Flagship Merchant Services is a full-service credit card processor that offers month-to-month service and a choice of interchange-plus or tiered pricing.
Flagship Merchant Services is a full-service payment processor that offers its customers month-to-month service terms and doesn’t charge an early termination fee. It gives you a choice of pricing models, so you can choose the one that saves your business the most money.
Flagship works with businesses of all sizes across many industries, and it can set you up with in-person, online, and mobile credit card processing. It’s been in business for more than 15 years and provides payment processing for more than 25,000 small businesses.
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Flagship Merchant Services offers its credit card processing services to all its merchants on a month-to-month basis and doesn’t charge a cancellation fee. This is notable because standard credit card processing contracts lock you in for three years and have short cancellation windows – usually 30 to 90 days – before automatically renewing for additional one- or two-year terms. They also have early termination fees to dissuade you from closing your account before the term expires, and some include liquidated damages clauses that make it prohibitively expensive to cancel. A monthly contract with no cancellation fees allows you to exit your account at any time without incurring a termination fee that costs you hundreds (or thousands) of dollars.
The exception to these terms is if you accept free equipment. Like most processing companies, Flagship Merchant Services has a free equipment program, and you’re required to sign a contract if you wish to participate. For instance, if you decide to accept a free Clover Mini credit card processing terminal, you have to sign a three-year contract. Although it’s a tempting offer, we recommend purchasing your equipment so you can keep your month-to-month service terms.
When you’re ready to sign up for a merchant account with Flagship, you’ll call your sales rep, who will fill out the application with you over the phone. Before providing your Social Security or bank account number or signing the application, request the full contract (the application, the terms and conditions document, and the program guide) so you can read it and verify that you’re aware of all fees and terms. Be aware that by signing the application, you’re actually signing the contract.
One clause to watch out for is Additional Services. It’s mentioned briefly in the application or terms document, referring you to the program guide for information about what it is. You only have 30 days after setting up your account to opt out. You should ask your sales rep what these additional services entail, what fees come with them and if you can opt out before signing up (so you don’t forget about it once you begin processing).
Most processing services use a single pricing model, but Flagship offers a choice of interchange-plus or tiered rates, allowing you to select the best pricing model for your business.
The company doesn’t post its rates or fees on its website, however, so you’ll need to call the company and speak with a sales rep for a customized quote based on the amount your business processes monthly, your industry, and other factors. If you’re already processing credit and debit cards, Flagship will see if it can meet or beat your current pricing.
If the rep you speak with only gives you tiered rates, don’t be afraid to ask for an interchange-plus rate quote.
Most businesses save money using the interchange-plus pricing model, and industry experts recommend it because it’s more transparent than other models. The percentage and per-transaction fee you’re quoted are the processor’s markup, which is added to the card networks’ published interchange rate for every transaction.
This pricing model is best for businesses that accept a lot of PIN debit cards and regular debit and credit cards. Tiered rates are more expensive for businesses that accept rewards, corporate and international cards.
Be aware that with this pricing model, there are multiple tiers – you need to specifically ask how many tiers there are, what type of cards each applies to, and what each tier costs for both debit and credit cards. You also need to ask what might cause a transaction to be downgraded to a lower tier.
Like most full-service credit card processing companies that provide you with a merchant account, Flagship charges several fees in addition to the percentage rate and per-transaction fees. These include the following:
This fee is for your statement, access to an online analytics tool, 24/7 tech support and a dedicated agent.
The monthly minimum is the amount of processing costs (percentage rate plus per-transaction fee) you need to generate each month. If you don’t process enough, you pay a fee to make up the difference. For example, if your monthly minimum is $25 and your monthly sales generate $23 in processing costs, you’d pay $2 to meet the minimum.
This fee may be charged monthly or annually, and covers the cost of helping you achieve and maintain PCI compliance. If you fail to comply with PCI data security standards or forget to renew your compliance each year, you may be charged a PCI noncompliance fee each month until you remedy the situation.
You’ll only pay this fee if a customer disputes a charge.
Flagship doesn’t charge application or setup fees, and some of the fees listed above may be negotiable.
This provider advertises a low-rate guarantee, offering an American Express gift card if it can’t offer you the lowest rates. However, it only applies to overall costs (not just rates); you must present a written competing offer, and the fine print notes that additional terms and conditions may apply.
Flagship Merchant Services provides multiple credit card processing solutions and sells a variety of processing hardware so you can accept credit card payments across every sales channel.
You have several options for the credit card payments you accept in person at a physical location. You can use a simple credit card terminal with a built-in PIN pad and printer or, if you need a more comprehensive solution, a point-of-sale (POS) system. Flagship sells Verifone terminals and the popular Clover line of POS systems. Both options are EMV and NFC compliant, so you can accept chip cards and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can also add mobile card readers to your system if you want to accept payments anywhere in the store, or tableside if your business is a restaurant.
Flagship sets you up with a payment gateway and a shopping cart so you can accept payments on your website. You can also set up automatic recurring billing.
Mobile processing is ideal for service professionals with mobile businesses, companies that sell products or services at events, and sales teams that work with clients in various locations.
Flagship can set you up with a virtual terminal that allows you to process payments from your phone or mail-order sales by manually keying in credit card details on your computer.
It’s easy to set up an account with this merchant services provider. As soon as you’re ready to apply, you call your account rep, who fills out the application with you over the phone. After you apply, the underwriting team reviews it, and if you’re approved, your account can be set up the next business day. The services provider then ships your equipment, which takes three or four business days to arrive. When you begin processing, the company can clear the account and deposit the money from your transactions into your business bank account within the industry average of one or two business days. Same-day funding is available, but may cost extra.
Flagship assigns a dedicated account representative to your business, so when you need customer support, you have one point of contact with the account provider. If you need help with your account after hours, 24/7 technical support is available. Your account also includes an online reporting tool that you can use to analyze your sales data.
This merchant services provider doesn’t post its rates and fees on its website. Although it isn’t uncommon for service providers to omit this information from their websites, it’s inconvenient, as you must call the processor and speak with a sales rep to get a pricing quote.
While the company offers interchange-plus pricing, you may need to specifically ask for it. You may also need to specifically ask about the PCI compliance fee.
Finally, the contract contains a vague clause for “additional services,” and you must opt out of it within 30 days of account activation; otherwise, you’re charged a monthly fee for services you don’t necessarily want or need.