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Heartland Payment Systems
Heartland Payment Systems is a large credit card processor, currently processing more than 11 million transactions for over 300,000 businesses and schools every day. The company has a particular focus on servicing the restaurant and food industry, but can accommodate many types of businesses.
Heartland Payment Systems was founded in 1997 with a dedication to honesty in credit card processing. Headquartered in New Jersey, Heartland also has offices in multiple states, including Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Oregon, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Arizona, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Heartland is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank and the Bancorp Bank.
In 2016, Global Payments acquired Heartland. The company later filed a lawsuit against former CEO Robert Carr, alleging insider trading. In 2018, the SEC also filed a lawsuit. A representative for Carr states that Global withheld exculpatory information.
Heartland offers card processing, micropayment, mobile, and e-commerce payment acceptance services, a virtual terminal, gift cards, payroll solutions, and business loans. Additionally, Heartland provides industry-specific solutions designed to meet the common business needs of companies in particular industries.
You can take all major credit and debit cards with Heartland Payment Systems card processing, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Heartland can also help you with equipment purchasing decisions.
If your business exclusively takes small payments for services, Heartland Payment Systems offer micropayment processing. Small payment businesses include things like laundromats, vending machines, car washes, arcades, and parking garages. Heartland Payment Systems offers you the option of implementing SmartCard, WaveRider, and MicroPay cashless systems.
Mobile processing allows you to take credit and debit cards using your smartphone or tablet instead of a traditional credit card machine.
Heartland Mobile Pay offers an easy to use, completely redesigned app with a bluetooth EMV chip card reader.
The app includes key features such as inventory management, invoicing, and back office with virtual terminal to allow you to key in cards if you can't use the reader or accept cards over the phone.
You must be set up for credit card processing with Heartland in order to use mobile processing. If you’re a new Heartland Payment Systems customer, yoyou can get set up for mobile processing when you complete your application for credit card processing.
You can take payments through your website using Heartland’s SecureSubmit for e-commerce. With SecureSubmit, your customers will enter their payment data on your website, and the data will be securely encrypted and sent to Heartland Payment Systems for processing.
SecureSubmit is compatible with popular e-commerce platforms, including WordPress, Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and more
If you want to take payments by mail or phone order, or if you just want to use your existing computer instead of a credit card terminal, you can do that with the Portico virtual terminal. You can use the virtual terminal for payments whether your customer is paying in person or giving you their card information over the phone, by fax, or by mail. You can enter credit cards by hand or by using an optional encrypted PIN pad.
You probably know that gift cards have soared in popularity. Customers buy them for birthdays, graduations, holidays, anniversaries, and more. If you want to cash in on the gift card craze, Heartland Payment Systems offers a gift card program. You can personalize the cards and they’re reloadable to keep customers coming back.
If you’re looking to effectively manage payroll, Heartland Payment Systems offers its own proprietary payroll service. The Heartland Hire system includes payroll and HR functions. Heartland includes a customer satisfaction graph indicating that clients are happier with its solution than with competitors including ADP and Intuit.
If you’re hiring, you can allow interested candidates to apply by text. You can schedule interviews and send electronic job offer letters, eliminating paperwork.
You can identify top candidates and screen automatically for work opportunity tax credits (WOTC), potentially saving up to $9,600 per eligible new hire. There is no cap on the number of new hires that can qualify for the savings.
The system also allows for easy onboarding of new hires with just a few clicks. Employment documentation is securely stored in the cloud, and compliance tasks are automated.
If you need money to grow your business, you can try out the Heartland Capital lending service. Heartland has partnerships with different companies, providing access to a portfolio of lenders.
Offerings include business lines of credit, short term business loans, business credit cards, equipment financing, commercial mortgages, startup loans, and more. Rates and fees vary, but can be as low as 4.9%, with funding times of a few days to approximately 2 weeks.
Probably! Heartland provides many services tailored to specific business types. Check out the list:
In addition to credit and debit card processing for your restaurant, Heartland offers the Freshtxt restaurant app that helps you with wait lists and reservations. The app comes with U.S.-based 24-hour customer service support.
Boasting that they are the American Hotel & Lodging Associations preferred provider of card processing Heartland offers credit and debit card processing, gift card and reward card programs, and payroll solutions if you’re in the lodging business.
Heartland’s website touts years of K-12 industry experience that allows them to understand the needs of your school district. They offer integrated software systems designed to reduce student wait time and increase efficiency. Heartland also offers in person and online training to help you and your staff learn the software.
Additionally, Heartland can offer industry solutions for such industries as:
Heartland is compatible with several major equipment brands, but of particular note is its lockdown of Ingenico credit card machines.
Ingenico is an equipment manufacturer that makes 'universal' credit card terminals that can work with any processor. Typically, that means processors that support Ingenico equipment can reprogram machines that you purchased and used with another processor.
In Heartland's case, the company has worked out a deal with Ingenico that terminals you purchase and use with Heartland can only be reprogrammed with Heartland's permission. If Heartland doesn't want to allow you to continue using your Ingenico terminal if you switch processors, it can prevent you from doing so.
For businesses looking for a full point of sale solution, Heartland offers an integrated suite that features a cloud-based POS system, self-order kiosk, mobile ordering capabilities, and the option to utilize gift card or loyalty programs.
The sleek, modern system offers features that businesses need in an elegant package that fits any restaurant or retaild decor.
The good news is that Heartland Payment Systems offers interchange plus pricing, which has the potential to be very competitive. Beyond that, Heartland doesn’t publish any information on rates or fees. Keep in mind that you can end up paying more if you have add-on services or aren’t aware of all the fees included in your processing.
To find out exactly what you’d pay for processing with Heartland Payment Systems, including any extra fees, sign up for a free CardFellow account to request a quote from Heartland Payment Systems.
In November 2017, some businesses processing through Heartland saw an EMV non-acceptance fee of $299. Heartland has confirmed that the fee applied to a limited number of businesses.
The company further explained that it no logner charge fees for EMV non-compliance, even for businesses that aren't utilizing EMV chip-capable equipment.
It's still a good idea to use chip-capable terminals, as you'll be liable for fraudulent transactions that occur with a chip card if you aren't using an EMV terminal. However, at the time, Heartland does not impose separate penalties for non-EMV terminal usage.
Read more about EMV Non-Compliance Fees and how to avoid them.
Heartland gives you a choice - you can lock in your rates for 3 years with a contract, or opt for a month-to-month plan.
The typical Heartland Payment Systems contract is a three year terms with an early termination fee of $275.
Alternately, if you choose Heartland through CardFellow, Heartland will set you up with no early termination fee.
You’ve probably heard about security breaches at big name stores and want to make sure you’re your credit card processing solution is as safe as possible. Heartland Payment Systems offers Heartland Secure, a data security solution that uses end to end encryption and tokenization to protect customer credit card data. It is designed to prevent point-of-sale intrusions, insider fraud, and other data fraud. Heartland Secure is available at no extra charge.
Heartland Payment Systems has a mixed reputation online, with some reviews complaining of expensive or unexpected fees.
Heartland Payment Systems has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2004 and has an A+ rating. They have only been 16 complaints lodged in the past 3 years, which is on the low side for a company with as many clients as Heartland has. 9 of the complaints are in the category “Problems with Product/Service” with the remaining complaints spread across categories “Billing/Collection Issues”, “Advertising/Sales Issues” and “Guarantee/Warranty Issues.” Details are only available for a few of the complaints, but reviews refer to incorrect billing, unexpected fees, and bait-and-switch tactics regarding equipment sales.
Yelp corroborates the negative reviews filed with the BBB, with several one-star reviews complaining of excessive fees, including expensive early termination fees. Reviews also complain that rates aren’t very good and customer service wasn’t helpful. As of autumn 2015, there are 9 reviews in total for Heartland Payment Systems, giving the company a 1.5 star overall rating.
Heartland also racks up complaints on Ripoff Report, with reviewers commenting on rate hikes and deceptive practices.
We’ve seen quite a few Heartland Payment Systems’ quotes, statements, and applications over the years, and found that it uses interchange plus pricing exclusively and its statements are transparent and well-organized.
We even approached Heartland to join CardFellow’s network as a certified quote provider, but unfortunately, Heartland was not willing to offer pricing that would be competitive in our marketplace and declined our invitation.
Unlike most other processors, Heartland does not use independent sales organizations (ISOs). Instead, it relies on its network of independent sales agents (ISAs). We’ve dealt with quite a few Heartland agents, and while they seem to mean well, there have been many instances where Heartland’s representatives tried to undercut pricing that was already competitive to the point it wasn’t worth the pennies the business would save to switch.
Heartland’s volume markup and transaction charges on interchange plus are typically more competitive than most processors, although we have seen instances of excessive markups – in one case Heartland was charging 148 basis points over cost. This is roughly fifteen times higher than the markup businesses are quoted through CardFellow’s marketplace.
Heartland passes interchange and assessments at cost. It charges a markup for monthly versus daily discount, and it typically charges higher than average monthly fees, which it often labels as “service and regulatory” fees.
Heartland Payment Systems is being bought by Global Payments in a somewhat suspicious acquisition, so it will be interesting to see how Heartland’s good reputation fares once Global is in control.
Heartland charges its clients using interchange plus pricing. It’s rare to find a processor that doesn’t engage in opaque bundled pricing, but Heartland is one such company.
As you can see from the Heartland Payments Systems statement snippet below, Heartland lists its charges separately from interchange and assessments in a section labeled “HPS Processing Fees.” This makes it easy for a business to see which fees are being paid to Heartland, and which are being paid to the card brands and banks.
The snippet below shows the business is paying Heartland a markup of 0.40% plus a transaction fee of $0.05. The volume markup (percentage) is labeled as “[card brand abbreviation] Discount Fee” and the transaction fee is labeled as “[card brand abbreviation] Transaction Fee.”
Heartland offers relatively competitive volume and transaction fee pricing, but it often makes up some ground through higher than average monthly fees. For example, the monthly fee in the statement snippet above shows Heartland charging $25 for a “Service & Regulatory Mandate.”
$25 is about typical from what we’ve seen, but there are instances where the monthly charges have topped $40.
Another area where Heartland makes up some money is by charging an addition volume-based fee for monthly discount. Monthly discount means that a processor deducts fees in one lump sum in the following month instead of before deposit. Monthly discount is almost always in a merchant’s best interest, and the vast majority of processors do not charge for it.
However, Heartland typically charges 0.02% of gross sales volume if a business would like processing fees deducted monthly instead of daily.
Heartland has one of the more transparent statements of any processor. They’ve stayed pretty consistent over the years, and it’s particularly helpful that Heartland separates the costs associated with each card brand and its own fees.
For example in the Heartland statement snippet below it’s easy to see how much was paid to Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Discover, and Heartland.
This summary section is posted at the top of all Heartland statements. It’s important to realize how credit card processing fees function, and that not all components of cost are negotiable. It’s helpful to divide total fees by card brand and markup in order to illustrate this point.
A dim spot in Heartland’s product offering is its three-year contract term and cancellation fee. It charges a cancellation fee based on liquidated damages that is capped at $295. This means that the maximum cancellation fee is $295, but it may be lower for some businesses without much processing volume.
Liquidated damages is where a processor calculates the early termination fee by multiplying the lost monthly profit by the numbers of months remaining in the contract terms.
For example, if Heartland is making a profit of $25 a month on a business’s account and the business cancels 5 months before the expiration of the contract terms, Heartland will charge a cancellation fee of $125.
Although this is how the terms of Heartland’s agreement read, we’ve never heard of it charging (or threatening to charge) less than $295 for a business to cancel.
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Posted by Cheryl Poole on Feb 27, 2019
Transparency?? Not a chance!! I have been fighting for months to get fees back from Heartland that was charged to me to no avail. The salesperson was Linda and Maile Beveridge. They both told me that I would not be charged but here I am over $800.00 in fees that I wasn't supposed to be charged. Heartland LIES!!! I have emails where Maile has tried to fix this but Heartland will not credit this back!! HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED!! Do NOT trust them with you business!!!
Posted by Jenny on Nov 20, 2018
Tech support for this specific program is all but non-existent. Should you need help logging or changing your password you will find it a difficult process without aid. Heartland as a corporate entity is grossly unorganized, constantly changing their business structure and unable to provide a competitive and efficient product in whatever market they decide to enter. Expect weeks of delay in getting an answer on vital inquiries- should anyone decide to answer at all. Do not recommend.
Posted by Dale Howard on Aug 10, 2018
After 13 years with Heartland, they turned into a criminal company. In the middle of the night raised our rates almost 300%. $14,000 later we are switching companies. They use to be a good company - NOW BEWARE! I understand they got bought out a year ago - the new company is unethical and criminal. They will suck you in and then raise your rate. Their equipment (we spent thousands) if they program it a certain way cannot be used by other processors - so our 2 year old equipment is going to cost us $7,000 to replace. Their sales reps would just as soon lie to you, disguise what they are doing with smoke and mirrors, and have no problem stealing form their grandma. Be careful of the contract you sign - it is evil! Hugh penalties for cancelling even though they raise your rates almost 300%.
Posted by Gary Yu on Mar 16, 2018
I called to cancelled my service around end of October, they still charged $45 monthly fee until I called again in mid-February. They informed me that the last rep sent the cancellation request to the wrong dept. They also charged early termination fees. My original contract stated no contract and they just gave me another dept. email and phone number to talk. Stay far away from Heartland if you don't want any future headaches.View Processor's Feedback
Posted by Denise Comilloni on Mar 03, 2018
Hated to even give them a rating of 1. I would not recommend this company to anyone wanting to process credit cards; many hidden fees and their rates are much higher than what they tell you when selling you their program. And yes, watch out for termination fees and don't sign a contract with them or you will be stuck with them for three years. Let the buyer beware!!!View Processor's Feedback
Posted by Chris on Feb 22, 2018
Wouldn't give them 1 star but can't choose 0 stars. The company is all about #'s and not customer service or helping out customers/businesses. We've had 5 people in the past month use stolen credit cards for our products. Heartland shut down our account because it is too risky. We were at risk of shipping out products and then the stolen card doing a chargeback. Heartland did not care at all that they were stolen cards, or the fact that every chargeback that was open, we disputed and won. They don't care if someone does a chargeback for no reason and they are in the wrong. 20 people could do a chargeback for no reason and you could win all 20 cases, but Heartland could care less.
Posted by Melanie Rasmussen on Feb 11, 2018
I discussed credit card processing with Michael Kinny, from Heartland. Very fair and transparent. Really gave me an education. Since then, I've referred several business owners to him and have always gotten rave reviews. Great customer service!View Processor's Feedback
Posted by Stever Tillis on Jan 09, 2018
Sent me a letter of fine print of $299 EMV fees and deducted from my account for not being EMV compliant. After finding out it was free to be compliant. They would not refund my money. Why not just make me compliant and story over. Worst ever customer service.
Posted by Megan on Nov 20, 2017
Wow these reviews are on point, my exact experience. RUDE RUDE RUDE. Debited my closed account after a problem with unauthorized charges. Refused to take the charges off and sent harassing calls and emails even after the situation was explained and cleared up. They are disrespectful and have no tact! Worst ever customer relations. I am now with ADP!
Posted by aria on Oct 26, 2017
As a manager for a small business, we're in the process of comparison shopping for credit card processors, just trying to see what else is out there. We have been with our current processor for more than 5 years now, so not under a contract anymore. We were introduced to the Heartland rep by our POS installer. She seemed very nice and proactive, but when we started asking about rates and charges that's where things started getting uncomfortable. It felt like I was trying to draw information out of a clam. Where she was very quick with marketing material, when it came to charges she became more reticent and often I found myself wondering what she was trying to say in her replies to my questions. I was also told multiple times that the $295 early termination fee is non-negotiable, as waiving that means she will have to pay for it and in addition won't be compensated for servicing my account. Hmmm...