First Data review
Its sweep of services is extensive, but customers warn of numerous account fees.
It comes as no surprise that First Data — the largest merchant services provider in the US — has an array of services at its disposal. From payment processing to point-of-sale solutions, it can accommodate a variety of industries. But its account fees and costly equipment leasing has earned it numerous complaints from merchants.
- Choose this provider if you’re a large business and require B2B or international payment processing.
- Consider something else if you’re a small- to medium-sized business seeking simple processing and dedicated customer support.
|Solutions||In-store, Mobile, E-commerce|
|Products||Payment processing, POS software, POS hardware|
|Monthly fees start at||Varies|
|Processing time||Next Day|
|High-risk merchants accepted?||No|
First Data services
First Data’s services offer an all-in-one processing solution with nearly everything a business needs to begin processing payments, including:
- Payment processing. First Data allows you to process all major payment types, including cash, checks, credit and debit cards, ACH payments and mobile payments.
- Merchant accounts. Merchant accounts come standard with this direct processor.
- POS software. First Data’s point-of-sale software encompasses business analytics, reporting, marketing, payroll and more.
- POS hardware. First Data offers a full lineup of Clover and proprietary First Data terminals, available for purchase or lease.
First Data’s merchant services come with a variety of features to help merchants process payments and more:
- E-commerce solutions. Allows customers to pay online with credit card, PayPal or e-check from anywhere in the world.
- Manage B2B payments. Its SnapPay online portal integrates with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to help large businesses view and pay invoices, manage accounts receivable and improve security.
- Mobile gift cards. Offer customers the opportunity to purchase and redeem gift cards on their smartphone.
- Customer rewards. Design a rewards system, enroll customers and send special offers straight to their mobile devices.
- GlobalChoice Currency Conversion. Enable international customers to make in-person payments in their own currency while offering transparent exchange rates.
First Data also offers solutions for businesses in specific industries, including:
- Student loan servicers. Track account correspondence and process loan charges through First Data Education.
- Financial institutions. Sign up for processing solutions, digital and mobile banking support, card manufacturing, targeted marketing and industry analytics.
- Public sector businesses. Healthcare and human services processing solutions are available alongside consulting services, reporting, automated claims and billing.
What hardware is available?
First Data has a number of hardware options but only offers Clover and First Data terminals:
- Clover Station
- Clover Mini
- Clover Flex
- Clover Go
- First Data FD130 terminal
- First Data FD410 terminal
- First Data FD35 terminal
- First Data FD130 terminal
First Data pricing and fees
First Data offers a wide range of products and services, but doesn’t disclose any of its pricing information — even after we called to request more information.
The First Data rep we spoke with said processing rates vary by business. Annual maintenance fees and application fees may also apply, but the rep wouldn’t disclose the amount of these fees or the cost to lease the hardware terminals listed on its website.
Pros and cons
- Comprehensive services. First Data’s merchant services are robust, from small-business e-commerce solutions to processing support for banks and financial institutions.
- 24/7 support. Onboarded merchants can call First Data tech support any time of the day or night.
- No contracts. Your contract is monthly, and you’re not asked to sign a contract with First Data — unless you opt to lease a terminal.
- Lack of transparency. First Data isn’t forthcoming about its processing rates, account fees or hardware prices.
- No online application. Despite its size and resources, the only way to apply is by phone.
- Account fees. Be on the lookout for application fees, monthly account fees and annual maintenance fees.
First Data reviews and complaints
First Data is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It receives a B rating from the BBB and scores 3.35 out of 5 stars based on 284 customer reviews. In the past three years, it's received 795 complaints. It also has an active BBB alert in place after one of its executives was accused of assisting fraudulent schemes and credit card laundering.
First Data customer feedback is mixed. Merchants speak highly of their positive experiences dealing with attentive First Data reps. But merchants also criticize First Data’s pushy sales tactics, hidden account fees and costly equipment leasing.
How do I open an account with First Data?
If you’d like to open a First Data merchant services account, you’ll need to call its sales team at 866-650-2935. You can also schedule a call with a sales rep on First Data’s website by entering your name, phone number, email address, name of your business and estimated annual credit and debit volume.
Provide your First Data rep with your annual revenue, monthly credit card processing volume and average ticket price to receive a customized rate quote.
What other products will I need?
Before you begin processing payments, you’ll need this business banking product:
- Checking account. When you apply with First Data, be ready to supply the routing and account number of a business checking account.
What is First Data?
First Data is the largest merchant services provider in the US. It was founded in 1971 in Omaha, Nebraska and served as the processor for the Mid-America Bankcard Association. In 2019, First Data was acquired by Fiserve — a merchant services provider headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Today, First Data operates across 36 countries and services over 6 million merchants worldwide. It’s made Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies list every year since 2014.
How do I contact First Data support?
First Data offers a sweeping suite of services, but its customer support options are limited:
- Phone. Call 866-650-2935 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, or schedule a call with the sales team from First Data’s website.
Compare other payment processors
First Data has an expansive suite of merchant services, including niche offerings for financial institutions and healthcare services. But it isn’t transparent about rates and fees, its customer support is limited and it’s poorly reviewed by customers.
Take a look at your payment processing options with additional providers to find the service that best fits your business.
Frequently asked questions
Does First Data check my credit when I apply?
Yes, First Data performs a soft credit check on all applicants.
Does First Data integrate with third-party shopping carts?
Yes, First Data integrates with a number of popular software providers, including PayPal, USAePay, Elavon, CardConnect and BluePay.
Can I bring my own hardware?
No, you’ll need to purchase or lease your hardware from First Data.