Bank of America Merchant Services Review
- Multiple processing solutions available
- Next-day deposits
- Preferred Rewards program through Bank of America
- First Data (Fiserv) reseller
- Lack of transparency
- Negative customer reviews
If you’re looking for merchant services for your business, you might start your search with a big name company, like Bank of America. After all, Bank of America is known for their business bank accounts, credit cards, and even loans—so it might seem like a sensible option to use Bank of America Merchant Services as well.
This being said, however, there are more options now than ever for small business merchant services—which begs the question: How do you know if BoA Merchant Services is right for your business?
We’re here to help you find out. In this Bank of America Merchant Services review, we’ll break down fees, features, customer reviews, and more—to provide you with all of the information you need to decide what’s best for your business.
What Is Bank of America Merchant Services?
First and foremost, before we explore everything Bank of America Merchant Services can offer your business, let’s briefly review how this merchant service provider works.
Although Bank of America Merchant Services bears the name of the national bank, BoA Merchant Services is actually a separate company. In fact, Bank of America Merchant Services is a subsidiary of the actual bank, Bank of America, and First Data (now Fiserv).
As such, Bank of America Merchant Services is not a direct processor—instead, First Data provides the behind-the-scenes processing and Bank of America packages and prices their products, as opposed to creating and selling their own. In this way, Bank of America Merchant Services is a reseller of First Data.
Therefore, if you go to your local Bank of America branch in search of merchant services, you’ll be referred to a Bank of America Merchant Services sales agent to complete your transaction.
All of this being said, it’s fairly common for large merchant service providers like First Data (Fiserv) to sell their products through subsidiaries, however, in this scenario, with resellers like Bank of America Merchant Services, you’re more likely to see long-term contracts, hidden fees, and unclear agreements—so this is something you’ll want to keep in mind.
Bank of America Merchant Services Fees
So, with this overview in mind, one of the first questions you might be asking is: How much does Bank of America Merchant Services cost?
Of course, as you’re comparing your options for merchant services, cost will be a key factor in finding the right solution for you.
Unfortunately, another issue associated with Bank of America Merchant Services as a First Data reseller is that they don’t provide a lot of transparent pricing information.
As you might expect, the Bank of America Merchant Services fees you face will depend on the solutions you need, however, it’s very difficult to estimate what these costs will look like without going through the process of working with a BoA Merchant Services sales representative.
Overall, it’s safe to say that Bank of America Merchant Services prices their solutions on a quote-basis—meaning they customize the pricing based on your business and your unique needs.
Estimating the Cost of Bank of America Merchant Services
This being said, then, although it’s impossible to put exact numbers to these fees, you can expect to pay fees for software, hardware, and credit card processing—depending, of course, on the specific solution you choose.
If you need online credit card processing from Bank of America Merchant Services, for example, you may be subject to monthly fees, payment gateway fees, and, as with any service, the credit card processing fees associated with each transaction you accept online.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to process in-person transactions through a point of sale system, your fees will likely look a little different. First, if you already have a POS system and simply need processing, you’ll likely only have to pay monthly fees, credit card processing fees, and any additional fees charged by BoA Merchant Services.
If, however, you want to purchase your POS system directly from BoA Merchant Services, you’ll incur more fees for the software and hardware associated with this system. In fact, this is the one place where you can gain some insight into Bank of America Merchant Services fees on their website.
As a Clover POS reseller, Bank of America Merchant Services breaks down the cost of these software and hardware products as such:
- Payments Plus: $4.95 per month, per device
- Register Lite: $9.95 per month, per device
- Register: $39.95 per month, per device; $9.95 per month for each additional device (per location)
- Counter Service Restaurant: $39.95 per month, per device; $9.95 per month for each additional device (per location)
- Table Service Restaurant: $69.95 per month, per device; $9.95 per month for each additional device (per location)
- FD150 Terminal: $634.00
- Clover Go: $89.99
- Clover Flex: $564.00
- Clover Mini: $739.00
- Clover Station: $1,369.00
- Clover Station Pro: $1,649.00
POS Processing Fees
Generally, with these point of sale solutions, Bank of America Merchant Services advertises two different processing rates depending on how you accept payments. For swiped, dipped, or tapped payments, the processing fee is 2.7% per transaction. For card not-present payments (phone, mail, hand-keyed or internet), on the other hand, you’ll pay 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction.
It’s extremely important to note, however, that these advertised rates are not necessarily the ones you’ll actually receive if you use Bank of America Merchant Services.
In the fine print on their website, they write:
“The equipment and transaction pricing available through our online application may not be available through Bank of America Merchant Services sales channels, including but not limited to, the offerings that can be made by Bank of America Merchant Services business consultants. Not all prospective clients and merchant types are eligible to apply online.”
Therefore, although these prices can give you insight into your software and hardware costs for purchasing a full point of sale system through BoA Merchant Services, it’s still difficult to determine what your credit card processing fees will actually look like.
All of this being said, it’s also important to mention that you may be charged additional flat and incidental fees with Bank of America Merchant Services. Some of these fees might include setup fees, cancellation fees, account maintenance fees, PCI-compliance fees, chargeback fees, and more.
Available Solutions From Bank of America Merchant Services
Now that we have a better understanding of your prospective Bank of America Merchant Services fees, let’s learn more about the solutions that this merchant service provider can offer your business.
First and foremost, it’s important to note that regardless of the specific solution you’re looking for, Bank of America Merchant Services will include a dedicated merchant account for your business—the bank account that allows you to accept credit card payments.
This being said, Bank of America Merchant Services breaks their offering down into three branches: ecommerce, check acceptance, and point of sale systems.
If you’re looking for credit card processing services to accept online payments, you have two options with Bank of America Merchant Services.
First, you can choose their payment gateway service—which allows you to integrate the BoA solution with your existing website, mobile app, or customize your existing payment gateway to process online payments. Additionally, with this payment gateway solution (which is actually backed by Authorize.Net technology), you can accept payments using a web portal, add a payment page to your website, or build a unique online payment solution.
On the other hand, if you don’t have an existing ecommerce website and you need to create one, as well as access credit card processing services, you can work with Bank of America Merchant Services for the processing and their partner BigCommerce to create an online store.
BigCommerce is a full-service, web-based ecommerce software that gives you the ability to create, customize, and launch your online store, list your products, manage your orders, and more.
Bank of America Merchant Services offers electronic check acceptance services through Clover POS (also a First Data-Fiserv product).
Through these electronic check acceptance services, your small business will be able to convert paper checks into electronic transactions.
Specifically, you’ll be able to utilize check acceptance in the following ways:
- In-person: Paper checks are converted to electronic transactions at the point of sale
- Online: Customers can make online purchases using their checking accounts
- By mail: Paper checks are converted to electronic transactions in a back-office environment
- Recurring payment: You can set up recurring payments on a schedule from your customers’ checking accounts
- By phone: Customers can make check payments over the phone
With this service, you’ll be able to offer customers another payment option—plus, you’ll typically be able to receive payment on the electronic checks in two business days.
Overall, you’ll be able to choose between two service options for this Bank of America Merchant Services solution. First, there’s the Warranty option—in which you’ll receive an approved or denied response for every check—and TeleCheck, the company behind Clover’s check acceptance, absorbs the loss from returned checks so you don’t have to.
On the other hand, there’s the Verification option, in which you still receive an approved or denied response for every check, but you absorb the returned check costs.
The third type of merchant services Bank of America offers—point of sale services—also comes from Clover, as we discussed in regards to their fees above.
Although Bank of America Merchant Services does give you the option to integrate their credit card processing with an existing point of sale system that you already own—if you want to purchase POS software or hardware from them, you’ll be choosing from Clover products.
Once again, as we mentioned above, Bank of America Merchant Services offers the following options for POS software and hardware:
Clover POS Software
- Payments Plus: Includes cloud-based reporting, customer engagement tools, employee management, cash drawer integration, and access to over 200 apps in the Clover App Market
- Register Lite: Includes everything offered with Payments Plus, as well as inventory and order management, discounts and tax calculations, offline payment processing, paperless receipts, refunds, basic reports, and more
- Register: Includes everything offered with Register Lite, as well as weight scale integration, item variants and item cost tracking, refund and exchange for items, item-level sales tracking, robust inventory management, and more
- Counter Service Restaurant: Includes everything offered with Register, as well as kitchen printers and display integration, menu management, customer-facing screen capabilities, separate order types (dine-in, to-go, etc.), bar tab pre-authorization, and more
- Table Service Restaurant: Includes everything offered with Counter Service Restaurant, as well as bar tab and advanced table order management, automatic gratuity, table floor plan management, bill splitting, enhanced employee logins, and more
Clover POS Hardware
- Clover Go: Bluetooth point of sale device that relies on a smartphone or tablet
- Clover Flex: Fully-functional handheld POS device
- Clover Mini: Small, portable point of sale device with user-friendly interface
- Clover Station: Table-top, comprehensive point of sale device
- Clover Station Pro: Table-top, comprehensive point of sale device with customer-facing display
Additionally, if you choose to integrate with an existing POS system that you own, and you simply need a credit card processing terminal from Bank of America Merchant Services, you can use the more traditional FD130 Terminal.
On top of these three main branches of service, Bank of America Merchant Services also offers:
- Security: Encryption, tokenization, and overall data security tools through TransArmor Data Protection
- Reporting and analytics: Payments data, reporting, and notifications through Business Track
- Gift cards: Customizable gift card program for your business
- Support: Receive 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email
Pros of Bank of America Merchant Services
So, based on everything we’ve discussed thus far in our Bank of America Merchant Services review, let’s break down how this provider compares against others on the market.
To start, here are a few advantages to consider:
Variety of Solutions
As a traditional merchant service provider, Bank of America Merchant Services gives you a variety of options so that you can accept and process payments in the way that works best for your business.
If you only need Bank of America Merchant Services credit card processing, you can choose this option—or, if you need more, you can utilize a payment gateway, ecommerce platform, POS software and hardware, or check acceptance.
Additionally, as a merchant account provider, Bank of America Merchant Services includes a dedicated merchant account for your business—which means more account stability than working with a payment aggregator—that stores all their customers’ funds in a single account and then distributes them from there.
One of the biggest benefits of Bank of America Merchant Services is their fast processing time. If you’re an existing Bank of America customer, you can receive your funds from card payments as fast as the next business day.
Most other merchant services providers will take 24 to 48 hours to process your credit card transactions—not including the time it takes for the funds to transfer to your bank account. Therefore, this is a huge cash flow advantage for current Bank of America business customers.
Plus, there is also the benefit of being able to manage your banking and merchant services in one place.
Bank of America also offers Preferred Rewards for businesses that work with them.
The more you process through them, the more you earn in cash rewards.
Cons of Bank of America Merchant Services
On the other hand, there are downsides associated with Bank of America Merchant Services as well.
Here are a few to keep in mind:
First Data (Fiserv) Reseller
It’s important to remember that most of the merchant services Bank of America Merchant Services offers don’t come directly from them, but from First Data in one way or another.
Therefore, instead of having to go through the process of working with a reseller—you might instead go directly to the source and work with Clover, Authorize.Net, or BigCommerce.
As we mentioned above, a problem with resellers is that they are unclear about their specific offerings, pricing, and often involve long-term contracts with hidden fees. If you want to avoid the process of working with a Bank of America Merchant Services representative to sort through all of this, we’d recommend looking for a direct processor or a provider that offers their own solutions.
Lack of Transparency
Directly related to our point above, on the whole, Bank of America Merchant Services is less than transparent about what they offer and what the costs look like for small businesses.
As the merchant services industry as evolved, providers have focused more and more on transparent pricing, access to information, and avoiding the criticisms (like hidden fees) that are associated with traditional merchant service providers.
With Bank of America Merchant Services, however, this is not the case. Although there is some information available on their website, overall, it’s difficult to tell what the cost of Bank of America Merchant Services will look like and how exactly their payment processing services will work for your business.
In this way, it’s also difficult to compare their offerings to those of other providers—making it hard to determine if you’re getting a good deal by working with them.
Therefore, if you’d prefer to access pricing and features information upfront, we’d suggest looking into alternative options.
What do customers have to say about Bank of America Merchant Services?
Overall, it can be hard to separate Bank of America Merchant Services reviews from the online reviews of other Bank of America products. This being said, however, from what we’ve seen online, most customers writing reviews have had a negative experience with BoA Merchant Services.
Reviewers write about unhelpful customer service, hidden fees, steep cancellation fees, unclear contract terms, and more.
Although it’s worth taking into account that customers with a negative experience are more likely to write a review than those with a positive one, these extremely negatively skewed reviews are worth taking into account.
If you’re not convinced that Bank of America Merchant Services is the right fit for your small business, then your next step will be to look into your alternatives.
Here are two of the best alternatives to Bank of America Merchant Services you might consider:
Square Point of Sale
If you don’t already use Square POS and merchant services for your small business, then odds are you’ve at least come across it as a consumer. Square offers a remarkably straightforward, affordable point of sale solutions to small businesses.
Square offers three versions of their POS software: A basic free version, Square for Restaurants, and Square for Retail. You’ll also have access to Square’s marketplace of point of sale hardware:
- Square Register: Provides a full point of sale experience for $799 or $39 a month for 24 months. For every non-keyed transaction you run through it, you’ll pay 2.6% + $0.10. (Keyed transactions cost more on every Square point of sale device).
- Square Stand: A stand you can equip with an iPad to use as your POS terminal. You’ll just have to pay $199 for the stand and 2.6% + $0.10 for every non-keyed transaction you run through it. The Square Stand also comes with a built-in card reader.
- The Square Reader for Contactless and Chip: A portable card reader that must be attached to a smart device to run transactions. It costs $49 plus 2.6% + $0.10 for every non-keyed transaction you make with it.
- The Square Magstripe Reader: Comes free when you sign up for Square if you’re an eligible merchant, if not, it will be $10. It attaches to a mobile device to process payments. It also charges a 2.6% + $0.10 fee for each non-keyed transaction you run with it. If you decide to buy more magstripe readers for your business, they’ll just cost $10 each.
Read our full review of Square.
Intuit QuickBooks POS Systems
On the other hand, if you—like many small business owners out there—are keeping track of your business’s finances with QuickBooks accounting software, then consider QuickBooks POS as your top alternative to Bank of America Merchant Services.
QuickBooks POS system will work hand in hand with your accounting software to make tracking each step of your business’s revenue remarkably easy.
QuickBooks POS provides three packages to choose from:
- Basic plan: Starts at a one-off price of $1,200 and allows you to perform basic point of sale capabilities like ring sales, track inventory, and perform reporting.
- Pro plan: Starts at $1,700 and tacks on employee and payroll management, gift card programs, layaway capabilities, and advanced reporting.
- Multi-Store plan: The most capable of all the versions, starts at $1,900 but will also allow you to manage multiple stores, manage and transfer inventory, and perform advanced inventory reporting.
Read our full review of QuickBooks POS.
The Bottom Line
All in all, it’s hard to recommend Bank of America Merchant Services to business owners who aren’t already Bank of America customers.
Even if you are a Bank of America customer, you might prefer to compare the merchant service providers on the market who offer transparent pricing and aren’t reselling products from another provider.
With this in mind, if you’d prefer tech-focused and user-friendly providers with flat-rate pricing—we’d recommend that you look into top payment service providers—like Square, Stripe, and Shopify.
On the other hand, if you’d prefer more traditional merchant account providers, we’d recommend exploring providers such as Payline Data, Payment Depot, and Fattmerchant.
Ultimately, however, only you can decide what’s best for your business.
This being said, if you do decide to learn more about Bank of America Merchant Services from one of their sales representatives, we’d advise that you ask any and all questions that you have, ensure that you understand exactly what you’re being offered and what it’s going to cost, and thoroughly review any contract before signing.