First Data (Now Fiserv) Review 2021

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    Founded in 1971, First Data is a financial services provider that caters to numerous businesses and customers in the United States. It was one of the largest merchants in the payments industry as of 2016 and has expanded even more significantly since its 2019 acquisition by Fiserv.

    First Data and Fiserv also own the Clover brand, which offers credit card processing to small businesses. Their main competitors include mobile processing providers like Square and Shopify. 

    First Data’s Background and History

    Five years after it was founded, First Data became the first processor catering to Visa and MasterCard credit cards. Since the 2019 merger valued at $22 billion, Fiserv strengthened its position in the financial technology sector and now conducts over 12,000 financial transactions every second. 

    Their recent awards include the Merchant Payment Ecosystem – Best Acquirer of the Year Award 2018, and a position on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index in the same year. In 2017, they also received a perfect score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index, showcasing their inclusive corporate practices. 

    With nearly 10,000 clients and almost 6 million locations globally, First Data and Fiserv are primarily targeted towards larger businesses as opposed to small and mid-sized ones. Before its acquisition, First Data had over 3,000 resellers of their merchant accounts in addition to direct sales from their brand. 

    Pros and Cons of First Data

    The main advantage of working with First Data is the variety of services on offer for larger businesses, but many smaller businesses may dislike their lengthy contracts and lack of customer support overall. 

    Pros

    • Offers a wide range of financial products and services to help you scale your business 
    • First Data responds to the negative reviews on Better Business Bureau and offers assistance 
    • The website showcases success stories from notable businesses 

    Cons

    • First Data tends to provide long-term contracts of four years and charge a high early termination fee
    • There is limited information online regarding their credit card processing fees, which vary greatly 
    • There are many complaints from smaller business owners that criticize the quality of customer service and lack of support 

    First Data’s Services

    First Data’s list of services is extremely comprehensive, but some of their offerings include: 

    • Merchant Accounts: They provide direct payment processing services for larger companies. While they might not be as responsive as smaller companies, they offer greater security and stability. 
    • Credit Card Terminals: For brick and mortar stores, First Data offers the latest wireless and wired models, but tend to charge higher rates compared to competitors.
    • Point Of Sale (POS) Systems: Their Clover POS systems (both compact and full) provide extensive features for accepting payments, but also come with a higher price point. However, they are easy to use for restaurants and retailers. 
    • Mobile POS Systems: For maximum flexibility, the Clover Flex is also offered by First Data. It comes with a touchscreen, receipt printer, and built-in scanner in a smartphone-like package. 
    • Payment Gateway: First Data’s Payeezy gateway features integration with over 70 shopping carts and accepts multiple payment types and various currencies from around the world. 
    • Virtual Terminal: For phone and invoice orders, First Data offers the Clover Virtual Terminal with no additional monthly fees. It is compatible with most laptops and mobile devices. 
    • Website Builder: Businesses interested in starting a new retail store will appreciate the Clover Online Store and its seamless integration with the Payeezy Gateway. It includes shopping cart functions and web hosting to help you get started right away.  
    • Security Features: First Data offers Clover Security through TransArmor, ensuring that all financial transactions have end-to-end encryption. Their package includes data breach insurance with an added monthly fee.  

    First Data’s Fees and Rates

    Unfortunately, First Data’s website doesn’t provide any pricing information online. Pricing is given on a per quote basis, and fees can range significantly depending on your company size, history, and industry. They offer tiered, interchange-plus, and flat-rate pricing plans.

    First Data’s early termination fees can cost you $1,000 or more if you want to shut down your account early on in your contract. The good news is that it is possible to get these fees waived if you negotiate with them before signing your contract.

    Payeezy gateway fees cost around $25 per month in addition to your monthly account fee if you choose to use their payment gateway. In addition, security fees for payment processing and data breach insurance can cost an extra $19.95 a month if you’re looking for greater peace of mind. 

    Lastly, their POS system fees tend to cost around $1,000 or more for the Clover Station in addition to $25-$50 monthly in service fees. 

    Overall, First Data’s fees are on the more premium end, making their services more suited to well-established businesses. 

    Reviews and Complaints About First Data

    Client reviews from First Data often mention how their equipment leases tend to come with overly long contracts that last for four years. Paying monthly fees can take a significant toll and may not be worth it in the long run if your business starts to struggle for funds. Alternatively, purchasing your own terminals outright might be a more cost-effective option. 

    The majority of the complaints also tend to come from smaller businesses. First Data’s payment processing fees are on the higher side and can be particularly hard on those who didn’t read the fine print. Some reviewers claim how First Data is slow to process refunds and that they experienced difficulty in canceling accounts. 

    Poor customer service is also a common complaint, as many reviewers feel like their complaints weren’t followed up on or resolved in any way. Because of this, it appears that there is significant room for improvement when it comes to First Data’s quality of service.

    Final Verdict on First Data

    Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    Ultimately, First Data is a better choice for large businesses and those with the budget to afford their high-end services. Their range of POS offerings from Clover has plenty of third-party integrations and is easy to use despite their higher price point. 

    However, smaller businesses should steer clear unless they want to be burdened by 4-year contracts and expensive processing fees. Due to the varied quality of customer service and lack of flexible and lower-priced options, we give First Data an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5.
    To learn more about how to choose the best merchant account for your business, check out Processing Card’s guide on which factors to consider.

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