TSYS Merchant Solutions is a direct credit card processor and one of the largest in the U.S., processing over $1 trillion of credit card transactions annually. It provides both interchange-plus and tiered rates but requires a long-term commitment, which may not be ideal for businesses that are just starting out.
The interchange-plus markups we were quoted in our testing ranged from 0.35% to 0.50%, each with a $0.10 per-transaction fee. These markups are higher than the average of 0.30% in our review. The rate you receive may vary, depending on the monthly dollar amount of transactions your business processes each month. The tiered rates we were quoted are more competitive, starting with a qualified debit card rate of 0.49%, which is one of the better rates we saw. TSYS has lower per-transaction fees on its tiered pricing plan than other processors that offered tiered rates, which makes it a competitive option if you process a high volume of smaller tickets.
The monthly fees TSYS charges are less expensive than average, with a monthly fee of up to $10 and an annual PCI-compliance fee of $75. If you need to upgrade or purchase an EMV-ready terminal, acquiring one from TSYS can be expensive, as $349 for a new terminal was one of the most expensive prices we were quoted. One item to be aware of is that TSYS automatically signs you up for its Merchant Insights Essential program and bills you $29.99 a month after a 60-day trial. If you don't want to participate in this program, you can opt out it when you sign up.
TSYS Merchant Solutions posts some of its pricing and fee information on its website, though not all. The company reps that our testers spoke with were inconsistent with the information they provided, giving different rates to each tester that were also different from its posted rates.
One of the biggest drawbacks of this credit card processor is the setup and service terms. TSYS requires all merchants to sign a three-year contract. The contract includes an early termination fee that declines each year. Although the contracts our testers received contained a provision waiving the fee, it didn't reduce the three-year term to month-to-month service.
TSYS has the longest setup time of any processor we reviewed, taking between three and five days to get your account started. The average setup time of the processors we reviewed is two days. After you start processing, it takes one to two business days to clear the account and deposit your money into your business bank account, which is well within the average timeframe of the processors we reviewed.
As with many credit card processors, your customer experience can vary widely depending on your rep. An inexperienced or unknowledgeable rep can make the process more difficult. In such cases, you may need to request a different customer service rep to speak to. TSYS provides merchants with helpful information about credit card processing on its website, and you can also subscribe for a free informative newsletter.
TSYS is one of the largest direct processors in the country. It has good tiered rates with the best per-transaction fee in our review and lower-than-average fees. However, it requires you to sign a three-year contract, which is a much longer commitment than many of its competitors require.
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