SPECIALIZES IN B-TO-B
DEDICATED CARDFELLOW REP
ACCEPTS HIGH RISK
First Data, Vantiv/NPC, TSYS, WorldPay
HSBC /(First Data/), Wells Fargo, Woodforest National Bank, Fifth Third Bank
The company has been in business since 2003. Has it been living up to this aspiration? In this Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions review and profile, we’ll discuss that and more.
For this review, CardFellow asked AGMS to provide additiona details where necessary. We also asked the company to tell us what they offer in their own words. Here's what AGMS has to say:
Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions (AGMS) works very differently from many processors. Our Founder/President, Teresa Madrigal, has made it her very mission to offer a processor that will actually work with merchants to help their business succeed. We are not in the business of charging merchants high rates for a short period of time. We strive to establish an honest, transparent, and long-lasting relationship with our merchants. Our current merchants know they can trust us and we stand by every single one of them. Teresa has invested her time and resources into developing customer service and technical support agents that are ignited with her same passion to change an antiquated industry. All of our customer and technical support is locally based in Dallas, TX. None of our support is outsourced to a different country. Every single staff member at AGMS has the merchants best interest at heart. It’s this vested interest that allows us to offer exceptional support to our invaluable merchants.
AGMS is constantly developing new marketing tools and technologies that will help our merchants’ set themselves apart from their competition. We want merchants to grow their business and see them double even triple their profits when working with us.
Additionally, unlike most processors, we work with many different banks. Working with multiple banks allows us to get the best price possible for merchants. Merchants can count on always having a choice and AGMS is there to make the processes easier.
AGMS provides full service payment processing, allowing you to accept credit and debit cards online, in person, or on the go. The company serves businesses with traditional card-acceptance needs and specialty situations such as EBT/food stamps, pay-at-the-pump gas stations, and fleet cards like WEX and Voyager. B2B businesses can also use gateways to automate level 2 and level 3 data.
The company offers both daily and monthly discounting, allowing you to choose which method works best for you. If you prefer to have fees taken out every day, you can choose the daily discounting option. If you prefer easier reconciliation and accounting, you can opt for monthly discounting.
The company tells CardFellow that to sell its services, it uses independent sales agents that attend yearly trainings in addition to weekly and monthly calls or webinars. All sales reps are required to abide by ethics guidelines and held accountable for their actions. Inside sales staff follows the same policies.
AGMS serves many businesses, but also calls out its strong Spanish-speaking support staff, and mentions that business owners of Hispanic heritage (or Spanish-speaking businesses) are particularly emphasized. The company tells CardFellow that the CEO, of Hispanic heritage herself, has brought on many well-trained Spanish-speaking support staff as well as bilingual top executives.
AGMS is a full-service processing company, which means it can help your business accept all major brands of credit and debit cards. The company also indicates it can process electronic checks, converting a paper check into an electronic transaction with a check scanner. The check is then approved and funds are directly deposited into your account.
Avant-Garde offers next-day funding. Depending on the backend processing relationship, this feature may be available at no additional charge. (There's no extra fee with AGMS through Paysafe, WorldPay, or First Data. There's a 0.05% charge with Clearent.) You'll need to batch our by 10:30PM eastern time in order to receive next-day funding.
As a business accepting cards, you're required to comply with PCI standards. AGMS offers PCI compliance assistance, and will notify you by mail and email if you're non-compliant so you can complete the required questionnaire.
Having more payment options for your customers can lead to easier sales. With Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions you can accept swiped payment cards, EMV/smartcards, and next generation contactless payments. You will need the proper equipment in order for AGMS to be able to process your transactions, so be sure to look into appropriate equipment features for your needs.
Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions offers the AGMS Gateway with virtual terminal. The gateway will allow you to accept payments through your website or mobile app with “buy now” and donation buttons, or through the use of a shopping cart. With the virtual terminal, you can use your own internet-connected computer or smartphone to facilitate transactions. Both options allow you to set up recurring billing and scheduled payments. Another benefit is QuickBooks integration for easier accounting.
Whether you travel to different tradeshows, make deliveries, or perform services at various locations, having a portable means of taking card payments can be a great convenience. Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions says it can provide mobile processing with options that can assist even when there is no internet available.
Services at AGMS go beyond being able to process payments; the company also has a gift card and loyalty program service as well as a range of partner services. Web design, payroll, marketing, IT services, and more can be provided.
The gift card program gives you the option of customizable cards that integrate with major POS systems. You'll need to purchase a minimum of 100 cards. Your per-card cost runs from 50 cents to $3.00, depending on the quantity, if it's a rush order, and other details. There's a one-time setup fee for customization as well as a per-transaction fee for redemption.You'll also pay a monthly fee for the program.
A points-based loyalty program is also available for businesses that want to reward their loyal customers and encourage repeat business. There's a monthly cost for the program, but AGMS doesn't provide any additional details on those costs.
Purchasing equipment through AGMS is an option, and CardFellow suggests purchasing over leasing. AGMS tells CardFellow that agents are trained to sell equipment outright, but that if a business inquires about leasing, they can set that up through First Data Global Leasing.
AGMS can support a pretty wide range of POS systems, terminals, and gateways. The company prefers PAX terminals due to their ease of use, long life, and regular updates provided by PAX. If you're not interested in a PAX machine, you can also choose from Dejavoo, Verifone, and Poynt terminals. If you need an on-the-go solution, AGMS offers the SwipeSimple EMV card readers for smartphones.
When it comes to POS systems, AGMS doesn't have a preference beyond suggesting cloud-based solutions. You'll have a wide selection, including NCR Silver, Talech, Aloha, Breadcrumb, Revel, Lightspeed, Vend, Future POS, Lavu, Microworks, Revention, and more. Be sure to check out CardFellow's POS directory for information on POS systems.
Selling online? AGMS recommends Authorize.Net or USAePay for a gateway due to their open APIs, rich features, and low cost. For ecommerce platforms and shopping carts, the company suggests WooCommerce or Shopify, but may be able to integrate other options.
AGMS supports specialized equipment such as Ruby systems for gas stations.
The company also sells accessories, such as cash drawers, barcode scanners, and printers.
When we first published this Avant-Garde review, the company had a comparison pricing chart published on its website. The chart showed fairly expensive pricing across the board, with inflated competitors' costs in addition to high AGMS pricing. However, that chart appears to have been removed. There are no references to specific rates and fees on the AGMS website at the time of this updated.
AGMS confirmed to CardFellow that it can offer several different pricing models, including interchange plus, tiered, flat rate, and an automatic cash discount, but did not offer any further information about starting costs or other fees.
AGMS also stated that the company charges a $495 early termination fee, but will waive it if provided with 30-45 days' written notice
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In the past few years, Avant-Garde has racked up a lot more reviews. Some of them raise some questions about Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions’ defiant stance against industry corruption, but others speak glowingly of the company.
Let’s dig right in to what you need to know. According to complaints at the Better Business Bureau, AGMS may have a $0 early termination fee, but that won’t necessarily stop you from getting hit with a $250-$300 cancellation fee if you want to end your contract. Is this just semantics? Not exactly.
After sifting through a tiresomely long response from AGMS in regards to one of the complaints, it is indicated that AGMS offers contracts through another processor called NPC (National Processing Company.) So while AGMS is not charging a fee for ending the contract, you are still on the hook through NPC. AGMS explains to CardFellow that it only utilizes NPC in cases where a POS system requires it, and that it now eliminates cancellation fees in agreements.
There are only 3 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 3 years on the Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions profile, but NPC has 177 complaints under its accredited National Processing Company profile with the BBB. Don’t be misled by the NPC profile that is not accredited and has no complaints.
It’s unclear how many of the complaints for NPC were from clients that were signed up by AGMS, so we’ll stick to the direct Avant-Garde Marketing Solution reviews. Also indicated by the reviews at the BBB is that contract is for 3 years and auto-renews in 2 year increments. One reviews claims that increasing rates and fees drove them to want to cancel. Another review claims that AGMS was extremely unhelpful with a defective equipment issue.
When looking into Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions reviews, you might come across the website AGMSfacts.com from 2008, in which the company accuses Ripoff Report of extortion and simultaneously attempts to debunk an alleged scandal. When researching the reviews on Ripoff Report there is some indication that a company calling itself Avant-Garde LLC was extracting small sums of money from credit card accounts. Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions denies having anything to do with this, but offers to repay individuals that still believe that the fraudulent charges came from it.
Ripoff Report also contains complaints that warn of a man named Bill Gouldd’s involvement with AGMS. Bill Gouldd headed Equinox International, an MLM company that received a $40,000,000 penalty in a court case for the victims of its pyramid scheme. However, there's no indication that Bill Gouldd is involved with AGMS in any official capacity. He is married to the CEO and founder of Avant-Garde Marketing Solutions, Teresa Madrigal, but AGMS tells CardFellow that he is not associated with the company.
Avant-Garde has an official company Facebook page with reviews enabled and a 5-star rating. At least one of the reviews is from a person who lists Avant-Garde as their workplace in their Facebook profile. However, other reviews that are not from employees praise the company's customer service, courteousness, and helping save money.
You can also find dozens of reviews on Google's review platform. These reviews largely echo the same sentiments as the Facebook reviews, praising Avant-Garde for knowledgeable and helpful staff, always answering questions, and making the process of accepting cards easier.
Even when interpreting the Ripoff Report allegations as gossip, it's a good idea to carefully consider everything when researching processors. If you choose to process with AGMS, be sure you know what you are agreeing to in any contracts.
If you have experience working with AGMS, we want to hear about it! Leave a review!
Unlike general web reviews, verified reviews are posted by businesses that have chosen the processor's quote through CardFellow's marketplace, and CardFellow has confirmed with the processor that the business is using its service. Businesses can update verified reviews at any time to ensure the review accurately reflects the processor's performance over time.
Unlike verified reviews which are validated by CardFellow, web reviews can be submitted by anyone viewing this profile. While we validate these reviews as best we can, CardFellow does not verify that a reviewer is using or has used a processor's service.
Do you Know this processor? Write a review about it
Posted by Ellen on Oct 03, 2018
Avant-Garde has been doing the processing at our salon for years and they have always taken great care of us. Anytime there's an issue they are on top of it. The customer service is top notch at Avant-Garde.
Posted by Doro Nimmick on Oct 02, 2018
I have been processing with AGMS for about 7 years now, since 2011. AGMS has been extremely honest and straightforward with me. When I have questions about my transactions my question is answered in just a couple of minutes. I would recommend AGMS to any business owner! A++ Best customer service team!View Processor's Feedback
Posted by Moses Clarke on Sep 30, 2018
Eduardo was my rep, did a phenomenal job in explaining everything thoroughly. So far I’ve been saving $50+ a month switching and I can’t be more satisfied.View Processor's Feedback
Posted by John S on Oct 28, 2016
Do your research on these con-artists. We signed up with a rep who promised this new better way of doing things and then noticed that we were paying more and fees increased without notice. When trying to call we just get a run around and the Avant-Garde sales pitch and told you signed a contract. It is a set up. They make you feel like you are going to be taken care of but instead you are just taken.
Posted by Bill Whitley on Oct 18, 2016
After reviewing my statements from my previous processing company, my Avant Grade rep said your company could save each of my 2 businesses approximately $200 per month in processing. After two months of processing with Avant Garde my processing costs have increased $200-300 per month. The opposite of what was promised. I met with my rep 3 weeks ago and was promised someone would get back to me to resolve this matter. I have not heard from anyone. I emailed my rep 5 days ago to again express my dissatisfaction. I called him today and left a voicemail. Still not one bit of response from him or anyone at AGMS. Am now looking to find another processing company.View Processor's Feedback