With almost 50 years in the merchant services sector and more than 87,000 retailers signed up, Barclays is certainly one of the biggest names in merchant accounts and banking alike. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see it has built itself a reputation for providing simple payment solutions, extensive options and professional service. This review of Barclaycard merchant services will show how they compare to some of the smaller more agile players that are trying to take market share in the increasingly competitive payment processing space.
The spoiler alert at this point is you’ll pay a bit more for Barclaycard services than many merchant providers. But that’s fine if they can deliver the quality and that all-important customer service that so many firms falter on.
Products & Services
Barclaycard provides three main types of payment services, which we’ll go into more detail shortly: face to face, online, and mail & phone payments. Each of these services works on a global scale, with Barclay’s processing payments in 48 international currencies and converting them into one of 14 major currencies – including Pound Sterling, Euro, and US Dollars.
Face to Face Payments
Barclaycard offers three types of credit card terminals to cover the needs of just about any business. First of all you have countertop terminals for the more POS orientated retailers. Then you have Portable PDQs for service businesses like restaurants and bars. And, finally, you have mobile applications for businesses on the move.
You also have the Barclaycard Anywhere option, allowing you to take secure payments on your smartphone or iPad. Designed for startups, tradesmen and other small business types, this is ideal if you have to visit clients or customers to accept payments.
Barclaycard also offers three tiers of online payments for different size enterprises:
- e-PDQ Essential: The standard online payment option and provides Barclaycard branded web payment pages and a pay-as-you-go option for traders. This makes it a good choice for startups and small to medium sized businesses.
- e-PDQ Extra: In addition to the features in the Essential option, this allows you to customise fraud protection settings and have multi-admin accounts working simultaneously to process payments.
- e-PDQ Extra Plus: This premium service package includes all of the features of the other two options, with the addition of multiple currency acceptance, simultaneous multi-batch payment processing and a choice of payment page style to allow more seamless integration within existing websites.
Mail & Phone Payments
Barclays also offers a virtual terminal service if you want to accept payments by mail or over the phone (MOTO – mail-order-telephone-order). You have two options to choose between from Barclays’ MOTO payment services:
- e-PDQ MOTO Essential: Is the choice for smaller firms or businesses who handle a low volume of payments via phone and mail. You get two user accounts for admin with fraud detection services and support for all the major credit and debit cards.
- e-PDQ MOTO Extra: This option brings multi-currency payments to the table, eight further user accounts and email notifications to keep traders and customers in the loop about the progress of their orders.
As usual you won’t find any prices on the Barclaycard website for its merchant services, but we’ve found it much easier to get our hands on some figures than we do with many other providers. As always, we can only say these prices are correct at the time of writing and will be subject to change, as and when Barclays feels like it.
Barlcays Merchant Service Fees
|Payment Type||Contract (months)||Fee||Monthly Cost||Set Up Fee||Contactless|
|Face to Face||Smartphone||N/A||2.6% & 75p per refund||£0||£601||N|
|Online (eDPQ)||Essential||12||1.75% 2||£203||£0||N/A|
|Extra Plus||12||1.75% 2||£753||£0||N/A|
|Mail or Telephone||Virtual Terminal||12||1.75% 2||£203||£0||N/A|
1 Barclays Bank Business Customers get the first chip and machine for £0. Additional or replacement terminals outside of warranty will be charged at £60 + VAT per machine.
2 If you choose to accept AMEX or Diners additional charges will apply. ePDQ & Virtual terminals do not accept Diners club payments.
3 10p per transaction over inclusive 350 transactions.
As for the Barclaycard Anywhere service you’ll have to pay a £60 +VAT one-off fee. Then you’ll be looking at 2.6% per transaction and 75p for any refunds.
Those prices make Barclays a touch more expensive than many of its competitors, but whether that’s justified or not will swing on the quality of its services and customer support (more on that shortly).
Contract lengths were a little more difficult to dig up, but we managed to get a number of sources come back to us with 18-month minimum contracts. That’s half the length you’ll find with some merchant providers, but it’s still a hefty contract for small business owners.
In terms of cancellation fees you won’t be surprised to hear they’re on the high side. Barclaycard fees are on the steeper side to begin with and the fact they offer shorter contracts than some competitors gives them extra fuel to charge more, if you choose to cancel.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Unlike some merchant account providers, Barclays isn’t all that aggressive about pushing its services onto people. It doesn’t employ third party sales teams to sign up everyone it can and you won’t have to sit through speeches filled with grand promises or slander against its closest rivals.
Barclays isn’t the cheapest provider out there, but it makes no apologies for this and it certainly doesn’t try to cover up the fact. In fact, the application process is pretty rigorous and some small businesses might find it hard to get an account altogether. That’s a good sign if you do get an account with Barclaycard, though, compared to some firms who do everything to sign up the largest number of customers.
Customer Service and Technical Support
We mentioned earlier that Barclaycard is a touch more expensive than many of its competitors. If you’ve had to endure poor customer support from merchant providers in the past, however, you’ll know fees aren’t the only factor.
On the technical side of things, Barclaycard’s services are incredibly robust and secure – which means you shouldn’t find yourself on the phone very often. Barclaycard’s transparency also means you shouldn’t be getting caught out by hidden fees and those dreaded financial battles over the phone.
Barclaycard’s weakness on the customer service front came in 2011 when the firm outsourced to call centres in the Philippines and India. The short story is the move didn’t go down too well with customers, but all the complaints we found date back to 2011-12. So we get the impression Barclaycard has sorted out its customer service teething issues.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Barclaycard is pretty strict on who it accepts for its merchant services and this rules out many small businesses. This makes it difficult to get impartial customer reviews on the firm, as these are typically made up from small business owners.
This is pretty well summed up in this overview of merchant providers, but the key point here is the praise for Barclays’ customer service. This is precisely what you want to hear when you’re paying just above the average fees for merchant services.
As the service is run as part of the Barclaycard arm of Barclays, this option can be difficult to get if you have CCJs or poor credit. The fees are also high, but the customer service from Barclays is excellent.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
With a firm this large you expect to see a hoard of negative reviews and horror stories of financial ruin. Barclaycard makes a refreshing break from the norm in this regard though. In fact, we haven’t been able to source a single credible complaint against its merchant services, aside from those early grumbles we mentioned earlier about the customer support being outsourced.
Again, we should make the point that these reviews typically come from small business owners who have run into problems. We suspect even the positive reviews come from SMEs that have had problems with previous firms, and the fact smaller businesses have a tougher time getting signed up to Barclaycard merchant services could explain the lack of feedback.
Barclaycard’s merchant services are known for being reliable and easy to use. Its range of products and services covesr almost every type of need businesses have in ensuring smooth card transactions for their customers. Its tiered pricing structure also caters to both SMEs and large businesses.
However, if you compare its fees to those of other, smaller merchant services providers, you’ll find that they’re not as SME friendly. Despite relatively short minimum contract lengths compared to some providers, you’re still tied down for at least 12 months – and the cancellation fees are pretty hefty.
Add to this its stringent application process that requires merchants to provide records of their financial history, something that smaller businesses and startups will find difficult to do. Barclaycard works well for established and larger businesses, but in terms of fees and ease of application, we would recommend SMEs to consider smaller providers with better payment and application terms.