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North American Bancard, PCI Compliance Trouble, Possible Scam/Fraud/Deceptive Practice
By -

DECEMBER, 2008. Here is a story I urge anyone considering a merchant account, or have one already, to read. It involves some very strange practices by a credit card processor, North American Bancard. My hope in writing this is to bring light to this issue, since PCI compliance is unknown to most small merchants. I hope other processors do not follow in the steps of North American Bancard. I'm not sure if what North American Bancard is doing is illegal, but it sure sounds bad and at least has to be considered deceptive.

Sometime in late 2008 I referred a friend of mine to North American Bancard (NAB) for credit card processing. They ran a small grocery store and needed a simple swipe machine. They received their merchant account from NAB and started their business and use of the machine. Sometime in November/December a statement came in the mail with a note saying that there will be a PCI compliance fee of $79.99. I offered to help find out what this PCI compliance was and get them 'compliant'.

I first spoke to NAB in early December, asking what the fee was for. They said it was to get us PCI compliant. They made it sound pretty simple, pay the fee and you are compliant. The fee was $79.99 per year. I inquired if we can get our compliance from someone else, as it sounded pretty strange to begin with. The representative said I could go somewhere else for the service, and if I provided the compliance paperwork they would remove the charge. It's good to do some research before blindly paying a fee, maybe it was cheaper elsewhere? Some research was due.

Asking a few more questions, I found out that the fee was apparently for help from McAffee (the virus and security company) for their PCI compliance service. Doing a bit of research on the internet, I found the official PCI compliance website, or more properly the "PCI Security Standards Council" at http://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/

You can read a summary about the PCI organization at: https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/about/index. shtml It's basically a council formed by the big credit card companies to come up with security standards to help avoid credit card fraud. Looking at the website initially can be overwhelming, and I think this is what NAB is counting on, the merchant getting 'lost' in all the regulations. Digging more into the site gave a list of approved security vendors, which I might require the help of, to get PCI compliant.

They use acronyms for their certifier for these folks.. QSAs (Qualified Security Assessors), PA-QSAs (Payment Application Qualified Security Assessors), ASVs (Approved Scanning Vendors). The heart of the regulations appear to be aimed at big retailers or other big businesses which store your credit card number and other information. Although it applies to everybody, there are obvious differences in the regulations (and compliance requirements) between a grocery store running 5 credit cards per day on a terminal machine and a big company like Sears or Amazon, which might collect and store information on thousands of customers per day.

These rules appear to be aimed at preventing the major breaches in customer information (and hence fraud) we hear about in the news so often these days. A call to one of the approved providers got me some helpful information. He asked me a few questions and in the end told me to go to the PCI compliance website, fill out the appropriate self-assessment questionnaire, sign it and that was it. He seemed disappointed when I told him we only had a dial-up terminal, and he explained they mainly deal with big companies who need security advice and scans on their networks and servers.

I'm sure he was not happy that I couldn't be a customer of theirs, but he was polite and honest in explaining that I didn't need their service. I further dug into the PCI compliance website. There I found the 'Self-Assessment Questionnaire'. Reading the requirements again, it states that if you have small volume with only a dial-up terminal, you qualify to fill out the questionnaire and sign it.

Sounds good, this is what the security provider told me. We fill out the forms (which stated pretty basic stuff like securing the little paper receipts with the card information on them), signed them and faxed them in to NABs PCI compliance division. This was in early December.

We got a call from NAB in late December stating that the PCI compliance paperwork was incomplete. When asked why, we were given the answer that we needed a 'network scan' from an approved PCI vendor. We explained that we were told by a PCI approved vendor that since we only had a dial-up terminal we didn't require a scan. NAB told us no, that we needed one and if we didn't get one the fee would be charged.

OK, before I continue let me give you some background on the store where this supposed 'scan' has to take place. It's a grocery store about the size of your living room, has two employee/owners, a married couple running the whole thing. The business does not have any computers. The only computer this couple owns is at home, which I estimate is at least 5-8 years old, no internet access (they canceled it a while back when they couldn't figure out how to use the computer).

If you have any friends like this you know what I'm talking about. They can't use the mouse properly and it takes them about a minute to find and type out one word. When they do turn it on every 3 months, you get a frantic call asking how they shut it down because you told them that just turning it off was not good... It's START.. on the lower left hand corner.. then SHUT DOWN.

Back to the NAB call.. They told me that I can speak to their compliance provider if I had any questions. OK, good, got their number*, and this turns out to be McAffee's PCI compliance division. A call to McAffee brings a helpful gentlemen on the phone, I will not use his name on the internet, but will call him M-REP1*. I explained to him the situation and asked about this scan. He knew my situation precisely. He told me that they have been getting a LOT of calls from NAB merchants just like us, and he said that since we only have a dial-up terminal a scan cannot be made.

He also told me the exact same thing the PCI compliant representative did (from our initial contact with another PCI verified vendor) on our inquiry several weeks before: to go to the compliance website and fill out the Self-Assessment Questionnaire, sign it and send it to your merchant processor, and that would be all that is required. I said we already did that, thanked him and hung up to call NAB back.

I called NAB back. Spoke to a customer service representative and explained what McAfee and the original PCI vendor told us.. They put us on hold to ask a supervisor. When they came back they again told us we needed to have a scan done, and that if we didn't get one they would charge us the $79.99 to get it done. I honestly didn't know what to say at that point. What were they going to scan??? No coherent answer was given to this question.

After the call I wasn't sure what to do, 2 PCI verified vendors were telling me one thing (one of them being the company NAB was supposedly contracting to do these scans) and NAB was telling me something else. Out of desperation I called McAfee back.

I called McAfee back and out of sheer luck I got the same person I spoke to before. I explained to him what NAB said and he seemed outright frustrated. He told me again of all the calls they have been getting from NAB customers, I told him I thought this was a big scam, he said nothing. He explained again that since there was no network, he could not issue me any 'scan' certificates, and reiterated that all I needed was a self-signed certification for the dial-up terminal. I told him I knew this, but NAB didn't want to believe me. I asked if he could send me any official statement about this.

He graciously agreed and in a short time I got an official written record from McAfee's PCI certified compliance department explaining that they could not issue me a scan certificate since there was nothing to scan. They also mentioned (again) that for a dial-up terminal, all I had to do was fill out and sign the Self-Assessment Questionnaire, which was available free for everyone on the PCI councils website. He even provided a link to it. Reading the PCI compliance website some more, this makes sense.

If you have a plain old dial-up terminal the only possible avenue of fraud is the information on the little receipts it prints which the customer has to sign. If you secure these, there is no other avenue of possible fraud (this is mentioned and its security is required in the certification you have to sign). Of course there is the dial-up terminal itself, but this is provided by NAB and you have no real control of the security aspects of this terminal. By the way, the terminal itself IS PCI compliant already.

I have sent this information to NAB and I'm waiting for their response. I don't expect to hear back from NAB any time soon. It doesn't matter at this point if I get this charge removed or not. I will continue to collect information and post my experiences with NAB, hopefully informing other small merchants of this practice. I know from talking to the PCI representative that this is a widespread issue and NAB is trying to collect erroneous fees from their small unsuspecting merchants, the small mom and pop shops who usually will not research this issue and will probably just pay the fee.

For these merchants I'm not even sure what the supposed PCI service that NAB is charging for is. Since they always seemed to reject the validity of the self-assessment questionnaire that is posted on the council's site. Their $79.99 scan of thin air will accomplish zero for these merchants. Reviewing, filling out and complying with the council's questionnaire is all that is needed.

I'll leave you with one more bit of information. During my internet searches, I came upon a list put out by VISA which is posted on their site, named the "List of PCI DSS Compliant Service Providers". It is a PDF document with PCI compliance status of service providers. The list is available here:
http://usa/. visa.com/download/merchants/cisp_list_of_cisp_compliant_service_providers.pdf

And as of the end of December 2008, if you do a search in the document for "North American Bancard", you will see them in the list with a compliance date in YELLOW text. What does this mean? According to Visa, this is a service provider with a compliance report that is "... 1-60 days late are noted in yellow ..." Now ask yourself if you are willing to trust or give business to a company that will provide a scan of something they cannot even describe, for a fee of $79.99, something that no one else is willing or capable of doing, and with which they appear to be late in complying with themselves.

If you are anyone in a position to help, State Attorney's office, credit card company personnel (VISA/MASTERCARD/DISCOVER/AMEX), business organizations, someone from the PCI council, or just have a story or comment about this please email me at **.

*NOTE: I have omitted names, or used references to certain people, extensions, and some contact information to protect peoples privacy. If I am contacted by official sources who might help in this matter, I will provide more information.

Company Response 1/8/2009:

Dear Concerned Friend,
North American Bancard works very diligently to resolve all customer issues and complaints. Since our inception in 1992, we have worked with over 125,000 merchants of all sizes and levels of complexity. We provide a high level of service and support to our customers, as is evidenced by the low number of complaints we handle. Occasionally we, like any other large company, may make a mistake or mishandle an issue. When these are brought to our attention we resolve them to the best of our ability. Our 250+ employees work hard every day to make doing business with NAB a pleasure for our merchants and stakeholders, all we ask is the opportunity to recover well.

North American Bancard values the business of all of our merchants and we do not take complaints lightly. In an effort to address your many concerns and provide you with some very pertinent information specific to the PCI compliance mandate, we have compiled the information below for your review. Please keep in mind that your individual concerns regarding your “friend's account” can only be addressed by making some general assumptions since specific account information and the business name were not provided for accurate research.

There are numerous organizations and groups that cater solely to the Small Business Merchant, such as the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), who have taken an active role in informing Small Businesses such as your friend's on the requirements and importance of being PCI compliant.
The PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) originally began as five different programs from the five credit card schemes (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and JCB). Each company's intentions were roughly similar: to create an additional level of protection for consumers by ensuring that merchants meet minimum levels of security when they store, process and transmit cardholder data.

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) was formed as a neutral body to address conflicts among the credit card schemes in developing a standard. On Dec. 15, 2004 the credit card schemes aligned their individual policies and released the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
North American Bancard values the business of all of our merchants and we take pride in keeping all of our merchants informed and up to date. We ensure that our company information is easily accessible for our merchants and continue to strive to be an industry leader and innovator in the credit card processing industry. It is because of that that we are taking a proactive role in ensuring all of our merchants meet the PCI compliancy requirements. All entities involved in the collection, processing, and storage of credit card information, regardless of size or affiliation must be compliant. It is an industry mandate imposed on all service providers and merchants that accept credit cards.
We notified our merchants of this mandate and the onetime $79 fee on their November 2008 statement. They were advised that the $79 fee provided them with access to the tools that can help them achieve and maintain compliance. We have also advised our merchants that the fee was not imposed on them from McAfee nor does it cover the cost of software. It is the fee assessed to all of our merchants to mitigate the costs associated with becoming and maintaining compliance, updating terminal software nationwide (including enhanced protocols for protection of cardholder data passed by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) mandating how card numbers and expiration dates must appear on receipts), providing applications with enhanced security, and replacing non-compliant hardware.
You posed a question in reference to the “differences in regulations” for merchants of different sizes and sales volume. There definitely are differences in what is required for each merchant type, but it is not solely based on their size or sales volume, it also takes into consideration what they use to process (software, telephone, terminal etc.). Although your friends grocery store may seem small in comparison to a big box retailer, such as Sears as you stated, both companies are at risk for security breaches if they are not in compliance. The PCI compliance mandate not only pertains to how you process credit cards, but also how you store and transmit that credit card information. For example, let's say all of your terminals and/or software are PCI compliant, but you use some sort of offline accounting system or you store all of your cardholder information on a laptop. The laptop is later stolen, relinquishing you of all that cardholder information. You have now encountered a security breach that could have been avoidable, yet you are now potentially at risk for serious fines, penalties, and/or lawsuits. Hopefully your friends would not make this careless mistake, but there are thousands of merchants big and small that have. If there was not a problem this industry wide mandate would not have occurred. There are many merchants big and small who value these services and need them to ensure their business practices are within guidelines and that they are not penalized for actions that they were unaware of. That is only one example, and there are many more that the PCI council can advise you on. Please keep in mind that we do not work for the PCI council, nor are we on their board or have membership in their organization, but we, like our merchants, must be in compliance.
North American Bancard partnered with McAfee, a leader in the security risk management industry, in late 2008 to give our merchants full access to McAfee PCI Compliance Service at no charge. There are only a few steps our merchants need to complete to determine if they are in compliance. Our retail merchants (those that do not process credit card transactions online, with software, and are not considered e-commerce) will need to go to the website www.NABPCI.com and complete the Self Assessment Questionnaire. Upon completion they will need to fax a copy of the completed Questionnaire to our Customer Service department at (248) 283-6260 for validation. Our E-Commerce merchants (those that are processing via the Internet, with software, and/or online) will also need to go the website and complete the Self Assessment Questionnaire in addition to utilizing the Scan Tool. Upon completion of the Scan Tool, the E-Commerce merchants will receive a compliance Certificate if they are in compliance. This certificate is good for 12 months and they will also need to fax it to our Customer Service Department for validation at the number stated above.
Please note that some terminals are capable of processing credit card transactions online (IP) and via dial-up. Merchants with these terminals would be required to complete the Scan Tool regardless of how they process to ensure the device itself is compliant. In regards to your concern pertaining to the “network scan”, without the account number or business name we are unable to identify your friend's specific account, and therefore have no way of accurately identifying which type of equipment they have or if the information they were provided with was inaccurate.
In conclusion, all merchants, whether small or large, need to be PCI compliant. The payment brands have collectively adopted PCI DSS as the requirements for organizations that process, store or transmit payment cardholder data. The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) is responsible for managing the security standards while each individual payment brand is responsible for managing and enforcing compliance to these standards. For questions regarding compliance validation requirements and deadlines as well as compliance reporting requirements, please advise your friend to contact North American Bancard's Customer Service Department at (1800) 226-2273 extension 1300. In regards to refunding the onetime only fee of $79, we will do so if the merchant became compliant prior to our notification in November 2008. For more information regarding the PCI security standards, please refer to their website https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/.

Sincerely,
North American Bancard

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NABANCARD Services - DON'T EVER USE THEM!!!
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

TROY, MICHIGAN -- I switched from my bank's credit card processing service because the price was higher than what NA BANCARD Services had promised me in both verbal and written format. I had all my own equipment so there was not problem with me switching over I was told. However, when I called to have it reprogrammed I was told there was a password on the machine from my old processing company even before we tried to program the machine.

When I called my old company, I was told there was no password and they should be able to take care of it with no problem. I called back again and informed the person in India of this and was told no, there was a password and they would not even try if I did not have it. So, I was not able to use my machine with NA BANCARD at all because it was never programmed.

I do not process a great deal of credit/debit cards in my office but wanted to have the service available for my clients. The amount I was contracted to pay was around $9.00 per month. However, as time went on, the payment went higher and higher reaching an amount of $30.65 per month; and I had not processed a payment through their system at all. So basically I was paying for the service at over 3.25 times more than what I was contracted for. Plus, they took an additional $100+ out for some sort of Government mandated fee, which of course I was not told about.

When I called I was told that I should have been informed of this fee. I found out later my bank had been taking it out month by month and this was why the monthly fee was higher with them. But when I added in the monthly fee plus the one time government mandated fee, I was paying more on a yearly basis.

When I called to ask why the service was so high I was told I had not taken a class on credit card processing and that I was being "penalized" for not doing so. The funny thing is, it is not in the contract and I was never informed I was to take this "class". I then canceled my service by faxing in the document sent to me on February 6, 2013. I retained a copy of the fax confirmation after sending it. In March, the $30.65 was charged again to my account. I called to find out why and was told the request had not been received in their office. I informed them I had the confirmation and this was not acceptable to them.

I then faxed the scanned copy, actually the original fax again that was electronically stored, to them again. I asked if I would have any further charges from them at all. I was told no, and the account would be closed. I asked for the $30.65 to be refunded to me and I was told they could not do that amount but would refund $25.00 as a "courtesy" to me. I told them it was worth the $5.00 not to have to wait on hold for 35 min.

Lo and behold today I checked my account and there again was the $30.65 charge for April. I called again and also had to wait on hold for 25 min until someone answered. I was now told that they have up to 30 days in which to cancel my account and it had not been 30 days. So, one person tells me one thing and another tells me something else.

So, I asked to speak with a supervisor and was told they could not refund me the full $30.65 but that he would be happy to refund me $25.00, again courtesy fee. If you are looking for a credit/debit card processing company do not, I repeat do not, use these guys. They are a total rip off and will only bleed you dry for fee after fee after fee.

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Ripped Off in Oklahoma
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star-
Rating: 1/51

TROY, MICHIGAN -- I wish we had knowledge about this website before this company contacted us. We were very doubtful about using a credit card machine. But a sales representative from this company assured us that this was the best way to go and they guaranteed that they had the best rates. We wanted to know every fee and charge with taxes so that there wouldn't be any surprises. The representative said "no surprises. The total package includes free equipment and a 60-day free trial, $25.00 monthly fee if there was no credit card sales that month, $.18 per transaction and a $5.00 statement fee."

Told the representative that needed time to discuss with my partner. Before could do much discussing representative had already called back wanting us to sign before plan would change. He said this was a great bargain, that he should know he used to be a mortgage broker and had service with the company. He loved the companies services so well that he shut down his business and went to work for NAB.

Of course pulled us in with "he personally recommended". We asked a few more questions, one being "what happens within the 60 days if we don't like the service?" The representative said that NAB would send a pick-up order at no cost to us, to send the machine back. The first month that we did not use the machine the bill was supposed to be $30.00, it was seriously over the quoted price!

So we called the company and the representative that answered told us that the original representative was fired because he gave us a great deal that wasn't a plan that NAB offered. The new representative said first of all our contract should have only been for 30-day free trial, that they never have offered 60-day trials (since then we have seen an ad saying $0 down set up fee and a 90-day free trial). We told new representative we wanted to cancel to send the pick-up ticket for the machine. We called to cancel several times before the 60-day trial was over. The Pick-up ticket wasn't ever sent.

After 60 days was up we were still trying to cancel and they told us we had to fill out certain papers to cancel. We asked for those papers and did not receive them. We called again for the papers and when we did finally receive them, the papers stated that there is a cancellation fee of $900.00. We did not agree to this because we had been trying to cancel with NAB before our 60-day trial was up, therefore we did not sign the papers. We went a few months without any credit card sales. Then they hit us with a bill for $295.00 for some sort of (hidden) fees.

We again called the company trying to take care of this situation. We could never come up with any kind of agreement. The last statement that we received is dated 8-31-11. Never heard from them until yesterday, 8-13-12 from a collection agent wanting us to pay $1835.00 but would settle for $1200.00.

(We had to update this review - because doing research we found some misplace papers and bills. This new review is correct.) Also, letting everyone know we are sending this information to the BBB. If enough of us contact the Better Business Bureau about this company, maybe we can prevent NAB from doing this kind of thing to other small businesses or companies. When looking through our papers I have discovered that we did not receive all of the papers for the contract. We are missing pages 2-8. We hadn't noticed because it was faxed to us and at the top of the first page it says 1 of 8 pages sent. The last page says 8 of 8.

How does these people sleep at night knowing they are misleading and stealing from innocent people? What else am I going to find out while doing all of this research? If anyone has an attorney please leave a message or have your attorney leave message so that we may get in contact. Someone has to stop these people from getting away with this.

Here I am again updating my review: Not only does it seem like NAB sales representatives have a script when trying to sell to customers. It seems they follow a script about what pages to send to the customers. Now after having read complaints on this site, we have discovered that there is a possible script when responding to the customers as well. Be your own judge, pick a few complaints and scroll down to the company response. You might be amazed at what they say. The responses from NAB, in at least one paragraph of several responses are so similar - almost exactly word for word (very curious!).

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My Letter to Northamerican Bancard
By -

TROY, MICHIGAN -- This letter regards my ongoing dissatisfaction with your services. I believe your company is in breach of contract by not responding to my complaints, inappropriately charging me for services I specifically opted out of, as well as inappropriately withholding my funds for excessive periods of time. Following are specifics of these issues.

Incident #1: This incident occurred on or about October 30, 2009. Incident #2: In December 2009 I secured $2600.00 from you and I repaid this (total of $3600.00+). I am attaching documentation showing NorthAmerican Bancard continuing to withdraw funds from my account for a debt already paid in full. In my opinion this is either theft or, at the very least an inappropriate confiscation of my funds. Upon discovering this I immediately called with my complaint and I was transferred to a voice mail and my call was never returned.

The next day my wife called. She had a conversation with an individual who said he never got my call. This was proven false by being sent an email that confirmed receipt of my call, leaving me to conclude that the individual speaking with my wife was lying.

On the second day (Jan. 30, 2010) I talked with "Travis" and was told it would take 2-4 business days to return my money. On 7/7/10 they still had not returned the refund. I called and was told they had done an audit on my account and had initiated a refund to my account (same story again). I was told the delay was because of the holiday (4th of July). As much as I did receive the money on the 9th of July, I regard this poor performance as a breach of the agreement with me.

Further, when I talked with him on the 7th of July I told him I want to discontinue my business dealings with NorthAmerican Bancard. He transferred me to a department to get a form for this and it was the collection department, hardly the people I wanted to speak with. I was told I would owe appx $700+ dollars and declined. I told the individual I wanted the paperwork related to ending my obligation. She told me there was no paperwork and I would be charged a monthly charge equaling up to $295.00. I was asked if I wanted to initiate my opt out and I told her "no". I wanted out because of a breach of agreement by NorthAmerican Bancard.

I asked if I needed to take legal action, she snipped, "Go right ahead". I did not feel very comfortable with the attitude of your representative. I terminated the call at that time. Additionally, I was sent a letter dated 3/31/10 about MyBizPerks. I immediately phoned upon receipt and informed the individual that I wanted not to receive this service. I was specifically told "You are opted out." On my 6/30/2010 billing statement I am charged for MYBIZPERKS. This is totally unacceptable and proof of the breach of the agreement.

In the development of this letter I have also placed repeated phone calls to the phone number provided in the agreement in an effort to terminate our agreement. Not one of these has been returned. On my last call I left an emphatic message noting my desire to terminate the agreement. This letter is a reiteration of that demand, and is serving as my notice that I will no longer participate in the agreement.

On a final note, I am attaching a letter which proves you have divulged private information to another party. I am also attaching a copy of my “agreement” which states (highlighted) information will not be shared. I have not shared such information from my end, so the action clearly came from yours. Thus, a complaint is being filed with FTC regarding this action on your part.

Once again, I am terminating the agreement and expect you to honor this. Further complaint with FTC will be filed unless I hear from you within 2 days of your receipt of this letter. You have my phone numbers and addresses.

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Aggressive Telemarketing
By -

Several weeks ago I was solicited by NAB concerning switching over my credit card processing business. The majority of my business is NOT by CC's, however I do take government CC's occasionally. They were very professional. I faxed them my latest statement from Moneris, my current company. A couple of days later they sent me a comparison of their rates vs. Moneris. Of course they were pretty fantastic. Whenever they would call after that they would always brag that they were the largest credit card processing service in the nation.

Something told me not to jump in just yet. Being a sole proprietor and having to do all my paperwork (no secretary) I just don't have the time to research companies. I told them that and they left me alone for a couple of weeks. When they started calling again they were a little more aggressive. Again stating they were the largest credit card processor in the country, I asked for some references.

The salesman said he could probably do that but he would have to call me back. He called right back and said he would fax me the references. I expected to see some recognizable names on the list and I expected to see more than 3. Well, he called back a few days later and pressed me again.

By that time I had gone to My3Cents and read the reviews for NAB, both good and bad and had decided not to switch. I politely told him I had decided to keep my current service. Well, he began to tell me how much more I was paying but I told him again that I wasn't going to switch. He hung up and almost immediately the phone rung; different guy, very professional voice. The new man identified himself as the supervisor and wanted to know why I had decided not to go with them; had one of their references given me some bad info?

I told him I had not called any of them, that I had expected to see some recognizable names since they were purportedly so large. I also stated that I had done some research on the web. He immediately named this website and tried to defend the bad reviews by saying something like, "When you've got 100,000 customers you're bound to have a few with some complaints." But when I asked him why such a large company had to revert to telemarketing he couldn't answer and just hung up.

I thought at this point they had gone away but the phone rang again a couple minutes later. This guy was smooth. He acted like the other two had never called; wanted to know if I had seen the references they had sent. I informed him of the other two calls and put the same question to him about the telemarketing. He replied, "Okay, Billy Bob!" and hung up. After hanging up I laughed out loud and thought they had really shown their true colors. Yes, large companies have complaints but they don't have to resort to aggressive telemarketing practices or calling their potential customers "Billy Bob"! What a hoot!

Company Response 2/9/2009:

Dear Sir,
We would like to take the opportunity to resolve this issue without further delay.

First and foremost, NAB would like to apologize for any inconvenience that you may have experienced.

We would like to investigate this issue further to determine if this was initiated by our Corporate Sales Team or an Outside Sales Organization so that this can be addressed correctly.

Please contact me, Rebecca Paull, at your convenience, so we can speak further about this. You can reach me at 1-800-226-2273 x. 1314. I am in the office Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

I look forward to speaking to you.

Thanks,
Rebecca M. Paull
Research Manager
North American Bancard
1-800-226-2273 x. 1314

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Deceptive Practices, Rude Customer Service
By -

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA -- I'm having the same types of problems as the other reviewers. We signed up with this company because it sounded like a good deal and came recommended from a good friend. The salesperson told us the fee was $5 a month. Imagine our surprise when there is an additional fee of $25 if you don't use the terminal (charges for credit card transactions are subtracted from this fee, you still have to have over $1000 in transactions to eliminate it).

After being treated rudely by customer service I double checked our contract. This fee is listed on the application (not the contract) as "Other fees (if applicable)" Our sales representative never mentioned any of these fees to us and we (naively, I suppose) assumed that they did not apply because we were not told of them.

I complained to the sales rep, who insisted he told us (he did NOT) and I pointed out that our total sales volume (of which credit cards are a small part, we are mostly a cash business) was less than $1000 a month and we would never be able to cover this fee. It turns out that he had changed that number to $10,000. Both he and customer service have ignored our complaints. And now there is this mysterious PCI fee that is NOT in the contract and is poorly explained.

The one notification we got of this fee had a vague and confusing explanation. From reading the responses from the company it sounds like we are required to go to some website and do something? This is not explained at all in the bill, so even if this was a legitimate charge, if I hadn't read these reviews I would not be in compliance.

I have tried calling and can't get through or get a call back, apparently I'm not the only one that thinks this is a ripoff. OK - finally got through and they are trying to tell me that MC/VISA charged them $319 for each merchant to be compliant, and they very kindly only charged me $79. The problem with that is that the bill says Mcafee charged them for this (rep had no answer for that).

Also, if you look at the bottom of the page that they tell you to go to so you can fill out a questionnaire (that costs $319?!!!) it says on the bottom - this is copied directly: North American Bancard is proud to partner with McAfee®, the security expert, to offer you full access to McAfee® PCI Compliance Service at NO CHARGE through December 2009. And, if you are happy with the service, renew for the second year for only $99, a $220 discount on the retail price of $319 per year.

I asked the representative how $79 dollars was NO CHARGE and she said, and I quote "there is no charge to you because we have already paid the charge" I said, but you are charging me $79, how is that no charge? She said other merchants have had that complaint and all she could tell me was that I have to be compliant and the charge is non-refundable. Pay attention North American Bancard: You will be hearing from my lawyer. And how dare you pull such a sleazy trick right now when so many people are struggling to keep jobs and homes? I will be spending a lot of time on the internet finding ways to warn people away from you.

*****Edited to add my results****** If I had been satisfied with the response I got I would have marked this as resolved and left it at that. However, I continued to get the runaround from this company after filing a complaint with the BBB that they are a member of. They sent another form letter that did not address my complaint and it was even photocopied with another customers name on it!

After I responded that I was not satisfied with their response they finally offered to sever my contract without penalty and refund the PCI fee. They only gave us 10 days to return the equipment and only contacted us through email via the BBB website, so if you try this make sure you keep up with it! I just wanted to let everyone know that you can get out of this - you just have to complain to the right people and keep complaining. They are losing their standing in the BBB because of numerous complaints so they will actually try (not very hard) to make you happy and keep their standing.

I hope this helps everyone and a word of advice to NAB - if you had dealt fairly and politely will be to begin with you would not have lost a customer. I would have been happy to keep the contract with the original $5 a month fee plus a percentage of sales. It was you who pushed things as far as a cancellation. You should look to your sales practices and customer service if you want to stop these complaints.

Resolution Update 03/02/2009:

I was finally let out of the contract and recieved a refund of the PCI fee. See my review for details of the hoops I had to jump through.

Company Response 1/14/2009:

Dear Merchant,

North American Bancard works very diligently to resolve all customer issues and complaints. Since our inception in 1992, we have worked with over 125,000 merchants of all sizes and levels of complexity. We provide a high level of service and support to our customers, as is evidenced by the low number of complaints we handle. Occasionally we, like any other large company, may make a mistake or mishandle an issue. When these are brought to our attention we resolve them to the best of our ability. Our 250+ employees work hard every day to make doing business with NAB a pleasure for our merchants and stakeholders, all we ask is the opportunity to recover well.

In regards to the fees that have been questioned, all Agreements list all the fees that may apply to an account.

In regards to the $79.00 fee; On the November 2008 merchant statements it was advised that the PCI Compliance Service fee would be charged on the December 2008 merchant statement and why it was necessary. PCI Data Security Standard was created to offer an additional level of protection for consumers by ensuring that merchants meet minimum levels of security when they store, process and transmit cardholder data and applies to all service providers and merchants that accept credit cards regardless of size or acceptance method. The $79.00 PCI Compliance Fee was assessed by North American Bancard to mitigate the costs associated with becoming and maintaining compliance, updating terminal software, providing applications with enhanced security, and replacing non-compliant hardware. Merchants can visit our website at www.nabpci.com to find out more and to determine what their company needs to do to ensure compliance.

Unfortunately enough information was not provided for us to accurately determine your specific Merchant Account. If your account was incorrectly debited, or you believe your fees have been inadequately advised, then we would need specific information in order to properly address the concerns or correct any errors.

Should you have any questions regarding this response, please have your Merchant number ready and contact our Customer Service at 800-226-2273 Ext.1300.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Tippin
Director of Customer Contacts

Replies
[Resolved!] One Of The Most Crooked And Deceptive Companies I've Ever Had To Work With
By -

BOULDER, COLORADO -- EDIT: Well, as it turns out, my3cents really saved the day! They forwarded my review to NABC and within 48 hours they had contacted me about finally closing my account (letter is posted at the end of this review) and even refunded the $79 fee. So while it was a pain in the you know what, the rep that helped at the end took care of everything.

ORIGINAL REVIEW: Our small business (restaurant) signed up with NABC a few years ago with what seemed to be a good deal - good rates and good service from a company affiliated with a large and trusted bank like HSBC. Turns out that it's not good prices, and the service is only good as long as you're doing what your representative wants you to do.

We switched to a local Colorado company a couple years after our contract with NABC had expired because they offered us a better deal, detailed invoices, straight forward prices and actual customer service. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that it takes a decryptor to read NABC statements because they are so convoluted - I assume that it's so hard working business owners don't have the time to figure out that they're being ripped off.

After the switch, everything was fine for a few months, that is, until the original sales representative found out that we had cancelled - I guess news travels slow at NABC. Then came the threats, the intimidation, the wire fraud and the fake charges.

Call #1: The first call we get from the representative is him asking us why we switched and I explained that we got a better deal and also wanted to deal locally. He told us that he would beat whatever deal we got and pay the contract cancel fee if we came back. I also explained that we liked the detailed invoices and how easy it was to understand the pricing, and also that we had onsite service because we went local.

Here comes the first threat: He tells us that we owe him hundreds of dollars for a cancellation fee. I reminded him that our contract was years expired but that I would look over his offer and get back to him. I guess I took too long because a week later I got another phone call and another threat: He says that the machine that we're using belongs to NABC and we'd have to pay $1000 and he'd automatically take it from our account (for a $400 machine) - in fact he gave it to us - but fair enough, we agree to send the machine back since our current company offered to give us one for free.

I guess what he meant by "send the machine back or I'll take money from your account" was actually "I have the power to take money from your account and I will" because a couple weeks after the machine was returned we found a random charge for $79 from NABC. We called him and asked him what the charge was for and he made it very clear that he doesn't let his accounts die, and that he would be randomly charging us unless and until we decided to return to NABC - he justified it by saying it was a standard yearly fee although we've never received one before and our account was canceled in May of 2008.

To add to the list, we had our current representative contact the NABC representative to work out the cancellation details, and the NABC representative simply said “you're an idiot” to my representative and then hung up the phone. This saga is not over yet, and I will update this as it progresses, but as of now the threats and intimidation have not stopped and we're currently getting all our paperwork together to give to our lawyer so that all of this can be documented and so we can stop dealing with the old rep.

Company Response 1/9/2009:

Dear Merchant:

In response to the above-referenced merchant account I am providing the following information. We would like to take the opportunity to resolve this issue without further delay.

Our records indicate that you signed a Merchant Account Agreement Application with North American Bancard on or about November 10, 2003, for a term of 36 months, upon which time you agreed to all the terms and conditions contained within the Agreements.

In regards to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard fee that was assessed in the month of December, compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, it is required by all card brands including Visa, MasterCard, AMEX and Discover and is required of all merchant types regardless of how transactions are processes. All merchants that accept credit cards must validate PCI compliance at least annually. All North American Bancard merchants were made aware of this fee on their November Statement.

In regards to cancellation of the Agreement, Section 13 contained in the Terms and Conditions states, “Any merchant who terminates this agreement prior to it's termination date is responsible for any and all monthly fees assessed under the Agreement for the remainder of the then existing term of the Agreement, including all minimum monthly fee commitments….” Our records do not indicate that a signed request to close the account has been received by North American Bancard. We apologize if this request was submitted to the sales agent and not routed appropriately. A cancellation form as been sent, please complete the form and return it to the indicated fax number for proper handling.

Upon receipt of the cancellation request form a refund in the amount of $79.00 for the PCI Compliance Fee assessed will be issued via ACH deposit.

Should he have any questions regarding this response, he may contact our Customer Service Department at extension 1300.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Tippin
Director of Customer Contacts

Replies
Criminal Activity
By -

CALIFORNIA -- I signed up my company, Raincloud Panaderia, Inc. with these criminals in January 2007. Like everyone else, their salesman lied to me and promised me great things. When he brought me the agreement to sign (only the first two pages, with the pricing) I pointed out that the rates in the pricing section were not the rates he quoted me. He called his boss who then supposedly transferred him to the "vice president of sales" who agreed to give me pricing of $.10 + 1.79% for credit transactions and $0.00 + 1.39% for debit. He wrote it on my contract. "Good," I thought.

Then I drew his attention to the "other fees" section that had listed no less than 21 B.S. fees. I had him cross out all but 5 fees (like chargeback fees, retrieval fees, etc., that I thought were legit. OK. I signed it, he signed it. Later I find out that there are 4 more pages of fine print that are faxed to me and mostly illegible.

Their ads promised 24 hour technical support. Guess what? Their technical support staff shuts down at like 10pm Eastern time, and I'm transferred to their settlement bank who doesn't answer technical questions. When I complain that this is false advertising, I get a response from ** (probably a pseudonym because one person wouldn't have time in their lifetime to answer so many complaints) that they never made a claim to provide 24 hour technical support. Guess what, **: I made copies of your web pages before your company changed them, that says you DO offer "24/7 tech support."

Anyway, it took these inept imbeciles almost two months to get my terminal working. Actually, it was my gift card vendor who changed the terminal configuration so that NAB's software would work on my Verifone terminal. Lost time, lost business, lost money.

OK, we're finally operational. Statement comes. Guess what? They're not charging me the pricing they put in my contract! When I write to complain, ** sends back a sanctimonious letter stating that debit transactions were never considered under my contract. She even sends me a copy of my contract that has the debit transaction fees obliterated by white-out, it's such a sloppy job that it's not even funny. Guess what **: I MADE A COPY THE CONTRACT WHEN I SIGNED IT!!! Before you crooks had an opportunity to alter it!

In May of 2007, my sales representative comes into my business and says they are losing money on my account and they have to raise my fees. I say "Too bad, you signed the contract, and you're not even giving me the rates you contracted for." Next month, they start charging me a $10.00 per month "statement fee." I complain, and ** responded that "my sales volume is lower than the volume stated in my contract."

Guess what **: I MADE A COPY OF THE CONTRACT WHEN I SIGNED IT, and I never made a statement regarding my sales volume. ** sent me a copy of my "contract", and guess what? They had input some bogus sales volume numbers. Isn't it AGAINST THE LAW to alter a contract after it has been signed?

The contract states that if NAB is in breach, then I can cancel the contract in 30 days if they don't rectify the breach. ** says that my notice of their breach and my intention to exercise my rights pursuant to the clause of the contract, was, in fact a request for NAB to terminate my account immediately. They did terminate my account immediately. This cost me time, cost me lost sales, cost me money. I hope to meet them soon in the courtroom.

UPDATE 10/10/08 Received the company response - no surprises there. NAB's rep is pointing me to pages 6 and 9 OF A 5 PAGE CONTRACT!!! Sorry, NAB, but the rates you quoted me are on page 5 of the contract I signed, the only difference is that they are actually written on the copy I made when I signed it, and they are WHITED OUT on your copy!

Yes, the contract says you have the contractual rate (sic) to change charges when necessary. The problem is, you changed them based on information YOU ADDED TO MY CONTRACT AFTER I SIGNED IT. You cannot legally unilaterally add material terms to a contract after it has been signed.

Yes, I had my own terminal and gift card program. This was a precondition to me even engaging in talks to you. It is why your sales rep supposedly called your tech support department to verify that it would be NO PROBLEM before I even considered your pathetic service.

Company Response 10/9/2008:

October 9, 2008

Dear Merchant,

North American Bancard works very diligently to resolve all customer issues and complaints. Since our inception in 1992, we have worked with over 125,000 merchants of all sizes and levels of complexity. We provide a high level of service and support to our customers, as is evidenced by the low number of complaints we handle. Occasionally we, like any other large company, may make a mistake or mishandle an issue. When these are brought to our attention we resolve them to the best of our ability. Our 250+ employees work hard every day to make doing business with NAB a pleasure for our merchants and stakeholders, all we ask is the opportunity to recover well.

In regards to the fees that have been questioned, in the response to you dated August 10, 2008, it referred you to the Pricing Schedule located on page six of the Merchant Agreement where it clearly lists all the fees that may apply to your account. Page nine also lists the rates that will apply to every transaction run through your terminal.

Credit card processing is a competitive industry; therefore, NAB does offer the option of a rate quote match. An official rate quote can be submitted on a competitor's letterhead by any other credit card processing company to NAB by mail or fax.

As also stated on that correspondence, the investigation found that you previously owned the terminal, not supplied by North American Bancard, had low memory and was experiencing difficultly due to the outside gift card program being utilized. This program is not offered nor supported by North American Bancard and therefore NAB cannot be held accountable for issues caused by or related to this outside software.

You may also need to refer to Merchant Agreement Section 17 clearly indicates North American Bancard has the contractual rate to make necessary adjustments to the fee schedule wit notification which you acknowledge receipt of.

Should you have any questions regarding this response, please have your Merchant number ready and contact our Customer Service at 800-226-2273 ext. 1300.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Paull
Research Manager

Replies
Advertisement
Liars And Thieves, Worst Company To Ever Deal With!
By -

A salesman came into my office about 3 months ago telling me how NAB has competitive rates and they will beat anyone's price. He asked me if I would show him a statement from a company I dealt with before and he showed me how I was being overcharged and how NAB rates are lower. I just started my business and I was looking for opportunities to save money. I was still skeptical and I decided not to call him back, but he showed up again and in front of customers, and started complaining how he got all the paperwork ready and I never called him back. I asked him multiple times about the rates and I specifically asked him about any hidden fees.

He promised me that I will never be charged for anything other than the things he showed me on some piece of paper. He never told me that my monthly charge would be $25, that I will pay 10 cents for every transaction on top of 1.59 qualified, and fees for every time I batch out. Their fees for phone orders are much higher than any other companies. Not only that, but I am also working with a broken machine because of fear of sending it in and getting charged another ridiculous amount by these people.

My terminal tipped and fell about 4 inches off of a table and every time it gets turned on I get a security message and the terminal freezes. I have to turn off the terminal completely for about an hour before I can turn it on again. When I turn it on I have to keep my fingers crossed and touch it gently because one wrong move and the terminal freezes again. The situation gets more complicated because as soon as the terminal is reset, I have to change the date, because it is set in 2016 and all of the cards read "expired".

I haven't been using debit for 2 months now. Customer service said that if they see any damage on it they will charge me. There is no damage to the terminal at all but after reading all the complaints on the internet I was afraid of sending it in. When I opened a new bank account and asked to update information on their end, they couldn't fax me the form because the salesman messed one number up in my fax number. So first they have to send me a sheet which I have to fill out and change my fax number and send it back to them to evaluate. I have never gotten the form.

When I called to cancel the first time, customer service rep told me I was one day late and I would have to pay a cancellation fee. When he told me the amount I was very surprised because the sales rep told me that there is no cancellation fee. The charges are twice as much as RBS Lynk that I used before and NAB has done nothing to acknowledge that or help me with any issue. I have only asked them to fix my machine, to get rid of charges I never agreed to, and to at least match what I used to pay.

It has come to the point where I am seeking legal advice, and my uncle has offered to help. He has a lot of experience and he is a lawyer for Bank of America. I have a lot of attorneys in my family and I am willing to spend as much time and money as possible in order for NAB to get what is coming to them. I have spoken to two other merchants in my area who also use NAB. Every store and place I go to I always remind the owner to stay away from NAB at all costs. I am willing to get in touch with other people who have been victims of this scam.

Company Response 6/27/2008:

Dear Merchant,

North American Bancard works very diligently to resolve all customer issues and complaints. Since our inception in 1992, we have worked with over 125,000 merchants of all sizes and levels of complexity. We provide a high level of service and support to our customers, as is evidenced by the low number of complaints we handle. Occasionally we, like any other large company, may make a mistake or mishandle an issue. When these are brought to our attention we resolve them to the best of our ability. Our 250+ employees work hard every day to make doing business with NAB a pleasure for our merchants and stakeholders, all we ask is the opportunity to recover well.

In regards to the fees that have been questioned, your individual Agreement will clearly list on page nine of the terms and conditions all the fees that may apply to your account. Page nine also lists the rates that will apply to every transaction run through your terminal.

In regards to your equipment, if you are part of the Free Equipment Program, then there would be a charge for misuse of the equipment (which would include dropping the terminal), however we would be more than happy to help you obtain another piece of working equipment. For more information regarding the fees associated with damage equipment, please see your Free Equipment Program Agreement.

Unfortunately enough information was not provided for us to accurately determine your specific Merchant Account. If your account was incorrectly debited, or you believe your fees have been inadequately advised, then we would need specific information in order to properly address your concerns or correct any errors.

NAB would like to apologize for any unsatisfactory service related issues you have experienced and would like to take the opportunity to discuss this matter further. Please have your Merchant Account number ready, and contact our Customer Service Department at 800-226-2273, extension 1300 so that your specific situation may be properly researched and addressed.

Sincerely,
Kimberly Tippin
Director of Customer Contacts

Replies
I Can't Believe Companies Can Get Away With This
By -

PENNSYLVANIA -- Sorry to all affected by this company, but I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who has gone through hell with these guys. Much of my ordeal is similar to what others have experienced. First, I signed up with them through one of these phantom sales people. Initially, there were some fees that were negotiated to be eliminated from the agreement, but I was charged anyway. I let it go. About a year into the contract, I was obligated to switch to another card processor. I own a franchise and excellent rates were worked out with a new company, in addition to a new gift card program that had to be processed through this new company.

When I called to explain, I was told by the same salesman that I could get out clean for a half price fee, which I agreed to. I sent the check, per his instructions. Months went by and I was being charged a $30 minimum fee every month. When I finally called NA Bancard, they told me that no such termination was submitted to them. Like others have posted, I was told that they have no idea who Ray ** (the salesman) was. I don't know who these salespeople are that are authorized to sell and make decisions on NA Bancard's product, but they obviously have no accountability.

Shouldn't NA Bancard be responsible for what is being sold on their behalf? Anyway, here is where it gets bad. I called customer service to cancel my account, hoping that they would accept the $150 agreed upon, but expecting to pay the $300. Instead, I was told that they would charge me over $700!! That doesn't even include the equipment that would have to be returned. I looked at my contract, that I still have the original of because it was processed via fax. It states that my terms were for 2 (two) years. They told me that their record say three years.

I assumed things would get worked out eventually...a real company can't just change the wording in a signed contract, right? I requested a copy of what they had on file, and received it in the mail. Sure enough it was three years. I was told that my only options were to pay the $700, or just eat the monthly $30 fee for another year and a half until the term was up. I spent a small bank fee to stop payment on the $30 debit. I was hoping it would force them to actually look into my situation. Instead, they proceeded to use a different coding to get around the stop payment and took nearly $700 from my bank account, calling it the cost of closing the account.

I called again and faxed to them the obvious discrepancy in the altered contract. They told me that they couldn't read the print on the fax. They basically called me a liar as I sat there staring at the two different contracts. A while later, they threatened to charge me more if I didn't return their equipment, so I did. The UPS driver they sent only had authorization to pick up one package, so he took the terminal. I still had the pin pad. They threatened to take another $25 from my account if I didn't return that too. I told them that it was their mistake that UPS didn't take them both the first time. I would return it, but not at my own expense.

They agreed, but it took them two full weeks and three phone calls to send UPS. By then, they had already taken the $25 out of my bank account. I am currently in the process of at least trying to get the $25 back. I was told by a manager that it would take 2-3 days. That was 9 days ago. I just talked to him yesterday, and he told me to call back "tomorrow." I just called back again, and he is not in the office today. I'm glad I wrote this, but I am getting really irritated after reading through it. I'm going to go now, thanks.

Company Response 1/31/2008:

Dear Merchant,

In response to the recently posted merchant complaint I am providing the following information. We would like to take the opportunity to resolve this issue without further delay.

Unfortunately enough information was not provided for us to accurately determine your specific Merchant Account. Based on the information that was provided it is our belief that these issues may relate to a collections effort on a delinquent account that has violated parts, if not all, of the Merchant Agreement. If your account was incorrectly debited we would need specific information in order to properly address the concerns or correct any errors.

NAB would like to apologize for any unsatisfactory service related issues you have experienced and would like to take the opportunity to discuss this matter further. Please have your Merchant Account number ready, and contact our Merchant Awareness Department at 1-866-476-0797 so that your specific situation may be properly researched and addressed.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Tippin
Director of Customer Contacts

Replies
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1.5 out of 5, based on 17 ratings and
100 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
North American Bancard
250 Stephenson Hwy
Troy, MI 48083
1-800-226-2273 (ph)
www.nabancard.com
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