If you haven’t heard of Retail Merchant Services (RMS), their name should be pretty self-explanatory. The Milton Keynes-based payments service provider supplies small and medium sized businesses with affordable card payment solutions.
Founded in 2007, it has already signed up over 36,000 merchants across the UK and Ireland in the short time that it has been operating. In 2017, it was acquired by investment firm TCV. Retail Merchant Services is a reseller offering internationally-recognised payment services from Elavon, the 7th largest card processing provider in Europe, to small businesses who otherwise would be unable to afford their rates.
Retail Merchant Services’ offerings include everything from mobile card machines to a virtual terminal and payment gateway. They’ve got generally positive reviews from customers, but how do they stack up when compared to other big name merchant accounts providers?
What does Retail Merchant Services offer?
As we’ve suggested, Retail Merchant Services is not an acquiring bank but rather an independent sales organisation connecting businesses to Elavon merchant account services. RMS provides software and hardware including card machines, payment gateways and virtual terminals.
Retail Merchant Services provide a range of card machines manufactured by Ingenico and Verifone. These include:
Countertop card machines - Intended to be installed in a fixed location and connected via ethernet connection for reliability.
Portable card machines - These connect to a base station over WiFi or Bluetooth and are used mostly by hospitality and service industries.
Mobile card machines - Connect to GPRS/3G to accept transactions from almost anywhere.
Card machine rental starts at £20 per month, but you’ll get a custom quote depending on the model and features you require as well as the number of machines you need and the length of contract.
For retail or hospitality businesses looking for a complete solution, Retail Merchant Services offers a complete EPOS solution starting at £79.99 per month.
This includes EPOS hardware and software from EPOSNow, as well as a receipt printer, metal cash drawer, contactless card machine and 24/7 over-the-phone support.
Retail Merchant Services offer a number of online payment solutions for all types of businesses.
Payment pages - RMS offers two types of payment pages for varying degrees of customisation. If you don’t have a developer and you’re not bothered about an on-brand payment screen, you can opt for the ‘hosted’ option. Alternatively, if you want complete control over page design for a seamless transition through the payment funnel you can sign up for an ‘integrated’ payment page.
Pay by link - If you don’t have a website but you’d still like to be able to take payments online, you can do just that! This service allows you to send a link to your customer which will take them directly to our secure payment gateway.
Shopping cart integrations - Retail Merchant Services aims to make switching easy by integrating with most major shopping cart providers. These include:
- Hika Shop
Retail Merchant Services virtual terminals allow up to 20 users to accept payments from debit cards and credit cards over the phone at the same time.
Retail Merchant Services Membership Benefits
Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, you’ll also have access to all of the following:
- Free Tax & VAT Investigation Insurance
- 24/7 Business Legal Advice
- Discounted Telephone Services
- Discounted Business Broadband
- Discounted Business Insurance
- Discounted Business Bank Accounts
Depending on your account type, RMS can also provide round-the-clock technical support.
Retail Merchant Services Fees
While Retail Merchant Services is certain that they will be able to beat your current provider on price, they don’t actually advertise their rates online. Instead, you’ll have to get in touch with them for an accurate quote.
All of their contracts are 36 month rolling contracts which renew each year. Though this kind of contract is becoming increasingly common in the payment industry, let us be clear - this does not mean that your contract will be up after 3 years. You will have to provide sufficient notice if you want to get out after the third year or you will be up against some hefty fees.
RMS charges in the region of £100 per year for its PCI compliance fee, about £120 for early termination fees and an additional £100 for terminal refurbishment if you decide to cancel. Cancelling the terminal lease without providing proper notice could leave you with a bill in excess of £1,000 all in.
This is slightly more expensive than the industry standard, and while we can’t comment on monthly fees their overall reviews would suggest that customers are generally happy with pricing.
Retail Merchant Services Reviews
While customer reviews can sometimes distort the overall picture (usually you will find overwhelmingly negative reviews from a small proportion of customers that have had bad experiences with the company), Retail Merchant Services’ reviews are largely positive.
Google Reviews: 23 reviews, 5 stars
TrustPilot: 4,669 reviews, 4 stars
UK Business Forum: Review thread
Positive reviews mention the lower overall fees, pleasant experiences with a number of sales reps and a hassle-free switch from previous providers.
When it comes to negative reviews, the most common complaint is “hidden fees”, high early cancellation fees and sales reps using misleading sales techniques.
Though we aren’t sure how many of the complaints have been resolved, a quick glance at TrustPilot shows that all negative reviewers have been contacted for details of their particular complaint, and responses have been tailored to each. This would suggest that customer support are eager to resolve any issues, particularly where customers feel that they have been mis-sold the product.
Retail Merchant Services offers a wide range of services for small and medium sized businesses. Reviews are generally very positive, praising customer support and the ease of set up. Where there have been issues, as indicated by negative reviews on websites like TrustPilot, customer services appear to have provided individual responses to each reviewer.
A common complaint involves third-party sales reps who conveniently leave out important details such as the cancellation fees involved. While we can’t fully blame RMS for this (they’re not the only company that uses third party sales reps), if you are ever approached by or receive a cold call from someone wanting to set you up with RMS you should make sure that you see the contract in full before signing anything.
If you’re a small business owner looking for a new payment processing and merchant services provider then the focus on SMEs means Retail Merchant Services is definitely one to keep an eye on. For more insight, check our roundup of the cheapest merchant services you should know about.