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Barclaycard Merchant Services Review

Barclaycard, a trading name of Barclays PLC in the UK and Barclaycard International Payments Limited in Ireland, is most well known for offering consumer and business credit cards but it also operates the third largest merchant acquirer in Europe

As of June 2021, its Payments division represented 8% of Group Income and it aims to grow the income from this division by approximately £900m from 2020 to 2023. 

Barclaycard, a trading name of Barclays PLC in the UK and Barclaycard International Payments Limited in Ireland, is most well known for offering consumer and business credit cards but it also operates the third largest merchant acquirer in Europe

As of June 2021, its Payments division represented 8% of Group Income and it aims to grow the income from this division by approximately £900m from 2020 to 2023. 

Barclaycard Merchant Services Review Screenshot 2021 08 12 at 10.12.04

It is on the right track with its merchant acquiring turnover in the UK increasing 19% from 2019 to June 2021. It has also grown to 372,000 customers and processed £160 billion in the first half of 2021.

Barclaycard Merchant Services Review Screenshot 2021 08 12 at 10.17.42

 

Although many SME’s in the UK deal with them directly for their payment processing requirements tens of thousands of businesses may use their merchant acquiring services indirectly via one of their Independent Sales Organisations (ISOs). 

TakePayments (previously Payzone UK) is one of their largest and most well-known ISOs which it partnered with in 2016. They have also recently announced they would become the acquiring partner of FreedomPay in UK and Europe. You can see their other ISOs and competition here

Products & Services

Barclaycard provides a wide array of payment services, including: 

  • Card readers and PDQ terminals
  • Online payments/payment gateways
  • Mail & phone payments/virtual terminals

Each of these services have international payment processing capabilities. They process payments in over 100 international currencies and converting them into one of 14 major currencies.

Card Readers 

Barclaycard currently offers the following credit card readers:

  • Mobile Flex Card Reader for taking payments face-to-face (in-store or on the go), with no monthly rental and cancellation fees for the entry model/pricing plan for the first 12 months (other pricing plans include Standard, Premium and Custom have lower transaction fees until you exceed the transaction allowance. Standard and Premium plans require you to pay 1.6% on every transaction over your allowance which is £2,500 or £6,000 respectively whilst the transaction fees on the Custom plans are tailored to each business). It has GPRS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Barclaycard Anywhere comes at a price of £14.50 + VAT making it one of the most affordable portable card readers in the UK. It has an app that enables you to take secure payments on your smartphone or iPad and comes with a 1.6% per transaction fee and no contract obligations, making it very suitable for small and seasonal merchants.
  • Desktop Card Reader with a separate PIN pad with no rental fees for 12 months and no cancellation fee
  • Desktop Card Reader with an integrated PIN, also with no rental fees for 12 months and no cancellation fee
  • Portable Card Reader that accepts all major payment types including contactless. Suitable for hospitality industries as it can accept tips.
Card ReaderTransaction feeTransaction AllowancePrice/Rental fees
Mobile Flex Card Reader Pay As You Go1.6%n/a£0 for 12 months
Mobile Flex Card Reader Standard 1.4% – 1.6%£2,500£32
Mobile Flex Card Reader Premium1.1% – 1.6%£6,000£66
Mobile Flex Card Reader CustomVariableVariableVariable
Barclaycards Anywhere1.6%£14.50 + VAT
Desktop Card Reader With Separate PIN PadBased on volume and value£0 for 12 months
Desktop Card Reader With Integrated PIN PadBased on volume and value£0 for 12 months
Portable Card ReaderBased on volume and value£0 for 12 months

Online Payments/Payment Gateways

Barclaycard also offers three tiers of online payment solutions for different size enterprises:

  • Smartpay Checkout: Online payment gateway suitable for small businesses. IT comes with no monthly management fees for 12 months.
  • Smartpay Fuse: Online payment platform suitable for medium and large businesses that are looking to provide their customers with more payment choices. It lets clients integrate their existing eCommerce systems and benefit from increased security with anti-fraud tools. Best suited for utilities, telecoms, hospitality, retail and finance businesses.
  • Smartpay Advance: Omnichannel online payment solution for corporations that can be tailored to a specific client. It ensures payment across all stages of the user journey with its flexible features. It provides access to Barclaycard Transact for managing fraud attempts. Best suited for the public sector, insurance, hospitality and retail businesses.

Barclaycard also offers strategic partnerships with independent software vendors as they can integrate with major eCommerce websites and software providers.

Virtual Terminals

Barclaycard provides a virtual terminal service if you want to accept payments by mail or over the phone (MOTO – mail-order-telephone-order). 

Their virtual terminals come with no monthly management fees and are best suited for small businesses that are looking for an integrated solution. 

You can add up to 5 users before additional fees apply and process multiple payments simultaneously on any laptop, tablet or smartphone where the virtual terminal software is installed. The cost of transactions made via a virtual terminal depends on the type of card used as well as the volume and value of payments.

Fees

Apart from the fixed processing fees on the card readers outlined above, fees are not published publicly and transactions fees will be determined on a case by case basis. 

We can advise you on the approximate fees they are likely to offer your specific business and look to negotiate a better deal on your behalf or find a better alternative. 

Reviews & Reputation

Barclaycard’s merchant services online reviews are bundled in with reviews of its credit card services on sites like Trustpilot so average scores are not useful.

It is, however, worrisome that most of the merchant account service reviews we managed to find were quite negative.

Positive Reviews

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.

Most positive reviews focus on sales and customer service. For example:

“Barclaycard Merchant services however could not have been more helpful or pleasant to deal with, we have terminated our contracts with First Data, and taken out 8 more machines with Barclaycard. The sales team and customer service team, Rajni and Darelle and others could not fault the service.”  – Tracey P, June 7th 2021

Negative Reviews

With a firm this large you expect to see a hoard of negative reviews and horror stories of financial ruin. And sure enough, you will find these as well.

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.

Most negative reviews focused on:

  • Slashed credit limits without explanation or prior notice
  • Closure of the account without prior notice
  • Slow merchant set-up service
  • Poor merchant account customer service

For example:

“Applied for merchant services for my new business with a promise of 3 to 5 days setup. Now almost a month later, still no merchant service, which has had an impact on the opening of my business.“Neil Hopkin-Thomas, April 26th 2021

Here is the overview of Barclaycard’s reviews over from Sept 2020 to Aug 2021 on Trustpilot:

Barclaycard user rating

Customer Service and Technical Support

  • General phone support: Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 6pm
  • Technical phone support: 24/7
  • Online form
  • Help and FAQ pages on their website

As stated in the previous section, Barclaycard’s customer support leaves something to be desired, according to numerous negative remarks and complaints on user review sites.

Verdict

Barclaycard’s offering includes all the standard hardware and merchant services required to process payments, from card readers to online payment gateways and virtual terminals.

An impressive array of products is somewhat offset by reports of unsatisfactory customer service and (alleged) nasty surprises some of their merchant clients experience.

The fees are mostly bespoke except for the fixed transaction fees on their Mobile Flex and Anywhere card machines outlined above (which are only suitable for businesses with relatively low card turnover).

Barclaycard works well for established and larger businesses, but their rates are negotiable and there may be better alternatives. Fill in our short online form to get free impartial advice on whether we think they are the best fit for your business.

2 Comments

  1. Ismael (Leiker Exhausts) March 4, 2021
  2. Phil November 8, 2019

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