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AIB Merchant Services Review 2018

AIBMS is a joint venture between Allied Irish Bank (AIB) – one the top four banks in Ireland – and payment processing giant First Data. The venture was established in 2008, which saw AIB’s existing merchant customers move over to the rebranded and vastly improved AIBMS.

With First Data’s global payment experience AIBMS now offers a comprehensive package of payment services to firms with a diverse range of needs. For a quick run-through we’re talking about in-store payments, mobile card payments and online processing under two tiers of services – for SMEs and “Corporate” for larger businesses.

Products & Services 

In-store payments (Clover)

  • The Clover Station: A fully integrated Point of Sale (POS) system that supports card machine payments.
  • Single system: Clover replaces your old till and card machine with a single, cutting edge payment system.
  • Ready to go: Clover comes preinstalled with your product listings so you’re ready to plug in and start accepting payments.
  • Future proofed technology: Already accepts contactless payment, ApplePay and mobile transactions.
  • Comprehensive reporting: Cloud stored reports give you access to all your data – on any device, anywhere.
  • Expert support: A dedicated team of Clover experts who can help you get the most out of your new in-store system.

Online payments (Authipay)

  • Merchant services: Authipay comes with all the merchant services you need to process card payments online.
  • Payment gateway: Provides a seamless payment platform for your customers on your website.
  • Quick setup: A phone call is all you need to get set up, which means you could be accepting online payments today.
  • Secure: A suite of security features means you and your customers are both protected, every step of the way.
  • Flexibility: All the major credit and debit cards are supported, plus a wide range of currencies.
  • Global Choice: An option that allows you to accept payments in your customer’s currency and convert into your own.
  • Virtual terminal: An online POS system that allows you to take payments over the phone, by fax/mail or via your website.

 

Fees – 9/10

AIBMS is incredibly transparent about its fees for a firm of this size, disclosing the full pricing structure for its Authipay packages – a combination merchant account and payment gateway services. The packages available are broken into three tiers:

Authipay Small Business

  • £21.99 per month
  • 300 transactions
  • 20 cents
  • 3% per credit cards and commercial transactions
  • 50p on debit cards

Authipay Medium Business

  • £50.00 per month
  • 1000 transactions
  • 12 cents
  • 5% per credit card and commercial transactions
  • 40p on debit cards

Authipay Corporate

  • All rates are variable – request a quote for a package to suit your needs.

There are no setup fees on either of these packages and the transparent nature of AIBMS’ pricing structure is unusual for one of Europe’s leading banks. You could certainly find better rates elsewhere, but we’re maintaining a high score for fees because these are truly comprehensive packages and every piece of technology AIBMS offers is state-of-the-art.

Clover Station Fees and Charges (per Unit)

Item Description Option 1: Option 2:
36 Min Term Rental Hardware Purchase
Clover Station Includes Clover Station (Touchscreen and Printer), Cash Drawer, EMV Chip and PIN Card Reader €40.00 per month € 1,299.99
Clover Mini Clover Mini unit, with integrated card reader, terminal printer and scanner €32.50 per month € 495.00
Clover Mobile Clover Mobile unit with integrated card reader, Wifi+ 3G SIM slot, integrated scanner and holster €44.00 per month € 630.00

Clover Station Fees and Charges (per Unit)

Item Description 36 Min Term Rental Hardware Purchase
Hand Held bar Code Scanner (per unit) 1D Hand Held Scanner /  USB-connected scanner €4.49 per month € 88.85
Clover Mobile Thermal Printer Bluetooth Printer for Clover Mobile unit including belt clip €10.00 per month € 155.00
Clover Mobile Docking Station Docking and charging station for Clover Mobile unit €8.00 per month € 99.99

Contract Length – 7/10

Contract length is one detail we haven’t been able to get our hands on with AIBMS as yet. All we can say is you’ll probably be looking at a minimum of 12 months and anything up the three years (36 months) as standard. We can’t even find any talk about termination fees to give us a clue, but we suspect there will be a sizable fee for cancelling early – especially if you’re leasing some Clover stations.

As for scoring this section we’re going to play it safe and give AIBMS a 7 – which we consider to be our average – purely on the basis we don’t have enough information to score either way.

 

Sales & Advertising Transparency – 8/10

On the face of things AIBMS appears to be an incredibly transparent payment services provider. For a firm this size to display simple price plans for two of its three key products is great to see. We haven’t heard of any third party sales agencies being employed by AIBMS – something quite typical for banks in the merchant service game.

Customer reviews are hard to come by for AIBMS and we certainly haven’t come across any horror stories about misleading marketing tactics – or even the standard termination fee struggles. All in all, it’s hard to fault AIBMS for its marketing and advertising approaches, although we would like to speak to some existing customers.

 

Customer Service and Technical Support – 8/10

We already touched on the fact that customer reviews are difficult to come by with AIBMS – and that doesn’t bode well for our Customer Service and Technical Support section. All we can go back to is a high-profile technical glitch the company suffered in 2013 when it charged card users double for payments made through its services.

The glitch reportedly added up to a hefty €5m blunder and left many card users at risk of fines from their banks. The firm was quick to go public over the issue (not that it had much choice) and assure card users they would be reimbursed in full and avoid any charges from their banks.

So that just goes to show how costly technical glitches can be in this industry, but you can’t ask for much more than a due apology and assurance your money is safe, should the technology let you down.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials

Considering how tough it’s been for us to get customer reviews we had to dig a little deeper to get feedback that isn’t from testimonials from the AIBMS website or other corporate pieces. And we always figure awards are a good indication to go by, so we’re happy to settle with AIBMS’ Best Acquirer Award from last year’s prestigious Merchant Payment Ecosystem (MPE) awards.

“AIB Merchant Services has managed to seamlessly combine a premium customer services with the most modern of technologies enabling customers and staff to interact and resolve issues quickly.” – Leon Dhane, Chairman of the MPE Awards.

Not a bad testimonial that – even if it doesn’t come directly from a customer (at least not to our knowledge).

Negative Reviews and Complaints

Just when you thought we wouldn’t be able to drag any negative reviews out of the archives we managed to pull some vintage customer grievances from all the way back in 2012. There are a few similar complaints in this particular thread and it appears some customers were experiencing unexpected fees and discrepancies they describe as “mistakes” on the part of AIBMS

“They made silly mistakes, over charged a lot and are difficult to contact. In fact they still charge me for an account we shut down 6 months ago. Today I had to cancel direct debits to stop they taking money not owed again, despite refunding the money on the previous same mistakes they still make over and over. Its at the stage now when any further contact and I’ll be billing them because they shouldn’t need to be told how to do their job.” – Ronan, www.boards.ie post.

Naturally we can’t confirm whether these discrepancies were genuine mistakes made by AIBMS or misunderstandings about contract terms on the part of the customer. All we can say is that this thread is the only one we could find with negative comments on AIBMS and that’s pretty good going for a major bank.

 

Final Verdict – 8.4/10

AIBMS is one of the most exciting payment services firms we’ve come across – a mix of cutting-edge technology and transparent pricing that we don’t see enough in this industry. Our only concern is we would like more details on things like contract lengths, termination fees and more access to real customer experience.

With that kind of information there’s every chance AIBMS could score even higher and that goes to show how promising the firms looks based on the info we have. Admittedly, this doesn’t mean their prices will be ideal for every type of business (ie: the smaller ones) or that high-risk businesses will get accepted.

At least you get an honest picture of what you can expect to pay from AIBMS, though – and if those fees look half decent to you we’d certainly recommend you give these guys a call and see what they can do for you.

Contract Length – 7/10

Contract length is one detail we haven’t been able to get our hands on with AIBMS as yet. All we can say is you’ll probably be looking at a minimum of 12 months and anything up the three years (36 months) as standard. We can’t even find any talk about termination fees to give us a clue, but we suspect there will be a sizable fee for cancelling early – especially if you’re leasing some Clover stations.

As for scoring this section we’re going to play it safe and give AIBMS a 7 – which we consider to be our average – purely on the basis we don’t have enough information to score either way.

 

Sales & Advertising Transparency – 8/10

On the face of things AIBMS appears to be an incredibly transparent payment services provider. For a firm this size to display simple price plans for two of its three key products is great to see. We haven’t heard of any third party sales agencies being employed by AIBMS – something quite typical for banks in the merchant service game.

Customer reviews are hard to come by for AIBMS and we certainly haven’t come across any horror stories about misleading marketing tactics – or even the standard termination fee struggles. All in all, it’s hard to fault AIBMS for its marketing and advertising approaches, although we would like to speak to some existing customers.

 

Customer Service and Technical Support – 8/10

We already touched on the fact that customer reviews are difficult to come by with AIBMS – and that doesn’t bode well for our Customer Service and Technical Support section. All we can go back to is a high-profile technical glitch the company suffered in 2013 when it charged card users double for payments made through its services.

The glitch reportedly added up to a hefty €5m blunder and left many card users at risk of fines from their banks. The firm was quick to go public over the issue (not that it had much choice) and assure card users they would be reimbursed in full and avoid any charges from their banks.

So that just goes to show how costly technical glitches can be in this industry, but you can’t ask for much more than a due apology and assurance your money is safe, should the technology let you down.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials

Considering how tough it’s been for us to get customer reviews we had to dig a little deeper to get feedback that isn’t from testimonials from the AIBMS website or other corporate pieces. And we always figure awards are a good indication to go by, so we’re happy to settle with AIBMS’ Best Acquirer Award from last year’s prestigious Merchant Payment Ecosystem (MPE) awards.

“AIB Merchant Services has managed to seamlessly combine a premium customer services with the most modern of technologies enabling customers and staff to interact and resolve issues quickly.” – Leon Dhane, Chairman of the MPE Awards.

Not a bad testimonial that – even if it doesn’t come directly from a customer (at least not to our knowledge).

Negative Reviews and Complaints

Just when you thought we wouldn’t be able to drag any negative reviews out of the archives we managed to pull some vintage customer grievances from all the way back in 2012. There are a few similar complaints in this particular thread and it appears some customers were experiencing unexpected fees and discrepancies they describe as “mistakes” on the part of AIBMS

“They made silly mistakes, over charged a lot and are difficult to contact. In fact they still charge me for an account we shut down 6 months ago. Today I had to cancel direct debits to stop they taking money not owed again, despite refunding the money on the previous same mistakes they still make over and over. Its at the stage now when any further contact and I’ll be billing them because they shouldn’t need to be told how to do their job.” – Ronan, www.boards.ie post.

Naturally we can’t confirm whether these discrepancies were genuine mistakes made by AIBMS or misunderstandings about contract terms on the part of the customer. All we can say is that this thread is the only one we could find with negative comments on AIBMS and that’s pretty good going for a major bank.

 

Final Verdict – 8.4/10

AIBMS is one of the most exciting payment services firms we’ve come across – a mix of cutting-edge technology and transparent pricing that we don’t see enough in this industry. Our only concern is we would like more details on things like contract lengths, termination fees and more access to real customer experience.

With that kind of information there’s every chance AIBMS could score even higher and that goes to show how promising the firms looks based on the info we have. Admittedly, this doesn’t mean their prices will be ideal for every type of business (ie: the smaller ones) or that high-risk businesses will get accepted.

At least you get an honest picture of what you can expect to pay from AIBMS, though – and if those fees look half decent to you we’d certainly recommend you give these guys a call and see what they can do for you.

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