HSBC offers its merchant services and payment gateway through third-party supplier Global Payment Inc. And just to make things that extra bit confusing, Global Payments then goes ahead and uses a system called Global Iris to channel its integrated merchant account and payment gateway services into an online platform
There’s a method to the madness though, because this saves you going through different companies to combine both services. Which means you only have to deal with one firm to address all your payment needs – and anything that might happen to go wrong further down the line.
Products & Services
Neither HSBC nor Global Payments does a great job of advertising exactly what payment services they offer – so let’s start there. The short answer is they pretty much do everything you could ever need as a business. And, while there’s nothing particularly unique about that, what sets Global apart is it does just about everything in-house. So you’re dealing directly with the firm that handles everything, rather than working your way through a complex mesh of third-party providers.
Merchant Account Services
Global Payments cuts out the middle man with its merchant account services, meaning you can rely on a single, comprehensive package to suit your business needs. You deal with one firm and they take care of everything for you. The standard package of Global Payments features include the following:
- Debit and credit card processing
- ACH processing
- Mobile Payments
- Online payment gateway and virtual terminal
- Gift and loyalty programs
- POS equipment
- Fraud protection
Global Payments also offers an online platform for Customer-Not-Present (CNP) payment processing. This includes both online payments and offline transactions via mail and over the phone. The key features are as follows:
- Global Iris Redirect: A quick setup solution to get your payment system set up as quickly as possible. This option redirects users to a checkout process on the Global Iris payment page, which you can customise to match your brand.
- Global Iris Remote: This option keeps users on your website and gives you full control and flexibility of the checkout process. The setup is more technical and time-consuming, but you get full ownership as a result.
- Global Iris Virtual Terminal: A web-based virtual terminal for you to accept and process payments by post and phone.
- PayPal Integration: Full integration with the PayPal API to offer customers another fast-track payment option.
Global Payments promises to cater for businesses of all types and sizes, but it has a history of specialising in a number of industries that’s worth mentioning:
Global Payments has two main pricing tiers to on offer to businesses of different sizes, although we’ve been told they offer more customised packages and prices to suit specific business needs. The standard pricing packages are split between small businesses that process up to £50k turnover and large businesses that turn over more than £50k.
Small Business (up to £50K Turnover)
Large Business (More than £50K Turnover)
|Set up fee||£250||£150|
|Credit or debit card transactions||2%||Negotiable|
|Debit card payment||25p||Negotiable|
|Non UK debit or credit card transactions||2%||Negotiable|
|Card terminal rental fee||£0||£18|
|Monthly service charge||£0||£20|
|Contract Length||12 months||12 months|
As you can see from the pricing table above, contract lengths start at a 12-month minimum with HSBC and Global Payments. While we never like to see these lengthily contract agreements (they take the pressure off firms to provide quality services) 12-months is about as short a contract you’ll find in this industry.
That said, we have heard talk of three year contracts being signed with Global Payments and termination fees of up to £350. Unfortunately, we can’t confirm those numbers, but it’s something to keep an eye out for – especially if you deal with third-party sales reps. Speaking of which…
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Like many of the banks and subsequent firms that offer merchant accounts, Global isn’t all that aggressive with its sales strategy. We always like to see this from firms in the industry, rather than companies playing hardball and chasing prospective customers with promises they never intend to keep.
That’s not to say Global doesn’t employ third-party sales teams and agencies to push its services though. It does. And the sales process doesn’t appear to be particularly standardised, so keep your wits about you and never trust what anyone tells you verbally. Demand everything in writing and make sure you read and understand the terms before you sign on the dotted line – that’s standard procedure and we can’t emphasise how important this is.
Customer Service and Technical Support
With Global Payments you get the standard 24/7 helpline for both technical support and customer service. That’s it, though. No live chat on the website, not even an FAQ section or knowledgebase for you to try and find your own answers. That doesn’t get things off to a great start on the customer service front and we’ve heard some mixed reviews about how the firm handles enquiries, complaints and technical issues.
You’ll find the usual complaints in forums and online review sites (people are always quicker to complain than praise) but you have to take these with a pinch of the proverbial salt. We’ve certainly had worse impressions about customer service and technical support form other firms.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Corporate reviews of Global Payments are largely impressive while others are glowing. This backs up our suspicion that, like many firms of this size, Global may be better suited to slightly larger firms than the smaller businesses out there. In general reviews of Global Payments are mixed, but this is the standard for larger payment processors. By sheer volume of customers there are always going to be complaints and they tend to ring louder than the positive feedback.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
That doesn’t mean we don’t take negative feedback seriously, though. In fact, we spend a lot of time reading through comments to fish out complaints that don’t suggest a misunderstanding of contracts or failing to read the small print (all too many do).
So what complaints about Global Payments Inc. should you be paying attention too? Most of the complaints appear to include third-party sales teams setting up small business owners with low rates that quickly hike up – not directly from Global sales teams.
Then you get the usual complaints about cancellation fees and other charges that come with terminating a Global Payments contract. This is pretty standard across the industry, unfortunately, but it goes to show again how important it is that you know the terms of your contract. It’s no coincidence the majority of complaints about ‘hidden’ fees come from small businesses who appear to have no legal team or representative handling the terms of their contracts and advising them.
HSBC chooses Global Payments for its merchant account and payment gateway services. On the whole, it’s pretty easy to see why: the firm has a robust reputation for providing extensive, yet secure options for just about every payment need a business could have. The downside is you’ll be paying a little more for the privilege than you would with some providers, but that’s the norm with banks in the payment industry.
Another norm is that these prices and some of their policies might be better suited to larger firms in the SME bracket. That’s not to say we’d rule them out for small businesses, but you may not need half the services Global offers as a smaller firm, which could mean your money is better spent (and handled) elsewhere.