The reputation of Leaders Merchant Services precedes it, and it is not a good one. Customer complaints and negative reviews invoke fraudulent sales tactics, surprise fees, and customer accounts that close without warning. Business owners should proceed with caution and consider alternatives Dealer service provider before signing a contract with LMS.
What is Leaders Merchant Services?
Leaders Merchant Services offers a variety of payment processing features for businesses large and small, including merchant account services, POS systems, Online credit card processing and merchant cash advances.
The California-based company is a reseller, so the equipment, software, and hardware you buy comes from another company. In the case of Leaders, that company is Clover and its parent company First Data, now part of Fiserv – one of the largest payment and financial technology providers in the world.
In addition to merchant accounts, LMS also offers physical and virtual payment terminals as well as online ordering platforms. The services include:
Payments at the point of sale. Leaders Merchant Services offers a variety of POS products, from standalone terminals to contactless card readers compatible with popular digital wallets and fully virtual terminals for e-commerce businesses. LMS is a First Data Reseller and primarily offers Clover and First Data POS devices.
E-commerce solutions. Leaders Merchant Services provides payment gateways and shopping cart software for small businesses that have virtual retail stores or accept online payments. Gateway services are provided through Authorize.net, which is owned by Visa. Shopping cart services are offered via CartManager, which calculates VAT and shipping, can display multiple languages and has a login function for returning customers.
How much does Leaders Merchant Services cost?
Leaders Merchant Services does not list tariffs, pricing structures, or service fees on its website, although the company notes that prices vary based on the number and type of transactions you accept. Independent agents used by leaders can also set their own prices and fees, and many customer reviews complain about misleading pricing and sales tactics. Read your contract carefully and inquire about all fees and tariffs before signing up for the service.
No industry restrictions
Any company that meets Leaders’ underwriting standards can be approved for merchant services through LMS. The company does not have any rules that exclude certain industries or types of business.
Lack of transparency
Leaders Merchant Services offers little up-front pricing information other than that their plans are some of the “lowest in the industry”. The company also doesn’t publish any fees for its service, although one-time, monthly, and annual fees may apply to customers. LMS settled a civil lawsuit in July 2021 alleging that the company failed to fully disclose fees to potential customers. The leaders agreed to pay more than $ 800,000 in redress and $ 1 million in civil and other fines as part of the settlement.
Leaders Merchant Services has a B + Rating from the Better Business Bureau and a Trustpilot Trust Score of 2.7 out of 5. Negative customer reviews complain about surprise fees, fraudulent sales tactics and merchant account closings without warning.
Longer contract, early repayment penalties
Small business owners must agree to a three year contract to get in touch with Leaders Merchant Services. It’s a lengthy commitment, especially given the company’s opaque pricing and negative reviews. Customers can cancel free of charge within the first 30 days; the additional cancellation fee is between $ 250 and $ 350.
Square is a great alternative to Leaders Merchant Services. The mobile-friendly Payment Processor offers transparent prices and an easy-to-use user interface. All services are in-house so there are no surprise fees or tires to be covered by a third party company.
No early termination fees.
No monthly subscription or PCI compliance fees.
No setup, refund, or chargeback fees.
Free POS software and mobile card reader.
Chase dealer services
Chase acts as both a payment processor and acquiring bank for Chase Merchant Services, resulting in seamless transactions and fewer payment parties – a big draw for small business owners. Chase Merchant Services also integrates with popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce.
Integrated with other POS software.