Total Merchant Services Review

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Since 1996, Total Merchant Services has grown to become a leader in the credit card processing industry, surpassing the competition in utility and cost-effectiveness and earning the ISO of the year award in 2012 by the Electronic Transactions Association. Total Merchant Services is a registered ISO/MSP of HSBC Bank USA, and specializes in small- to mid-sized businesses—not only by providing low-cost/high-level service, but also by introducing turnkey technology-based marketing solutions. For the small- to mid-sized business operator, Total Merchant Services can offer an impressive value package.


Total Merchant Services makes pricing easy for merchants by offering one program and using the merchant’s volume to apply any discounts. As a merchant matures in business, Total Merchant Services responds by rewarding and supporting their growth with discounts. As in every review we report, those fees that are non-negotiable and must be charged by the processor are listed, while all others are omitted and therefore negotiable.

  • Monthly Statement Fee: $0
  • Customer Service Fee: $7.50
  • Batch Fee: $0.25 per batch, per location
  • Chargeback/Retrieval Fee: $20 average
  • Voice Authorization Fee: $0.95
  • Minimum Monthly Fee: $25.00 (mandatory for free terminal program)
  • Visa/MC/Discover Authorization Fees: $0.10 average
  • PIN-Based Debit Fee: $0.32 plus applicable interchange item fees
  • Non-Bankcard Card Authorization Fees (Amex, EBT, JCB, Diner): $0.10
  • PCI Compliance Fee: Free for first 12 months and then $4.95/month thereafter.
  • AVS (Address Verification Service) Fee: 5¢ assessed any time card not present and customer’s billing zip code is requested for fraud protection (includes MOTO).

The following portion of the pricing section regards charges associated with the volume of customer credit card processing generated by any one merchant account. Each transaction is billed according to the amount charged on each customer’s credit card as well as the number of transactions. Total Merchant Services offers one rate program commonly known as Tiered. Depending on a merchant’s requirements and processing volume, Total Merchant Services will typically offer the subsequent rates and pricing.


Mail Order/Telephone Order (MOTO): Card not present more than 20% of the time. MOTO, Card not Present, and/or Internet based businesses are offered an average of 1.89% for Qualified credit card transactions. Those other Non-Qualified transactions of Business/ Corp., International cards, or Address not verified transactions average 2.99%.

Brick and Mortar Retail Establishment: Card present 80%-100% of the time. Traditional Retailers (includes Petroleum and Grocery) are offered a Qualified rate of 1.29% bank card/credit card transactions. This means they are swiped at the point of sale on a PCI compliant terminal and do not require to be key entered. Surcharges associated with the additional tiers are negotiable, but fall into the average of 2.44% for Mid-Qualified and 3.09% for Non-Qualified transactions.

Total Merchant Services PIN-based debit fees are assessed if a customer enters his or her secret PIN on a PIN pad for an average charge of 12¢ per transaction. A PIN-based debit transaction is when Total Merchant Services charges the Qualified rate stated above plus “pass-through” network fees to the merchant. Debit Interchange/Network item fees and rates can be found for public review online at or and are subject to change.


In line with reducing costs, Total Merchant Services offers free equipment to new merchants. Without long-term contracts or hidden fees, Total Merchant Services allows merchants to use company-supplied terminals and mobile swipe readers for as long as they continue services. For those merchants who operate their businesses in a traditional retail environment, Total Merchant Services provides free stand-alone terminals ready to start processing upon delivery (via IP or Phone line). All of Total Merchant Services’ free terminals include an internal PIN pad for easy access and secure encryption, (no separate PIN pads are included).

For those merchants who are bustling about the city (like artists, famers and general contractors), Total Merchant Services offers Payment Jack so clients can accept customers’ credit cards in a less traditional way. Payment Jack is a plug-in magnetic card reader for any smart phone or tablet along with free certified software, so mobile merchants who need fast authorizations and easy to access records can find both with Total Merchant Services. The pricing program for Payment Jack is non-negotiable and competes separately from the regular pricing outlined later in this review.

The pricing for the mobile merchant using Payment Jack is a flat 1.69% on the volume and 30¢ for every transaction, as well as an additional $12.50 in monthly fees. Merchants that want to use a wireless terminal that does not require a smart phone to operate, will pay a total of $20.00 in monthly fees. All other pricing for rates will apply, as outlined in the Pricing section of this review.

Additional Product Offerings

  • Check Guarantee Service
  • Gift Card Services
  • Cash Advance and Merchant Advance
  • Fanminder: A marketing tool that allows the merchant to easily create, send and track promotional offers through social media, text and email.


By focusing its efforts on the small- to medium-sized merchant, Total Merchant Services has found a niche and provided it with awesome bargains. There is value to using a credit card processor that also thinks about ways to help you grow your business. Total Merchant Services shows care by giving merchants great ideas to free up cash, such as merchant advances, or engage in social media marketing with loyalty programs. With a team of professionals to support them, merchants will gain access to extremely beneficial resources with Total Merchant Services.

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