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TransFirst Review

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PROS / TransFirst's fees are lower than average.

CONS / It charges more for a basic EMV-compliant terminal than its competitors.

 VERDICT / TransFirst can save your business money in monthly fees, though it charges more for EMV-compatible terminals.

TransFirst, a direct merchant services company, processes transactions directly and doesn't resell merchant accounts from other processors. Although it was acquired by TSYS in 2016, it continues to operate as TransFirst. It has lower-than-average fees, good terms of service and fast setup times.

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You can find basic information about credit card processing rates, fees and terms on TransFirst's website, which is helpful information to have before calling a merchant service. However, in our tests, TransFirst was one of two only companies that failed to provide us with a contract to review and therefore lost points for transparency, resulting in a 67% score.

If you need to update your terminals to accept EMV chip cards, TransFirst provides a basic EMV-compliant terminal for $299, which is one of the most expensive options on the lineup.

This merchant account provider is one of the five companies on our lineup that offers two pricing options: tiered and interchange-plus. The interchange-plus pricing model is preferred by industry experts, as it's the most cost-effective option for most businesses. TransFirst charges 0.20% + $0.18 over interchange. Though the percentage rate is on par with the best credit card merchant services companies we reviewed, it's per-transaction fee is higher than most.

The majority of TransFirst's fees are priced below average. It charges a $9.95 monthly fee, a $5 monthly minimum and $75.20 per year in PCI-compliance fees. If you don't establish PCI compliance, you're charged $29 per month until you do. If you have a chargeback, it costs $25, which is average, and TransFirst doesn't charge a setup fee or an annual fee.

If you need a payment gateway, you can choose between several options: Transaction Express, Transaction Central or Authorize.net. There's no cost to set up the payment gateway, and it carries a $5 per month fee, which is one of the lowest such fees in our review.

When you apply for a merchant account with TransFirst, it can approve your application and set up your account within one business day. Additionally, it can clear the account and deposit the money from your transactions into your business's bank account within one day of the transaction. Like all of the companies that made it onto our top 10 list, TransFirst has favorable terms, with month-to-month service and no cancellation fees.

TransFirst received a Customer Service score of 80%. While the reps we spoke with were polite, provided quotes over the phone and answered our questions satisfactorily, we failed to receive a response when we filled out the online contact request form, and we didn't receive a copy of the contract after we requested it. This service doesn't provide a dedicated account representative when you sign up. Phone support is available 24/7.

Summary

TransFirst offers lower-than-average fees, favorable terms and a choice of different pricing models. However, its customer service isn't as reliable or responsive as that of its competitors. We recommend calling the service directly rather than filling out the form on the website and waiting for the company to contact you. We also recommend insisting on a full copy of the contract (application, terms of service and program guide) to review before you sign up with this company, which is a smart practice no matter which company you select.

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