Leaders Merchant Services is a credit card processor specializing in serving high-risk merchants (i.e. merchants at high risk of chargeback). It caters to companies of all sizes, from all types of industries, in all 50 states. It offers a wide selection of terminals and POS systems from third-party suppliers like Clover, Verifone, First Data, and more.
Monthly fee: $20 - $33
Per swipe fee: 1%-5% + $0.15-$0.25
Setup fee: $25
Cancellation fee: $250 - $300
PCI compliance fee: $129/year
Best for: High-risk merchants
Leaders Merchant Services offers a wide selection of third-party terminals for purchase or lease. It advertises a handful of terminals on its website, but in actual fact it offers additional terminals over the phone. Following are examples of some of the most popular terminals on offer.
Leaders is an authorized seller of the highly popular Clover point-of-sale software and devices. Users get a choice of Clover Station, Clover Flex, Clover Mini, or Clover Mobile. Clover’s POS solution replaces your cash register, credit card swiper, payment terminal, receipts printer, and barcode scanner with an integrate suit of products. It enables you accept credit card, EMV, and NFC payments. Users can add accessories and apps to the Clover POS solution to form the complete business package.
As its name suggests, Leaders Merchant Services offers a range of merchant services. However, it really only offers basic merchant services without standing out from the crowd.
Like a majority of merchant services companies, Leaders’ credit card processing fees vary wildly depending on the merchant and card used. Leaders charges according to the traditional model of interchange fee + percentage of total amount + flat fee. While this keeps fees low for debit card payments, it does mean that credit card payments – which account for most merchant transactions – can be charged at as high as 5% of the total amount. Overall, the per-fee charge can range from 1-5%, with the average price leaning more toward the high end of that range.
In addition to per-fee transaction, Leaders Merchant Services charges a bunch of other fees. These include a PCI compliance fee of $129 per year (plus a $40 monthly non-compliance fee if you fail to stay compliant), a setup fee (reported in various places to be $25). Some customers have reported being charged surprise fees during the contract period, so our advice is to read the fine print before signing.
Leaders caters to high-risk merchants, such as online gambling sites, vitamins and supplements retailers, tech support companies, and credit repair services. One downside of Leaders Merchant Services is that it locks customers into contracts – usually for a period of three years. There is a $250-300 cancellation fee for early termination of the contract.
Established in 2000, Leaders Merchant Services, LLC is one of the longest continuously operating payment processing companies in America. It was purchased by Paysafe Group in 2017 but continues to operate as an independent business division. Leaders is a registered ISO of BBVA USA in Birmingham, Alabama.
Customers either love Leaders or they don’t, with no in between. Leaders has a 4.4/5 Trustpilot rating, which is solid, although it should be noted that this is from only 14 reviews. On the flipside, it has a 2/5 rating from around 100 reviews on ConsumerAffairs, with some customers complaining that Leaders charged for things that weren’t in the contract. Like any good merchant services firm, Leaders offers 24/7 support through its toll-free number on (800) 995-2596.
During 20 years in the business, Leaders Merchant Services has made a name for itself as a go-to place for high-risk merchants. If your company operates in a high-risk industry where there’s an elevated risk of chargebacks, then Leaders can help provide a payment solution for you.