On October 17,2011 my business starting accepting credit cards using ChargeSmart, Inc. As our processor. I noticed their frequent advertisements on merchantcircle.com offering 1.9% transaction fees with no other monthly fees or charges. It sounded like a great offer so we signed up and we were instantly approved for a merchant account. They even sent us a free device that hooks up to the iPhone to swipe credit cards on the spot. Since then, we have increase our sales volume and processed over $17,000 in transactions.
Initially our processing limit was $1,000 a day with a max transaction of $1,000. After the first month we contacted ChargeSmart, Inc to inquire if we can increase our limits. After submitting our business banking statements and approving that my personal credit report can be accessed, the limits were raised to $4,000 a day and any transaction over $2,000, 20% would be held to 60 days for any potential chargeback. This was totally acceptable since our average transaction was $500.
On Friday, February 10, we expected our usual daily deposit, but it didn't arrive. When I called them at 415-974-5100 I was told that they are upgrading their systems and I can expect my deposit on Monday. This deposit would have been for $2,400.
Being in the plumbing and heating industry, we operate 24 hours a day - 7 days a week. Between Friday and today, our balance increased from $2,400 to $5,700 from repair sales over the weekend and Monday.
This afternoon I received a call from ChargeSmart saying that my account is on hold and that they wanted me to call 3 customers and get their complete 16 digit credit card number and call them back with this info so they can verify the information with the card holders bank via conference call. Sounded fishy, but they were holding over $5,700 so I had no option.
I called the 3 customers in question and got the info. I called my rep Eric at 415-684-7613 and he said he would verify the charges and get back to me to 24 hours. He called back in less than 2 hours. He told me that my company was added to Mastercards MATCH file for "excessive fraudulent activity on a prior merchant account". Really? We have been in business for 3 years and NEVER accepted credit cards in the past. Although he verified the transaction with the cardholders, they were HOLDING the funds for 6 months anyway.
We never accepted credit cards in the past because of fees and determined it was too much of a hassle, but ChargeSmart appeared to offer a perfect solution - until they decided to HOLD over $5,700 with no notice placing my business in a great financial strain.
Couple of points:
1) they really expected me to call my customer and ask them for their credit card number over the phone?
2) on friday they claimed their system was down, when it fact my account was already on hold
3) they wanted additional info when I asked for an increase, such as bank statements and credit report.
I am posting this usacomplaints.com to make future and current merchants who use ChargeSmart to BEWARE.