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Flagship Merchant Services

Flagship Merchant Services: Streamlined SMB Transactions

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Flagship Merchant Services: Streamlined SMB Transactions
Flagship: Is it enough for your merchant needs?

Published: January 25th, 2024

Flagship Merchant Services is a credit and debit card processing company established in 2001. Based in Westlake Village, California, this company has a declared interest in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises with their payment processing needs. But can they be of service to your business?

This review aims to inform you, as a potential customer of Flagship Merchant Services, of their offerings, pricing, reputation, and other information that can help you determine if your business might benefit. Read on to find out!

Pros

A wide range of services available
Month-to-month contracts without cancellation fees
Processes payments from all major credit cards and digital wallets

Cons

Lack of plan or price transparency
Hidden charges
Poor communication

Quick Stats

Pricing
Undisclosed
Transaction Speed
Undisclosed
Customer Experience
Poor
Money-Back Guarantee
Available
Business Size Supported
Any
Gift Cards
Available
Real-Time Reports
Available
Transparent Pricing
Unavailable
Pricing Model
Interchange plus, tiered pricing
Trustpilot Score
2 out of 5
BBB Rating
A+

Overview of Flagship Merchant Services

With many years of experience in the credit card processing and money-transferring industry in the United States, Flagship Merchant Services prides itself as the leading transaction processing company in the industry. The company offers various mobile, virtual, and on-premise credit card processing solutions. They advertise retail and restaurant industries as brick-and-mortar companies highly suited to their processing solutions. However, they also offer support to virtual and e-commerce terminal solutions. The company does not provide PCI compliance consultation but provides PCI compliance information. Flagship Merchant Services markets its products through the payment gateway that helps simplify PCI compliance.

Flagship Merchant Services has a notable share in the market in offering top-rated account providers, payment solutions for all business types (in-store, mobile, online, or MOTO), and convenient same-day funding. The company reports to support over 25,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Flagship Merchant Services also offers easy-to-use products at a relatively lower cost than the competition. Moreover, they accept all major payment types, including Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. The company also provides other services not offered by the competition, such as a merchant cash advance program, which can also offer a custom gift card program. The company also offers a variety of programs that aid its clients in marketing.

In today's economy, where accepting credit cards is critical, Flagship Merchant Services offers merchants the ability to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction. They do not lock their customers in long-term contracts based on the assurance that the satisfied merchants would want to engage in a long-term contract with them by choice. Their one-month agreement has no cancellation fees.

They are accredited and have received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They claim to have been voted the #1 Merchant Account Provider for eight years in a row, but we have not found a reliable source to corroborate this claim.

Exploring the Features of Flagship Merchant Services

Flagship Merchant Services offers a reasonable range of services ideal for high-volume businesses. They also offer hardware choices, custom month-to-month pricing, and attractive business-boosting gift and loyalty card program creation.

Notable service offerings include:

  • Credit and debit card processing: Their payment solutions cater to businesses of all sizes, and accept a wide variety of card payments, such as American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, as well as digital wallets like Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay
  • Terminals and hardware: They offer customized POS systems and smart terminals with over 200 business apps. They have many choices from Clover and other companies that may fit your needs, whether you have a physical store or work remotely. If you opt for a long-term contract, they include a free Verifone VX 520 credit card terminal. The device has a fast processor and offers advanced security features with end-to-end encryption. You'll get access to advanced credit card terminal features at no upfront cost during the contract period
  • Virtual terminal solution: Their free mobile app serves as a virtual terminal, allowing you to accept payments, view reports, manage financial statements, and oversee sales transactions on-the-go
  • E-commerce transactions: They ensure safe and easy online credit card transactions using Authorize.Net. Features include AVS for quick verification, Card Verification Value for mail/phone orders, and customized safety restrictions
  • Wireless mobile payments: They offer a service called 'iPayment MobilePay Swipe' and 'mobile pay' that allows you to process payments on-the-go, making it convenient to receive payments from customers. This service is easy to set up, automatically detects devices, and allows immediate payment processing. The lightweight wireless gadget plugs into the headphone jack of a standard phone and accepts both traditional and EMV magnetic stripe cards. Additionally, there is a companion app for Android and iOS devices that can track transactions, tips, refunds, and more. The cost involves a monthly fee for the software but no upfront cost for the swiper
  • Phone and mail order: They provide a payment gateway to process transactions manually through the virtual terminal, which is ideal for phone or mail order businesses. You can manage transactions, download reports, view statements, and control account configurations
  • Gift cards and loyalty program: Flagship's gift cards and loyalty programs, such as Pirq, allow you to raise awareness about your business and differentiate your business using branded gift cards. The program supports multiple locations, as they are re-loadable. The good news is that you do not have to pay cancellation fees if you decide later that you no longer need the service and plan to discontinue it
  • iAccess Business Management Portal: They promise same-day account setup with access to iAccess, a business management portal allowing merchants to manage and track daily business operations efficiently
  • Mobile apps: Aside from Flagship's free app, MobilePay also has an app on Android and iOS devices to track card and cash transactions, tips, refunds, voids, and more. You will incur a monthly fee for using MobilePay's software, but you will benefit from not having to pay for the swiper upfront
  • API access: They allow you access to API tools to integrate a shopping cart into your website. The service is safe and has no risk of compromising the gateway security

Advantages of Flagship Merchant Services:

  • No cancellation fees: Flagship does not impose cancellation fees, although only if the free equipment offer is declined
  • Interchange-plus pricing option: You have the option for interchange-plus pricing, offering you transparency in processing costs
  • 24/7 support: Flagship provides 24/7 technical support as part of their monthly subscription fee, ensuring assistance is available whenever you need it
  • Dedicated account representative: Each business is assigned a dedicated account representative, streamlining customer support and account management
  • Quick and easy setup: The account setup process is reported to be swift, with approval and equipment shipment within a few business days
  • Compatibility with digital wallets: The service supports major digital wallets such as Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay
  • Same-day funding: You have the option of same-day funding, for expedited access to transaction funds
  • Business reporting tool: Every account includes iAccess 3.0, a business-reporting tool providing comprehensive information on business operations
  • Month-to-month option: Flagship offers you the option of month-to-month contracts without cancellation fees, providing you with more flexibility

Disadvantages of Flagship Merchant Services

  • Lack of pricing transparency: The company does not provide upfront information on rates and fees on its website, requiring potential customers to contact a sales representative for a pricing quote. Also, there are reports of many hidden charges, creating uncertainty about the total cost of using their services
  • Tiered pricing unpredictability: Though it might be a more attractive option for some merchants, the use of tiered pricing is criticized for being unpredictable, potentially leading to higher costs for you
  • Equipment pricing not listed: The pricing for equipment is not disclosed, making it unclear how much you may need to invest in hardware
  • Vague contract clause: The contract contains a vague clause for "additional services," requiring you to opt out within 30 days to avoid monthly fees for services you may not need

Flagship Merchant Services Pricing Structure

Flagship Merchant Services offers customized pricing structures. You can choose the pricing model that suits your business needs. The company assigns representatives to work with their clients to tailor unique experiences and address challenges as they occur. The pricing structures include interchange-plus rates and tiered pricing models. Consult a sales representative to know the true charges and enquire about the number of tiers, the applicable cards, and the cost of processing credit and debit cards.

Flagship charges a monthly fee, which covers access to your statement, online analytics tools, a dedicated agent, and 24/7 tech support. They also charge a monthly minimum to cover processing costs, including transaction and percentage rate fees. If you don't meet the required number of transactions, a fee is charged. They may also charge several fees, including a monthly statement fee, chargeback fee, and a monthly/annual PCI compliance fee. Ensure you understand all fees to avoid discrepancies.

Security & Compliance at Flagship Merchant Services

Flagship charges an annual fee to ensure you fully comply with security standards provided by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). They ensure that your customer's credit card information is safe, from the level of acceptance to processing and storage. This keeps your customers' data safe from the hands of unscrupulous third parties who can use it for fraud.

Flagship supports your company with regular security checks or the person filling out the annual PCI-DSS self-assessment questionnaire. Charging a non-compliance fee is also an incentive to ensure you achieve security compliance as quickly as possible.

The Flagship User Experience

As a smaller processor, Flagship receives a relatively small amount of customer reviews online, most of which lean towards the negative. They receive a 2 out of 5 score on Trustpilot. According to Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation standards, Flagship Merchant Services is a reputable company, but they receive a 1 out of 5 review score. Additionally, the company has had a moderate amount of complaints lodged with BBB in the last three years.

Top positive reviews attribute their good experience to dedicated sales agents who are thorough and quick, as well as highly knowledgeable about the services offered by the company. They give responses promptly and follow up with questions. Some merchants talk about their satisfaction with the wide range of services that cater to their customers' versatile needs, especially in the retail and restaurant industries. This includes the fact that you can set up your account and start processing payments within the day.

On the other hand, dissatisfied customers have reported the company as dishonest, unethical, and deceptive. Many of these attribute their dissatisfaction to changes in monthly charges. For instance, some noted being charged double the company's quoted fees. Reviewers state agent communication can take a month, even after being told they would get a refund. Moreover, customers reported subsequent charges even after canceling their accounts. Many negative reviews show customers aggrieved that the company does not respond even to emails when the customers want such issues addressed.

Complaints on the BBB website cover various problem areas, including unauthorized charges, deceptive practices, and unresponsive customer service. The company responds promptly, although sometimes to inform the client that their accounts could not be located. Their responses are professional, and thorough, sometimes resulting in a satisfactory resolution.

Customer Support & Service at Flagship Merchant Services

Flagship Merchant Services offers 24/7 customer support through emails and phone calls, which is supported by the sales agent dedicated to you when you open an account with them. This includes guidance and tutorials for using their services, and the agent should be able to answer all the questions you may have. You can call them at 866-781-5761, or fill out a support request form to have them get in touch.

You can also glean useful information from their FAQs section, such as information on PCI compliance.

Conclusion

Flagship Merchant Services offers a simple and hassle-free way to start accepting credit card payments. After you complete the online application form, the onboarding process is seamless. They assign a dedicated agent who processes you into the system and walks with you to start processing payments quickly.

The company does not reveal much information on its website, especially about the charges. This lack of transparency and non-disclosure of information is the primary cause of complaints and customer dissatisfaction with the company's services. While the company's pricing looks good on paper, they have hidden charges and additional costs, coupled with poor communication. Before signing that contract, conduct further research or reach out to the company and enquire about all aspects of their services that interest you.

When deciding if Flagship's services and pricing models are cost-effective for you, it's essential to take into account all of your needs. We recommend comparing Flagship to other credit card processing companies to see which one meets more of your requirements. To learn more about other processors, you can visit our reviews page and read about their features, fee structures, benefits, and more. Additionally, our credit card processor blog page has many helpful articles that can help you understand complex issues. By conducting some research now, you can save yourself a lot of trouble in the future!

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