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Handepay is a UK based independent merchant account provider that is an authorised ISO of Evo Payments International and also has a partnership with Worldpay (they cannot provide an alternative merchant facility for any business that have an existing contractual or other business relationship with Worldpay or Evo Payments)
The firm claims small businesses pay too much for processing card payments, promising to “help grow your business by offering low cost merchant services”.
That certainly sounds great, because there aren’t enough firms in the payment industry that offer SMEs competitive rates. And Handepay is so confident it can save you up to 50%, by signing you up to one of its accounts, it even promises £1,000 if you can’t save money by switching over.
So Handepay makes no secret about its selling point: to undercut the competition and offer you a better rate. And that’s always a good place to start. But in the tricky industry of payment processing they’ll not only need to stick to their price-busting promise, but also back it up with the kind of quality services and customer support small business owners demand.
That’s precisely the question we’ll be answering in this review – whether Handepay is the cracking deal it claims to be or another case of you get what you pay for.
Products & Services
As you expect from the key names in payment services, Handepay covers the three forms of payments that matter most to business owners: card payments, online transactions and phone payments.
Face to face payments
- Countertop card machines: For fast, reliable card payments in shops and businesses with tills or other fixed payment points.
- Portable card machines: For business owners who want a portable card machine they can use throughout their property (eg: restaurants and bars).
- Mobile card machines: Ideal for customer visits, deliveries and other mobile services that want to offer card payments on the go to their customers.
- Quick setup: All Handepay terminals are installed by engineers on site to have you up and running in no time.
- Usability: Handepay card machines are designed to make payments easy for you and your customers.
- Training: Handepay doesn’t leave anything to chance though, and you get on-site training from an engineer when they install your terminals.
- Internet merchant accounts: Providing everything you need to authorise, process and settle online card payments.
- Payment gateway: A safe, secure platform for customers to buy your products online.
- Hosted payment pages: So you’re not relying on the security of a third party host provider.
- Payment options: Accepts all major credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal.
- Integration: Fully integrated with a growing number of shopping cart providers.
- Full services: If you’re just starting out in eCommerce, Handepay can provide you with a website and shopping cart to get your online business set up within an hour.
Phone and mail payments
- Card machines: All Handepay card machines can be used to process payments, either over the phone or by mail.
- Virtual hosted terminal: An online platform for you to accept phone payments from any connected device.
We already know Handepay loves its own prices, but what does that mean for its customers? Well, unfortunately, the nature of Handepay’s pricing policy means we can’t get hold of any solid fees. As you can see from the price challenge page on its website, the firm positions itself to beat your current provider – meaning your quote will depend on what you’re currently paying.
So what does that mean if you’re searching for your first merchant account and there’s no price to beat? That’s a good question and there’s no easy answer. But what you can do is shop around for quotes and take the most promising ones to Handepay to see how its price challenge measures up.
It’s hard for us to score on this basis, although we’re going to give them credit for having a price match policy, but this is cancelled out right away by not having any price guides available.
Contract lengths and termination fees is where the Handepay complaints start coming in. Essentially, this starts with a standard 12-36 month agreement and an automatic 12-month renewal unless you cancel in writing, three months before your initial contract expires.
It’s that auto-renewal that seems to be catching customers out, although it is stated in the contracts. The good news is this three month’s notice is a vast improvement on the 12 months customers used to have to provide to opt out of the auto-renewal.
If you fail to provide the three month’s notice and still want to cancel your contract, then you’ll be looking at a pretty hefty cancellation fee from Handepay. We’re not fans of this setup by any means, but we have to emphasise that all of these terms are stated in the contracts.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Like most merchant account providers, they use third party sales agents to promote its services and sign up customers. This is where things start to get difficult for customers who have been promised great deals that never materialise and unmentioned fees lurking in their contracts.
However, Handepay insists it doesn’t employ commission-only agents, which results in much less pushy reps and misleading sales tactics. That’s a very good thing indeed and on the whole Handepay is very transparent in its marketing and advertising techniques.
The only thing letting the side down is that contract auto-renew, which we suspect doesn’t get mentioned as often as it should by sales reps. This isn’t a sales technique used by Handepay itself, but more likely the independent sellers it uses. Either way, this appears to be the biggest cause for complaint from their customers.
Customer Service & Technical Support
As you may have guessed, those contract auto-renewals result in a few complaints about the company and some of these cite poor customer service in their list of grievances. Despite that, Handepay enjoys a relatively low number of complaints and customer service is highly regarded by many customer reviews.
In terms of technical support you have their FAQ sections and step by step videos do a good job of running through the basics. If the time comes that you need to speak to someone directly then you have 24/7 support by phone and you can always get in touch with them via social media.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Understandably, Handepay makes a point of showcasing its impressive Trustpilot score of 9.7/10 with over 4,500 reviews (at the time of writing in Aug 2018). Below is an example of one of their 5-star reviews that are in no short supply on Trustpilot:
“Handepay was recommended to me by a business friend and I’m really happy I decided to contact them… I’m not very good with technology and Michael’s patience and help was very much appreciated during the phone calls and emails… I’m confident that Handepay will be perfect for our new shop and am happy to recommend the company. Special thanks to Michael, good, friendly and knowledgeable advisors are rare” – Karen West, Trustpilot. review.
We understand Trustpilot allows firms to pay for comments to be moderated, which can be used to temporarily remove negative reviews and affect their score on the website. However, we’re pretty sure comments are restored unless they are found to break Trustpilot policies and a placeholder shows where comments have been raised for review. We can’t find any comments that Handepay has questioned on the site, so we’re taking that as a good sign.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
That’s not to say Handepay doesn’t come without its unhappy customers and it’s those auto-renewal contracts that dominate complaints. It seems much of this either comes down to third party sales reps conveniently forgetting to mention the renewal process or customers not fully understanding the terms of their contract.
“I duly sent in written request to cancel contract only to receive a very curt letter back advising me that the contract had extended for a further 2 years because I didn’t give notice 12 months before the expiry of the 36 months that I wanted to cancel!!! Firstly, I didn’t know at 24 months that I’d not want it to continue so I wouldn’t have given notice at that point. whilst the salesman was very specific about the 36 month term, there was absolutely no mention of this ridiculous “on the dot, 12 months in advance” notice period, nor the 2 year enforced extension to the contract.” – aceframer, Startups.co.uk comment.
And that pretty much sums up the complaints we can find against Handepay. The only other negative press we could find were some grumbles about fee increases earlier this year, but this happened across the industry – not only with Handepay.
Handepay promises to beat its competitors on price and, while you won’t be able to confirm this without collecting a few quotes or shifting from your existing provider, the policy appears to hold up pretty well. That gets things off to a good start for small business owners and the level of service is great too. All in all, Handepay is a good option for small businesses to look at and that price-beating policy means it’s always worth getting a quote from these guys to see how they measure up.
The only thing letting them down is those contract auto-renewals, but we’ve mentioned it enough times now that you should know where you stand. There are certainly worse contracts offered by other payment firms, but you always need to know the ins and outs of your contract, no matter who you go with.