-held Terminal+ is the portable workhorse of the company’s Point of Sale and inventory functions. The Terminal+ is programmed to quickly process sales transactions and accept customer payments. Merchants can print a sales receipt or email it to the customer. Many merchants encourage the latter option, as it helps to reinforce the customer’s purchase decision.
At the same time, Terminal+ automatically refreshes post-sale stock levels via the built-in barcode scanner. The device’s Wi-Fi capability enables you to stay connected to store operations while you work on other projects.
The Heartland Payment Systems merchant agreement states that companies can purchase or lease their payment processing hardware directly from Heartland. Just be sure to thoroughly do your research before opting to lease your equipment, as the vast majority of lease agreements don’t favor the merchant.
Ingenico Credit Card Terminals Caveat
Heartland credit card processing software works well with several major hardware brands. However, Heartland’s arrangement with credit card terminal provider Ingenico has drawn considerable fire.
Ingenico manufactures “universal” credit card terminals that are compatible with any card processing system. Generally speaking, merchants who purchase a universal terminal, and then switch to another card processing company, can easily get them reprogrammed with the new provider’s software.
However, Heartland has forged a special deal with Ingenico that essentially negates that option. If you purchase an Ingenico terminal from Heartland, and use it while under contract with Heartland, you must get Heartland’s permission before having it reprogrammed for use with another processing system.
Heartland Customer Service
Heartland Payment Systems offers 24/7 customer service every day of the year. Even better, the Heartland credit card processing customer service team is based in the United States. This increases the likelihood that the in-house agents are familiar with the specific industry and business culture.
Heartland posts separate customer service numbers for the payment processing, payroll, and micropayment divisions. This could imply that callers might expect fewer voicemail menus and less rerouting time. Or, it could mean that you’ll be transferred to several different departments before resolving your problem.
As the icing on the cake, Heartland boasts that each call is typically answered in 30 seconds or less. Of course, that response time could increase during heavy call volume, as would be the case with any company.
Finally, Heartland provides comprehensive developer documentation and targeted support channels. This detailed information may also be useful for business owners attempting to glean more details about several of Heartland’s service offerings.
The credit card processing industry is an interrelated network, with numerous worldwide players doing business in many different countries. With so much competition, keeping a good reputation is essential to maintaining credibility with customers and business partners. Merchant reviews also play a key role in the process.
Heartland Payment Systems has a mixed reputation in the credit card processing industry. On the positive side, the company offers an expansive services menu for brick-and-mortar retail stores, diverse Ecommerce businesses, and mobile enterprises. Heartland’s powerful security tools can lead to improved peace of mind for merchants concerned about data security.
However, fee disclosure issues have tarnished Heartland’s reputation among some of its merchant customers. First, know that the company utilizes commissioned sales representatives to sell its services. As a result, these sales-dependent employees have an incentive to paint a rosy picture of the company’s offerings. When a merchant is charged for fees the sales rep never mentioned, the merchant loses income and an adversarial relationship ensues.
To avoid potential conflicts, obtain complete fee details, and ask your salesperson to place you on a month-to-month agreement. Ask for an early termination fee waiver as well. Finally, get the salesperson’s promises in writing.
Consumer review websites contain surprisingly few Heartland credit card processing reviews. In fact, many smaller companies have a considerably higher number of reviews compared to Heartland. Because many people who have middle-of-the-road experiences don’t bother to post, it’s reasonable to assume the posted reviews reflect the positive and negative ends of the spectrum.
Among the positive reviews, and even some negative reviews, merchants felt their sales rep was trustworthy and helpful. Heartland also received praise for its wide-ranging products and services and ease of use.
In most negative reviews, merchants expressed displeasure that the sales rep did not properly disclose certain fees before signing the merchant to an agreement. The solution: Ask for a complete statement of fees, and get it in writing, accompanied by their signature.
An Alternative to Heartland Credit Card Processing
If you’re looking for an alternative to Heartland’s credit card processing services, consider Payment Depot. Unlike traditional payment processors, Payment Depot offers flat, affordable, and transparent pricing for credit card processing. Instead of taking a cut out of your sales, we charge a monthly membership fee that gives you access to wholesale payment processing fees. At Payment Depot, we’ll even reprogram your equipment for free.