Wells Fargo Merchant Services is part of the Wells Fargo Bank family of financial companies. Accredited with BBB since 1981, the business currently has a BBB rating of B (on a scale of A+ to F). BBB accreditation is not a formal endorsement of the company.
With over 5,500 complaints company-wide in the last three years, and over 1,800 closed in the last 12 months, Wells Fargo has made good faith efforts to answer and resolve all consumer and commercial complaints in a timely fashion.
Wells Fargo faced a formal government action from the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) in 2011. However, the complaint involved their mortgage servicing division, not merchant services. Wells Fargo reached an agreement in January 2013 with the OCC and the Federal Reserve to settle the action, agreeing to pay over $8.5 billion to mortgage borrowers for loan servicing and/or foreclosure abuses.
Wells Fargo’s BBB file dates back to 1978, although the financial institution has technically been in existence since 1852.
Wells Fargo Merchant Services Reviews and Complaints
One of the ten largest merchant account companies in the US, Wells Fargo uses First Data as its processor, as it has since 1971. Many merchants take advantage of having both checking and merchant accounts with Wells Fargo to receive credit card sales payments faster.
Merchant Maverick reports the following ratings and complaints.
- Overall rating: 3.5 (out of 5 stars).
- Complaints on Ripoff Reports: 11 (low for a large national company)
- Most common merchant complaints:
- Expensive lease contracts for processing terminals. Some merchants were “not aware” they signed 4 year terminal leases through First Data Global Leasing.
- Frequent withholding funds and account terminations. Wells Fargo and First Data (their direct processor) have a reputation as being aggressive with funds holds and account termination
- Use of “enhanced billback.” Questionable practice of billing back to merchant accounts interchange rates higher than the contract price for card transactions.
- High contract cancellation fees. Cancelling a merchant contract early incurs a $500 fee.
- Increasing fees too often. While Wells Fargo has the right to do so, some merchants feel the company uses it too frequently.
PissedConsumer.com displays multiple pages of complaints about Wells Fargo and their processor, First Data, primarily related to sales representatives often “overlooking” disclosure of the 3-year contract merchants sign when switching to Wells Fargo card processing. Some complainants said they filed “fraud reports” with Wells Fargo and/or First Data.
Recent searches of RipoffReport.com display only one formal complaint by a dissatisfied merchant since 2013. Because of the size of Wells Fargo Bank and First Data, people might consider this a positive feature.
MerchantMaverick.com indicated their research uncovered no glowing customer testimonials (even on the Wells Fargo website) and asked site visitors to make some positive comments in the effort at fairness. Unfortunately, all the postings were more negative comments, including one poster who referred to Wells Fargo Merchant Services as a “first class scammer.”