How do you know if it’s right for your business? In this review, we’ll go over the company’s services, pricing, and reviews from Payment Alliance International customers to help you get a full picture of what it’s like to work with PAI.
PAI is headquartered in Louisville, KY and provides two core services: payment processing (by check or with credit or debit cards) and ATM placement programs.
The company offers this short introduction video:
PAI offers card processing for Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover through in-person and online channels. For in-person processing, you can use countertop terminals in either wired or wireless models, full-size POS systems, or mobile readers connected to your smartphone using PAI Mobile Plus.
For internet processing, PAI offers a secure gateway with shopping cart system and inventory management options.
If you offer memberships or other subscription-based goods or services, you can also set up recurring billing to minimize staff time collecting payment information and entering card details to be processed.
Taking orders by phone? PAI has you covered there, too. A secure, web-based portal allows you to enter card information and process a transaction in real time while allowing the ability to adjust or refund transactions.
In addition to card processing, PAI lets you accept checks. An electronic check conversion service eliminates the need to go the bank to deposit checks, and you can accept out-of-state checks safely with check guarantee. PAI offers a chart showing the features of its different check acceptance solutions, as shown below:
Check verification services will approve or reject the check at the time of sale in just a few seconds, helping you reduce your own risk.
Firearm sales are typically considered a “high risk” business in credit card processing. It has nothing to do with your business specifically; it’s just a fact of the current processing industry. Many processors are unable to work with high-risk industries, including gun dealers. However, there are plenty that are, including PAI. The company offers a Shooting Sports Payment Package designed to address the specific needs of gun sales.
You can choose to take cards online through your ecommerce website, in-store, or from other locations with a wireless card reader for your smartphone. You can also offer deferred customer payment plans to allow your buyers to pay their purchase over 3 or 6 months while you receive the funds immediately.
On its website, PAI states that pricing for firearms sales is 0.75% or less over interchange. The exact rates you’ll pay vary depending on your business. You can see how PAI stacks up to other gun-friendly processors by using CardFellow’s quote comparison tool. It’s free and no-obligation. Try it now.
Note that sometimes people claim that PAI is the only company that can handle gun sales. This is not accurate. PAI may be a good choice for your business, but if it isn’t, you still have options.
Related Article: Credit Card Processing for Gun Dealers.
Beyond payment processing, Payment Alliance international offers ATM placement, gift and loyalty cards, business funding, and data security packages that assist with breach prevention and PCI compliance.
A core part of PAI’s business is ATM placement. The company claims that it’s the largest non-bank operator in the US. If you choose to offer an ATM in your business, PAI will help with installation and servicing.
You can choose between a basic placement or a full, managed program for a network of ATMs, and have access to comprehensive reporting.
Gift cards are a popular option for a variety of gift-giving occasions. You can cash in on the popularity by offering private label cards customized to match your brand. Looking for a way to reward your best customers and encourage even more business? A loyalty program may do the trick. You can implement cardless or card-based loyalty programs, tailoring the specific details to fit your business needs.
Related Article: Starting a Customer Loyalty Program.
PAI offers working capital through a cash advance program against your future credit card sales. The cash advance program allows you to access between $10,000 and $500,000 through a quick online application. Repayment is made through a percentage of your daily credit card sales until you’ve repaid the original sum and associated fees.
To qualify, you must have been in business for at least 12 months, have credit card sales of at least $8,000/month, and be current on your rent. There is no minimum credit score, and PAI states that it offers programs for a variety of scores. Additionally, you’re not required to provide financial statements for amounts of less than $75,000.
Related Article: Pros and Cons of Merchant Cash Advances.
For data security, the company offers PAI Secure, a package that includes business education about data risks, network IP scans, self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) management, and more.
With the exception of a rough idea of rates for gun dealers, PAI doesn’t publicly post information about costs for businesses. The costs you pay will depend on a number of factors, including your industry, how you take cards, your average sales, and more.
For hard numbers, you can use the quote request button at the top of this profile and compare pricing from PAI and as many other processors as you’d like. The quote requester is a free tool available from CardFellow, and there’s no risk or obligation to check pricing.
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Reviews for Payment Alliance International are available through several channels, including Ripoff Report, the Better Business Bureau, Facebook, and informally through GunBroker.com. The comments on GunBroker are primarily in forums, where some users claim no problems and are happy with PAI’s services. Additionally, PAI offers video testimonials on its YouTube channel where customers praise the company for great service.
Payment Alliance International has a profile with the Better Business Bureau, where it currently shows an A+ rating. Though the company has not had any formal complaints lodged with the BBB, there is a negative review that claims the company has increased fee amounts consistently over 6 months despite not getting service up and running correctly, and that customer service will no longer speak to the client.
Complaints available on Ripoff Report echo the sentiments from the Better Business Bureau review, referencing hidden fees and difficulty with customer service, as well as accounts that weren’t set up in a timely manner yet incurred monthly fees. Some complaints also reference missing funds, getting locked into contracts despite being told there was no contract, and rude staff.
There are nine complaints on Ripoff Report, but one is from a former employee, not a business owner, and several of the complaints relate to classic fake check scams where a business was sent a letter claiming they’d won a prize and needed to deposit a check to claim the money. Complaints mention that the letters were sent from or included correspondence from Payment Alliance International.
Payment Alliance International has a 2.8-star review on its Facebook page. The rating is the result of 33 total reviews: fourteen 5-star reviews, one 4-star review, and eighteen 1-star reviews.
One of the positive reviews expresses surprise that there are so many negative ones, and explains that PAI has been a great option for their business. Other reviews say that PAI’s customer service is friendly, helpful, and fast. Most of the 5-star reviews are simply star ratings, with no text comments to explain the reasons for the high rating. The single 4-star review also does not provide comment.
In one of the negative reviews, a client complained that Payment Alliance International requested invoices and itemized receipts for sales that include customer’s names and billing addresses. Additional commenters chimed in in reply, stating that PAI is uninformed about ATF regulations, that the company continues to request more and more information (including card imprints) about firearm transactions, and that PAI regularly withholds funds.
Another negative reviewer posted screenshots of a combative email alleged to have occurred between the customer and PAI’s collection department, who became involved when the customer did not want to buy out an ATM contract.
Other complaints include large sums of money held (in excess of $50,000 in some cases) as well as refusal to process payments, high fees, terrible customer service, continuing to deduct fees even after account closure, and misleading sales reps.
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